Diablo Gazette April 2016 Digital

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Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 2 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

Look Out Concord. The World Is Looking to Retire Here from the publisher by David King

Before I get to that headline, thanks to all of the writers including our newest contributors, Nicole Wojcik and Maxine Thompson, for stories in this edition of Diablo Gazette. You all did a great job. There was a recent online article on Condè Nast Traveler written by Cynthia Drescher, a professional travel journalist, that chose Concord as #7 in a Top 10 list of places to retire…in the World! Not in Diablo Valley, the world. I posted this on our facebook page and the news spread like wildfire. Claycord. com posted the same and the reaction was similar, but to a much larger scale. Hmm, I wondered. Where are these other places? Here are the Top 7: 1) Coronado, Panama 2) Penang, Malaysia 3) Cascais, Portugal 4) San Miguel de Allende 5) Killarney, Ireland 6) Corozal, Belize 7) CONCORD, CA. (You can access the complete article on www.diablogaztte.com.) Those paradise communities are

some heavy hitters. I decided to do some research to see what would inspire such a pronouncement for Concord. I called Jack Hvlack, Chairman of the Tourism Business Improvement District. He was aware of the article but denied having any influence. He referred me to the promotional agency, Red Sky. I spoke with Account Manager Brian. He said it wasn’t them. They are too busy trying to promote fun living in our Valley, landing conventions and such, not retirement. He suggested that the article could be organic, inspired by U-haul who had had recently published an article declaring Concord as #1 growth city of 2015. The CN Traveler’s author was unavailable for comment, so case closed. It’s true. Congratulations Concord. But the mystery continues. Whoever showed world traveler, Cynthia Drescher around Concord, all I can say is “Wow! You really know how to show someone a good time!”

Festivals, Fairs and Carnivals, Oh My! While it’s not quite a Donner family disaster, but due to El Nino, craft beer aficionados have had to wait six weeks for the (now called) Brewing Network’s 7th Annual Spring Brews Fest at Todos Santos Plaza. Originally scheduled in January, the festival fortunately moved to April 2nd as a precaution to the expected rains. In that time, the festival has grown to up to 60 breweries, five gourmet food vendors, and two bands. Jimi Hendrix and Purple Haze band will be opening for the local favorite Forrest Day. In addition, the Hop Grenade Taphouse and Bottleshop will have a special Spring Brew Fest VIP Tasting from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM of six special brews from tap list, complete with VIP entrance into the festival, and a souvenir glass. VIP Tasting requires a separate ticket which you can get online at www.eventbrite. com/e/spring-brews-fest-vip-tastingtickets-21704237960. Purchase tickets in advance and save about $10, and designated driver tickets are only $5 (plus small fee). On April 16, the Bay Area Craft Beer Festival rocks into Martinez Waterfront Park from 12N-4P boasting 40 plus of the top microbreweries west of the Mississippi along with food, and rocking live music by Heartless and Native Elements. Purchase tickets in advance and save $10. For a list of brewers, vendors and ticket info go to www.bayareacraftbeerfestival. com/tickets.html . You must be 21 and over to attend either of these festivals. The Spring Contra Costa Crystal Fair returns to the Civic Park Community Center in Walnut Creek April 23-24. It

features rocks & minerals, gems & jewelry, and metaphysical arts. 10a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. One $10 ticket admits for both days. The 41st Concord Family Carnival returns April 22-24 at the Concord High School front Parking Lot. This carnival supports the Mt. Diablo Educational Music Foundation and Contra Costa and Solano County food Banks, as well “Safe and Sober” Event at the Concord Center in June. It promises to deliver on food, drinks, rides, games, music and a whole lot of family fun. On April 30th, Clayton is hosting the 21st Annual Art and Wine Festival. This two day festival offers a wonderful selection of California’s wines and popular premium brewed beers. More than 125 vendors will fill Clayton’s Historic Main Street with fine original artwork and unique handcrafted exhibits. Plus, a new and improved Kid Fun Land will feature lots of games and activities like outdoor laser tag, a train ride, bounce houses and a mobile gaming van! This is arguably Clayton Business and Community Associations finest event...well, until their next event. For more information go to www. claytoncbca.org/Event/ArtAndWine.

Spring into the Future What Really Matters

by Dan Ashley, ABC-7 News Anchor http://abclocal.go.com

This is my favorite time of year. There is something magical about the trees suddenly in bloom, flowers poking out of the earth to take a look around after a long winter’s nap, and the smell of freshly cut grass. The grass smells different to me in the springtime, not like it does after being mowed in the dormant months. Growing up in my home state of North Carolina, I have vivid memories of the sights and sounds of the seemingly over-night arrival of the spring season. It is especially vivid in that part of the country; perhaps because of the sudden warmth and generally plentiful rainfall that fuels the transition to the new season. The arrival of spring is, by definition, a time of rebirth and new life and, for those who breath it in, it can also be a period of powerful rejuvenation and inspiration. This is a time of year that tends to make people optimistic, forward-looking, and excited about the future. They call it

“spring cleaning” for a reason. Much like the birds returning from a winter’s migration that get to work immediately on their new nests, many of us instinctively find ourselves drawn to new or neglected projects around the house, feathering our own nests. That is perennially the case around my home. Every spring, the often dormant golfbug reawakens in me as I am drawn back to the sport that has been a life-long passion. Every year, with the arrival of The Masters, I delude myself into thinking that this is the year that I will awaken my inner Jack Nicklaus and conquer the sport to finally fulfill my destiny. Oddly, it never seems to happen. Yes, spring has sprung, and it is a time to embrace the world anew. What Really Matters is that we enter this new season with as much optimism and gratitude and sense of wonder as we can muster. It is a magical time of year.


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Alpine Pastry & Cakes is moving to a new location! After 40 years in the same location, Alpine Pastry and Cakes in Concord is moving! On April 11, Alpine Pastry & Cakes will open in their new location at 1848 Willow Pass Road, across from upper Park & Shop and facing Grocery Outlet. Many will remember the location as the Golden Willows Restaurant. “Moving our pastry shop to this new location would secure the long term future and survival of Alpine Pastry,” said Gabriel Freitag, owner of Alpine Pastry and Cakes. The decision to relocate from its iconic presence at Terminal Shopping Center was made with some trepidation. The daunting task of securing the location, and building an entirely new retail bakery took months of preparation. “We were interrupted by horrendous unforeseen challenges and what seemed like never ending delays.” The new location will include a spacious customer service area with comfortable seating and complimentary Wifi service. “It’s all laid out with customer convenience being our first and fore-most priority.” “After PG&E’s final hook up at the end of this month, we will finally be ready to unveil our new retail store. Our baked creations will be featured in brand new

showcases and an entirely updated retail environment. You will find all of our delicacies, pastries, cakes, cookies and your favorite treats on display.” The whiffs of freshly baked specialties along with aromas of coffee will soon permeate the new neighborhood. “We will keep up our traditional craft of baking and continue the art of making cakes for your birthdays, anniversaries and many other special occasions. We are committed to making your visit at Alpine Pastry a special event, reminding you of days gone past and the promise of a bright and tasty new future.” Gabriela promises. There will be no interruption of business during this transition except for the change of address. A Grand Opening announcement is soon to follow. We congratulate Ernst and Gabriela Freitag on their successful move. It’s great to see you continue to grow after 40 years.


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Vicella’s 100-year Story In the 1930’s many people of the Great Plains and beyond were being hit by two catastrophes, one being the Great Depression and the other the Dust Bowl. This resulted in people from states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas migrating west to California, known as the land of opportunity to seek a better life. By the year of 1940, two and a half million people had fled the Great Plains, and approximately 200,000 people had reached California. Vicella Hendrick and her husband Ray were a part of this migration as they successfully moved to California. Since then their descendants, three generations, still reside in the San Francisco Bay Area and have never moved out of the area. In April of 1916, James and Martha Stovall’s third daughter was born in Sims, Arkansas, and they named her Vicella. James, Vicella’s father, a farmer by trade, owned a farm in a little town by the name of Antlers, Oklahoma where he raised livestock and grew cotton, fruit, and vegetables. Martha, Vicella’s mother tended the household and sold butter and eggs on the side. The Stovall’s had six children, which included three other girls and two boys: Della, Clyde, Hazel, Dorsey, and Lila Vicella attended a public elementary school in town, which had two classrooms, one class taught 1st through 4th grades and the other taught 5th through 8th grade. She then attended Antlers High School. While In school, Vicella loved all kinds of sports, especially baseball. During her school days Vicella learned many skills. Living on a farm, she and her siblings performed many chores; in addition Vicella’s mother taught her how to sew, embroider, and the art of quilting. Vicella has made many beautiful and expertly crafted quilts. She would later sew beautiful clothing for her daughter and granddaughter. She also knows how to ride a horse as the family owned horses and many other farm animals. Vicella married Ray Hendrick in 1932 who was born in De Queen, Arkansas. He was a local boy who also lived in Antlers and they eventually moved into their own apartment after living with Ray’s parents for a while. In 1935, Ray found employment with the State of Arkansas as a Forest Ranger in which he remained employed until 1940. Ray was truly fortunate to have a steady job during the time of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl which enabled he and Vicella to save enough money to eventually fulfill their dream of moving to California. Even with a steady income in an unstable time, the Hendrick’s wanted more out of life and moved forward with their plans to move to California, the land of opportunity. Most of the people who moved to California at that time did so as an act of desperation, but not for Vicella and Ray. In 1940 during World War II with the help of Ray’s father Charles Hendrick, who had already relocated to California a few years before,

Vicella with her daughter and grand-daughter.

