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WIN TICKETS •Local Students Save the World at Mock UN •Novel Gift Ideas - Books for all Ages •5 Reasons to Sell Your House Now •Election Fallout 2016 •Bra Power! Clayton Valley Women’s Club Helping Victims of Sex Trafficking •Modern Day Explorer - From Concord to Canada •Taking the Controls of a Boeing 767 - Secret Service •Holiday Events, Gifts,Tips and Decorations

to see ROGUE ONE see page 2 for details


Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 2 • | •(925)-298-9990

from the publisher by David King

WIN Tickets to See the New Star Wars: Rogue One Movie Diablo Gazette is giving away four tickets to see Rogue One at Brendan Theater in Concord. Simply go to our Facebook page and “like’ the post on the contest and enter your name in the comments. We will randomly select two winners and post the winners on our Facebook page December 16. Further details will be

on the post. From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure set to release on December 16. This insertion into the Saga tells the story how the plans that would eventually lead to the destruction of the death star were stolen. The early previews are out, and it looks fantastic, as are the reviews.

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Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide


by William Claney, Computers USA

The wonderful Holiday Season is upon us and that means finding just the right gift for your friends and family. So, here are a few hints that will be sure to please that special person; gifts from stocking stuffers to that amazing item they’ve always wanted. For a gift that isn’t expensive but really useful and will be appreciated and used often, try a USB flash drive. They are handy items used to store files, photos, and even a full featured movie. Flash drives have many names like thumb drive, USB drive, or memory stick but they all do the same thing, store files. They come in various sizes, shapes and varieties like USB 2.0, 3.0 and now the 3.1 versions and differing sizes from 4GB to 512GB. Note that USB 3.1 is a new format and uses a completely new and different type of connector (plug-in) than the older versions of 2.0 and 3.0. Don’t buy a 3.1 unless you are sure about the computer or device it will plug into. The simple solution is to purchase USB 3.0 because it is backward compatible, that is, it works on the other formats.

Depending on your budget get the largest one you can as measured in gigabytes, for example 8GB means it will store about 50 thousand documents, 10 thousand photos, or two full featured movies. They make great stocking stuffers. Generics are less expensive than “data-guard” versions; however, in my opinion, less reliable. How about some great speakers as a nice gift? My lovely bride gave me a set of BOSE speakers for my computer last year and I have enjoyed them from the moment I plugged them in to my computer. They are expensive, but worth every penny. They have WiFi models, so no speaker wires, and they work with most portable devices like smartphones and tablets as well as your computer. BOSE speakers produce the best sound of any on the market and make an absolutely wonderful gift. Need more tips or advice? Contact your trusted local computer expert before you shop and as always, Happy Holidays and have a Merry Christmas.

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Bay Area Students Tackle World’s Obstacles at the 26th Annual Contra Costa County Model UN On November 5 and 6, 225 Bay Area high school students buckled down to discuss and provide workable solutions to many of our world’s biggest challenges, at the 26th annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference, held at Diablo Valley College. This academic event is produced and

directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and coordinated by Kevin Felix Chan, of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day event enhances high school students’ understanding of the United Nations and its role in global issues. Participating students (delegates) each represent a nation and negotiate on that country’s behalf. During the conference, delegates debated international issues in 10 committees, including Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Women (UN Women), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Topics discussed

included Eradicating Child Labor, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Cybersecurity, The Political Participation of Women, and Reducing Global Food Waste. Bay Area high school teams participating in this year’s Contra Costa County Model UN were Acalanes High (Lafayette), Athenian High (Danville), California High (San Ramon), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), De La Salle High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Foothill High (Pleasanton), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Northgate High (Walnut Creek), Pittsburg High (Pittsburg) and Tilden High (Walnut Creek). This year, Foothill High earned the Best Delegation Award, and Dougherty High was presented with the Outstanding Delegation Award. Individual awards are listed on the web page www.cccoe.k12. “We are pleased to see so many high school students throughout our county and the Bay Area take advantage of our Model UN program,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata. “Model UN is an excellent opportunity for students to display all the hard work and preparation they have put in, as they successfully discuss, persuade, and work with fellow committee members on real-world problems and complex

international relations. The skills they are currently refining with this program will be the same ones they’ll use in college and/or in their future careers.” This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures and policies of the countries they represent. They can learn the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, while at the same time honing their interpersonal skills. They must practice writing and speaking skills in order to persuade delegates from other attending schools. Kevin Chan reported that the 34 U.C. Davis Model UN Club volunteers who

presided over the Committee Meetings were extremely impressed especially since many of the high school students were first-year Model UN participants. Model UN differs from the CCCOE’s Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial academic-event programs, in that it is not so much a competition as it is an event. Participants are commended for outstanding committee work and certificates are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate skills, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions.

Photo credit: Jonathan Lance, CCCOE

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What Really Matters

by Dan Ashley, ABC-7 News Anchor

The Reason for the Season With Thanksgiving in our collective rear view mirror, we are now speeding rapidly toward Christmas and, if you’re like most people, you already feel desperately behind. Is the house decorated? What about Christmas cards, are those in the mail? I’ll bet you haven’t bought a single gift yet, right? The holiday season is filled with so much joy, but it also comes with healthy helpings of stress, expectation, and pressure. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, but Christmas is a close second. And I don’t mean Christmas Day, but the entire season. I’m one of those people who tries to really get into the spirit of the thing, the whole “good will toward men” aspect of what this time of year is supposed to be all about. For me, that part of the holiday transcends religion in that you don’t have to be a Christian to experience and appreciate what it is all about. Unfortunately, what it has morphed into more so than ever before is stuff. Some stores won’t even wait until the day after Thanksgiving to open anymore for fear that someone might stay at home for the entire day without spending any money. The level of fake events to get us to spend, spend, spend fast and furiously before December 25th is mind-boggling. First, we had Black Friday to get us to rush out on the day after giving thanks to give businesses our money. Then the marketing wizards came up with Cyber-Monday so that whatever limit we had left on our credit cards after the previous Friday could be spent on the internet. Now, they’ve just come up with another gimmick sandwiched right in the middle of those other two national days of consumerism. Have you heard of Small Business Saturday? That’s a day set aside for us to make our holiday purchases at mom-and-pop type operations. Are there even any of those anymore? So, in the new spirit of the season, I’ve come with a few more ideas to help round-out the entire week after Thanksgiving to really help us embrace the shopping arm-twisting we experience each year. Here we go: - Circular Sunday- after

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, this shopping day let’s us focus our attention on the circular ads that show up in the Sunday paper. Not only would this boost spending on that day, but it will also increase the circular ad business for your local paper— a twofer. - Take Out Tuesday- after all of the frantic shopping the previous three days, we will need a rest and some time at home with a nice take-out meal from a local restaurant. Why should they be left out of the holiday marketing blitz? - Wild Wednesday- this special day of shopping leaves you in the driver’s seat for a change with no particular command about how to spend your money. Go crazy, big box shopping, locally-owned shops, or an on-line buying bingewhatever you choose as long as you choose to spend. And to round out the week: - 401-K Thursday- since by now, if all has gone according to plan, you are completely out of money. This day would be a guilt-free chance to raid your retirement accounts to secure any of those last items on your holiday shopping list. All of the investment houses would have extra staff on duty to more quickly enable you to access your rainy day funds for the here and the now and the on sale. There you go, a full week of spending mania to really kick-off the holiday season in festive fashion and still leave plenty of time before Christmas for all of that peace on earth, good will toward men nonsense! All kidding aside, the commercial nature of the Christmas season has its role and it is fun, but What Really Matters, of course, is that it be kept in its proper place and perspective as we celebrate a magical time of the year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ~Dan Dan Ashley is an anchor at ABC-7 News and can be seen weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. on ABC-7 and at 9 p.m. on KOFY TV20. Contact him at Dan. Visit http://www.rockwithpush. com for more on the band.

Walnut Creek’s Bianca Pratte Wins Collegiate Music Competition Northgate High School graduate Bianca Pratte of Walnut Creek recently won first place honors at the 2016 Wisconsin Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition. She will be travelling to the Regional division of the same competition in January. Regional winners advance to the national finals in March 2017 in Baltimore, Md. Pratte was also the winner of the 2016 Wisconsin Flute Festival Collegiate Competition, the 2016 National Flute Association Collegiate Flute Choir Competition, the 2015 Kathy Nelson Merit Scholarship, and a Finalist in the 2016 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and in the 2015 San Francisco Flute Society Youth Competition.

Pratte performed Frank Martin’s “Ballade for flute and piano,” Robert Muczynski’s “Three Preludes for Solo Flute” and Jules Mouquet’s “La Flute de Pan” in the competition finals. Pratte has played in masterclasses for Jim Walker, Linda Toote, Donna Shin, Robert Stallman, and John Thorne, among others. When not playing flute, she is swing dancing with the Lawrence Swing Dancers or playing accordion on the streets of Walnut Creek. Now a sophomore at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI., Pratte is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance and minor in Pedagogy.

aRt Cottage by FROgard

aRT Cottage is More than a Gallery The Cottage was purchased in December 2011 and fulfilled a dream I had of having my own studio space. That was not to be. As art friends and my new neighbors saw the conversion of a small fruit picker’s bungalow grow from a neglected home to an art center, enthusiasm grew as did

my love for Concord. This small place has brought life to the end of Mt. Diablo St. and become a happy place for many. It is here that I have experienced joy in teaching classes to children as young as four and children as old as senior citizens. When we take on the joy of a child, it is easy to make art. All the students are local and we offer a variety of classes for a variety of age groups. It took Picasso a life time to learn how to paint like a child. It is from these students who come that I keep learning how to love life. Girl Scouts have come to earn merit badges. High school students have come to do their Senior Projects, special needs students have learned to paint with watercolor, oil, and acrylics. Oh yes, and then there is the clay, the kiln, and the little yoga dogs that were created. Some parents have booked the aRt Cottage so their children could have birthday parties here and for a special treat a thematic art project was complete by each child. The Cottage has also been used as a place for figure drawing sessions for adults. Yes, nudes as well as draped models have been here and helped us learn how to draw a beautiful figure accurately or abstractly. Portraiture classes were also done. Did you know

that there is an East Bay Model Guild (union shop) and these professional models get paid because they are just that - professionals? Galleries in Contra Costa County do not show nudes, except for the aRt Cottage. It has a NUDE show once a year honoring the beauty and landscape of the human body. Another exciting adventure at aRt Cottage was our two African Craft Shows. At the first one, the Cottage had live music from our very own local African Drummer, Ben Ofuri. The proceeds from those shows went back to the villages in Tanzania where the crafts were made. Some of you have come back and requested we do it again and we are trying to book another one. The world really does seem like it keeps getting smaller as we open our minds to become more community oriented. The aRt Cottage is located in North Todos Santos - just two blocks north of the town Square. Our Neighborhood Watch group for North Todos Santos is very active and has often met at the

aRt Cottage. Community is a wonderful thing when we come together and know each other. Yes, in December of 2011, I thought that I fulfilled my dream of having my own studio - but that was not to be - it truly has become “R” Cottage! That is why the R is big in aRt Cottage. Our website lists our current exhibits, classes and more. Having finished its 5th year, it has been a pleasure to serve concord and neighboring communities as a Gallery and a working Art Studio. It is always fun to watch what my students come up with. This is a place where we DO NOT COLOR IN THE LINES and definitely enjoy getting into our work. aRt Cottage hours are Tuesday - Friday from 11a.m.-5p.m. and Saturday from 1p.m.-5p.m. Call us (925) 956-3342 or drop in at 2238 Mt. Diablo Street. Learn more on our website

