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January 2011

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January 2011

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When I say "good," you say "neighbor." Matthew Rinn, Agent Insurance Lic. #: 0F99232 Bus: 925-671-0222 Fax: 925-671-0309 Pleasant Hill, CA 94523


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January 2011


Rainy Day Activities for Kids “I’m Bored!” Want to avoid hearing those two dreaded words on a dreary, rainy day? A few of the suggestions below require a short drive, but most are indoor activities. Have your own suggestions? We’d love to hear them. Go to our website,, and tell us what your family does to relieve rainy day boredom. DAY TRIPS Lindsay Wildlife Museum, www.bart. gov/schedules.

A place where people connect with wildlife and learn about the natural world. 1931 1st Ave, Walnut Creek. 935-1978. www.

Chabot Space and Science Center

Diablo Rock Gym

This is a full-service facility with all the amenities you could want. The programs are highly recommended for kids 6 years old and above. 1220 Diamond Way, Suite 140, Concord. Call (925) 602-1000 for more information or visit: Sky High Sports

Sky High Sports is a unique trampoline fun center in Concord where you can jump on the trampolines or bounce in the foam pit. They also offer organized activities like trampoline dodge ball. contact: 925-682-JUMP (5867). Color Me Mine

Bring the kids to paint your own pottery. Kids paint for free every Tuesday. 3541 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Contact: 299-2615 or visit: All in the Kiln

A paint-it-yourself ceramic studio. Kids paint free every Tuesday, and Fridays are $5/painter. 1950 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Contact: 939-2888 or visit: Take a Ride on BART!

Start at the Pleasant Hill BART station and head into San Francisco and the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Just exit BART at Powell Street Station and arrive at the front door without stepping outside!

Journey from space to Earth on an urgent mission to thwart climate change. Join Bill Nye, commander of the Clean Energy Space Station, as a Climate Scout where you’ll explore, innovate, advocate and change the world! Closed Mondays and Tuesdays except January 17th! 10000 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland. or call: 510-336-7373. Visit the Contra Costa Library

Closed Sunday and Monday. FUN AT HOME Scavenger Hunt

Hide items in your house and have the kids try to find them. This can be as easy or elaborate as you chose. Read A Picture Book Online

Storyline Online is a streaming video program featuring famous people reading children’s books aloud. Paper Bag Puppets

The easiest form of this requires only a paper lunch bag and crayons or markers. Simply draw on a face and you have a puppet! To make the characters more elaborate, decorate with yarn for hair, buttons for eyes, and glitter for cheeks. Ribbon can be added to the hair or made into a bow tie for the “neck”. Draw on eyelashes and lips with colorful markers. Coloring Pasta

Place a handful of dry, uncooked pasta, such as ziti, rotini or farfelle, into a plastic zipper baggie. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and 2-3 drops of food coloring. Close the

• Local Real 7 • PH Chamber 9 • Pair 14 • Home 16

baggie and have the kids shake the bag until the pasta is completely colored. Spread out onto a paper plate or paper towel and allow to dry. Use several baggies to create different colors. Once the pasta is dry, kids can use yarn to string together pieces to make necklaces and bracelets, or glue them to paper plates or construction paper to create a work of art. Make Play-Dough

1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup salt 1/2 cup water 1/2 tablespoon oil 1/2 tsp cream of tartar A few drops of food coloring Mix all but the last ingredient in a small saucepan. Cook over a very low heat for just a few minutes until it turns into dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface until cool enough for kids to touch. Separate the dough into as many colors as you want to make. Put just a few drops of coloring in each ball and knead until evenly mixed. You can store the dough in a jar and place in a fridge. Build a fort

Use chairs, tables, blankets, pillows…the only limit is your own imagination. Life size cut outs

Using sheets of paper taped together measuring the length of your child, have them lie on them and trace the outline of their body. Cut it out and let the kids decorate the figure. Read a Book

Take turns reading paragraphs from a chapter book or learn some new facts from a nonfiction book.

Make a place mat

Using old magazines or family photos cut out pictures and glue them to a piece of construction paper. Write your child’s name on it in big, bold, colorful letters and laminate using clear packing tape. Do a science experiment.

Perhaps use paper mache to make a “volcano” and watch it erupt. Check out http:// Make homemade cards

A rainy indoor day is the perfect time to make some homemade cards. Think Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries. Redecorate or Reorganize

Help a child redo their room. Bake

Bake and decorate cookies. Legos

Take out all Legos and create a Lego city. Play a card Game

Think ‘Crazy 8’s’ or Go Fish or War. Computer Games

Check out some educational websites: www., www. Dance!

Use karaoke, dance videos or the freeze game in which kids dance until the music stops. The last one to freeze is out.  Go Outside and Get Wet

Oh, What the Heck—Suit up with boots, raincoats, and warm socks and get outside and splash in the puddles. When you come inside, swap the rain gear for a cup of soup or hot chocolate.

• Local Restaurant 19 • Best of the Bay in PH 22 • Calendar 26 • Views on School Closures . 27


January 2011


Pass the Almond Butter By Julie Ross

I met this really interesting woman named Allison on the sidelines of a soccer game this past fall. Allison is a nut trader. She specializes in almonds. After hearing a bit about the nut business and praise for the health benefits of her tasty product, I could not wait to get home and check out the website of the California Almond Board. I loved it. I learned almonds are heart smart, nutrient dense, antioxidant rich and I should eat a handful every day. Now I have my New Year’s Resolution! If you’d like to join me in my resolve to eat more almonds but are not sure how many nuts make up a handful, there is no need for concern. The Almond Board suggests one ounce, or 23 nuts. If you don’t own a kitchen scale and counting the nuts seems a tad bit obsessive, the Board does offer alternatives, with photographs! One serving of almonds neatly covers the surface of a 3” x 3” sticky note. It fills a shot glass or a baby food jar. Or, you can measure out a serving using an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure. If those are still not enough portion-control options for you, the Board suggests you visit their eStore to purchase a “stylish almond snack tin that lets you take the perfect 1oz. serving wherever you go.” Well, they are certainly making it easy for me and I appreciate it. Back to Allison – she got to travel to Beijing last May to attend the International Nut Congress. I wish I had known Allison then, because I for sure would have asked her to bring me back an “International Nut Congress” tote bag. The International Nut and Dried Fruit Foundation, which sponsors the annual conference, has high

praise for almonds as well. The Foundation touts almonds as “the most important article among the edible nuts, being the indisputable leader of the world market.” Wow. I can’t wait to get started on my year of almond-eating. Are you with me? Here’s another handy tip from the Almond Board to make sure we stay the course: “Keep an airtight cup of almonds in your car cup holder for smart snacking on the road.” So, here’s to 2011, The Year of Smart Snacking on the Road. I will leave you with this final thought, again from the Almond Board of California: “You should never let anything come between you and your almonds -- and that’s that. “ Words to live by. So glad I had the chance to meet Allison. Happy New Year! Please e-mail questions, comments to

Independent Locally Owned

PUBLISHERS Becky Coburn, Jennifer Neys, Elena Hutslar A Monthly Publication delivered to over 40,000 Homes and Businesses in Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pacheco, Lafayette and Walnut Creek

The Community Focus is available at the following locations: Pleasant Hill Market • Pleasant Hill City Hall Pleasant Hill Senior Center • Pleasant Hill Library Mt. Diablo YMCA • UPS – Virginia Hills, Mtz. Chamber of Commerce (P.H. & Mtz.) Pleasant Hill Rec and Park (Civic Dr. & Gregory) Hyatt Summerfield Suites, Pleasant Hill Legal Grounds, Martinez • Martinez Senior Center Les Schwab Tires - Alhambra Avenue Best Western, John Muir Inn, Martinez Headways Salon, Main Street

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6680 Alhambra Ave. Box #132 Martinez, CA 94553 Phone: (925) 335 - NEWS (6397)

Thank You Advertisers! AAA Travel Aspire Pilates Center A Wee Change Brandman University Café Milano Christies for Kids Coldstone Creamery College Park Boosters Computer Sales and Service Dallimonti’s Diablo FC Diablo Trophy and Awards Diablo Valley Oncology Don & Norma Flaskerud- Re-Max

Donna L. Berggren, CPA Garden Natives Heritage Soccer Club Hire My Husband Hitchcock Realty Home Detailers Housekeeping Jennifer L. Martin D.D.S. Kobe Japan Land Home Financial Services, Inc. Le Jardin at the Spa Les Schwab Tires Lindsay Wildlife Museum Marie’s Designer Outlet John Malley, Mass Mutual Financial Group

Matthew C. Rinn, State Farm Insurance Monica Smilth, Headways Salon Moulding Company Orange Leaf Yogurt Payless Painting Pediatric Dentistry of Pleasant Hill Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District Quality Plumbing and Rooter Scott Floor to Ceiling Senior Helpers UPS – Virginia Hills Weight Loss Challenge Wine Shop at Home

January 2011



Page sponsored by

Ribbon Cutting Yan Can

1936 Linda Drive Pleasant Hill CA 94523

(925) 827-1200 Rated by Bay Area Consumers’ Checkbook Magazine and as one of the top computer repair shops in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce

January Schedule of Events 1/7 – Ambassador Meeting PH City Hall – Large Community Room 7:45a – 9:00a 1/11 – Ambassador Luncheon 11:45a – 1:00p at Magoo’s Grill RSVP: Ingrid@pleasanthillchamber. com 1/16 – Mr. Lucky’s 2nd Annual Crab Feed 2618 PH Road, 2p-8p, $40 pp. Contact Randy or Walt @ 933-7778 1/19 – January Mixer 5:30p – 7:30p Outback Steakhouse,150 Longbrook, RSVP:

1/20 – BOD Meeting 7:45a – 9:00a at PH City Hall – Large Community Rm 1/21 – PH Lions Club 38th Annual Crab Feed - PH Community Center, 320 Civic Dr. 6p, $45pp. Contact Don @ 676-5589 1/28 – Mayors Breakfast 2011 - For details visit or 1/31 – Green Committee 3p-5p Back Forty 1/28 – GAC Meeting 3p-5p Back Forty

Confirm schedule at

Chamber Holiday Mixer

Celebrity Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame, welcomes Executive Chef Cory Chen to Yan Can Asian Bistro in Downtown Pleasant Hill. “Chef Cory and I share the same passion for good food!” exclaimed Chef Yan. “We have both traveled extensively to eat and learn different styles of cooking. We share the same passion for serving fresh, scrumptious, colorful dishes of good value. We have the same philosophy towards giving back to the community - we connected when volunteering at gourmet fund raisers!” New to Yan Can Asian Bistro: •Happy Hour daily from 3pm-6pm featuring appetizers such as Fiery Chicken Wings and Tofu Bites • Beer, wine, and specialty sake cocktails! • Casual, full service dining with all the old favorites such as Chinese Chicken Salad and Sweet and Sour Spicy Catfish, plus Chef Cory’s seasonal offerings •During crab season, Garlic Crab with Garlic Noodles by advance reservations! Dine-in, take-out, parties and catering available.Yan Can Asian Bistro, 35 Crescent Drive, 12-A, Pleasant Hill, 925-827-4133, Open daily from 11am to 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10:30 pm.

MARTINEZ CHAMBER NEWS Martinez Chamber of Commerce

January Schedule of Events 1/3 Chamber Office Reopens After the Holidays — Happy New Year! 1/6 - Ribbon Cutting – 4pm at California Fitness, 621 Alhambra Ave., Martinez. 1/8 - Crab Feed – Boys & Girls Club of Diablo Valley, 1301 Alhambra Ave, Martinez. Contact the Club at 925228-3896 1/11 - Ambassador Meeting Contact Reba at (925)228-2345 or email

Sleeping Bags Needed 1 2 3 Accounting Solutions, your local tax and bookkeeping specialists is collecting donations of new or gently used sleeping bags, blankets and gloves to be distributed to local homeless communities during the cold winter season. Donations can be dropped off until January 31, 2011, Monday-Friday between the hours of 9am-5pm at 1704 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez. To arrange other drop off times please call 925-228-8300. 1 2 3 Accounting Solutions reminds you that your donations are tax deductible.

1/13 - Chamber Mixer Food Bank of CC & Solano co-hosted with Englund’s Catering, 4010 Nelson Ave, Concord – 5:30pm - 7:30pm. Great Networking, Food, Fun, Raffle Prizes (bring a raffle prize and have your business announced!) For each can of food you bring, you will receive a free raffle ticket.

1/16 – Ribbon Cutting Sunday, 2pm at Luigi’s 99¢ and Up – (for the Grand Opening of the Deli) 680 Castro St. at the corner of Main St., Martinez 1/17 – Office Closed - Martin Luther King Day 2/1 – Save the Date – 7:30am - State of the City Breakfast. Shell Club House, corner of Pacheco & Arreba, Martinez – Enjoy a full gourmet breakfast buffet, $25. RSVP by 1/21 to Martinez Chamber (925) 228-2345 or email Reba@ From our Chamber Office to you – Have a Wonderful New Year!!

