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Inside This Issue • • • • • •
Dr. Ovick: Legacy of Leadership Legal Briefs: Posting Anonymously Sharing Nature with Children How to Apply for Council Boards and Commissions Gardenwise: Pollinator Plants Arts and Entertainment Events Calendar Photo by: Scott Ramsey at Pancakes & Ponies Day in Clayton
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Don Bleu On HBO “Ballers”
from the publisher by David King
We should all be busy in April, if your calendar isn’t already full, check our calendar of events because springtime is here and Diablo Area is rich in many fun activities. With Spring break, Easter, Earth Day, and all the festivals and carnivals, I hope you get a chance to get out. Did you it make to the Brewing Network’s Spring Brews Festival at Todos Santos on April 1. Wow, what a crowd. Congratulations to Justin Crossley of Hop Grenade for organizing yet another spectacular event raising money for youth music programs and TSBA Arts
Foundation. For those who enjoyed it, and for the fact those who missed it, Martinez is hosting Bay Area Craft Beer Festival later this month. Weather is great and is only going to get better, so just get outdoors. Thanks to all of the writers and advertisers that contribute and support the Diablo Gazette. Be sure to like our Facebook page at facebook. com/diablogazette for updates and more announcements. Thanks for reading everyone.
Governor Jerry Brown appears in Concord announcing his proposed plans to repair California roads. (
Not much has been heard from long time Bay Area radio giant Don Bleu since his forced retirement off the airwaves back in July of 2015… until recently that is. The word is, he’s been tapped to appear in the HBO Series Ballers starring Dwayne Johnson. Ballers is a half-hour comedy drama of the lives of professional football players. Johnson stars as Spencer Strasmore, a retired football player turned agent/mentor to current and former players. Don Bleu was picked by SF Casting after answering a cattle call. They were looking for gentlemen to play NFL owners. It was shot in San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel offering many categories of parts, such as tourists, etc. Cattle calls will seek males between 55-70, any ethnicity, or a female 18-29. A lot of people who come to these are former actors or insurance salesman who like to do this. Fortunately, Don got a call back. “I get a call at 5:30 in the morning to appear at the base camp located south of Market Street in a big parking lot filled with trucks and trailers and everything. I stand in line in wardrobe wearing a suit. When I get to the front of the line, the wardrobe lady says, “We have enough suits, what do you have that’s casual.” Don told her he had jeans and a shirt, and was asked to change into them. When he returns for approval she says, “Oh yeah, much better. Wait, you’re not an NFL owner, are you?” “Yes I am.” “Oh, no, then you have to have a suit. Go change. What team are you?” Don had not been given a team yet for his part. “I’m uh, Atlanta Falcons, “ he said making it up. “Great, then put on a light suit.” Don returns to the trailer and puts on a light suit and heads for his scene at the Fairmont. There, another wardrobe person says, “That’s too light, go put on a dark suit.” Before Don’s day has started, he had been through three wardrobe changes.
What was it like working with the Rock? “The Rock is very professional, Don acknowledges. “He got to do his lines like 15 times, as they shoot from many different angles. We were sitting at the table, he does his scene, then they relight, re-set, and shoot again, then relight, re-set, and shoot again and again. That’s not like Clint Eastwood. He shoots a scene and is like, ‘How was that take? That was great. We’re done. Next.’ One take, that’s all he does. This guy does 30 of them.” Don was asked not to give away any plot spoilers, but his scene involves him sitting at a large table with other NFL owners waiting for the Rock, (Spencer), to make a big announcement. The episode won’t appear until next season, so we have a long wait before we can view this. “I think it’s slated for the last episode,” Don says. “I hoped I would be part of the big drunken party on a boat, but no, not so much,” he adds. Don’s part required no speaking. Everything was pantomimed. There was one scene where the cameraman asked Don to stand right in front of the camera. “I’m like, hey, I’m in front of the shot!” But what he needed was a shoulder to go by as the camera panned. So, at one point, we will see his shoulder go by. Although this is Don’s first attempt at acting, he’s done several of TV shows and commercials. Don was host of the “Gong Show” after Chuck Barris left. He was also host of Discovery Channel’s science show, “Know Zone” as well as appearing on Evening Magazine and PM Magazine TV shows. But he has never pantomimed in a scene pretending to be excited to meet another guy from Pittsburg. At least he got to smoke a cigar in his scene. “It was fun. It’s a long day because your waiting all day for all the scenes you’re not going to be in.” When they’re doing something without you, that takes forever. You just sit there while they keep reshooting and reshooting over and over. But I enjoyed it. I’d like to do more speaking stuff and principal parts. We’ll see what happens.” At the end of the long day, while checking out, actors redeem their voucher for pay. The guy asked me, “Did you smoke?” “What did you mean?” I asked. “Did you smoke in a scene?” he answers “Oh, yeah, I smoked a cigar.” “Okay then, you get an extra $9.” “My income is soaring,” he quips to me. You have to love Don Bleu.
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22nd Clayton Art & Wine Festival April 29th & April 30th Mark your calendar to attend the 22nd annual Clayton Art and Wine Festival being held on Saturday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
citizens. For more information, visit www.claytoncbca.org/Event/ ArtAndWine.
More than 100 vendors will fill Clayton’s Main Street with fine original artwork and unique handcrafted exhibits. The festival will also feature a quality selection of luxury varietals from California’s wineries and popular premium brewed beers. Kiddieland area will be buzzing with lots of games and rides and is always fun for the youngsters. KKDV will do their live remote broadcast on Saturday and Sunday, spinning their prize wheel for many prize giveaways. If its music you like, you can listen to non-stop LIVE entertainment on the center stage, while you enjoy a wide selection of tempting dishes from our International Food Court. Take a few minutes to visit the fascinating Clayton Historical Society on Main Street. The Art and Wine festival is one of the East Bay’s best events. With free admission, it’s a fun day that the whole family and friends can enjoy. The Clayton Art & Wine Festival is presented by the CBCA (Clayton Business & Community Association). CBCA proceeds support local Scout troops, youth and high school athletics, police reserves, the Clayton Library, town beautification, youth scholarships, the Clayton Historical Society and many other events that benefit Clayton and its
Saturday, 29, Dedicated to April the Memory of Don10-7 Fitzgerald Sunday, April 30, 10-5 Premium Wines & Beers Beautiful Arts & Crafts Fantastic Food Court Continuous Live Music
Kids Fun Land CREDIT UNION
Lynne French & Associates www.LynneFrenchTeam.com
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Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor
Curb Appeal on a Budget If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, that means it’s time to add a little pizzazz to the exterior. First impressions count in real estate, and making your home look inviting on the outside will coax more buyers through your front door. Since spring is one of best times to make your home look stunning, I thought I’d share these tips on how to spruce up your curb appeal without emptying your wallet. And the bonus is that these projects will only take a weekend to complete. Clean up the yard. Your yard probably took a beating over the winter. With the weather warming up you have no excuse to skip what is arguably the most important part of curb appeal – a tidy yard. You can do this without spending a dime. Mow the lawn if needed and collect any fallen leaves and debris. Trim trees and bushes and weed flowerbeds. Paint the front door. Another easy and inexpensive idea to brighten up your home’s exterior is to give your front door a fresh coat of paint. For about $30 and one afternoon, your front porch can go from bland to beautiful. Choose a bold color that complements the exterior colors to create a strong focal point that will draw the eye (and the buyers) in. Update your house numbers. When was the last time you got new numbers for your house? If you can’t think back that far, then now is a great time to invest in some new ones,
especially if their style is a little dated. You can purchase single numbers at home improvement stores for as little as a few dollars each, or splurge and buy a custom-designed plaque that matches the exterior of your home for under $100. Replace the mailbox. If your mailbox is cracked, broken or faded from being in the sun, why not replace it with a new model? This is another great way to add some personality to your front yard without spending too much money. Choose a mailbox that coordinates with your front door and your home’s exterior. Upgrade the porch light. A porch light that’s been hanging around for a few decades can really date your home. Switch out your old and dirty light for something new, clean and more modern. Again, choose a style that matches your home’s exterior, especially if you’re also replacing your mailbox and house numbers. Add annual color. Want to add an instant pop of color to your front yard that doesn’t require much work or money? Then you want annuals. Annual flowers like petunias and impatiens only last for one season and are planted when they are already in bloom. For under $100, you can pop some into your garden beds or add some decorative pots to your front porch filled with flowers for a cheerful boost that practically begs people to stop and admire them. Compliments of VirtualResults. net.