Photos from top to bottom: Northgate’s Samantha Jaime at the Easel, Ben Ofuri gives a drumming class, Northgate’s Jaline Cordova Making Yoga dogs for Senior Project, FROgard and Joanne Zehrung making a fabric collage

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The Christmas Home Tour FrugElegance by Carol and Randi

The Frugirls The Thanksgiving dinner is barely finished and it’s a race to shop, decorate and do so many other things to make the upcoming holiday season fabulous. ‘Tis the time of the year for lots of chaos but we have some awesome “FrugElegant

Style” decorating tips to help keep things easy and look beautiful without spending a lot. Of course there are the traditional

items and collectibles that are a must have. We look to buy those on clearance after the holidays are over and save them for the next year. Here is a list of some of our most inexpensive favorites. Ribbon, ribbon and more ribbon, mesh and regular work almost anywhere. A glittery gold mesh ribbon gives a very elegant look wrapped around a throw pillow. A red solid wide ribbon will transform a pillow to look like a holiday gift. Super easy! Mesh ribbon is perfect for decorating wreaths, making a Christmas tree look full, adding to mantels, wrapping around stair railings, or in bunches lining shelves. The list is endless for mesh ribbon. Don’t put away those summer lanterns. Fill them with Christmas balls and top off with a ribbon. Bells, ornament balls and a bunch of other Dollar Store goodies are the perfect addition to any mantel or table centerpiece. Candles go such a long way. Battery operated tea lights in a martini glass dresses up a table centerpiece. Try scented candles with or without pretty glass containers.

Candles with automatic timers is another favorite of ours. They light up each evening and add so much ambiance. String Lights are pretty inexpensive and can be reused each year. They add a festive look to your front door, stair railing, even in artificial trees. Branches and pinecones are everywhere here. We are so fortunate to live in an area where we can find them in our yards or on the trails. Use them for table centerpieces, on mantels and all throughout the house. We hope you will take some time to see more Christmas Home Tour pictures on the blog. Our Hanukkah Home Tour also uses the same Frugelegant style only with

blue and silver themes. You will find plenty more awesome holiday DIY ideas and recipes at www. From our homes to yours, we wish you a very happy & wonderful holiday season!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from The Diablo Gazette

Spread Garden Joy - Spread Mulch!

Gardenwise by Jere Peck, Garden Manager The Gardens at Heather Farms

Thanks to the recent and very welcomed rains here in the Bay Area, now is the time to do two things in the garden: weed and mulch. Although weeding is never fun, the ground is softer right now so those weeds will come up much easier. You will get more done in less time and with less back ache. Besides, if you don’t pull those unwanted invaders up now they will be knee-high before you know it. But don’t stop there -applying mulch to the garden in the fall (and anytime, really) is a good move. Not only is it simple and sustainable, it is probably the most cost-effective way of improving the health of your garden. Mulch is anything you spread over the surface of the soil that creates a permeable layer where air, water, and nutrients can still pass. It helps to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and enhance the overall visual appeal of the garden; but perhaps the most commonly overlooked benefit of mulch is its effect on soil temperature. Mulch is insulation. It keeps the soil around your plant’s roots cooler on warm days and warmer on cold nights. Sounds comfy, right? There are several types of mulches available. While it is best to match the type of mulch with plants, climate, and soil of your garden, that is a topic worthy

of its own article. Here at The Gardens at Heather Farm, we try to chip and shred most of the organic waste that we produce to make mulch which is then spread throughout the gardens. So many leaves, so little time. Some plants that will benefit the most from an application of mulch right now include camellias, roses, and annuals. In fact, if you have visited The Gardens recently, you may have seen us mulching Camellia Grove.

Considering the number of buds on the plants, it looks like we will have quite a colorful camellia show in the coming weeks. If you are looking for a uniquely thoughtful holiday gift, there is still an opportunity to sponsor a tree in our Camellia Grove, one of the largest singlelocation display gardens of camellias in the area. A special, customized tag will mark your tree and celebrate the life or spirit of someone you love. Give the gift that keeps on growing, online at! From all of us at The Gardens at Heather Farms, Happy Holidays!

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Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 7 • | • (925)-298-9990

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home During the Holidays Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor

If you’re thinking about selling your home, chances are you’ve been told that the end of the year is a terrible time to do it. You’ve likely heard two main reasons to back up this assertion: the holidays are too stressful and there are no buyers this time of year. Well, we’re here to argue that this is no longer true in today’s market. While selling during the holidays can present its own set of challenges, it actually can be a great time to put your home up for sale. Here are five great reasons why. There’s less competition. During the holiday season, many homeowners decide to forgo any perceived hassle and take their homes off the market. This can be a great opportunity if you decide to sell now. Fewer homes on the market means less competition for your home, which is especially good if there are many houses like yours in your community. If there are fewer homes for potential buyers to visit, you’re more likely to get a better offer due to low inventory. Buyers are motivated. The holidays are a busy time. Add into that a home search and it’s easy to see how some people could be overwhelmed and simply opt out of their home search during the holiday season. If an upcoming relocation does not restrict a buyer, they can afford to take a little time off from their search. But there will be some buyers out there who need to find a home by a certain time. These types of buyers are a seller’s dream, as they are particularly motivated. They’re willing to set aside comfort and savings to expedite the buying process. People are browsing online listings.

Since the holiday season generally brings vacation time for most people, it means they have extra time to devote to home searches, especially those conducted online. If your home is on the market, it will show up in online searches, giving many more potential buyers an opportunity to discover your listing. International buyers are increasing in number. More and more foreign homebuyers are becoming interested in the U.S. real estate market. These buyers don’t often follow the same schedule or calendar as we do in the states, so they may be using this time to do some serious house hunting. Your home looks particularly nice. Even if you’re in the process of selling, you probably still feel compelled to celebrate the holiday season by decking the halls. Don’t fight that urge. Emotion plays a key factor in a buyer’s decisionmaking process, and if your home looks especially lovely decorated for the holidays, that could work in your favor. Just be sure to keep the decorations tasteful and that they don’t take away or hide any of your home’s best features. So there you have it. Don’t let fear keep you from selling your house during the holiday season. Now is a great time to list – and think how nice it will be to start the year with a sale under your belt! Compliments of Virtual Results. Jennifer Stojanovich is a broker associate at Better Homes Realty in Clayton. Visit my blog for more home tips at www.

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College Awareness Month at Inspires Clayton Valley Students

from the principal’s desk by Dr. Patrick Gaffney, CVCHS

Political Thankfulness by Edi Birsan,

Concord City Councilman

While half the country is angry with the other half and political incorrectness has seen a bigger come back than another Star Trek movement, we can at least be thankful for the political things that we do not have, like: Tanks in the street, blood on the sidewalk, a spasm of massive missing persons reports, and most of all that the 2016 election is over. Let us hold out hope that we will not have to go through another one of these elections that shake our core beliefs in a democratic process. Let us also remember the lessons learned 2400 years ago in Athens with their direct democracy; democracy belongs to those that show up. The Athenians had a hard time with getting people to go to the political meetings to vote on things and experimented with various methods of rewards and punishments. We can see this still today around the world where countries like Belgium and Australia REQUIRE that you vote.

For local elections, one of the major secrets is that running for office is one of the most effective and expensive methods to lose weight. A combination of stress, walking endlessly door to door, and ingestions of caffeine and or tea with restless sleep knocks the weight off. Personally, in the last three elections (2010-12-16) I lost 32 lbs, 24 and 20 lbs. I probably would have lost more if not for a Labor Day weekend spent in a hospital emergency room trying to get an invisible elephant off my chest. So the coming of Turkey Day with stuffing and yams is a way to wash away the ‘thinning’ of campaign season and get some good old cushion on the body to absorb the virtual body blows of the coming political challenges as we local officials are caught trying to mend the community from a brutal and discordant election the likes of which we have never seen, even surpassing the ugliness that was 1968. Bring on the wine; we need to put Concord back in Concord. Call me if you want to meet and talk as I will listen. Edi Birsan (925) 798-3537.

Thank You For Reading The Diablo Gazette

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, building, job application workshops, “If you don’t know where you’re going, work permit information, public speaking you might end up someplace else.” It’s for interview skills, organizational skills certainly a true adage for those who fail to help students succeed later in life and to plan. character development to excel in college Here at Clayton Valley Charter High and their professions. School, we go to great lengths to ensure Other College Awareness Month that all students are prepared for activities included our college and success after high school. Our Guidance career guest speakers program. Last Department supports our students’ academic, vocational, personal and social needs. We work with each student to identify college and career objectives, to take courses required to graduate and to have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century. CVCHS students Matthew Lavezzoli 11th grade & Nicole DeLong 12th grade share November was enthusiasm for College Awareness Month. College Awareness Month. Whether it was the Poster Signing Day, College month, female students heard from Mascot Match-Up, College Logo Day or Darrick Martinez, a Bank of America the College Fair, campus activities were vice president specializing in global sponsored to engage, encourage and financial crimes and compliance. inspire our students to dream about the Martinez shared internship opportunities possibility of attending a college of their and financial awards specifically designed choice. to inspire female students interested Getting students to “think” about in computers and technology. careers and life goals is important, With so many distractions in life, but just as important is having them College Awareness Month was designed consider what interests them and how to focus our students on the vast array these interests could connect to 21st of college possibilities and provide century careers. Through programs such the knowledge and skills to set students as AVID and Naviance, our counselors on a pathway to college and explore and teachers provide the groundwork a career of their dreams. for college and career research, resume

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 8 • | •(925)-298-9990

December 2016

The Diablo Gazette’s



Course begins on Thursday January 12, 2017 from 7-9pm. First Class starts at 6:30 The Salvation Army 3950 Clayton Road, (Cross is West St.) Concord. Registration is required. We use the ARRL Textbook and if you don’t have one it is about $27 to be paid cash week 1. Each student must have full access to a copy of the text. There is a $5,00 admin fee. Follow up training and License testing will also be available. To sign up email:

•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. http:// Concord Senior Club - Sunday Family Breakfast Dec. 18, 9-10:45 a.m., 2727 Parkside Circle. Everyone is welcome. Adults $4; Ages 3-11 $2; under 2 Free. Pancakes or Biscuits & Gravy w/eggs, ham, fruit, pastry, coffee, juice and service w/ a smile!


• Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays. Find the full lineup available at •Saturday, December 10 Santa Beer Crawl 2:30pm to 5:30pm. Dust off your Santa suits and ugly Christmas sweaters because it’s time to head to Downtown Martinez for some holiday cheer! Main Street Martinez hosts the annual Santa Beer Crawl on the streets of Martinez. Join the jolliest bunch of Santas this side of the bay as they walk around the downtown corridor of Martinez, sampling beers from over 20 great craft breweries stationed inside some of the small businesses along Main Street. Sponsored by Main Street Martinez, Creek Monkey Tap House and RockSteady Brewing, this year’s Santa Beer Crawl looks to be a great time! Santa costumes and Ugly sweaters are encouraged to add to the festive fun! Free Shuttles to and from the North Concord BART station will be available, starting at 1:00pm and ending at 8pm. Tickets are $30 each until Dec. 9. Tickets are $35 at the door if not sold out. No refunds for any reason •Friday December 30 Round the Mountain Hike 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This classic loop features views in all directions, even if the lowlands are socked in with tule fog, as the trail circles the park’s namesake peak (elev. 3849’) via Deer Flat, Murchio Gap, Prospector’s Gap and Oak Knoll. Between Prospector’s Gap and Oak Knoll, this eight-mile, sixhour hike passes through sections that burned in the September 2013 Morgan Fire. Bring liquids, lunch and snacks. Be prepared for mud and poison oak. Dress in layers and wear hiking shoes. Rain cancels. Meet: Diablo Valley Overlook at Juniper Campground. Parking: $10 per vehicle. For more Devil Mountain hikes: visit and purchase MDIA’s Hiker’s Guide to Mount Diablo State Park.


•Ham Radio Licensing Course Forming Now. Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club will be holding a 7-week course where you can learn everything you need to earn your Technician Class (entry level) FCC Amateur Radio License. Getting On The Air 2 week course follows The Technician Class license is your entry to the worldwide excitement of Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications… and now you do NOT need to learn Morse code!

Holiday Ice Rink Opens in Downtown Martinez Searching for Winter Wonderland? Main Street Martinez says look downtown, where the outdoor ice rink returned for its second year. The DC Solar Downtown Holiday Ice rink is underway in the newly re-paved municipal parking lot at the corner of Ferry St. and Marina Vista Ave. and will remain open through Jan. 8th. Hours will vary with extended hours on school and holidays. Prices will range from $11 to $14 including skate rental with discounts available for seasonal passes and large groups. Birthday parties, corporate parties and skating lessons are also available. The DC Solar Downtown Holiday Ice rink is a happy holiday experience bringing many people to enjoy skating under the stars while discovering the downtown Martinez shops and restaurants. There are many restaurants within a short walking distance from the rink with a variety of food to suit every taste and budget. Parking is convenient around the rink and is FREE after 6pm and on weekends and holidays. The ice rink would not have been possible without the generous support of several businesses including DC Solar Company, Shell Oil, Joseph Tully

and many more. PG&E has generously donated and is installing a permanent transformer to provide the electricity for the rink each year along with the assistance of Contra Costa Electric. Other sponsors include the City of Martinez, Les Schwab Tire Centers in Martinez and Concord, GLT Sign Solutions, and the UPS Store on Arnold Dr. in Martinez, the Community Focus, 92.1 KKDV and When a community works together, good things happen.

Historic Galindo Home Open for 2016 Holiday Tours Concord Historical Society is opening the historic Galindo Home, decorated with holiday charm, for special tours on three December Saturdays and Sundays, plus one evening in December. Remaining Tours are December 10 and 11, and December 17 and 18 from 1 to 4 pm, plus Wednesday December 14 from 6 to 8 pm. No reservations needed. Fee $3 for adults

and children over 12. Light refreshments. The stately home at 1721 Amador Street, Concord, CA, was built in 1856, one of only a few Victorian ranch houses in the country. By 1880, the structure was reconfigured in the Queen Anne style, with bay windows, sweeping steps, and a broad porch. Visitors can tour the 10 rooms,, two parlors, formal dining room, and see 15 original pieces of Eastlake furniture.

•Local Sons in Retirement (SIR) Branch #19 announces its 2016 Golf Champions. Based in the Concord/ Clayton/Martinez area. The series is an annual handicap flighted golf tournament with each player combining the two lowest net NCGA scores. The Championship event was played at Lone Tree Golf Course in Antioch; the Match Play program was played on a variety of East Bay courses throughout the year. This year’s winners were crowned at a special SIR luncheon at Guadalajara Grill in Concord . Sons in Retirement is an active men’s social group hosting a variety of sport activities and social events throughout the year. For more info go to: The 2016 SIR #19 golf winners are: Jerry Burton, Bill Hockenson, John Fernando, John Hayes, Jack Jagoda. •BRA POWER!!! Clayton Valley Woman’s Club members are collecting new and gently used bras to be donated to an international program that helps women and young girls rescued from sex trafficking in developing countries. Western clothing, especially lingerie and bras, are sought after and sell rapidly and are very profitable. The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club, affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, started in 1973 and is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. Members meet the second Tuesday of each month except July and August. CVWC meets at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, in Clayton. New members are always welcome. For more information call Michele at 925-672-6434 or Linda at 925-482-0807 or visit www.


• Galindo Home and Gardens Holiday Tours - 1721 Amador Avenue, Concord. 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. Concord Historical Society is opening the historic Galindo Home, decorated with holiday charm, for special tours on December 10 and 11, and December 17 and 18 from 1 to 4 pm, plus Wednesday December 14 from 6 to 8 pm. No reservations needed. Fee $3 for adults and children over 12. Light refreshments. One of only a few Victorian ranch houses in the country. By 1880, the structure

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 9 • | • (925)-298-9990 was reconfigured in the Queen Anne style, with bay windows, sweeping steps, and a broad porch. Visitors can tour the 10 rooms, including two parlors and a formal dining room, and see 15 original pieces of Eastlake furniture. Go to for more information. •Now through January 16 Walnut Creek on Ice: The 12th annual Walnut Creek on Ice is in the heart of downtown at Civic Park. The partially enclosed ice rink welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities. Families can also start the ice skating season with the Children’s Winter Festival. Public Skating: Monday through Thursday: Noon - 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Parking available in Walnut Creek’s garages: 1625 Locust Street (Next to the Lesher Center), 1350 Locust Street (Above Lark Creek Restaurant), 1390 N. Broadway (North of Il Fornaio). For pricing and more information, please contact: Walnut Creek on Ice 925.935.SNOW (7669) •December 7 & 12 Hospice East Bay’s 30th Annual Tree of Lights Ceremony - For thirty years, Tree of Lights ceremonies have offered members of the communities we serve a way to honor the lives of their friends and loved ones. Walnut Creek. Wednesday, December 7, 5:00 pm. New Location - John Muir Medical Center, Main Entrance, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. Dedicated to Jim Hazard, former mayor of Walnut Creek. Concord & Clayton Monday, December 12, 5:00 pm. John Muir Medical Center Parking Lot, East Street & Almond Avenue, Concord Dedicated to Richard W. Allen & William David Shinn. Visit TreeOfLights. •Saturday, December 10 Clayton -- Dessert with Mrs. Claus and Santa 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. at the historic Endeavor Hall on Center and Oak Streets. There will be prizes, party favors, lots of yummy sweets and photo opportunities to take photos of your children with Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus. This event is free for children 12 and under if accompanied by an adult. Donations are appreciated.

Bra Power!

Clayton Valley Woman’s Club members are collecting new and gently used bras. These bras will be donated to an international program that helps women and young girls rescued from sex trafficking in developing countries. Selling bras and other items in secondhand clothing markets provides income as well as independence from sex trade. The women are provided classes in basic business skills, record keeping and simple marketing. The young girls are encouraged to return to school whenever possible. Flexible market hours allow the women to care for their families and establish stable homes. Improving selfconfidence and self- worth allow these women to be contributing members of their community. Western clothing,

especially lingerie and bras, are sought after and sell rapidly and are very profitable. The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club, affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, started in 1973 and is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. Members meet the second Tuesday of each month except July and August. CVWC meets at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, in Clayton. New members are always welcome. For more information call Michele at 925-672-6434 or Linda at 925-482-0807 or visit www.

Pictured:Connie Weimar, club president and Kathy Hester.

Free Guide Explores 190 Million Years of History on Mt. Diablo From Undersea Volcanos to Saber-Toothed Cats

•December 14 Christmas Caroling – 6:45 PM tp 8 PM. Walnut Creek Gather with members of Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church to sign Christmas carols. Hot cocoa provided! All are invited to join in or stop by to enjoy the live holiday music!

HOME & GARDEN/ FARMERS’ MARKETS • Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, rain or shine, Todos Santos Plaza. • • Martinez Sundays, 10am to 2pm, yearround, Main St. and Estudillo. • Walnut Creek Diablo Valley Farmers Market Saturday 9a.m. - 1 p.m. Shadelands Business Park, N. Wigett Lane and Mitchell Dr. Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. (925) 431-8361 http://


The Mount Diablo Interpretive Society (MDIA) is adding a new free multimedia guide to its Audible Mount Diablo series for the Trail Through Time, a six-mile walk from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The free guide explores 190 million years of the mountain’s geologic history through videos narrated by MDIA naturalist Ken Lavin. Easy to download on computers, tablets or mobile phones, at home or the mountain. The guide informs and entertains at 19 stops along the trail route. This is the 12th multimedia guide exploring Devil Mountain, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved hiking and biking destinations. Part one examines the ancient rocks at the top of the mountain, some of which have traveled 3,000 miles to

get there. Part two introduces younger rocks farther down the mountain that date back to the times when dinosaurs and, millions of years later, sabertoothed cats and dire wolves roamed the Earth. Part three explains how Mount Diablo’s geologic secrets were discovered and how the Trail Through Time was built. “This tour is not just for students of geology,” says MDIA president Mike Woodring. “It’s for people who want to understand how Mount Diablo and the rest of the Bay Area came to be and what’s happening right beneath our feet today.” The Audible Mount Diablo series is jointly produced by MDIA, Save Mount Diablo, and Audio Guides to the Outdoors.