Please verify schedule at


January 2011

The Self-Employed Loan Dilemma Remember the “stated” loan? It’s also called the “liar loan” or the “loan that crashed our housing market.” Actually, the original intent of the loan was to help self-employed people whose tax returns took full advantage of tax writeoffs and showed a bottom line lower than what would work for qualifying ratios for loan approval. Unfortunately, this was abused beyond the original intent to the extent that W-2 wage earners where allowed to acquire stated loans, resulting in millions of under qualified borrowers receiving loans well over their ability to repay. Now the dilemma - today we have more and more people hanging out their shingles as companies continue to cut personnel and the job market remains fairly weak. Stated loans have not come back and probably will not for a long, long time, if ever. What should you know if you are starting your own business and will want to purchase or refinance a home? First

By Peter Paredero of all, you will need to be in business for qualified for 4.375%. Your itemized two years in order to qualify for a loan. deduction would be $27,356. This Usually, these are the hardest times for number does not include all the other a start up business, so be patient. If you items you are now entitled to claim as are established in your business and deductions: state and local taxes, gifts want to refinance or purchase a home, to charity, job expenses and certain you will need to sit down with your loan miscellaneous deductions. As you can professional to review your taxes. If your see, the deductions for single filers would debt to income ratios won’t work for increase to $21,656 and to $15,956 for current lending guidelines, your next step married filers. Talk about saving money would be to visit with your professional on your taxes! A few areas that can be looked tax preparer. Recently, I worked with a client who at when managing your business and was in this very predicament. With help preparing your taxes are: from Monika Hengesbach, an Enrolled 1. Depreciate your fixed assets vs. writing Agent who specializes in working with them all off in the year of purchase. small business owners, we were able to Instead of taking 100% of the purchase work a plan that would help my clients price off in the year of purchase (Sec. 179) toward their goal of home ownership. defer the payments over the life of the Here are some helpful hints from Monika assets; 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years. that can steer you in the right direction to 2. Contribute to a self-employed loan approval: Simplified Employee Pension (SEP). Itemize. Taxpayers who do not itemize Contributions to an SEP are tax their deductions are entitled to a standard deductible and may be eligible for a tax deduction. For single filers, the standard credit of up to $500 per year for each of deduction is $5,700 and for married filing jointly it is $11,400. Consider this however, let’s say you purchased a $550,000 home, put down 20% and

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the first three years for the cost of starting the plan. 3. Incorporate your business. Net income of sole proprietors is taxed at their personal rate; they also pay a selfemployment tax of 15.3% on the net income. By incorporating, you will pay the same 15.3% self-employment tax on your wages but not on your net income. Depending on the structure you choose, the net income can pass-through to you which will help with your income qualification for home ownership. If you would like to know more ways on how to become “tax savvy,” you can follow Monika on twitter at taxhealer@, on Facebook at www. or on a website Peter Paredero, Senior Mortgage Consultant for Land Home Financial Services Inc. has resided in Pleasant Hill since 1994. 925 787-8746. pparedero@

January 2011



Local Real Estate Update


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As the year 2010 has drawn to a close, a disturbing new epidemic is on the rise in America – the death of homeownership. Dropping to 66.9%, homeownership rates are now at their lowest level since 1999, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. More than 900,000 foreclosures occurred in 1999 and we are on pace for over 1,000,000 to occur in 2010. Friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors - the victims are all around us and in every neighborhood from coast to coast. The good news is that the condition is very treatable, especially if caught early enough. With numerous alternatives available to today’s struggling homeowner, foreclosure can actually be avoided in all but a small percentage of cases. Alternatives such as mortgage modifications, forbearance agreements, short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure are much less impactful on your credit score, not to mention your neighborhood’s home values and your ability to obtain a mortgage again in





Sq Ft

Market Days

List Price

Sales Price

2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 4

1 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3

690 1123 1585 -1333 1626 1207 1502 1455 943 1263 1277 1318 1101 1002 2072 1286 1370 1416 1570 2061 2237 3200

10 46 246 30 86 54 13 8 88 30 11 41 18 2 2 165 3 9 3 32 86 95 21 47

$106,000 $149,900 $299,999 $209,900 $191,900 $227,900 $179,900 $153,000 $239,900 $219,000 $239,000 $280,000 $284,000 $279,000 $315,000 $319,000 $339,000 $369,000 $419,000 $522,500 $549,500 $660,000 $1,199,000 $337,017

$132,100 $191.45 $134,900 $120.12 $175,000 $110.41 $189,000 -$206,000 $154.54 $206,000 $126.69 $211,000 $174.81 $215,555 $143.51 $229,900 $158.01 $231,750 $245.76 $250,000 $197.94 $270,000 $211.43 $271,980 $206.36 $272,000 $247.05 $300,000 $299.40 $323,000 $155.89 $339,000 $263.61 $369,000 $269.34 $400,000 $282.49 $480,000 $305.73 $520,000 $252.30 $630,000 $281.63 $1,199,000 $374.69 $328,486 $216

1 2 1 2 2 2

986 986 1061 911 1026 1528

54 9 65 56 8 96 48

$139,900 $137,000 $157,900 $179,000 $190,000 $249,900 $175,616

$135,000 $137,000 $159,000 $177,000 $190,000 $248,000 $174,333


Sales $/Sq Ft

$136.92 $138.95 $149.86 $194.29 $185.19 $162.30 $161

By Nathan Hitchcock the future. In some cases, they can also help prevent future deficiency judgments from being sought by lenders for unpaid loan balances, a common occurrence even after a foreclosure. Unfortunately, because of the embarrassment and social stigma attached to being behind on your mortgage, many homeowners choose to bury their heads in the sand and do nothing to avert the foreclosure. In reality, the last thing a lender wants is to foreclose on a home. It’s expensive, time consuming and fraught with liability. Recognizing these benefits, many lenders are rapidly reallocating their staff resources away from their foreclosure departments and towards their short sale and loan modification departments. Over the last few months, Bank of America has gone from being one of the slowest at approving short sale purchase agreements to one of the fastest. Short sale approvals that were taking 9 to 12 months to obtain are now taking as little as 30-45 days in many cases. So, if you are having trouble keeping

your mortgage paid, first take solace in knowing that you are not alone. Nationwide, 1 in 10 homeowners are currently behind on their mortgage payments Then, once you have pulled your pride up from the gutter and dusted it off, pick up the phone and get help. It’s vitally important that you know what your options are so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed. A trusted and experienced realtor is a good place to start. Not only will they be able to help you ascertain your home’s equity position and sales options, but they will also be able to refer you to reputable real estate attorney to help you weigh the legal ramifications of the different paths you may choose to travel. Nathan Hitchcock is the managing broker of Hitchcock Realty, a residential real estate brokerage and property management firm in downtown Pleasant Hill. He can be reached at or (925) 825-1100. Data contained herein was obtained from the CCAR Multiple Listing Service. Information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

RECENT PLEASANT HILL HOME SALES (11/1/2010 – 11/30/2010) Address Beds Baths SINGLE FAMILY HOME 125 MAZIE DR 3 1 3063 PUTNAM BLVD 2 1 1812 DONNA DR 4 2 209 DORIS DR. 3 1 1600 SHIRLEY DRIVE 3 1 195 CORTSEN RD 3 2 1926 WENDELL LN 3 2 130 LORENZO DR. 3 2 336 BELVA LN 3 2 94 MONTE CRESTA AVE 3 2 201 ELDERWOOD DR 4 2 207 POSHARD ST 3 2 119 IPSWICH WAY 4 2 2972 HANNAN DR 5 2 25 PALMER CT 5 2 Totals: 15 Listings TOWN HOMES / CONDOS / DUETS 59 MASSOLO DR 2 2 362 SCOTTSDALE RD 3 2 190 CLEAVELAND RD 2 2 1010 RIDGEVIEW PL 3 2 26 WARHOL WAY 2 2 Totals: 5 Listings

Sq Ft

Market Days

List Price

Sales Price Sales $/Sq Ft

1052 915 1412 1042 1490 1798 1512 1695 1772 1539 2123 1893 2418 2188 2632

75 26 30 6 148 0 10 97 25 75 88 98 15 30 211 62

$289,900 $309,900 $329,900 $360,000 $397,000 $425,000 $527,000 $588,000 $569,000 $595,000 $595,000 $629,000 $629,000 $649,000 $750,000 $509,513

$281,000 $304,000 $320,000 $342,500 $400,000 $425,000 $510,000 $540,000 $550,000 $575,000 $591,000 $610,000 $613,000 $639,000 $725,000 $495,033

$267.11 $332.24 $226.63 $328.69 $268.46 $236.37 $337.30 $318.58 $310.38 $373.62 $278.38 $322.24 $253.52 $292.05 $275.46 $294

973 1365 1492 1538 1560

59 19 35 41 7 32

$210,000 $279,950 $289,900 $359,000 $389,000 $305,570

$205,000 $265,000 $287,500 $354,500 $381,500 $298,700

$210.69 $194.14 $192.69 $230.49 $244.55 $214


January 2011

Conservative Savings...or Retirement Income? By John Malley of available products. Since many and protect assets until you are ready insured. Be sure to ask your financial people turn to both deferred fixed to receive them as guaranteed income professional about an insurance annuities and certificates of deposit during retirement â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and many offer companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ratings and financial (CDs) for stable returns, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s helpful to the option of guaranteeing retirement strength if you plan to purchase an know the differences between the two. income for your lifetime; of course, annuity, because payment of lifetime First and foremost, a deferred fixed guarantees and payment of lifetime income is contingent upon the claimsannuity is a conservative retirement income are based on the claims-paying paying ability of the issuing company or vehicle, while a CD is designed to ability of the issuing company. CDs, companies. be a savings vehicle. Deferred fixed There are other important by contrast, offer a conservative way annuities can help you accumulate to save and preserve assets when your differences as well, involving income investment horizon (the amount of tax treatment, early withdrawal options, IN FOCUSâ&#x20AC;˘IN FOCUSâ&#x20AC;˘IN FOCUSâ&#x20AC;˘IN FOCUSâ&#x20AC;˘IN FOCUSâ&#x20AC;˘IN FOCUS time you expect assets to be invested) and other important factors. The best is relatively short. CDs do not offer a way to make a good decision when guaranteed lifetime income option. planning for retirement is to work with questions to ask. How much coverage Shopping for Auto Insurance While both vehicles are considered a trained, trusted financial professional do you need? The required minimum Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a first time buyer conservative, they reduce risk in to choose products that best meet amounts of liability coverage may not of auto insurance or already have it different ways. CDs are generally backed your retirement income objectives and be enough for you. but are looking for a better deal, you by banks and currently are insured investment needs. Consider your needs in light of should be asking several questions. John Malley is a financial for up to $250,000 for each depositor your assets and income. How much First, is the person from whom by the Federal Deposit Insurance representative with Mass Mutual can you afford to pay if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a big youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re buying (your agent) a Corporation (FDIC) or the National Financial GroupŠ, Massachusetts judgment against you because of an visible, established member of your Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Mutual Life Insurance Company accident? What about deductibles? community and someone you know Fixed annuities are guaranteed in Walnut Creek. (925) 979-2329. 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As seen in the September 15, 2010, issue of The Wall Street Journal

January 2011



Chamber Chat

By Charley Daley, Chief Executive Officer, Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Introducing economy ACTUALLY starts to recover. Welcome 2011 Chamber Board of Directors: the first in a series Change as the Chamber introduces new President - Dave Huitt, Smokie D’s Director - Meghan Mahler, Meghan Mahler Design Chairperson - Steve Wallace, Wallace & Associates Director - Valerie Perkins, Carlton Senior Living of quarterly Pleasprograms, changes existing ones and Director - Stephan Anthony, Cover2Cover Director - Matt Rinn, Matt Rinn State Farm Director - Jim Blair, Excelsior Brewing Company Director - Michael Saenz, Irvin Deustcher Family YMCA ant Hill Chamber even comes forward with new events. Director - Tom Guarino, Pacific Gas and Electric Director - Christine Sampson, Christine Sampson State Farm Let’s start with change: Each year of Commerce Director - Kristin Kelly, Associate Director - Judith Sosnowski, Mt Diablo Adult Education Director - Melodie Lane, Brandman University Director - Tina Traum, Above & Beyond Concierge Service features, with the at this time the Chamber experiences These members have chosen to serve the Chamber and community. Let’s look forward to a great 2011! purpose of informa change of leadership. 2010 President, ing the community Steve Wallace, after guiding the Chamber Hill. We have so many terrific places speakers on a variety of business topics. of Chamber activities, new members, through one of the more challenging to get a burger in PH so why not bring For 2011 the chamber is partnering with and shedding light on the members who economic environments handed off the them all together in one spot? Add in Brandman University and the series devote themselves to promoting the keys to the shop to Dave Huitt. Dave music and maybe some beer and wine will be held at their campus. February’s businesses and the community of Pleas- has been on the Board of Directors for and you have a reason to get out of the featured speaker is Jim Horan, author ant Hill. about 2 years and brings his many years house. of The One Page Business Plan. Space is I trust that you will find the inforof restaurant management experience to In 2010, the summer Blues and limited and this will fill quickly. mation gives you a better insight into the table as the 2011 President. Brews was so successful that we will do it As to recovery, even though the folks Change is also occurring with some the vital role we play in the success of again with even more to see at the event in Washington DC say that we have been the community and the potential benof the events that the Chamber has this July. August looks to have a wine out of the recession since June of 2009, efits of being a part of the Pleasant Hill been doing. Business Showcase, which stroll in Downtown PH. And of course those people on the street know that Chamber. has been at the Community Center for we will continue with the award winning it has been a tough haul. 2011 looks to ~ Charley Daley, Chief Executive Ofthe last 30 plus years is being moved to Art, Jazz & Wine Fest in October. get better even though not all business ficer, Pleasant Hill Chamber of Comthe Crowne Plaza in Concord while the Other changes are with our Brown sectors have seen an improvement. merce Community Center gets rebuilt. If you need help with your business Bag Lunch series. For those who don’t 2011 looks to be the year of recovery Look to late May or early June for know, the Brown Bag Lunch is held once call the Chamber today. We’re there for and change. Recovery especially as the the Burger Bash in Downtown Pleasant a month and usually features top notch you. NEW MEMBERS Le Jardin at the Spa 1603 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, Nancy Robinson (925-935-4247) Pleasant Hill Wellness Center 238 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill, Patricia Robinow (925798-1474) Democrasoft 50 Old Courthouse Square #300, Santa Rosa, Ron Bolden (888-993-8683) Excelsior Brewing 6680 Alahambra Avenue #228, Martinez, Jim Blair (925-228-8787) Profit Business Services 1102 Via Ensenada Court, Concord, Jeff Willis (925216-1025)

The Original Pancake House 2059 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill, Kitty Leung (925-798-3081) Dunn-Edwards Paints 555 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill Tony Chih (925-798-5377)

Doorstep Farmers 180 Golf Club Road #127, Pleasant Hill, Michael Wedgley (925-360-8643) Smokey D’s Slow Cooked BBQ Pleasant Hill, Dave Huitt

Nationwide Insurance 190 N. Wiget Lane #110, Walnut Creek, Ryan Hayes (925-787-2655) Ottoman Art Company 108 Emerson Court, Pleasant Hill, Otto Gonzalez (925-934-5890) Yan Can 35 Crescent Drive #12A, Pleasant Hill Cory Chen (925-827-4133) Christie’s For Kids 69 Doray Drive, Pleasant Hill, Mike Christie (925-849-6541)

Rehabilitation Services of Northern California 490 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, Margo Dutton ( 925-6826330), 20 Years

Associate Pleasant Hill, Jack Weir (925899-4298), 42 Years

Soroptimists Int’l of Diablo Vista P.O. Box 5855, Concord Jo Harlow (925-827-9676) 18 Years

Sunvalley Shopping Center 1 Sun Valley Mall, Concord, Kim Trupiano (925-8250400), 26 Years

Contra Costa Water District P.O. Box H20, Concord Jennifer Allen (925-6888041), 15 Years

Diablo Valley College 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, Jeanie Dewhurst (925685-1230) Associate 828 Hamilton Dr, Pleasant Hill, Lola Fellinger (925-9344588) Associate Ted Fuller (925-686-0738) 13 Years

Minuteman Press Pleasant Hill 2835 Contra Costa Blvd #E, Pleasant Hill, Theresa Coffman (925-256-6444) Center for Human Development 391 Taylor Blvd, #120, Pleasant Hill, Elaine Prendergrast (925-687-8844)

Aegis Assisted Living 1660 Oak Park Blvd, Pleasant Hill, Sonia Chahal-Singh (925-939-2700), 12 Years JB Services 4960 Blum Rd, Martinez Beverley Forrest (925-3701775), 11 Years Central Contra Costa Sanitary District 5019 Imhoff Place, Martinez Michael Scahill (925-2297310) J. Rockcliff Realtors 3799 Mt. Diablo Blvd Ste 100, Lafayette, Pete Sabine (925-385-2340), 9 Years Pasta Pomodoro 45 C Crescent Dr, Pleasant Hill, Zee Shan Ansari (925363-9641), 8 Years Sam’s Club 1225 Concord Ave, Concord, Maria Galbraith (925-687-1400 X)

