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san ramon valley


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Al amo | Bl ack hawk Danville | D iablo San R amo n A local resource guide published by and

Education | Arts & Entertainment | Readers Choice Winners Looking ahead: Danville and San Ramon in 2014 2013 |


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2 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

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Located on the corner of Camino Tassajara & Blackhawk Road in Danville | 925.736.2751

Welcome to san ramon valley life



Photo courtesy of San Ramon Farmers Market

A happy customer with his fava beans at the newly opened Wednesday farmers market, held at San Ramon Sports Park.

san ramon valley


Publisher Gina Channell-Allen EDITORIAL Life Editor: Jessica Lipsky Editorial Staff: Sierra Rhodes Glenn Wohltmann

Business Business Associate: Lisa Oefelein 5506 Sunol Blvd, ste 100 Pleasanton, ca 94566 (925) 837-8300

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ADVERTISING Advertising Representatives: Carol Cano Mary Hantos Karen Klein

Advertising Coordinator: Cammie Clark ART & PRODUCTION Life Designer: Kristin Brown Advertising Designers: Katrina Cannon Rosanna Leung

San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14 is a special project of and San Copyright 2013 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Printed by Journal Graphics. |

4 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

elcome to the 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life, which has all the information you need to live, work and play in Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo and San Ramon. It includes facts about the towns, cities and schools as well as our Readers Choice results and much, much more. Each year when we put together this resource guide, we are amazed anew to realize how much is going on in the area. Hopefully newcomers to the Tri-Valley will pick up Life immediately so they don’t have to discover on their own all it has to offer. Oldtimers, too, are sure to discover something new in these pages. As we updated the listings and looked at development in the San Ramon Valley, we saw how much has changed since last year. This is a reminder of the importance of and These continually updated news sources keep everyone informed about what’s happening in the community. Visit them to see what’s new and to sign up for daily headlines to be delivered to your email each weekday morning. —Gina Channell-Allen, Publisher Jessica Lipsky, Editor,

Inside life Quick reference directory

Some useful numbers for newcomers and oldtimers.............................6

Looking ahead: Danville in 2014

New development, activities and programs on the horizon................8

Danville Readers Choice 2013

Readers picked their favorites in our annual contest...............................9

Outlook San Ramon

Development is the main issue for the coming year............................ 18

San Ramon Readers Choice 2013

Learn what places and services our readers enjoy................................ 19

New school development in San Ramon

Population increase demands new school, improvements................23


Public school listings.........................................................................................24

Boomers, seniors traverse area trails

San Ramon Trailblazers meet weekly for easy walks and hikes........26

Arts & Entertainment

Live music, theaters, galleries and more.................................................... 27

about the cover Chris Koenig of Danville and his daughters, Brooklyn (back) and Tatum, check out their plants at the Bounty Garden, located in Hap Magee Ranch Park, Danville. The Koenig family participated in the Warm Crop program at Bounty Garden, which grew summer vegetables for local food banks. The girls chose to grow zucchini. The Bounty Garden is a 100% non-profit program which provides a source of fresh vegetables to the Food Banks of Contra Costa and Solano counties. Photo by Richard Reed.

Call for details. Limited time offer.

925.394.4208 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 5

quick reference Useful numbers for information, services and emergencies For an emergency: 911 Cell phones: Dispatch 646-2441 (Alamo Valley Station) Cell phones: Dispatch 646-2441 (Blackhawk Police Services) Cell phones: Dispatch 314-3700 (Danville Police) Cell phones: Dispatch 973-2700 (San Ramon Police) Contra Costa Fire Department: 941-3300 California Highway Patrol: 646-4980 Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department: 646-2441 Poison Control Center: (800) 222-1222

Alamo Sheriff’s Valley Station 150 Alamo Plaza, Suite C Alamo 94507 Call 837-2902

Blackhawk Police Services 1092 Eagle Nest Place Danville 94526 Call 736-1018

Danville Police Department 510 La Gonda Way Danville 94526 Call 314-3700

San Ramon Police Department 2220 Camino Ramon San Ramon 94583 Call 973-2700

San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District

Maintenance Services: 314-3450 Building Development Services: 314-3330 Engineering/Planning Development Services: 314-3310 Transportation Services: 314-3320 Financial Services: 314-3320 Human Resources: 314-3380

City of San Ramon Call 973-2500 City Manager, Greg Rogers: 973-2530 City Attorney, Robert Saxe (interim): 973-2549 Administrative Services Department, Eva Phelps: 973-2609 City Clerk, Pat Edwards: 973-2537 Engineering Services Department: 973-2670 Parks and Community Services Department: 973-3290 Planning/Community Development Department: 973-2560 Police Services Department: 973-2700 Public Services Department: 973-2800

Danville Garbage Service Allied Waste Call 603-1144

San Ramon Garbage Service Valley Waste Management Call 837-3356

Danville Recycling Service

Valley Waste Management (VWM) Call 935-8900

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Call (800) 743-5000

CA Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Division

1500 Bollinger Canyon Road San Ramon 94583 Call 838-6600

Call (800) 649-7570

Town of Danville

Call (800) 848-2683

Call 314-3388 Town Manager, Joe Calabrigo: 314-3388 Town Attorney, Robert Ewing: 314-3383 Town Clerk, Marie Sunseri: 314-3401 Police Services: 314-3700 Recreation Services: 314-3400

6 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

Renewable Energy Choices — Greenpower Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Call 228-9500

Water Service East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Call (866) 403-2483

Dublin-San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) Call 828-0515

Danville Public Library 400 Front St. Danville 94526 Call 837-4889

San Ramon Public Library 100 Montgomery St. San Ramon 94583 Call 973-2850

Dougherty Station Library 17017 Bollinger Canyon Rd. San Ramon 94582 Call 973-3380

U.S. Postal Service: Call (800) 275-8777

Danville Main Office (has passport services) 2605 Camino Tassajara Danville 94526-9998 Call 736-0775 Diablo Post Office 1701 El Nido Diablo 94528-9800 Call 837-3800 Danville Square Post Office 43 Railroad Ave. Danville 94526-3881 Call 736-0775 Alamo Post Office (has passport services) 160 Alamo Plaza Alamo 94507-9998 Call 935-9953 San Ramon Post Office (has passport services) 12935 Alcosta Blvd. San Ramon 94583-9998 Call 277-0567

Department of Motor Vehicles Call (800) 777-0133

1910 N. Broadway Walnut Creek 94596 Call 935-4464 6300 W. Las Positas Pleasanton 94588 Call 462-7042

County Recorder’s Office For birth or death certificate or marriage license call 646-2517

Child abuse Contra Costa County Child Protective Services: 646-1680 or (877) 881-1116 Child Abuse Prevention Council: 798-0546

Elder Abuse Prevention Resources

Adult Protective Services: (877): 839-4347 or 646-2854 State Attorney General’s Office: (800) 952-5225 Elder Financial Protection Network: (415) 956-5556 Long-Term Care Ombudsman: (800) 231-4024 Public Guardian’s Office: 646-2901 Legal Assistance for Seniors: (510) 832-3040 Diablo Valley Foundation for the Aging: 945-8040

Amber Alert

Call (800) 835-5247

Dog license

Martinez Animal Shelter: 335-8300

Animal cruelty

Call your police department

County Animal Control Call 646-2995

Donate something

Goodwill Furniture Pick-Up: (510) 698-7200 Goodwill Donation Drop-Off (Dublin): 7232 Regional St., Dublin Call: 833-8610 Salvation Army Pick-Up: (800) 728-7825 Hospice of the East Bay Thrift Shoppe: 444 Diablo Rd., Danville Call 838-7697 or 3162 Danville Blvd., Suite A, Alamo Call: 820-6525 Discovery Counseling Center Thrift Shop, The Station 486 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville Call 820-1988

National Do-Not-Call Registry (888) 382-1222

Power outage or you smell gas Pacific Gas & Electric: (800) 743-5000

Renters rights

Pacific Community Services: 439-1056 Contra Costa County Bar Association: 370-2548

Small Claims Court Call 646-6901

Solicitor Permit Call 335-1571

Workers permit for a student San Ramon Valley Unified School District: 552-5500

Your place for inner and outer harmony CAMPBELL 408.871.8890 CortE MAdErA 415.924.6691 dANVILLE 925.866.6164

MouNtAIN VIEw 650.964.7212 SAN CArLoS 650.508.8317 16 LOCATIONS IN CALIFORNIA, NEVADA & TEXAS 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 7

Looking ahead: Danville in 2014 New development, activities and programs on the horizon By Jessica Lipsky


anville residents will be safer, more active and surrounded by a more beautiful community in 2014 as town officials and volunteers work together on a variety of events and programs. “The real highlight is looking back over the past year at individuals and groups that have done a lot to make this the best community it could be, through community service, an event or just over a long period of time,” said Mayor Newell Arnerich. Arnerich said he is excited about a new mental health first aid (MHFA) program, which will train people on how to identify the signs of mental health issues, how to respond and where local resources are. The program is offered in conjunction with Discovery Counseling Center, the city of San Ramon and the school district. “Our goal is to be able to train all the teachers in the San Ramon Valley,” Arnerich said. “That would really change the face of who we are as a valley and as a community given that some of the tragedies we’ve seen here, particularly with our young children.” Fifty people have been trained in mental health first aid since July 2013 and mental health professionals are in the process of developing a free training course. The main issue for training educators is funding, as substitutes would have to replace teachers attending the two-day course. Officials are reaching out to PTAs for help. Arnerich expects that it will take 2 to 3 years to train all teachers,

averaging 500-700 people trained every year. “I felt really positive that I could really help someone,” Arnerich said after completing the MHFA program. “There’s a tendency when someone is in a mental health crisis to turn your head, but through the course you feel confident enough to approach that person, identify what’s going on and use the right vocabulary to help guide them.” Another safety program residents can partake in is the annual Street Smarts traffic awareness campaign, which kicked off Sept. 26. This year’s theme is helmet safety and program coordinators will be giving away helmets to those who cannot afford them. Downtown Danville will see major changes in the coming year, as demolition begins on the Danville Hotel project. The deteriorating Danville Hotel Wild West structures, constructed in the 1950s, run from Hartz to Railroad to Prospect avenues and will be demolished to build a new set of structures. The historic Danville Hotel and its adjoining McCauley House will remain. Approximately 14,387 square feet of existing retail, office and restaurant space will be torn down to be replaced with 34,585 square feet of new residential, retail and restaurant space. Sixteen individual residential units are planned. Town staff are also working to beautify the north end of Hartz Avenue between Linda Mesa and San Ramon Valley High School. Beautification includes redoing the curb

file photo

The old Danville Hotel Restaurant is the centerpiece of the Old West buildings that were built 50 years ago and are being torn down for redevelopment.

