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from the publisher by David King On the cover, The Happy Mothers’ Day illustration is from talented local professional artist, Sarah Szeliga. She’s looking to share her talent in whimsical fun and adventure. I am grateful she has chosen the Diablo Gazette I look forward to seeing more of her witty illustrations in future editions. “The only way to celebrate Mother’s Day is with a big smile and a little childish mischief,“ she said offering her first submission. You are sure to get your daily dose of smiles wherever her doodles land. Stay tuned for more! My reaction to the recent stolen truck article on this page. A generous person privately donates funds to purchase a refrigerated truck to help White Pony
Express, a kind-hearted organization that delivers surplus food to help our fabulous local food banks feed the homeless and hungry. But a San Jose scum steals the truck! With the help of another local good Samaritan, the truck is recovered, and local companies donate their services to recover and restore the damages. Our area seems to be thriving with generosity and kindness. Maybe we should consider building a wall around our area. Remember to take care of Mom on Mothers’ Day. Thanks for reading the Diablo Gazette. Catch up with more stories at www.diablogazette.com
Clayton Valley Charter High School
Honored as a California Gold Ribbon School Clayton Valley Charter High School (CVCHS) has been recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as a 2017 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award recipient. The Gold Ribbon Awards acknowledges California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. These schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaborating, but also highly successful school climate efforts, ranging from real time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention. “CVCHS is proud to be recognized statewide for our model programs which have excelled in student-based activities and best practice strategies that can be replicated by other local educational agencies,” said David Linzey, CVCHS Executive Director. “It’s a testament to the hard work, commitment and shared focused vision of our administration and staff to offer a world class education preparing our students for 21st century careers.” Specifically, CVCHS was acknowledged for its exceptional Targeted Case Management (TCM) program which officially launched in Fall 2015 to help augment our existing intervention programs: Saturday bridge, Saturday Credit Recovery, Advanced Academics Online, Peer Tutoring after-school, and its Failure Free Policy.
TCM targets those students who have two D’s or F’s (or in combination) after the 5-week progress report in each quarter. TCM students are called in and counseled by an adult (counselor, administrator, or teacher). Parents are notified that student is in the TCM program and grades are automatically emailed weekly. As a result of TCM, CVCHS has been able to demonstrate increased academic success for students, improved attendance rates, positive relationships between educators and students, increased graduation (from 95% to 96%), college rates (from 97% to 99%), and increased parent participation. CVCHS is one of only two Contra Costa County high schools and 15 charter schools throughout California which were recognized by the California Department of Education. CVCHS has embraced the motto that exemplifies our TCM program: “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Our counselors and administrators go the “extra mile” to work weekly with their TCM students to improve their grades and attendance. TCM has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of students. “These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Superintendent Torlakson said. “I look forward to traveling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”
Stolen Refrigerated Truck is Found Thanks to a tip from good Samaritan who watched a news story on KRON-TV about White Pony Express’s (WPE) stolen refrigerated truck, police were able to locate the truck in the San Jose area. The 14-foot box refrigerated truck, nicknamed Suzy, was stolen on Friday, April 14, from WPE’s premises at 3380 Vincent Road in Pleasant Hill. Suzy has been used for about 3 years in WPE’s operations for picking up and delivering rescued food free to those in need in Contra Costa County. Funds for purchasing the truck were originally given to WPE by an anonymous donor. “We are most grateful for having Suzy back so that our normal operations can resume,” said Gary Conner, Executive Coordinator of WPE. “We would especially like to thank the Pleasant Hill and San Jose police departments for their help in the recovery of our truck. Conner adds that it would have cost between $30,000$60,000 to replace Suzy. Suzy is now in a shop in Concord to re-
pair damage done by the thieves. ColorZone of Benecia is re-painting Suzy at no cost, and the San Jose towing company donated its services free of charge. Until Suzy returns, WPE will have to double up its food runs and may have to delay repair of another van. Nevertheless, WPE will continue to deliver its rescued food as it does seven days a week. Seven days a week, WPE picks up nutritious surplus food from restaurants, supermarkets and farmers markets and delivers it free to nonprofits who feed the hungry in Contra Costa County. WPE currently delivers about 5,000 pounds each day, enough food for 4,000 meals. In just three and a half years, since its founding, WPE has rescued more than 4,500,000 pounds (equivalent to 3,700,000 meals the hungry would have gone without), of quality food that would otherwise go to waste and which the hungry would have done without. For more on WPE, go to www. whiteponyexpress.org.
by William Claney, Computers USA
Hmmm, What Was My
Have you ever had that sinking feeling that you have forgotten your password and wondering to yourself just how are you going to retrieve that file you so desperately need, right now? Many of you will place your hands on the keyboard and “hope” it will come to you by mimicking your finger movements. Did you know nearly all communications to the Internet need a password? I can hear some of you now, “I don’t need a password to log into my email.” Yes, you do. You may fail to recall when you initially setup your email that you did use a password, and then clicked “remember me.” Your software remembers and transmits your password each time for you. Have you ever been told by a web site that your password has expired so you need to change it? Well, you have been using the same password for years, why change now? Do you use a memory helper, as I do, to remember passwords? Here’s a tip: Think of a subject that you enjoy most, be it sports, cooking, travel– it doesn’t matter other than you like the subject a lot. Now say the first thing on your mind, and make it a password scheme. For example, I love baseball. So my passwords relate to the sport. A first base runner advances to second on a base hit. There you go. Change base hit, to Ba$eHit2. That means, in my mind, get a base hit and runner goes to second. Easy peasy. Need to change it? Ba$eHit3, etc. Okay, so you’re not into mental gymnastics. You could use a thumb print scanner, but they don’t always work. When they don’t, you must enter a
password. You could use an eye scanner – that’s a simple solution. Right. One problem, have you ever seen one? Waaay to expensive. Ah, but there is a solution and Microsoft has come up with it. Simply, don’t use a password. According to Microsoft, “Remembering passwords has been an age-old frustration for PC users, and it’s a problem that has only intensified as users have so many more kinds of passwords to memorize. Perhaps the one that people use the least is actually the most important – the sign-in password for their PC. Without it, you’re stuck either resetting it or not having access to the computer. Microsoft has announced that a new phone sign-in service will allow you to log in to your PC using the Microsoft Authenticator app and then enter your username as you usually would. Now, instead of entering the password, you’ll just go to the app, tap “Approve” and be logged in. So, there it is. Use your cell phone to authenticate your log in. Yea, it’s the end of passwords! (Well, at least one password.) If you want to know more, contact ComputersUSA. 925-672-9989.
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bookends by Jill Hedgecock, Writer’s Club jillhedgecock.com
Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California
The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild The Elephant Whisperer, by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence (2012, St. Martin’s Griffin, paperback, 384 pages, $7.75) is the fascinating true account of Lawrence Anthony’s experiences after introducing a small herd of rogue elephants into his Thula Thula game reserve, an area of approximately 5,000 acres of pristine bush in South Africa. The adventure does not start well when the elephants break out of their enclosure. Anthony gets in a helicopter to track them down while his wife takes to the road. As Anthony’s wife, Francois, desperately questions the locals on whether they’ve seen these giant animals, the tribes people have no idea what she’s asking. Elephants had been extirpated from this area before they were born. The runaways are rounded up, but are in imminent danger of being killed if they break out again, so Anthony, whose original intention was to discourage human-elephant interaction, is forced to befriend the herd. In addition to heart-rending and occasionally terrifying accounts of Lawrence’s encounters with these three-ton beasts, the book explores the politics of running a game reserve, the delightful as well as idiosyncrasies of Zulu culture, the darkest consequences of trophy hunting and poaching practices, and the mysterious beliefs surrounding native witchcraft. Along the way, readers experience the hazards of South African weather, snakes and crocodiles. Throughout the narrative, Anthony’s absolute respect and love for the animals of Thula Thula, both wild and domestic, shines through the pages. But it is the elephants that captivate.