Associate Darrell & Marilyn Harguth (925-934-1642), 6 Years

Associate Lafayette, Angie Bailie (925640-9996), 2 Years

Pleasant Hill 4th of July Commission P.O. Box 23272, Pleasant Hill, Jim Bonato, 4 Years Heald College 5130 Commercial Circle, Concord, Laura Philpot (925-288-5800) American Association of University Women Pleasant Hill, Jill Anderson (925-932-2063) Dutch Boy Window Cleaning 100 Adela Ct., Pleasant Hill, Peter Scheers (925-9170161), 3 Years

Monument Crisis Center P.O Box 23973, Pleasant Hill Sandra Scherer (925-8257720) California Cancer and Research Institute 400 Taylor Blvd. #105, Pleasant Hill, Lora Sanders (925-826-1900) Risk Concepts Insurance Brokers, Inc. 3732 Mt. Diablo Blvd, #375, Lafayette, Mike Robertson (925-283-8200) Associate Pleasant Hill, Deborah Hicks Flickinger (925-586-1156)

Tennis Express 391 Taylor Blvd., Ste 180, Pleasant Hill, Mark P. Lyons (925-691-4439)

Stokley Properties 190 Random Way, Pleasant Hill, Joe Stokley (925-658-1415)

Barton Chiropractic 1251 Monument Blvd #140, Concord, Annette Barton (925-685-2002) Mary Kay Cosmetics - Becky Xepoleas 16 Wood Creek Place, Pleasant Hill, Becky Xepoleas (925-947-2068) Associate Pleasant Hill, Deborah Hicks Flickinger (925-586-1156) Meghan Mahler Design 4271 Treat Blvd, Concord Meghan Mahler (925-6748810), First Year Renewal Rosewood Care Center 1911 Oak Park Blvd, Pleasant Hill, Jenny Ashley (925-925-6630) Associate Pleasant Hill, Sue Damhesel (925-998-3537)

2011 Brown Bag Lunch Series ~ Kickoī Event Join us for a FREE lunch & workshop to celebrate our partnership with the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce! Topic: Come with an Idea, Leave with a Plan... a One Page Business Plan ® Featured Speaker: Jim Horan, Founder & President, The One Page Business Plan Company

Brandman University, 2950 Buskirk Ave., Suite 200, Walnut Creek

Friday, February 11, 2011 at 11 a.m. RSVP required by February 1 (limit 50) Call 925.687.0700 Email

Page 10

January 2011


Martinez in the Late Nineteenth Century By Gay Gerlack

Among the donations to the Martinez Historical Society were documents related to the Tarwater family history. The Tarwater family file in the Society’s archives includes a clipping of an interview with Mrs. Maud [Scott} Tarwater of Martinez (Martinez News-Gazette, April 17, 1976). The article does not give the name of the interviewer or the date of the interview, but if it occurred near the date of publication Maud Tarwater would have been nearly 100 years old. Interviewer’s introduction: Mrs. Maud Tarwater (nee Maud Scott) was born in Martinez in 1877. She attended the old Martinez grammar school, located on the site of the present Boy’s Club. “Miss Callie Wittenmeyer, who was later to become dean of Mills College, was principal of the school. School was held from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., and if the lessons were not right by the time school was over the pupils were made to stay until they were perfect. The teachers worked long hours, often not leaving until 6:00 p.m. “The social life of the community consisted of Christian Endeavor at the Congregational Church and the Epworth League at the Methodist Church, where most of the young people gathered. In the old Opera House, located at Estudillo and Escobar, many home talent shows were held, in which I usually had a leading role. Occasionally dances were held in Bennett’s Hall, where the Curry Building is located, as well as midnight suppers at the Martinez Hotel, for which the charge was $1.50 per couple. “On Saturday nights there was a dancing school with an instructor and pianist that came all the way from Alameda County. First they would hold the dancing class, which was followed by dancing until midnight, as dancing was not permitted on Sundays. “Hayrides to Clayton were also very popular with the young folks. The boys furnished the wagon and the girls the lunch. Many parties were held in the various homes, at which games were played and community singing enjoyed. Many of the married couples belonged to card

Wagon peddler

clubs. Then, about 1900, Bay View Pavilion was erected for roller skating. “On Sundays ball games were played on Pacheco Road, which were well attended. Usually after the game many of the people in attendance would drive down to the Southern Pacific depot to see who was arriving and departing on the train. “In 1881 there were no street lights. Lanterns were used. Soon after came the coal oil street lighting, and later the town acquired a gas tank down by the station. Coal oil lamps were used in the homes; there was no electricity. “There were several churches in town including the Congregational, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal and an African Negro church on Portuguese Flat. “There were no concrete sidewalks, only board walks, and it was not uncommon to find mud up to one’s knees in places. “There were no undertaking parlors or mortuaries; burial was from the home. “The following lodges had representation in Martinez: Native Daughters, Native Sons, Masonic, Odd Fellows, Maccabees (later the Rebekahs), and Eastern Star. “The first telephone was installed in a little room in the back office of the Southern Pacific station, Jo McCann and I were among the first telephone operators. “There were no beauty salons. Women curled each other’s hair with a

curling iron. “In the 1880’s there were few stores in Martinez. The town consisted of a Chinese laundry, near the site of the Traveler’s Hotel, a barber shop, and a general merchandise and dry goods store. Prices were cheap: egg, 14 cents a dozen; bread, five cents a loaf; milk, 10 cents a quart; flour, 50 cents a hundred pounds;

potatoes, $l.00 per hundred pound sack; a bale of hay cost $2.25; a cask of bran was 50 cents, and cotton stockings were 90 cents a pair. (These prices were all taken from an old cookbook belonging to Mrs. Tarwater in which she had made these entries.) “Women’s clothes were heavily embroidered or beaded, and bustles were a ‘must.’ “The entire family took their bath in the wash tub. Water was heated in a big boiler on the stove and it was such a chore to heat it that everyone used the same water. “At Christmas there were no trees. The children simply hung up their stockings, which were filled with candy, nuts and one little present,” Mrs. Tarwater believed that people were generally happier in those days than they are today because no one was trying to outdo the other, and no one was trying to keep up with the Joneses.

January 2011

Page 11


Pleasant Hill Mayor’s Message

David Durant, Mayor of Pleasant Hill the world a little bit better for you hav As we welcome a new Couna sense of joint purpose, as we address Happy ing been in it and fighting for what’s cilmember and prepare to replace our the challenges that face our small city. Holidays! I also know that I speak for the right. I try to live by these teachings colleague and friend Karen Mitchoff I am honored every day, whether as a Pleasant Hill (who soon becomes our County Super- Council and the City’s tremendous, to serve as Pleasant City Councilmember, as Vice Chair visor), I have great hope that our new dedicated Staff when wishing you HapHill’s Mayor until of the Contra Costa Transportation City Council will work together in an py Holidays and in looking forward to December 5, 2011. Authority, as Chair of the Contra Costa atmosphere of openness, civility and a great New Year. Although I have Airport Land Use Commission, as a entered my 12th year serving on the City Council, many volunteer leader at Hillcrest Congregaof our residents may still not know me. tional Church, or as a Board member By Martin Nelis, Public Information Officer, City of Pleasant Hill of two great non-profit organizations: So, I’ll use this column to introduce The City of Pleasant Hill is celtra Costa Blvd, and will remain in place Youth ALIVE! and Legal Assistance myself a little. ebrating its 50th year in 2011 and we’re for most of the year. Growing up in New York, I learned for Seniors. To some, my dedication to The individualized 7 feet by 4 feet planning a huge celebration! service may sound idealistic or corny. about service from my mother (a The City was officially incorpobanners will be hung on street poles But for me, it’s a way of life I credit long-time political activist) and my rated on November 14, 1961. Over the along the entire length of Contra Costa to my mother and grandmother, but grandmother (a devoted minister’s weekend of November Blvd. and will include the also to great historical figures like John wife). Together, they taught me about 12-13, 2011 the City name of one sponsor on F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and fairness, equality, and the importance will host a grand finale each. What’s more, once Martin Luther King, Jr. of giving back; of trying hard to leave weekend of festivities the banners are removed, including an Art & Phothe sponsors will be given tographic Exhibit at City theirs as a keepsake to By Martin Nelis, Public Information Officer, City of Pleasant Hill Hall depicting 50 years remember all of the 50th At its meeting on December 6, 2010, Costa County Clerk, Steve Weir. of Pleasant Hill events and festivi Council member, Dr. Michael G. Harthe City Council voted to appoint David history, an Open ties during 2011! Durant as Mayor and John Hanecak as ris, who was re-elected in November, was The cost to House for all Vice-Mayor for the remainder of 2010 and not available for this meeting and instead residents, and a dinner sponsor each banner most of 2011. This is the third time that will take the oath of office at the January dance celebration at the Contra Costa is only $295. However, time is of the David Durant will serve as Mayor, having 10, 2011 meeting of the City Council. Country Club. essence – the deadline for sponsorship Outgoing Mayor, Karen Mitchoff, previously done so during 2001-02 and Throughout 2011, the 50th Anni(including payment) is January 17, 2006-07. announced her intention to resign her seat versary theme and logo will be promi2011. At the same meeting, the City Council on the City Council on January 2, 2011 in Please contact the Chamber at nent in City publications, events and paid tribute to outgoing member, Terri order to take up her new position on the other promotions. To kick-start the cel- (925) 687-0700 or email ingrid@ Williamson, who stepped down after 25 Contra Costa County Board of Superviebration, the Chamber of Commerce Information consecutive years as a member of the City sors. The City Council will then have 60 and 50th Anniversary Committee are about the 50th Anniversary CommitCouncil. Her position was then taken by days in which to fill the vacant seat either offering a once in a lifetime opportee is also available through Martin newly elected member of the City Council, by holding a special election or by aptunity for businesses and residents to Nelis at (925) 671-5229 or mnelis@ Jack Weir, who was sworn in by Contra pointment. sponsor one of only 50 street banners to be erected early in 2011 along Con-

Sponsor A Banner

New Officials for 2011

City Calendar of Events

Architectural Review Commission January 6, 20 100 Gregory Lane Large Community Room, 5:00pm Contact: 671-5259 City Council Meeting January 3, 17 100 Gregory Lane Contact: 671-5267 Civic Action Commission Meeting January 5 100 Gregory Lane Small Community Room, 6:30pm Contact: 671-5229

Education/Schools Advisory Commission Meeting January 26 100 Gregory Lane Large Community Room, 7:00pm Contact: 671-5229 Planning Commission Meeting January 11, 25 100 Gregory Lane City Council Chambers, 7:30pm Contact: 671-5259 For Confirmation Visit:

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January 2011

Martinez Mayor’s Message

Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez and other groups, but it presents many storage facility for years. The city leased Martinez has Willows Theatre and the John Muir challenges. The location is not a “turn the building specifically to be transenjoyed a tenAssociation. Thus was born the John key” facility and it is very expensive to formed into a cabaret style theatre and year partnership Muir Festival Center Association. bring in seating, lighting and backstage worked with the Willows, local busi Although the John Muir Festival with the Willows facilities. Imnesses and Theatre Company, Center has not yet been built, that provements a multitude which has brought partnership (with help from Shell Oil such as bathof Willows’ arts, entertainCompany and their employees) built rooms and financial ment and ecothe John Muir Amphitheatre, located concession supporters nomic development to the fabric of at Waterfront Park. Many performbuildings to make it our community. It all started with an ances of John Muir Mountain Days have been made, but the city is hopso. Performances began in 2007 with idea that the home of John Muir could and Sacagawea played at the venue. ing to be awarded a grant from Prop. the opening of the first of a series of weave historical theatre into its culture The amphitheatre continues to be used 84 funds to make the amphitheatre a the Nunscence plays. Since then, tens through a partnership of the city, the on an occasional basis by the Willows facility that is ready to go when the gate of thousands of people have enjoyed is unlocked. Once that is reality, the theatre in downtown Martinez. If you have not had the opportuniamphitheatre will be a preferred venue Jaki Jones from spring to late fall. ty to visit downtown Martinez and see “We have received fairly succinct The City of Martinez’s General The partnership continues bea performance at the Campbell TheaPlan is undergoing its first compreanswers to the questions so far and tween the city and the Willows Theatre tre, please do so. Come for the evening hensive update since the 1970s. The there has been a fair amount of activity Company with the development of and have dinner in one of our fine General Plan provides the basis for from the website,” said Blount. Questhe Kinney Production Facility near restaurants and walk a short block to decision-making related to future detions include: What do you like most the amphitheatre and the Campbell the theatre. The 2011 season includes about Martinez? What do you like velopment. It gives a clear description Theatre in downtown Martinez. The Rags, Once On This Island, King O’ the of the ideal future version of Martinez least about Martinez that you would Campbell Theatre was formerly an auto Moon, Show Boat, A New Musical and like to see improved?  What does Marand contains long-term goals and parts store and then served as a county The Winter Wonderettes. objectives. tinez look like to you in the future? Public input is needed and all In addition to the website, Blount members of the community are said, “Task Force members are going encouraged to participate. In Novemout into the community to ask quesZoning Administrator Meeting Design Review Meeting January 19 January 12, 26 ber and December, the City and the tions. Comments from participating 4:00pm-6:00pm 4:00pm-6:00pm General Plan Update Task Force held community members will help forContact: 925-372-3500 Contact: 925-372-3500 a series of community workshops and mulate the General Plan and working City Council Meeting Planning Commission Meeting although the turnout was low, City vision that will guide Martinez for Check City Calendar Website January 11, 25 Planner Terry Blount commented the next 20 years. We’ve done a really For Exact dates 7:00pm-11:00pm that, “We would have welcomed more extensive outreach for this type of Contact: 925-372-3500 people participating in the workshops, activity. The information will be com7:00pm-10:30pm For Confirmation Visit: however there was good synergy from piled and organized into categories, Contact: 925-372-3500 those that showed.” then into a report as a ‘Working Vision’ Martinez recently became one and will be an umbrella that drives the of three California cities to receive next few stages of our work.” The Vian online public engagement grant, sion will then be presented to the City All kinds of Interior and Exterior handyman projects. awarded by Pepperdine’s Common Council and Planning Commission for • Interior Painting Sense California. To further encourage review. The next meeting of the Task community input and opinions, the • Quality Home grant has been used to set up a webForce will be Wednesday, January Repair Projects based questionnaire that asks the same 26th at 6:30 pm at City Hall in Marfive (5) open-ended and strategic ques- tinez. • Handyman Services For more information, contions that were asked at the community workshops, and you can answer as tact Terry Blount, AICP, Planning Contractor Lic. # 943231 much or as little as you like. The online Manager for the City of Martinez, questionnaire will be available through at 925.372.3534 or e-mail him at January 15.