• The San Francisco Dungeon -- Live actors in full Barbary Coast period costume and make-up engage make this a one-of-a-kind attraction on Fisherman’s Wharf. (No, it’s not a sex club.) The San Francisco Dungeon is a 60-minute walkthrough experience that explores San Francisco’s dark and sinful past from the pre-Gold Rush era to Alcatraz (1849-1907). Full of laughs and screams. The stories are based on real San Francisco history and legends. Shows run continuously from Sunday - Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fisherman’s Wharf at 145 Jefferson Street, San Francisco. Admission starts at $22 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. For more information, visit: sanfrancisco. •December 9, 10,17 EXCLUSIVE SHOWING OF NORWEGIAN FILM IN WALNUT CREEK “Here is Harold” - a film from Norway, has only played in film festivals in the U.S. making this the exclusive American showing. Harold has a small, independent furniture store that is slowly going broke because Ikea moved into the neighborhood. He gets a notion to kidnap the president of the international business as a solution to his problems. Bjorn Sundquist (“Harold”) won Norway’s Amanda Award for Best Actor. Mountain Shadow Film Society will also show a “A Perfect Day” that was originally selected for our Short Film Competition. It has won 25 international awards. The films will be shown on Fri., Dec. 9, Sat., Dec. 10 and Sat., Dec. 17 at 7:30 at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek. Mountain Shadow Film Society is a non-profit, membership organization. $12 General Admission tickets are available on a first-come, firstserved basis, beginning at 7 PM. http:// •December 10 The Diablo Women’s Chorale invites you to POP! Goes the Season on Saturday, December 10 at Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Show time is 2 p.m. Get in the holiday spirit with a mashup of old and new holiday songs and pop favorites. Directed by Steve Mullins, with accompanist Carolyn Wolf, the spirited Diablo Women’s Chorale, and a live band, this concert will delight the whole family! Advance tickets available at www. or by calling 1-800-838-3006. •December 27 The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show, 7:00pm at the Campbell Theater 636 Ward St. This is the TWENTY FOURTH Annual Big Fat Tour...born of boredom with working in clubs the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and wanting to hang out with friends and playing in theatres where people go to see shows on purpose. Will Durst and Johnny Steele and the usual band of jokesters make like the old Bob Hope USO shows and bring the laughs to the people where they live in the Bay Area. Will Durst, Johnny Steele, Debi Durst, Michael Bossier, Mari Magaloni, Arthur Gaus. Visit for a list of resaturants for dinner before or after the show. Tickets sold online only in advance. Tickets at the door are $35 if not sold out. Cash Only Please. Continues at

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 10 • | •(925)-298-9990

Five Ways with Swiss Chard


by Debra Morris,Pacific Coast Farmers Market

Swiss chard is flavorful and versatile. With a rainbow of edible stem colors, chard adds color to your plate. Yellow and red are just some of the colors you’ll find at the farmers’ market. There’s dinosaur kale, curly kale, and more to choose from. Not just another leafy green, Swiss chard is earthy tasting and can be used in a variety of ways, from sautéed with onions to added in pasta. It is a nutritional powerhouse with loads of vitamins K (300% RDA!), C, and A. They are a great source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. Prepare Swiss chard by rinsing the crisp leaves several times in warm water. Leaves and stalks can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. Here are some other ways to enjoy Swiss chard: Sauté with onions and mushrooms Make a salad with chopped chard, apple slices, and walnuts with balsamic vinaigrette Toss with pasta, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese Chop and add to warm hearty soups like bean or vegetable soups Add to quiche instead of spinach You can find chard from many of the

farmers’ market vegetable growers, such as J&M Farms from Reedley, Garcia Farms of Los Banos, First Generation Farms in Knightsen, and Alberto’s from Morgan Hill. Visit the Concord Tuesday Farmers’ Market between 10am and 2pm and select the best that our local farmers have to offer.

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 11 • | • (925)-298-9990

Novel Ideas for Holiday Gift-Giving bookends

by Jill Hedgecock,

Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club Novels make great holiday gifts for all ages. Classics and nonfiction books make wonderful presents, but here are a few contemporary ideas too. (Listed prices are from on-line queries in November).

For Women: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty (2016, hardcover, 432 pages, $17.57) unravels how events at an innocent BBQ party created fissures in a strong relationship. In the charming novel, My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (2016, paperback, 372 pages, $9.19), seven-year-old Elsa takes on the task of delivering letters of apology written by her wacky grandmother before her death. This 2014 novel, soon to be a movie, The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (2014, paperback, 448 pages, $10.41) is a heart-felt thriller about a wheelchair-bound girl who happens to be a genius. Great for the movie-goer who loves books.

For Men: The Whistler, John Grisham’s newest release (2016, hardcover, 384 pages, $17.37) follows a female investigator looking into judicial corruption with a disbarred lawyer whose client wants to blow the whistle on a shady Native American casino. The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2016, paperback, 384 pages, $8.02). This 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction depicts a communist double agent who reports to superiors in Vietnam while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2016, hardcover, 352 pages, $15.14) is a science-fiction thriller about a man who wakes up from an attack to find what he loved no longer exists. He must confront the darkest parts of himself to find his way home.

Teen Girls: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (2016, hardcover, 528 pages, $11.79) is the story of Andie, the daughter of a congressman, who suddenly finds her summer plans thwarted and becomes a dog-walker. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (2016, paperback 448 pages, $8.79). After Sydney’s brother, Peyton, has a drunk driving accident, Sydney worries about the real victim: the boy Peyton hit. In Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2016, paperback, 416 pages, $7.65), the red color of seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow’s blood determines her low

social status, but being a servant with the privileged silver bloods puts her in a position to support a rebellion against them.

Teen Boys: Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan (2016, paperback, 336 pages, $8.17). A laugh out loud story about “average” Max who gets set up by the high school prank club and vows revenge. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (2016, paperback, 400 pages, $8.59) Four teenagers recount a fictionalized version of the historical WWII sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff that killed more than 9,000 people. The Serpent King by Jeff Zetner (2016, hardcover, 384 pages, $12.17). A preacher’s son tries to adjust to rural life during his senior year in high school in Tennessee.

Children (Grades 3 to 7): In Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11) by Jeff Kinney (2016, hardcover, 224 pages, $10.99), Greg Heffley’s mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so he embarks on creating a movie, and that’s when his troubles begin. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (2016, hardcover, 272 pages, $14.99). Great choice for the avid 8 to 12 year old Harry Potter fan. Pax by Sara Pennypacker (2016, hardcover, 288 pages, $12.44). Pax, a tame fox, and Peter are inseparable until he has to move and his father forces him to return Pax to the wild.

Early Readers: Bad Kitty Goes To The Vet by Nick Bruel (Grades 2 to 5) (2016, hardcover, 144 pages, $9.76). A cranky, sick kitty has a wild adventure at the vet’s office when guess who has to get a dreaded shot? Apple Picking Day! (Step Into Reading) by Candice Ransom (Preschool to Grade 1) (2016, paperback, 32 pages, $4.43). This story of a sister and brother’s trip to a local apple orchard is told in an easy-to-follow rhyme. Moo Dog by David Milgrim (Preschool to Grade 1) (2016, paperback, 32 pages, $3.83). When a dog says moo instead of woof, other animals learn to stop laughing and accept his differences.

Picture Books: This is Our Baby, Born Today by Varsha Bajaj and Eliza Wheeler (2016, hardcover, 32 pages, $11.73). A newborn Indian elephant learns about being family. Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup (2016, hardcover, 32 pages, $11.49). Peek through a hole in the book’s cover and cute animals teach about the seasons. Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett (2016, hardcover, 32 pages, $11.33). When Gingerbread Baby smells cookies at the Christmas Festival, it’s time to run away.

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 12 • | •(925)-298-9990

OPINION: 2016 Presidential Election Results: A Blessing or a Curse! by Dr. Harmesh Kumar There is no doubt that the 2016 elections has created so much polarization in our society. Both parties (Republican and Democrat) were predicting doomsday scenarios after the election. Most people are looking for someone who can serve them well and help them pay their bills on time and create the quality of life which their parents and grandparents enjoyed. Every normal person wants to earn a decent living, raise a family, and provide a quality of life to fulfill their basic needs. However, in our commercial world the concept of basic needs has changed. In the olden days, basic needs were food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare in time of sickness. Today, “basic needs” include attractive phones, big TVs, luxurious homes, and faster and beautiful loaded cars and “basic healthcare”. The Democratic Party has lost touch with members as many of those voters shifted their alliance to Republic Party, especially to Donald Trump. Despite character assaults by a sitting President and the media, he prevailed with his message of “Making America Great Again”. The “minority and identity politics” of the Democrat Party lost this election in a big way. Even in the East Bay, we have had three recent elections the past two years where Democrat Party’s endorsed and union funded candidates have lost the elections for State Senate and Assembly. There were many voices with intent to scare minorities as well as the mainstream majority. The model of “manufacturing crises” by both parties has failed and led to too many divisions and emotional cracks in our local, state and national levels. The 24/7 bombardment by articulate but shallow media pundits and fake news stories on social media muddied the perceptions of common voters. Young women and Afro-American votes were targeted to discourage voting. People became so confused that they started looking to the alternatives. They

found one in President elect Donald Trump with a unique message for every ordinary disfranchised American. Too many simply abstained from voting. We need to learn some lessons from the meeting of President Obama and President Elect Trump. We need to stand united for our country. Anger and violence does not lead us towards goodwill and stability. If it was a “dizzying” experience during the election for all Americans, it was even more so for those running. If Hillary Clinton who said “losing was painful and it will be for a long time” can still shake hands, we should have the emotional strength to do the same. What’s stopping us from our work to making our local community better? Doubts over the selection of cabinet posts for the new administration, are speculative. Word is that president elect will not be able to dismantle “Obamacare” as easily as he thought, he will not be able to deport as many people as he indicated, and he will not be able to build the wall as he promised so easily. My hunch is that there may be a blessing

in disguise in electing our next president, Donald Trump. I was very impressed to hear his children’s testimonies during the election. How proud a father must feel when his children are successful and still able to give credit to their dad. Despite all the bad things we have heard about our president elect, he has shown to be a great father. This is very positive for the future of our nation. I believe our president elect will protect all the children of this great nation with tough love principles. Regarding talk of nepotism in the White House and potential conflicts of interest mixing his private businesses with the functions of his presidency, he will have many capable attorneys at his

disposal to will guide him most effectively on these issues. We should not prejudge without giving him enough time to perform what he promised for all of us. One very important psychological message which I see is our President elect is working with his foes in an embracing manner. That is very encouraging. By working with those who opposed him will give him direction towards resolving conflicts in a humane and inclusive way. I hope that our new President will be able to stop our veterans who are committing suicide (approximately 20/ day) and will end the funding of “good terrorists” in Syria and other parts of the world. I also hope that he will pay attention to destruction caused by illicit and over-the-counter and prescribed medications to our younger generations. I hope that our President elect will be able to stop hateful tones and messages from other elected officials. Mayor Beverly Whaling, who had to resign for agreeing with recent racist remarks posted by Clay County Development Corp. Director Pamela Ramsey Taylor, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an Ape in heels.” Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam”. Elected officials must be more responsible. They need to be mindful and careful about raw or crude language. We all need to be vigilant for these kinds of comments and counter them with love and understanding. We need to support and continue our efforts to create a better world for ourselves and our children! Let’s not use our anger to destroy others but to unite and help others. That is what I see and am learning from our President elect. I do believe that election of Donald Trump will be blessing in disguise for our nation.

[Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication. We welcome your rebuttals and Letters to the Editor. Email to:]

Concord Resident Develops Coping Sleeve to Help Depression Abraham Karabel is a Concord resident and Marriage and Family therapist intern at John Muir Behavioral, adolescent outpatient program. He is also CEO of Cophic Sleeve of Pleasant Hill. Cophic Sleeve was founded because Karabel saw that too many patients needed more services than what the industry was providing. He had the compassion and the passion to try and make a greater difference. As a therapist in an outpatient program, Karabel helps patients who struggle with managing their emotions in the moment. Symptoms are anxiousness, withdrawal from their environment and in more severe scenarios, self-injurious behavior. Currently, the most common recovery approach is for therapists to offer support by providing different coping skills to utilize in the moment of need. But what about during times when a patient is alone or when they leave the treatment facility? How do you help them cope with that feeling of helplessness when you are not there to assist? “My goal was to help and reach as many people possible and provide them with a tangible tool that would enable the ability to cope more accessible and convenient for individuals,” Karabel says.

This was the inspiration that led to the founding of Cophic Sleeve. “I reached out to a close friend, Jeff Go, who also worked in a behavioral health facility. Together, we researched ways to develop

a product that would provide the greatest assistance. We reached out to those struggling with self-injury, anxiety, and depression. We spoke with therapists, psychologists and treatment counselors. We worked with designers and textile experts to find the right fabric that would provide comfort yet stability, function, and design. This process led us to the development of the Coping Sleeve.” The Coping Sleeve is an ingenious product that combines different coping

tools that had been proven effective with self-harm behaviors and anxiety. They performed tests and trials with different individuals and upon their review, they knew they had created a product that would provide support at the convenience of the individual the moment it would be needed. It features three elements to utilize as a coping tool: a sensation window, a grounding strip, and an expression canvas to specifically provide sensations to self-soothe, express artistically, distract, and replace negative emotions with positive ones. It has an opening where ice may be used as a sensation. A built-in, soft elastic band may also provide individuals the ability to receive low to moderate sensations. Its purpose is to serve individuals who are feeling numb or lacking control. The expression canvas is designed to help express pain in a more positive manner. The writeable fabric is an ideal way to write positive affirmations or express emotions in an artistic way. The material is made of a high-quality micro polyester and elastane fabric that is breathable, , and comfortable, washable

and reusable. The “grounding strip” is a soft fabric that can be used by individuals to selfsoothe that mimics a soft blanket feel. With the development of the Coping Sleeve, Karabel and Go co-founded Cophic Sleeve. “Our company vision is to make a difference with those struggling with anxiety, depression, and self-injurious behavior,” Karabel insists. “We are in the process of expanding our product line and obtain greater insight from our customers. It is our mission to combine compassion with creativity and redefine how individuals cope, soothe, and express themselves in ways that are effective and unique to their needs. My goal is to assist individuals young and old to manage mental health symptoms and everyday life. I want individuals to understand that they’re not alone and the more you use your coping skills the intensity of feeling helpless/alone decreases.” Currently the Coping Sleeve is available online at www.cophicsleeve. com. Karabel says his next effort is to place Coping Sleeve products to every facility and home. “Everyone needs coping skills.” Well done Mr. Karabel. Well done.

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 13 • | • (925)-298-9990

Newcomer Esthetician Honored as a Game Changer After 40 years in nursing, Irene Moreno of Walnut Creek retired. That was in 2013. Today, she is owner and operator of Aesthetics by Irene in Walnut Creek and is already recognized as a “Game Changer” in the industry by leaders within the profession. This year, she was recognized as one of five finalists of new estheticians after submitting an 8-week case study on malasma, a form of hyperpigmentation, to in a national competition called the “The Skin Games”. Malasma is the patchy discoloration of skin due to hormonal imbalances. “While going to school to be an esthetician, I entered into this competition to network into the profession. “ Moreno says. Over 1,000 estheticians entered the yearlong contest of case studies on 1 of 5 categories. Each esthetician found a model with challenging skin in their category, customized a treatment plan, and recorded 8-weeks of treatments, documenting before and after photos. After just two years into retirement, Irene missed caring for people so much she decided to get back to work. In her youth she was a cosmetologist which actually paid for her nursing school. But because of being disabled, neither of those professions were an option. So she went back to school. “To be an esthetician was a perfect choice,” she

says. She could physically handle the job and was back to helping and caring for people again. During school, she started taking advanced classes such as Oncology Aesthetics; then she submitted her case study. All of this has led to the opening of her own business in September called Aesthetics by Irene. “I specialize in skin care designed for the needs of each client. Oncology clients receive specialized skin care, home care education and even permanent make up to replace the areola post reconstructive breast surgery or eyebrows that may have been lost during treatment. It helps them feel whole again,” she says. PTSD clients receive facials and back treatments with a safe relaxing touch. Acne clients are treated without medications. Irene has submitted another case study in The Skin Games 2017. Her subject is again hyperpigmentation, this time treating discoloration from scarring caused by acne, insect bites, etc. Her videos document the treatment progress and can be seen on www.theskingames. com/players. Click on Irene Moreno video diary to see the amazing 8-week transformation. “My philosophy is healthy skin is beautiful and Aesthetics by Irene is here to help you feel beautiful no matter what makes you feel challenged. “ Irene says.

Election Fallout Councilmember Tim Grayson was elected to the Assembly and will be sworn in on December 5th. He leaves the Concord City Council with two years left on his second term in office and the Council replacement process takes place. The process has happened twice in the last 9 years once when Michael Chavez died in office (2007) and once when Mark Peterson became sworn in as D.A. in 2011. Concord is a General Law City and has the default of the City Council having to either appoint a replacement (by majority vote of the 4 remaining thus at least 3-1) or agree to a special election or if they FAIL to agree within 60 days then there must be a special election within 90 days. A special election costs the city somewhere between $175,000 and $250,000. This is what comes next based on those experiences: 1. The Council will call for applications of people who are qualified to run typically at least 18 years old and a resident of Concord. 2. There will be a public interview of all



by Dr. Robert Waldman

‘Tis the Season for Cold Sores Before


by Edi Birsan

the candidates gathered together at once in the City Council Chambers. 3. The 4 Councilmembers will pick from a hat a question from a pool of set questions to ask the candidates. There will probably be two rounds of questions. 4. The Council will then do a round of voting and then possibly a second round to get three votes for one candidate. 5. People will say that the decision was already made and that the whole thing was a fixed. I have campaigned for years on the proposal that “If there is a vacancy in the Council within 6 months of an election, the runner up should automatically be placed in the office if they have 70% of the next highest candidate.” I have proposed that this be an ordinance for the Council to remove the politics from the shadows and put it in the hands of the people’s choice. This has never gotten support from a SITTING Councilmember. In 2007 Ron Leone was the Runner Up by about 350 votes behind Helen Allen, and when the process came made an impassioned plea that as the runner up he should be

assigned to the position. It went to Guy Bjerke. However, in 2011 when he had just won election to the Council and faced with the same choice (the Runner Up being Edi Birsan) he voted for Dan Helix. I find it especially troubling from a philosophical point of view when Council folks reject the runner up and vote for those that came in worse in the standing. This is what will happen this time. 1. The Council will call for applications. 2. There will be a public gathering in the Council Chambers of Candidates. 3. Most likely 3 of the Council members will ask predetermined or set questions . 4. Edi Birsan will make up his own questions to ask. 5. In the first round, Edi Birsan will vote for the Runner Up- Hamish Kumar. 6. If there is a second round of voting, Edi Birsan will not be voting for any of the other election candidates and will decide amongst the remaining applicants. 7. People will say that the decision was already made and that the whole thing was fixed.

Holiday Season is an important season for our profession, because it brings smiles, lots and lots of smiles. We like beautiful, healthy smiles. However, it is also winter, the time we start seeing outbreaks of mouth sores. Clearly a hindrance to a beautiful smile. Canker sores and cold sores are common yet annoying mouth irritations that are often confused with one another. Cold sores are slightly more common than canker sores, but a minimum of 20 percent of the population will suffer from one or the other at some time. Cold sores, often called fever blisters, are highly contagious lip sores initially caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus remains in the body to produce future outbreaks as a reaction to stress, illness, injury or sunlight. The first sign of a cold sore is usually a tingling sensation around the mouth, followed by painful, fluid-filled blisters on the lips and mouth. The blisters typically burst and scab over, usually healing in about a week. Canker sores appear not on the lips but rather inside the mouth, presenting as small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. Unlike cold sores, they are not contagious and their exact cause is not known. Cankers can be triggered by fatigue, stress, allergies or sometimes intestinal problems. If you bite or cut your cheek or tongue, or burn the inside of your mouth with hot food, you could also increase the likelihood of developing a canker sore. Some foods could trigger canker sores in certain cases - so make sure you note what you’ve eaten each time you suffer an outbreak of canker sores to see if there’s a pattern. Most canker sores will heal on their own after a week or two, and you can help the process along by avoiding hot, spicy or acidic foods in the meantime. If your cold sores or canker sores do not heal, or seem to be getting worse after about a week, please call our office for suggestions that may ease your discomfort and speed up your recovery. Wishing a bright and healthy smile. Remember to swish, floss, brush and swish again at least twice a day. Happy Holidays to all. – Dr. Rob Happy Holidays to all. Please visit my website to find out more about my Clayton Rd, Concord, practice. www.