A magazine and article from 1943 that featured Vicella.

they finally made the move. While in California, Ray’s father Charles had procured employment at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, California, and lived in a small apartment. For Vicella and Ray, who left their families behind and made the long drive from Oklahoma in their 1932 Chevrolet Coupe, the trip was a little more bearable as they had a home and a family member waiting for them when they arrived at their destination. It did not take long for the Hendrick’s to establish themselves in their own apartment in San Francisco. After moving into their new apartment Ray procured employment the very next day at the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond. Vicella also found employment with the Sears Roebuck Company two weeks later. During this time, World War II was heating up and in December of 1940, the Kaiser Shipyard began to build war ships. More than 747 ships were built there which was not equaled anywhere else in the world. The demand for workers was very great and the pay was good, so Vicella left her job at Sears Roebuck and she also went to work at the Richmond Shipyard. During World War II the little town of Richmond, California became famous mainly because of the Kaiser

Shipyards. Richmond’s population grew dramatically from 23,000 to over 100,000 in a very short time, with migrants coming from all over the country. Henry J. Kaiser had constructed 25,000 temporary dwellings to house the influx of workers. At the peak of the War, the shipyard employed over 90,000 workers in which 25% were women. The shipyard used the most modern and cutting edge ship building technology existing at the time to set records that still remain today. Instead of building a ship one piece at a time, the workers built many pieces at the same time and then welded them together instead of riveting them together. This saved a lot of time and in fact, they built the S.S, Robert E, Peary a 10,000 pound vessel in only four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes, which was an incredible feat. The motto of the time for women was “Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to operate a drill.” As many as 20 million women worked outside the home between the years of 1941 and 1945 and by 1944 they made up 65% of the workforce. The name given to women who left being housewives to help in the war effort was “Rosie the Riveter.” Vicella was one of these “Rosies” during this time


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and her job title at the shipyard was “Shipfitter” where she assembled dry racks. These racks that she and her crew assembled were used for dry food storage on board the Liberty Ships they were building. In the construction of these racks, two girls worked out on the fitting dock burning, beveling, and notching the angles of the racks. Each piece was then marked and sent to the hull, where the

Vicella’s parents.

other girls on their crew fit them together. This practice of completing as much work as possible away from the crowded ship enabled the crews to cut the assembly time by one-fourth. Shipfitter’s wages were 97 cents per hour, which was pretty good money in those days. Vicella and her husband continued to work in the Shipyard until the war was over. After the war almost everybody in the shipyards were laid off, and they flocked to the unemployment office, including Vicella and Ray. Vicella and Ray both worked at odd jobs for a couple of years after that and their first child Marsha was born in October of 1948. At the time of the birth of their daughter, Ray was working at a local Texaco service station in Richmond. He eventually bought the service station in 1950, and owned and operated it for 17 years. Vicella, on the other hand, worked at a local pharmacy, and continued to work in pharmacies for over 25 years. She also returned to school at that time and earned a certificate as a licensed cosmetologist and sold high

Vicella wearing a hard hat.

end cosmetics and expensive perfumes to ladies who came into the store. Vicella was a member of the Rheem Avenue Baptist church in Richmond in which she served as the church treasurer for many years. She has enjoyed many activities and hobbies which includes sewing, quilting, needlework and reading. She and her husband also enjoyed fishing and boating

in the nearby lakes and rivers. Vicella’s husband passed away in the early 70’s. Vicella continued to live in Richmond for several years then moved to Antioch where she retired and purchased a new home. To keep busy she found a part time job at the local Sears store and also volunteered at the Antioch Senior Citizens Center. Vicella also learned to bowl and bowled on a senior

league for many years. Vicella currently has two grandchildren, Lori Galiza and Ray Painter, and has four great grandchildren. Last August, Vicella came to reside at Diamond Terrace Retirement Community where she currently enjoys a leisurely life and has made many friends. On April 4, we wish Vicella a Happy 100th Birthday!


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Cowboy and Indian Art Show Comes to aRt Cottage Gary Bergren is known by many as the cowboy painter. Born in Berkeley, his interest in art began at the early age of five. Both parents were involved in the arts. His mother was an interior decorator and his father was a successful sculptor. Together they helped Gary acquire the basic principles of three dimensional drawing, color and perspective. Gary’s works are varied as he enjoys western/southwest art (sometimes referred to as Cowboy and Indian art), landscape painting (including Mt. Diablo), portrait painting, commissioned painting, and autumn landscapes. His works have been likened to those of Charles H. White, Frederic Remington, James Bama, Howard Terpning, and Jim Fox. Bergren has had many teachers and taught many years in the East Bay himself. He studied creative and figure drawing at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He participated in Walnut Creek Civic Arts in oil painting and at Diablo Valley College in architectural rendering and perspective. Renowned classical realist artist David

Teacup Table Centerpieces

FrugElegance

by Carol and Randi The Frugirls

www.frugelegance.com

Hardy, taught Bergren techniques, color theory, composition and pigment formation. Other teachers such as William Parsons taught color theory, composition and application techniques, Van Waldron taught Impressionism and color theory, and Charles White - landscape. Gary Bergren’s show at aRt Cottage will display his works and many pieces by his students currently in his Thursday Martinez Adult Education Class. The show opens April 2 and runs through April 30th. Artist reception is April 16 from 1pm to 5pm. This is a free public event. The aRt Cottage is located at 2238 Mt. Diablo Street in Concord. See more of Bergren art at www.westernpainter.com.

Proms, graduations, showers and weddings, we are approaching a time of the year full of celebrations and entertaining. The cost of decorations can really add up fast, but we have several super easy DIY (do it yourself) projects that anyone can create. Teacup Flower Centerpieces are elegant and beautiful. Using vintage fine china that was purchased special for our brideto-be, it only seemed more special to use the teacups, saucers and sugar bowl for the bridal shower table centerpieces. They were a frug-elegant find for sure at the Alameda Antique Faire! Keep in mind, if you are creating centerpieces like this, you don't have to buy a full set. Going into your local thrift stores, you can find many teacups, saucers and sugar bowls. An eclectic mix of mismatched vintage teacups would look fantastic and keep the budget low. Another option is shopping at your local discount stores and buying a pretty,

non-vintage set. Looking online, we found some beautiful options at reasonable prices too. This is how we created our teacup flower centerpieces: Step 1: Spray paint baby’s breath gold & let dry. Step 2: Cut a piece of green floral foam for each teacup Step 3: Poke a hole into the foam where you want to place your stem. A pencil works well for poking the holes. Step 4: Trim flowers, at an angle, to the height as you insert them into floral foam. Add a little water to each. If you are traveling with your centerpieces to another location, add a little water to moisten and fill later. We found using a water bottle worked well. Come see our bridal shower post with other frug-elegant wedding and shower decor projects on our blog at www.frugelegance.com . We love to make our celebrations look fabulous without costing us a small fortune.


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SPRING CLEANING! lifetimeofsmiles Dr. Robert Waldman I recently saw a 40 “something” mother of two for her biannual cleaning and check-up. She works full time while her kids are in school and daycare. Of course she has no time to take care of her needs when all her time is taken up with work, kids and family activities. She actually said to me as she was sitting in our massaging dental chair, “Wow, a moment for me. This is actually relaxing!” That brought a smile to my face. As I talked with her about the restorations (fillings) which were done when she was in grade school and high school, she realized that they were 25 years old or older! She was amazed it had been that long. I showed her those fillings using an intra-oral camera and pointed out the areas where they were just not doing “their job” any longer. I explained to her that the filling margins were breaking down. Once this starts, then food and bacteria have ample opportunity to leak under the edges causing decay and damage to the tooth and roots. She admits that her life is so busy that sometimes she just falls asleep without brushing (let alone flossing). I advised her that it was time to replace some of the fillings in order to prevent problems, “But they don’t hurt!” she replied.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Replacing an old filling before it starts to hurt offers smart options. You can choose among silver fillings, composite resin (tooth colored) fillings or a partial crown of ceramic or gold materials. The cost is from $200-$450 for a filling or $1200-$1400 for crowns. But once it begins to hurt, you may have to have root canal treatment followed by possibly a post/core build up and a crown. Or even worse, you may lose your tooth. You would then be looking at $3000-$5000 to replace it. Why people think their dentist is just trying to find problems and charge a high fee is beyond me. 90% of the time your dentist is trying to be proactive, save your teeth and save you money! Understanding this should make you want to smile, I would hope. It all comes down to trust. Having a “Family Dentist” who can build a trusting relationship with you is extremely important. Before it hurts, if you don’t have that kind of relationship with your dentist, consider a different dentist. I would be very happy to extend a complimentary consultation for you at a convenient time which fits your schedule, early morning, evening, or even on Saturday. Our website makes the appointment easy to schedule. Roberthwaldmandds.com. As always please remember to Rinse, Floss, Brush and Rinse again!!! -Dr. Rob-

Music Matters From the Principal’s Desk By Jeff Eben, CVCHS

March was an exciting month for music education and entertainment here at Claton Valley Charter High School. Our students have been traveling throughout the Bay Area representing the Ugly Eagles in shows and competitions. Here at home, we hosted our annual Music Area Orchestra Concert featuring the CV band, as well as elementary and middle schools from the surrounding area. CV emphasizes the importance of a music education to our student’s overall learning experience. It provides development and growth of the student’s mind, body and spirit. Participation in our music program allows our students to flourish in their creative expression of a language (music) that is communicated by diverse cultures throughout the world. However, despite this almost universal interest, many high schools are eliminating their music education programs. According to the National Association for Music Education, this trend is harmful to enriching students’ lives and education. Here are few reasons shared by the Association as to why a music education benefits a well-rounded high school student: Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to

achieve in other subjects. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society which can shape abilities and character. Students in band are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures. They also tend to have higher self-esteem and are better at coping with anxiety. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses. Here at CV, we recognize the importance of a music education and are committed to fulfilling our role providing a world-class education to our students. More importantly, it creates the memories that we want our graduates to take with them from their high school experience.

Concord Nurse Named 2015 Press Ganey National Nurse of the Year Olympian Eddie Hart Still a Champion Linda Minnich, RN, BSN, CPAN, who works as a staff nurse in the Perioperative Services Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at John Muir Medical Center, Concord, was recently named by Press Ganey as its 2015 National Nurse of the Year. Press Ganey is a leading national provider of patient experience measurement and performance analytics. The award, which was presented at a ceremony in Orlando, annually recognizes the contributions of an outstanding direct-care nurse who has demonstrated a commitment to care innovation, transformation and collaboration to support an exceptional patient experience. According to Press Ganey, Linda was honored for her superior leadership and active role in developing and implementing pain management strategies that have improved the patient experience across John Muir Health. “Linda has touched the lives of our patients for more than 35 years and is a very worthy recipient of this award,” said Donna Brackley, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at John Muir Medical Center, Concord. “Through her work on pain management, she has fostered outstanding collaboration among surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and other members of our care team which ultimately benefits our patients.” Linda’s interest in pain management began back in 2012 when she and two other staff nurses, Heather Crowder

and Tammy Montoya, attended the Pain Resource Nurse training program at the City of Hope in Los Angeles. Since that time, they have been driving forces in championing pain management in the care of post-surgical patients at John Muir Health. “I appreciate the individual recognition from Press Ganey, but this is really a team award that represents the great work of my very talented colleagues,” said Minnich. “We recognized that in order to enhance the patient experience, our health system had to keep up with and implement best practices in pain management therapies. Linda currently serves as the co-chairperson of John Muir Health’s Quality Improvement Pain Team. She and her team have been instrumental in working with anesthesiologists at John Muir Health to implement a series of treatment modalities for patients with chronic pain. The work of this team related to the implementation of a nerve block program was identified as a Leading Practice by VHA, a health care alliance of more than 2,400 non-profit organizations, and “blue printed” to assist other facilities in achieving the same levels of success. “We’ve made great improvements in the area of pain management and patient experience for our surgical patients, and greatly appreciate Linda’s leadership of this effort,” said Brackley. “This recognition is emblematic of the high-quality and compassionate care provided by our nurses, physicians and staff at John Muir Health.”