Martinez General Plan

City Calendar of Events

Hire My Husband


January 2011

Crisis Center Gala The many supporters and volunteers of the Monument Crisis Center will gather at our Annual Heartfelt Gala at the Concord Hilton on February 3rd. Live music, appetizers and dinner, silent auction, raffles, award presentations, and guest speakers promise to add entertainment and enjoyment to the evening. Monument Crisis Center takes great pride in announcing that the honorees at the Heartfelt Gala will be the Stan Hansen Family and the Brookview Park Community. This group will be recognized for the extraordinary amount of support they have given to Monument Crisis Center. The Center would not be possible without community support! Located in the Monument Corridor in Concord, our

primary mission is feeding the hungry. As one of the largest food pantries in two counties, we serve more than 6,500 people every month. In the last year we distributed enough groceries to families to make approximately one million meals. Our programs serve hundreds of seniors, families and youth through family law, ESL classes, tutoring, employment and health workshops, referrals, and an annual Holiday Adopt a Family program. Please join us to celebrate and support the good work and people that make our programs possible. Tickets, $75. Please call the center at 925-825-7751 or visit for more information. Heartfelt Gala Thursday, February 3, Concord Hilton, 5-9 p.m.

You Are Invited!

Congress’ “CLASS Act” By Jon Weiner Buried in the health care overhaul day,” says Peter Ross, CEO of Senior is the nation’s first public, long-term Helpers, the nation’s fastest growing care insurance program called the provider of in-home senior care. He CLASS ACT (Community Living Asbelieves the CLASS Act is “an easy way sistance Services and Supports Act). for Americans to save for their future This bill was signed into law in late without taking a huge bite out of their March and will take effect Jan. 1, 2011. paychecks.” An estimated 10 million Ameri Any employee over the age of 18 cans have trouble performing daily can receive long-term care benefits tasks such as bathing, dressing and eat- from the CLASS Act after paying preing without help. Most of these people miums via automatic payroll deduclive at home as opposed to nursing tions for five years and actively workhomes and other institutions, yet most ing for at least three of those five years. are financially unprepared to pay for Monthly premiums are estimated to be non-medical care not typically cov$61 to $123 a month or less, depending ered by Medicare or Medicaid. “This on public participation. Once a person is where the CLASS Act truly saves the loses the ability to perform basic selfcare he should reap benefits between $50 and $75 worth of daily in-home care. Eligible participants receive benefits for as long as they need long-term care, regardless of age. “Young people sometimes assume they are going to be healthy all their lives, and that’s not always the case,” says 92-year-old Robert Bard of Phoenix. Bard pays an in-home caregiver from Senior Helpers to help him around the clock, seven days per week. “Due to injuries and health problems in the past, I couldn’t live on my own now. Years ago, I didn’t plan ahead or think much about the cost (of help), but now I couldn’t get along without it.”

Join AAA Travel Concord for our Travel Fair. Receive AAA Member Benefits and Special Discounts to exciting vacation destinations! When:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

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Non-Members welcome to attend Light refreshments and door prizes


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by 1/19:

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Page 13

We want to hear from you. Submit your story and photos to us on our website: or call 925-335-NEWS. Deadline is January 14th

Page 14


January 2011

Pair Up With La Sommelierre Maria Terry

Couch Potato Comfort Kick back and take it easy as the New Year rolls in and the flurry of activity from the holidays is a distant memory. This is a menu that will be ready when you are. Early in the day, mix up a cheese ball and put it in the fridge. That way when the game is on you can settle in on the couch with a knife, crackers and a cold beer. Pair this piquant cheese ball with a brown ale. Flavors of nuts and caramel in the beer will

echo the nuts in the dish. But ales are not wimpy beers and will not be overpowered by the roasted pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. After your cheesy snack, you might not be too hungry for dinner. But if you have planned ahead and made a big pot of chicken stew, when your appetite returns, you will be all set. Caramelized onions and chunks of chicken with spicy ginger, cumin and garlic are balanced by fresh green cilantro. Add a bit of white rice to

Garbanzo Bean Chicken Stew INGREDIENTS 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2” dice 1 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 small onions 2 large garlic cloves ½ tsp. ground ginger 1½ tbsp. ground cumin ½ tsp. red pepper flakes 4 cups chicken broth 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped

DIRECTIONS Sauté diced chicken and onion in butter and olive oil until chicken is cooked through and onion is soft, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, spices and pepper flake. Pour in broth and add beans. Simmer until chicken is tender. Mix cilantro and garlic together and add as garnish to each dish when served. Yield: one big pot of stew, about 6-8 people

the bowl and you have a complete meal. To match these flavors, the wine needs a bit of unctuous body, moderate-high acid and a little spice. A rich Alsatian or Oregon pinot gris will fill these requirements. Look for a dessert that is warm and comforting to end this evening. If it is an evening for two, pick-up a little apple tart or if you have a group at home, get a whole pie. I

think sweet, cinnamon-scented apples would be just the right flavors to end this relaxing night. And, don’t try to over think the pairing, go with a hot cup of coffee. So, go on. Pair Up! Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pimento Cheese Ball INGREDIENTS 1 jar (5 oz.) pimientos, with juice 1 cup mayonnaise 1 lb. med-sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese, grated ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS Combine pimientos, juice and mayo and mix thoroughly. Mix in cheese and then nuts. Season to taste and form into 1- cup balls or one long log. Serve with crackers. Yield: 4 cups

January 2011

Page 15


Meet P.H. Senior Center Chef Susan Yoshizaki Tu as faim? Sie sind hungrig? Tienes hambre? Are you hungry? Susan Yoshizaki and her two brothers were born in Oakland and raised in San Francisco. Susan’s uncle was a chef at many five-star restaurants and lived with Susan’s family in between jobs. While her mom prepared delicious but typical family meals like meatloaf, spaghetti and stews, her uncle prepared multi-entrée, gourmet French meals and became Susan’s first culinary role model.  At twenty years of age, Susan considered all her options but heard the culinary world beckon. She enrolled in a Board of Education two-year culinary

By Doug Kaya program and met another student who the Pleasant Hill Senior Center (PHSC) would become her future husband. for five. Tashi was the head chef at Tashi Yoshizaki won Susan’s heart Kensington Assisted Living for 21 years and also graduated at the top of his and the couple now operates their own class. They married in 1974 and eventu- catering business. In her spare time, Sually took a belated honeymoon to Japan. san baby-sits two granddaughters, knits The couple settled in Concord, where and sews, and plays mahjong. She enjoys Susan’s mother had a home, and raised garage sales and thrift shops, where she two daughters and a son who all still live often finds one-of-a-kind treasures that in the area. may be used as culinary accessories or   Susan worked for a catering comdecorations for the PHSC or catering pany for five years. She also spent fifteen business.  Since Susan and Tashi’s workdays years volunteering and was later hired part-time at a thrift shop, managing and hours conflict, they relish vacaand training mentally-challenged staff. tions, albeit short, to enjoy each other’s She was the chef at the Concord Senior company and further explore the vast Center for three years and has been with and endless culinary world. Susan loves

Pleasant Hill Senior Activities Pleasant Hill Senior Center • 233 Gregory Lane (925) 798-8788

Stretch, Balance & Coordination - Jan.10 – Mar. 7 – NEW! Improve your flexibility and enhance body awareness in this fun and dynamic 45-minute class. Increase vitality through balance and coordination exercises. All fitness levels, with the option of using a chair to perform each exercise. Drop in’s welcome! Instructor: Dee Assael, Certified Personal Trainer. Weds. 5:30pm – 6:15pm. $29 / Member $24 / Drop in $6. No class: * 1/17, 1/24, 2/14, 2/21 Sunrise Stretch – NEW! – Jan - Feb. 12 Wake up and refresh with a soothing stretch class that will help mobilize those stiff joints. Exercises can be done from a chair or floor mat.  Bring your own floor mat. Instructor: Dee Assael, Certified Personal Trainer. Sat. 8am – 8:45am. $5 drop in only Crab Feed – Jan. 28 Annual fundraiser! All you can eat fresh crab, pasta, salad, garlic bread and dessert! Don’t miss the 50/50 raffle and other chances to win! Buy your tickets early, this is a sell-out event! 6pm, $35 Members/ $40 General Bunco – Jan. 30 Potluck at 4pm, Bunco begins at 5pm. Fun & friendly atmosphere where no prior knowledge of the game is necessary! Buy your ticket at the Senior Center!. Jan. 30, 2pm-5pm. $4 plus bring potluck item to feed 4 people. Taste of the Vine – Feb. 11 Relax from your week and casually sip on a glass of wine with friends. A variety of red and white wines plus light hors d’oeuvres will be served.  Non-alcoholic beverages available.  Sponsored by The Chateau’s of Pleasant Hill. 4 pm 11–6pm, $6 presale/ $8 at the door


travel and has been to Canada, London, Paris, and India. She would like to visit Thailand someday as well and keeps it on her “bucket list.” If you haven’t experienced Susan’s culinary skills before, come fill your tummy at “Chef’s Lunch” at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center. Lunches take place on most Fridays in building #2, starting at 11:30 am with arrival prior to11 am. In the summer, multiple salads, breads and desserts are served. In the fall and winter, come for soups made from scratch, as well as breads and desserts. The cost per person is $4.00 or $3.50 if you use a 10-lunch pass.

Martinez Senior Activities

Martinez Senior Center • 818 Green St. (925) 370-8770

Pancake Breakfast – Jan. 9 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. $3.50 adults/$2 children under 10. Homemade crafts for sale Alzheimers Respite Program- Adult Day Care Openings – There are currently two openings at our Adult Day Care program that operates every Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at our 1111 Ferry St. location. A typical day starts with a morning snack and conversation, followed by an hour of chair yoga and exercise class. Lunch is at noon, followed by afternoon activities, which vary from walks to the park, bingo, musical entertainment, dancing, movies or crafts. Fee is $15 a week with an initial $20 registration fee. Please contact Bonnie Pannell (925) 370-8772 for more information. No drop-ins. 6th Annual Crab Feed – Saturday, Jan. 22 Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Dinner served at 6:30 p.m. We will be serving our famous marinated crab, gourmet salad, pasta, garlic bread, and dessert. Complimentary ice tea and coffee will be served. Tickets will be sold for wine, beer, and soft drinks. Proceeds from the crab feed and silent auction will be used to paint the interior of our building, with the remainder going into a “2011 Transportation Fund.” Cost: $40 per person. Purchase tickets by Friday, Jan. 7, or until maximum is reached.

Taste of the Vine in Pleasant Hill Members enjoying Taste of the Vine at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center.

36 Year Member Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce

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January 2011

Falcons Fly at NCS

Under intermittent downpours and slippery, soggy conditions, both Falcon squads took second place at the North Coast Section Championships (NCS) in November. Only two top Division 1 teams at the NCS advanced to the CIF State Championships. Both squads demonstrated just how important team effort is in cross country races. With 800 meters to go and appearing behind, the Falcon girls flew through the final leg of the race to clinch the #2 spot for advancement, edging out Amador Valley in a nail-biter finish. Sophmore Kendall Stuscavage finished first for the girls and 9th overall with a time of 18:55, followed by senior Marissa Buckley at 19:10. Junior Kazune Shidara finished third at 19:37, with Parisa Broomand on her heels at 19:38. The top five were rounded off with a tremendous performance by junior Amelia Lowry with a time of 19:47. Other finishers for the girls’ squad were junior Amanda Baker and senior Jessie Reed. On

By Dave Holland the boys’ side, De La Salle squeaked a win through the purple storm by a mere 11 points, however senior Jeff Bickert claims the Division 1 A. Lowry, J. Reed, M. Buckley, K. Stuscavage, A. Baker, NCS indiK. Shidara, and P. Broomand. vidual title in a squads and were prepared to take on the time of 15:50, followed closely by senior challenge of the 5K course. Unfortunately, Anthony Ortolan’s second place time the team’s #4 runner took ill the mornof 15:57. Third for the Falcon boys was ing of the race. Finishing 18th overall senior Will Holland with a time of 16:22, as a team, the girls were led by Kendall followed by senior Cooper Shanks with Stuscavage 19:07, Marissa Buckley 19:27, 16:37 and freshman Parker Marson in a Amelia Lowry 19:49, Kazune Shidara time of 17:02. The final finishers for the 20:19, Jessie Reed 20:33, and Amanda boys were senior Sam Smith and junior Baker 21:21. Janskaranjit Singh. The boys had a terrific finish at the At the CIF State Championships in state level, posting the overall top time Fresno, College Park had qualified two for a NCS boys’ squad and the third top

Coach Osterholt By Chuck Nan Former Alhambra wrestler Scott Osterholt was inducted into the Alhambra High School Wrestling Hallof-Fame on December 4th at the team’s annual Crab Feed fundraiser. Osterholt coached at Alhambra for over 17 years and was a Physical Education teacher at the school for much longer. Osterholt was head coach of the Bulldogs from 1985-2000. During his tenure, he successfully coached one North Coast Section (NCS) champion, six NCS place winners, two CIF State qualifiers and three league champions. In addition, Osterholt coached five Lawrence Miller Invitation champions and led the Bulldogs to capture the 1997-98 DFAL team championship. Prior to his coahcing and teaching career, Osterholt earned NCAA Division II All-American honors in wrestling while at San Francisco State University. In 1979 he was the NCAA West Region Champion at 167 lbs. and the Far West Conference Champion at 177 lbs. In

Osterholt was a very successful head coach of the Bulldog’s program for 17-years and was a teacher at the school as well. Photo by: Kurt Schwartz

1988, Osterholt was invited to participate in the United States Olympic Trials for Greco-Roman wrestling. The Alhambra Wrestling Hall of Fame is dedicated to past Alhambra wrestlers, coaches and contributors who have excelled in success of the sport at the school. Each year a committee selects worthy candidates based on their accomplishments. A plaque with their names and accomplishments is displayed in the team wrestling room.

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A.Ortolan, W. Holland, J.Bickert, S. Smith, C.Shanks, P. Marson and J. Singh

time in Northern California. Finishing 12th overall as a team, and having their top three runners complete the course in under 15:56, the boys were led by Jeff Bickert and Anthony Ortolan in times of 15:16 and 15:30 respectively, followed by Will Holland 15:55, Cooper Shanks 16:28, Sam Smith 17:06, Parker Marson 17:11, and Jaskaranjit Singh 18:13. Congratulations to both College Park Cross Country Teams for representing Pleasant Hill impressively at the state level.

