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t i P e r h T ste a M Beaver Creek Smokehouse owner and pitmaster,Rob Zavatero, (right), with two of his competition team members.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE •Concord’s Kumar Runs for California Governor •California Still Trying to Secede •Concord’s Secret Service Insider Revealed •Back to School Brain Boosters •Why I Gave My Child Up for Adoption •Movie, Book Reviews, Calendar of events and more!

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017 • Page 2 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

from the publisher David King by David King

Thrown to the Volcano I just came back from vacation. I get one traveling family vacation week each year. We went to Hawaii, and stayed in Waikoloa, on the Big Island Hawaii in a house, overlooking a sandy beach. Having only been to Hawaii one other time, in Honolulu, we were up for everything. It was all fun and amazing. Snorkeling the coral reefs, visiting botanical gardens, zip lining the canopy, hiking on lava beds looking at native petroglyphs (carvings into lava), Luau, shopping, visiting volcano steam vents, night snorkeling with 16’ manta rays, hiking underground through lava tubes, and visiting Kilauea, an active volcano. It was all extraordinary. But I think the moment that will

resonate over the years, is when my son Alex was able to privately toss his childhood friend’s ashes into the volcano. Chase Van Sickle had succumbed to cancer last year. The two had joked about being thrown in a volcano (before Chase was aware that he was gravely ill). Chase had a great sense of humor. We didn’t make any huge ceremony of the event; something Chase would have frowned upon, but it certainly helped to bring final closure (if there is such a thing) to his passing. It was uniquely satisfying to have Chase’s final departure from Earth in a manner that was once just fanciful conversation between two happy young boys. RIP Chase Van Sickle. Thanks for reading the Diablo Gazette.


by Edi Birsan, Concord Vice Mayor

Email me CityCouncil@cityofconcord.org|Add EDI in subject line

Diversity: A Mindset or a Bodyset? About three times a week I say a pledge that we are one people “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The phrase “E Pluribus Unum” which roughly means ‘from many to one, is on our currency but it is not supposed to be a financial goal (despite what is coming from Wall Street or Washington D.C.) but a social one. There is a current movement of identity politics which has as a recurring theme that people in office need to look like the people that they represent especially in the case of minorities. This is what is driving the call for district elections that have been discussed in Concord and other areas around us. The concept is valid that this breaks down the barriers between government and the people, especially minorities who were discriminated against and are economically or politically underserved. There is no doubt that the history of our country has demonstrated this despite our pledges and mottos. District elections, especially in Concord, have a lot of very valid points in its favor; it brings those elected closer to a more focused geographical area, it allows for more localized one on ones, it brings down the cost of entry into the competitive races, and enhances the influence of those that are grass roots-oriented to walk and talk in their districts. After all, if Concord was divided

into four districts, each district would be bigger than Clayton, Oakley and Orinda combined. However, there is a trap in this thinking in that it energizes exactly the opposite of what we want, and may encourage us to overlook critical issues and values in favor or what is basically an involuntary set of conditions. Do we want an African-American to look at an Hispanic-like elected official and say, “Well they do not represent me because they do not look like me?” In my opinion, the most racially biased electorate has historically been the majority European/Caucasian voter when they are confronted on race issues. Likewise, do we want to overlook a person’s stated policy intention on civil liberties, social justice or economic issues just because of their appearance and cultural origin? Further, can it be said that Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas are far greater representatives of the African-Americans than say Ginsberg or Roberts? We need to double down on our pledges and our American values that make diversity a matter of a mindset not a bodyset. Every elected official must be responsive to every member of the electorate regardless of their culture or bodyset. No one should feel there is a gap between themselves and those elected because of race, creed, gender, life style or their spiritual guidance. The electorate needs to demand that of those elected and bring the focus back to the issues that we all face, so we can be indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

“I look forward to the Diablo Gazette at the beginning of every month, It’s a good community paper. I love the stories. You have good writers.” – Wayne C.