by William Claney, Computers USA
Outnumbered Have you ever had the feeling you’re outnumbered a thousand-to-one when it comes to fighting technical glitches and defending your computer from hacks? Well you have a choice from this point forward to go-it-alone with do it yourself service, or join a network of computers that assist each other. Here are some interesting facts that could indicate you are not doing such a hot job at keeping up to date on your own. According to Avast (anti-virus provider), Windows 7 is still the top system software in the market with a 48% share, Windows 10 is second with 31%, leaving 21% of you using XP, Vista, 8 and 8.1. In spite of all of Microsoft’s efforts to get you to upgrade, you haven’t? Now, are you still wondering why your computer doesn’t work right? Yes, you are outnumbered. Okay, the smart ones have upgraded to Windows 10, so you have cut the odds against you a bit. Or, have you? Windows 10 is far better than any computer system invented for PCs with enhanced security tools and treatments to prevent cybercrime. However, even the best systems need help from other software to make your computing experience unique to you. Do you have Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Mozilla Firefox or Flash Player Plug-in? These are the top five programs installed on 116 million computers, according to Avast PC Trends Report 2017. Various sources, me included, have found a multitude of security lapses in these programs and other programs that most of you have installed, so you’re still outnumbered. Don’t believe me? Well, keep going it
alone, your repair businesses welcome you. If you do believe me, but are not sure how to proceed then get help from a Managed Service Provider (MSP). According to Techopedia, “Managed service providers monitor, supervise and secure outsourced network or application procedures on behalf of the organizations that are using those services. MSPs have specialized infrastructure, human resources and industry certifications, and they provide 24/7 monitoring and provisioning of additional services for their clientele. “ That means MSPs stand guard over your computer. They provide the technical expertise to even the odds that you’ll be safe, secure and constantly up to date with approved third party software and be advised of best practices that keep you that way. Services will start as low as $7 a month for workstations and $12 for servers. Still want to go it alone? If not, call an MSP, like us.
Former Superintendent, Dr. Joseph A. Ovick Passes
Contra Costa County has lost a remarkable leader as former Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., died unexpectedly, early morning on March 30. Dr. Ovick served as the County Superintendent of Schools from 1996-2014. Dr. Ovick was an educator for 45 years. He began his career as a Special Education teacher in Santa Clara County, followed by serving in the county as a public school assistant principal, principal, and Director of Special Education. He later joined the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), where he worked as Director of Special Education, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Associate Superintendent for Business. In 1996, he began his service as the elected County Superintendent of schools. He was well known for developing strong coalitions of educators, community members, and legislators in support of public schools, while always making it a point to visit countless classrooms throughout the county. Dr. Ovick taught at Chapman University’s Graduate School of Education and San Jose State University with a curriculum emphasis on school law, finance, and leadership. Besides holding many leadership roles in statewide and local education organizations and commissions, Dr. Ovick served on the Board of Directors of the East Bay Leadership Council and the Contra Costa County Children and Families Policy Forum. In 2012, he served as president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, where he continued to serve on their executive board after his retirement. In addition, Dr. Ovick was the former chair of the Bay Area Leadership
Foundation; the Federal Policy & Legislation Committee for the Council of Administrators for Special Education; former vice-chair of the Federal Advocacy for California Education; pastpresident of Association of California School Administrators, Region 6; and former chair of the Bay Area Region Superintendents Association. In 2005, Dr. Ovick was awarded the President’s Circle Award for Outstanding Service to Education and the Community from the Diablo Valley College Foundation, as well as the Government Service Award in Recognition of Outstanding Community Service from Congressman George Miller. In 2008, the East Bay Leadership Foundation named Dr. Ovick Citizen of the Year, East Bay Awards. In 2006, he won the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Region 6, Superintendent of the Year Award, and in 2010 he earned the ACSA, Region 6, Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, in 2008, the Contra Costa County Board of Education unanimously voted to honor Dr. Ovick by dedicating CCCOE’s community school in Brentwood as the “Joseph A. Ovick School.” The Board said that the dedication was made because he was a longtime advocate for addressing the needs of all students – especially those most at risk and with special needs. Community service was also an important part of Dr. Ovick’s life. He was an active member of the Pleasant Hill Rotary Club and served as a member on both the local Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and Junior Achievement USA. Dr. Ovick leaves behind a rich legacy of leadership and advocacy on behalf of children and families. The County Superintendent and staff of the CCCOE and Diablo Gazette offer their sincere condolences to Dr. Ovick’s family, relatives and many friends.
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Saturday, May 6 Historian Richard Schwartz
by Jill Hedgecock,
Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club jillhedgecock.com
When Breath Becomes Air “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi (2016, Random House, hardcover, 256 pages, $15.00) is the memoir of a young neurosurgeon at the tail end of his medical residency who succumbs to lung cancer at the age of 37. This is a book about a student turned doctor, a neurosurgeon turned patient, a vibrant soul turned feeble. This is the story about a man whose quest for life’s meaning launched him out of clinical textbooks and into a philosophical journey. During his ordeal, Paul discovers that his role as a doctor overlaps those of a religious pastor. In addition to insight into the insidious ways diseases disrupt his patient’s and their family’s lives, readers get a glimpse of the grueling hours it takes to become a neurosurgeon. As Paul’s narrative unfolds, he faces various dilemmas as he confronts the many repercussions of cancer. Should I return to live as a neurosurgeon? Should I write a book? Should I give over treatment decisions to my doctor or continue to be involved? The book tackles a question that few married couples would want to face: should I bring a child into this world when I know I’m going to die? It has been said that readers of novels tend to be more empathetic, so perhaps it is because Paul obtained a BA and MA in English Literature before pursuing a medical degree that his writing holds
an undercurrent of compassion that most medically-trained people couldn’t invoke. His vibrant, almost poetic, writing style is bound to captivate and maybe even distract readers from the heavy nature of the subject matter. Beware: this in not an easy read. But Paul’s outlook is infused with thought-provoking questions, not so much about the mechanics of death, but with how to live life regardless of age. Paul embarked on the book after he was ill and didn’t complete the manuscript before his death in March 2015. His wife, Lucy, concludes the book by describing how Paul coped with his illness and how she and the family rallied to make the best of this impossibly sad situation. Her narrative is as compelling as her husband’s. Paul’s last day is a testament to this grace and fortitude, not because he tried to beat the disease, but because he accepted his fate with dignity. It’s not surprising that this book made it to #1 on the New York Times Best Seller’s List and was ranked an Amazon Best Book. Based on a survey of 14 metropolitan libraries, “When Breath Becomes Air” was listed in the top five checked out nonfiction books from coast to coast, spanning San Diego and Seattle to New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina. Don’t be put off by the heavy subject matter; the book is, in many ways, an inspirational guide for living a full and giving life.
by Douglas A. Prutton, Attorney Email: Doug@PruttonLaw.com
Posting Anonymous Reviews on Website? Be Careful! Angry Allen scowled and told his lawyer the following story. “I quit working for this startup in San Jose last year and I anonymously posted some negative comments on GlassDoor. Now my exemployer is trying to get my name from GlassDoor and is threatening to sue me for revealing confidential information!” The lawyer, being somewhat older and not so savvy regarding the internet, responded: “What is GlassDoor?” Rolling his eyes, Angry Allen explained that GlassDoor is a website where employees and ex-employees can anonymously post information and reviews about their employers. Though the old lawyer often had to rely on his daughters to navigate the internet for him, he did know the law and he explained to Mr. Allen that people have a right under the First Amendment to speak anonymously. And, companies like GlassDoor have the right to object to providing information about persons who post on their website. The problem though, explained the lawyer, is that if Mr. Allen’s posting did reveal trade secrets or confidential information, then GlassDoor would be required to reveal Mr. Allen’s identity. The ex-employer would have to convince a Court that the posting did reveal trade secrets or confidential information before the Court would require disclosure of Mr.
The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty
Allen’s name. The same analysis would apply if the anonymous posting was defamatory. Defamatory means that the posting contained some false fact that damaged the ex-employer’s reputation. Statements are not defamatory if they are true or if they are only opinions. The bottom line, explained the lawyer, is that everyone must be careful in making anonymous reviews on websites like GlassDoor, Yelp, etc. If those postings violate the law by being defamatory or by revealing trade secrets or confidential information, for example, the offended party may be able to find out who made the posting and go after them. In GlassDoor, Inc. v. Superior Court, decided on March 10, 2017 by the Sixth Court of Appeals, an ex-employer, Machine Zone, Inc., sued GlassDoor trying to get the identity of an ex-employee who made a negative anonymous post on GlassDoor. The trial judge ordered the release of the name of the person who made the posting, but the appeals court reversed that ruling finding that Machine Zone had not shown that the posting revealed any trade secrets or confidential information. So, before you fire off a negative review, think twice, and maybe have someone else review it to make sure you are not stirring up trouble for yourself!