pattern and sidewalks, changing the width of the street, improving light fixtures and developing diagonal parking along the west side of Hartz. Although there is no solid timeline for completion, residents and visitors will eventually be able to enjoy the spruced up block during a number of downtown festivals. Craft fairs, car shows and the annual lighting of the old oak tree to mark the beginning of the holiday season, are just a few of the events that showcase what makes Danville special, Arnerich said. “The one overall thing you’re going to see in Danville is that old

Danville and San Ramon’s most trusted, most connected local online news source | 8 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

town Danville has really recovered well beyond the downturn of the economy,” Arnerich said. “People started staying and shopping in downtown Danville. We’re focused on that and making downtown a fun place with exciting businesses and exciting events.” Danville’s sales tax peaked in 2007 and the first quarter of 2012 surpassed that level; the first quarter of 2013 showed higher sales tax than 2012 levels. “It’s those types of events that keep downtown an active place for people to come down with family and friends and neighbors,” he said. n

there to guide customers through every step.



hings to do, places to see, pampering to enjoy and yummies to eat — once again, our readers have spoken. For the fourth year running, we polled Danville residents about their favorites in a panoply of categories, from food to nails and banks to dance halls. Thousands of votes streamed in over the month the ballot was online, and you may recognize some favorites of old and, perhaps, learn of something new in this year’s Readers Choice.

Services: Best Bank: Wells Fargo Full of charming, helpful employees and bowls of DumDums for kids, our readers know they will be treated with respect and their investments will be safe at Wells Fargo. Best Credit Union: Patelco Credit Union The people of Patelco are anxious to serve, bright and well-spoken — and make sure to thoroughly explain the ins and outs of banking to all their customers. Best Financial Planner (Non-brokerage): Summit Financial Our readers can rely on Summit Financial for all their financial planning needs. They take the time to understand clients’ situations and explain in detail their solutions.

Best Mortgage Professional: Lisa Pournia, StoneCastle Land & Home Offering an ideal set of products and service, Lisa Pournia helps her clients meet their individual financial goals of owning a home.

danville readers choice 2013

Best Real Estate Agent: Lorri Cutler, Keller Williams Realty Lorri Cutler has been a Realtor Associate since 1992. She believes buying or selling your home should be positive, exciting, and as stress-free as possible. Best Real Estate Office: Better Homes & Gardens The Danville office boasts real estate professionals who will quickly and accurately assess the true value of a property, while providing a unique level of service to all their clients. dolores fox ciardelli

Best Real Estate Team: The Combs Team Joe and Nancy Combs have a reputation for being assertive in both negotiating and closing, and they’re more than happy to spend some time talking with people about all their real estate needs.

great equipment. With friendly staff and truly outstanding personal trainers, this is the place to step up and shape up.

Best Travel Agency: Danville Travel Traveling the world is a dream; challenging itineraries and complicated plans are a nightmare. Our readers count on Danville Travel to help them get to all their unique destinations.

Best Massage: Jolie Salon & Spa Our readers call Jolie Salon & Spa a perfect balance of comfort and decadence, a place they can leave glowing and relaxed, thanks to the magical hands of the masseuses.

Health and Fitness:

Best Financial Planner Brokerage: Charles Schwab Constantly innovating to meet the evolving needs of their clients, Charles Schwab makes investing simpler, less costly and an all-around priceless experience.

Best Acupuncture: Align Healing Center Dedicated to healing your pain quickly and naturally, Align Healing Center seeks to address the body physically, chemically and emotionally by using the delicate art of acupuncture.

Best Mortgage Company: RPM Paperwork with buying a home can be overwhelming. That’s why RPM Mortgage employees are

Best Health Club: 24 Hour Fitness Tone up with group Zumba classes, relax in the toasty sauna and get your cardio burn on with

Tao House, the former home of Nobel Prize winning playwright Eugene O’Neill, was voted “Best Kept Secret Treasure of Danville” by Danville Readers Choice 2013 voters.

Best Martial Arts Studio: Martial Arts America With awesome instructors and a fun atmosphere, this is the perfect place for all ages to learn different martial arts disciplines, including Tae Kwon Do and Krav Maga. Best Place to Buy Fitness Equipment & Apparel: Forward Motion Start with the shoes and build your perfect workout outfit from there. Forward Motion’s Race Club is the leader for recreational runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes.

Best Place to Walk, Jog or Bike: Iron Horse Trail Get a breath of fresh air and spend some time outdoors. The Iron Horse Trail is a 33-mile stretch of former railroad with much to explore! Best Yoga/Pilates: Danville Yoga Center All levels of yogis practice at this wonderful studio. With challenging and inspiring classes and attentive instructors, our readers experience peace and serenity.

Beauty & Style: Best Consignment Store: Something Old – Something New Get high end fashion without bleeding your wallet dry. This charming consignment store has a multitude of high end designers, from Escada to Saint John to Gucci. Best Day Spa: Jolie Salon & Spa Each of the four rooms at this spa, including a couples room, has a tranquil environment to soothe 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 9

Thank you for voting us

“Best Antique Store”! Come in and enjoy combing through the sands of this collector’s paradise!

Award Winning Designer & Boutique Vintage & Antique Embellishments

Photo courtesy of Bishop Ranch Veterinary center

100 Prospect Ave., Downtown Danville (925) 837-2664 •




Thank You for Voting Us Best New Restaurant 2013! 2013

NOW OPEN IN DANVILLE! • Wood Fired Pizza • 10 Local Beers on Tap

• Great Wine List • Happy Hour 345 Railroad Ave. (In Lunardis Just Off Aisle 1)


Open 11 am -LATE 10 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

Michelle Ouellette, a technician at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center, sits with patients Tiger and Dusty as they recover from a procedure.

your soul. Jolie has created the perfect place to relax away from the outside world. Best Facial Care: Jolie Salon & Spa Enjoy a beverage, treats and a luxurious robe while rejuvenating your skin. In the mood for true decadence? Try the 24-karat gold facial. Best Hair Salon for Men: Sport Clips Television, shoulder rubs and a clean cut — get guy time and a great ‘do at this male-focused salon. With locations in Danville and San Ramon. Best Hair Salon for Women: Tribez Looking for more than uptight up-dos and tired trims? Our readers visit Tribez for the latest looks. Best Jewelry Store: Smith Jewelers This full-service jeweler has everything that sparkles, from diamonds to watches to Waterford crystal. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but this shop also has custom made 14K gold charms of the Danville Oak Tree.

Best Nail Care: (Tie) Jolie Salon & Spa, Bollinger Nail Salon Our readers rave about the manicure and pedicures at Jolie, where they can try a unique new color or a gel manicure. Hardworking hands get the royal treatment at Bollinger Nail Salon, which offers a relaxing spa pedicure. Best New Retail Business 2013: McCaulou’s Home Store Our readers love the variety of brands and products, the good prices and the friendly staff. McCaulou’s is the one-stop-shop for everything, and they offer free gift wrap. Best Place to Buy a Gift: Elegant Clutter This shop offers chic items in all price ranges to make gift-giving easier. A place full of finishing touches for the home and charming additions to any room. Best Clothing Store for Women: McCaulou’s Find a cute outfit that doesn’t break the bank. McCaulou’s offers great sales and a ton of clothes to choose from.

Best Shoe Store: Tootsie’s This home-grown downtown shoe sanctuary offers cute shoes and accessories as well as pedicures, all in a colorful and relaxing setting.

Epicure: Best American Food Restaurant: Esin Restaurant & Bar Owners Curtis and Esin deCarion create delicious American fare with influences from the Mediterranean — fresh, innovative and a delight to the senses.

vorites: homemade hash browns, perfectly crispy bacon and, of course, the Medlyn’s Scramble. Best Brew Pub/Sports Bar: McGah’s Pub & Pianos This lively place on Prospect Avenue with its dueling piano bar quickly caught on as a great venue for spending the evening with a good beer, good friends, and for watching the game. Best Burger: Sideboard Try a Prather Ranch Cheddar Burger with a honey dijon aioli or, if you don’t eat meat, take a bite of the Veggie Burger with chipotle aioli and fresh cilantro. Comfort food sure to tickle your taste buds.

Best Bakery: Miglet’s Gluten Free Bakery Delicious chocolates, delectable cupcakes and cakes made to order — and all of them are gluten free. Whether your diet is restricted or not, our readers keep coming back for more of Miglet’s amazing desserts.

Best California Cuisine/ Innovative Dining: Esin Restaurant & Bar The name Esin means “inspiration,” and this place certainly is inspired. Food is the passion here, and the owners make it their mission to create unique food.

Best Breakfast: Valley Medlyn’s Have a tasty, sit-down breakfast and enjoy some of our readers’ fa-

Thank you for voting our street fairs

“Best Public Event” Doggie Night Summer Thursday Night Street Festivals Art & Wine Stroll Heartland Danville Antique & Art Faire Tinsel & Treasures Folk Art Faire Spirit of Danville Spring Fling Artful Home Show Spring Wine & Chocolate Stroll


Benefits local charities! NOVEMBER 14, 11 AM - 8 PM Jump start holiday shopping, festive dining and treats with live music and free evening trolley rides between shopping & dining areas. Tickets are $5.00. 100% of the proceeds go to local charities. For more info go to


Thank You For Voting Us Best Veterinarian 2013


Primary Care  Urgent Care  Surgery Acupuncture  Boarding  Exotic Pet Care MONDAY - FRIDAY

7:00am - 10:00pm

2000 Bishop Drive San Ramon, CA 94583


8:00am - 8:00pm

We’re Here When You Need Us...925.866.8387 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 11

FALL SAVINGS Through October

Best Chinese Restaurant: Uncle Yu’s With three locations including one in San Ramon, this restaurant offers traditional Szechuan dishes with exquisite spices as well as more contemporary delicacies, like goat cheese and apples on delicately fried wontons. Uncle Yu’s has been our Readers Choice for years. Best Grocery Store: Lunardi’s This place boasts a huge produce section, an ample selection of meats, and its own brand of salsa, pasta sauce and more. Healthy, tasty and reasonably priced.