MAXINE THOMPSON Are you one of those folks that cannot wait until it is Olympic Games time? So am I! Have you ever asked yourself “What happens to those Olympians? Do they just fade into the background?” Well, I had the opportunity to catch up with former Olympian Eddie Hart. Mr. Hart is a two-time World Record Holder, Olympic Record Holder and Olympic Gold Medalist from the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Is there life after these types of accomplishments? As I listen to Mr. Hart’s story, the answer is an astounding yes. Born in Martinez, graduated from high school in Pittsburg, he studied at Contra Costa College and at Cal Berkeley, where he graduated in 1975. After graduation, he worked as a coach and educator in the Bay Area College systems. Mr. Hart’s career spanned over 30 years in our educational system. He is now running the most important race of his life - inspiring young boys and girls to set college or trade school educational goals and help them navigate a path to get there. Eddie set up a foundation to continue to reach out to the youth in the community, the Eddie Hart All in One Foundation. With the help of sponsors, the Foundation provides free educational guidance programs for parents that are unfamiliar with how to prepare for their kids’ higher education. This includes discovery of financial aid resources, offering savings tips for building a college fund and showing students how to search and find their own answers

when planning their educational future. The foundation programs also help parents understand the application process, as well as the educational requirements for college. Other programs include mentoring, and youth behavioral modification that provide helpful ways for youth to use their energy in a positive way, supply parents with resources to create positive relationships with their children, and methods to ensure students become responsible citizen of society. This is just a tiny snapshot of what the Foundation offers. You can learn more at the foundation website, www.eddiehartaiof.org. Mr. Hart will be at the Contra Costa Kops for Kids 10th Annual Run Walk/ Wheelchair Races on April 30th at the Willows Shopping Center in Concord. Appropriately, he is the race starter. Mr. Hart’s driving force in life now is very simple, “I felt it was time for me to give back.” Spoken like a true Olympian.


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The Diablo Gazette’s

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Support Groups

Al-Anon Family Group 7:30 p.m. Mondays, St. Martins of Tours Anglican Church & Preschool, Concord. 932-6770 or www.ncwsa.org. Alcoholics Anonymous - 939-4155 or www.aa.org. Bereavement Support Group:1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, 4:30 - 6:00 pm. pre-registration. Call (925) 887-5681 The Bridge A program that provides support to children, teens, adults and their families grieving the death of a loved one. Hillcrest Congregational Church, 404 Gregory Lane Pleasant Hill. 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month Through June. Pre-registration is required. (925) 887-5681 or emailgriefservices@hospiceeastbay.org. Cardiac Care Support Group - 7 p.m. second Thursdays, John Muir Walnut Creek or Concord. 947-5206. Fibromayalgia Support Group - 2nd Friday of each month. 11A.M. - 1 P.M. Concord Library, 2900 Salvio St. Concord. More info: Call Joyce 925-671-2779 Concord Neuropathy Support – 1:30 p.m. 3rd Thursday of every month at the First Christian Church, 3039 Willow Pass Rd. Concord For more information call 925-685-0953 Debtors Anonymous (DA) meets every Friday Night 7:00 to 8:30 PM, First Baptist Church, 1802 Downtown Martinez. Call Lynda K (925) 228-9111 or go to: www.debtorsanonymous.org. Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implant Wearers Support Group - 7 p.m. 1st Wednesdays, Walnut Creek United Methodist Church. HLAADV@hearinglossdv. org or 264-1199. Hospice East Bay has announced a new schedule for their support groups and classes. All, except drop-in, require pre-registration. Call (925) 887-5681 or emailgriefservices@hospiceeastbay. org. Our Bereavement Services are provided free of charge to all community members in need. Services are provided at the following locations, unless otherwise noted: Pleasant Hill Office, 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill and our Brentwood Office, 80 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite A, Brentwood. Drop-In Grief Support Pleasant Hill 4:30 - 6:00 pm 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month Drop-In Grief Support Brentwood 4:30 - 6:00 pm 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month Drop-In Grief Support In Spanish Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 500 Fairview Avenue, Library, Brent wood 4:30 - 5:30 pm 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month Through April 6

Contra Costa Kops for Kids 10th Annual Run Walk/Wheelchair Races Meet Gold Medalist Olympian Eddie Hart The Run/Walk/Wheelchair Races feature 1 mile, 5K and 10K races. There will be wheelchair races held in each category. The races will be held along the Iron Horse Trail, and will start and finish at the Lazy Dog Restaurant. Race registration opens at 7:00 a.m. on race day. Pre-registered racers can pick up their t-shirts, race number and participant bags at Roadrunner Sports located in the Willows Shopping Center on Friday, April 29, 2016 between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Registration will also be available then and on race day. The cost is $30.00 per runner for the 5K and 10K, and $25.00 for the one mile. There is a $5.00 discount for youth in all categories. Medals and Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each age category for all races. Proceeds from the races will go to Contra Costa Kops for Kids, an organization of active and retired law enforcement officials whose mission is to help prevent drug abuse, gangs, violence and juvenile

Drop-In Grief Support For Seniors 55+: Pleasant Hill Community Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Game Room, Pleasant Hill 10:00 - 11:30 am, Mondays Through March 28 Drop-In Pet Loss Support Group Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek 5:30 to 7:00 pm 2nd Tuesdays of the month Parent Loss Support Group – Evening Pleasant Hill Mondays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm April 18 - June 13

delinquency in Contra Costa County. One of Kops for Kids’ most popular programs is the Positive Mental Attitudes Seminars and Sports Clinics Program, which is offered at no charge to schools in Contra Costa County. During the 2014-15 school year, Kops for Kids reached 6,303 youth with this program—the highest number in the history of the organization. In addition, Kops for Kids reached another 3,439 youth last year with its Kops for Kids Youth Mentoring Program. For more information or to register for the race, please visit www.contracostakopsforkids.org or call (925) 827-1998.

Spouse and Partner Loss Group – Afternoon Pleasant Hill Thursdays, 1:30 - 3:30 pm April 14 thru June 2 Spouse and Partner Loss Group Pleasant Hill, Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, May 2 thru June 27 Understanding Grief Class - Pleasant Hill, Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, June 16 Creative Writing Workshop Explore various styles of creative writing and discover a new way to give voice to the story of your loss and grief. No writing experience necessary. 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill Wednesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, March 23. Pre-register by March 21 Forget-Me-Not Workshop - Decorate a flower pot in commemoration of your loved one, and take home a seed packet of Forget-Me-Not flowers to plant in their memory. 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill Tuesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. April 12. Pre-register by April 5. HIV/AIDS Support Group - 7-9 p.m. 2nd & 4th Thursdays, John Muir Concord. 925- 674-2190. John Muir Behavioral Health Center 2740 Grant Street Concord. Call 925942-0767 or www.namicontracosta.org Leukemia Society Family Support Group - 7 p.m. first Thursdays. 9474466, ext. 32797. NAMI Connection Peer-led Support Group Living with a Mental Illness? Join. Saturdays 1:00 - 2:30 pm Held at Nar-Anon - 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, John Muir Concord. http://naranoncalifornia. org. Pet Loss Support Group, Second Tuesday of the month, 5:30-7PM. (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration required. Retired & Senior Volunteer Program 472-5777. Stroke Support Group of Contra Costa County will hold its meeting on November 9th in the Sterns Conference Room at John Muir Medical Center Walnut Creek Campus (1601 Ygnacio Valley Road) from 7-9 p.m. Contact Ann Dzuna at 925-376-6218. Meetings are free and open to the public.


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Government Concord City Council, 1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, Council Chambers, 1950 Parkside Dr, Concord. Or watch online at http://www.ci.concord.ca.us/ citygov/agendas/council/ Concord Planning Commission 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7 p.m. Concord Chamber, Concord Civic Center 1950 Parkside dr. www.cityofconcord.org Clayton City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7pm. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Rd, Clayton. http://ci.clayton.ca.us Martinez City Council, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. City Hall, 7 pm, 525 Henrietta Street, Martinez. Or Listen online at http://www.granicus.com/streamingMediaHelp/minimumSystem.htm, http:// www.cityofmartinez.org Walnut Creek City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7 pm. Or watch online at http://www.walnut-creek.org/services/ citizen/granicus.asp Pleasant Hill City Council, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 7:30 pm, Council Chambers of the Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Or follow online at http://www.ci.pleasant-hill. ca.us/media/

Fundraisers Pancake Breakfast - Supporting Veterans of foreign Wars – 2nd and 4th Sundays includes eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. Willow Pass Road, Concord $5, $3 Children under 12. www. vfwpost1525.org April 23 Eleventh Annual Festival of Tables & Fashion”- Concord at the Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West Street presented by The GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club. The event starts at 11:00 with a social gathering & opportunity prizes. The luncheon will be served at 12:00 noon, followed by the fashion show. The luncheon will be catered by Rick’s on Second. The fashions will be provided by Talbots of Walnut Creek. Proceeds benefit GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club charities and scholarships. For reservation information, please call Judy Disbrow, 925-685-0394. Reservations are $40 each. For more information regarding Clayton Valley Woman’s Club go to www.claytonvalleywomansclub.org April 9 Northgate High School Garage 6:30 AM TO 3PM. Donate “gently used” items such as Toys, clothes, household goods, sports equipment. Not able to accept mattresses and large appliances. Drop off your items on Thursday and Friday April 7 & 8 from 3PM TO 6PM. Contact: howertonk@mdusd.org. Northgate High School, Castle Rock Rd. Walnut Creek April 30 Contra Costa Kops for Kids’ 10th Annual Run/Walk/Wheelchair Races at the Willows Shopping Center in Concord. The races will take place on the Iron Horse Trail and will begin and end by The Lazy Dog Restaurant. For more information or to register for the race, please visit www.contracostakopsforkids.org or call (925) 827-1998. See story pg.9

CREEKSIDE ARTS 2016! ‘Honoring Our Ancestors’ The Clayton Library is hosting its fundraiser, the 13th Annual Creekside Arts Festival 2016 on April 1st-4th. This free event will present arts and crafts sales plus the following schedule of activities for the family to enjoy. Friday, April 1 from 6:00pm-8:30pm beginning at 6:00pm with the Opening Reception. 6:30-7:00 Snowfire Ranch dog and pony and "live" painting by Julie VanWyk 7:00-7:20 "The Clayton Family... prominence in the East Bay" by Dick Ellis, Clayton Historical Society. Mr. Ellis will speak about the brief history of Joel Clayton and the families’ ties to prominent members in the Bay Area. 7:30-8:00 Professional Jury Award Winners, juried by Bedford Gallery, Art Concepts, Arts & Culture Commission On Saturday April 2, 10:00 am6:00pm. Witness plein air outdoor painting and a charcoal drawing workshop, African fable storytelling, wildlife biologist Doc Hale and geologist Joel Greger cultural history talk and outdoor walk, and "Discover Your Family History" presentation given by the Concord Family History Learning Center. 10-12 Plein Air painting workshop by Samantha McNally 11-12 African Fable Storytelling by Wendy Blakely, Africa Matters non-profit 12-3 "Shades of Grey" charcoal drawing workshop by Seema Mahboob 2-3 "Cultural & Natural History of Diablo Valley", by Jim "Doc" Hale, Joel Greger, mini museum and interpretive nature walk to follow 3-3:30 "Discover Your Family History", by The Concord Family History Learning Center 4-6 Meet the Artist, Author, Environmentalist Sunday, April 3, 12 noon-5:00pm. Start the day with an "Open Mic", followed by artists, and an ukulele, Hula