January 2011

2010 FALL ALL-LEAGUE SELECTIONS ALHAMBRA BULLDOGS Girls Volleyball: Second-Team: Jennifer Silva (Junior) Honorable Mention: Julia Miller (Junior) Water Polo: First-Team: Hannah Perkins (Senior) Honorable Mention: Melissa Billecci (Senior), Alex Manulis (Sophomore) and Lara Visser (Senior) Boys Cross Country: Second-Team: Evan Quigley (Junior) Football Offense: First-Team: Jared Leaf (Senior), Nate Schwartz (Senior), Stevie Rossi (Junior) and Trevor Davis (Senior) Second-Team: Rich Manuli (Senior) and Justin Green (Junior) Honorable Mention: Cody Zahner (Senior), Aleksei vonDisterlo (Junior), Defense: First-Team: Maurice Poyadue (Senior) and Jared Leaf (Senior) Water Polo: Second-Team: Dominic Lucido (Junior) and Evan Weiss (Senior)

COLLEGE PARK FALCONS Girls Cross Country: First-Team: Kendall Stuscavage (Sophomore), Kazune Shidara (Junior), Marrisa Buckley (Senior) and Parisa Broomand (Sophomore) Second-Team: Amelia Lowry (Junior) and Jessica Reed (Senior) Golf: Honorable Mention: Nicole Chuhak and Kacie Powell Tennis: First-Team Singles: Alina Nguyen Second-Team Singles: Gina Alvarez Volleyball: Second-Team: Tricia Quinn (Senior) Honorable Mention: Paige Brown (Senior) Water Polo: First-Team: Maggie Shoeman (Senior) and Molly Gaoiran (Senior) Second-Team: Erica DeLuca (Senior) Boys Cross Country: First-Team: Jeff Bickert (Senior), Anthony Ortolan (Senior), Will Holland (Senior) and Cooper Shanks (Senior) Second-Team: Sam Smith (Senior) and Jaskaranjit Singh (Junior) Honorable Mention: Tommy Seng (Junior) Football Offense: First-Team: Taylor Valdez (Senior) and Vince Ferrante (Senior) Second-Team: Daivon Ballard (Senior), Robbie Byers (Senior), Eric Wilhelm (Senior) and Robert Herlich (Senior) Honorable Mention: Jared Malin (Senior) and Dylan Lamb (Junior) Defense: First-Team: Oshrey Elor (Junior), Josh Levy (Sophomore), Jordan Louis (Senior) and Daivon Ballard (Senior) Second-Team: Jared Malin (Senior) and Robbie Byers (Senior) Honorable Mention: Momin Raees (Senior), Water Polo: First-Team: Drew Pitcher (Junior)

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“Season Ticket” Sports Top Bulldog In September, Alhambra High School’s Jared Leaf had a remarkable 323-yard game at El Molino. In October, Leaf added a 200-plus yard effort to his resume with 211 at Campolindo. He also scored the game-winning touchdown on fourth-down. This came just one week after he had been selected as 2010 Homecoming King. Rutley’s Big Play Alhambra High School alumnus, Brandon Rutley, proved he is a bigplay player in San Jose State’s 29-27 loss at New Mexico State. Very early in the second half at Las Cruces, Rutley caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan LeScala and romped to the end zone. It was Rutley’s third play at SJSU in excess of 75-yards. Rutley has also scored on a long running play (80-yards) and thrown a long distance touchdown pass in his Spartan career, thus far. At The Helm Glad to see Mike Aboussie back in the ranks as a head coach in the DFAL. Aboussie led the Alhambra Lady Bulldogs for 13 seasons and accumulated 219 wins in that span. Now, after a couple of years off, he is the head man of the Bulldogs boys’ program. Aboussie has established himself as one of the top-tier coaches in the area. His girls’ teams reached the NCS playoffs several times under his leadership. In addition, Aboussie coached several young ladies who proceeded to play at

By Chuck Nan four-year schools. Congratulations A big congratulations goes out to three local preps who signed National Letters of Intent to play at Division I schools. Baseball ace Robert Stephenson from Alhambra will head to the University of Washington. Lady Bulldog’s


softball player Jenna Krummen will attend Santa Clara University. Emily Vann, a Martinez resident who attends St. Mary’s in Albany, will play hoops at UC Davis.

Victory then Defeat By Chuck Nan For the second consecutive year, Colsecond, a 30-yard toss to Ryan Hughes. Atkinson doomed CP as he reached lege Park traveled to Pleasanton to face a much-higher seed in the NCS playoffs paydirt on the first play from scrimmage and came away with upset victories in the on three Granada possessions, all for 55first-round. Last season Amador Valley was yards or more in length. This included a the victim, 34-21. This year the Falcons 65-yard touchdown run on the first play ambushed Foothill, 21-13 on a cold, rainy to start the second-half to break the game night. Back Daivon Ballard led the way open. Atkinson had already caught two with 105 yards on 16 attempts. His efforts included a 15-yard touchdown burst with passes for scores, one for 68-yards and one 0:37 seconds remaining to ice the game for 55-yards. In all, Atkinson torched the and the victory. Falcons for 329 total yards of offense and The second-round saw the Falcons three touchdowns as Granada prevailed, travel to the same area, this time to face 40-14. College Park (5-7) continued to fight Granada. The story of this contest would be the big play. In the end, it was the in the second-half, but could muster just Matadors who would have more of them five first downs as Granada held them unand prevail, mainly due to the strength of der two-yards per-carry (1.9) rushing. The All-American George Atkinson III. Falcons came into the game averaging 5.6 The Falcons did manage to stay in the yards per attempt and 253 rushing yards game through the first-half, trailing just per contest. This night they came about 19-14. Uncharacteristically, it was the air 100-yards short of that (155). Ballard was the leading rusher with game which provided the offensive success. The two Falcon touchdowns came on long 65-yards. Valdez was 11-for-23 passing for passes from quarterback Taylor Valdez. 160-yards. Malin had four receptions for The first was 68-yards to Jared Malin. The 79-yards.

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January 2011

Mural, Mural on the Wall By Jaki Jones You may be surprised by how much of the “canvas” of our community has been touched by artist and painter, Sylvie Carr. Her murals can be seen in various locations, including Downtown Pleasant Hill and the County library, as well as many of our local schools. Her pieces range from vivid depictions of the California landscape to brightly colored fruits and vegetables to Valley View Middle School’s mascot, the jaguar. Sylvie began her career after graduating in 1980 from the Parsons School of Design. She worked for several years in New York City, then moved with her husband to Berkeley in 1985, and later settled in Walnut Creek to raise three daughters. In 1996 she became an art instructor at Pleasant Hill Elementary for 4th and 5th graders. A total of five murals that involved student participation can be seen around the campus of PHE, with one spanning three classrooms. Since then, she has worked with hundreds of students designing and painting murals. Sylvie feels that “art is a great collaborative effort and therapeutic in its process.” Her talent as a muralist and her ability to work with and inspire

students led to other projects at local schools including Fair Oaks Elementary, Valley View Middle School and College Park High School. With the exception of the impressive 20’ x 4’ high mural in the College Park library, her murals at the high school always involved the students. When asked what project is the most sentimental to her she said, “The shoe mural at College Park is the most memorable for me. I used assorted shoes so kids would think about the diversity in one another.” Some students would pose for her and she would sketch their shoes on the spot. “I think peace and acceptance are recurring themes at the schools.” Sylvie was later commissioned by the property management of Downtown Pleasant Hill to brighten up many of the walls and doors around the shopping center. Her intention was to convey a “feeling of ownership and belonging for the community.” When walking around Downtown, you may find renderings of local terrain and landmarks just outside of Massage Envy, for example, as well as vibrant fruits and vegetables outside of Jamba Juice and Sweet Tomatoes. In October

This mural next to Jamba Juice in Downtown Pleasant Hill, was a combined effort between by Ms. Carr and several College Park students.

2009, Sylvie completed her 6th mural across from the entrance of Borders, an impressive 7’ x 6’ painting of the Golden Gate Bridge. When she is not teaching or partic-

Artist Sylvie Carr in front of one of the landscape murals in Downtown Pleasant Hill.

ipating in local art shows, Ms. Carr can often been seen Downtown, touching up her murals. For more information on Ms. Carr and to view her online art gallery, visit:

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Kobe Japan By Aaron Stanwell I was excited when I received my latest restaurant review assignment. I love hibachi style restaurants and was pleased to find that we have one right here in Pleasant Hill. Kobe Japan. There is a lot going on over there, with many different menus and wonderful options for both the Hibachi style food as well as Sushi. Kobe Japan offers an elaborate Happy Hour menu from 4:00pm – 6:00pm daily in their full bar. Some of the Happy Hour specials include California rolls, tempura tuna roll, shrimp tempura, calamari and classic onion rings. These items range from $2.50 to $5.95. During our visit, owners Terry and Maggi Jiang worked hard greeting customers and making sure everything was just how we wanted it. Terry shared a little of their history and their love for the restaurant business. Their passion for pleasing the customer was clear. We started our hibachi style meal


with appetizers and sushi. Terry chose our sushi and we were not disappointed. The cucumber-crab sushi was excellent, but my favorite was the tuna special. Our hibachi chef, Rocky, was entertaining. Knives twirled, canisters flipped and food was flying! He even included the classic, “smoking volcano” of onion slices. It was as good a presentation as we have ever had anywhere and the food was excellent. I had the steak and shrimp, my wife, the steak and chicken. The service, atmosphere, presentation, and prices were fantastic! The entrée menu at Kobe Japan is extensive with many possible meal combinations. The key main course choices include chicken, steak, sea bass, lobster, shrimp, lamb and scallops. Entrees are priced well starting at $15 upwards to around $38 and include soup, salad, an appetizer, veggies, steamed or fried rice and fresh fruit. They have a children’s hibachi style menu as well


Dallimonti’s Italian restaurant is a multi-course, family-style dining experience, offering Pasta, Seafood, Steaks, Prime Rib. Full bar and wine list. Friday night Karaoke and Saturday night live music. • A Family Tradition Since 1982 • Open for Lunch & Dinner • Reservations & Take Out Available • Small Banquets Welcome • A Touch of North Beach in your Neighborhood

with prices from $12. The traditional wine list is nice with choices by the glass at around $6 $9, and bottles from $9 - $49 and there are seventeen varieties of sake served either hot or cold. Oh, by the way… they do serve what I am sure is an absolutely delicious Kobe beef hamburger for $12.95. If you like hibachi style meals, sushi, a great happy hour at great prices, all served right here in our own little corner of the county, you have to get over to Kobe Japan and enjoy the experience. This is a perfect place to

enjoy a wonderful meal with family and friends. Terry and Maggi are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the restaurant’s opening, and are offering a wonderful Teppanyaki special. See their ad below. Kobe Japan, 1918 Oak Park Blvd Pleasant Hill, 94523 925-707-7065/7066 Happy Hour Daily 4 – 6 Holiday Lunch HH 11:30 – 2:30 M-F Full bar – yes TV’s with sports – yes Reservations - yes

1932 Oak Park Boulevard, Pleasant Hill. 925-944-5224 1918 Oak Park Blvd, Pleasant Hill CA 94523• 925-705-7065

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Talking to Your Parents About In-Home Care?

By Joyce & Jim Newport, Owners, Right at Home of Mt. Diablo The best time to start talking the eldest daughter who has been helpabout care for a senior parent is before ing out. And that extra help has slowly a crisis. Actually having turned into a 40+ hour a that conversation is often week job. a challenge for families. Home care services Convincing a parent or can provide an excellent loved one to get help with alternative to relocation. the laundry or regulate We haven’t met a senior medication is not easy. yet who didn’t want to stay Right at Home. Almost all seniors resist care, saying they Jim and Joyce don’t need help, or they Newport opened Right at cannot afford it. In reality, Home in Pleasant Hill in they fear losing their independence 2009. Right at Home provides caregiv– precisely what their family is trying ers to help with in-home companion to preserve. The best way to handle and personal assistance and support the situation is head-on, with as many to seniors and disabled adults who family members as possible involved in want to continue to live independently the conversation. We find that it’s best in their own homes. to get the whole family together to talk Right at Home directly employs openly and honestly about the changall caregiving staff, each of whom are ing needs of their loved ones. It’s also thoroughly screened, trained, bonded important to include mom and dad in and insured prior to entering a client’s those discussions, working on soluhome. For more information about tions together while upholding their our services, please visit www.rahparents’ dignity in the process., or call us at (925) 256-HOME Typically, one child in a family will (4663) lead the initiative to get some help for mom or dad, and that person is often PAID ADVERTORIAL

Diablo Valley Oncology at the California Cancer and Research Institute of Pleasant Hill is the first and only cancer treatment center in the East Bay that offers cancer patients the breakthrough benefits of real-time tumor tracking during external beam radiation therapy. This highly advanced technology, known as the Calypso System—also referred to as “GPS for the Body”—may lead to reduced sideeffects by enabling physicians to more accurately deliver radiation to the tumor while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue and organs. Currently, the Calypso System is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in radiation therapy for the prostate and prostatic bed;

January 2011

What Can You Lose? By Myra Nissen, CCH, RSHom(NA) The cycle, rhythm and balance of read about the diet and it made sense, plus, women’s bodies are unique to each individ- it was scientific. The homeopathic drops were ual. No two are alike. Thus no two women great. The diet was easy and I wasn’t hungry. experience conditions such as weight gain I learned to recognize and change emotions and hormonal matters in that were driving me to eat the same way. Due to our and the diet helped melt stubdifferences, it is perplexing born fat. I lost ½ to 2 pounds why women are often given per day, and after 40 days I standard prescriptions and was 28 pounds lighter.” If you are curious about remedies for their concerns. Homeopathy offers this program, call my office long-lasting solutions that can at 925-826-3858 for a free restore thyroid function and 30-minute consultation. The healthy weight loss solutions. next group starts Monday, I offer several programs that January 10. I’m looking can do both. My Perfect Balance, a homeoforward to hearing from you. Join us to learn how to Stop Ear Infecpathic HCG-based weight loss program is an excellent program that offers a structions Once and For All: Homeopathy Every tured and supportive environment for Day Study Group, Thurs., Jan. 20, 6 p.m. clients who need to lose weight and keep it 7 p.m., Conference Room, Floor 2, 43 Quail off. Court, Suite 215, Walnut Creek, Natalya Here is what one client says about it: Golovanov, ND, and Myra Nissen, CCH, “After several years of homeopathic treatment, RSHom(NA) discuss common approaches my health had returned. My thyroid had to homeopathy for ear infections and strep gotten better and I didn’t need any thyroid throat in children. Fee $9.00 medication. I felt more youthful. However, Myra Nissen, CCH, RSHom(NA) is a even though my thyroid was balanced, I was board certified homeopath (US & Canada) still overweight. I had tried many diets and specializing in women’s health issues and nutrition strategies but couldn’t lose any allergies. She has a private practice in weight without putting it all right back on. I Walnut Creek.

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By Sachin Kamath, M.D. however, the technology is designed for target and hit adjacent healthy tissue. The body-wide applications and studies are Calypso System provides real-time tumor underway for using it in othposition information durer locations in the body. Like ing delivery of radiation, many organs in our body, thereby allowing physithe prostate gland is concians to deliver radiation stantly moving. The Calypso directly to the tumor with System, with its “GPS for the increased accuracy and Body” technology, utilizes precision, while sparminiature-implanted transing surrounding healthy ponders (the size of a grain organs from radiation of rice) to provide precise, exposure. In May 2010, a clinical continuous information on the location of the tumor during external study published in Urology demonstrated beam radiation therapy. Any movement that prostate cancer patients who were by the patient, including internal movetreated with radiation and monitored ment of the tumor, may cause therapeutic with the Calypso System reported signifiradiation treatment to miss its intended cantly reduced side effects like urinary/ PAID ADVERTORIAL

bowel irritation and erectile dysfunction than those whose radiation was not complemented by Calypso. Over the last decade, there have been incredible technological advancements in the field of radiation therapy. The ability to target the tumor location with Calypso’s “GPS for the Body” technology further demonstrates the on-going progress in the field of radiation therapy today, even when compared to just a couple of years ago. Diablo Valley Oncology is committed to providing state-of-the art technologies such as the Calypso System in order to improve or maintain quality of life for our patients. Dr Kamath is a Radiation Oncologist at Diablo Valley Oncology.