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From this book I learned the extent of how sensitive and tactile these creatures are. How intention and the sound of a human voice can transform these intelligent giant animals from an emotional state of malevolence and distrust to a condition of utter gentleness. At the end of this book, I was left with the absolute conviction that to be a true advocate for the wildlife in Africa is to commit acts of heroism again and again and again. In 2003, Anthony founded The Earth Organization, a non-profit group with a mission to reverse the dwindling spiral of plant and animal kingdoms through education and action. To learn more and to see a video of Anthony interacting with an elephant, visit www.earthorganization.org. Lawrence’s other books include Babylon’s Ark : The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo (2007) recounting his efforts to help the zoo animals during the Iraq war. He received the UN’s Earth Day award for this work in Baghdad. His last novel, The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures (2013), was published after his untimely death from heart failure on March 2, 2012. Fortunately, his voice will live on through the books he left behind and his nonprofit organization. The Elephant Whisperer is one of those books that takes a hold of you and leaves behind lasting vivid memories. The audio version of this book, which was how I read it, was an Audie Award Winner in the Biography/Memoir category in 2014 and is available from your local library.
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Raising the Barre for 30 Years
parentfootprints by Dr. Dan Peters www.DrDanPeters.com
What Skiers and Snowboarders Can Teach Society About Getting Along
It’s early on a Saturday morning, and the Contra Costa Ballet Centre is buzzing with activity. Small girls in pink and blue have their hair brushed into neat buns while older dancers carefully tie the satin ribbons on their pointe shoes in preparation for the day’s classes – a scene that is the fulfillment of Zola Dishong and Richard Cammack’s vision for a high-caliber, classical ballet school in a suburban environment. Ms. Dishong was herself a product of a similar school, and having been accepted to the San Francisco Ballet School as one of the first Ford Foundation scholarship dancers, she knows firsthand the benefits of excellent training. When she and Richard Cammack, the former director of the San Francisco Ballet School, took over the Contra Costa Ballet Centre in 1987, they sought to “raise the barre” of dance education in the East Bay and create an environment where dancers could truly shine. Katherine Orloff was one of those dancers. She joined CCBC at a young age and danced professionally following graduation. Inspired by the instruction she received there, she went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in dance, completed her Master’s studies at Stanford, and is now a dance educator at the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. She remembers
her time at CCBC as “full of great friends, hard work, exciting performances and (having) the great privilege of working with Zola Dishong and Richard Cammack” whom she fondly regards as “kind, patient, and supremely articulate in their instruction.” Over the past three decades, Contra Costa Ballet’s impressive repertoire, including classics such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and an annual Nutcracker extravaganza - featuring Richard and Zola’s original choreography - have graced the Lesher Center stage, providing audiences with professionally-produced ballet performances locally. Contra Costa Ballet’s upcoming production of Alice in Wonderland, choreographed by Robert Dekkers, is an example of the level of production audiences have come to associate with the Company. Featuring the Company’s talented dancers and professional guest artists, and boasting an original score, Victorian-inspired costumes, and stunning sets, Alice in Wonderland will be on stage at the Lesher Center for the Arts on May 26 and 27. The closing performance will be followed by a reception celebrating Zola Dishong and Richard Cammack for their 30 years of “raising the barre.”
My son asked if I could take he and a friend snowboarding for a Sunday adventure. It was short notice and a very long day (4 hours drive each way) but I agreed, looking forward to some quality time with my son and in nature after some big storms. My son was snowboarding with his friend and I decided to ski. I started my life as a skier and evolved to snowboarding over time. Lately though, between skiing with my youngest who was learning to ski, and because my body doesn’t handle snowboarding falls as well as it used to, I have been skiing more. Many of the lifts were double chairs so I often went alone, enjoying the beautiful scenery and people watching. After several chair lifts and several runs I became aware of something. People of all ages were snowboarding. People of all ages were skiing. Families had some snowboarders and some skiers. Everyone on the slopes was getting along and respecting each other’s space and recreational sport orientation. As I looked around and pondered, I realized that my son probably didn’t know if was ever any different. Remember when skiers were the dominant culture and snowboarders were new and looked down upon? Remember when many ski resorts did not allow snowboarders? Remember when skiers were thought of as elite and entitled and snowboarders were thought of as less than and second class? The good news is most of our kids don’t. The bad news is that our kids are watching groups of people being judged and profiled. The bad news is that rules are being made quickly about how people should be treated based
on where they live and how they look. The bad news is that people are being discriminated against. The bad news is that lots of people are scared. There was a time when skiers and snowboarders didn’t like each other and felt threatened by each other. I am not sure exactly what happened, but I know it evolved over time. They needed to get used to each other and realize that both groups loved the snow, loved the sport, and loved nature. They needed to realize that while some members of each group fit the stereotype, most did not. They were all the same people who lived in their communities, and all were human. We need to teach our children about humanity and human nature. Humans are filled with love and compassion, and humans get scared and intimidated. Humans can work together to accomplish amazing things, and humans can blame others for their misfortune. Sure, one can argue we have much larger issues facing us than what type of equipment to use in the snow, but the human issues are not different. We must learn to accept differences. We must learn the difference between something being different and a threat. We must ultimately realize that we will last longer as a civilization if we choose love over hate and fear. We must teach our kids the difference. We can all get along – just like the snowboarders and skiers.
Dr. Dan is the host of the Parent Footprint Podcast which aims to build a community of parents who are inspired to raise self-aware children. New shows air every first and third Thursday of the month. https://parentfootprint.com/ podcast/
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by Carol and Randi -The Frugirls www.frugelegance.com
Table Centerpieces Using Artificial Flowers For many, it is a busy time with graduations, weddings, and guests. We love entertaining, but we need to budget our spending and time too. So, we wanted to share our FrugElegance style artificial flower centerpieces to get you through the season. Flowers are beautiful, but sometimes their prep work is difficult to manage and can be a bit pricey. These easy to make table centerpieces will keep on budget and look fabulous for all our Spring and Summer outdoor gatherings. Plus, they can be prepared in advance and reused throughout your summer. All the supplies you will need, assorted dollar store artificial spring flowers, colorful string and ribbon, small tin pails or clear jars (mason jars and up-cycled clear pickle jars are a frug-fabulous option), and black beans to look like soil (or any color beans) can be purchased at your local dollar and
craft stores. You don’t have to be “crafty” to create these table centerpieces. We can’t say enough how easy they are. Simply prepare your tin pails and decorate. We do a few simple things like wrapping colored string around the tin a few times and then make a final bow on the front. For more design options, we wrap ribbon around the rim of a jar, and some we add decorative washi tape. Fill the tin pails with your beans. We prefer the black beans because it looks like the flowers are in soil Add artificial flowers cut to desired heights. We suggest you keep the flowers low to the pot so you don’t see a lot of stem. Another easy way to personalize the pails is to paint some chalkboard paint on the front of the tin pails. Let it dry, and then personalize with a chalk marker. So easy. Who says you must spend a lot to look great? Go FrugElegance style!