The Martinez and Contra Costa County Historical Societies invite you to join historian and author Richard Schwartz as he presents his newest book, “The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis”. Curtis, an incredibly influential immigrant actor of the late nineteenth century, was the first Jewish male actor allowed to portray a Jewish male on stage in America. His story is one of immigration, assimilation, theatre history and how the invisible wings of comedy can affect the nation’s direction. It connects the actor intimately (though forgotten until this book) with the Statue of Liberty, Mark Twain, a murder, and the greatest African American entertainment troupe of its day. After all that, Curtis became a pioneer in the stillinfant silent movie industry. Focusing on the actor’s early days in San Francisco’s theatrical history and his overnight rise to stardom, Schwartz’s talk will reveal how San Francisco became the actor’s home base from the 1870s through the 1906
Earthquake as he toured the country and how it almost ended his life. This is Richard Schwartz’s fifth book along with “Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley”, “Earthquake Exodus, 1906”, “Berkeley 1900”, and “The Circle of Stones”. Originally from Philadelphia, he graduated from Temple University with a degree in English Literature. Schwartz worked on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm for two years before heading west. Now a building contractor in Berkeley, he documents early Native American sites in the Bay Area. Richard’s talk begins at 1:00 p.m. A wine & cheese reception and book signing will follow at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6 from 1:00pm – 3:30pm at Shell Clubhouse 1635 Pacheco Blvd., Martinez. For more information, visit www.cocohistory.com.
Walnut Creek’s Fifth Annual Restaurant Week April 23-30
Walnut Creek Downtown opens the menu on its fifth annual Restaurant Week, April 23 – 30. More than 30 participating restaurants will each cook up specially priced lunch and dinner menus showcasing their finest fare. Restaurant Week is an opportunity to try new tastes at old favorites, sample new restaurants and explore cuisines from all over the world. Cuisines range from American, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Turkish, Mexican and more. Restaurant Week spotlights the city’s dynamic, fast-growing culinary scene that makes Walnut Creek an East Bay’s most popular
dining destination. Local, regional and international food lovers can enjoy prix-fixe menus, including $10 and $20 per person lunch specials and three-course dinner specials at $20, $30 or $40 per person. No tickets, passes or coupons necessary! Just ask for the Restaurant Week menu at any participating
restaurants. For a list of participating restaurants please visit www. walnutcreekdowntown.com.
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by John Cooper
Journey to the Door of Faith Orphanage, La Mision, Baja, Mexico
“This is not a good time to get away” I thought as I sat pensively at my desk on a Thursday morning in March. There was another storm looming in the forecast expected to deliver another deluge of rainfall. There were deadlines to meet at work, family obligations to fulfill, bills to pay and household chores to complete. There were a million reasons why it was not the right time to get away, but I was bothered. I was bothered by all the negativity on the news, all the political nonsense, all the hateful and divisive and judgmental comments and posts on Facebook. I felt the need to get away from it all, to escape, to change my environment and find some fresh perspective. But I wanted to do something meaningful, something of substance. Then it dawned on me, what about that orphanage in Baja that I heard of some years ago? In times like this I’m often reminded that there are two general types of people; those who talk about living an interesting life, and those who actually do. It was time for another journey. With a little online research, I located the place and found a list of items they needed. The next morning, after a quick stop to the store (ironically, there was a sale on Pampers diapers at Safeway and I bought as many as I could manage to fit in my motorcycle duffle bag), I was off to Mexico. The trip south to San Diego was largely uneventful, but I was full of excitement in anticipation of spending some time across the border. As the sun fell, I settled on
National City as the destination of the day, just this side of the border. Rising at the crack of dawn and ready for an adventurous day, I made my way toward the border. Having had some trouble crossing our northern border recently (see Diablo Gazette – January 2017), I made sure that I declared the value of the diapers I was carrying and that it was my intention of leaving them in the country. The border agent, with a smirk on his face that suggested “thanks for being honest Amigo”, charged me $243 pesos (about $13 dollars) for exporting goods into Mexico. He had to get his cut of the action too, I guessed. La Mision, the city where the Door of Faith Orphanage is located, is about an hour south of the border between Rosarito and Ensenada, and the ride was spectacular as the road carved its way along the ocean before turning slightly inland. I took my time and enjoyed the views and the warm morning sunshine. When I arrived in town, I realized I didn’t have a specific address for the orphanage, so I stopped beside a coconut stand for a little break and to ask for directions. The young girl in the hut didn’t speak English, and since my command of Spanish is limited to ordering beer and finding a restroom, we didn’t make much progress. However, when I said the word “babies” she pointed in the direction of a nearby mountain and said “yes”. Those directions were good enough for me, so I thanked her, purchased a bag of her coconut milk, and set out toward the
mountain. Minutes later I stumbled upon a telephone pole with a wooden sign that read “Door of Faith Orphanage” just before the pavement gave way to a dusty side road. When I arrived at the entrance to the orphanage, I was taken aback initially with the bright colored buildings of purple, yellow and green, and the cleanliness of the property. Young children crowded around my bike and pointed and laughed as I dismounted and looked for an adult to speak with. An American greeted me and gladly asked how he could help. I told him that I came to see the orphanage first hand and to learn about their situation, and after a brief introduction we settled into a long conversation and tour of the property. I learned a lot over the next few hours. I learned that there are approximately 100 children living at the orphanage at any one time, and that for most of them, this was the only home they would know until adulthood. The children had arrived from many different locations and for many different reasons. They arrived as infants or toddlers, or as little boys or girls, but the one common theme they shared was abuse and abandonment. It was a difficult message to hear and a difficult sight to see. As we continued to tour the kitchen
and dining area, the dorms and other buildings, I mentioned that I was surprised to see such brightly colored buildings when I first arrived. “Paint colors cost the same whether you choose a somber hospital grey or something more positive and uplifting like purple and yellow and green” she said, and went on to explain the same reasoning for the clouds painted on the walls and the princesses and superheros painted on the dorm room walls. The primary goal of the orphanage is to provide a stable and loving family for children who would otherwise not have one. The children attend public schools each day, which provides a sense of normalcy, and most important (at least in my opinion) is that they all provide community service on a regular basis. With community service, they are taught that although they have been victimized, they are not victims and should not be defined by their past. They all have selfworth and value and those characteristics are reinforced by giving back to their community. I loved the message. I paused for a while and just watched the children interact. Infants and toddlers played in their area while carrying sippycups, little boys played a game together while sitting on the concrete, and the bigger kids played baseball and soccer on a nearby field. Following our meeting, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, I rode into town to eat lunch and find a place to relax and think
about the enormity of the situation I had witnessed. I found an open air taco stand and pulled over. For $15 pesos (about $.80 cents) I dined on tacos and soda while sitting in the dirt beside my bike while I watched the traffic and vendors go by. Philosophically, I knew that my financial contribution of a few thousand dollars and a lot of diapers didn’t make a dent in the overall scheme of things. However, doing nothing would have been a far worse fate for the children in need. So I was left instead with the consolation that at least for a brief moment in time, I made a difference, and if everyone for a brief moment in time made a difference, we could change the world. You see, my normal world, indeed most of ours, is filled with first world troubles. While I know intellectually that these are not real problems, but rather annoyances, it’s easy to forget in our culture of success and abundance, that the rest of the world tries to cope with real problems like sourcing food, finding safe shelter and clean water. On the return trip, I crossed the border at 3PM on Saturday afternoon and rode straight home stopping only briefly for fuel and occasionally to stretch before I finally arrived at 1AM Sunday morning. It was late and I was exhausted and sore after braving ten hours of wind and cold in the later hours. Ironically, our household debate on Sunday afternoon centered around the type, style and cost of a dress for the upcoming high school Senior Ball. I was quickly snapped back to American reality. First world problems I thought; I’m sure the little ones at Door of Faith Orphanage will not struggle with such problems for they will not have a Senior Ball planned for them, and they will not struggle with the type, style and cost of a new dress. One of the things that made America great in the first place was people helping people, and neighbors helping neighbors. It was the strong helping the weak and the fortunate helping the unfortunate. I was searching for some fresh new perspective and to do something meaningful, and that weekend I found them both in my journey to the Door of Faith Orphanage in Baja, Mexico.