January 2011


Shadow Divers

Book Review by Adam Kondonijakos Shadow Divers by Robert man government or Navy, Kurson tells the amazing true nor divers anywhere have a story of how two dynamic record of any U-boat having scuba divers and shipwreck being sunk anywhere within hunters literally risk their 100 miles of the wreck site. What follows is an lives to solve a decade’s old mystery and wind up rewritunbelievable adventure ining history in the process. volving Chatterton and Koh To many of us, World ler, along with several teams War II was the most tragic of fellow divers, and depictand costly war in history. And, with ing what they were willing to do and the exception of Hawaii, it occurred risk in order to find the true identity away from home in Europe and the of this U-boat. I do not want to give Pacific. What many don’t realize, how- away too many details, but know that ever, is that German U-boats (subma- this story will have you racing through rines) patrolled the east coast of the each page to see what happens next United States and led many attacks and leave you with such a great appreagainst U.S. military and commercial ciation for what deep sea scuba divers vessels. One such U-boat was found do that you will both dread and wish by divers John Chatterton and Richie for the chance to be out there diving Kohler at the bottom of the Atlantic, with them. sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey. To share your thoughts on this The most amazing part is no one in book or this review please email me at the U.S. government or Navy,

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1931 First Avenue, Walnut Creek CA 94597 • 925-935-1978 •

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Local Hummingbirds By Susan Heckly, Lindsay Wildlife Museum Winter is here and, believe it or not, stay warm without being brooded by the birds are starting to build nests already. Anmother. Only the female incubates the eggs na’s Hummingbirds - named after the late and tends to the babies. Babies leave the nest Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli - begin in 25–26 days. Anna’s Hummingbirds can nesting in January. They build small nests have two or three broods each year. Lindsay Wildlife Museum receives made of soft plant material and spiders’ webs, with bits of lichen decorating the over 200 injured or orphaned hummingoutside. These materials allow the nests to birds each year for care. Many of the babies stretch as the baby hummingbirds grow, so are brought to us because their nest was the fit is always just right. attached to a branch that was pruned. Female hummingbirds build their nests Although the dead of winter may be a good in shrubs and trees two to thirty feet above time to prune trees, it’s not a good time for the ground. The nest is securely attached to nesting wildlife. While it’s too late for this a small branch or other support. It can take year’s pruning chores, plan to get your fall up to thirty days for a female to build a nest, and winter pruning done in the months of with no help from the male. She lays two October through December. For more information about Lindsay tiny, white eggs the size of small jellybeans. The eggs incubate for 16–17 days. On day Wildlife Museum and ways you can help 12, the babies are developed enough to wildlife, visit

The Futility of Amending

By Troy McGregor, Garden Natives I always enjoy talking with seasoned giously for the past 20 years, digging it in gardeners about their soil. They revel in and turning it over. Others like to impress tales of adding manure or compost reliupon me the benefits of double digging and how their plants just burst from the ground. Call me a poster child for the lazy generation, but the thought of spending the next 20 years shoveling horse poop or double digging (google it – it’s not fun) ranks up there with root canal surgery. DROUGHT TOLERANT AND My preferred approach is to forget EASY CARE PLANTS the amendments and build berms instead. What’s a berm? In its simplest form it’s a pile of dirt. However, when used creatively in the garden they aid in shaping a unique topography, allowing the homeowner to showcase a wider range of plants than otherwise possible. Berms also create improved drainage which reduces the occurrence of soil borne diseases. No special formulations or magic BRIDGEHEAD RD, MARTINEZ ingredients are called for. I like a 2 parts (sandy loam) to 1 part (small lava rock) (925) 818 4460 mix for most applications. Soil yards can mix this up or they may have their own WED - FRI 10AM TO 6PM mix ready to go. Berms should be no less SATURDAYS 9AM TO 4PM than 12” high as soil compaction over JUST OFF 680 (MARINA VISTA EXIT) time will reduce this by a quarter. It’s also FOLLOW THE SIGNS TO VISTA POINT a good idea to scruff up the existing soil prior building the berms as this aids with WWW.GARDENNATIVES.COM root penetration.


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January 2011

An As Russ Sees it Classic

The Sounds of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least that is what the song says. I am not sure this is true but it is better than tax time. It’s better than my birthday because I don’t get a year older. I have a friend whose birthday is on Christmas. He says it stinks. Sharing a birthday with some yo-yo at work is one thing but sharing your birthday with Jesus, well that’s got to be tough. Talk about feeling like you don’t measure up. I don’t look forward to putting up Christmas lights. I would leave my lights up year-round if my wife would let me. Shoot, you hardly notice them from the street if they’re not turned on. I tried

By Russell Carroll it one year and around Valentine’s Day I don’t remember wishing stores someone wrote in the dirt on my car opened up at 4:00 am the day after window, “Take down your Xmas lights!” Thanksgiving so we could get a jump on Later, a sign appeared in my yard that Christmas sales. If I’m up at 4:00 am the read, “Home for Sale by Neighbor.” My day after Thanksgiving it’s because I’m argument that it made our house easier digging under the couch cushions for to find in the event of an emergency Rolaids. Remember the first visit to the Mall was futile. So, up the ladder I went and down came the lights, just in time for St. Santa? Nothing like waiting in line for Patrick’s Day. an hour and a half only to have our I remember laying in bed on child refuse to sit on Santa’s lap. After Christmas Eve as a boy and listening for forcing the situation, we ended up with Santa. What I heard was my Dad’s voice that classic photo of him on Santa’s lap from downstairs. “These directions are screaming as if he was being pinched. My stupid! I can’t get this $#@!*&% bike son ran from the scene yelling, “Stranger together!” Ah, the sounds of Christmas. I danger! Stranger danger!” remember eavesdropping on my parents Yes, we had the year when the kids talking about my uncle who always had played with the boxes more than the too much to drink, or the cousin no one toys. We used to keep score to make sure liked. Ah, the sounds of Christmas. each kid had the same number of gifts

because, although they could not yet count, they intuitively knew when they were being cheated. Now that they are older and talking our ears off, (why were we so happy when they learned to talk?) they can give you a gift-by-gift recap of Christmas ’04, the year their sibling made out like a bandit and they felt more cheated than Elin Woods. Honestly…I love Christmas. I love the lights and I love the sales. I love my drunken uncle and I love that my cousin moved out of state. I love the fact that everyone gets along and wishes each other well. I love the gifts and the food and the family gatherings. I love my family and yours. Hey! Maybe we should do this more often. But…that’s just how I see it. To contact Russell, email him at

Best of the Bay in Pleasant Hill 2010 was a banner year for Payless Painting. In the midst of a slumping economy and a frightful outlook for the construction industry we managed to have one of our best years ever as an organization. Of course I am not talking about our bottom line but rather a more subjective definition of success which encompasses how our company has reacted to these trying times. From working more closely as a team to improving our processes we have made great strides over the course of the year. Although we may not immediately see the economic benefits from all our hard work, we have had recognition from our clients, government organiza-

By Mathew Rice, Payless Painting tions, and the media which to a small of a better place to film the episode business can be just as rewarding. Early than right here in Pleasant Hill, the city this year we were recognized as a Green in which our company was founded in Business by the Bay Area Green Business 1961 and continues to operate out of Program for our efforts to minimize our today. JoAnne Creamer, a client of ours, impact on the environment. In August, was more than gracious to open up her Payless Painting was featured on the home for the film crew and participate front page of the business section of in the shoot. We had a great time with the Contra Costa Times and other local the filming and the whole experience newspapers. The article highlighted our was unforgettable. efforts as a small business operating in this challenging economy. In November, our clients nominated us for “Best Painting Company” on the BEST of the BAY television show on KRON 4. We are very excited about this distinction and we couldn’t think

As 2010 has come and gone, Payless Painting is excited about the opportunities that the New Year will present. We are looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2011 which, as an interesting coincidence, is also the 50th anniversary of the City of Pleasant Hill. I can only imagine that Tom Rice, our founder, my grandfather, and an avid lover of Pleasant Hill, would be proud.

January 2011

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Resolutions and Citrus Fruit Fruition! Happy New Year! Another holiday season passes by, life settles into winter habits, and time seems to slow down long enough to take stock of our lives. New Year’s resolutions are made - some wicked strong and some a bit tentative - but at least we are getting them into our consciousness. That can’t be bad, right? Being kinder in traffic is one, or perhaps brushing the cat more and remembering to get the flea stuff on regularly. Shedding a few of those holiday pounds, reading to the kids more and quitting tobacco reliance have probably crossed a mind or two. My resolution is usually less sugar. Whatever IT is, remember to go easy on yourself if you back slide. Studies show that the more blindly, single-minded effort you put into losing a habit, the more likely you are to fail. Whatever the case is, get back on that horse. Fortunately, we have awesome farmers’ markets around with incredibly hard working and just plain nice


By Lesley Stiles Lesley Stiles is a graduate of the farmers hanging out, rain or shine, wait- YMCA come quickly to mind and are my personal favorites. Whatever kind of California Culinary Academy, sustaining for us to procure yummy, seasonal exercise excites you, seize the moment able caterer and school garden eduproduce. January brings an amazing cator. Contact Lesley at lesleystiles@ collection of citrus fruits: blood oranges, and start working those jeans again. Here’s to a New Year filled with all, www.lesleystiles.blogspot. tangelos, Satsuma mandarins, Cara Cara the love, peace, compassion and proscom and visit her new website: www. oranges, pomelos, Buddha Hand citron, perity you can take! the list goes on. Also you’ll find crunchy sweet broccoli, creamy cauliflower, Year Round Farmers’ Markets greens of all kinds, peppery mustard and arugula, rainbow hued beets, chard, Saturday - Kaiser Shadelands, Diablo Valley Market: 9am – 1pm and whatever your beautiful heart Sunday - Moraga Shopping Center, Moraga Farmers Market: 9am -1pm desires. These are all “tools” that make it Sunday - Walnut Creek on Locust St: 9am -1pm easier to get to the task at hand. Tuesday - Concord Todos Santos Park: 10am – 2pm As per my usual rant, exercise is key to any fitness goal. Walking is the easiest, cheapest and most flexible plan, plus you get to be outside devouring A long standing tradition in our family of creating good luck for the New Year has always been a nice our amazing landscape and inhaling pot of black eyed peas to eat on New Years Day, accompanied by bubbly and our good friends! crisp, cold air into holiday weary lungs. Ingredients: Next up the rung is a good bone-build2 cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked winter greens ing, weight-bearing exercise routine. for 3 to 6 hours in cold water 2 tablespoons freshly toasted and Personally, I am a workout class junkie. 2 tablespoons olive oil ground cumin There is almost nothing better than 1 onion, chopped 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock getting into the groove with madly 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 bunch cilantro washed and jumping people and loud music. Ever 1 orange sweet potato, chopped chopped tried Zumba? Now is the time and 2 cups cubed winter squash Sea salt and freshly ground pepper there are great places in Pleasant Hill to 2 cups washed and chopped to taste try classes. Step It Up Studios and the

Farmers’ Market Calendar The Farmers’ Market Lovers’ Calendar for 2011 is now available for sale! Chef Lesley Stiles, from Creative Catering, and artist Dave Johnson, from the CC Times Produce Pro, have teamed up again to bring you 15 months of sensual, enticing recipes accompanied by ultra realistic and beautiful watercolors depicting seasonal produce from each month. A great gift for the holidays at only $16.50 per calendar. Available at Diablo Valley or Moraga farmers’ markets, Orchard Nursery, Orinda Books, The Gardener, or online at or

Black Eyed Peas w/ Sweet Potatoes, Greens and Winter Squash

Directions: Drain soaking water from peas and cover with fresh water. Bring to a hard boil and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until peas are soft and tender. Drain liquid and set aside. In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil adding onions and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and winter squash. Sauté for 5 minutes and add cooked peas, cumin and stock. Let simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add greens and cilantro and season to tastes with salt and pepper. The heat of the stew will cook the greens and the cilantro sufficiently melding the Southern flavors together with the beans. Serves 8.

Orange, Satsuma & Avocado Salad Ingredients: 1 pound cleaned baby spinach 2 oranges, peeled and sliced 4 Satsuma mandarins, peeled and sectioned 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced

½ cup crumbled feta 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions: In a salad bowl combine spinach with the citrus and avocado and lightly toss. Add the feta, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and toss lightly again. Serves 4.

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January 2011

Lisa Hanna is a New Woman By Tricia Hann Contra Costa has another BIG LOSER! In one year, Lisa has lost over 100 pounds, which is about 38% of her body weight. As Lisa lost weight, she gained money - her total winnings from Weight Loss Center (WLC) equal over $500! Lisa doesn’t believe diets are realistic. How does she know? Well, she has tried plenty. What happened? Lisa explains, “Life happened and as soon as I

began eating “real food” again the weight came back - and then some!” But for the first time, Lisa has started to SHRINK for good! Oversized shirts have been replaced with fitted tops and pants with belts, and her face is radiant! Lisa goes on the say that “the WLC meetings are all about health, nutrition and science. This program is very realistic and provides excellent information. You even get a total wellness evaluation

Keep your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions By Tonya Marie Amos Find a good teacher or mentor. “This is the year! I’m going to do it! I’m going to follow through on my Working out with someone well qualified New Year’s resolution to get in shape…. makes a huge difference in helping you no matter how badly it hurts!” Unforstart and stay on the path to long-term tunately, because many of us tend to success. Taking the time on the front end to over extend ourselves during the first week of January, our positive energy and establish a healthy foundation goes a long enthusiasm become quickly dampened way to keeping you on track. When you by sore muscles or injuries. Eventually we are injury free and still going strong in stop working out. Then there is the guilt April, June, December and beyond, you associated with not accomplishing our will be so glad you gave your body the resolutions. In the long run, our philosotime it needed to catch up with your asphy of “No pain, no gain” has not served piring mind. 2011 will be your best fitness us well. year yet! Make 2011 the year you accomplish Tonya Marie Amos danced proyour resolution of becoming fit and pain fessionally in New York for 15 years free. You can do this by embracing the before opening her studio, Aspire Pilates philosophy of “No pain, BIG gain.” It’s the Center, in 2006. She is a fully certified perfect way to break the old patterns and Pilates instructor with over 1000 hours start fresh. What’s the key to “No pain, of training. For more information, big gain”? Start slowly and build a solid please call (925) 680-4400 or go to www. foundation of healthy body mechanics. You can be successful this year! Here are some tips to help you accomplish your goals: Build a solid foundation of good technique and healthy body mechanics. This enables you to attain fast results while simultaneously preventing injury. Start slowly and work steadily. This enables your body to become strong, flexible and prepared to accomplish your fitness goals. Remember that there is always tomorrow. You don’t have to hit that fitness goal before the gym closes tonight.

so you know what your body requires - what is right for you as an individual.” Here are some healthy tips that Lisa and the Weight Loss Challengers follow: • Be sure to have enough protein, fiber and water every day (as well as fruits and veggies). You will definitely not go hungry. • Do NOT skip breakfast; it is your most important meal. • Keep a food log. It’s very important and it’s a wonderful asset because it helps you recognize what works and what doesn’t. If your energy level drops during the day, you will see it as a result of what you ate.