Carol and Randi, the FruGirls, are local home decorators and stagers. FrugElegance is where Frugal and Elegance come together. You can also find them Blogging about many other ways to live an elegant life for less at www. frugelegance.com
Mads Tolling and the Mads Men
Coming to Danville May 7
Mads Tolling is a two-time Grammy Award-winning violinist, and he is the 2016 winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Award. Mads will be coming to Danville to the Jazz Club inside the Village Theatre on May7 performing favorites from his latest album entitled “Mads Tolling & The Mads Men - Playing the 60s” With his quartet, he has created a fun and exciting show that touches on the nostalgic as well as the contemporary. It includes timeless movie themes, popular TV classics, and celebrated songs ranging from “Mission Impossible”, “The Pink Panther” and “Meet the Flintstones” to “Georgia on My Mind” and “A Taste of Honey”. Mads has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and in the Washington Post, and he has played with Kenny Barron, Ramsey Lewis and Paquito D’Rivera. In 2014 Mads was commissioned by Michael Morgan and
Oakland Symphony to write a violin concerto, which was premiered at the Paramount Theatre to much fanfare. As a burgeoning young master growing up in Copenhagen, Mads was introduced to the 60s sound of Jazz, soul, and early R&B by listening to a Miles Davis cassette. Inspired to explore his own creative voice, the result is an exhilarating and thrilling musical adventure, with Mads guiding us to places we didn’t know a violin could go. Joining Mads on this journey are his “Mads Men”: World-class musicians Colin Hogan on piano & accordion, Josh Thurston-Milgrom on bass and Eric Garland on drums. Tickets $30 adults, $20 for students, or save yourself $5 per ticket with PrePurchase at www.villagetheatreshows. com. For links to music video and other performances featured at the Jazz Room visit www.facebook.com/ TheJazzRoom. n
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Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor, Better Homes Realty
Keep Your Home Show-Ready, Even with Kids! When you’re selling your home, keeping it spotless for showings can be tough. Making sure it stays clean, especially when you have kids, can seem downright impossible. However, there is hope. By having a plan and sticking to it, you can keep your home ready for visits, even at a moment’s notice. Here’s how. Have a checklist. Trying to live in your home while you’re selling it can be a little chaotic. Tame that chaos by knowing exactly what to do before a buyer comes over. Create a simple checklist of tasks you need to do each time you have a showing. Ideally, these tasks should take you no longer than 15 minutes to complete. Knowing what to do will save you the headache of frantically running around at the last minute, trying to remember everything. Start clean. You never know when you’ll get a call at 9 a.m. with a new showing for 9:30. Treat yourself to a less stressful morning by making sure the house is clean before you go to bed. That way, if you have to leave even before you’ve had your coffee, you know the house is ready and looking its best. Pack up toys. It’s unbelievable how quickly those toys can get out of control. Your kids probably don’t play with all of them all the time. Save their favorites and pack up or donate the rest. Keep the unused toys out of sight, either in bins under the bed or off-site at a storage unit. Have more picnics. Little kids make messes. It’s just what they do. Keep your kitchen and dining room clean and
ready to show by eating outside whenever possible. Set up a picnic area and treat it like a special occasion. Chances are, you’re kids will love it, and it will save you precious cleaning time. Create a stash zone. Make designated areas in your home where you can quickly stash things like toys and dirty laundry before a showing. The best places are the ones least likely for buyers to look, like bins stored in a closet or empty dresser drawers. Only use one bathroom. Bathrooms are probably the most difficult rooms to keep consistently clean. If you have more than one bathroom in your home, choose one bathroom that everyone in the family will use. This will cut down significantly on the amount of time you spend cleaning them. Know where to go. Finally, have a list of places you know you can go to when you need to quickly leave the house. Some great choices include a local museum or park, story time at the library, grandma’s house or even just a nice long walk around the neighborhood. If you choose activities that are fun, you’ll get less resistance from the kids when it’s time to go. Although selling a home while you and your family are living in it can be a challenge, it is not an impossible one. By preparing ahead of time and adhering to some time saving tricks, you’ll make sure your kids are happy and your home is always ready to show. Compliments of VirtualResults.net. n
by Jason Rugaard www.moviemavericks.com
The Fate of the Furious Unknown
The Fate of the Furious has two innovative action set-pieces that are worth your attention if not the price of admission. The first is a sequence in which every computer controlled car in New York City is electronically commandeered and pursue our heroes through the streets. The second, is a masterfully choreographed fight scene where Jason Statham fights his way through an airplane while cradling a baby. These are two inspired moments in a film that is otherwise devoid of inspiration, coherence, or logic. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is lying low in Cuba when a sexy criminal, code-named Cipher, convince him to not only get back to work, but turn on his team. This includes betraying Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), and Taj (Ludicris). Dom sabotages a mission and makes his intentions clear, he’s romantically and professionally attached to Cipher. The one most hurt by their leader’s duplicity
is his former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Returning as the Nick Fury to their squad Kurt Russell spoofs his Tequila Sunrise image as the shadow agency head, Mr. Nobody. The reason for Dominic’s turn against his “family” is the main plot point in a film that runs a numbing 136 minutes. A nearly ten-minute climax involving the gang escaping on a frozen glacier while being chased by a surfacing submarine. There is no denying that this series is devolving into something as boring, and insulting as one of those latter Police Academy sequels. The franchise has run strong since 2001. It pre-dates 9/11, the financial melt-down, and the Marvel cinematic universe. However, it is far past time that this gang ride off into the proverbial sunset, or in this case, the exit ramps. Director: F. Gary Gray Stars: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron n
by Douglas A. Prutton, Attorney Doug@PruttonLaw.com
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Enters the Legal Ring with Gloria Allred
In this corner, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.- a record of 48-0, five-time world boxing champion, and world’s highest paid athlete with an estimated net worth of $400 million! And in the other corner, Gloria Allred, Los Angeles civil rights lawyer, veteran of storied legal heavyweight fights against the likes of Bill Cosby, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even Donald Trump! Her client? Shantel Jackson, Mayweather’s exgirlfriend, who complains of low blows issued by Mayweather in the form of a posting on Facebook and Instagram and a radio interview. In the social media posting, Mayweather struck hard: “The real reason me and Shantel Christine Jackson @Miss Jackson broke up was because she got an abortion, and I’m totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies.” Ouch. He also attached sonogram pictures of the fetuses and a medical report regarding the pregnancy. In a radio interview, Mayweather continued with the hooks and jabs, describing the extensive cosmetic surgery procedures Ms. Jackson had undergone. Dazed and cornered, Ms. Jackson struck back with the hiring of Ms. Allred and the filing of a defamation/invasion of privacy lawsuit. But Mayweather, one of boxing’s greatest counter-punchers, countered with an Anti-Slapp motion (not kidding that is what it is called). The Judge in Los Angeles floored Floyd by denying his motion, but the champion staggered up off the mat and filed his appeal. The three-judge panel issued its ruling on April 19, 2017 and Mr. Mayweather fared well, though the fight is far from over. The Court concluded that Mr. Mayweather’s statements about the abortion and Shantel’s cosmetic surgeries could not support her privacy claim because those statements were “newsworthy.” The Court stated: “At a time when entertainment news and celebrity gossip often seem to matter more than serious policy discussions, given Jackson’s high profile and voluntary disclosure on social media of many aspects of her personal life, the publication of those otherwise intimate facts must necessarily be considered newsworthy.” The Court, however, decided that
the posting of the sonogram pictures and the medical report could support Jackson’s invasion of privacy claim. The Court looked at two other cases for guidance. In those cases, the publication of a Pamela Anderson/Bret Michael sex-tape and the publication of a decapitated accident victim, were found to be outside the zone of protection. The Court concluded that, like in those cases, Mayweather’s posting of the sonogram and report “involved a ‘morbid and sensational’ prying into her private life.” Jackson’s defamation claim was based on Mayweather’s posts that the real reason for their breakup was the abortion, and that Jackson had undergone cosmetic surgeries. Jackson could not base her defamation claim on the postings about the abortion because those postings were true, and truth is a defense to any defamation claim. The Court decided that although the public may have reacted negatively about Jackson having an abortion, posting that this was the real reason for the break-up did not “expose Jackson to contempt, ridicule, or other reputational injury.” Regarding Mayweather’s comments in the radio interview about Jackson’s cosmetic surgeries, Jackson admitted that she had undergone such surgeries. She argued that her surgeries were on her breasts and buttocks, but that Mayweather said she had surgeries on her nose, chin and cheeks. The Court rejected this argument stating that Jackson had presented no evidence to support this distinction. The Court did find in Jackson’s favor regarding her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. This claim requires proof that the “conduct has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.” The Court decided that the social media posts and radio interview alone could not support such a claim, but that such evidence along with Jackson’s evidence that Mayweather had on other occasions verbally and physically abused her was enough to support the claim. Thus, the case proceeds forward into the middle rounds of this heavyweight battle! n
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Views of the Valley
Missing Mattson Milk Bottle Materializes; Makes Merry By Tillie Turner
The recent wind and rain storms has certainly revived our water systems, but not without a little damage along the way. Here Llamas Tree Service is readying for the tree removal off a house.
Clayton Women’s Club Elects New Officers
Linda Chambers, pictured on the right, fulfilled a life-long dream for Julie Mattson Rogers, on the left. Julie had seen on Facebook that Linda had an old Mattson Creamery Milk bottle that her boyfriend had given her 35 years ago. Julie immediately contacted Linda and explained she was the only Mattson cousin that didn’t have the milk bottle and she had been looking high and low for one for years. Four Mattson brothers, her dad and uncles, owned and operated the Mattson Dairy back in the day. Linda said “It’s rightfully yours” and Julie quickly came to Concord from Davis to accept her treasure. Tears shared and thankfulness given the rest is history. n
The GFWC Clayton Valley Woman’s Club installed a slate of new officers for the 2017-2018 year. For information about the club and its activities you can call Linda at 925-787-5004 or Michele at 925-383-8058 or check the website at: www.claytonvalleywomansclub.org.