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There’s A Little Spring in Our Steps It’s always hard when winter ends. Gone are the cozy days, cute boots, warm scarves, and an inviting fireplace. It’s almost tragic, the ominous heat that accompanies the summer months. You think you’ll just never find yourself in the mood for winter to end. But if you allow yourself to find pleasure in the little events of spring, the blooming flowers, the green hills, and celebrations of St. Patrick, somehow this sparks something deep within you, an excitement for the new opportunities that the changing of the seasons bring. So, as we look towards the coming of Easter, let’s try to take part in the rebirth going on around us, no matter how old we are.
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from the principal’s desk
by Dr. Patrick Gaffney, CVCHS
by Dr. Dan Peters
Homework 101 “Why do I need to do more work after I have been at school all day? “ “I never get any free time. I have school all day then homework when I get home!” “Why do we have to do the same thing over and over when I already know it?” Do these questions and pleas sound familiar? I am guessing they do. Many parents don’t remember having the amount of homework our children have today, and most do not remember homework starting in kindergarten. Homework has
been becoming a regular parenting topic in my practice, and a primary cause of family arguments and stress. When it comes to homework, and grades for that matter, I advise my clients (and try to embrace this with my own kids as well) to focus on the big picture. Here are some things to think about: Ask yourself whose job the homework is – yours or your child’s? Listen when your kids say it is boring and repetitive, as it may be.
Validate their frustration that they don’t have enough free time. Explore the idea that they have a choice whether or not to do their homework, and help them understand the consequences of each. Give them choice about whether they do homework directly after school or after down time. Offer to help while being mindful not to micromanage. Empower them to talk to their teacher if they have questions or concerns. Talk to your child’s teacher if you think they are spending more time than most, having considerable difficulty, or already have mastered the material. We often get caught up in the leaves and trees when it is often best to focus on the forest. Remember that your relationship with your child is more important than their GPA. Remember that you are trying to raise your child to ask questions, think about their choices, and make informed decisions. Also remember that schools and companies want creative thinkers who can communicate. Homework does teach responsibility and discipline as well as important qualities for life success. In the end, try to keep perspective, pick your battles, stick to your overall parenting goal of raising children who are engaged in life, and finally, remember summer will be here soon!
Feeder Concerts Strike Up Students’ Melodic Futures 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.
Lydia Lim,Director of Instrumental Music Clayton Valley Charter High School
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FrugElegance by Carol and Randi
The Frugirls www.frugelegance.com
Easy Spring Wreath
You know we love FrugElegant style decorating. If it’s easy, affordable, and fabulous looking, it’s a winner. Our spring wreath has all that plus with a few easyto-make changes, it can be used for multiple seasons too. We found this Boxwood Wreath at Tuesday Morning and we knew it would be a great staple piece. We have also seen some equally good options at some of our other favorite discount retailers like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx. Chalkboard signs are great for so many of uses such as on a buffet table, a beverage
server, or an herb garden. We like adding them to statues, baskets, and wreaths too. We purchased a 3-pack of chalkboard signs from HomeGoods for only $4.99. You can find many similar options online and in retail stores. Top off your wreath with a rustic and elegant burlap bow following our easy stepby-step instructions. Hold the ribbon looped up to your project to decide the size bow you would like. Then staple the center. Cut another piece, fold it in the center so both sides are of equal length. Hold in place on the back side of your looped bow, staple that to the center and have the sides of the ribbon hang down. Next, cut a small piece long enough to
wrap around the center of the bow and staple in the back of the small loop holding it together. Use a piece of wire through the back of the bow to attach it to the wreath. Fold the tail ends of the ribbon in half and cut for a nice edge V shape. Add a small dab of hot glue on the ribbon tails about two thirds the way down just to give it some lift and shape, and press it to the wreath. Personalize the chalkboard with any message, your family name or initials are popular options. Then embellish with your favorite spring décor items. For example, glue on a bird’s nest or a small rabbit. Any seasonal small decorative item will work: mini eggs, birds, butterflies, silk flowers and so much more. These can be found at the local dollar store. Try painting a wooden initial from the craft store and attach. You do not need a lot of time or skill to create a lovely, personalized wreath for your home. But doing it yourself can save a lot of money and be very satisfying. Carol & 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
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aRt Cottage by FROgard
Spring is in the Air at aRt Cottage
3 aRt Cottage’s has a new look this Spring. It is now painted bright yellow with pea soup green trim, to go along with our unique garden setting. Several return patrons have driven by and did not recognize the aRt Cottage with its new Van Gogh look. Vincent, being my favorite artist, was enough for me to paint it yellow. Did you know that Vincent van Gogh lived in a yellow house which also served as his studio? I lived in the front room for 4 years
while the aRt Cottage got its start as a gallery and a working studio. Then as art students came into my life, the classroom was “born”. That also has been painted yellow and is where the children created their own student chairs. When you come, look for my super large sunflower hanging on the porch. Drop in to this delightful gem right here in downtown and enjoy more of the Spring inspired art from our younger students.
1. Photos of Springtime Chairs painted by 4-7 yr. olds 2. Cloud 9 in the Springtime (ceramic by Jane Way) 3. Ceramic masks by Jim Jordan 4. The Butcher, larger than life ceramic head by Mike Jones who is a blind Ceramic Artist 5. People in the Garden by Mikaela Herrera age 7 6. aRt Cottage’s new look
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farmerfresh by Debra Morris,
Pacific Coast Farmers Market
Go for the Green Garlic! For a small herb/vegetable, garlic sure has a big and well-deserved reputation. Although garlic may not always bring good luck, protect against evil, or ward off vampires, it is guaranteed to transform any meal into an aromatic, healthy culinary experience. With the cardiovascular health benefits in garlic, you can enhance your favorite savory dish’s flavor and help your heart. Now that spring is here, add spring (green) garlic to your dishes for a milder garlic taste. Spring green garlic is simply immature garlic and looks like a slightly overgrown scallion or green onion. They are long and slender with tender green tops. The white parts can be tinged with pink or purple. It is pulled by farmers when thinning crops and increasingly grown as a crop in its own right. You’ll find spring green garlic now at your farmers’ market at J&M Farms from Reedley, First Generation Farms out of Brentwood, or Pleasant Grove School Road Farm of Sacramento. Green garlic can be used in any recipe in place of regular garlic or leeks, and can be used raw or cooked. The whole plant is edible, from bulb, to stalk, to leaf, to scape (the part that eventually flowers). Roasted whole, made into soups, added to salads, tossed on the grill, or incorporated into side dishes, they impart a lovely
mild garlic taste and aroma, milder than traditional garlic, with a touch of grassy spring notes. Pick up some and enjoy the taste of spring!
Martinez Chamber of Commerce Names The UPS Store 2016 Business of the Year
Roasted Red Potatoes and Spring Garlic 8 red potatoes, cut in half, skin left on Two or three stalks fresh spring garlic, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper
The store was awarded the Hispanic Chamber of Contra Costa County’s Small Business of the Year-2010, and Martinez Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Month four times. The store has also won “Center of Excellence” awards from the UPS Store organization.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil, brush with olive oil. Spread potatoes and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss. Cover with another sheet of foil and roast for about 35 minutes, until potatoes are soft and garlic is tender. Recipe: Debra Morris, PCFMA
Jerry Knutson has been the owner of The UPS Store in the Village Oaks shopping Center for the past 13 years in Martinez. When Knutson bought the store, the first thing he did was join the Martinez Chamber of Commerce. He designed and printed the Martinez Living newsletter for many years.
Jerry supports many nonprofits. He is a huge supporter of Shelter Inc., Main Street Martinez, has helped the Martinez Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber, youth sports teams, schools, animal shelters, and collects for Toys for Tots, Christmas for Everyone, and every year runs the “One Warm Coat” drive. Knutson has volunteered many hours working on the Hispanic Chamber’s yearly “Narrowing the Gap” education conference. With its solid business performance and dedicated community service, the Martinez Chamber of Commerce is honored to have The UPS Store as our 2016 Business of the Year.
Knutson has been through many peaks and valleys in the economy in 13 years. He has also seen shopping online and shipping direct replace the good old days when people brought in the gift for Grandma that he would pack and ship. Through it all, the store has grown 400%. Jerry has almost doubled the size of the crew since he first purchased the store. Known for just shipping, Knutson has built the store around business services. The one-stop shop offers digital printing, wide-format printing like architectural designs, high quality color copying, banners, mailboxes, computer time rental, faxing, notaries, and, passport photos. “Whether we’re working with big accounts like Oracle, Crowne Plaza, or County Connection, or just someone in for a notary, we care,” Knutson states. Knutson is no stranger to accolades.