Concord’s Dr. Kumar Runs for Governor Concord resident Dr. Harmesh Kumar has filed his nomination papers to run for California State Governor for the Democratic Party in 2018. Kumar has made several attempts to run for Concord City Council and he came up short in the primary for the State Assembly from District 14. In last year’s City Council race, he came in third out of seven candidates. Despite his failed attempts, he still believes he offers something other candidates don’t. “For me, success is making a positive contribution and to raise issues which other elite politicians are not talking about,” he told India-West, an Indian community weekly news tabloid. Dr. Kumar is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a private practice in Concord. He is president founder of Therapeutic Residential Care Services, Inc., an agency providing independent and assisted living facilities to seniors, developmentally, and mentally disabled in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Central Valley. He is also the president and founder of a California-based non-profit mental health agency, South Asian Behavioral Health and Training Foundation Inc. He has worked in the mental health industry for more than three decades. Dr. Kumar became very active in the Indian-American community and in 2002, he was honored with a Certificate of Recognition by the Senate of California for his services to California citizens. He served as Concord’s commissioner for 10 years, and later became involved in the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. Dr. Kumar is also serving on the Concord’s Measure Q Finance Oversight

Committee, among many other community-based roles. “I’m focused locally, but often my fellow associates and friends tell me that many of the issues I wish to address are bigger than Concord. So, I’m going to the state,” Dr. Kumar says. As part of his candidacy, for which he quips “Make the golden state gold again,” Kumar is putting a focus on investing in human development, including education, families, and job training; public transportation; impact of automation; infrastructure; single-payer healthcare system; and unfunded liabilities. So far, Dr. Kumar said he has received backing from “ordinary citizens, small business owners and faith groups. “They see how ordinary people are not able to make their ends meet even though they work multiple jobs,” he said. “They struggle to pay their rents, and unable to get quality care. They are not being listened to. The state needs honest and authentic leaders who want to serve the people from the heart. I am that leader.” Other declared candidates that Kumar will be up against include California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California state Treasurer John Chiang, former California state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I have been disheartened by what I have observed from today’s political machine,” he said on his website. “It is a blessing that the Bay Area is such a prosperous place, but many times we fail to take notice of those in our communities who don’t share that blessing, and unfortunately most of our elected officials don’t seem to either.” His hope is to change all that, if elected. The primary election is scheduled for June 5, 2018.

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Why I Put My Baby Up for Adoption by: Megan Cohen

Megan Cohen is an adoption attorney based in Lafayette specializing in adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Her passion for adoption began when she placed her son for adoption in 1988.  Megan took over the adoption practice from Diane Michelsen, the attorney who represented her in the adoption of her son.  Megan continues to have an open relationship with her adopted son and his parents, and has intimate knowledge of what it means to place a child, to choose the child’s parents, and to stay connected with the adopting family.  She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two daughters. She is the only adoption

attorney in the country who is also a birth mother.   It’s hard to imagine the difficulty of circumstances one faces when considering an unplanned pregnancy. Here, Cohen leaves nothing to the imagination, as she shares her story in the most personal and emotional detail of placing a child up for adop-

tion and the impact it has had on her life. I put my baby up for adoption because I was scared and overwhelmed. I had cancer as a teenager, and my doctors told me I couldn’t have kids. So, I was absolutely shocked when I found out I was pregnant at 20.  I remember believing that I’d wake up one day and discover I’d made a mistake.  Maybe I just didn’t know how to take a pregnancy test.  Or how to read one.  Maybe it was a false positive!  But I had taken five pregnancy tests, and the truth was that I was totally in denial.  The thought of taking care of another human being overwhelmed me.   I was in school.  I didn’t have any money, and I was living with my parents.  I knew my baby’s father wouldn’t help–I was right–and I didn’t want my parents to raise my son.  I love my parents, but they had lost ‘steam’ raising my sister, their fifth child, born while the four of us were teenagers.  But it was more than that.  I had zero confidence in myself.  I didn’t think I’d be a good parent.  I was too young, too selfish, too stupid.  The thought of how badly I could screw up a child terrified me. I felt totally alone. I put my baby up for adoption because I knew I’d be taking on the responsibility of parenting by myself.  My parents would have helped in a very practical way, but emotionally, I was on my own.  I believe my lack of self-esteem had a lot to do with feeling like my family didn’t support me.  My family is fiercely