Danville Showroom 925-314-WOOD (9663) 112 West Linda Mesa

Walnut Creek Showroom 925-988-WOOD (9663) 1813 Mt. Diablo Blvd.


$250 OFF Hardwood or Carpet

License #898787 • Bonded Insured up to $2 Million

With Ad. Exp. 10/31/1312

Min. 1,000 sq. ft. Free estimates.

Best Ice Cream: Cold Stone Creamery A great place dedicated to one thing and one thing only: making and serving heavenly ice cream. Try a savory strawberry milkshake or the Red Velvet Cake ice cream. Best Italian Restaurant: Piatti Lunch, brunch and dinner — it’s Italian. The ambiance is great,

too, with an open kitchen and stone pizza hearth. Best Kid-Friendly, Non-Chain Restaurant: Chow Not only can you get a great meal at a very good price, this restaurant has reading and coloring books for kids. Best Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern Restaurant: Faz Restaurant & Bar Owner Faz Poursohi grew up in Tehran, where he learned to love cooking. Our readers crave the kabobs but in the summertime the redwood grove in the Hartz Avenue restaurant is also a draw. Best Mexican Restaurant: Maria Maria The stunning décor at this restaurant in the Rose Garden and the menu are inspired by legendary musician Carlos Santana. The Mexican dishes may be traditional but the approach is innovative.

Thank you for voting me Best Real Estate Agent ThAnk you foR hElping mE win ThE

readers choice award foR best real estate agent


let Me show You the difference Lorri Cutler has been a REALTOR® since 1992 and is doing what she is passionate about — “Real Estate.” Her career started in 1986 when she entered into the Title and Escrow side of real estate. She worked escrows for 6 years, and then in 1992, she became licensed with the State of California to join her mom in the business. After originating loans for 8 years, and in combination with her title and escrow background, she had a fabulous foundation. In 2000 she decided to make the change over to real estate sales and has never looked back.

lorri cutler


760 camino Ramon Suite 200 | Danville 12 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

lic # 01133748

Best New Restaurant 2013: Forge With friendly and fast service, excellent pizza — including a spectacular specialty called the “Fat Boy” — and a nice selection of beer and wine, this is the new place to be in Danville. Best Pizza: Jules Thin Crust The pizza at Jules Thin Crust might as well be ambrosia for our readers. Made with organic veggies, lower fat and healthier ingredients, this pizza haven also has a multitude of kinds of pizza to choose from. Best Romantic Restaurant: The Peasant & the Pear Great food and a perfect place for conversation, which are the ticket for a successful date, whether the first or one of many. The eatery is tucked away off Hartz, so a walk through downtown Danville can prolong the evening. Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant: Fish on Fire Sushi Bar & Grill In Town and Country Shopping Center, Fish on Fire has great sushi as well as tempura and teriyaki. Whether you want a California roll or you prefer nigiri, a sea of votes from our readers makes this the right place for fish. Best Take-out Restaurant: Uncle Yu’s Get all your Uncle Yu’s favorites and bring them home. With great service and quick preparation time, getting delicious food is a snap. Best Thai Restaurant: Thai House Restaurant Enter into a land of happy taste buds as you step into this rustic old house on Rose Street in Downtown Danville. The food is tasty and each dish is arranged artistically and delivered with an extra dose of charm. Best Wine Bar: The Vine at Bridges Offering more than 350 wines from around the world, with 35 choices by the glass, happy hour snacks and live music ThursdaySaturday nights.

Best Yogurt Shop: Yogurt Shack This family-owned shop has expanded to three locations, but the one on Hartz at Diablo Road is the favorite here. Its website lists the day’s flavors, which always include non-dairy, low-fat and no-sugar options.

Kids and Pets: Best Children’s Clothing Store: Snickerdoodles Get the hippest children’s fashion at the cheapest prices. This consignment center is also a treasure trove of toys and decorations. Best Pet Groomer: Shampooches Dirty dogs get clean at this competitively priced, professional grooming salon. Cats, too! Pamper your pet with a custom cut from experienced groomers. Best Pet Store: Pet Food Express Express your love for your pets by attending its in-store events, selfservice pet wash and checking out all the food that’s fit to feed. Best Place for a Birthday Party: Danville Bowl Bring on the bumpers or get down with disco bowling. Whatever your mood, you can’t help but have fun at Danville Bowl. Best Place for Dance Lessons: Two Left Feet Dance Center Learn dance in a fun environment from any of Two Left Feet’s adept instructors. The Friday night dance socials are full of dancers, from newbies to professionals.

Thank you for voting us

Best Auto Repair 2 years in a row! 2013


Read what a satisfied client has to say... We’ve been going to these guys for over 15 years, and they ARE the BEST!!! We’ve had our Accord and Highlander serviced by them to our complete satisfaction. If our vehicle just needs an oil change, safety inspection and tire rotation, they usually call back by early afternoon to say that the car is ready. They don’t try to sell you anything that your car does not need, and have always done right by us! Isn’t it wonderful having an auto mechanic that you can trust? Very highly recommended! — Howard, San Ramon

Read moRe Reviews on

Best Tutoring School: On Track Learning Help your student get ahead with private or small group tutoring, math clubs and transitional training. Whether your child is falling behind or trying to get ahead, staff promise results. Best Veterinarian: Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center Discerning pets and their people like the convenience of one-stop shopping. For food, pharmacy and emergency services needs, our readers visit Bishop Ranch.

(925) 837-7913 195 HaRtz ave. | danville 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 13

Home & Vehicle Maintenance: Best Antique Store: Cottage Jewel This boutique has one-of-a-kind treasures for the home and to wear. Like any treasure hunt, it goes on and on — so make sure to stop by often. Best Art Gallery: Village Theatre Art Gallery This gallery is a town treasure, featuring exhibits from established, new and local artists, as well as workshops, book signings and special events. Best Auto Dealership: E-Lease Returns Our readers say that E-Lease Returns has spoiled them with its no-pressure sales approach, fantastic customer service and perfectly priced vehicles.


Thank you for voting us “Best Home Improvement Contractor” 6 years in a row!

“The quality, care, craftsmanship, understanding and goodwill start right at the top and trickles down to the last employee.” — Barry and Elaine Taylor

100% on Time and on Budget for 16 years running!

Call 820-0185 to discuss your project 390 Diablo Road #110 Danville Lic. #384275 Since 1961


14 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

Best Home Improvement Contractor: Gayler Construction Gayler Construction has a 100% on-time and on-budget record for 16 years running and is an award winning, green certified, design/build firm. Call now to learn how easy and rewarding it is to work with Gayler. Clients Selma and Mike Moore state, “The Gayler Construction experience has been positive on every level...on time, on budget, very professional management and staff, and the after-completion follow-up is THE BEST!” Best Home Furnishings: Elegant Clutter Comfortable and eye-catching, the furnishings here are sure to tempt you. Like their namesake, Elegant Clutter will help you fill your home with elegant pieces.

Best Auto Detail/Car Wash: Chamois Hand Car Wash Sure, you can wash the car yourself in the driveway but who wants to? And don’t you always miss a spot?

Best Home Builder: Shapell Homes Committed to excellent craftsmanship, innovative architecture and customer satisfaction, Shapell Homes takes care to design homes for the utmost comfort.

Best Auto Repair: Auto Care of Danville Check out this auto repair shop for highly competent staff, honest service and very reasonable rates. “What more could you ask for?” writes one Yelp reviewer.

Best Interior Designer: J. Hettinger Interiors These people have ideas galore and solutions for every design problem. Jerry’s mission is to bring joy and fulfillment to every client.

Best Carpet/Flooring Store: Diablo Flooring Diablo Flooring is here to bring the best possible pricing along with beautiful and complete installation to the Bay Area. Shop our wide selection of name brand quality carpeting, tile, hardwood, laminate and vinyl. Please visit one of our 3 boutique flooring stores in Pleasanton, Danville and Walnut Creek. Best Florist: East Bay Flower Company This shop is lovely inside and out. For special occasions or just because — say it with flowers. Best Hardware Store: Ace Hardware Get service with a smile, along with everything you need for home improvement and gardening.

Best Nursery/Garden Center: Navlet’s Garden Centers Plants from ground covers to trees to everything in between kept our readers returning to this anchor of the Rose Garden. Don’t forget to buy bird seed. Best Senior Living Facility: Diablo Lodge Lush and plush, this is the best place to relax and enjoy after a lifetime of labor. If raucous and rowdy are more your style, one reader suggests visiting Elliot’s Bar, but this is the place for tranquility.

Rest & Recreation: Best Girls Night Out Spot: Martini Sky Indulge in a well-crafted martini and great appetizers, including

truffle macaroni and cheese or lobster potstickers. Upscale but not stuffy, Martini Sky is a lovely place to gab with the girls. Best Golf Course: Diablo Country Club Golf Course Recognized as one of the most desirable courses in the Bay Area, the Diablo Country Club golf course has small, challenging greens and is perfect for a good game in beautiful countryside. Best Hobby/Craft Store: Richard’s Arts & Crafts We dare you to walk through this store without considering taking up a crafty hobby, from beading to artificial flower arranging to scrapbooking. Best Kept Secret Treasure of Danville: Tao House Enjoy the beautiful hillside home of America’s only Nobel Prizewinning playwright, Eugene O’Neill. A beautiful hidden treasure, Tao House hosts plays

and young playwright’s retreats each year. Best Place for Dancing: Two Left Feet Dance Center Come to the Friday night dance social and bring your dancing shoes! Dancers of all levels flock to this fun, weekly event for West Coast Swing and all other kinds of dance. Best Place for Live Music: Maria Maria With stellar regional and national artists and hand-selected playlists, Maria Maria is a match made in heaven between music and cuisine. Best Public Event: Danville Street Fairs The streets of Danville are transformed by Danville’s street fairs. Experience booths, vendors, food and exhibitions, and live music at the Thursday night street festivals, or see fine art and craft displays at the Danville Fine Arts Faire.