Clubs American Legion Post 171 - 5 p.m. Third Tuesdays, Veterans Memorial Hall, Concord. 687-1427. B2F Business Networking Group Noon first and third Thursdays. 9988844. Clayton Valley Garden Club- 7p.m. second Tuesday, February-November. Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Contact: www.claytonvalleygardenclub.org Clayton Valley Woman’s Club meets at 10:00 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, in Clayton. Call Sheila at 925-672-7947 or www.claytonvalleywomansclub.org. Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club- 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton. 689-7640 or www.claytonvalley-rotary.org. Concord Art Association - 12:50 p.m. second Tuesdays, Concord Library. 6465455. Concord Diablo Rotary - 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Concord. EXCEPT the 2nd Wednesday, meeting is at 6:15 P.M. at the Crowne Plaza. Contact EdiBirsan@Gmail.com or 510-812-8180. Concord Garden Club - 9:30 a.m. third Tuesdays, Bethel Baptist Church, Concord. 687-2334. Concord Lions Club - 7 p.m. third Tuesdays, La Tapatia Restaurant, Concord. 687-3594.

and Taiko drumming with the weekend coming to a close with the People's Choice Awards. 12 noon-1:00 pm It’s Music and Poetry Open Mic time. 1:30-2:30 Ukulele jam and hula with audience participation by Robert and Ehu Alidon 2:30-3:30 Diablo Taiko drumming with audience participation 4:00-5:00 People's Choice Award winners, come select your favorite!

Concord Mystery Book Club - 2:30 p.m. second Sundays, Concord Library, 646-5455. Concord Senior Club - ballroom dancing, 1 p.m. Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 p.m. second Saturdays. 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. 798-4557. Contra Costa Genealogical Society 7 p.m. second Thursdays, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Concord. www.rootsweb.com/~cacccgs. Contra Costa Mineral & Gem Society - 7:30 p.m. second Mondays, Centre Concord. 429-2748 or www.ccmgs.org Creekside Artists Guild Meets 2nd Wed. each month @ 7-8:30pm. Clayton Library Story Room, 6125 Clayton Rd., Clayton. Arlene 673-9777, akiksen@aol. com Diablo Toastmasters every Thursday 7 -9 p.m. Sizzlers in Concord. www.diablotoastmasters.org. Kiwanis Club of Greater Concord - 8:15 a.m. Wednesdays, Buttercup Grill and Bar, 4301 Clayton Rd., Concord. 372-5348. Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038 Meets 7:30 p.m. 1st Tuesday of the month, St.Bonaventure Church, 5562 Clayton Road, Contact Rayce at 683-9717 or rayce@aol.com. National Marine Corps Business Network: www.nmcbn.com. We normally meet the second Tuesday of each month. Contact 925-680-8714. Rising Stars Toastmasters. This group was created for job seekers. For more information, contact Derrick Smith at (925) 381-4551 or go to risingstarstm. toastmastersclubs.org.

For a complete list of club listings, go to diablogazette.com


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Outdoors April 9 Plant Sale! 8am-12 noon. Gardens at Heather Farms Parking lot. 1540 Marchbanks Dr. Walnut Creek April 17 Earth Day Event . Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden (PHIG) is hosting a free Earth Day Event at its water conservation and wildlife habitat demonstration garden, located at the Pleasant Hill Education Center from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Enjoy a garden tour, informative talks, educational activities, exhibits, and games for everyone. Learn ways to provide for pollinators, to compost, more responsible and sustainable water and waste management practices at home. Learn from Rodgers Ranch Urban Farm, Sustainable Contra Costa, Wild Birds Unlimited, Eco Studio, The Green Team, U.C. Master Gardeners of Contra Costa, California Native Plant Society and others. 1 Santa Barabar Road , Plesant Hill DANVILLE: First Sunday of every Month: Cars ‘n Coffee, On the First Sunday of every month, automotive enthusiasts gather in the parking lots of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum to share their vehicles and admire the other fabulous classics, exotics, rods and anything else with wheels and a motor. There is no fee for Cars & Coffee. Also, the Museum opens at 9am on Cars & Coffee Sundays. 8am-10am , Blackhawk Museum • 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle • Danville p:925.736.2280 • museum@blackhawkmuseum.org, http://www.blackhawkmuseum.org/carsncoffee.html Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays Walnut Creek: Off the Grid Every Tuesday; 1380 N. California Blvd. from 5-9pm; Live music from 6-8 pm featuring, Quinn Deveuax , Food truck lovers rejoice! The community of Walnut Creek can come together to enjoy a variety of Off the Grid food trucks, live entertainment, wine and beer garden, and lots of tasty reasons to come back every Tuesday with family and friends for this ongoing weekly event. The rotating lineup of nine food trucks in Walnut Creek will include: Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, Gyro Stop Kebab G, ADOruBOwl, and IzzyA’s Frozen Custard Find the full lineup available at http://offthegridsf.com. April 2 7th Annual Winter/Spring Brews Festival- Concord 12n -4pm at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord to celebrate its seventh year as one of the best craft beer festivals in the Bay Area . This year’s event benefits the TSBA Arts Foundation, The four-hour event features two bands, 100+ craft beers to taste, and unlimited pours from over 60 craft breweries. All attendees must be of legal drinking age. Tickets are $50 at the gate and include a commemorative glass. You can save $10 and buy them in advance online for $40. Admission for designated drivers is just $5. http://bnbrewfest.com/ April 16 Bay Area Craft Beer Festival- Martinez Waterfront Park. Live music, food, fun. 50 Breweries, and 100 craft beers. $35 in advance, $45 at the door. Designated drivers $5 or $10 at the door. http:// www.bayareacraftbeerfestival.com

Spontaneous Shakespeare! Synergy Theater, the Bay Area home for comedy improvisation, returns to the Lesher Center for the Arts on May 20 and May 21, at 8:15 p.m.with its tour de force performance of “Spontaneous Shakespeare”, a completely improvised two-act play in the style of the “Immortal Bard”. “We read his plays and try to figure out what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare,” explains Synergy Theater’s Artistic Director, Kenn Adams. “As it turns out, his plays are full of outrageous comedy, bawdy humor, double-entendres, wild disguises, mistaken identities, broad physical humor, and a lot of very groan-worthy puns and wordplay. He really had a knack for some very low comedy… and naughty, too,” “We do our best to emulate the style rather than send it up.” “Shakespeare made up words!” says recent company member Julie Rubenstein, “Which is great because whenever you can’t think of the word you want you can just cerebriate a new one.” “Shakespeare has it all,” adds Synergy veteran Justin Carns. “Action, comedy, magic, romance, and of course, a gift for language that’s a lot of fun to try and keep up with. The guy was good.” After “Spontaneous Shakespeare”, Synergy Theater returns to their regular schedule of rotating improv comedy shows in Lafayette where they perform at Lamorinda Music on the third weekend of every month. Kenn Adams has over 25 years of experience as a professional improviser and is

April 23-24 THE SPRING CONTRA COSTA CRYSTAL FAIR - Walnut Creek . Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. Civic Park Community Center, 1375 Civic Drive,. $10.00 (children under 12 free accompanied by adult)

Club/Support Group Events

the author of the book “How to Improvise a Full-Length Play: The Art of Spontaneous Theater.” He began his career in New York City as a performing member of Freestyle Repertory Theater, aka Theater Sports New York. Kenn performed TheaterSports on New York City's famed Theater Row for ten years. During this time, he created the well-known shortform improv games Sit, Stand and Kneel and Ding/Buzz (or The Family Dinner). Both of those games have become staples of the short-form improv stage and were featured regularly on the popular television shows “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and “Trust Us With Your Life”. Kenn also created “The Story Spine”, a simple tool for learning and practicing the fundamentals of improvisational storytelling. The “Story Spine” has been embraced by improvisers, writers, directors and instructors the world over. For ticket information go to www. lesherartscenter.org or call (925) 9437469

March 31 Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club - Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club - Ham Radio General Class License Training starts: 6:30 pm (The General license is the second level Ham license) The Salvation Army Corps, 3950 Clayton Rd., Concord CA 94521, Fireside Room. Registration required - Email: HamRadioClass@ gmail.com April 2-3 Poppy Fields Forever Quilt Show – Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Centre Concord. Beautiful quilts, Telephone Quilt Challenge, Demonstrations, Country Store, Youth Treasure Hunt and more. $10 Adults, $5 Age 6-17, Under 6 free. April 9 “Why Do We Write?” Tamim Ansary will present at the next meeting of the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. He will explain why writing is hard, why we do it anyway, what to do when the piece refuses to be written, and what’s the best that can happen? Tamim Ansary , author of the celebrated memoir, West of Kabul, East of New York, and writes fiction, non-fiction, history, essays on politics, on other subjects. He teaches through the Osher Institute. Sign-in is from 11:15 am, luncheon 12:00 pm to 12:45, speaker from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Registration required and must be received no later than noon on Wednesday, April 6. $25 for CWC members, $30 for guests. Contact Robin at ragig@aol.com, 925-933-9670, or sign up via http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress. com/next-program/. . Click “buy now” on the website, PayPal , Add $2 transaction fee. Expect confirmation only if you e-mail your reservation. The California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch web address is: http:// cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.com/ Martinez CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Training starts this month. The 20 hour classes will teach you how to get prepared for a disaster and emergency response when an event occurs. CERT is sponsored by the Martinez Police Department to provide free training to residents so they will become self-sufficient in a disaster or major emergency and not a victim. This Class is available to any resident of Pacheco or Martinez and individuals who work in either location. For more information or to register for classes send a e-mail to Martinez.CERT@gmail. com Check out our web site for more information on class session schedules. www.Martinezcert.org April 13 The Clayton Valley Garden Club meets the second Wednesday of the month. Diamond Terrace 6401 Center St., Clayton Speaker: 7PM: Kelly Marshall “Bring Back the Native Plants”. Contact: www. claytonvalleygardenclub.org


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Family Events April 4 Happy 100th Birthday Vicella Hendrick