loyal and loving in their own way, but they aren’t vocal about it. I also didn’t want to live with my parents for what would clearly be an indefinite period of time. I’ve been pretty independent my whole life.    I was the middle child always stirring the pot, causing trouble and getting in trouble.  When I found out I was pregnant, I felt so stupid, completely in character, and like a failure.  I felt utterly alone and knew my family would not be happy with me.   I had never once asked my parents for advice, and I wouldn’t this time either.  In my heart, I knew that these difficult choices were mine to make, alone. I knew I wasn’t going to keep my baby and that I would be on my own dealing with the consequences.   When I decided on an open adoption, I didn’t want to tell anyone.  I didn’t want to hear their advice or opinions.  I especially didn’t want their judgement.  When I finally got up the courage to tell my parents,

they paid for an apartment so I could live by myself and avoid interacting with anyone, including them. My best friends didn’t even know.  I lost every single friend I had at the time because I didn’t return their calls, and I didn’t call them.  I shut myself off from the world.  To this day, my family does not talk about the adoption or ask about my son.   I believed I got pregnant for a reason. I put my baby up for adoption because I was raised to believe abortion was wrong and it scared me.  I also had this sinking feeling that, given my medical history, this was the only baby I’d ever have.  So, I figured I’d gotten pregnant for a reason, and maybe the reason was that someone else was going to be my baby’s parents.  When I finally went to search for them, I had no idea what I was looking for until I found it.  My relief Continues on Page 11....

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25th Anniversary Contra Costa Crystal in Walnut Creek August 5-6

For 25 years, Jerry Tomlinson has been bringing the Contra Costa Crystal Fair three times per year to Walnut Creek’s Civic Park Community Center. With the exception of the recession years, each year, the shows keep getting bigger and better attended. A Crystal Fair includes an interesting mix of dealers of crystals, minerals, beads, jewelry, and of metaphysical services, readers, healing tools, aura photographer, etc. “The gemstones, jewelry and beads are incredible. I have some of the best dealers in the country,” says Tomlinson. Although there are many avenues to purchase these products and services, there are very few shows similar to the Crystal Fair. “The last two years have been the best,” he states. Tomlinson began producing shows 30 years ago at Fort Mason in San Francisco. This past year the lines stretched outside the door both days there. It was somewhat mystical how Tomlinson’s chose this career path of producing crystal shows. “I was looking for something to do and a friend of mine had an abandoned shop in Larkspur Landing and said to ‘put on a benefit for me’. I met a vendor that had a

booth selling crystals at an East Bay fair, and decided that I was going to put on a crystal fair. He said okay, get all your people together… I didn’t have anybody. But I knew of somebody who had a crystal shop. Anyway, it took about three months to gather around 25 crystal dealers. “It was just at the height of the crystal phase in 1987. Shirley McClain had just come out with her autobiography “Out on a Limb” four days earlier. She revolutionized the industry. “I thought maybe 500 people would come, but more than 2000 showed up. I thought to myself, I can do this!” His first show was held at Fort Mason, and in 1992, he added three shows in Walnut Creek for April, August and October. It seems to have been the right decision as vendors and attendees have posted many favorable reviews on Yelp. If you’re looking for a fun fair that offers top-notch crystals, the metaphysical realm, holistic services, exquisite jewelry, and the most laid-back vendors, this is the show for you. Kids like it too and get in free. Adults are $12 which is good for both days. The Civic Park Community Center is located at 1375 Civic Drive at Broadway.

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017• Page 5 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

Bbquing Success Leads to Areas Favorite Smokehouse Rob Zavatero is a certified Pitmaster and the owner of Beaver Creek Smokehouse on Main Street, in Martinez. It is highly recognized, and often referred to, as the Bay Area’s favorite barbecue restaurant. Zavatero is also a champion of several local, and KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) professional barbecue competitions. When he entered his first barbecue competition at the King of the County BBQ Festival in 2011, he won. But that was against mostly backyard barbecuers. A month later he signed up for his first KCBS Event, which was at the Wine Country, Big Q: Sonoma County BBQ Festival. His team won that as well as the chicken contest, competing against professionals. Most of the competitions Zavatero entered were in Northern California, except for the US BBQ Championship at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, which was held alongside the American Music Awards. This was also a KCBS event. There he didn’t win, as he competed against 114 professional teams. At this point, Zavatero was a serious enthusiast. He decided to take a barbecue class taught by a barbecue legend, better known as the “King of Barbecue,” Mike Mills, author of “Peace, Love and Barbecue”. The class was at the Ole’ Hickory Pit’s factory in Cape Girardeau, MO. Ole Hickory Pit manufactures commercial grade smokers. Later that week, he travelled on to Murphysboro, IL. for a second class at Mills’ own 17th Street Barbecue restaurant. “I just wanted to learn more about barbecuing. But that second class was