The Weight Loss Challenge coaches say, “You bite it, you write it!” • Exercise and get plenty of rest. • Be kind to yourself. If you hit a bump on your weight-loss path, just keep going forward and regain focus. Call and talk it through with your coach; you’ll feel better and you will do better. • Enjoy it! The groups are caring and supportive and the coach makes things fun. For more information and to register for the January Weight Loss Challenge, call Tricia at 925-798-1474. Tricia is a Weight Loss Challenge Team Member.

Lisa Hanna Before

Lisa Hanna After

January 2011

Get Fit Fitness has never been easier! Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District has a variety of Yoga, Pilates, Qigong, Karate, and Jazzercise classes conveniently offered at the Winslow Center. This spacious building on the corner of Taylor Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road has plenty of parking and is located very close to home. The upper-level Assembly room is big and inviting with beautiful views of Mt. Diablo

and Mangini Farms. It’s the perfect place for a great workout. Jazzercise classes are held from 9-10am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and evenings Mondays through Thursdays 5:30-6:30. On Thursday mornings, a new Pilates Mat Class is offered at 10:30am. Hatha Yoga and Sugi (gentle) Yoga are also available. Check the Spare Time Spotlight at and choose a class that fits your schedule.

The Benefits of Keratin By Monica Smith and Michelle Christensen Headways Hair Salon is bringsystem that infuses the highest quality ing Martinez into the 21st century by of keratin deep into the hair cuticle, introducing clients to the Keratin Com- reducing up to ninety-five percent of plex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola. frizz and curl, leaving the hair smooth, Do you have frizzy, curly, unruly shiny and luxurious! Unlike other hair? Keratin Complex Smoothing salon services, the more you treat your Therapy is a revolutionary smoothing hair, the healthier it becomes. With each treatment, the build up of keratin makes the hair smoother and silkier, straighter and shinier, easier and faster to blow-dry and close to being “maintenance free”! “Keratin Complex changed my life... I finally have ‘normal’ hair!  It is wonderful! I love it!” Mary Mize-Headways client. Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy encases the hair follicle with a keratinous bond to promote healing, block the effects of humidity and prevent environmental toxins from entering the hair. It is gentle enough to use on all hair types: color treated, chemically processed, bleached or highlighted. Results typically last 3 to 5 months depending on hair type. The innovative team of stylists at Headways Hair Salon located at 727 Main Street in Martinez has been specially trained in the Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola methods. Call for your free consultation today 925-228-8563 and feel the difference this incredible smoothing system can do for you!

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New Board PH Rec Park At the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District Board of Directors meeting on December 2, the Board welcomed newly-elected Board member Bobby Glover and expressed appreciation to Joe Hurd for his three years of service on the Board. Also congratulated on their reelection in November were Sandra Bonato and Cecile Shepard. Growing up in Pleasant Hill, Bobby Glover attended Valley View Middle School, College Park High, and Diablo Valley College. As a child he played in the park district’s youth basketball leagues and when he was a teenager, he worked part time for the District’s youth sports programs. In 2009, he volunteered to help pass Measure E. Glover now works as Executive Director of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area. He has experience serving on the Martinez Planning Commission, the Contra Costa

County Workforce Investment Board, and numerous other local and regional committees. He and his wife Stacey (who also grew up in Pleasant Hill) are looking forward to starting a family here. They believe in the value of recreation, and are dedicated to preserving the parks and programs for the benefit of all Pleasant Hill residents for generations to come. At the Board meeting on December 2, the new Board officers were selected for the coming year. Bobby Glover was nominated and elected to serve as Board Secretary. Sandra Bonato will serve as Chair, Dennis Donaghu will serve as Vice Chair and Sherry Sterrett and Cecile Shepard, as members. Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 7 pm at the Park District Administration office, 147 Gregory Lane. The public is welcome to attend.

County Clerk Steve Weir swearing in the newly elected (and re-elected) Board Members: Bobby Glover, Cecile Shepard and Sandra Bonato.

P.H. Lions, Busy as Usual The Pleasant Hill Lions Club participated in the “Veteran’s Day Celebration Outreach” at the Pleasant Hill Community Center on November 11, 2010. As a co-sponsor of the event, we provided and served over 300 free breakfasts to our veterans, their families and event participants. Cub Scout Pack 405 helped us with the breakfast, and we definitely appreciated their assistance! On December 8, 2010, we served hamburgers and hot dogs and also sponsored one of the family activities at the Annual Pleasant Hill Holiday Festival at the Pleasant Hill Community Center. All funds raised were donated back to the community. Continuing the holiday theme, we served a holiday luncheon on Decem-

ber 13, 2010, to the clients of the Diablo Valley Blind Center located in Pittsburg. We support this Blind Center as well as the Center for the Visually Impaired in Oakland. Coming up on Friday, January 21, 2011, is the Club’s largest fundraiser of the year – the 38th Annual Crab Feed. Enjoy all the crab, pasta, salad and bread you can eat! There is also a raffle, silent auction, dancing and a $400 cash door prize! This event usually sells out. For tickets, call Don Flaskerud at 925-676-5859. The ticket price of $45 includes the dinner and dancing. If you want to learn more about and/or join the Pleasant Hill Lions Club, call Ken Wombacher at 925-687-0858.

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events 1/8 & 1/12 – S.T.A.G.E. Troupe Auditions- You’re a Good Man Charlie BrownA heartwarming classic, March 25–April 3. For auditions prepare a two-minute upbeat song and be ready to move on stage. Call 682-0896 for an audition appointment. Medical waiver must be completed prior to participation. Tech Week: March 18–March 20. For fees and information visit: 1/12 - WIN-WIN-WIN! Start the new year doing something good for yourself, your health and your community! Join us at an upcoming information meeting at 7PM @ the Pleasant Hill City Hall – 100 Gregory Ln. or call Project Coor., Karen Leffler at 925-323-2996. Join our team fundraising adventure “HIKE FOR SHELTER – Conquer The Canyon®” to benefit SHELTER, Inc. of CCC. Your reward is an expense paid trip to The Grand Canyon April 28-May 1 with a one day guided hike! All abilities welcome! Training begins in January! or email  hike@ 1/21 - Pleasant Hill Lions Club 38th Annual Crab Feed- No Host Bar @6 pm, Dinner @7:30 followed by music and dancing. Dinner includes all-you-can-eat crab, pasta, salad and french bread.$45 includes dinner, dancing, donation and chance to win a $400 CASH door prize!  All proceeds benefit the community.  Tickets available by calling Phil Madruga (925) 933-8061 or Matt Maksel (925) 6823841 -- evenings only, please. PH Community Center, 320 Civic Dr. 1/24 – Hot Cocoa and S’mores CampOne day of winter fun and a little cooking. We’ll also include cooking brownies in a cup, crafts and games. For ages 4-11 years. 9am-3pm, $18 / $17 for Mtz. Residents. Nancy Boyd Park, 90 Church St. Contact Mtz Rec at 925-372-3510. 1/29 – 1st Annual Alhambra Bulldogs Adult 6v6 Soccer Tournament- Raise money for Alhambra High School Mens Soccer. Registration is $25 pp. Teams of at least 7 players, including goalkeepers. 2030 minute games, prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Rain or shine! For more info contact Mark Eitelegeorge at 917-1437 or 229-4424 or visit:

January 2011

Calendar 2/5- College Park’s Athletic Booster’s 21st Annual Crab Feed- Live and Silent Auction and Dancing at the PH Community Center, 320 Civic Dr. $50 pp 6pm-Midnight. Act now while tickets still available. Must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets must be made in advance at 2/11 - My Little Sweetheart Valentine Dinner & Dance Party- 6–7:30 pm. PH Community Center, 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. (2–10 yrs) (Boys / Girls with Parent(s)) Treat your little sweethearts to dinner and dancing as you celebrate Valentine’s Day. Includes pasta, salad, bread, and dessert. Children under two years welcome. $10 pp. Reservations req. Call (925) 682-0896 or visit: 2/26 - Pleasant Hill Dolfins Crab Feed- No Host Bar 6:30 pm; Dinner 7:30 pm: Pleasant Hill Community Center, 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. For details, tickets, or to donate a silent auction item, call 682-0896. $45 pp. Reservations req. Ongoing - The Martinez Animal Hospital has a Kitten Adoption Program. The Cost to the new owner is our cost of vaccines & spay/neuter.

AT THE LIBRARY In Martinez: 1/10 - Free and Low Cost Job Training. Do you need to improve your skills to get the job you want? Come to this free workshop to learn about free and low-cost job training programs available in Contra Costa County. The workshop is presented by Opportunity Junction, a nonprofit organization. 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Contact: 925-335-9425. 1/11, 18 & 25 (Tuesdays) Mother Goose Time. This fun storytime is tailored for the youngest crowd. Let your child develop early literacy skills naturally, as we share songs and rhymes, bounces and tickles, and simple stories. A simple craft follows the storytime. Come join us for this light-hearted story hour just for tots. 11:30am-12:15pm. Contact: Ruth Boyer, 925-335-9425. In Pleasant Hill: 1/5 – Mother Goose Time. This fun story time is tailored for the youngest crowd. Let your child develop early literacy skills

naturally, as we share songs and rhymes, bounces and tickles, and simple stories. Come join us for this light-hearted story hour just for tots up to 3 yrs. 11:15am -11:45am. 1/11 - The Green Revolution: Finding Your Place in the New Green Economy. What exactly is the “green economy”, where are the jobs, and how can you get one? This workshop answers these questions and more. Learn if a green career is right for you, what type of job to target, how to get the training and experience you need, and how to get started in the new “green economy”. The presentation will be held in the Gates Computer Lab. Computer experience is not needed but space is limited. 2:00pm-4:00pm. 1/11 – January Book Club. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Get more from your books at the Pleasant Hill Library Book Club. Meet other readers for fun engaged discussions. 6:30pm-7:30pm. Room A. Contact: 925-646-6434. 1/15 – Pleasant Hill Friends of the Library Meeting. Join the Friends for this mandatory meeting. 10:30am-12:30pm. 1/17 - Library closed - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 1/25 - Nick Barone Puppets presents T-Rex Thunderlizard’s Wild West Revue. Join us for a musical comedy cowboy variety show of prehistoric proportions. A cast of over twenty friendly dinosaurs, dressed as cowboys, will entertain you with songs, jokes and skits. This fun-filled romp through the Wild West includes over a dozen different kinds of dinosaurs.

It is chock full of dinosaur facts and lots of fun to boot! 6:30pm-7:00pm.

CLUBS 1/8 - The Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club presents Ransom Stephens, Author of the God Patent. Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill Check-in begins at 11:30 A.M., buffet luncheon at noon, with the program following. $20 for CWC members, $25 for guests. Reserve by calling 925-934-5611.For more information visit: 1/4 - Pleasant Hill Garden Study Club- 7 pm at the PH Community Center, 320 Civic Dr. Speaker: Keeyla Meadows on “Sustaining Spirit with Color and Whimsy”. Guests are welcome. Contact: 925944-4898 or visit:

LOCAL SPORTS College Park at Home 1/4 Boys Basketball vs CV: 7pm 1/12 Boys Wrestling vs Concord: 6pm 1/14 Boys Basketball vs NG: 7pm 1/18 Girls Basketball vs Berean: 7pm 1/22 Boys Basketball vs Berkeley: 7pm 1/25 Boys Basketball vs Concord: 7pm

Alhambra at Home 1/7 Girls Basketball vs Dublin: 5:30pm 1/7 Boys Basketball vs Dublin: 7pm 1/11 Girls Basketball vs Acalanes: 5:30pm 1/11 Boys Basketball vs Acalanes: 7pm 1/24 Girls Basketball vs Dougherty 5:30pm 1/24 Boys Basketball vs Dougherty: 7pm 1/27 Boys Wrestling vs Acalances: 6pm

Diablo Valley College at Home Mens Basketball 1/4 vs Santa Rosa: 8pm 1/11 vs Modesto: 8pm 1/21 vs Sacramento: 8pm 1/25 vs American River: 8pm

JANUARY - NOW PLAYING Comedy Of Errors by William Shakespeare (Comedy), Directed by Beth McBrien Dec 03, 2010 through Dec 12, 2010, Curtain time(s): Thurs/Fri/Sat 8PM; Sun 2:30pm. Ticket Price: $10.00 - $20.00. The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. It displays a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities leading to wrongful beatings, a nearseduction, arrests, and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession. Produced by: Diablo Valley College, Box office: (925) 687-4445, 321 Golf Club Road Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 Of the Earth by Jon Tracy (Drama), Directed by Jon Tracy Dec 02, 2010 through Jan 30, 2011, Curtain time(s): Thurs-Sat 8PM; Sun 5PM; Wed 7PM (after 12/15). Ticket Price: $17.00 - $60.00: World Premiere. In an astonishing rise from the ashes of Troy, Of the Earth takes us on a new journey through the madness of Odysseus’s traumatized mind. In a sleek and stunning new work inspired by The Odyssey, Odysseus’s journey home begins. Original music by Brendan West. Produced by: Shotgun Players Box office: (510) 841-6500, 1901 Ashby Ave. Berkeley, CA 94703 Wondering with Alice, Directed by Jerry Chirip Jan. 27 @ 7:15pm, Jan. 28 @ 9:45am & 7:15pm, Jan. 29 @ 2:15pm & 7:15pm, Jan. 30 @ 2:15pm. Tickets: $14, Youth/Seniors are $10, ($8 for January 28 @ 9:45 only) Come wander through Wonderland with a modern Alice on her first day of high school. Meet her most interesting companions as imagined by young local writers. This play is full of surprises and will delight audiences of all ages! With food fights in the “mad lunch room”, a rapping teacher, and drama in the chess club, all Alice can say is: “Weirder and Weirder!” Produced by: Lesher Center for The Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

January 2011

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MDUSD School Closure Committee Update Last September, in reaction to crushing State budget cuts to schools, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District assembled a School Closure Committee. This group, representing a cross-section of the district community, began the complex evaluation of school sites for possible closure and preparing recommendations to the Board of Education. Committee members rated each school according to seven criteria: facility condition, capacity, operations and maintenance costs, available capacity at nearby sites, academic performance, geographic equity within the district and the possibility of moving students to better facilities. Each scenario calls for closure of a middle school and two elementary campuses to save at least $1.5 million a year. As of December 13, the committee has come up with three different school closure scenarios in order from most votes to least: 1. Close Glenbrook Middle School, Silverwood and Wren Avenue Elementary. 2. Close Glenbrook Middle School, Silverwood, and Holbrook Elementary. 3. Close Sequoia Elementary and Sequoia Middle and send students to home schools. Close Monte Gardens and send resident students to Wren Avenue and Westwood. Send transfer students to home schools. If you live in the area and have children who attend Sequoia schools, option three is no doubt causing some anxiety. Something to consider: • More than 50% of Sequoia students have Pleasant Hill schools as their home schools.