Home & Garden/ Farmers’ Markets Clayton Saturdays 8am to 2 pm Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, rain or shine, Todos Santos Plaza. •Concord Thursdays, 4pm to 8pm, Todos Santos Plaza. Galindo Home and Gardens 1721 Amador Avenue, Concord CA (map) Visit the fully-restored 1856 Victorian home of Francisco Galindo, one of Concord’s founding fathers, and his wife, Maria Dolores Manuela (Pacheco) Galindo. This includes the 1875 addition by Francisco Galindo’s son, Juan “John” Galindo. Tours are Sundays 1pm – 4pm and by appointment. For further information, contact the Concord Historical Society www.concordhistorical.org April 16 Concord Con Toy Show – 9am-3pm at Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Rd. 9-10 AM “Earlybird” $12/$10 with donation of non-perishable food item. 10 AM - 3 PM Regular Admission $7/$5 with donation of non-perishable food item Children 6-12 $3; Children 5 and under FREE April 22-24 41st Annual Concord Family Carnival Friday 3:30pm-11:00pm. Saturday 11pm11pm Sunday 12N-9pm Concord High School front parking lot. 4200 Concord blvd. April 23 Earth Day – Mt. Diable Recycling (MDR) 4th Annual Family Earth Day Celebration: Free. Family fun with activities for families to do together to help the earth. 10 am until 12 noon at the MDR facility located at 1300 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, Calif. Includes a tour of MDR’s 90,000-square-foot recycling facility, learn about the “Big Blue” and “Big Wall-e” recycling machines, participate in an interactive education lesson about the 5 R’s (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Respect-Recover), play recycling games, and take home crafts. Families can also take pictures with the Recycling Guy and with recycling trucks. Space is limited. For reservations contact Adriana Medina at 925-771-2721 or email: Adriana.Medina@Garaventaent.com. Spring Tea and Vendor Faire Vendor Faire from 12 noon -4pm; Spring Tea 4pm-5pm. Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center Street, Clayton. April 30 – May 1 21st Annual Clayton Art and Wine Festival - Clayton The CBCA (Clayton Business & Community Association) and The Town of Clayton, invite you to celebrate the 21st annual Clayton Art and Wine Festival being held on Saturday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 1st from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in downtown Clayton. Free Admission for the whole family! Martinez, Farmers Market Sundays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, Main

Pleasant Hill Earth Day Event Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden (PHIG) is hosting a free Earth Day Event April 17, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. at its water conservation and wildlife habitat demonstration garden at the Pleasant Hill Education Center. The City of Pleasant Hill, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Pleasant Hill Garden Study Club, Pleasant Hill Community Foundation, and others will be on hand to support this green event. A garden tour, talks, educational activities, exhibits, and games will be fun for everyone. Discover ways to provide for pollinators, to compost, and to use responsible and sustainable water and waste management practices at home. Learn from Rodgers Ranch Urban Farm, Sustainable Contra Costa, Wild Birds Unlimited, Eco Studio, The Green Team, U.C. Master Gardeners of Contra Costa,

California Native Plant Society. Since 2007, the garden has supplied a working facility for students and visitors to learn of the many benefits of composting, reducing waste, and recycling organic household and garden materials. It is a demonstration of water conservation, wildlife habitat preservation and many recycling practices. It uses no pesticides in order to provide for pollinators. Did you know it is estimated that every third mouthful of food we eat is food that required pollination? The project is led by Monika Olsen, Mt. Diablo Adult Education teacher and Contra Costa Master Gardener. The Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden is wheelchair accessible and located at 1 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill. Pre-register for the garden tour. For more information email phigarden@gmail.com, or visit http:// phig.webs.com.

St. and Estudillo. Walnut Creek Diablo Valley Farmers Market Saturday 9a.m. - 1 p.m. Shadelands Business Park, N. Wigett Lane and Mitchell Dr. First Wednesdays Street Festival This family-friendly evening includes live music, a street full of local vendors, arts and crafts, and the aroma of tasty treats, both sweet and savory, under festive Tivoli lights as families stroll down Cypress. Free hot chocolate and apple cider are available to warm up the winter night. Every first Wednesday through June 2016. Admission: Free! Cypress Street, closed for foot traffic only between N. Main Street and Locust Street. Go to www.walnutcreekdowntown.com for more information. Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. (925) 431-8361 http://www.cccfm.org

Visual Arts/Theatre/ Music April 1-3 13th Annual Creekside Arts 2016! “Honoring Our Ancestors” is coming to The Clayton Library. Themed, “Honoring Our Ancestors” This FREE community event will feature arts and crafts sales and a juried art exhibit by The Bedford Gallery, Art Concepts and the Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa County. See story page 10. April 2-30 aRt Cottage- Gary Bergren’s show at aRt Cottage will display his works and many pieces by his students currently in his Thursday Martinez Adult Education Class. The show opens April 2 and runs through April 30th. Artist reception is April 16 from 1pm to 5pm. This is a free public event. The aRt Cottage is located at 2238 Mt. Diablo Street in Concord. April 7-23 Clayton Theatre Company presents “Rumors” by Neil Simon. A dinner party, an accident and the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity. This show is side splitting, front and back splitting fun. The talented cast brings a fresh approach to this classic comedy. Endeavor Hall 6008 Center St., Clayton. Go to www.claytontheatrecompany. com or www.brownpapertickets.com for tickets. May 20-21 Synergy Theater presents Spontaneous Shakespeare, a completely improvised two-act comedy in the style of the Immortal Bard. Mayhem, mirth and merriment abound. Chock full of bawdy humor, mistaken identities, outrageous disguises, star crossed lovers, mischievous spirits, wily servants, exciting sword fights, hysterical wordplay and more “thees” and “thous” than you can shake a cudgel at, this hysterical improvised comedy is made up entirely on the spot and all based on your suggestions! Thou wilt not believe it’s improvised. Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 at 8:15 pm. The Lesher Center for the Arts, Knight Stage 3 Theatre, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596. Tickets $15 at www.lesherartscenter.org or (925) 943-7469


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The Crossing bookends

by Jill Hedgecock,

Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club

The Crossing (2015, Hieronymus, Inc. hardcover, $16.92, 388 pages) by Michael Connelly exemplifies Connelly’s mastery at revealing interesting details of the law and crime investigation. In this latest suspense book, Connelly’s twenty-eighth novel, Mickey Haller, a defense lawyer, believes his client, Da’Quan Foster, is innocent. Foster is accused of brutally raping and murdering Lexi Parks. Odds are decidedly in the prosecutor’s favor on this case because the accused’s DNA has been found inside the woman’s body. Haller’s challenges don’t end there. His top-notch private investigator is in the hospital. With nowhere else to turn, Mickey strong-arms his reluctant half-brother, Harry Bosch, a newly retired homicide detective formerly with the Los Angeles Police Department, to help on the case. Throughout the novel, Connelly’s sense of place adds yet another intriguing dimension. During a visit to Hollywood Forever, a cemetery for celebrities, readers learn a wonderful tidbit about the demise of Carl Switzer, best known for his portrayal of Alfalfa from Our Gang, a 1930s television show. On a more sobering note, the author weaves in disturbing aspects of the dark recesses of Los Angeles underworld. Throughout the twists and turns of the Parks case, the “crossing” theme emerges. First described early on in the book as the point at which the perpetrator meets the victim, the nuances of crossings pop up again and again. For instance, Bosch, who has given testimony only for the prosecution, crosses over to the defense table. A doctor crosses a professional

line and has a relationship with one of his patients. Several unethical cops collide with Haller and Bosch to thwart their quest for truth. One of the great things about reading Connelly’s novels is his ability to create realistic characters. From to the irascible Bosch, to Cisco, the tattooed private investigator, to my personal favorite, Mickey Haller, played by Matthew McConaughey in the 2011 movie, The Lincoln Lawyer, the characters are memorable. With the launch of Season 2 of the television series, Bosch, which premiered on March 11, 2016, the transformation of Connelly’s characters from page to screen has occurred once again. But don’t let the lure of television keep you from picking up The Crossing, because there is one last crossing that must take place: the junction between readers and Bosch’s journey as he discovers the truth behind Lexi Park’s murder.

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10 Cloverfield Lane moviemavericks

by Jason Rugaard www.moviemavericks.com

It has become commonplace in recent years to nonchalantly acknowledge (and dismiss) the substantial acting abilities of John Goodman. His ubiquitous appearances in supporting roles over the last decade have cemented the notion that he’s one of our country’s most under-valued talents. Perhaps, with the extremely strong work in 10 Cloverfield Lane, Goodman will finally get attention from the awards circuit. In the midst of fleeing from an abusive relationship, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up from a devastating car crash to find herself trapped in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (John Goodman) is the group’s patriarch, an unbalanced fella who seems honest and evil in equal measures. He tells Michelle that an attack has contaminated the air, and they must remain inside the shelter for two years. Despite the presence of sweet-natured Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.), a fellow ‘survivor’ who helped

build the bunker, and the comforts of modern life, Howard’s volatile outbreaks of anger and jealousy give Michelle reason to think of an escape plan. But is the outside poisoned? Who has perpetrated the attacks? These intriguing questions drive the absorbing narrative. As we approach opening day of the burgeoning baseball season, I feel compelled to use a comparison to the game and it’s players. 10 Cloverfield Lane is similar to a solid utility player, not overly flashy but solid in every aspect while delivering a little bit more than you’d expect. Sure, this has been sold as a ‘spiritual’ sequel to 2008’s Godzilla clone Cloverfield, but it’s more like Room mixed with a very good episode of Tales from the Crypt. This is the rare sequel that audiences can walk into cold and not have a lesser experience because of it. Director:Dan Trachtenberg Stars:John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher, Jr.


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How to Hire a Reliable Moving Company Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor

Getting settled into your new home can be a transformative experience. Starting fresh in a new space is like hitting the reset button on your life, sparking fresh energy, new ideas and a buzz of excitement. But the process of moving? Not so much. Packing up everything in your old home, transporting it to your new home and unpacking it all is a daunting task. Many homeowners opt to alleviate some of the headache by hiring moving companies to deal with most of the logistics and heavy lifting. But hiring a third party can be fraught with potential problems such as delays, overcharging and loss. If you’re getting ready to hire a moving company, here’s what you need to know to find one that is reliable. Ask for recommendations. Start by asking friends, family, co-workers and local real estate agents for recommendations. You’ll find out quickly which companies are worth looking into and which ones you should avoid. Research each company. The next step is to do some preliminary research on each company you are considering. Do an online search for reviews and contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been registered about them. Arrange for an in-home estimate. Ask each company to come to your home and give you an estimate. While they are there, make sure to show them everything that needs to be moved as well as any stairs they will need to deal with and how far away from your home they can park their truck. Ask the company for a written estimate with a guaranteed cap. In

addition, ask if they use subcontractors or if they will be conducting the move themselves. Get all their contact information, any other names they may conduct business under and their state and federal license numbers. If any company won’t come to your home or give you any of this information, take them out of the running. Compare estimates. Now that you’ve collected your estimates, compare them. Any bids that come in low should be treated with caution. If several are in the same range, you can contact each to see if they will negotiate. Research more thoroughly. You’ve got your list narrowed down at this point – now is the time to research each company in more detail. Are they active in your community? Have they won any awards? Do they have any specialties, such as moving valuable antiques or working in a high-rise? In addition, check to make sure they have the license and insurance they need for your state. Choose your mover. At this point, based on your communications with them, now is the time to choose which company to work with. Once you’ve chosen your company and secured their services, be sure to give them directions to your new home, and get a contact phone number for them for the day of the move. While moving is a complex process that can be potentially stressful, taking the time to adequately vet potential moving companies will go a long way towards giving you peace of mind when the time comes to relocate. Compliments of Virtual Results. Visit my blog for more home tips at www.jenniferstojanovich. See ad on page page 3.