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2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 17

Outlook San Ramon With sales tax revenue up and City Center project to begin, development has become main issue for many By Glenn Wohltmann


an Ramon can look forward to a groundbreaking on City Center in 2014, along with an increase in sales tax revenue — and at least one new member on City Council. The City Center development was shelved with the downturn of the economy, but published reports say the project will likely break ground in the coming year. The new concept will rely on smaller shops, rather than the larger dephoto courtesy of the city of san ramon partment stores originally planned, Design and construction of a new, 45,000 square foot City Hall building was approved and sources say City Center will also in October as part of San Ramon’s City Center project. An agreement will also allow for include a 4-star hotel. It will also renovation of the San Ramon Library located at 100 Montgomery Street. create San Ramon’s long-awaited downtown area, including a city home in San Ramon is $731,300, tion. With Councilmember Jim hall, at the intersection of Bollinger according to the latest figures Livingstone stepping down, two Canyon Road and Camino Ramon. available from the US Census of the four candidates seem to Planning Director Phil Wong has department. A new townhome embrace Clarkson’s cautious apsaid the city is losing sales taxes, development at the end of Ryan proach to growth. The Council known as “retail leakage,” as peo- Industrial Court recently got the has been split along three-two ple do their shopping and eating go-ahead to build 42 townhomes lines, with Livingstone and Councilmember Dave Hudson in the in Dublin and Walnut Creek. City and six live/work units. Center is expected to help keep Those townhomes, called the minority on a number of matters. retail dollars local. ACRE project, would likely sell in With Hudson running as an in Retail sales in the city are up, the range of $400,000 to $500,000, cumbent, candidates Rene Matsuhowever. City Councilmember not counting property taxes, fees moto and Planning Commissioner Dave Hudson said San Ramon is for the homeowners association Harry Sachs seem likely to vote with Clarkson. At a recent candiexpecting an 8.8 percent increase and other additional costs. in sales taxes in the current fiscal San Ramon is still grappling with dates forum, both urged cautious year. plans to build 740 residential units, development. A fourth candidate, Budget issues continue to be a a senior facility, a church and a park Thomas von Thury, is generally concern among city officials and east of Bollinger Canyon Road and opposed to all new development, residents. The City Council ap- north of Crow Canyon Road inside specifically the City Center. proved a $74.7 million budget for San Ramon’s Northwest Specific Faria Preserve has gained some the current fiscal year, drawing Plan. Plans for a park at the 440- opposition, with a petition being $1.3 million from reserves. That acre site called Faria Preserve have circulated in the hope of stopmay be offset by the increase in been approved by the city’s Parks ping the project. That’s the case and Community Services Com- with plans for a set of on- and sales tax revenue. San Ramon can also expect a mission and are being vetted by off-ramps that would enter the HOV lanes at either Norris Canyon relatively low retail vacancy rate the Architectural Review Board. Road or Executive Parkway, too, Neither project sits well with of around 5 percent, according with a vocal group in opposition Mayor Bill Clarkson, who unsucto Lou Dagen, head of the city’s Economic Development Advisory cessfully tried to block the ACRE to either concept. development. Preserving open space in San Committee (EDAC). Ramon is also an ongoing discus “We need to look at family “With redevelopment money gone, EDAC is being much more friendly neighborhoods,” Clarkson sion. City Council recently heard proactive in bringing businesses said. “That’s why I have concerns a report from the Open Space into town and working with exist- about ACRE. That’s why I have Task Force, which cataloged all open space in and around San concerns about Faria.” ing businesses,” Dagen said. Ramon. All City Council can Housing continues to be in de- Clarkson is likely to pick up at didates have said they support mand. The average price for a least one ally in the Nov. 5 elec18 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

protecting land whenever possible, as does Clarkson. “Keeping our open space, I think we’ve got a great shot at that. We have to keep our eye on the ball,” he said. At the forum, Sachs and Matsumoto both said they favored making the Open Space Task Force a permanent committee. Public safety remains a priority for both current council members and the candidates. Police Chief Scott Holder recently asked for funding for four more police officers. While there has been an increase in auto thefts — something that’s been plaguing cities across the Bay Area — and residential burglaries, Holder said his key concern was cutting the amount of time it takes for officers to arrive on the scene after receiving a call. “It’s an important thing we need to monitor and improve upon,” Clarkson said. One hot topic is an increasing call from residents and city officials alike to bring back fireworks. The Independence Day event was canceled for the last two years, largely because of cost. City staff recommended a budget of $318,000 to accommodate for additional equipment, personnel and contractor costs stemming from problems in 2011. Roads were gridlocked and trash cans were overflowing after 30,000 people, mainly from out of town, descended on the city in what one city official described as “a perfect storm” that occurred when other localities eliminated their fireworks. Other cities have restored their July 4 events, and that would mean fewer people here. There’s another problem, too — space. If City Center construction begins next year, San Ramon would have to find another place to hold its event. n

great service, thorough research for the best loans in every situation, and the knowledge that their staff is on your side.



ith so much going on in San Ramon, it can be tricky to pick a favorite, or even choose a restaurant for a night out on the town. We at the San Ramon Express strive to make decision time a little easier by presenting our annual Readers Choice Awards. In the Readers Choice Awards’ fourth year, we once again took the mystery of “the best of the best” to the people. After sifting through a digital ton of votes cast on our online ballot, we’ve compiled a list of our readers’ favorites.

Services: Best Bank: Wells Fargo No need to worry about complicated banking questions or concerns — this branch of Wells Fargo has you covered. Best Credit Union: Patelco Credit Union An alternative to larger banks, Patelco provides a wide variety of friendly services. You can bank on the knowledge and courtesy of their staff. Best Financial Planner (Non-brokerage): Wells Fargo Advisors This California-grown bank provides individuals and businesses with a variety of financial services, while maintaining a professional and congenial rapport with their clients. Best Financial Planner Brokerage: Charles Schwab Investing can be complicated, so enlist the professionals at Charles Schwab to make it simpler, less costly and tailored to your individual needs. Best Mortgage Company: Preferred Mortgage Group Our readers prefer Preferred Mortgage Group. Come for the

Best Mortgage Professional: Randy Pickerell — RPM Randy Pickerell can help make the complicated home loan process much easier than you might expect, answering any question with patience and understanding.

san ramon readers choice 2013

Best Real Estate Agent: Tom Hart — Empire Realty Tom Hart provides a hassle-free experience with knowledge, experience, keen negotiating skills and commitment. Best Real Estate Office: J. Rockcliff With offices in Danville, Blackhawk, Pleasanton and Livermore, J. Rockcliff Realtors is one of the fastest growing companies in the state. Its relocation department provides home buying or selling assistance around the corner or across the globe. Best Real Estate Team: The Schlendorf Team Jack and Caroline, a fatherdaughter team, boast over 56 years of experience in real estate. They strive to make the process of selling a home pleasant, understandable and successful. Best Travel Agency: AAA Travel Whether you’re planning a family vacation to Disneyland or need a map of Memphis, friendly staff will take care of all your travel needs. This location also offers DMV services to AAA members.

Health and Fitness: Best Acupuncture: Seishindo Acupuncture The experts at Seishindo will use the delicate art of acupuncture to make you feel relaxed and at peace — and free you of tension you didn’t even know you had. Best Health Club: ClubSport San Ramon Pump iron, shoot hoops and

Gina Channell-Allen

Connor Shenave, 3, of Livermore, prepares to help launch his kite at the annual Art & Wind Festival in San Ramon. Readers voted the Art & Wind Festival, which takes place over the Memorial Day holiday as the “Best Public Event” in the San Ramon Readers Choice 2013 contest.

cardio kick your way to peak levels of fitness at this luxurious club. Amenities include a pool, spa services and personal training. Best Massage: Bodylines Day Spa Experience the quality of resortlike massage without the travel expenses. Bodylines strives to provide massage care that rejuvenates the soul in a safe and nurturing environment.

Best Place to Walk, Jog or Bike: Iron Horse Trail Skate, walk, bike or run the right of way of the former Southern Pacific Railroad, established in 1891 and abandoned in 1971. Stretching across several counties, this multi-use trail is the most fun you’ll have for 33 straight miles. Best Yoga/Pilates: ClubSport San Ramon Our readers say that this gym has it all, with racquetball courts, ample weight and cardio machines, child care, beautifully kept locker rooms and a pool.

Best Martial Arts Studio: Martial Arts America Dedicated to teaching the young and not so young the art of Tae Kwon Do, MAA takes students on a journey that will lead to untold riches, both mental and physical. Best Place to Buy Fitness Equipment & Apparel: Big 5 Lace up a new pair of cross trainers or slip into the perfect pair of yoga pants. Whether you’re hiking or want to get in a good game of basketball, Big 5 has it all.

Beauty & Style: Best Day Spa: Simply Beautiful Indulge in a chemical-free body wrap or regain your glow with a customized European facial. Simply Beautiful believes in helping both men and women relax and love themselves.

2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 19

Best Hair Salon for Men: Sport Clips Specializing in only men and boys hair, the staff at Sport Clips will give you the MVP treatment. Watch sports on television while receiving a neck massage and steamed towel treatment.

Best Dessert: Yogurtland Self-serve fro yo and all the toppings you can take. Have a sensible dollop for a sin-free treat or make a mountain of flavors and garnishes — what could be better?

Best Hair Salon for Women: Wassim & Co. Always up to date and professional, the stylists at Wassim & Co. know their way around a cut, color, style — and the way to our readers’ hearts.

Best Grocery Store: Safeway Find everything you need at Safeway. From produce to deli to prepared meals to cleaning products, let the friendly staff guide you to your grocery desires.

Best Jewelry Store: Pattivs Jewelers Owners Mark and Pat Fernwood are a perfect team at this store of sparkling goodies. With superior selection and more than reasonable pricing, get all your glitter and glam from Pattivs.

Best Ice Cream: Cold Stone Creamery Nobody serves up the ultimate indulgence like Cold Stone: The highest quality ingredients are all blended on a frozen granite stone. Founders Donald and Susan Sutherland were driven by their passion to create the world’s best ice cream.