By Jaki Jones • The Committee is also looking at how the consider getting involved. Write letters with Linda Mayo, Board Member closures will affect school boundaries and constructive alternatives. Board Member how those boundaries may need to change. contact information: Lynne Dennler, Board Member • Construction of portables may be needed Gary Eberhart, President    to accommodate students at some schools if Cheryl Hansen, Board Member Sequoia Elementary closes. Sherry Whitmarsh, Vice-President • There is no guarantee that if the Pleasant Hill schools escape this round of closures, they won’t be in jeopardy in the coming years. By Cindy Matteoni, Principal, Sequoia Elementary • All three magnet schools in the District Closing a school is an emotional ordeal to go through a grieving process. Schools (Sequoia Elementary, Sequoia Middle and no matter what the circumstances. Neighidentified to receive transferred students Monte Gardens Elementary) are choice borhoods are tied to their schools--they will need to prepare for the welcoming schools and to lose them would be taking are the heart of a community. Mt. Diablo acceptance of these families. This change away a choice for the parents. Unified has undertaken this task. A combrings a new school population. Emotions • The savings from any school closure mittee made up of teachers, administrators, will be high; that is to be expected. The role would come from principals, office managparents, community members and students we play through this process as adults will ers, secretaries, custodians and food servhave been meeting for the past several be magnified by our students. We need to ices, not teachers.  Closing an elementary months to look at a tremendous amount reassure them that this will be okay. Their school saves about $300,000 and a middle of data and to finalize a recommendation educational needs will be met. They will school saves about $700,000.  for school closure. No one wanted this task, have opportunities to meet new friends. We • It is possible the school Board will elect to but each took this on to represent the voice can either stew in anger or we can be the close more than 3 schools. of the community. This has been a huge catalyst for positive change. • Sequoia schools are not elite; the schools undertaking and the result will be a recom The important thing to remember is are open to everyone via the lottery and mendation to the Board of Education. that in times such as these we can either no one is turned away based on any other pull together or we can divide. I have great We are often asked by parents, “What criteria. can we do?” I recently held a meeting with faith in the strong bonds of the Pleasant Hill • If the State takes over, they WILL balance over 40 parents who had exactly that quescommunity. In times of need and adversity, the budget. The Board will have no voice on tion. My advice was to keep involved, gather we have always pulled together. With this how this is achieved. information and share your feelings in a challenge, my hope is that we support all of • The chosen schools will close by fall, 2011. thoughtful manner with the school Board. those that will be affected by school closure. The Committee will forward their recomThey are the elected voice of the community Let’s remember that when doors close, mendations to the Board of Education in and ultimately have to make this very difwindows open. mid-January, and although the Committee ficult decision. Editors Note: As of this printing, both will vote, the Board can come up with their Our next steps are far more emotional. Sequoia Elementary and Sequoia Middle own solution as they are the final decision Once the decision is made, schools identiare on the MDUSD school closure list. making body. Make your voice heard and fied for closure will need a period of time

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Thoughts on Closures

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A new year brings with it an optimism and steadfast commitment to better oneself. The feeling of determination and fortitude is palpable and no one will stop us from achieving our “resolved” goals. According to a recent USA TODAY article, the top ten New Year’s Resolutions are as follows: 1. Lose Weight 2. Stop Smoking 3. Spend More Time With Family 4. Reduce Stress 5. Drink Less Alcohol 6. Go Back To School 7. Save Money 8. Manage Debt 9. Exercise 10. Volunteer To Help Others. For the remainder of this article I will refer to this list as “A”. Now, being that I am a theatre artist and educator, I would have loved to see a list that looked a bit more like this: 1. Go To The Theatre A Least Twice A

January 2011

Stage Door By Nicole Diestler Month 2. Become An Advocate for Eduwill locate Diablo Valley College (6A). cation and The Arts 3. Take An Acting Enter the Admissions and Records BuildClass 4.Write A Play 5. Learn How To Do ing and register for Drama112- Stage Stage Makeup 6. Book A Trip To Tour Makeup (5B) and Drama122- BeginThe World’s Stages 7. Enroll in DVC Draning Acting (3B), both of which are part ma’s Technical Theatre Program 8. Buy of DVC’s Technical Theatre Program Season Tickets To All East Bay Theatre (7B). In utilizing DVC, you will be SAVCompanies ING MONEY, which knocks off (7A). 9. Buy That Vacant Lot and Build A New Next, go to the Pleasant Hill Library, still Theatre 10. Read A Least One New Play walking mind you (1A) and check out a Each Month play (10B) and a book on tackling your For the remainder of this article I debt (8A and 4A). Speak to the friendly will refer to this list as “B”. librarian and offer to volunteer your time I know that my list might not suit tutoring children (10A). She will engage everyone’s tastes. Therefore, I propose you in a lively conversation about educaa compromise. How about tackle tion and the arts (2B). The conversation everything on both lists? Doesn’t seem will lead to an exchange of business cards; possible? Here is how you can accomthis is when you will find out that she is plish it all. also a part-time travel agent (6B). Leave First, immediately drive to your local the library and head for home (9A) and pharmacy and buy yourself a nicotine stumble across an empty store front with patch (2A) grab your children (3A), put a For Sale sign posted. Call the # listed on your walking shoes and take a hike (9B) and start dreaming up your thea(9A) to 321 Golf Club Road. There you tre’s name. Upon reaching home, kiss

your spouse (3A) and then grab your computer, a glass of sparkling cider (5A) and find a quite space (4A), go online using (with Diablo Valley College: Department Of Drama selected as your charity of choice). Go to Theatre Bay (1B) and click on the tab: Search For Shows. Find the East Bay Theatre Companies and purchase your season tickets online (8B and 7A). While you calmly wait for the purchases to process, (4A) take out a sheet of paper and begin your masterpiece (4B) (Hint: exposition, character, plot, conflict, rising action, objectives, climax and resolution) Resolutions! Happy Endings! Happy New Year! Nicole Diestler is the Associate Professor of Acting and Directing at Diablo Valley College. Send information to Look for “January - Now Playing” theatre listings in the Community Calendar located on page 26.

January 2011

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Letters and Opinions Letter to the Editor Do We Need Two In-N-Out Burgers? As most people are aware, In-NOut Burger has been approved by the city of Pleasant Hill to build on Contra Costa Blvd, in front of Toys R Us. Are you aware In-N-Out wants a second restaurant just 3.3 miles south, on North Main Street, next to Black Angus? This second location is planned to take some of the pressure off the first restaurant and is also located in Pleasant Hill. We’re excited about the first location and feel the location was well chosen although the increased traffic is of major concern. The proposed restaurant on North Main Street has many problems and has neighbors, local business owners, and other members of the community asking that the project be moved to a more appropriate location. The neighbors support the development of the area but a fast food restaurant would be a terrible choice. Community members are concerned about the increased traffic, fumes from idling cars, and late

night crowds, among other things. The North Main restaurant would be adjacent to a residential neighborhood and squeezed between the Black Angus Restaurant and Oak Park Mortuary. Black Angus has been in this location for decades. Oak Park Mortuary has been owned and managed by the same family for two generations. In-N-Out expects 2,176 trips daily and will reduce parking spaces for Black Angus by 30%, according to the latest site plan. The drive thru que and speaker box will be feet from the mortuary ramp. The nearest intersection is North Main Street and Sunnyvale Ave at the 680 off ramp. Just south of that is the intersection of North Main and Treat/ Geary, both of which are notorious for horrific congestion. Both intersections have a very poor rating of “LOS E,” Level of Service. This rating is based on efficiency. Intersections receive a rating of A-F. In-N-Out’s drive-thru will accommodate up to 14 cars. If you’ve visited the restaurant in San Ramon you’ll no-

Local Veteran Honored Elks Lodge 1811 Walnut Creek hosts our veterans with guest of honor retired Sergeant Mike Greenawalt, US Army, First Class Fifth Special Forces Green Berets. Sgt Greenawalt was the last military personnel to leave Viet Nam. His last moments were on the roof top of the American Embassy in Saigon protecting our forces under fire as they left on helicopters. Upon Sgt Greenawalt departure the last soldier to leave was presented the last American Flag flying on the embassy roof. Picture of Sgt Greenwalt holding the flag with Gerry Gouveia, Exalted Ruler. Included in the evening were active and retired military of all services and our veterans from VA Martinez with presentation of colors by the color guard Contra Costa County Sheriffs Department.

tice the cars are often stacked onto the street. Local residents fear the fumes from idling cars. Visit YouTube and view the violence at various In-N-Out locations on late evenings. In-N-Out would like to keep their store open until 1:30am.

If you wish to learn more on this proposed restaurant you can review documents on the Pleasant Hill City website. I’m sure you’ll agree that North Main Street is a very poor location for a successful fast-food business. Laura Milstead

Letters to the Editor The Community Focus invites your comments and opinions. Letters should be no longer than 400 words and submitted with first and last name. Address and daytime telephone number required but not published. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. The Focus reserves the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, possible libel and propriety or to refuse letters we feel contradict our mission. E-mail letters for our community forum to:

Wanted: Grand Jurors By Julie Nilsen What do you think of when you mittees, study government processes, hear the words jury duty? You probably and issue reports which have resulted in think of the summons you receive now many positive changes. and then that disrupts your routine You just may be the person Contra Cosand makes you sit and wait for hours. ta County needs to help save taxpayer But did you know that there is another dollars and optimize county services. kind of jury that many county residents The qualifications for being a Grand actually want to join? It is the Contra Juror are: Costa Civil Grand Jury, and you can • Be a citizen of the United States, apply to be a part of this important and age 18 or older, and a resident of the exciting work. county for at least one year. The Contra Costa Civil Grand Jury • Possess ordinary intelligence, sound is impaneled annually and comprised judgment, and fair character. of nineteen citizens who devote a year • Possess sufficient knowledge of the to keeping careful watch over many English language. aspects of our county government. The • Have never been convicted of a Grand Jury works to ensure that our felony, malfeasance, or other high county government is acting in the best crime. You must be able to devote twenty interest of all citizens of Contra Costa County. Investigation, critical thinkhours a week to this effort. It is benefiing skills, and fact finding are the tools cial to be able to work collaboratively of this body. Grand Jurors keep their with other people and to feel a genuine eyes on our education system, health interest and connection to the work department, financial offices, and other involved. To apply, you need to fill out government functions. When our government does not perform effectively, an application, which can be downthey ask the tough questions and make loaded from the Contra Costa County the recommendations that are needed Grand Jury website ( to make a difference. org/grandjury).The applications for the If you’ve ever suspected irresponyear 2011/2012 must be submitted by sible, unethical, or wasteful practices April 15. Grand Jurors are then selected in county government, you may be through an interview process and lotinterested in serving as a member of the tery. Previous Grand Jurors have found Grand Jury. Grand Jurors form comthis to be a very rewarding experience.

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Turkey Bowl Winners By Lisa Ahearn and Andy Armosino The Pleasant Hill-Martinez Soccer scampered through the defense and Association’s U10 Elite Lightning girls punched it in for an exciting goal. The soccer team had more to celebrate than celebration was short lived, however, as just Thanksgiving over the weekend of the Extreme tied the game with only two November 27-28, as they went 3-1 to win minutes left in regulation, sending the the Tracy FC Turkey Bowl in Tracy. Game game to another penalty kick shootout 1 against the Dublin Diamonds resulted in overtime. PK scores by Mathews, Arin a 2-0 victory as Holly Gallagher and mosino, Gallagher and Walker along with Chloe Creecy each banged in goals. On the spectacular keeper play by Walker Defense, Natalie Ahearn and Gabby ended the game, awarding the girls their Darden teamed up to completely shut championship trophy and medals. The team is coached by Gina Paff, down the opposition. In game 2, the girls battled hard, but Shawn Wiley, John Nakanishi and Sarah came up on the short end of a 1-0 contest Paff. against the Pacific FC Strikers. Defensively, Grace Shughrou and Genevieve Wiley were all over the field to help keep the game close. Sunday morning pitted the girls against their closest rivals, the MDSA Dominators from Concord. Gallagher was back at it, scoring her second goal of the tourney. Jaycee Armosino, Bailey Mathews and Jessica Vinogradov turned in big defensive efforts to help send the game to overtime. Penalty kick goals by Armosino, Gallagher and Lilly Walker sealed the deal, sending the Lightning to the final game later that day. Bottom row L-R: Genevieve Wiley, Kaylee Pond, The championship brought the Grace Shughrou, Natalie Ahearn, Jaycee Chloe Creecy. Top row L-R: Jessica small but scrappy Newark Extreme team. Armosino, Vinogradov, Holly Gallagher, Lilly Walker, Gabrielle Darden, Bailey Matthews. The game was scoreless in the first half Coaches: Shawn Wiley, Gina Paff, Sarah Paff, and remained that way until Kaylee Pond John Nakanishi (not shown in picture)

January 2011

State Sectional Champs

After taking first place in the PHMSA league, both Dynamite, a U12 Girls Division team and Xtreme, a U10 Girls Division team moved on to the surrounding Area 2 Cup in Foster City for the Section 2 Championships and won. Dynamite took the championship with a 5-1 win over Millbrae, and Xtreme beat San Bruno 7-2 to take the title. The teams representing Section 2 come from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Northern California. Next stop... The California State Cup, March 12th in Garden Grove. Yes, these girls are going to Disneyland! U10 Extreme

Pictured L to R, Coach Mark Hood, Julia Betti, Julia Shinn, Katie Foerste, Hannah Alves, Samantha Pearson, Megan Hood, Samantha Gingrich, Sophia Lucio, Alyssa Clements and Coach Kristi Gingrich Photo courtesy of Julie Hood U12 Dynamite

Overtime Decision

The Hurricanes and the Golden Bulls, both AYSO U10 teams, arrived at the championship game undefeated for the season. Proving to be a good match up, the nail biter was decided in overtime with the Hurricanes pulling out the win; 3-2.

Tournament Champs

The Christ The King 8th grade American basketball team has walked away with the Annual CTK Thanksgiving Invitational Basketball Tournament Championship trophy for the 2nd year in a row. They had a tough road to travel on their way to Champion status, having to beat St. Francis of Assisi (Concord), St. Lawrence O’Toole (Oakland) and finally, St. Martin de Porres (Oakland) in the Championship game.  Jeffrey Mitchell and Dominic Ceja were named to the All Tournament Team, and Joe DeMers, who averaged 23 points/game, received the Tournament MVP honors.  The team remains undefeated this season, including three tournament championship wins.

Hurricanes (black jersey) L-R: Lucio Santos, Gabe Guerrero, Gabriel Thurston, Diego, Santos, Nicky Butera, Nicholas Armstrong, Nicholas Forbes, Michael Garcia and Daniel Acosta (not shown). Golden Bulls, L-R: Khalil Muhammad, Dalton Mofrad, Connor Sullivan, William Berriman, Kade Shipp, Dillon Elliott, Wyatt Hammer and Kyle Garza. Coaches not pictured (Steve Elliott and Mike Hammer). Photo submitted by Lori Garcia


Back row: Trevor Larnach, Brian Smith, Kevin Crosno, Joe DeMers, Jeffrey Mitchell, Dominic Ceja Front row: Steven Daily, Evan Gravenmier, and William MacIver Photo courtesy of Stephanie Daily


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January 2011

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