about the technique of pit cooking and the business of barbecuing, which I didn’t realize when I signed up for it. Most of the attendants were caterers and restaurant owners. I was just there as a barbecue enthusiast,” Zavatero said. Many guys in the barbecue restaurant business take one to six months to tour the country to areas known for great barbecue, such as Texas, Kansas City, and the Carolinas. This is how they learn. “I learned most of my tricks in smoking meats in the 12—15 competition events I’ve attended,” Zavatero admits. “Most of the head cooks on the competition teams will share their techniques and tricks. When people ask what is your style of barbecue – well, I’m not really sure. As a young man growing up in Oakland, there were quite a few really good barbecue restaurants; Everett and Jones, Dougs #1 BBQ, and Flints BBQ. (Dougs and flints have since closed). I’m a food guy. I have a food background that transitioned into barbecue. I even catered my own wedding.” Zavatero sold his company of 23 years and was dabbling with other businesses, including real estate. He went to Walnut Creek to open a restaurant, but after his meeting with the planning department, realized he didn’t have the money needed. Two years later Smokey D’s restaurant in Martinez went up for sale. It was known for its Bulldog BBQ. “It was almost a turnkey process to buy an existing restaurant; the regulations are so much easier,” Zavatero said. Ironically, it already had an Ole’ Hickory

Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor, Better Homes Realty

Inspiration for First Time Home Buyers Leaping into the home buying process for the first time can be intimidating. It seems like there are so many things to know and decisions to make. It’s enough to keep even the most together person from making their dream of home ownership come true. If you have some doubts, worries or fears as you navigate the real estate market for the first time, let these quotes inspire you to keep a healthy perspective and to move forward with courage. “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.” – Nora Roberts New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts knows a thing or two about going after what you want. After all, she’s written more than 200 novels. The same principle applies when thinking about becoming a homeowner. It will never happen if you don’t put the wheels in motion to make it happen. If you’re ready and willing, now is the time. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain Are you letting “what if” scenarios keep you from buying your first home? What if I hate my new house? What if I can’t pay the mortgage? What if I feel like I’m in over my head? Worry is normal, especially when making a big decision like buying a home. But letting worry keep you from your dreams is a recipe for an unhappy life. In twenty years, will you be more disappointed that you had some unexpected bumps in the road or that you never realized your dream of becoming a homeowner? “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful

stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama Are you bummed because you put in an offer on a house that you loved, but the seller ultimately chose someone else? Yes, that can be disappointing. However, sometimes missing one opportunity brings another opportunity that is even more in line with your dreams. “The only thing you can really control is how you react to things out of your control.” – Bassam Tarazi The home buying process can be both complex and stressful. That doesn’t mean you should let it get the best of you. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. This could include everything from having unexpected issues turn up during the inspection to dealing with an unresponsive seller. You don’t always have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you react to those situations. Take some deep breaths, go for a walk and keep a healthy emotional detachment from the process when necessary. “There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy Gale When you’re deep in the process and it feels like you will never find the perfect home, let alone get to closing day, remember these words of wisdom from the Wizard of Oz. There really is no place like home. It’s worth muscling through challenges to find the home that’s just right for you. Keep your eye on the end game, and before you know it, you’ll be settling into a place of your very own. Compliments of Virtual Results at www.virtualresults.net/buying-homesummer/

Rob Zavatero proudly stands with his trophy

Smoker in it, when we bought it.” There’s no money in competition, only a handful of guys make money. It’s more of a hobby like fishing or golf. However, Beaver Creek Smokehouse is doing well. It is often voted a fan favorite in various publications, and it has the highest Yelp rating of all barbecue restaurants in the Bay Area. “We sell certified Angus beef, only free-range chicken, and use Niman Ranch for beef, all natural, humanely

raised meats. The restaurant has done better than expected,” he admits. Zavatero plays down his barbecue title. “I don’t refer to myself as a Pitmaster. I feel that term is a little overrated. I’m a cook or a chef, who happens to work on slow-and-low equipment – and then I introduce smoke as a flavoring.” Whatever is responsible for his success, humble Zavatero has certainly stumbled upon the right recipe.