Best MedSpa: Splendor Beauty Spa Providing healing massage since 2007, the dedicated massage therapists here relieve stress, reduce tension, manage pain and help clients reach an overall sense of well-being. Best Nail Care: Pinkies Nail Salons Get your nails buffed, scrubbed and polished at this relaxing, brightly lit salon. Manis and pedis are fun treatments that you continue to enjoy with every glance at your hands and feet. Best Place to Buy a Gift: Just a Little Something Gift Shop The name says it all. There’s something for everyone here and every occasion and it offers complimentary gift wrapping. Best Clothing Store for Men: Patrick James There’s something James Bond-ish about the name Patrick James, but look for West Coast classic styles here as well as English tweeds. Patrick and his sons Mike, Patrick Jr. and Clay are building an empire based on quality clothing.

file photo

Winter might bring waterfalls to our western hills and snow to Mount Diablo, but a recent summer hike along the Del Amigo Trail in the Las Trampas Wilderness revealed the majesty of this beautiful sunrise. Las Trampas Regional Wilderness was selected as “Best Kept Secret Treasure of San Ramon” in the San Ramon Readers Choice 2013 contest.

stores. Any given day you’ll find names like Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenburg or Dolce & Gabbana.

Epicure: Best American Food Restaurant: Brass Door Established in 1955 when the total population was a little over 100, the Brass Door has been around since before San Ramon was San Ramon. Great steaks, fresh fish and salads, but no one can remember why it was called the Brass Door, except that it has one. Best Bakery: Whole Foods Try a variety of delicacies the Whole Foods bakery has on hand, like vegan chocolate cakes or treats from their cookie bar.You can also order custom-made cakes here for any special occasion. Best Barbecue: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit It’s a summer barbecue every day at Dickey’s. This restaurant smokes its own meats without any short cuts, and focuses on the best sauces and sides any barbecue lover could hope for.

Best Breakfast: Katy’s Korner Best Clothing Store for Women: Who knew eggs benedict could Loehmann’s Inc. be prepared so many ways? Our With designer fashion at 30 to readers, who chose this restau65 percent less than department rant as their favorite. Corned 20 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

beef hash also comes highly recommended. Best Brew Pub/Sports Bar: Hop Yard Alehouse & Grill An amazing selection of beer, great burgers, garlic fries and a patio. No wonder the Hopyard has been our Readers Choice for years. Best Burger: In-N-Out Burgers are all they do. The long lines just make finally getting that double double with cheese or animal fries all the sweeter. Best California Cuisine/ Innovative Dining: Esin Restaurant & Bar Cafe Esin is consistently named our Readers Choice. Kudos to husband and wife chef team Curtis and Esin deCarion, their inventive use of fresh ingredients and their six dessert specials a day. Best Chinese Restaurant: Uncle Yu’s Traditional Chinese cuisine melded with modern styles, so you can get anything from hot and sour soup and Mongolian beef to contemporary specials like smoked salmon on a bed of cucumber noodles, baby spinach, and sauteed with a shitake mushroom soy vinaigrette. Uncle Yu’s has been our Readers Choice for years.

Best Italian Restaurant: Pasta Primavera Cafe We may not be in Italy, but we can pretend, and Pasta Primavera makes that molto facile. Try their chicken pesto gorgonzola or a heavenly slice of Tiramisu. Best Kid-Friendly, Non-Chain Restaurant: Zachary’s Pizza With an easy, friendly atmosphere and scads of choices for pizza, Zachary’s is a great place to take the whole family — and order something the kids will happily eat. Best Mexican Restaurant: Luna Loca Mexican Restaurant Satisfy your taste buds with freshly made Mexican food, assembled with the finest farm fresh vegetables and the best meats, poultry and seafood available. Add to that attentive and friendly service, and Luna Loca is a winner. Best New Restaurant 2013: Fieldhouse Sports Grill & Tavern With fresh takes on American grill classics and over 25 hi-def big screens this pub-style tavern is the ideal place for tasty food, whether you’re a sports fan or not. Enjoy the comfortable dining room or heated creekside patio — Fieldhouse is definitely here to stay.

Best Pizza: Zachary’s Chicago Pizza With over 150 best pizza awards since it was established in 1993, it’s easy to understand why Zachary’s is our Readers Choice for best pizza. Zachary’s offers both Chicago-style stuffed pizza and a traditional thin crust. Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant: Sakura Japanese Cuisine The fish is fresh and the staff is friendly and attentive. For many of our San Ramon readers, they won’t go anywhere else for sushi. Best Thai Restaurant: Thai Cafe Tasty food at reasonable prices and a friendly staff, which is why Thai Cafe is a consistent Readers Choice. Best Yogurt Shop: Yogurtland Thick, cold and luscious yogurt with yummy toppings, the selection of flavors and great pricing at this tasty little shop makes frozen yogurt a lovely experience.

Kids & Pets: Best Pet Groomer: Shampooches For you pet owners who love to treat your pet to the best, Shampooches has professional, experienced groomers and competitive prices for the perfect pet pampering. Best Pet Store: Petco Need a scratching post, a dog bed, a Litter Genie, or some specialty pet food? Petco is the place to go.

as two with patient and competent instructors in everything from hip hop to tap to jazz to ballet. Tiffany’s Dance Academy is also home to the prestigious Bay Area Dance Company. Best Tutoring School: Kumon Math and Reading Center This educational center is designed to help your child keep up and get ahead. With individualized teaching methods and personalized academic plans, this place gets an A+ from our readers. Best Veterinarian: Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center Featuring primary care, emergency services, boarding, grooming and much more, Valley residents and their furry friends are in good hands — or paws.

Home & Vehicle: Best Art Gallery: Lindsay Dirkx Art Gallery See what local artists have to offer at this gallery run by the city of San Ramon. It’s at the city’s community center, 12501 Alcosta Boulevard, and has a different gallery exhibit each month. Best Auto Dealership: Diablo Motors Get your next car at this local, “non-dealer-ish” and honest store. Our readers rave about Greg Meier’s personal service and knowledge. As they say at Diablo Motors, “Life’s too short to drive a crummy car.”

Best Place for a Birthday Party: Danville Bowl Strike a great note with your child and spare some time for Danville Bowl. With disco bowling, tasty treats and an energetic atmosphere, this is the place for fun.

Best Auto Detail/Car Wash: Sponges Car Wash & Detail Center Sponges has been tops in the car wash category for years. With a gift shop and café, you can relax while your car gets clean, plus Sponges is a big supporter of local charities, including San Ramon schools.

Best Place for Dance Lessons: Tiffany’s Dance Academy This dance school provides excellent training to dancers as young

Best Auto Repair: The Service Outlet Providing dealership service at independent repair-shop prices,

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our readers enjoy personal service, certified mechanics specially trained for Acuras, Hondas, Lexus, and Toyotas, and speedy repairs. Best Carpet/Flooring Store: Carpet One Locally owned and operated, Carpet One has a 100 percent guarantee that you’ll love your floor, and a Healthier Living Carpet Installation System to minimize allergens, mold, mildew and dust. Best Florist: Crow Canyon Florist A family owned and operated business committed to offering the finest floral arrangements and gifts and dedicated to making your experience pleasant. Best Hardware Store: Ace Hardware Ace Hardware in Danville is probably the closest thing to those old-fashioned hardware stores where the guys knew every widget they had in stock.

Best Home Furnishings: Home Consignment Center As Home Consignment Center’s sales have grown, furniture factories have started to consign their samples, closeouts, overruns or other products directly to the stores, meaning great deals on new furniture, too. Best Home Builder: Shapell Homes A house is not a home without a certain extra something. This something is just what Shapell Homes brings to the table, making their homes comfortable, elegant and innovative. Best Nursery/Garden Center: Navlet’s Garden Centers Navlet’s has been a local institution for more than 100 years. They’re experts in the Bay Area’s micro-climates, and they offer classes and online how-to-guides. Best Senior Living Facility: Villa San Ramon The friendly, flexible environment

offers tailored solutions to varied resident needs. Villa San Ramon offers three chef-prepared meals daily, scheduled transportation and access to nearby parks, restaurants and shopping.

Rest & Recreation: Best Golf Course: The Bridges Golf Club at Gale Ranch Stunning views and gorgeous greens make this an ideal location for new and experienced golfers alike. Best Hobby/Craft Store: Michaels Guys’ names are usually more associated with power tools than crafts, but our readers trust Michaels. Best Kept Secret Treasure of San Ramon: Las Trampas Regional Wilderness A beautiful place to experience nature. With countless trails to choose from at varying levels

Experience the 2013/14 Season!

of difficulty, Las Trampas makes the wilderness an amazing experience. Best Place for Dancing: Shboom If you want old school soul and to dance with people who really get down, this is the place for you. Refresh with a cool drink from the bar or order some munchies in between numbers. Best Place for Live Music: Dougherty Performing Arts Center This theater boasts great acoustics and resonance, with performances by local groups, high school bands and many other musical experiences. Best Public Event: Art & Wind Festival Hot air balloons, kites, dancing and vendors, this festival on Memorial Day Weekend includes over 200 arts and crafts booths and entertainment on three stages.