Taking Back Control of Your Computer computercorner

By William Claney, Computers USA

Sometimes, I think, computers have a mind of their own because they don’t always obey the commands of their owners. In a way they are like cats sometimes quietly running off and doing whatever they wish. Wouldn’t it be nice to wrest back control and make your kitty listen for once? You have all been there, sitting on a web site that refuses to close, or open, or do anything at all, it just sits there staring like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, eyes whirling drifting off to who knows where. You click, you curl your fist in anger, you, well, you reboot. Perhaps you were running a program that refuses to finish or start or even close. As you click the busy circle keeps spinning, and spinning and well spinning ignoring you completely. Windows 10 users, there is hope, a magic key that puts you back in command and makes that kitty do what you want it to do. Do you want to know what it is? Okay, but first a trip in the “wayback” machine to the good old days of Windows XP. Do you remember what you did then? To take back control you did a Control-Alt-Delete (Ctrl-Alt-Del) also known as the three fingered salute.

(Don’t ask.) Well there is a new way to accomplish the same thing. Here’s the secret to taking back control, making the kitty do what you want and it’s surprisingly simple. At the Windows logo in the lower left of your desktop, right click the logo. A menu will pop up. Look for Task Manager and left click it. The Task Manager window will open with a few entries. Look at the bottom of the window and click More Details and the window expands. At the top you will see a description called “Apps” with a list of all your open and running applications. Now select the application that is being a bad kitty, right click on it and click on End Task from the popup menu. At that point the task (application) will close. You are now king of your domain once again and free to peruse your kingdom as you wish. Oh, by the way, this works great on Windows 8.x as well. If you are still using Windows 7 or 8.x you only have a short time left before the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer expires. Don’t be a bad kitty, upgrade now. Kitty, sit. Kitty…

Money Matters: Planning Taxes after Retirement moneymatters by Coleen Geraghty,

Prudential Advisor, CA Ins Lic 0I89925

Like most people, you’re likely focused on how to save money on your tax returns, but it’s also important to consider how the tax decisions you make today can affect your retirement plans tomorrow. If you are within five years of retirement, it's time to fine tune your future finances. For example, have you thought of how taxes will affect you after you say goodbye to your job? Securing retirement income and understanding how taxes apply to your money is crucial to affording to live the life you want throughout your golden years. When you look at retirement assets through a tax lens, it becomes clear that decisions regarding the appropriate level of guaranteed lifetime income, maximizing Social Security, working in retirement and how you deploy your assets are very much linked. You should consider all of these elements in a holistic manner because, ultimately, the goal is to help make sure your assets support your desired standard of living for the rest of your life. If you are planning your retirement, the following are some tax considerations to discuss with your tax and legal advisors: Most people assume their personal income taxes will be lower after retirement because they won't be generating as much income and, therefore, will be in a lower tax bracket. But due to the recent economic downturn and losses in retirement assets, the dismal personal savings rate over the last decade, the decline of traditional pension plans, and the increase in the full retirement age under Social Security for those born after 1954, many

retirees are choosing to take on part-time jobs. Regardless of the reason for working in retirement, the income earned, combined with use of retirement savings, might create a situation where you will be taxed at the same level or an even higher rate than when you were working full time. With this in mind, it's important to have both taxable and non-taxable retirement assets upon which you can draw in retirement so you can manage taxes and maximize your income in the long term. Where you retire can have a significant impact on your after-tax income because state and local taxes can affect how long your retirement savings will last. In addition to state income taxes, there are sales and property taxes to consider. Some states derive more of their revenue from these taxes than from income taxes. You should understand how all of the taxes in the state and town in which you plan to retire will affect your income. Another thing to consider when planning your post-retirement income is how federal and state taxes might change in the future. It's hard to predict but a good indicator of future federal income taxes is to look at history and take an educated guess. Rates are at historic lows right now which likely mean an increase in the future. An indicator of future state taxes might be the current budget position of that

state, which, at the moment, suggests many may be looking to increase its income, sales and/or property taxes in the short term. What does this mean for retirement planning, especially in those critical five year periods just before and just after retirement? Basically, if federal or state taxes go up, your retirement savings and assets will be depleted sooner. You will have to save more to make your money last longer or you will have to adjust some of your spending habits. As you finalize your taxes for this year, think ahead to how taxes will affect you down the road when you retire. Now would be the time to review your retirement needs with a financial professional to make sure you are on the right track.


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 15 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

SPECIAL APRIL FOOLS ZONE Who Said That?

by Micah

Can you match the famous quote with the celebrity below? 1) "People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." 2) "I may be drunk Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." 3) "A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." 4) "Outside of a book a dog is mans best friend. Inside of a dog its too dark to read." 5) "If at first you don't succeed . . . so much for skydiving 6) " I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her." 7) "A two year old is kind of like having a blender but you don't have the top for it." 8) "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." 9) "If you can't beat them arrange to have them beaten." A) Rodney Dangerfield B) George Carlin C) Henny Youngman D) Winston Churchill E) Isaac Asimov

F) Steve Martin G) Mel Brooks H) Jerry Seinfeld J) Groucho Marx

Beware of the ‘April Fools!’ Backfire by Carolyn McArdle

Big 103.7 Radio Host 6a-10a

Answer: 1E; 2D; 3F; 4J; 5C; 6A; 7H; 8G; 9B

Name the Place, Lunch is on Me by Edi Birsan,

Concord City Councilman

In my travels through the valley there are times when a latent gene of O.C.D. *Obsessive Compulsion Disorder* manifests itself for a brief moment. In one establishment which sells ‘holy’ food there is a floor pattern of 11 hexagons in three different colors as below….HOWEVER… there are places where the pattern is VIOLATED to the great discomfort of OCD people. Win a free lunch for one with a Councilmember at this location. I will buy lunch at this location for a person who can correctly answer these two questions. 1.) Where is the pattern found? Name the Location. 2.) What are the errors (just so I know I will be having lunch with a fellow OCD’er) To enter, submit your answer to info@ diablogazette.com. One person will be randomly drawn from all correct entries on April 20.

“April Fools!” Do those words give you that uncomfortable, uneasy, embarrassed-even though-youdidn’t-do-anything-wrong feeling? Me too. Have you ever pulled an April Fools’ prank on someone that backfired? I did. I was working at a radio station in Pleasanton about fifteen years ago. I was the host of the morning show. My co-host, Ted Asregadoo (currently doing traffic and weather at TTWN in San Francisco) and I decided that it would be hilarious if we pranked our entire listening audience by switching roles for the day. Ted would now be the host of the morning show and I would be the co-host and traffic reporter. We went on the air the morning of April 1, 2005 and read a “fake” letter from management to our audience that essentially said that research has shown that having a male morning radio show host vs. a female would gain a much larger audience than having a female take the. Not true at all, but for that morning, we told our audience that was the truth and effective that day, our roles were now reversed. Ted was the new morning show host and I was the co-host doing traffic and news. Sure, we had several listeners call and say how they like me better as the host of the show and they love Ted doing traffic and wanted our roles reversed back. Some went as far as writing to management and voicing their displeasure. When that started happening, we knew we were in trouble as management was now being bothered with emails and phone

calls and letters. It was only 8:30am! The show was still on the air at that morning and our Program Director AND General Manger were already ticked at us! We still had ninety minutes to go before our shift was over and this “bit” was spiraling out of control! But the real backfire came when listeners started calling and telling Ted and I that they actually liked it BETTER this way! What?????? “You know, Ted makes a really great host and I like you better on traffic.” Uh oh. This is all of a sudden not going as planned. So now we are really in trouble! We’ve ticked off management AND now our listeners prefer Ted as the host and me as the co-host/traffic reporter! During our last break of the show, Ted and I went on the air and told our listeners that it was all an April Fools’ joke and that we would be back in our original roles in the morning with me as the host and Ted as the co-host. That was met by utter silence from the listeners. No phone calls. No emails. No letters. Ouch. Major backfire on this bit on our end. Were our listeners relieved that it was an April Fools’ prank and just didn’t care to take the time to write? Were they pulling an April Fools’ prank on us with their non-responses? This bit was like a firework that fizzled out uncharacteristically. Oh and then there was dealing with management after the show. I’ll save that for a separate column. Before you pull that April Fools’ prank this year, make sure you think it through…..all the way…. before you launch it. You don’t want it to turn into a “Carolyn and Ted” moment in the end. Fail.

Carolyn McArdle is the morning radio show host weekdays from 6am-10am on Big 103.7


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 16 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

How JJ Phair Punted Concord into Brighter Days Nik Wojcik On April 2, locals will have a chance to listen to live music and indulge in craft beer from over 50 breweries during the Brewing Network’s Spring Brews Festival in Todos Santos Plaza. The area is popular for events like these. That’s partially due to the city’s investment in downtown renovations over the past few years, which have proven much more successful than those old Spirit Poles some may remember. But much of what has drawn people back to the historic square started with the vision of one former NFL kicker who became the godfather of Concord’s “beer block.” John Jeffrey “JJ” Phair once stood in stadiums among thousands of fans, all eyes on him…and his foot. His years with the Detroit Lions (1997) and Buffalo Bills (1998) began with a stubborn streak. He’d grown up playing soccer with a guy named Doug Brien, who later landed a position with the 49ers as a place kicker. When Phair saw Brien’s success, he thought to himself, “…if he could do it, I can do it too.” “I knew I could compete on leg strength and gave it a shot,” said Phair. After injuring himself while training with the Raiders, he decided to give up his NFL career. “I’m sure I could’ve recovered and would’ve been fine…but kind of felt like I needed to get a little more established and you know, grow up a little bit,” said Phair. “I decided at that point to open up a brewery,” said Phair. That was 1999. Fast forward 17 years. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon

The sign above the front door at E.J. Phair and a proud nod to JJ’s grandfather, Ewart John.

downtown. The patio at EJ Phair Brewing Company is packed with patrons grubbing on lunch specials and sipping on robust small-batch pints. The adjacent playground is full of laughing families and the big grassy area is freckled with folks speaking at least five different languages. When the sun goes down, the trees come alive with little white lights and music fills the air through hidden speakers. The four streets enclosing the central square are bustling with coffee and beauty shops, a book store – with real live paper books – restaurants serving meals from around the globe and beer…really good beer. Corey Barlow, 39, is a more recent transplant to the area from North Carolina. “There’s a certain middle class feel that Concord has, in spades,” said Barlow. “Compared to Walnut Creek…this is just comfortable. It’s just real people.” Seriously, the scene is like freakin’ Mayberry, with a lot more color and much better food. But not so long ago, the picture of that same place was contrastingly bleak. Locals describe what the downtown area was like 10 years prior with words like “seedy” and “sketchy.” From the mid-80s through the early 2000s, the historic city hub, otherwise known as Todos Santos, had gained a bad reputation for gang violence and heavy drug activity. “I remember that this park was not all that hot,” said Christopher Wheeler, EJ Phair’s general manager. “Families definitely did not come first downtown,” said Wheeler, referring to the city’s banner slogan. There was a big empty ground floor space at the corner of Salvio and Grant streets. For years after the old Wild Rose closed its doors, the parkside property lingered in a state of vacancy and lifelessness. Residents stopping to look through the dusty windows could see a grand old brass bar that defiantly stood alone inside. The place had become a metaphor for the surrounding area – a treasure buried in a thick layer of funk. Phair was hunting for a place he could really sink his teeth into, ready to evolve his growing brew operation on Detroit Avenue. He stumbled across the old restaurant site at 2151 Salvio St. and saw a diamond in the rough. Phair recalls what a risk it was to invest in the area at the time. “Right after I signed a lease on this space, I found out that Todos Santos was just on MTV as one of the biggest meth parks in the country,” said Phair. “The air was let out of my balloon,” said Phair, and he was left to wonder what he’d gotten himself into. But he kept on, driven by belief in its potential. Fueled by his trademark determination and supported by the labor and skills of friends and family, Phair transformed an awkward space that had been nearly forgotten into what is now a pillar in the community. EJ Phair Brewing Company officially opened its doors on March 7, 2005. It has since become what the owner refers to as the “third place.” “You have your home and you have your