Photo: Left to Right: Front row: Judy Disbrow, Sheila Driscoll. Back row: Sharon Hupp, Maggie Gardner, Joyce Atkinson, Rosemary Harwood, Barbara Glass, Aleta Huck and Nancy Domingo
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by Jere Peck, Garden Manager The Gardens at Heather Farms
We are watching with excitement as our rose garden bursts with color. It seems a new flower opens every day and you can smell it in the air. With the proper care, roses will reward you with gorgeous blooms throughout the season. Are you ready for a rose super bloom in your garden? Deadheading, or removing old flowers, helps to encourage new flowers. We have already seen our first flush of roses this season. Before long, these flowers will begin to fade and fall apart on the plant. Removing spent flowers redirects the plant’s energy toward producing new flowers.
Most types of roses can be deadheaded using a similar method. First, you do not want to remove a flower too early, unless of course, you are placing it in a vase. To test if a rose is ready to cut, hold the stem and give the flower a good thump with the side of your pruners. If petals fall, then it is time to deadhead that flower. Instead of simply cutting off the flower, you will want to look for a 5-leaflet leaf below the flower. Cutting too high on the stem, at a 3-leaflet leaf, can result in what is referred to as “blind wood.” Blind wood is new growth that will not produce any flowers.
Also, be sure to look for a leaf that has an outward facing bud. Making a cut above an inward facing bud will result in the new stalk growing toward the center of the bush. Not only does this look bad, but it reduces airflow and increases the risk disease. For proper deadheading, you will want to identify a spent flower and make a diagonal cut slightly above the selected 5-leaflet leaf with an outward facing bud. And whatever you do, never leave your rose cuttings on the ground. This is a common way for disease spread. Roses are probably the world’s most beloved flower. If you are interested in learning about their fascinating history or other professional rose care tips, please join me and a wonderful group of volunteers on Wednesday mornings in the Gardens at Heather Farm. We are busy planning new installations, propagating plants, and I suspect by the end of Fall we will be experts at deadheading roses. Visit www. gardenshf.org for more information, or feel free to contact me at jere@ gardenshf.org. Keep on growing! n [Editor’s note: The picture on the front cover is courtesy The Gardens at Heather Farm, Walnut Creek]
Excitement Brewing Over Downtown Martinez Revitalization “Martinez is in a sweet spot,” so says Martinez City Manager Brad Kilger. Kilger has it right. He and Leanne Peterson, Director of Main Street Martinez, told Martinez Rotary about how downtown is changing fast and for the better. To parse Kilger’s quote a bit: “Martinez is located within the San Francisco Area. We’re in a place people want to be. We’re in a place with lots of jobs. We’re in a place undergoing a demographic shift towards young professionals. We’re in a place that has maintained its historic character; and a place with tradition.” Almost a decade ago the City Council passed an earthquake retrofit ordinance. Downtown buildings are largely brick, and are vulnerable to earthquakes. Fortunately, earthquakes have passed the City by. Had a big one struck it could have wreaked havoc. The earthquake ordinance led to major changes. Some buildings were torn down. Some owners couldn’t do needed repairs and sold their buildings. Today, earthquake retrofit is either completed or planned. The incentive is great as buildings that are not retrofitted can no longer be occupied. As older buildings are brought up to code earthquake retrofit is not the only issue. Buildings must also be brought up to modern fire standards. They must meet ADA (American Disability Act) standards. They often need sewer and electrical upgrades.
Retrofitting is expensive. Neat buildings and lots of foot-traffic means that rents will go up. That’s an unavoidable result of being in the right place at the right time. This can be tough on businesses which have long counted on low rents. Our brick buildings are expensive to fix up, but enormously attractive once the expenditures have been made. The City of Martinez is in the process of recruiting for an Economic Development Director. The City is preparing to undertake a parking study in cooperation with the County. The County has committed to staying downtown. It’s going to take down the obsolete high-rise at 651 Pine Street and put in a structure between Escobar and Marina Vista. It will also build a two-level parking structure capable of holding about 300 cars. This will bookend the East end of Main Street.
The parking study will focus on City and Court needs, and how the needs to the City and the County mesh. Leanne Peterson of Main Street Martinez told us of some of the new businesses. Already in place are two coffee houses, States Street and Barrelista. Bar Cava sells wine and food, particularly Spanish tapas. Next door to Bar Cava will be a yogurt place. Saucie’s is about to become a classy pizza-by-the-slice place. The old Bow Rack building and the adjacent building a block off main street are about to become the home for two breweries, Five Suns Microbrewery and Del Cielo. Citrus Salon is getting ready to move south across the street into the beautiful brick building formerly occupied by Rich Stahlberg photography. Its present quarters will house “Mud Room”. The former Bank of America building has been sold and will probably become a restaurant. The former “Alley Cats” building is in escrow and will become a Greek restaurant. And that’s not all. Things are changing by the day. The days of empty stores on Main Street are almost behind us. Look for lots of young professionals and classy stores. Main Street revitalization is happening fast. Martinez beautiful brick buildings have long been a source of local pride. But they’ve been at risk of falling down in an earthquake. Today they’re being fixed up. Main Street is getting revitalized and soon to be bustling again. n
Tapestry Searching for
Ringers and Singers!
Tapestry Ringers and Singers is the only vocal and handbell group in Northern California is now auditioning for ringers and singers. Prospective singers need to be able to read music, be willing to memorize the repertoire, and have had considerable experience performing eclectic choral music. Ringers need to have had six years of experience and be comfortable performing level 3 music. Tapestry is an arts organization in the East San Francisco Bay Area devoted to women’s choral and English handbell music. It was formed by the merger of the Heartsong Women’s Chamber Chorus and the Canto Bello Handbell Ensemble. Its mission is to provide high-quality entertainment, to educate, and to raise funds for charitable causes. Tapestry has performed throughout Northern California, supporting charities
such as the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in Hayward, and The Monument Crisis Center in Concord. Most performances are in the East Bay but occasionally they will perform elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. In 2007, it conducted a tour of England, raising money to support the Isubilo HIV/AIDS Orphanage and Resource Center in Zambia. On May 13, Tapestry will complete their All Broadway concert performances at the Clayton Presbyterian Church singing songs such as “I Could Have Danced all Night” from My Fair Lady, “For Good” from Wicked and Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Ringers will entertain you with a Medleys from The Lion King and “Can Can” and is as much fun to watch as it is to hear. Singer and Ringers combine to
perform “Everybody Rejoice” and more. Performances are free of charge. A good will offering will be taken to support our charity, Contra Costa ARC. For more information or to schedule an audition, contact Cindy Krausgrill, the Artistic Director, at tapestryringersandsingers.org.
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The Diablo Gazette’s
CALENDAR OF EVENTS FUNDRAISERS
Pancake Breakfast - Supporting Veterans of foreign Wars – 2nd and 4th Sundays includes eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. Willow Pass Road, Concord $5, $3 Children under 12. http://www.vfwpost1525.org May 6 Diablo Choral Artists 15th Annual Dinner Dance and Auctions, 6 pm. At St. Stephen’s Catholic Church Parish Hall, Walnut Creek. Silent & Live Auctions, live music of 40s, 50s & 60s by Vocal Ease & the Boogie Men Tickets in advance from chorus members, email: email@example.com, or call 925228-1181 $40/ea - or - $300/table of 8 (cash or checks only) Call 925-9300516 to donate items for the dinner or auction. Details at www.dcachorus.org. Concert in the Grove Introducing the “Patron Sponsor” program that will help fund the Concerts in The Grove series. With a tax-deductible donation of $200, Patron Sponsors will receive one commemorative hat, one commemorative pin, and a coupon for a free beer per concert (courtesy of the Clayton Club Saloon). Make checks payable to: City of Clayton Concerts in The Grove. Checks may be mailed to the Clayton City Hall or given to the donor collectors at each concert.