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FAITH PRINCE March 16 • 2 PM

New school development, renovations under way in SRVUSD Population increase demands new school, infrastructure improvements By Jessica Lipsky


lans for several large projects are under way as officials from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District begin use of funds from the Measure D school bond. Approved in November 2012, the $260 million facilities bond will allow for a variety of infrastructure improvements throughout San Ramon and Danville schools. Chief among the projects is a $29.4 million elementary school in San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley, slated to open in fall 2015, approximately one half-mile southwest of the Dougherty Station Community Center and Library. The as-yetnamed school will sit on a 7.4 acre site adjacent to a future 30-acre community park; Shapell Homes donated the land to SRVUSD in 2012 with the understanding that play fields will also serve as a permanent park for the city. Designed by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, the school will feature two two-story classroom buildings, a comprehensive multi-use building, child care administration building and a large playfield equipped for soccer and softball. Design plans for the school were submitted to the California Department of Education and California Division of State Architect in fall 2012. Gary Black, assistant superintendent for facilities and maintenance for SRVUSD, said Shappell will begin grading and construction of retaining walls in November. The school district is set to begin construction of the school itself in April 2014. The new school will accommodate approximately 830 kindergarten through fifth grade students, with the possibility of a transitional kindergarten class still up in the air. Officials expect the school to help alleviate the enrollment crunch at Dougherty Valley’s four existing

elementary schools, all of which house over 1,000 students in buildings meant for 900. “We really tried to expedite the process for the new school because of the issue of growth that continues in that community,” said district spokesman Terry Koehne. “The wave is continuing. Whether or not it’s a bubble or how long it’s going to last is everyone’s question. It’s fair to say that most of our growth is coming from the Dougherty Valley.” Approximately 31,400 students are enrolled in SRVUSD for the 2013-14 school year and 9,026 students are enrolled in Dougherty Valley schools. Assistant Superintendent Gary Black said demographic predictions show no drop-off in student population at the kindergarten level; Quail Run Elementary had the smallest kindergarten class in Dougherty Valley this year with 120 students while the rest of the district averaged 79 students. “A lot of our growth is the younger kids matriculating up with kindergarten and first grade back-filling at the same levels,” he said. “It’s not necessarily new housing units coming in, though that’s layered on top of the growth.” According to 2010 Census data, an estimated 26,445 people called Dougherty Valley home and the average household size was 3.32 people — compared to 2.85 in the rest of San Ramon. Dougherty Valley also saw a large increase in the number of multigenerational families, those with three or more generations in a single household. As of September, Shapell had approximately 1,548 units left to build in the Dougherty Valley; roughly 1,200 single family detached homes and 347 single family attached units. District officials have also seen increased enrollment at the second-

Courtesy of San Ramon Valley Unified School District

Preliminary design for a new elementary school in the Dougherty Valley. The school is slated to open in fall 2015.

ary level as enlarged elementary student populations matriculate to middle schools. To that end, SRVUSD will use between $5 and $6 million in Measure D funds to add a new classroom wing to Dougherty Valley High School. “The bond will pay for the majority of the addition, but the growth has been such that we need to use some of our growth dollars to expand the school,” Black said, adding that Measure D funds pay for permanent structures. “The total number of classrooms coming is 12 permanent and six to 12 relocatables.” The addition is slated for completion in January 2016, at the earliest, and is dependent on a variety of factors including assessed valuation, interest rates and the speed at which new houses are built in the area. Additional homes will “increase the tax base, decrease the tax burden and then we can get bond money faster,” Black noted. Measure D funds are also allocated for seismic upgrades at Walt Disney and Neil Armstrong elementaries, new stadium bleachers

at San Ramon Valley High and, eventually, the addition of a 47 classroom, three-story wing at the high school. The SRVHS wing is slated to break ground after completion of a major renovation at Stone Valley Middle School, scheduled for June 2015. “We are still finishing up a whole lot of other projects still in the pipeline and Measure D projects are what we’re putting in the pipeline now,” Black said. “Still seeing projects finishing, while they might not be on Measure D ledger, there’s a lot of pre-working going breakneck speed.” The first series of Measure D bonds sold on Feb. 14, 2013 generated net proceeds of nearly $75 million at an interest cost of 3.53 percent. Black said that the district will have come a long way by the time the full bond amount is issued. “For far too long we were a high performing district with sub-par facilities and that’s not the case anymore. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to correct that,” Koehne added. n

2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 23


jessica lipsky

Hats off to local grads! Ninety-four percent of San Ramon Valley Unified School District seniors go on to attend college or university.


San Ramon 94583. Principal: Christine Huajardo. Alamo Elementary School • 855-2700 100 Wilson Road, Alamo 94507. • Principal: Stanley Hitomi. Green Valley Elementary • 938-0448 School 1001 Diablo Road, • Danville 94526. Principal: Donna Bollinger Canyon School Grim. 2300 Talavera Drive, San Ramon • 552-5685 94583. Principal: Shawn Wells. • • 242-3200 Greenbrook Elementary School • 1475 Harlan Drive, Danville 94526. Principal: Rhea Murphy. Country Club Elementary School • 855-5300 7534 Blue Fox Way, San Ramon • 94583. Principal: Jenise Falk. Hidden Hills Elementary School • 803-7430 12995 Harcourt Way, San Ramon • 94583. Principal: Ken Nelson. Coyote Creek Elementary • 497-3800 School 8700 North Gale Ridge • Road, San Ramon 94583. John Baldwin Elementary Principal: Michael Biondi. School 741 Brookside Drive, • 735-1183 Danville 94526. Principal: • Darlene Hale. Creekside Elementary School • 855-5200 6011 Massara Street, Danville • 94506. Principal: Aaron Tarzian. Live Oak Elementary School 5151 • 314-2000 Sherwood Way, San Ramon 94582. • Principal: Nadine Rosenzweig. Golden View Elementary • 803-3100 School 5025 Canyon Crest Drive, • 24 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

Montair Elementary School 300 Quinterra Lane, Danville 94526. Principal: Anthony LaRue. • 855-5100 • Montevideo Elementary School 13000 Broadmoor Drive, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Tasha Snow. • 803-7450 • Neil Armstrong Elementary School 2849 Calais Drive, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Lorna Monteith. • 479-1600 • Quail Run Elementary School 4000 Goldenbay Avenue, San Ramon 94582. Principal: Mimi Quan. • 560-4000 • Rancho Romero Elementary School 180 Hemme Avenue, Alamo 94507. Principal: Skye Larsh. • 855-5700 • Sycamore Valley Elementary School 2200 Holbrook Drive, Danville 94506. Principal: Cher Situm. • 855-2800 • Tassajara Hills Elementary School 4675 Camino Tassajara Road, Danville 94506. Principal: Ann Dodson. • 648-7150 • Twin Creeks Elementary School 785 Marsh Drive, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Barbara Mallon. • 855-2900 • Vista Grande Elementary School 667 Diablo Road, Danville 94526. Principal: Pat Hansen. • 314-1000 • Walt Disney Elementary School 3250 Pine Valley Road, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Curtis Haar. • 479-3900 •

MIDDLE SCHOOLS Charlotte Wood Middle School 600 El Capitan Drive, Danville

94526. Principal: Chris George. • 552-5600 • Diablo Vista Middle School 4100 Camino Tassajara, Danville 94506. Principal: Rebecca Ingram. • 648-8560 • Gale Ranch Middle School 6400 Main Branch Road, San Ramon 94582. Principal: Sue Goldman. • 479-1500 • Iron Horse Middle School 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon 94583. Principal: Joe Nguyen. • 824-2820 • Los Cerros Middle School 968 Blemer Road, Danville 94526. Principal: Phyllis Roach. • 855-6800 • Pine Valley Middle School 3000 Pine Valley Road, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Jason Law. • 479-7700 • Stone Valley Middle School 3001 Miranda Avenue, Alamo 94507. Principal: Shaun McElroy. • 855-5800 • Windemere Ranch Middle School 11611 East Branch Parkway, San Ramon 94582. Principal: David Bolin. • 479-7400 •

HIGH SCHOOLS California High School 9870 Broadmoor Drive, San Ramon 94583. Principal: Mark Corti. • 803-3200 • Dougherty Valley High School 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon 94582. Principal: Jason Reimann. • 479-6400 • Monte Vista High School 3131 Stone Valley Road, Danville 94526. Principal: Janet Terranova. • 552-5530 • San Ramon Valley High School 501 Danville Blvd., Danville 94526. Principal: Ruth Steele. • 552-5580 •

Thank you sponsors! For the past 30 years, a run has taken place in the Valley... a run created to benefit the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation. It is with the support of our sponsors that we have been able to raise over 7 million dollars each year to support our schools. We’d like to give a huge “thank you” to all of those that sponsor this very successful community event! TI TL E S P O N SOR










RegionalHospital F O U N D AT I O N


B R O N Z E S P O N S ORS R u g g i e ’ s , In c • K i w ani s C l ub of S an Ramon V a lley • Cy t o S p o r t • B la c k ha w k Pla z a • iTr im • PG & E • N a t i o n a l C o n s t ructi on Re nt al s • Gag non’s C a t er in g a n d R en t a ls • H EA LTH Y N IN J A M e d i cal A n e s t h e s i a C ons ul tant s • Empow e r Ma n a gem en t Co r p o r a t io n • Chip o t le Mexic a n G r ill

Learn more about The Run!

2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 25

Boomers, seniors traverse area trails with hiking group San Ramon Trailblazers meet weekly for easy walks and hikes By Jessica Lipsky


ith gorgeous trails throughout the San Ramon Valley, Sunol, Pleasanton, Lafayette and beyond, it’s no wonder that members of hiking group San Ramon Trailblazers enjoy exploring the wonders of their own backyards. But the 3-year-old group has evolved from a means for exercise to a full-blown social circle for Baby Boomers and those slightly beyond. “The Trailblazers...has been a tremendous success. It has met the intended outcomes originally set and beyond,” said founder and hike leader Nido Paras. “This is something I found to be very useful when I got to be older (because) I can no longer do the things that I used to do like play more sports and run. Hiking and biking are the things that primarily keep me in shape and to do it with a group of people who have a common interest, I find just delightful.” Paras, a San Ramon resident and retiree in his 60s, originally founded the hiking group with his wife Patty after volunteering at the city’s senior center. An avid traveler who has hiked all over the world, Paras said he and his wife were looking for an easy means of exercise as well as a social group. “The initial group started with five energetic hikers and currently has 51 active hikers. Sixty percent of the hikers are Boomers, which was our target audience,” Paras said, adding that the group ranges in age from 46 to 82. Trailblazers meets every Wednesday morning and has hiked over 27 trails, visited several historical sites such as the Eugene O’Neill homestead, and continues to challenge members with a variety of terrain. Trailblazers began with 2 to 3 mile hikes

Photo courtesy of Nido Paras

Top: Trailblazers traverse the Flag Hill trail in Sunol Regional Wilderness. Bottom: On another beautiful day, the Trailblazers wade through Pine Creek Trail in Mount Diablo.

on level ground and have since averaged 5 miles over easy and difficult terrain, with maximum elevation gains of 1,500 feet. Hikes include discussion about some of the flora and fauna, history and geology. Brenda Hill, 66, said she joined Trailblazers at the behest of a friend as an “experiment.” The retiree said she stayed for the people and positivity. “When I joined the group about a year and a half ago, I had just retired and couldn’t really walk more than a couple of blocks; last time we went 6 miles,” Hill said. “The first walk was rough — it was a mile and half, 2 miles —