Diablo Gazette • DECEMBER 2016 • Page 14 • | •(925)-298-9990


by Richard Eber

Coming up with a list of 10 favorite local eating establishments is not an easy task. The large number of quality restaurants combined with the ability one individual to sample them, makes it impossible to be truly subjective in making choices. This top 10 is meant to be fun and based upon quality, value, price and overall dining experience

at individual places. There are no major national chains used such as the Olive Garden and Red Lobster nor are restaurants located inside hotels mentioned. Here are the ten in no particular order: In Concord, Canasta, Minamoto, Naan ‘n’ Curry, DJ’s Bistro, Korean BBQ Plus, Tortillerio El Molino, and Tower Grill. In Walnut Creek I like Sichuan House and Rocco’s. And in Pleasant Hill, Wence’s is still a favorite. Canasta and Minamoto are new to this list while the others are returning favorites of mine. You can read the entire list at www.diablogazette. com. 1.Canasta 2118 Mt. Diablo, Concord 925-822-3996 A new entry for the top 10 list of favorite eating places in Concord features new comer Canasta just down the street from Todos Santos Park. Normally gourmet and Mexican Food don’t belong in the same sentence, as most of the local cuisine is of the traditional blue collar variety of offerings we have come to love. Canasta is the exception. Between their food trucks and restaurant, this is a special place. The menu put together by co-owners Ivan Telez and Carlos Rivas are works of art as their dishes are plated like a photo spread from Bon Appetite. Even better is the way their food tastes. Canasta’s Empanadas are not to be missed. They consist of fresh, handmade corn mesa (dough) filled with polio chicken or caritas and Oaxaca/jack melted cheese, and then fried until crispy. The Sopitos are a gourmet treat. Their Mole con Pollo, slow cooked chicken with mole, and their enchiladas made with the same sauce are in a class all by themselves. From the top to the bottom of their

menu, everything at Canasta is special including their guacamole with house made chips. Experience has shown that this restaurant is a great place to share dishes so that diners can experience different dishes they make. The only small drawback at Canasta is that it is a bit more expensive than most Mexican food we are accustomed to. However, the quality speaks for itself 2. Minamoto 4305 Clayton Rd, Concord 925-687-7770 Since Suwa closed several years ago at Todos Santos, there has not been an authentic Japanese operated restaurant that has completely measured up. That was until dedicated staff of Minamoto came to Concord to combine quality ingredients with artistic presentation that sets this restaurant apart from their competitors. Minamoto has its roots going back to 1971 when Shoichi Imanaka, an aspiring chef from Osaka, Japan, arrived in San Francisco and soon after he founded Tsuruyoshi #2 with his brother. They later started Isobune® Sushi, which introduced the “Original Sushi Boat Restaurant, the first of its kind in the USA. The high quality fresh sushi grade fish they use (Their Maguro was a rare dark crimson red), the artistry in the way their food is cut and served is the type of quality seldom seen outside of Japan. Head Chef Paul Tanaka puts on a clinic with every dish he prepares like a program on the Cooking Channel. If one ventures past the many types of sushi and raw fish bar, there are also the traditional hot Japanese offerings. When I had lunch, we started with an appetizer of Agedashi Tofu which was deep fried with a pleasing sweet and sour sauce. My friend had an order of melt in your mouth tempura which had plenty of large shrimp cooked to perfection. I had salmon teriyaki which was grilled without being over cooked and was served with combination vegetables which were perfectly done in a subtle soy sauce. Minamoto is slightly more expensive than most local Japanese restaurants and sushi bars but their quality and attention to detail make visiting there a worthwhile culinary adventure. You can read more of Ten Favorite Area Restaurants at www.diablogazette. com.

clayton update Howard Geller, Mayor of Clayton

Parting Words Writing the Clayton Mayor’s Column for three publications has its challenges trying not to be repetitive particularly when Clayton, operating with a traditionally balanced budget and without cutting public services, had no major issues during my eight years on the City Council. However, with always limited funds and a small retail tax base, it takes frugality and the ability to look at the big picture to protect what our forefathers created for this marvelous small city. Clayton has conquered a few challenges over the past eight years, such as a police department turnover that exceeded the norm, an extended drought wherein trying to maintain public landscaping was a daily issue, and the loss of our Redevelopment Agency funds. If that combination wasn’t bad enough, the State through its use of injurious “claw backs” forced us to pay back monies used for lawful activities at the time they were funded by Redevelopment Funds. Still, I am proud to say we survived it all with balanced budgets. This year we added two more solid department heads to our City staff: Mindy Gentry as Community Development Director and Chris Wenzel as our latest Chief of Police. Couple these with our “star” Finance Manager Kevin Mizuno and our City Manager Gary Napper, we now have what I consider one of the strongest management teams ever assembled to serve our community. I have confidence our new City Council will continue the path our preceding Councils have taken. Controlled development with a small town flare and staying frugal with public monies we have saved in our General Fund will be fundamental to Clayton’s bright future. My decision to retire from public service was a difficult one as I thoroughly enjoyed being on the City Council for the past eight years. It was an honor to be selected by my peers to the position of Vice Mayor and Mayor twice during my tenure. I will always treasure memories of the many ceremonies I attended just this year representing Clayton at events like The Veteran’s Day Service, Memorial Day Service, 12 Mayors’ Conferences, 4th of July, BSA Eagle Courts, and Clayton Cleans Up, to name just a few. It was my pleasure to serve our citizens. Will I miss being on the City Council? Of course I will! Working with

our City staff has been an experience I will never forget. I wish to especially thank our City Manager, Gary Napper, for the tutelage and guidance he extended me using his 33 years of experience being a City Manager in California. It was my pleasure working with Mr. Napper. I feel Gary Napper is the best City Manager in the County. He is the driving force who runs the City’s day-to-day operations. I thank all of Clayton’s citizens who have stopped me in the street acknowledging and accepting my decision to retire. I am humbled by your kinds words. I was even told several voted for me as a write in candidate. I have said it before and I will say it again, local City politics is the truest form of the democracy we each cherish. I have been asked by many what my future plans are. I will continue to produce the ten Saturday Concerts in The Grove Park Summer Series. I will keep current on all Clayton happenings and attend as many events as I can. It will be a new experience to sit on your side of the dais at Council meetings and voice my opinion as a Clayton citizen. I hope to encourage other Clayton residents to get more involved. I hope to take a year sabbatical from volunteering for new organizations and work on some of my home projects and my wife’s honey-do list. Debbie and I are planning a long deserved vacation to some far off land. Without the time constraints of serial meetings, we hope to see our out-ofstate children and grandchildren more often and spend more time with our local children and grandchildren. You can be sure there are many more unwritten chapters left in my life, whether it be in public service or continuing my 42 year profession as a Realtor and Property Manager. I am sure I will continue working with Christmas For Everyone raising funds and collecting coats and gently used clothing for those in need. There are files of ideas, half written stories and maybe a few business opportunities I hope to complete. All and all, it has been a wonderful journey of eight years being on the Clayton City Council. I thank all who supported my efforts; please know that my heart and actions were always focused on what’s best for Clayton. I will see you at our Summer Concert Series, and around town.




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DIABLO GAZETTE FUN ZONE Micah’s Christmas Facts From Around the World Diablo Gazette’s Micah apparently isn’t just a photographer, he is also a masterful researcher of fun facts. Enjoy his list of fun Christmas facts from around the world. Merry Christmas. Eggnog first became popular in England and was considered a drink for the upper class. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers. Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” on Christmas Eve. Some people bring roosters to the midnight mass, symbolizing the belief that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs. For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and was used medicinally to reduce fever. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are. Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing toasting neighbors to a long and healthy life.

In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking. In southern France, some people burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day to ensure a plentiful harvest the following year. In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbock. It is a small

figurine of a goat made from straw. Straw decorations are a usual feature of Scandinavian Christmas festivities. In Syria, Christmas gifts are distributed by one of the Wise Men’s camels. The gift-giving camel is said to have been the smallest one in the Wise Men’s caravan. In the Netherlands, Christmas centers on the arrival of Saint Nicholas, who is believed to come on horseback bearing gifts. Children leave out their shoes, hoping to find them filled with sweets when they awaken. In Victorian England, turkeys were popular for Christmas dinners. Birds raised in Norfolk, were taken to market in London wearing boots made of sacking or leather. The turkeys were walked to market. The boots protected their feet from the frozen mud of the road. It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction. Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the nation was televised for the first time on December 25, 1957. For the next 40 years, the BBC aired the event. St. Nicholas was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early fourth century. The Dutch made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name became Santa Claus.

Is There Anything Older Than The Rolling Stones by William Gensburger

On Dec. 1, the Rolling Stones released their first album since 2005, widely applauded as a truly solid Blues offering titled Blue & Lonesome. This latest offering adds to a career of 29 studio albums, 18 live albums, 29 compilation albums and 109 singles. With a career that began in 1962, there is little doubt that the Rolling Stones have survived the test of time, both musically and in life; although they stand on the cusp of being older than dirt itself. Rather than review the new album, which has been universally hailed a five out five stars by most review publications, I thought I would focus on the longevity of the band, their many meanderings and the life lessons that they have offered the rest of us. They have outlasted the Boeing 707 and 747, both long retired, along with the NASA Space Shuttle program. They have outlived many astronauts who walked the moon, half the Beatles, most rock and roll groups from their generation, and more. Audio cassettes, the computer mouse and silicon breast implants were invented the year the Stones hit the scene. That year the first telecommunication satellite was launched. The milestones amass like so much luggage that it is hard to keep track. Musically, the Rolling Stones have outlived Reel To Reel, Vinyl L.P.’s, 8-Tracks, cassette tapes, and even the popular Sony Walkman - remember those? They have surpassed those flimsy things into the digital age, MP3 music and, ironically, have lived long enough to see their albums available again on the newly popular vinyl L.P. Records. All the while the “boys” lived a heavy rock ’n roll existence complete with women, drugs – lots of drugs from weed, to cocaine and heroin – as well as the ordinary alcohol and cigarettes, most of which they now claim they gave up three decades ago! They certainly survived against the odds, despite the weathered faces – Keith Richards’ facial grooves have a similarity to the surface of Mars; weathered, worn hard, but still showing signs of life. And let’s not forget that they still remain musically relevant. Front-man Mick Jagger, now a senior 72 years old, is expecting his eighth child. Collectively the group has 19 children of their own, ranging from one month to 48 years old, 17 grandkids (Mick Jagger has one great-grandson). Charlie Watts has one child, Keith Richards has four kids and four grandkids and Ronnie Wood has 6 kids and 7 grandkids, adding to the adage that a rolling stone gathers no moss. Blues & Lonesome, which features another icon, Eric Clapton playing on two tracks, as well as a haughty music video for the track Ride ‘em on down that features the rebelliously broody actress Kristen Stewart driving a hot, royal blue classic Mustang while acting like a model for designer jeans, a bit of an odd mix, but who cares; it’s the Stones playing great music and everything else becomes irrelevant. Word has it that this is not their last album. Like I said, older than dirt and a good thing too. In this age of endless change, some things shouldn’t change.