parentfootprints by Dr. Dan Peters www.DrDanPeters.com

Five Back-to-School Brain Boosters

As we come to the end of summer break, it is time for kids of all ages to start dusting off their brains and getting them back into shape for school. Although many schools do give homework to keep the mind working during the off months and many parents practice educational activities at home with their children, there’s nothing like a little priming to ease back into a heavy, weekly academic regimen. Here are some fun things kids can do to bring them back into the mind frame of reading, writing, learning, being curious, critically thinking, engaging in dialogue and just plain moving the body. Create a Customized Newspaper. These days, thanks to online vehicles such as Feedly and other RSS feed subscribers, a person can create their very own daily “newspaper” on their computer to read at their leisure. Does your son love art? He can create an Art feed stream that provides the art sections from major newspapers. Does your daughter love science? Just have them Google their favorite subject to find the best sources for news and then they can spend some time adding their favorite columns, sections and sites to their RSS feed program. Write an Editorial. Why not read your local newspaper’s editorial to the whole family after dinner or over breakfast? Then engage in a conversation where everyone can share his or her own opinions on the subject. Have your child pick a subject that is relevant to your local community or world news at large that they have a strong opinion about

and have them write their own editorial on the topic. They might even want to send it in for publication consideration. Email it to diablogazette@gmail.com. Sign up for Brain Boosting Activities Online. Have your child download an educational app onto their smart phone or tablet. Meditate. Progressive schools around the country have been introducing 15-minute meditation periods into their school day curriculum because its benefits for students have proved fruitful to class performance. Not only does meditation relax students but also it promotes well-being and positive social interactions. Why not start a family meditation practice in the morning for 20 minutes or before everyone goes to bed? There are a variety of meditation apps that allow you to choose guided meditations that range from visualization rituals to transcendental sessions to breathing instruction in various amounts of time to suit your need. Exercise. In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Get moving! These activities are meant to be fun and engaging exercises for your child’s brain and body. If they don’t like any of these ideas, empower them to come up with their own. Most importantly, enjoy these last lazy days of summer!

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Diablo Ballet announces its 24th Season!

Diablo Ballet has announced its 2017-2018 season featuring ballets from George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Lew Christensen and Sonya Delwaide, as well as works by Salvadore Aiello and Danielle Rowe. Diablo Ballet will also feature a World Premiere of “The Red Shoes”, choreographed by Robert Dekkers and based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.  In addition, the Company will also present its annual holiday favorite, “A Swingin’ Holiday” by Sean Kelly, performed by the Diablo Ballet Swing Orchestra under the musical direction of Greg Sudmeier. The season opens with “A Swingin’ Holiday and More”, November 10-12, at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek.  This program featuring three stunning ballets, includes Diablo Ballet’s audience favorite,” A Swingin’ Holiday” by Broadway choreographer Sean Kelly, currently Associate Director of “An American in Paris”, will be performed live by the 16-piece Diablo Ballet Swing Orchestra.  Also included in the program is the classic masterpiece, “Valse Fantasie” by George Balanchine, originally created in 1967 for the New York City Ballet and set to a beautiful score by Mikhail Glinka, and the touching duet “No One Does It Like You”, choreographed by Robert Dekkers. Diablo Ballet celebrates the New Year with “Harmonious Beauty”, February 2 – 3 at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek. The program features the romantic Ballroom Pas de Deux from “A Cinderella Story” by Val Caniparoli, set to the music of Richard Rodgers.  Also featured, the exciting world premiere by former Netherlands Dans Theatre ballerina Danielle Rowe; the award-winning film “Libera”, by Walter Yamazaki, brought back by popular demand after premiering last year at the Ballet’s 23rd Anniversary Performance; and the exotic “Milieu” by Robert Dekkers, set to