26 | San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14

and they all waited for me at the finish line and gave me a hug and said good job. It was very encouraging.” Seventy-year-old Steve Buckser wasn’t an avid hiker before joining Trailblazers but used to walk two miles each morning before he retired. Now a weekly participant, Buckser said hiking improves his health and the group keeps him motivated. “One of the advantages of going with a hiking group is (Paras) picks out very, very interesting hikes and the distances are longer. If I were going alone, maybe after 2, 2 1/2 miles I would say ‘Gee wiz it’s enough,’” the re-

tired electronics and software engineer said. “When you’re going with people, you’re talking and before you know it you’re done with the hike.” In addition to improvements in social and mental health, Paras said Trailblazers have reported improved agility, coordination and flexibility, as well as the confidence to undertake outdoor physical activities. “The most rewarding overall observation or experience would be to see people who could hardly walk a mile when we first started or nothing but flat, and now we’re going up to the Pleasanton Ridge and Las Trampas,” Paras said. “They’re telling me that their blood pressure is down, cholesterol is down, they feel so much better, have so much endurance and stability and balance.” “I’m really proud of some of our walkers. There are people in our group that are in their mid-70s or older and they usually out-hike me,” Hill added. “It’s a great activity, every week we just push a little bit more and a little bit more and now we’re at 6 miles.” Paras has gone on to schedule specialty walking trips and social events for the group, which often gets together for lunch or drinks after hikes. The group has toured San Francisco’s Chinatown and Barbary Coast, and has plans to visit Black Diamond Mines in Antioch later this month. Several members were particularly excited about a walking tour of San Francisco’s Mission District, which features dozens of murals. “People love these tours, these are things they don’t do on their own but there’s so much interest, so much curiosity,” Paras noted. “For my wife and I, it’s been tremendously rewarding, we just love to see this happening — all these people participate in a regular physical activity.” n

Art associations Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society (ADAS) P.O. Box 1034, Danville 94526. ADAS is a non-profit organization that fosters fine art appreciation and education within our communities, provides the opportunity for artists to further their artistic development, and supports the school art programs through fundraising. Membership includes artists and patrons who appreciate the visual arts and currently consists of over 200 professional and non-professional artists of all levels. This group meets at 7:30 p.m., on the second Tuesday of every month (except in July and August), at the Alamo Women’s Club, 1401 Danville Boulevard. • 683-1066 • Contra Costa Academy of Fine Art P.O. Box 458, Alamo 94507. The mission of the Contra Costa Academy of Fine Art is to nurture artistic spirit and provide the art education required for producing the highest level of every student’s artistic potential. The academy sponsors the joy of aesthetic exploration and achievement by employing the highest degree of art academia taught by inspiring and skilled art instructors. It meets at noon, on the second Friday of every month at Richard’s Crafts, Upstairs Meeting Room, 225 Alamo Plaza. • 837-5654 • • E-mail: San Ramon Arts Foundation P.O. Box 403, San Ramon 94583. San Ramon Arts Foundation was established to encourage, support, and promote the arts in San Ramon and the San Ramon Valley. The Foundation grants financial assistance to cultural arts, organizes special fundraising events, acquires funding through grants, individuals, business sponsors, leads expansion of cultural arts in the San Ramon Valley, and supports development of new cultural arts programs. • 389-7529 •

Bookstores & literary activities Bay Books 2415 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #3, San Ramon

94583. The San Ramon Bay Books store has 4,000 square feet of new, used and rare books and a friendly and experienced staff that help you find the perfect book. The San Ramon store hosts two different book clubs. • 855-1524 • Christian Science Reading Room 650 Danville Boulevard, Danville 94526. The Christian Science Reading Room is both a bookstore and pray/read/study place for people of all faiths (or no faith). There is always a librarian on duty to answer any questions, help you in your studies or guide you through the computer resources. The sales area has many books, magazines, children’s books, CDs and tapes for purchase. • 837-6639 • readingRoom.php • E-mail: Danville Library Bookstore 400 Front Street, Danville 94526. The Danville Library Bookstore is run by the Friends of the Danville Library and offers something for everyone including fiction, nonfiction, children’s books or coffee table books. The bookstore also hosts large book sales during the year when thousands of books are available for purchase. Hours: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Monday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday. • 837-4455 Danville Public Library 400 Front Street, Danville 94526. The Danville Public Library has a strong collection of children’s, teens and adult materials, six catalog computers, 33 public Internet workstations, including a public ADA computer workstation. The library also has new Early Literacy Computers pre-loaded with fun and interactive activities for children ages 2-8. There is a variety of free programs for children, teens and adults. Children’s storytimes include: Mother Goose Time, Toddler Storytime, Preschool Storytime and different programs for children sponsored by the Danville Library Foundation. SAT Strategy sessions are available for teens as well as a chance to serve on the Danville Library Teen Advisory Board. Programs for adults include monthly book clubs and

arts & Entertainment

jessica lipsky

The Lindsay Dirkx Brown Art Gallery is located inside the San Ramon Community Center at 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon. A different exhibit is offered every month.

programs hosted by the Friends of the Danville Library. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m., Sunday. • 837-4889 • danville.html Dougherty Station Library 17017 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon 94582. The Dougherty Station Library is a joint-use 11,600-square foot library serving the needs of San Ramon’s growing population and the Diablo Valley College campus. Library collections focus on the needs of children, teens and community college students. The library includes seating areas for young people and families, a community room for library programs, study rooms, computer lab, free wireless Internet access and 44 computers for public use. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Thursday; noon-8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday; closed Sunday. • 973-3380 • dougherty.html • E-mail:

Rakestraw Books 522 Hartz Avenue, Danville 94526. Rakestraw Books is a small, independent bookshop located in downtown Danville. The shop offers a strong collection of children’s books, contemporary fiction and others. It hosts authors and the Signed First Editions Club. Hours: 9 a.m.6 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday; and noon-5 p.m., Sunday. • 837-7337 • • E-mail: rakestraw_books@ read.booksellers 3630 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville 94506. read.booksellers opened its doors in November 2009 and is inspired by the classic independent bookstore model. It offers excellent book and gift choices, hosts book clubs and authors and has a great children’s section that is a comfortable and fun place. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., MondayThursday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday. • 736-9090 •

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San Ramon Library 100 Montgomery St., San Ramon. The San Ramon Library includes a large children’s area with a separate story room, teen area, public access computers and free wireless Internet access. Collections include materials in a variety of formats that support the educational and entertainment needs of the community. Programs for children, teens, and adults are provided with the support of San Ramon Library Foundation. San Ramon is particularly proud of the jazz collection and annual jazz concerts. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday. • 973-2850 • sanramon.html • E-mail:

Concert series Alamo Summer Concert Series Livorna Park, Livorna Road and Miranda Avenue, Alamo 94507. Alamo hosts the Summer Concert Series from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Fridays, from June-August, at Livorna Park, Alamo. Different sounds of music

are played live free for residents. • Blackhawk Plaza Summer Concert Series 4040 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville 94506. The Blackhawk Plaza Summer Concert Series hosts numerous bands during the months of July and August, at the Blackhawk Plaza. The series provides families and friends of all ages an evening of great music, plus an exciting shopping and dining experience. • 736-2751 • Music in the Park Oak Hill Park, 3005 Stone Valley Road, Danville 94526. Town of Danville hosts its annual Music in the Park from 6-8 p.m. on Saturdays, July-August, at Oak Hill Park. Music ranges from tributes to famous bands, Motown, Blues, R&B and Cajun. • 314-3400 • San Ramon Summer Concert Series 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon 94583. Bring the family for a perfect summer evening by enjoying great music at 5:30 p.m., Sundays, at San Ramon Central

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Park. Bring a picnic, blanket and/ or lawn chairs; wine, beer, soda and ice cream are available for purchase. These concerts are free. • 973-3200 • Thursdays @ The VT 233 Front St., Danville 94526. Series offers Tri-Valley residents an opportunity to enjoy a wide range of music and movies at the historic Village Theatre. • 314-3400 •

Galleries Bedford Gallery Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. The Bedford Gallery is the largest communitybased visual arts facility in the area. The gallery exhibits work of historic, modern and contemporary artists. Lectures, workshops, panel discussions and other kinds of public programs are offered. General admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youth ages 13-17 and free for children 12 and under. Free admission is offered the first Tuesday of every month. Ticket holders to events at the Lesher Center for the Arts are admitted free on the ticketed date. Hours: noon-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday; 6-8 p.m. when there are evening performances in the Lesher Center for the Arts; closed Mondays. • 295-1417 • Lindsay Dirkx Brown Art Gallery 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon 94583. This gallery is located inside the San Ramon Community Center and offers a different gallery exhibit each month. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m. -5 p.m., Friday. • 973-3200 • Village Theatre and Art Gallery 233 Front St., Danville 94526. The Village Theatre is a cultural art center that features six to seven rotating exhibitions per year with an emphasis in contemporary Bay Area artists. The 245 seat theatre offers plays, musical performances and more. • 314-3400 •

Museums & collections Alameda County Central Railroad Society 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton 94566. The Alameda County Central Railroad Society has a railroad exhibit at the Alameda County Fairgrounds featuring an O scale layout and HO scale layout. The exhibit is a permanent attraction of the county fair and is open all year to the general public every Friday evening from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. The layouts operate continuously during the annual county fair and during special events such as the Great American Train Show. Memberships are available. • • E-mail: Blackhawk Museum 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville 94506. The Blackhawk Museum is home to close to 100 classic, vintage and rare automobiles, an Automotive Research Library and bookstore. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and free for children under 6 years old and active military personnel. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. • 736-2277 • • E-mail: museum@blackhawk Camp Parks History Center Camp Parks Blvd., Building 620, 6th St. and Fernandez Ave., Dublin 94568. The Camp Parks History Center is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesdays and from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Wednesdays. Group tours are offered by appointment. Photo ID is needed for each visitor to enter the base. • Parks.html David Glass House Museum 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon 94583. The Glass House is San Ramon’s historic house museum built in 1877 which depicts life during the Victorian Era is open on the second Saturday of every month. Admission is $5 per person; children under 5 and Historic Foundation members are free. • 973-3284 •