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Resident Tales

My Grandpa Helped Santa

In 1933, when I was four years old and my sister, Helen Marie, was seven, she and I were looking through our “wish book”, much like modern kids look through the “Toys R Us” catalogue. Christmas was still a whole month away and we were just looking to see what was out there that Christmas season. Our wish book was the Sears & Roebuck Catalogue. We saw many pages showing beautiful dolls, stuffed animals of every description, tricycles, Lincoln Logs, beautiful dresses, and all sorts of other treasures. But the one thing that really caught our attention was a picture of a unique folding easel that was a convertible chalkboard/desk. There was paper that would unroll from inside with a crank handle, there were all the letters of the alphabet, a writing chalkboard, writing surface, and the whole contraption could be neatly folded flat and stored away. To us two girls, born scriveners and artistes, this was a wonderful site. Of course, I wasn’t ready, at age four, to print the alphabet or calculate arithmetic on the chalkboard, but I did enjoy drawing. Plus, I could admire my big sister, a second grader, as she showed off her skills of printing and arithmetic. We often played school, with Helen Marie as the teacher and I the pupil, both of us enjoying our roles. So, she and I decided together that this folding chalkboard thingy was the one thing we wanted above all else for Christmas. Helen Marie set to work immediately, with a little help from our mom, writing to Santa Claus, asking him to please bring us a folding chalkboard desk for Christmas. Then, we left it up to mom to address the letter and send to “Santa”. Anyway, we had many enjoyable moments anticipating Christmas morning when we would discover our treasure under the tree. Well, the weeks before Christmas just flew along until it was Christmas Eve. In the afternoon, a few fluffy snowflakes drifted down through the sky. Then, more and more snowflakes began to fall. By bedtime, the snow was falling thick and fast, and the wind picked up speed and force. As Helen Marie and I settled into our warm, cozy beds, we worried about how Santa would get through the storm to bring us our gifts. Our mom didn’t seem concerned. She reassured us and we drifted off to sleep peacefully. On Christmas morning, we bounced out of bed the moment we woke and rushed to the Christmas tree. There to our wondering eyes appeared our lovely chalkboard desk, looking just like the one in the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. When the excitement leveled off a bit, mom told Helen Marie and me the rest of the story. She said that the snowstorm had made it very difficult during the night, and Santa was way behind schedule, so when he got as far as Grandma and Grandpa Hempstead’s house, he had decided to leave our gift there and sail away to other stops instead of coming to us. Grandpa had promised Santa that he would personally deliver the gift to our house before morning, so it was actually Grandpa who had delivered it to us girls. Grandpa was a Santa’s helper! We did have visions of Grandpa bundled in coat, scarf, galoshes, earmuffs,

hat and big thick gloves lugging that wrapped gift through the snow and wind. He had to cross three rough farm fields from his house to ours. But we were just kids and had little idea how

hard that would be for Grandpa to do. Looking back, I can now appreciate his journey through the snowstorm much, much more. It just sums up Grandpa’s attitude toward life in gen-

by Marge Crawford eral. He would do anything for those he loved, especially for his two little granddaughters.

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A Modern Day Explorer - From Concord to Canada journey-man’s journal

by John Cooper

Too much work and not enough play I thought to myself as I sat at my desk. The window of opportunity was closing on any plans I had to get away for an adventure. Leaving town was a priority, and I knew it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t just pack up and go. I scoured the internet for ideas and looked at a countless number of maps before settling on a roadtrip to Yellowknife, Canada. The destination is just about as far away as I could imagine going in a week, and more importantly, Yellowknife has a road named “Ragged Ass” that I just couldn’t resist going to see. It was time to go rogue for an unscheduled break. I planned to ride solo for 5,200 miles through some of Canada’s most beautiful and remote country. I’ve always been drawn to remote destinations, particularly when traveling by motorcycle. There’s just something great about experiencing the challenges and weathering the elements firsthand, without support, on your own, relying on your own judgment and improvising. I’ve traveled far distances on short notice before, and having a loose itinerary has always been my preferred strategy. My itinerary consisted of only a final destination and a rough timetable, everything else was left to unfold as a daily surprise. I lived in the moment and traveled like a drifter (except with good health insurance and the need to be home in a week). I headed out of town, aboard my iron mare (my beloved motorcycle), and made good progress through Northern California, Oregon and Washington making sure to take a little side trip through downtown Portland and Seattle, a couple of my favorite cities. I found a great campsite as the sun began to fade for the night and I was pleased with the progress I had made for the day. The following morning, bright-eyed and bushytailed, I made my way toward the Canadian border. I made a mental note of all the things I needed for

a quick and smooth border crossing: passport, driver’s license, registration and insurance. However, as it often is in life, my day did not unfold as anticipated, but instead went something like this: Border Guard: Welcome, where are you traveling to? Me: I’m not sure yet, I’m just trying to get out of town awhile. Border Guard: You don’t know where you’re going? Where are you coming from? Me: I’m coming from California, but just spent a week in Mexico (as I handed over my documents). Border Guard: So you’re coming from Mexico, but you live in California, your motorcycle is registered in Oregon, and you don’t know where you’re going? Are you carrying any alcohol or weapons? Me: Yes, I’m carrying both alcohol and a weapon. Border Guard: Pull over to the side, turn off your engine, and stay there. My conversation with the border guard(s) went on for another hour as they calmly and systematically dismantled everything on my bike looking for contraband. I made a note to myself that in the future I would be more selective in my choice of words when crossing borders. And I must say, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had little sense of humor that day. However, finding little more than a flask of Tequila and a small camping knife, I was set free and allowed entry into Canada. British Columbia was spectacularly beautiful. The mountains were high, the forests were dense, and the rivers were full and strong. Adding to the ambiance, the road that cut through it all was long and winding, perfect for motorcycle riding. I made my home that night in Hope, BC among the forest. At sunup I was back on the road and traveled through the cities of Quesnel, Prince George, before finally spending some time in Dawson city, BC. It is in Dawson City where the great Alaska Highway begins and runs almost 1,400 miles northwest to Alaska. It’s a popular travel route to Alaska, predominantly because it’s the only route, outside of dog sled or airplane. Just a short distance from Dawson Creek was the border separating the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The landscape changed quickly in Alberta when the mountains and tall trees gave way to gently rolling hills and miles of lush, green alfalfa fields, before eventually turning into boreal forest. I made camp in the woods near a large lake and built a fire. With another day in the logs, I was

reminded of the many great things about traveling alone to remote destinations. That evening I slowly sipped a Red Bull and vodka while dining on corn and pickled pig’s feet. The following morning I continued north to the province of Northwest Territories. Everything seemed to be amplified the further north I traveled and my priorities shifted. My focus was on finding fuel, watching for large animals in my path, navigating the potholes and changing road conditions, and minding the ever-changing weather patterns. One minute the sun was shining and the next it was a torrential downpour. After quick fuel stops in Indians Cabins (literally a single pump station located just off the road) and again in Enterprise, I made my way closer to the northern side of the Great Slave Lake and the city of Yellowknife. Shortly thereafter I spotted a very large wood bison, casually eating grass just beside the road. I had heard numerous stories of encounters on the road with these huge animals and I was glad our visit was at a distance. Five days and 2,600 miles later I rolled into Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Located just 240 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Yellowknife was a relatively small, but modern city by most standards with a large population of First Nations people, an aboriginal group who have inhabited the areas in Northwest Territories for a long time. What really set Yellowknife apart however were the float planes that sat calmly in the water, and of course Ragged Ass Road, which was befitting of its name. Having finally reached my destination, I celebrated with the first shower I had in nearly a week. It was dark and cold outside when I layered up and rode out of town at 1:00 AM to see the Northern Lights. The experience was surreal. It was spooky and unsettling, maybe even mesmerizing in some respects. Only a few short hours later, light on sleep, but full on experience, I turned my bike around and began the long ride south toward home. On the return trip I made sure to visit the small town of Fort Providence. Located on the banks of the

Mackenzie River, the largest and longest river in Canada, Fort Providence has a population of only 788 people, 92% of which are classified as aboriginal. It was a quiet, peaceful and magnificent place to see. After a quick ride around town I stopped and took a photo of a very old white church and noticed a black crow sitting atop the steeple. Was that a sign of some kind? Crossing the Mackenzie River and heading south toward the 60th Parallel, I saw a massive sized animal, grey in color and much like a Husky dog, but the size of a Great Dane. I found out later that it was a Timberwolf. I added the Timberwolf to my long list of animals to be fearful of at night. A sign posted on the side of the road noted that I just crossed the “60th Parallel” so I pulled off the road to learn more about it and to search for a cup of hot coffee. As I entered the small building, an older woman greeted me with a warm welcome and asked for my name as she pulled out a paper certificate from her desktop. “You’re a modern day explorer” she enthusiastically stated as she began to complete the certificate. She was right, I felt like I was a modern day explorer, and now I had proof with a certificate provided by the “Order of Arctic Adventurers, North of 60° Chapter”. So take that Lewis and Clark! Riding through Edmonton, Calgary and numerous small towns along the way, I set my sights on crossing the border back into the US at Sweet Grass, Montana. Taking in the views of southern Canada was spectacular with miles and miles of wheat fields and a full sky as the backdrop. Resting beside a river with a fire burning into the night, I sat in Dillon, Montana and contemplated where I had been and all that I’d seen during the week. I could have gone on for months I thought, but in the back of my mind I knew I had a higher calling. I was a member of the Clayton Bocce League and a game was scheduled for the following night. Ready for an epic day of riding, I left Dillon, Montana at sunrise the following day and rode 970 miles. I traveled through Montana and Idaho and crossed the famed Snake River Canyon, where Evel Knievel attempted to jump the canyon on his steam powered rocket in 1974. I rode through the desert of Nevada and finally reached downtown Clayton, just in time for the first bocce toss of the night. That was a great day.