“Contemporary Mystery Novels” New Adult Ed Class at Acalanes “Contemporary Mystery Novels,” that’s the focus of a new class being offered in the spring session at Acalanes Adult Education. Mystery stories that revolve around a particular location or setting are often well received as readers grow familiar with settings and the detectives who inhabit them. Three novels by celebrated mystery writers include Bostonian Robert B. Parker in “Painted Ladies”, Philadelphian Lisa Scottoline in “Save Me”, and Canadian Louise Penny whose novel “The Long Way Home” is set in Montreal/Quebec are featured. In addition to discussing the works, the class will incorporate video clips to enhance understanding and enjoyment. AAE is located at 1963 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek. The class begins Wednesday, April 12 and continues through May 17 (no class on May 10) from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Senior rate is $72. Register online at www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/adult ed.
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Gardenwise by Jere Peck, Garden Manager The Gardens at Heather Farms
What Makes a Great Pollinator Plant By Jere Peck, Garden Manager at The Gardens at Heather Farm
Early spring is possibly one of the most enjoyable times to be out in the garden, especially following a wet winter like the one we experienced these past few months. There are many directions to take your garden as we turn the corner toward this exciting season. What will you be planting? A diverse mix of pollinator plants can be a great addition to your garden. Not only do they tend to provide a splash of color, but they also will help to boost the beneficial wildlife quotient in your area. Win-win! First, what makes a plant a good pollinator
penstemon, and lion’s tale. Oh, do not forget lavender, rudbeckia, sunflowers, and salivas. And gaillardia, and echinacea, and yarrow. Did we mention milkweed already? Don’t fuss about keeping track, just come to the Spring Plant Sale at The Gardens at Heather Farm on April 29. The sale starts at 8:00am and we have a great selection of pollinator plants that includes everything listed above. Come early so that you do not miss out! Keep on growing!
B irt hday-Earth Day Celebration 17
Saturday, April 22nd, 20
y, ir’s astonishing legac Celebrating John Mu tion rva nse co d an Earth Day, nature
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
plant? It is not necessarily about pretty flowers. In fact, it begins with some biology of the plants and their pollinators. It is fascinating to learn how separate species can co-evolve to form such close relationships. Plants need to attract pollinators so that their pollen is spread and the next generation of plants continues. Pollinators, on the other hand, are simply out looking for food. It is worth noting that many plants do not need pollinators; they simply throw their pollen to the wind. However, if you are a flower trying to attract a certain pollinator, you want to make sure to have the right shape, color, scent, and nectar. For example, Magnolia is an ancient genus of plants that diverged long before bees and other flying insects were around. The large, wide flowers of Magnolia contain very little nectar, but large amounts of pollen. As such, these flowers have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. Bees, on the other hand, have a hard time distinguishing between red and green. Therefore, good flower colors for attracting bees tend to be blue, yellow, and white. However, thinking beyond pretty flowers, we often overlook the hidden role that many plants serve as host for laying eggs or overwintering various pollinator species. Milkweeds are a great example. Monarchs are specific to milkweeds, meaning this is the only plant on which the Monarch butterfly will lay eggs. Due to the decline in the Monarch butterfly population in recent years, milkweed has become a staple plant in pollinator gardens. As for highlighting some top pollinator plants, that is very difficult. The list just goes on and on. Some of our favorites would have to include butterfly bush, bee balm,
Meet “John Muir” and the giant sequoia he planted 130+ years ago Exhibits and activities for all ages Live music and silent auctions John Muir’s 1882 Victorian home and orchards John Muir Conservation Awards Youth activities with National Park Service rangers Food and beverages are available for purchase Come rain or shine! Free parking at the Alhambra High School (Alhambra Avenue at “D” Street) with shuttles to event Visit 511.org, Amtrak.com or CountyConnection.com for public transportation options For information: www.johnmuirassociation.org Or call the John Muir National Historic Site at (925) 228-8860, ext. 6400
To Advertise in The Diablo Gazette Call (925) 298-9990 Reach More Customers!
Thank you to our great sponsors
John Muir National Historic Site 4202 Alhambra Ave, Martinez, California
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Secret Service Insider Stories from a Former Agent
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…. There are many ways we choose to celebrate Easter, and it often includes getting together with family and friends and enjoying a traditional Easter feast. When I think of “feast” I often reflect on my days at the Secret Service. As agents, there were many times when we would dine at 5 star restaurants while on duty during protection details. In most cases, we would be strategically seated at tables in close proximity to our protectee. We would eat in an attempt to blend in with other restaurant patrons. We paid for our meals, which were usually covered by our per diem. In some cases, the protectee would offer to pay for our meals as a show of appreciation. We would always respectfully decline the offer. But, sometimes protectees would insist. Other times, restaurants would set up a table in a back room and provide food to agents when on a short break. We never asked for this. Our job was to protect our principal, not to try and score free food. But we certainly appreciated it. We all carried power bars in our bags
A Feast Courtesy of the King because we never knew when we would have a chance to eat. When working a detail that could last sixteen to eighteen hours straight, meals were always much appreciated. While the food was always good, it was usually a bit too elegant and just a bit frilly (you know, big plate, small portions – but, “Oh, what a beautiful presentation.”). It just never quite filled you up. There was only one protectee I ever worked who provided agents with what I would consider a true feast. And this protectee did this multiple times throughout my carrier. King Tāufaāhau Tupou IV of Tonga reigned for forty-one years, from 1965 until his death in 2006, making him one of the world’s longest-serving monarchs. He was a hulk of a man. At 6’5” and weighing approximately 440 pounds, he was also the worlds’ heaviest monarch. In later years, the king developed a heart condition which required him to visit a cardiologist at Stanford University twice a year. The King and Queen and their entourage would fly into San Francisco for two weeks every January and July, staying at their estate in Hillsborough. The Bay Area has a large Tongan community. Members of the community, dressed in traditional tupenu’s and ta’ovala’s (waist mats) and sandals, would visit the Royal family daily bringing gifts such as handmade quilts and food. In the evenings, groups from the community would sing to the royal family on the back lawn of the estate. The King and Queen would listen to the beautiful harmonizing from their second floor balcony. The music was soft and mesmerizing in the evening air. Come to think of it, we never received any complaints from the neighbors. Maybe they were lulled by the calming sounds as well. During these details, I was very impressed with the kindness and warmth of the Tongan Royal Family, their royal handlers, other members of their entourage, as well as the Tongan community in general. They were very friendly to the agents and seemed to always be smiling - truly honored to be in the presence of their King and Queen. I worked my first of many Tongan details in January 1997. Sharing is a cornerstone of the Tongan culture and the sharing of food is a major part of that. Prior to my assignment, I had heard from other agents that the Royal Tongan family loved to eat and loved to share their food with the Secret Service,
keeping the Command Post supplied with an abundance of food. In fact, the Tongan food stories were legendary within the Service including those of agents gaining several pounds during those two-week assignment. During my first assignment with the King, I observed firsthand what all the food stories I had heard were about. I’ll always remember what seemed to be a constant conveyor belt of food and drinks pouring into the command post from the King, via his staff. In addition to serving as our communications center, the command post also served as the down room
“Hello, excuse me. This is compliments of the King,” said the staffer. I couldn’t believe it. I like pork, but I had never seen a roasted pig, much less carved pieces off a whole pig carcass and eaten it. It was outstanding. Now this was a feast in the true sense of the word! Nothing fancy, nothing frilly. Just an abundance and variety of incredible, well prepared, delicious, food and drink. Although, I must admit I did kind of feel like I was a cross between Dr. Seuss’s Grinch when he carved up the “Who’s roast-beast” and a lion thrashing at his freshly conquered pray. But, man was it good. I later learned that the King, when
for agents and other law enforcement counterparts when on break. From the first day of the visit until the last day, at any given time, stacked between our radio equipment, long guns, first aid kits, defibrillators, and other Secret Service gear, were cases of sodas, Kern nectar drinks, and bottled water. The refrigerator was full and every table top was covered with buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken (the King loved his KFC), an array of pork and beef dishes, casseroles, potato salads, macaroni, salads, green salads, trays of sushi, fish, platters of fruit, cakes, cupcakes, Tongan Pie, cookies, etc., etc. All sent by the King. One day, while on a short break in the Command Post, watching the NFL play-offs with other agents and snacking on all the delicious food in sight, there was a knock on the door. In comes one of the King’s staff pushing a cart containing, from tail to snout, an entire roasted pig, complete with an apple in its mouth!
sitting down at his dinner table and before taking a bite of food would ask his staff, “Did my guards get their food?” They would answer “yes.” He would then ask, “Did they like it?” Again, a yes answer. The King would then reply, “Good.” Only then would he proceed with his feast. The King truly epitomized the cultural Tongan cornerstone of sharing. My Easter will include 35-40 family and friends, my kids and nieces hunting eggs, baskets of candy, and an Easter feast complete with mom’s potato salad and her homemade beans (both to die for), hot dogs, salads, and other great dishes to include cousin Judi’s deviled eggs and her 7-layer bean dip, and Aunt Virginia’s mouthwatering desserts. Okay, we don’t have a roasted pig, but we’ll be giving the Tongans a run for their money. May you enjoy your family and friends, baskets of candy, watching the kids hunt eggs, and your own Easter feast.