a live performance of a commissioned score by Daniel Berkman. A dessert and coffee reception follows with a Q&A session with the performers. On March 22, Diablo Ballet honors its anniversary with a one-night only special 24th Anniversary Celebration Performance at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The program will feature the bravura Black Swan Pas de Deux and Coda from “Swan Lake” by Marius Petipa, staged by the Company’s regisseur Joanna Berman. This pas de deux showcases Diablo Ballet dancers at their finest.  The celebration continues with the dramatic Solas by former Royal Winnipeg Ballet choreographer Salvadore Aiello, with music by Heitor Villa-Lobosa, who is considered “the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music.”  A World Premiere of a new film by Walter Yamazaki in collaboration with composer Justin Levitt, is followed by an encore performance of “Trait d’union” by Sonya Delwaide and “From: Now On” by Robert Dekkers’.  A Gala reception, wine tasting and a delicious dinner with the dancers at Scott’s Garden is walking distance from the Lesher Center. The season concludes at the Del Valle theatre with Celebrated Masters May 4 – 5 featuring a highly anticipated World Premiere of Robert Dekkers’ “The Red Shoes”, an imaginative interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairy tale. The program also includes the stylish Quartet from Val Caniparoli’s “Stolen Moments”, originally choreographed for the Richmond Ballet in 2015; and the lyrical “Norwegian Moods” by Lew Christensen, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky and originally commissioned by San Francisco Ballet in 1976 in celebration of Christensen’s 25-year anniversary as artistic director of that company.  Afterwards, stay for a Q & A with the dancers and choreographers, dessert and coffee. Season subscriptions are available.  Please call Diablo Ballet at (925) 943-1175 for more information.  Single tickets go on sale in September. For more information visit www.diabloballet.org.  

Pacific Service Credit Union Recognized for Charity Efforts S.F. Business Times ranks credit union 84th in Bay Area for corporate philanthropy

For the second consecutive year, Pacific Service Credit Union, has been named as the 84th ranked corporate philanthropist for 2017, according to a list recently released by the San Francisco Business Times, a leading weekly business journal publication. The announcement reflects the publication’s annual Top 100 Bay Area Corporate Philanthropists for 2017. Pacific Service Credit Union is the only Concord-based company that made the top 100 list. The credit union also received accolades for joining a handful of companies in the Bay Area who donate more than 1% of their profits. In 2016, Pacific Service Credit Union donated 2.83% of their profits to local non-profit organizations. Pacific Service Credit Union donates approximately $140,000 annually to various 501(c)(3) organizations. This past year Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Bay Area Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation, Bay

Area Rescue Mission, Children’s Hospital, Concord Police Officer’s Association, Diabetes Youth foundation, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Huckleberry Youth Programs, Kops for Kids, American Association of University of Women, American Red Cross, Leukemia & Lymphoma society, Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa County, and Lutheran Social Services, Shelter, Inc., The Bread Project, STAND! For Families Free of Violence, The Salvation Army, We Care Services for Children, Youth Homes were all beneficiaries of Pacific Service Credit Union’s generous support. “We are proud of our corporate commitment to help improve the lives of the people in our community,” stated Steve Punch, President and CEO of Pacific Service Credit Union. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts.” Pacific Service Credit Union is a full-service financial institution serving anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in your service area. Concord is fortunate to be your home. For additional information about Pacific Service Credit Union’s corporate giving program, please contact Kristin Peterson at: kristin.peterson@pacificservice.org.

So You Want to Write a Book

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journey-man’s journal

by John Cooper

My wife and I are just weeks away from being “empty nesters” as both our children are (or will be) off to college to make their own mark(s) in the world. While it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for us to all get together, we wanted to take a summer trip as a family before we all

scattered again in different directions. In celebration of our new phase in life, my wife and I recently purchased a new RV and thought this would be a great opportunity to take our maiden voyage, so to speak. During most of my solo adventures, I’ve been accustomed to sleeping out in the open or perched on a hillside somewhere under the stars, so it seemed somewhat out of character for me to pack an RV full of life’s comforts. Our RV has a full kitchen, flat screen TV

Tranquil Cove at Crescent Lake

and stereo system, a shower, comfortable sleeping accommodations for six or more people, and all the other (un)necessary comforts of home. I must admit, the thought of just adding a hitch to the side of my home and dragging it along seemed like a better idea at times, or at least easier. With a trailer loaded full of toys we finally set our sights toward a week of camping at Crescent Lake in Central Oregon. When we arrived at the “campsite”, which was really nothing more than a concrete pad where you conveniently unload all the stuff you brought from home, and set it up outside your RV, so that it looks like the home your just left. I wondered “Am I really getting away from it all?” After a few days of getting situated and finding our way around the area, we decided to drive around the lake and find a good spot to hang out for the day and picnic. My wife and I rode on our motorcycle while our kids followed behind us in a truck along with our two dogs; windows down, dust flying, music blaring, and tails wagging. We came upon a small uninhabited beach, appropriately named Tranquil Cove, and set up camp for the day, and aside from an occasional mosquito to shoo away, it was perfect. The sun was shining, the skies were clear, the beach was clean, and the water was warm. We all knew this was the perfect beach for us and we unloaded the kayak, stand up paddle, and other toys. Although we were alone on the beach, together as a family, everyone had their own idea about how they wanted to spend the day. My daughter went exploring on a