JJ Phair tending to the brewery at the Pittsburg location.

work, but you need that third place to kind of unwind and call yours,” said Phair. “This is that for a lot of people, which is really cool.” He envisioned a rich and welcoming place reminiscent of a traditional “public house,” and that’s exactly what he achieved. Beautiful brick work and heavy bench-style wooden tables set the backdrop for the bar area that serves up wine and 50 craft beer varieties, including nine selections shipped over the hill from his expanded brewery and organic pizza restaurant in nearby Pittsburg. But it’s evident that this place is more than just a bar. Customers of every variety and all ages are drawn to EJ Phair’s. On any given day you’ll find the restaurant area filled with singles, families with children, local politicians and folks like Barlow who favor the atmosphere as his “mobile office.” Susan Bonilla has been a fixture there, enjoying a meal and pouring over paperwork sprawled out on the table. “The fact that the local business association has its monthly meetings here…says a lot,” said Wheeler. The food at EJ Phair’s shares center stage, showcasing their commitment to conscientiously-sourced food made in-house. Wheeler is given free reign to push the culinary envelope beyond typical bar grub, which is why weekly specials include items like pork belly or sea scallops and succotash. As the pub celebrated its 11-year anniversary on March 7, it looks as though Phair’s chancy bet on the local gem has paid off. Perhaps the most striking success is not inside EJ Phair’s in Concord, but what is going on right outside the doors. The neighborhood shows almost no signs of its previous fall from grace. There’s a new vibrancy in the area and businesses seem to be booming, including EJ’s new next door neighbor, the Hop Grenade Taproom. The adjoining patios of the two beer-centric venues have made the downtown area a destination for connoisseurs and the perfect place to host this year’s festival. Wheeler recalls the early days and JJ’s intention to “start something bigger down here.” And what’s going on in the area now is definitely something bigger than it was years ago. “I think we’re kind of the anchor down here now,” said Phair. “It’s phenomenal.” Today JJ Phair is 45 and has “grown up a little bit.” He’s relaxed and happy to share his story with a smile on his face, and seems genuinely proud of what he’s accomplished. In his words, it just goes to show that “if you work hard and play ‘Phair’ great things can happen.”


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 17 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

Why Arizona? journey-man’sjournal

by John Cooper My wife recently sent me a quote written by Paul Coelho that I liked. It read, “I refuse to walk carefully through life only to arrive safely at death”. I’ve always subscribed to this type of thinking and found these words encouraging and motivating, so much so that I felt moved to get out of town for a little adventure. Lucky for me, my son who plays college rugby, was scheduled to play a couple matches over the weekend in Arizona. What a perfect excuse to hit the road for a weekend in Arizona. It’s a long haul from the Bay Area to Phoenix, unless you’re flying, but what’s the fun in that? I decided to drive instead as I planned to spend some time wandering around and exploring the back roads. Following a fairly uneventful drive down to Arizona, twelve hours of uneventful in fact, my first landing-place was downtown Prescott and its famous Whiskey Row district, a block-long set of historic buildings housing old saloons, taverns and restaurants. Whiskey Row’s most famous destination is the Palace Saloon, originally built in 1877, and still very much in character. I’ve visited, and some may even say frequented, many old saloons over the years. I’ve been drawn to their rich history and reputation. The Palace Saloon in fact was patronized in its

early days by none other than Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. I wondered if they sat right about where I had. Maybe, but I’d bet they didn’t order a martini. The famous rock band, the Eagles, had a hit record back in the 1970’s called “Take it Easy”. The lyrics included the line, “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see”. I’ve always wanted to do that, you know, stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona (I must admit my life goals are fairly modest). Downtown Winslow is only a few hour’s drive from Prescott, and with an opportunity to check off another bucket list item, I headed up the road. When

I arrived to the famous corner for a quick photo, I noticed a lot of fresh cut flowers lying on the ground and Eagles music blasting from a nearby building in remembrance of the recent death of the band member Glenn Frey. It was a nice tribute. I can’t speak for other states, but as far as Arizona goes, it has some funny-named cities. There’s “Bumble Bee”, “Tombstone”, and “Carefree”, but my favorite is “Why”. Of all the available choices to name a city, who, or should I say why, would someone choose “Why”? I didn’t think I would find out, but I wanted to see “what was happening in why”. Highway 60 runs south from Winslow along the outer edge of the Tonto National Forest and through the Fort Apache and San Carlos Apache Reservations and across the Salt River Canyon, a spectacular drive with awesome views and scenery not too dissimilar from a mini Grand Canyon. I stopped briefly at the Drift Inn Saloon in Globe, one of the oldest continuously operating saloons in the State of Arizona, established in 1902. Globe is a very small community and the local saloon effectively serves as the de-facto community center and meeting place for the local residences. Leaving Globe and heading toward Why, the landscape quickly began to change toward long and lonely stretches of hot, dry desert. I like the solitude of the desert because it allows me time to

think. As my mind began to wander, I suddenly noticed in my peripheral vision a tall-standing saguaro cactus seemingly with open arms and prepared for a comforting hug to lonely travelers. However, I didn’t fall for its deceptive overtures, but did manage to stop for a photo opportunity. Finally arriving in the city of Why after a good days drive, I quickly understood the meaning behind the name. For there is very little in Why aside from a fuel station, a camping area and a small market with the appropriate name of “Why Not”. My weekend trip to Arizona was filled with fun and adventure, and a couple thousand miles of spectacular and scenic views, and renewed motivation to continue exploring the roads less traveled. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, the rugby matches were great to see. After all, wasn’t that the whole point of my trip?

Mt. Diablo Recycling Hosts Annual Family Earth Day Celebration Saturday April 23

Earth Day is not just a once a year holiday for Mt. Diablo Recycling (MDR), though it does highlight a reason to celebrate with the Contra Costa County community. MDR’s 4th Annual Family Earth Day Celebration on April 23 is free and offers fun activities for families to do together to help the earth. The Family Earth Day Celebration begins at 10 am and runs until 12 noon at the MDR facility at 1300 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg. Tour MDR’s 90,000-square-foot recycling facility. Learn about the “Big Blue” and “Big Wall-e” recycling machines, attend an interactive education lesson about the 5 R’s (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Respect-Recover), play recycling games, take photos with the Recycling Guy and recycling trucks and take home crafts. “There is no better time than Earth Day to share our passion for recycling

and recovery with the entire community,” said Joseph Garaventa, MDR’s Chief Executive Officer. “Participating in our Earth Day Celebration is a great way to explore the many ways they can make a real difference in the quality of our environment.” Space is limited and reservations are suggested. Contact Adriana Medina at 925-771-2721 or by email at Adriana. Medina@Garaventaent.com. Mt. Diablo Recycling is one of the largest, state-of-the-art recycling centers in Northern California. It is part of the East Bay area’s oldest locally-owned recycling and resource recovery company, Garaventa Enterprises. Garaventa Enterprises offers state-of-the-art recycling and resource recovery facilities and currently serves the areas of Concord, Pittsburg, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Oakley and Rio Vista.


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 18 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

Reaching out to the Homeless By Richard Eber It was a shock for many people including myself to learn Doug Stewart of the Homeless Outreach Program announced he is quitting his work with the organization and moving to Arizona this July. Even though we are pleased that Doug will be able to spend quality time with his aging parents and siblings, his departure feels much like a death in the family because he will be so sorely missed. Each evening, for more than a decade Stewart, worked with the homeless throughout Contra Costa making the rounds to their encampments throughout the region. For this, Doug has never been paid or given the plaques and certificates city councils are so fond of dispensing to charity organizations. Doug Stewart has given his life to the homeless out of the goodness of his heart. Driving around in a beaten-up, white van, Stewart has rendezvoused with the most desperate and problem plagued segment of our society. While bringing them food, socks, blankets, jackets, medical supplies and other essentials, he also brought hope. The homeless of Contra Costa have known they have had a trusted friend they could depend on. Outside of visiting the shanty towns mostly located under freeway underpasses or near abandoned railroad tracks, the Homeless Outreach Program has been the community’s primary resource to refer social services to those in need. Doug Stewart and his associates insist that those who want to change their lifestyle must be ready to make a commitment to leave the streets. It’s tough love. In most cases, this has meant alcoholics must go on the wagon prior to seeking treatment at a detox facility. A similar scenario has held true for drug addicts, a large segment of the homeless population. Along with those who have chemical dependency issues, others living in the streets are plagued with mental disabilities that preclude them from living normal lives. Many are individuals who have been cast aside when cutbacks in Governmental agencies of mental health services have occurred over the years. Tragically, it often costs society more to serve these people when they are homeless, especially when law enforcement and medical issues are factored in. Doug’s compassionate undertaking is a daunting dose of good will. To put things in perspective, let me recount one evening I spent with Doug and the Homeless Outreach Program last year. 6:35 p.m. We start out this night in a parking lot near the train depot in Martinez. The first order of business is to stock the Ford Van with supplies at a nearby donated warehouse. Blankets, socks, and canned foods are the main items loaded up. The materials distributed depend on need and what is donated by businesses and charities to the Homeless Outreach program on a daily basis. 7:50 p.m. Our first mission is to pick-up Freddy C. in Antioch. He is to be taken to a homeless shelter in Richmond where Doug has found space for him. We arrive at this encampment next to the railroad tracks adjacent to a long deserted card room whose faded signs evoke better times. The parking lot consists of a long line of shopping carts in front of make-shift huts. In trying to locate Freddy, Doug in the tradition of a modern Johnny Appleseed dispenses socks in the dwellings where approximately 35 down-and-outers reside. Most of the people there know Doug and are glad to see