The New Health Chiropractic Center Expanding into Park & Shop The New Health Chiropractic Center will be celebrating its 4th year in business in Concord. Drs. Tommy and Vanessa Wolf are a husband and wife team that opened their chiropractic practice in Concord May of 2013. Starting out in a small 400 square foot office, they are currently remodeling and preparing to move into a much larger office with three times the space where Marinello Beauty School operated, 1849 Willow Pass Rd. Suite 450 at the north end of Park -nShop Shopping Center. “If construction goes as planned, we should be in our new facility by end of April,” Dr. Vanessa says. The larger office makes room for new state-of-the-art equipment including, new Digital X-ray machine, a Spinal Thermography Scan that checks for inflammation, and a Muscle Stress Scan that detects spasms or muscle tensions within the spine. Tommy is originally from Antioch,
Vanessa is from San Diego. They met in college while attending Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward.
“We went back and forth on where to open our practice. For some reason the universe kept pointing us back to Concord. We knew Concord was a continually growing community with a lot of opportunity and it hasn’t let us down,” Dr. Vanessa said.
In addition to growing their practice, both are very active within the community. Vanessa served on the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is active in the Concord Chamber of Commerce’s many functions. Tommy will be incoming President of the Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary Club in July. We can show our appreciation of their earned success and contribution to our community by attending their Grand Opening/4-year anniversary celebration. Meet them, congratulate them, and enjoy the refreshments, prizes, and raffle
between 5:30p - 7:30p on Thursday May 11. They also will be offering Grand Opening discounts on services and appointments.
Ice creation from Chisel-it Ice.
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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
The 4th Annual Autism Awareness Walk will be held in
Concord from 9:30am – 12:00pm, rain or shine. $25 registration fee, $15.00 for individuals with disabilities, includes custom t-shirt designed by an individual with autism. Two miles. Route begins at the Loma Vista Adult Center, 1266 San Carlos Ave, Concord. It includes a midpoint stop for refreshments. For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or call ALC at 925.827.3863. Participants can sign up through EventBrite.
Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays. Full lineup available at http://offthegridsf.com.
Walnut Creek First Wednesdays Street Fest! Live entertainment, arts & crafts, treats, shopping. 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM on April 5 / May 3 / 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.
Bay Area Craft Beer Festival
12n-4PM over 50 breweries, live music and more. Waterfront Park in Martinez.
Concord Earth Day Work Party at Hillcrest Park 8 a.m.
to 12 noon at Hillcrest Community Park, Olivera Road at Grant Street. Assist with tree plantings, path restoration, creek clean-up, butterfly garden prep and trash pick-up. Bring gloves and shovels and wear work clothes. Contact Shannon Griffin at (925) 671-3068 or email email@example.com.
Club/Support Group News and Events
Ham Radio Licensing Course Forming Now. Mt. Diablo Amateur
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. Dinner tickets may be purchased after Monday March 13 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.
Home & Garden/Farmers’ Markets
7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in downtown Clayton. Free Admission for the whole family!
Harlem Wizards take on Northgate
celebrity All-stars. Tickets 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. Northgate HS gymnasium. 1PM. Online sales at https://harlemwizards. thundertix.com/events/100975
May 5,6,7 Spring Tea at Concord’s Historic Galindo Home. There
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://www.cccfm.org
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,” cochairperson 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.
April 22-23, 2017
Saturday, May 6
THE SPRING CONTRA COSTA CRYSTAL FAIR. The Pacific
Crystal Guild presents a magical mix of crystals, minerals, beads, gems, jewelry and metaphysical healing tools. Plus, you can get a massage, have your aura read, and psychic reading. Location: Civic Park Community Center, 1375 Civic Drive at Broadway Walnut Creek. Hours: Saturday, April 22, 10am 6pm; Sunday, April 23, 10am - 4pm. Admission: $12 for the weekend (12 and under free). www.crystalfair.com.
April 28 Diablo Valley Lines Model Train Show. Friday, 8P-10P Fares: Adults-$3;
Senior-$2 (age 60+); Children-$2 (age 6-12); under 6 years enjoy for free, and boy will they. Larkey Park, 2751 Buena Vista Ave., Walnut Creek. For more DVL information: www.wcmrs.org.
April 23-30 Walnut Creek 5th annual Restaurant Week. More
than 30 participating restaurants will each cook up specially priced lunch and dinner menus showcasing cuisines from American, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Turkish, Mexican and more. Enjoy prix-fixe menus, including $10 and $20 per person lunch specials and three-course dinner specials at $20, $30 or $40 per person. No tickets, passes or coupons necessary! Just ask for the Restaurant Week menu at any participating restaurants. For a list of participating restaurants please visit www.walnutcreekdowntown.com.
April 28-29 22nd Annual Clayton Art and Wine Festival - The Town of Clayton,
invite you to celebrate the Annual Clayton Art and Wine Festival being held on Saturday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m. to
“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: firstname.lastname@example.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
VISUAL ARTS/THEATRE/ MUSIC
• The San Francisco Dungeon --
Live actors in full Barbary Coast period costume and make-up make this a oneof-a-kind attraction on Fisherman’s Wharf. 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: www. thedungeons.com/sanfrancisco.
The singers of “Chromatica” under the direction of CVPC Music Director and Bay Area musician David Huff will be performing their spring concert once again at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. This choral ensemble always delights audiences with their musicianship and their excellent programs. 7:00 PM. at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. 1578 Kirker Pass Rd. Clayton. The tickets are $20 adults / $10 students / free for children 10 and under.
Tapestry – Broadway Songs Wednesday, May 3 at Rossmoor (Rossmoor guests and residents only); 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
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.
May 5-6 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 925-943-SHOW (7469) or visit www. lesherartscenter.org.
The Jazz Room
May 7 Mads Tolling and Mads Men, enjoy the two-time Grammy Award
winner play the 60’s. 5 p.m. July 7 Jeff Denson Quartet 8 p.m. All shows 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
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.
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.
For a complete list of local clubs and meeting dates, go to diablogazette.com.
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017 • Page 16 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990
Concord Treasurer Named
by Edi Birsan, Concord Vice Mayor
How to Apply for City Council Boards and Commissions The Trump Effect has caused a massive wave of activism in California on all sides. This has spilled over into residents wanting to get involved with local government and floundering on ways to do it. This might help increase your odds as well help to hone your focus into finding out if you are a good fit. WHAT TO DO WHEN THINKING OF APPLYING 1. Look up and read what it does. 2. Know what the scheduled meetings are and the time. 3. Know who is on it and when their terms expire. 4. Attend a meeting or two. 5. Talk to someone who is on it or was on it. 6. Read the last 3 agendas and the minutes. 7. Understand what your goal is: political stepping stone, pure community service or warped sense of humor and a way to fill a Tuesday night. 8. You will have to disclose financial information in the form of a ‘700’ government disclosure form, are you O.K. with that? 9. Attend some City Council meetings and know the Councilmembers on sight and have some discussions with them on general things so they are a little more familiar with you. FACTORS TO CONSIDER 1. 90% of the incumbents are likely to be reappointed. Find out if there is an “open” seat. 2. Power- throughout the state, the number one power commission is the Planning Commission. More than 50% of all new Councilmembers have come from the Planning Commission in the last five years. This means that if there is an ‘old boys’ network (and its perception is often incorrect) you will see it at the Planning Commission. However, not all spots are filled or ‘reserved’ for the various anointed ones. So why not you? 3. Follow the money: Commissions that deal with money, i.e. Oversight Commissions, these watch-dogs are more politically favored by the electorate than things like the Parks or Aging Commission. However, these often are disappointing to those that want to use it as a sounding board to take on the perceived establishment. 4. Community Service and Education related committees are the third tier in terms of electorate-power but can be multiplied up by being very active in the Community around those issues. Warning: a Community Service Commission that deals with giving out Community Development Block Grants to non-profits can be very challenging to your spirit since you are dealing with a limited fund source and there is so much need that you have to make choices that will tug at your soul. 5. Special project commissions such as the Concord Naval Weapons Station can be
a double-edged sword where you will come under a lot of pressure and will never be able to satisfy all the fighting factions. There will always be blame to come your way, as well as some “rah, rah” come election time. HOW TO GET ON A COMMISSION All commissions require an application with some mundane questions: 1. TYPE your answers, do not hand write. 2. Re-read what you wrote and spell check it. 3. You can attach a resume. 4. Everyone is asked why you are doing this with the set boring and common answer being “I want to give back to my community.” Think about answers that say more on why you: “My skill set in (X) would be valuable in improving my community - or meeting the challenge of our city in (X)” Caution: Be careful if you are gung-ho on ‘change’. Remember that the people who are interviewing you are the ones that made the policy. While they may not be the greatest supporters of it, do not be negative as they may take it as an attack on themselves. Much better to approach change with something like this: “I want to enhance the capabilities of the commission in accomplishing their objectives by bringing my skills of (X) to further the service to the community in innovative and positive outcomes.” But put it in your own voice. 5. See if you can talk to a Councilmember and get their advice on what commission they would like to see you on as well as making them aware of what your interest is. Do not bring in political stepping stones unless you are perceived as one of the anointed ones, in which case you probably do not need any help anyway. 6. Highlight anything in your application where it directly relates to your commission. 7. If there were recorded interviews of past selection process (which is rare), get them and watch them. 8. City Staff tend to give Councilmembers questions to ask and they rarely vary them from year to year. Talk to someone who took an interview and find out the questions and be ready for them. 9. Dress for success. This is a job interview, dress professionally. Talk professionally, seriously and intently. They are looking for someone who represents the city. 10. Many commission interviews are done by only two of the Councilmembers who then recommend to the full Council (Not the case with Planning Commissions). Know who those two people are and plan accordingly. 11. Do not give up if turned down. Go over why you think you lost out. It could be inside connections, but do not just jump on that. Learn more about things. Good Luck.