OUTDOORS: Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays. Full lineup available at http://offthegridsf.com. May 6 and May 7 - 25th Annual Clayton Gardens Tour takes place between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This self-guided tour benefits the Clayton Historical Society. For more information including tickets, visit the Clayton Museum or www.claytonhistory.org. June 7 - Walnut Creek First Wednesdays Street Fest! Live entertainment, arts & crafts, treats, shopping. 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM on June 7 / July 5/August 2 / September 6 / October 4. Cypress Street (Between Main Street & Locust Street). Bike Walnut Creek is sponsoring a free ‘bike valet’ for your wheels! Enjoy FREE parking after 5PM! Participating Garages: N. Locust Garage - 1625 Locust St. / S. Locust Garage - 1350 Locust St. N. Broadway Garage - 1390 N. Broadway.
Club/Support Group News and Events
Through May 7 - Video auditions for summer theatre production “GodSpell Jr.”Open to actors age 10-17. Record yourself singing 1-2 minutes of your favorite song with no accompanying vocals. Rehearsals: 4-7 pm Mon-Thurs. at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. Performance date August 17-20. Tuition is $400 for 7 weeks of camp with actor teacher Michael Berry. May 19 - Clayton Valley 2017 Hall of Fame Ceremony Shadelands Art Center in Walnut Creek. 5 PM no host wine and beer social. Dinner at 6:30. Induction presentation at 7pm. at www.claytonvalley.org web store or send check to CVHS Hall of Fame, PO Box 502, Clayton, CA 94517. (*Children’s tickets can only be purchased via US Mail, they are not available on “web store”. Ticket prices or $50 adults, $25 for kids 12 and younger.
Galindo Home and Gardens 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. No reservations needed. Fee $5 for adults and children over 12. 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 the10 rooms, including two parlors and a formal dining room, and see 15 original pieces of Eastlake furniture. Go to concordhistorical.org for more information. Saturday, May 6 - “The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty” - History talk and book signing with Richard Schwartz 1:00pm – 3:30pm. Wine and cheese reception will be served. Free Admission and Free Parking. RSVP is requested. Hosted by the Martinez and the Contra Costa County Historical Societies. Shell Clubhouse 1635 Pacheco Blvd., Martinez. Email: mkting@ cocohistory.org or Call: (925) 229-1042. A $10 donation is suggested at the door. All proceeds benefit the preservation work of the Martinez & CoCo County archives. For more information, visit www. cocohistory.com May 18-21 - Contra Costa County Fair at County Fairgrounds, 1201 West 10th, Antioch. Visit website for entertainment schedule. www.contracostafair.com June 3-4 - Walnut Creek’s 36th Annual Art & Wine Festival. New Indie Craft Marketplace, Outdoor Sports Bar with big screen TV,live music. Free family entertainment with over 250 arts and crafts booths, live music, concessions, Craft Brew Garden, interactive Kids Zone. Free shuttle from Walnut Creek BART to the Festival. Saturday 11 am-7pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm. Heather Farm Park at 301 N. San Carlos Drive, Walnut Creek Free! Check the website for a full entertainment guide. at http://www.artwinefestivalwc.com.
Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, yearround, rain or shine, Thursdays 4P-8P, Todos Santos Plaza. • Martinez Sundays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, 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. Also, from Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market - North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, (925) 431-8361 http://www.cccfm.org Pleasant Hill – Saturdays 10:00am to 2:00pm May 6 -Oct 28; 136 Trelany Rd, Pleasant Hill Pittsburg – Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm, May 6 - Oct 7; 600 Railroad Ave, Pittsburg Clayton- Saturday 8:00am to 12:00pm May 13 - Oct 14; 6095 Main St, Clayton May 5,6,7 - Spring Tea at Concord’s Historic Galindo Home. There are two seatings daily at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for this annual tradition. “…a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day event,” co-chairperson Carole Kelsch. Catering is provided by Mt. Diablo High School’s Serendipity Bakery and Café. All proceeds support Concord Historical Society. $35 per person, and reservations
must be made in advance by calling Lind Higgins, 925-682-6383. Galindo Home is located at 1721 Amador Avenue, Concord. May 27-29 - Bay Area KidFest Memorial Day Weekend, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closes 5 p.m. Monday). 28th annual KidFest is the East Bay’s largest annual family event with dozens of free activities for kids, tweens, and parents. Wild About Monkeys Show, Python Ron’s Reptile Kingdom, Robert Castillo’s BMX Freestyle Team, Curious George and Batman. Nonstop entertainment on community stage plus more free activities - face painting, balloon art, golf, soccer, bounces and crawls, Kid’s Town America. Arts & crafts, exhibitors, food court, Zip line, roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, Xtreme Lasertag, rides and much more. Admission $6 per person with donation of a canned good for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. $7 without can donation. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65+ are FREE. Benefits local non-profits. Downtown Concord, 2450 Grant St. www. KidFestConcord.com May 29 - Kidfest Memorial Day Commemoration at 12:00 p.m. 7th annual Memorial Day ceremony on the main stage at Bay Area KidFest with 17-time World Champion Concord Blue Devils C Drum and Bugle Corps, young singing phenom Janelle Feraro performing the Star-Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs with the Mt. Diablo High School Jr. ROTC color guard. Downtown Concord, 2450 Grant St. www.KidFestConcord.com
VISUAL ARTS/THEATRE/ MUSIC
Clayton Theatre Company Summer Stage 3-week camp for kids 6-16 years of age. We focus on musical theater in preparation for the summer musical. Each performer will have a professional head shot taken and receive a personal resume. July 10-27. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. http:// www.claytontheatrecompany.com/ Auditions- Clayton Theatre Company – Fall musical “1940’s Radio Hour”. Appointment Necessary. For actors age 16 and up. All roles are open. For More Information: Call: 925-222-9106. Email: claytontheatrecompany@comcast. net May 5 - Tapestry – Broadway Songs Friday, May 5 at Walnut Creek United Methodist; Saturday, May 6 at St. John’s Parish, Clayton; Saturday, May 13 at Clayton Valley Presbyterian. All performances at 7:00 PM. Directions at www.tapestryringersandsingers.org. In support of Contra Costa ARC. May 5-6 - Synergy Theater’s “Spontaneous Shakespeare!” 8PM. Village Theatre and Art Gallery in Danville, CA. A completely improvised two-act comedy in the style of the Immortal Bard. 233 Front Street, Danville. Tickets $20 buy online www.villagetheatreshows.com or call 925-314-3400. Diablo Ballet presents the final program of its 23rd Season, “Celebrated Masters”, featuring three unique ballets with choreography by Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre and Robert Dekkers May 5 & 6 at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek. The performances are: Friday, May 5 at 8:00 pm; Saturday, May 6 at 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm. Each performance is followed by an interactive Q&A with the
dancers and choreographers and includes a complimentary dessert reception with an opportunity for audience members to get up close and personal with the artists. Tickets are $27-47. For tickets, call 925943-SHOW (7469) or visit www.lesherartscenter.org. May 7 - Mads Tolling and Mads Men, enjoy the two-time Grammy Award winner play the 60’s. 5 p.m. The Jazz Room at Village Theatre, 233 Front Street Danville. Adults $25 Students $15 door $30, $20 Art Gallery and Wine Bar opens at 7:15 For Tickets: www.villagetheatreshows.com May 13th, - Concerts in the Grove: Clayton sees the return of our popular live music series. The summer concert series happens every other Saturday through September 16th. For a schedule of the bands please visit www. claytonconcerts.com. “Tapestry” Concert: Audiences love the blend of female voices and handbells that is the “Tapestry” ensemble. Cindy Krausgill has once again put together a very entertaining program for their May concert. 7:00 PM. at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. 1578 Kirker Pass Rd. Clayton. Be sure to reserve this date on your calendar. May 20st - Concert: The Clayton Valley Presbyterian 2016-2017 concert season will close with the “Aeolus Woodwind Quintet”. The members of this fine quintet are: Martha Rosenberg, flute, Terri Knight, oboe, John Pangia, clarinet, Jenny Crane, horn, and Michael Garvey, bassoon. Please join us for wonderful program that will round out our concert season. 7:30 PM. at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. 1578 Kirker Pass Rd. Clayton. Tickets are $15 at the door. Concert: “Make Them Hear You! Music for Our Times”. The Diablo Women’s Chorale invites you to join their spring concert celebrating 75 years in the community. Director Lisa Forkish, accompanist Carolyn Wolf and the Diablo Women’s Chorale present classic poetic melodies, contemporary pop anthems, and music from a live band. Show time is 2 p.m.at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Avenue. More information including ticket discounts, call 1-800-838-3006 or go to www.DiabloWomensChorale.org.