him. Developing trust is important should anyone desire to turn their lives around. 8:15 p.m. The word has gotten around and Freddy appears just before we were preparing to leave. After he is checked for dangerous weapons, we are in transit to the shelter in Richmond where a vacancy exists. There are a limited amount of beds available so priority is given by Doug for those who are likely to be successful in getting off the streets. With little prodding, Freddy tells his story of having lived with his Grandmother after his marriage fell apart caused by bouts of binge drinking. He was hoping to reconcile with his wife when a drunken episode occurred that resulted in Freddy beating up his Grandma’s boyfriend. This resulted in more trouble with the law and a ticket to homeless world. After recounting this tale Freddy told us he was not a bad guy when not on the bottle. I wanted to believe him but said nothing. 8:50 p.m. We arrive at the County Shelter in Richmond. While Doug is checking Freddy in, I hung out in the nearby Courtyard where clients of the facility are smoking cigarettes prior to check-in time. They are joined by residents of the homeless encampment that I would later learn is located nearby. One individual that stands out is a well dressed young Hispanic kid in his early 20’s who does not appear to belong in this environment. A few minutes later when Doug returns, he begins a conversation in Spanish with Rico who is new to the area. He claims to have recently arrived from Mexico and become destitute when separated from his family. 9:33 p.m. After finishing up at the Homeless Shelter we begin touring the nearby encampments located near the railroad tracks. Even though there are dirt roads leading to these places, Doug’s van is not sturdy enough to traverse through this terrain. It requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Parking next to a fenced off storage area armed with blankets, socks, and a few medical supplies, we walk around with only a flashlight to guide us. We visit abandoned sites and places where the residents are not around. Doug leaves his card to show having been there. 10:23 p.m. We come to shantytown where about 15 people are living. There are tents and signs of cooking fires in use. The residents are happy to see Doug and gratefully accept any goodies he offers. Seeing the mess on the ground of assorted garbage, he implores those present to clean up their camp. As a reward for doing this, Doug offers them a bucket of Colonel Sanders fried chicken next week should they comply with his wishes. Litter, including empty beer cans and used syringes can be easily found. With no lavatory facilities, empty stream beds are filled with human feces that will one day pollute the Bay when the rains come. He said that when the County comes in to clean up the camps, they must send in a Hazmat team which is very expensive. By comparison a bucket of chicken seems like a bargain, Doug reasoned. 11:01 p.m. We ask around and are directed to the camp where the mystery man Rico allegedly lives. When we find this place, there is a tent and suitcase but

no food, sleeping bag or fire pit present. Doug suspects that Rico is the local drug dealer sent in by a gang to sell to the addicts residing in the Homeless Shelter and close by encampments. Apparently, it is not a coincidence that Rico wears a fashionable leather coat, gold chains, and clean clothes. He definitely does not fit the profile of a resident of these places. Stewart, who has a close working relationship with the local police forces in the County, will likely pass on this bit of intelligence at the appropriate time 11:27 p.m. Hurrying to the van, our tour heads to Nation’s Giant Burger parking lot near to Casino San Pablo. We are supposed to meet a lady who is voluntarily committing herself to a drug treatment program. Our appointment is at 11:45. When Cheryl does not show, we head off to the Martinez jail to pick up a recently released convict who has been promised a ride to a Homeless camp in Concord a couple hundred yards from the Sam’s club parking under the bridge where Walnut Creek intermittently flows. 12:15 a.m. Waiting for us in what is turning out to be a chilly evening, we meet Paul and Luanne who are a couple in their late 20’s. Paul was just let out of the County Jail after being held for possession of heroin. I am told that despite the seriousness of the crime, law enforcement does not hold criminals of this kind very long because it does little good nor solves any problems. As a precaution, Doug searched the couple prior to letting them in the van. He confiscated a switchblade knife and a small bag of marijuana which was later returned to them. While driving to their drop off point


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 19 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990 in Concord, we learn that Paul grew up in the area and comes from a broken home with a drunken Mom and a drug-addicted father. He expressed desire to turn his life around while professing love for Luanne who at second glance was several years older than him. With drug addicts, it is sometimes difficult to know their ages because needle and the hard life on the streets quickly take its toll. 12:40 a.m. Before reaching the appointed destination near Sam’s Club, Luanne asks if they can be dropped off at a 7-11 in Pacheco to get a hot meal despite claiming to be penniless. Ignoring the holes in their story, Doug complies and drives them to the convenience store. After they disembark and his card is given to each of them, Doug explains that the couple was looking for a dealer to get a fix. He says the only hope for either one of them is to split up and seek treatment. Should that moment ever come, both have his contact information. 1:10 a.m. Somewhat exhausted, I am dropped off at my car in Martinez. For Doug Stewart, his work for that day is just beginning. He is scheduled to make his rounds beneath a freeway underpass in Pleasant Hill and go on from there in his mission to bring comfort for those most in need. For me life will never be the same. Every time I pass by a freeway onramp, I will wonder what is going on underneath in the dark world of the homeless nation. At the end of day how does our society replace Doug Stewart as he rides off into the Sunset in Arizona? The measly $ 165,000 or so given to Homeless Outreach by public agencies is a drop in the bucket considering all the work the program accomplishes. Despite performing services that would make Mother Teresa proud, procurWhat is to happen following Doug’s departure? No ing the necessary resources to carry out their mission amount of Ph D’s, sociologists, program administers, or has never been easy. social workers can fill the void he will have left behind. Getting even a small amount of support from the Government and private organizations will need to county government has proved to be as difficult to obtain take drastic steps to replace what Doug Stewart, associas winning the lottery. The problem is that almost all ate Bill Schilz, and others with Homeless Outreach have Federal and State money they distribute to assist the accomplished. Hopefully, the powers that be will be able homeless must be in the form of services that are intendto find some way to duplied to take people off the cate at least part of the work “There are 28,000 chronically streets permanently rather that they have done. than address immediate homeless people in California – Dealing with these outneeds. many of whom are mentally ill. Not casts of society has been the Most funds are allocatonly should we provide a helping mission of Doug Stewart. ed to programs primarily amount of funding can administered by churches, hand to those who can’t help them- No ever replace his compassion. community groups, and selves, but we must get a handle on During the past year, Doug various entities that can the costs. The cost of homelessness and his team successfully write grant proposals. is $100,000 annually per person sheltered 1040 homeless When it’s time to dish out and provided the cash, Homeless Outwith emergency room visits, hos- individuals, some 3000 people with the reach historically has been pital stays, law enforcement, and necessities to survive, and left out in the cold with even helped relocate some other social services.” their clients. homeless folks to relatives To government, on far away. Offering referrals virtually all levels, what – Sen. Glazer to those with no place to Doug Stewart has done in turn, desperate and destihelping these poor souls tute, was equally important. takes a backseat to what Doug has been honored for his work with several are considered to be higher priorities. awards. Martin Luther King Contra Costa County HuNow, Doug is moving on to fulfilling a dream he never manitarian of the Year 2013; Martinez Man of the Year thought possible. He’s purchasing a home in Payson, 2011; Diablo Magazine “Threads of Hope Award 2011; Arizona and starting a new life. Unless someone steps President’s Call to Service Award; American Red Cross forward, Stewart will be taking his foundation with him. Heroism Award 2012; Concord PD Community Policing

Award 2012; California Peace Officers Award of Appreciation 2013. He was also featured in the documentary “Unsheltered Heart”, currently still in production. Too much is at stake to let this program die. Homelessness is problematic to all communities. It’s what is wrong. It’s ugly and it blinds us. Doug Stewart had eyes. He has shown us an incredible side of humanity as an unpaid soldier of decency, motivated by his sheer desire to help a desperate man, with the fortitude to act… Doug is what is right within our area.

To read local government officials’ responses to this story including Sen. Glazer, Assembly Member Catharine Baker, and Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, go to diablogazette.com.


Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2016 • Page 20 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

Feeding Your Roses: What’s On the Menu? Gardenwise

farmerfresh by Debra Morris,

Pacific Coast Farmers Market http://www.pcfma.org/concord

By Brian Larsen Garden Manager at The Gardens at Heather Farms

I’m often asked how I keep The Gardens’ roses blooming like crazy all throughout the summer months. Well, it’s really no secret; the answer is simple and straight-forward. For maximum bloom, you've got to feed them -- early and often. Kicking off the menu in early March, I like to use a fertilizer dominant in nitrogen. As vegetative growth progresses, flower buds will start to develop. As soon as I see the majority of my roses stacking up buds, I introduce a heavy bloom fertilizer. To top it off and really keep them going, I highly recommend using a monthly bloom fertilizer application throughout the rest of the season. However, in the garden as in life, sometimes a rich, three-course meal isn’t in the cards. For those who don’t have the time, energy or money to fertilize on a regular basis, I recommend feeding with a slow-release bloom food in late March and early September. Organics are an excellent choice for sustained release over the course of the season. When shopping for your fertilizer, don’t worry about brands, as there isn’t much difference; the important choice

The Magic of Microgreens

Farmers are now offering tiny baby seedlings of familiar plants, called microgreens, to many dining establishments as a trendy addition to their menus. They’re even appearing in recipes prepared by your local food trucks. What are microgreens and why are they so popular now? Microgreens, not to be confused with ‘sprouts,’* are very young leafy shoots of some of your favorite vegetables such as wheat grass, buckwheat, radish, lettuce, broccoli, arugula, and many more. They’re usually no larger than 1-1/2 inch-

to make is about form, either granular or liquid. I prefer liquid fertilizer due to lower cost and ease of application. However, I only recommend liquid if you are able to inject it directly into the irrigation, so it better targets the soil where your roses are rooted. Try to avoid spraying or pouring liquid fertilizer on top of your roses, as it can bring excess moisture to the leaf surface, leading to powdery mildew and other unwelcome issues. If you don’t have the ability to inject, go with the granular option instead. Take this simple advice this season: Give your roses the right meal and be the envy of all who pass your garden.

es and no older than two to three weeks between germination and harvest. Recent research reported in the Journal of Food Chemistry has suggested that microgreens could hold more nutrient value than their grown-up counterparts.** Looking at four different nutrients, they found that microgreens have four to six times the nutrient value of mature plants! Their flavors are more intense, too. This doesn’t mean you should stop eating a big leafy green salad made with mature vegetables, but microgreens can offer additional flavor and texture to your everyday meals. You can find fresh microgreens at your local farmers’ market. Give their intense wonderful flavor a try.

Omelet with Microgreens

4 large eggs 4 tbs milk 1/3 cup shredded cheddar 1 medium tomato, diced 1/2 spring onion, minced Handful of micro greens (about 1 cup) Salt & pepper to taste Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Sauté onion and tomato in a large nonstick pan for 2-3 minutes on medium heat with a little oil or butter. Pour egg mixture into pan. As the omelet starts to set, lift an edge of

the omelet with a spatula and tilt the pan so that the runny, unset portion of the omelet can run underneath and start to set. Repeat on the opposite side. Top omelet with cheese, add salt and pepper, and cook for a minute more. Sprinkle greens across the omelet and fold in half. *Sprouts are grown in water without sunlight and are susceptible to E. Coli; the US Government recommends against eating sprouts. **Journal of Food Chemistry, 2012, 60 (31), pp 7644–7651.


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