The Concord City Council unanimously appointed Edith Patricia (Patti) Barsotti to the position of City Treasurer, to fill the remainder of Tim McGallian’s term. McGallian was appointed to the City Council in January. Barsotti’s term ends in December 2018. The position is an elected one and will be on the November 2018 ballot. Barsotti, a Certified Financial Planner, is currently Vice President of Wealth Management at The Mechanics Bank in Concord and has worked in the banking industry since 1988. She has lived in Concord for nearly 40 years and is very active in the community, especially with the Kiwanis Club and Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. The duties associated with the office of
Mt. Diablo Unified School District Increases Graduation Rates, Lowers Suspension Rates Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) students continue to increase graduation rates and decrease suspension rates, per data released by the California Department of Education showing results from the new California Accountability Model and School Dashboard now being field-tested throughout the state. The dashboard provides information about how education agencies and schools are meeting the needs of California’s diverse student population. “Overall, we are pleased with the dashboard, and that it provides context to student performance by showing growth over time for students, schools, and the district,” said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of MDUSD. “These results show there is much more to our students than a test score or a number.
Whitney Flores flanked by Libby Field and Linda Easterday
location. The new regulations pertain to accessory dwelling units (ADU) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADU). ADUs are attached or detached residential units which provide complete independent living facilities, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. A JADU is
The dashboard shows data that helps us not only identify strengths, but really gives us an opportunity to drill down to those areas where students may be struggling and we can better see where or why.” Highlights included increase graduation rate, decreased suspension rate, and Grade 11 students scored gained 11.6 points in English Language Arts and 2.7 points in Mathematics. Areas of improvement include services to students with disabilities and mathematics in grades 3-8. Instead of relying exclusively on test scores, this new system also provides a snapshot of high school graduation rates, career and college readiness, English learner progress and suspension rates. The Dashboard is being field tested before full implementation in Fall 2017.
Birthright Honors Whitney Flores
Granny Unit Ordinance Passed by Concord City Council It will be easier for Concord property owners to add an attached or detached residential dwelling unit, thanks to a new ordinance approved by the Concord City Council. The Council expects relaxing the regulations regarding the addition of ‘granny units’ will increase affordable housing options in Concord, where rents are high due to the city’s Bay Area
City Treasurer are handled by the Senior Financial Analyst, a City employee. The elected City Treasurer serves as an advisor and provides oversight of the following City programs: Receive and safely keep all money coming into the Treasury. Comply with all laws governing the deposit and securing of public funds. Pay out money only on warrants signed by legally designated persons. Regularly submit to the City Clerk a written report and accounting of all receipts, disbursements, and fund balances. Perform such duties relative to the collection of city taxes and license fees as are prescribed by ordinance.
a type of ADU that has a maximum floor area of 500 square feet and is contained entirely within an existing singlefamily residence. It may have separate sanitation facilities or share with the existing residence. The ordinance also streamlines the approval process, reduces fees
Whitney Flores receives a commendation from Birthright for her service to the organization which provides clothes, infant supplies, medicine, and counseling for women dealing with unplanned pregnancy. Flores has worked in Concord for the group almost 10 years including stints being Executive Director and on their Board of Directors. She is leaving them next month after graduating from UC Berkeley to start work for the nonprofit Opportunity Junction in Antioch.
and charges, sets size and parking restrictions, and eliminates the requirement for the property owner to occupy either the ADU or the principal dwelling. For more information, contact Assistant Planner Jessica Gonzalez at (925) 603-5821.
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017• Page 17 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990
Sharing Nature with Children By Patrice Hanlan, Horticultural Consultant and Educator
In the book “Last Child in The Woods,” researcher and author Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature to some ongoing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. He calls it nature-deficitdisorder. As an educator and naturalist I lead walks for children and adults. Visiting the same area creates a relationship with that place throughout the seasons as plants and animals emerge and rest. I spend time each week at Markham Arboretum (www.markhamarboretum.org) in
Concord where I lead nature walks. What I love about Markham is the established grove of trees and nearby Galindo Creek that makes it feel as if I am in a forest and not in the middle of an urban area. Slow nature walks lead to a sense of well-being by releasing serotonin into the nervous system. The more we get out and walk, the better our mood. Getting kids out in nature will do the same thing for them. With busy schedules, we often save nature related activities for vacations, but daily or weekly walks will begin a habit that gets children excited about discovering beautiful places in an urban setting. You can adapt the length of the walk depending on the age of your children. A short half hour walk will oftentimes lead to kids wanting more. Their curiosity will develop the more they explore. If you don’t know something about a plant or animal, be sure to look up the information with them, but try not to make it a science lesson. As educators and/or parents, our main job is to keep it fun and interesting for them. I am a big fan of nature journals. I
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have used them with my family and as an educator for the past 25 years. Buy, or even better, make a journal and record your time spent outside. Add a hand lens, binoculars, clear packing tape, some pencils and maybe a travel size water color kit. Keep a bag of supplies for your walks in your car making them accessible at all times. The Color Scavenger Hunt is one of my favorite activities with children. It stimulates all the senses through visual, tactile discovery and cognitive development, including eye-hand coordination, color discrimination and writing or drawing skills. That’s educator speak for ”they have fun while learning”. Give each person a few colored paint chips. These can be found in the paint section at the hardware store. Put the color chips on a binder ring and tie it to a clip board along with a pencil and journal. (This gives children easy access to their tools without fear of dropping and/or losing them on the walk.) Once they find the color on the nature walk, they can sketch it, take a photo, or write about it in the journal. The variations of this activity are limitless. Think shapes, or shades of green or pinks or find the colors of the rainbow, etc. If you do this walk in your garden, you can collect flowers and leaves and create a collage. Clear packing tape will hold the flowers in place once the design is created. Springtime is an opportune time to get started and watching children’s fascination with exploration is often more enjoyable than the nature walk itself.
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017 • Page 18 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990
DIABLO GAZETTE FUN ZONE Clayton Valley Charter Air Band Competition Thrills
1st place winner was “Living on a Prayer” by Sheldon Shimmel, Tyler Ellis, Jack Saylor, Aaron Healy, Manpreet Seroa.
Airban Clayton Valley Technical Theater Crew
Photos provided by Sunny Shergill, CVCHS IT/ Technical Theatre Director/
EMS and the Technical theater
Clayton Valley Charter has had its share of unfortunate news recently, but sometimes great student achievements seem to get overlooked…but not by Diablo Gazette. We offer kudos and an “atta-students” to the Clayton Valley Charter Public Speaking class for their class project the “Clayton Valley Air Band Competition”, a twonight contest, superbly engineered by the Clayton Valley Technical Theater Crew. It was a big hit with the almost 400 spectators. The 1st place winner was “Living on a Prayer” by Sheldon Shimmel, Tyler Ellis, Jack Saylor, Aaron Healy, Manpreet Seroa. Sometimes school is just fun, as these photos indicate.