General sale tickets are available online at LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster. com or charge by phone at 1-800-7453000. Tickets are also available at select Wal-Mart locations. For general Pavilion information, call (925) 676-8742 Jun 2 -- Kidz Bop Fri 7:00 PM Jun 7 -- Chicago and the Doobie Brothers Wed 7:30 PM Jun 11 -- Spirit West Coast Sun 4:00 PM Jun 23 -- Styx with REO Speedwagon Fri 7:00PM Jul 6 -- Deftones with Rise Against the Machine Thu 6:30 PM Aug 11 -- Steve Martin and Martin Short Fri 8:00 PM Aug 16 -- Straight No chaser with Postmodern Jukebox Wed 7:30 PM Aug 27 -- OneRepublic with Fitz and the Tantrums Sun 7:00 PM Sept 15 -- Florida Georgia Line Oct 12 -- Luke Bryan For a complete list of local clubs and meeting dates, go to diablogazette.com.
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Resident Tales “I’ve had a wonderful life being a wife and a mother of two, plus a grandmother of four, and a greatgrandmother of eight. Watching them grow and develop in this newtech world has been the love of my life. I wonder if being a grandmother has been what’s kept this smile on my face?” – Barbara S. “Motherhood is a God-given privilege. I love my children and rejoice in their wonderful lives. I am so thankful for being able to bear five children.” – Patricia T. “One particular memory comes to mind. It was round-up day on the Borges Ranch and a temporary branding corral was not too far from our path. We could hear the loud bellowing of an angry herd of cattle. When my young son saw the restless bulls in the corral, he couldn’t resist shaking his jacket and yelling, “HEY TORO! HEY TORO!” To our utter amazement these large animals tore through the corral and thundered up the path, headed straight for us. The only safety was a crag with boulders across the path. We scampered up as they surrounded us. We could see their red eyes, hear the loud snorts, and feel their hot breath on us. They shook their horned heads and moved closer whenever we moved. With two crying children I had to figure a way around them. We could not stay there much longer. We tried crawling down among the smaller boulders behind us. It was over an hour before the bulls came to realize we had disappeared and finally moved away. Since that day, my favorite motto as a mother has been: Be prepared for
Thoughts on Motherhood anything!” – Kathie M. “Being a mom is the greatest gift in life; to be able to give love to my children and see them flourish in life is a blessing.” – May D. “When you become a mother, there are no days off!” – Arleen C. “I always wanted a large family and the Lord blessed me with six little ones, very quickly. Thank God they were very good children and I had a
wonderful mother to help when I really needed it! The children, being born so close made it possible for them to always have
playmates. They have all grown up into very good people that I’m very proud of—they’re still a blessing. This is what I’m most proud of in my life— my family. One of my favorite books reads, ‘A family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and every union the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love. Every crisis faced makes the circle stronger. The best thing to spend on your child is your time! A mother should be like a quilt—keep the children warm but don’t smother them!’” – Audrene G.
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The All-You-Can-Eat Solution By Richard Eber When families decide to go out to dinner, the question of where to go often arises. Kids generally favor pizza, happy meals and similar products. Dad might want meat and potatoes while Mom might desire a satisfying salad and some sushi action. Young adults can be all over the map, including QSR (quick-service restaurants–we used to call them fast food) to fast casual places such as Panda Express, Chipotle, or El Pollo Loco, etc. What to do? When culinary diversity is required, the mediating solution is an all-youcan-eat buffet-style restaurant from which we have several to choose in the area. These eateries are the highest volume purveyors of nonfast food meals by a large margin. The top four in terms of meals served (in no particular order) are Sweet Tomatoes in Downtown Pleasant Hill, Hometown Buffet, The China Wall, and Tomi Seafood Buffet which are all located in Concord. Sweet Tomatoes is often the choice for families trying to impart a healthy lifestyle for their kids. Their salad bar which is selected prior to reaching the cashier is fresh with tempting alternatives to mundane greenery offered by the chain steakhouses of the world. From the Caesar salad to Thai chicken, Cole slaw, etc., all plates are overflowing with tasty salads. Sweet Tomatoes operates an aboveaverage in-store bakery led by foccocia and corn bread muffins with whipped honey butter. They offer several great soup options including cream of mushroom and clam chowder. However, for their rice and pasta casserole dishes, I give low marks for uninspiring and lacking in flavor. If you crave meat, Sweet Tomatoes is not your place either. These are minor preferences issues. In all, they do a great job providing excellent service and you have to like their easy-to-find online discount coupons. Hometown Buffet located near Seafood City on Diamond Blvd. in Concord is shy of the overall quality of sweet Tomatoes, but has its own charms. Their fried chicken dating to its predecessor JJ North’s is worth the price of admission, especially when it is first served. The salad bar has diversity with plenty of gelatin concoctions and recipes with mayonnaise. Too many for my preference. This place is at its best serving allyou-can-eat entrees such as Baron of Beef (when pink) spaghetti and meat sauce, baked fish, and lots of potatoes, stuffing and gravies. Hometown
Buffet’s dessert area is a favorite with kids with large selections of puddings, pies, cookies, and cakes with soft ice cream to top things off. Hometown Buffet may not be the caliber of the famous buffet at the Sahara Tahoe, but neither is the price. This brings us to the offerings of the Great Wall at Park and Shop. They are the only non-chain business mentioned in this article. This Chinese establishment offers a surprisingly strong sushi assortment. The Maguro and California rolls with flying fish row are always winners. The salad bar is OK but not in the Sweet Tomatoes
class. Their buffet table offers variety with traditional Cantonese chicken pork and beef recipes leading the way. Combining these specialties with noodles and rice, one will get filled up in a hurry. On weekends, they serve Alaskan crab legs, a popular offering. The Great Wall is heaven to protein eaters. Their desserts consist of several trays of house-made pastries and are OK. They do go well with fresh fruit and soft ice cream. This place remains popular over the years and fills a dining need in the community. My final review is for the upscale Tomi Seafood Buffet in Sun Valley Mall, the successor to Todai which occupied the same place for several years. Charging ten to fifteen dollars more per person than the other all-you-can-eat places, Tomi must deliver a superior dining experience. Thankfully, they do this in spades! This Japanese operation is anchored by a sushi bar comparable to what you might find in a high-quality specialty restaurant. It is easy to stay here and not leave until one enjoys a bowl of mochi ice cream. There are other offerings to consider such as madeto-order udon noodles, fresh shrimp, prime rib, and freshly cooked tempura. They even have duck and fresh salmon. Undoubtedly, Tomi ‘s, which is topped off with exquisite, artistically created desserts, is the best consistent buffet in the area. If I had to offer a critique, their table service could be improved as on occasions, they forget their patrons. However, Tomi is in a class by themselves in the buffet genre. So if you have a car full of indecisive, hungry family members and guests, remember, all-you-can-eat-buffet is the perfect solution. Who says you can’t please everyone?
School Bus Drivers Honored
with Appreciation Day
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) marked April 25 as School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, and honored the drivers who travel a 150-square mile radius each day. They transport more than 2,000 regular and Special Education students each day to 49 school sites and centers. The fleet of 106 buses drives over two million miles a year. The Transportation department also transports students on over 300 athletic trips and over 1,500 field trips each year. “Our school bus drivers are, for thousands of our students, the first face of the school day, and part of an important family of MDUSD staff who, collectively, make up the family away from home for our students,” said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. “We are incredibly fortunate to have drivers, mechanics, and other transportation team members who have served our students and community for many years, taking seriously the charge of safely transporting students to and from schools each day.” “Our drivers and mechanics start their day early,” said Meyer. “They’re often on the road before 6:30 a.m., and their cargo could not be any more precious or important. The relationships they develop with our students and their families are some of the most important in our
Turkey Crossing A kind-hearted Concordian posted this sign to protect the neighborhood wild turkeys along Grant Street by the 680 exit. Photos by Micah
district.” Of the 90 bus drivers, Michelle Samson holds the honor of being the most senior driver having been driving for MDUSD nearly 35 years, since September of 1992. School bus drivers in California are required to meet very rigorous program qualifications from the California Department of Education, and undergo an intense testing and application process with the California Highway Patrol. School bus driver candidates are welcome to apply to MDUSD at any time. Application materials include: MDUSD drivers were treated to special refreshments on Tuesday, as well as given a surprise for each driver. On behalf of students and their parents, Diablo Gazette would like to join in and thank you as well.