Eugene O’Neill Commemorative The O’Neill Commemorative in Front Street Park, across the street from Danville Library, celebrates O’Neill’s life in Danville and his plays, the last six of which were written at Tao House, that earned him recognition as the playwright who reshaped American theater. Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House P.O. Box 280, Danville 94526. The mission of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House, is to celebrate and promote the vision and legacy of Eugene O’Neill, America’s foremost playwright. To achieve its mission, the foundation collaborates with the National Park Service in restoring and preserving the Tao House. Transportation is provided to the Tao House, leaving from the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave., Danville. Reservations are required, except for Saturday. Hours: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. • foundation information: 820-1818 • Tao House information: 838-0249 • • • E-mail: taohouse@eugene Forest Home Farms Historic Park 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon 94583. The valley’s agricultural history is featured at this 16-acre historical park where there are barns, ranch equipment and old tractors. The farm is home to 21 structures including the Boone House built in 1900 and the David Glass House built in 1877. The David Glass House serves as a historic house museum. The Boone House serves as a retreat and meeting center. • 973-3284 • Lindsay Wildlife Museum 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek 94597. Visitors can listen to the cry of a red tailed hawk, go eye-to-eye with a gray fox and watch a bald eagle eat lunch. More than 50 species of live, non-releasable, native California animals are on exhibit. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6.50 for children 2-17 years old, and children 2 and under are free; group rates are available. Hours: Noon-5

p.m. during the school year and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. during the summer months, Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday. • 935-1978 • Museum of the San Ramon Valley 205 Railroad Ave., Danville 94526. The Museum is housed in the restored 1891 Southern Pacific Depot in Danville on Railroad Avenue at Prospect and is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the area’s rich history and heritage. The collections and exhibits reflect the human experiences, institutions and cultures that were shaped by the valley’s landscape, environment and early settlers. The museum also has a gift shop with unique items and historic photos. Museum docents offer walking tours through old downtown Danville and the historic Alamo Cemetery. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for students with ID; $1 for children; and $5 for families. Hours: 1-4 p.m., TuesdayFriday; 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday; noon-3 p.m., Sunday. • 837-3750 • • E-mail: Museum on Main 603 Main St., Pleasanton 94566. The museum is a local, regional history museum with rotating exhibits of historical artifacts from various time periods as well as permanent displays. It also has a gift shop that offers history books, miniatures, postcards and more. $2 donation requested. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 1-4 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday. • 462-2766 • • E-mail: Niles Canyon Railway Sunol Depot, 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol. 37001 Mission Blvd., Fremont. The Niles Canyon Railroad offers a ride through the beautiful Niles Canyon between Sunol and Fremont. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for kids ages 3-12 and kids under 3 years old ride free. • 862-9063 • Tassajara School House 1650 Finley Road, Danville 94506. The school is owned and maintained

by the SRV Fire Protection District, has picnic tables and hosts the Museum of the San Ramon Valley’s third grade one-room school program each spring. School marms and masters provide a day in 1889 at the school. Students use slates, learn to cipher and recite from the McGuffey Reader. • 837-3750 • Walnut Creek Model Railroad 2751 Buena Vista Ave., Walnut Creek 94596. The Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society is home to 4,300 feet of railroad track and up to 10 feet high of mountainous layouts. The track features numerous track styles like modern diesel and electric traction lines. Cost is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 years old; special rates are available for Scouts in uniform. • 937-1888 •

music Blackhawk Chorus The Blackhawk Chorus performs two concert series every year, one in

the spring and one during the holiday season. Tickets may be purchased by phone, online or at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. • 943-7469 • California Symphony 877 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 200, Walnut Creek 94596. California Symphony brings world-class music, renowned artists, innovative programming and awardwinning composers to the area. The symphony also is committed to providing music education programs for children and adults. The home of the symphony is the Lesher Center for the Arts located at 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. • tickets: 943-SHOW (943-7469) • California Symphony Office: 280-2490 • • E-mail: info@californiasymphony. org Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra P.O. Box 3087, Walnut Creek 94598. The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra’s mission is to bring quality chamber music





traffic safety safety education education program AAtraffic programtotochange changedriver, driver, cyclist, and pedestrian behavior. cyclist, and pedestrian behavior. 2013-14 San Ramon Valley Life | 29

to the Contra Costa Community. Saturday evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., at Los Medanos College Recital Hall, 2700 E. Leland Road, Pittsburg. Sunday performances are held at Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. • Los Medanos College Recital Hall: 439-2181 • Lesher Center for the Arts: 943-7469 • • E-mail: moreinfo@contracosta Contra Costa Wind Symphony P.O. Box 2331, Walnut Creek 94595. The Contra Costa Wind Symphony is a first-class, 21st century symphonic band that seeks to provide an uplifting, aesthetic musical experience to both its volunteers and audience. It holds regular concerts throughout the year at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. • Danville Community Band P.O. Box 2276, Danville 94526. The Danville Community Band, under the baton of Robert Calonico, have proved to be one of the premier musical groups in the Tri-Valley area. The Band’s members are volunteers from Danville, Alamo and surrounding communities. They are dedicated musicians who have a common interest in playing music and improving their skills while having fun. The group meets from 7-9 p.m., every Monday, SeptemberJune, at Community Presbyterian Church, Danville. • 372-8420 • • E-mail: Danville Girls Chorus P.O. Box 665, Danville 94526. The Danville Girls Chorus offers a complete program of choral music education through a variety of learning experiences and performance opportunities. Singers are taught the basics of vocal production and learn the fundamentals of musicianship and note-reading. Participation in this program develops a sense of responsibility, confidence and self-esteem in the singers. • 837-2624 • • E-mail: admin@danvillegirls

Diablo Symphony P.O. Box 2222, Walnut Creek 94595. Diablo Symphony is the oldest aggregation of volunteer musicians in Contra Costa County and also a valuable asset in the cultural life of the region. Concerts are performed at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. • 676-5888 • tickets: 943-7469 or • • E-mail: Pro Art Symphony Orchestra The Pro Art Symphony Orchestra was formed to enrich the San Francisco East Bay Community by producing professional quality performances of classical music. The orchestra offers a variety of programs for people of all ages. The mailing address is P.O. Box 4241, Walnut Creek 94596. Concerts are performed at different venues. •

opera Danville Lyric Opera Danville Lyric Opera presents simple productions using Bay Area professional talent. It is attracting a devoted set of helpers, and is accumulating resources that make each production better than the last. • 964-9994 Diablo Theatre Company (formerly Diablo Light Opera Company) P.O. Box 5034, Walnut Creek 94596. Diablo Theatre Company performs out of the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. • 944-1565 • • E-mail: Festival Opera Association 675 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite B215, Walnut Creek 94596. Festival Opera’s mission is to educate, enlighten and entertain; to preserve and advance the operatic art form, to make opera accessible to a diverse population, and to assist young artists, directors, designers and technicians in their pursuit of careers in the operatic field. Its shows are held at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Tickets may be purchased by

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phone or at the box office. • 944-9610 • tickets: 943-SHOW (943-7469) • • E-mail: Livermore Valley Opera 3317 East Ave., Livermore 94550. Livermore Valley Opera combines the talents and expertise of professional music, stage and chorus directors, principal singers, musicians, and designers with dedication and practical abilities. The Opera promotes local talent and attracts outstanding Bay Area singers, directors and conductors. Performances are at the Opera’s new Performing Arts Theater. Tickets may be purchased by phone or by mail. • 960-9210 •

theater Black Box Theater Black Box Theater, produced by Role Players Ensemble, provides intimate, provocative and sometimes edgy performances at the Danville Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St. Tickets are available at the Community Center, 420 Front St., Danville. • 314-3400 • Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon 94583. The Performing Arts Center at Dougherty Valley High School includes a 600 seat theater with full stage, lobby, restrooms, City office, dressing rooms and a 3,500 square foot rehearsal room. The rehearsal room is designed to accommodate both city and school district rehearsals as it duplicates the size of the main stage, leaving the theater for actual performances. • 973-ARTS (973-2787) • theater Front Row Theater 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon 94582. The Front Row Theater is a state-of-the-art 90-seat community performing space. Registration to use the theater is required; visit the Dougherty Community Center between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. • 973-3350 • theater/frontrow •

Role Players Ensemble Theatre 233 Front St., Danville 94526. This theater group was founded in 1983 by a group of Danville residents who wished to establish quality community theater in the San Ramon Valley. The Role Players produce a few stage productions a year and provide provocative, high quality productions that both entertain and educate. • 820-1278 • • E-mail: Shakespeare Two venues in this area offer the works of Shakespeare. The California Shakespeare Theater presents four plays during its season from May to October at the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda. • (510) 548-9666 • Also the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival offers its Free Shakespeare in the Park at Amador Park at the corner of Santa Rita Road and Black Avenue in Pleasanton from July through September. • (415) 865-4433 • Tri-Valley Young Performers Academy The Tri-Valley Performers Academy holds summer theater camps and offers voice and acting training during the school year. At the end of each workshop, students put on a performance or recital. • • E-mail: Village Theatre and Art Gallery 233 Front Street, Danville 94526. The Village Theatre and Art Gallery hosts many performances for the Role Players Ensemble Theatre and others as well as events throughout the year including the Danville Children’s International Film Festival. Tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour before every performance; tickets may also be purchased online or at the Danville Community Center, 420 Front St. The art gallery is home to local artists of fine arts which is displayed in the lobby area. • tickets: 314-3400 •

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Count on your

San Ramon ER h o s p i ta l s E R v i c E s

Our emergency doctors treat everything from cuts and breaks to life-threatening illnesses. Our 24-hour Emergency Department has private treatment rooms, and a comfortable, large waiting room. While we hope you never have an emergency, our experienced physicians and nurses are here, close to home and around the clock. For non-life threatening conditions, try InQuickER on our website.

Blood Conservation Program

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Family Birthing Center

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Pediatric Services

Pediatricians from Children’s Hospital Oakland

Outpatient Surgery Center

Outpatient Therapy Services

San Ramon Regional Medical Plaza in Gale Ranch

Spine Treatment

Sports Performance Institute

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San Ramon Valley Life 2013-14 - Special Section  

Special Section of the 2013-14 edition of San Ramon Valley Life

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