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Secret Service Insider Taking the Controls of a Boeing 767 with Stories from a Former Agent [Editors Note: Most of our understanding of Secret Service work comes from Hollywood. Few of us have ever met a Secret Service Agent, or maybe you have and don’t know it. “Inside the Secret Service-A Former Agent’s Stories” is about life as a Secret Service agent. Our contributor is still a Federal Agent but with a different agency, therefore we have chosen not to reveal his name. These are the real life experiences from a Concord resident who spent several years as a Secret Service agent. This is his story….]

When a dignitary under Secret Service protection flies on a commercial airline, there is always an agent assigned to the cockpit. The agent maintains the integrity of the cockpit and is the last line of defense should someone try to commandeer the plane. The cockpit agent will also relay any pertinent information from the tower and/or the pilot or co-pilot to the working Secret Service detail and vise-versa. It always surprised me that most agents working

a Protectee on Board is Unforgettable

touch it. Matt said, “Look at the belly on that baby!” This guy’s been a pilot for over 25 years and was as excited as I at the sight before us. Then Matt asked if I’d ever seen a 777 from the side as it flew away from me. Again, I answered no. “Okay, check this out.” He then banked our plane to the left taking us completely off course and

“ I could already feel the perspiration building on my forehead” protection details were not interested in the cockpit assignment and instead preferred to be in close proximity with the protectee, usually in first class, and at other strategic locations throughout the plane. The technology of the aircraft and the expertise of the pilots always impressed me. Plus, it was interesting to sit in the jump seat with the headphones on and listen to the tower and the pilots communicate before takeoff and when landing. Once the plane has reached its flying altitude, the pilot sets the autopilot and the plane flies itself. I was always interested in the workings of an aircraft. This particular flight was aboard a Boeing 767. The flight was to be 5 hours and was filled to capacity. The pilot, Matt, and Co-Pilot, Steve, (not their real names) had gone through their preflight procedures and we pushed away from the gate. The tower vectored us to our runway and cleared us for takeoff. And sure enough, at 37,000 feet and a cruising speed of 530 miles per hour, he set the autopilot. Matt explained that our plane was equipped with a “glass cockpit” which basically meant it had state-of-the-art digital display screens that took the place of many of the traditional analog instruments and gauges found in older aircraft. The screen showed our plane, its altitude and speed, as well as that of other planes within a certain radius of us. Matt announced that there was a Boeing 777 flying at 1000 feet above us and 3 miles behind. Matt asked me if I’d ever seen a 777 fly right over the top of me. I told him I had not. Matt said, “Alright, I’m going to slow us down a bit and in just a minute he’ll cruise right over us.” Within several seconds after cutting our airspeed the huge 777 majestically passed over the top of us as the setting sun glistened off its aluminum body. It was quite a sight and looked like we could almost reach out and

we watched as the 777 pulled away. Matt, with a sense of awe in his voice, said, “Look at that!” After several seconds, he eventually brought us back on course. Pretty neat side show. At one point, Steve asked me if I’d like to sit in his co-pilot’s seat. I was surprised at the offer and really wanted to, but declined thinking it may be unprofessional on my part. After all, I was working a protective detail. Both Steve and Matt both insisted, so I obliged. Granted it was only 3 feet in front of the jump seat I had just vacated, but it felt like another world. This was too cool. Matt said, “Hey, grab the controls.” Did he just say what I thought he said? “No, really, take the controls.” I gave Matt a sly smile as I placed my hands on the controls. “Well, what do you think?” Matt asked. Again with a sly smile I replied, “I think you have it on autopilot.” To my surprise Matt reached up, flipped a switch, and said, “Not now, it’s all you.” There’s no way he just turned off the autopilot and gave me control of the plane. I very slightly pulled back on the controls and immediately, to my utter amazement, the nose of the aircraft pulled up. I was really flying this thing. “You weren’t kidding!” I said excitedly. They then directed me to ease the controls forward. I did so and the nose immediately dropped down to a slight

descend. In a matter of seconds I had nosed the 767 both above and below where it needed to be. They told me to very slightly pull the controls back again. I did so and was able to get the plane level again, kind of. But now this was no longer fun and games for me. I could already feel the perspiration building on my forehead as I totally focused on the keeping the plane level. It wasn’t an easy task as the sensitivity and responsiveness of the plane at that altitude felt more like a sports car than a big, hulking, jet liner. For the next three or four minutes I concentrated hard on trying to keep the plane level. In fact, I don’t even recall the conversation in the cockpit during that time. Matt eventually took over and locked the plane on course and reset the autopilot. That was a totally new experience for me. Matt explained that planes traveling at high speeds don’t just drop during turbulence. He likened turbulence to a boat on a choppy lake. He stated that a planes’ wings ride up and down over choppy air, much as a boat rides up and down over choppy water, and that this motion can often create a false sensation of falling. Then, Matt said, “Watch, I’ll show you.” The next thing I know, Matt began to rapidly move the controls back

and forth for several seconds. The plane shook. Matt then stopped and said, “See that? The altimeter didn’t move from 37,000 feet. But I guarantee you all 260 passengers on board just thought we hit turbulence and dropped 300 feet.” I couldn’t believe it. This guy was having as much fun showing off for me as I was experiencing it. Now obviously, Matt didn’t put anyone in danger at any time. Even when I was “flying” the plane, he was seated just a few feet away and could have taken complete control in a split second. In Secret Service, you live many unexpected experiences, but being in control of a 767 jetliner with 260 passengers, albeit briefly, while protecting a dignitary, ranks up there with some of my more memorable and exhilarating experiences. So, the next time you’re on a commercial flight and the fasten seat belt sign comes on, don’t panic, it’s probably just a veteran pilot showing off for a wide-eyed Secret Service agent. If you have questions you would like to ask the agent, please send them to info@ Select questions will be answered in a Q and A format in future issues.

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De La Salle Wins NCS Open Division Defeats Clayton Valley, Marches Past Freedom by Chace Bryson

Photo Credit: Phillip Walton/SportStars Magazine

Former Carondelet/ Concord Star, Natalie Romeo wins 3 x 3 Bronze in China by Clay Kallam

Everyone’s played 3-on-3. Old guys really like it because you don’t have to run up and down quite as much, but you still get to shoot the ball and do all the other fun stuff. But did you know that you can win a gold medal playing 3-on-3 (or 3x3 as FIBA calls it)? Natalie Romeo, the former Carondelet-Concord star who is now at the University of Washington, got that chance with the United States team in China last month, and came away with the bronze. “It was amazing,” said Romeo. “It was magical.” It also took some getting used to. Unlike down at the park, these games have a shot clock (12 seconds), and a

game clock (10 minutes). Scoring is by ones and twos, rather than twos and threes, so the value of the shot beyond the arc is twice as much as a shot inside the arc, which makes it even more fun for a shooter like Romeo. She and her teammates, Linnae Harper, Alexis Jennings and Chatrice White, actually had never played together until tryouts in Colorado Springs. The four were thrown together because all four are transfers (Romeo having departed Nebraska), and may or may not be eligible for the upcoming college season — so it was thought that if they had to go to China and miss some preseason practice, it would be less damaging than for a college player who

was definitely going to be a starter. The timing also meant that no WNBA players would be involved, so the tournament didn’t have the star power of the Olympics or the World Championships. Still, Romeo and her teammates had a great time in Guangzhou, China, and lost by three to the much older Czech Republic team in the semifinals, before avenging their only other loss, to Spain, in the bronze medal game. And like many 3-on-3 games at the gym — er, 3x3 — it was extremely physical. “It was the most physical game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Romeo. “The refs didn’t call much.” Romeo also earned a bronze in the Shoot-Out skill competition, which included both men and women. The Shoot-Out is essentially a three-point shooting contest with some halfcourt shots added for extra spice (and no, she didn’t make any). Now, however, Romeo is back in Seattle, hoping the NCAA grants her eligibility this year for Washington, as otherwise she’ll have to sit out a season. But even if she does have to watch her teammates play, she can wear her bronze medal from China — and challenge them to 3-on-3 games after practice.

One couldn’t blame the Clayton Valley High football team for believing they could be the one to end De La Salle’s 270-game unbeaten steak against Norcal teams. When the Ugly Eagles were awarded a bid to the North Coast Section’s first fourteam Open Division — and a semifinal matchup with 24-time defending NCS-champ De La Salle — an already confident bunch had seen the Spartans’ near-stumbles earlier in the season and relished its opportunity to be the team to finally snap the Spartans’ Northern California dominance. Just five weeks earlier, De La Salle had been taken to the brink of defeat by an upstart San Ramon Valley team. A result which closed a stretch of four games where De La Salle had lost once and looked extremely vulnerable in three victories. And then De La Salle did what it always does. It got better. Fast. The Spartans had two weeks to prepare for the Ugly Eagles, and it looked like it. Kairee Robinson scored on a 49-yard run on the game’s first play from scrimmage and De La Salle (10-1) never looked back. “We were prepping that play for two weeks,” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said. “Kairee squeaked through and broke a tackle and he was gone. Gosh, we were really anxious to play. With that bye week, we were chomping at the bit.” Robinson rushed for 188 yards and all four of the Spartans touchdowns in a convincing 28-0 victory. His second touchdown was a 50-yard run two possessions later, and with the way the De La Salle defense was performing, a 14-0 lead after one quarter had all but eradicated the confidence among Clayton Valley fans, coaches and players. However, the Ugly Eagles (9-2) were able to move the ball against the Spartans defense — they ran 33 more plays than De La Salle and put up 299 yards of total offense but with drives ending on the 14-, 26-, 24- and 23-yard lines. “That’s a really physical well-coached team. That’s a tough offense to stop. It was gratifying to see. To hold those guys to no points was not easy,” Alumbaugh said. De La Salle’s next test came Friday, Dec. 2, in the Open Division championship against Freedom-Oakley. The Falcons entered 11-0 after hanging 55 points on a good Pittsburg defense in a 55-35 semifinal victory. Briefly, the game looked as if it could be a real fight. De La Salle scored first midway in the first quarter, and Freedom responded on the ensuing drive with a huge 49 yard play and tieing touchdown. But that would be the last time Freedom would score as De la Salle rolled on to a 42-7 victory. Their unbeaten streak is still intact.

De La Salle linebacker Henry To’ot’o lays a hit on Clayton Valley running back Thomas Alatini.

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