Photos courtesy of Mt. Diablo Unified School District
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DIABLO GAZETTE FUN ZONE
Mother Mania By Micah
Micah recently discovered that there are about two billion moms in the world and decided to conduct a little research on the Internet and enlighten us with more mostly unknown facts about Motherhood and babies. My Mom’s an Animal
Modern moms in the U.S. have an average of 2 kids. In the 1950s, they had an average of 3.5 kids. In the 1700s, they had 7–10 kids. In 1955, Signora Carmelina Fedele of Italy gave birth to the heaviest baby ever born, a boy weighing 22 pound 8 ounces. Ouch! Speaking of Babies:
Baby Facts Provided by
A mother orangutan never puts her babies down and typically nurses them for six or seven years, which is the longest mother/child nursing dependence of any animal on Earth. Polar bear moms put on around 400 pounds during their pregnancy. If the mother doesn’t double her weight, her body will simply reabsorb the fetus. A mother koala will feed her baby her own feces. Baby koalas, called joeys, haven’t developed the intestinal bacteria that help detoxify the highly poisonous eucalyptus leaves, which are a koala’s main diet. A Mother’s job is NEVER done. 4.3 babies are born each second. By a baby’s second birthday, it has had 7,300 diaper changes. Moms take 2 minutes, 5 seconds to change a diaper. If you do the math, Mom spends over three 40-hour work weeks per year changing diapers. A preschooler requires mom’s attention once every four minutes or 210 times per day. 88% of laundry is done by moms. Mother’s Day is the busiest phone day totaling 122.5 million phone calls. Baby Talk Average weight gain during pregnancy is 30 pounds. A woman’s chance of having twins is 1 in 32. The chance of conceiving triplets or higher is 1 in 540 New moms are getting older. The average age of new moms in the US today is 25 years old versus 21 years old in 1970.
OUCH! All babies are born too early. If it weren’t for the size limitations of a woman’s pelvis, babies would stay developing in the womb for considerably longer. We have to keep our pelvises relatively narrow to keep upright. A fourth trimester? Some pediatricians label a baby’s first three months of life as the “fourth trimester” of pregnancy to emphasize how needy, and yet devoid of social skills, babies are at this stage. The first social smile, doesn’t usually appear until the infant is 10-14 weeks old and the first phase of attachment, begins around five months old. Parental responses wire baby’s brain. Experts, such as neuro-anthropologist and author of “The Evolution of
Childhood” Melvin Konner, think some early wails are tied to physical development, noting that across cultures crying peaks at the same point after conception, independent of when the baby makes its entrance into the world. That is, a premature baby, born at 34 weeks, will reach her peak crying point at around 12 weeks old, while a fullterm baby, born at 40 weeks, will cry the most at around 6 weeks old.
Silly faces and sounds are important. When babies imitate the facial expressions of their caregivers, it triggers the emotion in them as well. This helps infants build on their innate understanding of emotional communication and may explain why parents tend to make exaggerated happy and sad faces at their little ones. Do you speak Parentese? Known as baby talk, it is critical to infant development. Its musicality and exaggerated, slow structure helps a baby grasp words. Babbling signals learning. Babies will focus momentarily and usually make
babbling sounds to convey interest. The nonsense syllables are signaling to adults that they are ready to learn. The only thing known for certain that makes babies smarter is talking to them. Dialogue
is best, where a parent responds within the pauses of an infants’ vocalizations. Educational DVDs, tapes, etc. are worthless. If you want to help your baby to be smart, throw out the flashcards and videos, and play with your baby. Babies divide up the world between things that respond to them and things that don’t. The things that don’t, don’t teach. A recording does not follow a baby’s cues, which is why infant DVDs, such as Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby, have been found to be ineffective. n
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Secret Service Insider Stories from a Former Agent
The Compassion of a Presidential Candidate Editor’s 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” 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 life experiences come from a Concord resident who spent several years as a Secret Service agent. This is his story….
In the cutthroat world of presidential politics, it was always refreshing to see an act of kindness that was committed solely out of compassion, without any political motive. GOP Presidential Nominee Governor George W. Bush’s motorcade was scheduled to arrive at the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Air Operations Center, at the Fresno International Airport, at 8:15 a.m. Upon arrival, the governor would board his plane, which was staged at the CHP tarmac, for an immediate departure en-route to his next campaign stop. The night before, he attended a rally at the Fresno convention center. With the presidential election only days away, his agenda was tight and included more rallies in different cities. Therefore, the airport departure was a closed event, meaning there would be no public nor press present. My assignment for this morning’s departure was Site Agent. As such, I was responsible for creating operational plans, site logistics, determining number of agents to be utilized in post standing roles, number of police officers required, coordinating bomb sweeps, etc. As a way of showing our appreciation for the support provided us by local law enforcement, it’s customary for the Secret Service to try and arrange a photo op for the officers with the protectee. When possible, we have the photos personalized and signed. Requests are routed up the chain of command to the Detail Leader (DL), who is in charge of the overall visit. The DL then forwards the requests to the protectee’s Chief of Staff, who contacts the protectee. This process ensures a predetermined and controlled number of photos so that it doesn’t impact the protectee’s prearranged schedule. Photos usually take place at the protectee’s hotel room and plane-side at the airport. I arrived at the CHP Air Ops Center at 5:00 a.m. and went into the office to thank the four midnight shift officers for their support. I offered them a photo op with Governor Bush plane-side which I
had approved the night before by the DL. Also approved was that the CHP Central Division Chief would greet Governor Bush upon his arrival. The officers gladly accepted the invitation. I excused myself and went about my duties. CHP Air Ops is located in a very remote area of the airport property, away from commercial and private air traffic. By 6:30 a.m., bomb sweeps were completed, agents were posted, and the counter-sniper team was in place atop the CHP Air Ops Hanger. At about 7:30 a.m., the CHP Chief arrived. With him was another man dressed in gray slacks and a dark sports coat. He had salt-and-pepper hair and appeared to be in his late fifties/early sixties. I was on the tarmac at the time. The chief walked over and introduced himself and said, “Can I ask you a favor? The gentleman over there in the sports coat is the former CHP Division Chief. I took his place. He’s been diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. Is there any way you could let Governor Bush know that?” I told the chief that we would absolutely inform the governor. As scheduled, at exactly 8:00 a.m., the Command Post radioed me to inform that Governor Bush’s motorcade just departed the hotel en-route to my location. Bush had a reputation of sticking to his schedule and being on time. I report the situation to the command post. There was no public or press on site, one greeter (CHP chief) and four CHP officers, plane-side, for a photo op. The command post passed that information to the motorcade. The area was clear. Not thirty seconds later, the electronic gate which separates the CHP Air Ops parking lot from the tarmac opened up and in came about twenty-five uniformed CHP officers. What the heck was this? Apparently, one of the four midnight shift officers misunderstood my photo op offer to them, and instead interpreted it to mean the offer was for all the CHP. So, he contacted the division office and told them Secret Service said they could all
get pictures taken with Governor Bush. I radioed the motorcade and advised of the change, that instead of four CHP officers in the plane-side photo op, there were now approximately thirty! I figured that the DL would radio back with an order to reduce the number, probably back to the original four. To my surprise, the reply I got back was, “Copy. Thirty CHP officers plane-side for photo op.” Well, I’ll probably hear about it in person from the DL instead of over the radio. At 8:10 a.m., the motorcade radioed me to advise they were five minutes from my location and requested another situation report. I replied that the situation remained the same. No sooner did I transmit my reply, when I heard the rumbling of motorcycles, a lot of motorcycles. The electronic gate opened and in rode eighteen Fresno Police Department officers. They came for the photo op, too? The offer was made to them by the Secret Service motorcade agent (which meant it had been approved by the DL and Governor Bush’s Chief of Staff, so it wasn’t the agents fault). Fresno PD provided intersection control for the motorcade on the city streets and when the motorcade reached the freeway, it transitioned to the CHP (which is really a very orchestrated and neat thing to see). So, now there’s around fifty uniformed officers lined up at planeside for photos. I radioed the change to the motorcade. I expected my earpiece to blow out with the reply. But, again, the DL was calm and professional, “Copy. Fifty uniformed officers at plane side for photo op.” At 8:15 a.m. sharp, the motorcade arrived. The limo pulled up to me on the tarmac and the shift agents took their positions around the car. When Governor Bush exited the limo, the CHP Chief greeted him. They spoke for several seconds. I told the DL and Chief of Staff of the CHP’s misunderstanding of the photo op and that I was not notified that Fresno PD motor officers were to be in