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017• Page 19 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990
Opinion: To Be or Not to Be a Sanctuary City By Richard Eber
One of the reasons that I favor what transpires with local government in Concord compared with some other nearby communities, the State, and in Washington D.C. is that “declines to state” is the dominant political party in the city where “families come first”.
Currently, it is not until those accused of committing crimes in Concord are sent to the County in Martinez and convicted of felonies that ICE is informed of their presence. At that point the City has nothing to do with what transpires with this process.
A recent example of this is the Concord City Council resisting pressure from the County Democratic Central Committee and immigrants rights organizations to make them a Sanctuary City. Such a designation would allow Concord to cooperate in any way with law enforcement agencies in turning over undocumented felons for deportation.
Of course, many progressives on the left feel differently than those communities that prefer not to become Sanctuary Cities. Senate Leader Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) has introduced SB-54. This bill would declare California a Sanctuary State where it would be illegal for any law enforcement or public official from co-operating with Federal immigration agencies (ICE) on any level.
In resisting the temptation to hitch a ride on the Sanctuary City bandwagon, the City Council did not indicate that they are unsympathetic to the plight of undocumented residents who are concentrated mostly in the Monument area and North Concord areas. Quite to the contrary, it has been policy of the police department for many years to not vet citizenship when dealing with those who have issues with the police. In other words, when a traffic stop is made, police officers don’t ask for proof of citizenship or concern themselves about the legal status of anyone they contact. To reinforce this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, law enforcement under the able leadership of Chief of Police Guy Swanger, has been quietly holding community meetings in affected areas to tell residents that there is nothing to be feared by law abiding folks from approaching them about any issue of public safety. The City of Concord does not feel that becoming a Sanctuary City is necessary because in doing so would not change this policy towards undocumented residents.
This would include some 12,000 undocumented felons who when released from detention and prison would be returned to local communities rather than be held for ICE to deport. Instead of mentioning this while defending SB-43, De Leon has preferred to discuss how the bill will protect innocent women and children
from being split from their nuclear families by the Federal authorities. Another matter omitted from his projections is the immense cost of public assistance and law enforcement expenses that will fall on local communities when undocumented felons are released if SB54 is passed. But wait there’s more! Should the state government of California refuse to cooperate with ICE, they will lose some $155 million in funds sent primarily to counties to deal with undocumented criminals that are being held for deportation. In addition, the $61,000 per prisoner subsidy to house undocumented criminals given by the Feds to the state would also evaporate. Also at risk, the inevitable collateral damage losses the State would realize from not receiving other law enforcement grants should it try and push Sanctuary City policies on the Trump Administration. Such concerns about the ramifications of defying ICE runs downhill to those who play this game. This fact of life has not been lost by Concord and nearby neighbor Pittsburg
in deciding not to enact Sanctuary City laws in their communities. These cities depend on Federal matching funds on everything from pot holes to sewer repair to bike path construction. “Why poke the dragon”, as one Concord City councilmember quipped off the record, and antagonize Uncle Sam who provides important revenue streams for essential local services. While no one is sure if the Federal Government will punish Sanctuary Cities by denying them funds in unrelated areas, “Why take a chance on this by taking part in a symbolic act that does not affect current policy?” These considerations weigh heavily on local City Councils when they decide what to do on this emotional issue that divides communities. What is the best way they can protect their valued law abiding undocumented residents? In the end taking into account the big picture is what should prevail. Editor’s Note: Richard Eber is a local writer who makes regular contributions to the Diablo Gazette and whose political commentaries can be found weekly on line in the California Political Review & News. His views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the Diablo Gazette. Eber can be reached at RichEber@amerasa.net
Diablo Gazette • APRIL 2017 • Page 20 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990
How Do You Catch 1,000 lb. Trout? April Trout Derby at Los Vaqueros Reservoir by: David King There are a few activities one can engage in all their life and never become experienced. For me, it’s fishing. Despite my lack of success, I like it anyway. Contra Costa Water District’s Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Byron, a nearly 20,000-acre protected watershed promises outstanding fishing, challenging hikes, etc. It was expanded in 2012 and can now store up to 160,000 acre-feet of high quality water for the District’s customers. It’s the largest reservoir in the Bay Area.
Herb brought his gear, two reels, neatly packed in their own canvas carrying case. It looked as if he was packing a rifle. (Because this will be like shooting fish in a barrel.) The Marina manager, Brian deMunnik gave us a map and offered tips on which coves were reporting to be most successful for each type of fish. Some of this information you can find on their website.
My sources suggested it was one of the best lake fishing spots in the Bay Area More importantly, it’s one that I haven’t tried. According to their website, Los Vaqueros is teeming with all sorts of fish including Rainbow Trout, Kokanee (Sockeye) Salmon, Largemouth Black Bass, Brown Bullhead, Channel Catfish, White Catfish, Bluegill, Redear, Green Sunfish, White Crappie, Sacramento Perch, and Striped Bass.
“This weekend we saw some nice trout come in from South Cove and past the Rock Wall. Most ranged in the 1½ to 2-pound range but there were a few 3+ pound fish,” he advised. “Trout fishing is good mostly in the morning. With boats, we are getting reports of fish being caught in Cox and Peninsula coves. There is no need for a line heavier than 6 lb. test.”
Better yet, I learned that during the month of April, they host a Trout Derby with prizes going to the three largest trout. Registration is required and participants may weigh up to the daily legal limit of five fish per day at the Marina. That’s right, you can’t catch more than five trout per person per day. With rules like that, this was my chance to end my fishing drought and test this claim to be the best trout fishing lake in the Bay Area.
For a 1000-pound trout? Ha, little did he know we were about to sabotage his Trout Derby.
Since January, Los Vaqueros has stocked 7,500 pounds of trout, roughly 1,000 pounds every two weeks. How many fish is that? That’s sounds like a lot of fish. Or, perhaps since there’s a contest, it could just be seven one thousand pounders! That’s what I’m talking about. I had better get a heavier test line for this. By the way, Fernando Gonzalez of San Lorenzo holds the trout record by reeling in a 16.42 pounder back in 2015.
I’m thinking the best way to have success is to get out there now before all the big trout have been caught; and bring along a ringer with me to help. Strategically, I chose the Friday one week before the contest starts. That’s when there will be the most fish. This is in the bag and I’ll have a great fishing story to tell, or write. It rained on Friday. Strike one. I had invited our Diablo Gazette’s Journey-man to come along and tackle (see what I did there?) this challenge with me, but he didn’t like the idea of sitting on a boat in the rain… so instead, he decides upon an impromptu motorcycle ride to Mexico to visit an orphanage!? (see his article page 7). I invited friend Brent Wakefield of Concord, who apparently had single handily depleted Lafayette Reservoir of its trout just one week earlier according to the photos on his Facebook page, but he had to work. Strike two. Finally, I called upon a former associate from 25 years ago, Herb Anderson. He’s fishes often and has boasted catching bullhead in his backyard! (He lives in Marin County). So off we went on Saturday, one week before the derby. Los Vaqueros provides us with drinking water so you can’t bring your own boat. They have electric ones and pontoons you can reserve for up to all day. Of course, with my ringer Herb along, we wouldn’t be needing one that long.
Trout fishing had been good even when the waters were murky from the rains. The baits of choice for shore anglers is garlic scented PowerBaits, nightcrawlers or Kastmaster lures,” he said offering me some nightcrawlers . Since Herb and I have never fished at Los Vaqueros, we decided to hit all the coves. So, we trolled the perimeter except for the South Cove. It’s a large reservoir, it took approximately 3-hours. There were definitely hot spots. Although I had a couple strikes with a brown shad rap, Herb reeled in three good size trout using a goldfish colored shad rap at Howden Cove and the Peninsula Cove. Had we stayed in these hot spots, we reasonably would have challenged the 5-trout per person limit. We caught, released, and trolled along. Another duo who were parked in one of the coves had returned to the Marina having caught the limit in less than two hours. I know this because as we checked in our boat, there was already a photo on the counter of the two holding ten good sized trout. In the end, the fishing is very good at Los Vaqueros right now, and the Spring weather is perfect time to get outdoors. So, load up your family and go for it. And if you venture to enter the April Trout Derby, good luck. A fishing license and $5 fee required to register for Derby. Normal parking rates apply. Learn more at http:// www.ccwater.com/9/Los-Vaqueros.
Slamtastic! The Harlem Wizards Are Coming to Northgate High Special from SportStars Magazine 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 trick-dribbling 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 underserved 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 All-Stars. “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 game-day. 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.