the photo op as well. “Don’t worry about it. This guy (Governor Bush) is just like his dad,” the Chief of Staff said. “He loves the military and he loves the police. You watch, he’ll shake hands with every officer and look each one in the eye and thank them.” I then told him about the former CHP Division Chief and his terminal cancer. The Chief of Staff said he would inform the governor. After the governor finished his short visit with the CHP Chief, he walked over to the officers lined up at plane-side. The Chief of Staff walk over with him, speaking into his ear. As predicted, Governor Bush proceeded to shake hands and thank each officer, laughing with them and making small talk. It was obvious he was sincere in his gratitude towards the officers and truly appreciated their support. The current and former CHP Chiefs were standing on the tarmac between the motorcade and the governor’s plane. When Governor Bush shook hands with the last officer, he walked over to the two men and introduced himself to the former CHP Chief. The two shook hands. They spoke for a few seconds and then Governor Bush put his arm around the former chief’s shoulder and they proceeded to walk together, just the two of them, down the tarmac towards the tail of the plane. They eventually walked back. Governor’s Bush’s arm remained around the terminally ill CHP Chief’s shoulder the entire time. This was not a publicity ploy as there was no general public there to witness it, nor cameras to record it. I was not in earshot of their conversation and to this day I don’t know what the two men talked about. But I do know that what I witnessed was a real and heartfelt moment initiated not by a politician running for president, but by a humbled and compassionate man. Always prompt, but this was one time he would run behind schedule. n
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017• Page 15 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990
by Edi Birsan, Concord Vice Mayor
Email me CityCouncil@cityofconcord.org|Add EDI in subject line
What I Learned from my Mother Mother’s Day is an uneasy day around me as it is when my Mother, who had abandoned me as a youngster died a few years later. While I always remind my kids to take note of Mother’s Day for my dear wife Carol, it had for a long time been overshadowed by the darker memories from childhood. In reflection, often upon what I had learned from ‘dear ‘ole Dad’ these are some of the things I remember learning from my mother. 1. When you have the key to the house, you do not have to worry if someone will let you in. 2. Life is not fair. 3. You can ignore the lessons of life, but those consequences will not ignore you. 4. If your sister is living with your grandmother, you can’t blame her for the missing chocolate cake. 5. A dollar earned is a dollar five spent. 6. Always say “goodbye see you later.” 7. Cooking is more than heating dead things. 8. Public Service is more a statement of private values than public anything. 9. How you learn in school is more
important than anything that you will learn in school. 10. Trust no one on something that you do not trust yourself on first. 11. Remember the good times, the others will fade. 12. Forgive yourself is important too. 13. Organized Religion is not organized. 14. Your father is a Jewish Mother. 15. When you go to church, don’t inhale the incense, it’s bad for you. 16. If we wanted you to be an idiot, we would not be sending you to school every day. 17. You can make it in life if you are good, you can probably do it also if you are bad, but it is much harder, however, you will never make it if you are stupid. 18. If you always pick up after yourself, you will always be expected to pick up after yourself. 19. You cannot win a prize if you have not bought a ticket. 20. When Yaiya ((Grandmother in Greek)) cooks, just eat it, or it will break her heart (and no one home knows how to make it anyway.). n
from the principal’s desk by John McMorris, CVCHS
Open House Showcases Our Students Excellence in the Classroom and Beyond
All high schools depend on incoming students mastering basic comprehension of courses taught in middle and elementary schools. These “feeder schools” are crucial to instilling in young students a desire to embrace learning, stay in school and go to college. The early warning signs that a student is falling off track to high school graduation can emerge as early as the elementary years, according to a study by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. That’s why CVCHS places such a high emphasis on early education partnerships with our elementary and middle feeder schools. And what better way to keep students looking forward to a future of learning than music? A great example is the Feeder Orchestra and Band Concerts at Clayton Valley Charter High School last month. Organized by Lydia Lim, CVCHS Director of Instrumental Music, these concerts bring together younger and older students in a magnificent display of melody, harmony and rhythm. On March 22, our concert began with a large, combined elementary orchestra of 121 students from four local elementary schools: Ayers, Highlands, Mt. Diablo
and Silverwood. The young musicians performed “Evening Scenes,” “Stomp!” and “Hoedown.” Next, the artists from the two middle schools, Diablo View and Pine Hollow, offered “The Pink Panther Theme Song” and “A Tribute to Michael Jackson.” Then, giving the “feeder” youngsters a scene of their musical future, three CVCHS ensembles entertained audience members. The Percussion Ensemble, which uses only percussion instruments and body percussion, showcased “Clap Happy.” The 40-member String Orchestra played “Lion City.” Finally, the Chamber Orchestra, an audition-only string group, performed “Scherzo.” Everyone left the concert singing and humming the tunes. And the younger kids looked to the older kids to see where persistence and practice would pay off in the very near future. As principal, I am thrilled to see the interaction of CVCHS students as role models to younger students. I look forward to our next feeder school concert and encourage the community to join us for some great musical performances. n
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Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017 • Page 16 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990
17-0 Clayton Valley Charter Baseball
Ranked No. 8 in NorCal Matt Freeman
Story by Mike Wood Photos by Samuel Stringer
To most basketball fans, the word “Harlem” with basketball means only one thing: The Globetrotters. What many fans don’t know is that an off-shoot of the Globetrotters, The Harlem Wizards, was created in 1962 to provide a more “intimate” basketball show experience, taking all the trickdribbling and high-flying comedy of the Globetrotters but pitting the
Wizards against a customized team of a community’s choosing. In doing so, the Wizards became well known (especially in the Northeast United States). Communities come together, meet, and interact with the players, laugh, and enjoy a family-friendly event more accessible than with the Globetrotters. This revision on an old classic has now brought laughter and “Wows” to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Sure enough, the Harlem Wizards are bringing their act to
Northgate High gymnasium in Walnut Creek on Sunday, April 30, at 1pm. Among the Wizards performing at Northgate is Eric “Broadway” Jones, a former Globetrotter himself. Although he once starred with the Globetrotters, Jones said his favorite moments have come as a Harlem Wizard. Dan Ourian, coordinator of the JFK University LEAP Program, a non-profit organization that uses Sport Psychology mental skills with under served youth, is working closely with Northgate Athletic Director Dr. Earle Paynton to produce the event — which will raise funds for LEAP and the Northgate athletic department. The Wizards will play against a team of teachers, staff, players and other “local celebrities,” who will be announced as the event gets closer. Adonal Foyle, former Golden State Warrior and ambassador for the team, will be on hand as the celebrity coach of the Northgate AllStars. “We are thrilled to have the Northgate All-Stars give it their best shot against the Wizards, helping to raise money for a great cause and putting on a fun-filled show,” said Ourian, who worked for the Wizards as a staff person 10 years ago. Jones and the Wizards will make sure of the latter. “We live to entertain and put smiles on faces,” Jones said. “Every Wizards game we play in, it’s a different feel with a different crowd. But one thing never changes: everyone goes home happy.” About Jones, Ourian says, “Broadway is one of the funniest showmen alive. I’ve seen him in action many times and he never fails to make the crowd laugh and get them excited about the action. He even dances in the stands with the kids. We are lucky to have him and his unit
coming to Northgate.” Tickets for what the Wizards call a “Slamtastic” event are currently on sale Online at https://harlemwizards. thundertix.com/events/100975 and will be available at Bancroft, Walnut Acres, and Valle Verde Elementary schools, as well as at Foothill Middle School. Advance tickets are $18 for students and $22 for adults, and will be $20 (students) and $25 (adults) at the door on gameday. Tip-off is 1pm; doors open at noon. For more on the Harlem Wizards and other prep sports news pick up the April edition of at SportsStars Magazine at a location near you. n
Bill Ralston in background
Published on May 3, 2017
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