Laurie Strawn To Perform “Brave Little Nell-The Eleanor Roosevelt Story”

kayak, while my wife took to the stand-up paddle for a spin around the shore. My son, who’s a college rugby player, decided to spend his day working out in the spirit of a modern-day Neanderthal; tossing boulders about the beach and carrying logs atop his shoulders for hours at a time. Oh, to be young. Not to be left out, our middle-aged, blind dog Ozzy went for a joy ride on both the kayak and paddle board while donning his fluorescent life vest. He’s not completely blind mind you, as he does have limited vision in one eye, but he clearly qualifies to use a cane, if only I could teach him how to use one. We spent most of the day at Tranquil Cove and finished up with a night sail aboard the Naughty Girl at Crescent Lake before finally settling down beside a fire pit with a glass of wine. Not all days are great ones, but this one was.

Laurie Strawn performs her one-woman show, “Brave Little Nell-the Eleanor Roosevelt Story” at the Clayton Valley Woman’s Club monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 12. Public is also invited. Laurie Strawn is a bay area actress who has performed in theaters throughout the region for over 15 years. Favorite roles include Jean Louise in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Berkeley Playhouse, Miss Hannigan in “Annie”, and Mrs. Tottendale in “The Drowsy Chaperone”, at Diablo Theater Company. While a company member at Sierra Repertory Theater in Sonora, Laurie was asked to create a one woman show about Eleanor Roosevelt. Thus, “Brave Little Nell-the Eleanor Roosevelt Story”, was born. After listening to “Eleanor” share a bit about her amazing personal history audience can then ask questions and discuss her remarkable life and the times she lived in. CVWC is a local non-profit organization of women serving our local communities. Their monthly meetings are held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton, CA. For more information visit claytonvalleywomansclub.org. photo: Laurie Strawn as “Brave Little Nell”

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The Diablo Gazette’s


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 •August 12- Comedy Under the Stars Headlining Michael Mancini, featuring Tessie Chua. Host Marvin LeLoatch Jr. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Beer, wine, soda sold. 50% of ticket sales benefit Boys and Girls Club of Contra Costa. Website: https://www.eventbrite. com/e/comedy-under-the-stars-tickets-36142369801 •August 22- City of Concord Blood drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Concord Auditorium1 at John Muir Medical Center, 2540 East Street, Concord. For appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: CONCORD or call 1-800RED CROSS 1-800-733-2767. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For more information, contact Concord’s Emergency Services and Volunteer Manager Margaret Romiti, (925) 671-3184.


Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays. offering cuisine from around the world from 5 to 9 p.m. Full lineup available at http://offthegridsf. com. 

Farmers’ Markets

Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, yearround, rain or shine, Thursdays 4P-8P, Todos Santos Plaza. • Martinez Sundays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, Main St. and Estudillo. Walnut Creek Diablo Valley Farmers Market Saturday 9a.m. - 1 p.m. Shadelands Business Park, N. Wigett Lane and Mitchell Dr. Also, from Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market - North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, (925) 431-8361 http://www.cccfm.org Pleasant Hill – Saturdays 10:00am to 2:00pm May 6 -Oct 28; 136 Trelany Rd, Pleasant Hill Pittsburg – Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm, May 6 - Oct 7; 600 Railroad Ave, Pittsburg Clayton- Saturday 8:00am to 12:00pm May 13 - Oct 14; 6095 Main St, Clayton, •September 6- Walnut Creek First Wednesdays Street Festival - Downtown WCD hosts Walnut Creek First Wednesdays Street Festivals each month for all ages! Festivities include live entertainment, arts & crafts, shopping, treats & more! 5:30-8:30pm www.walnutcreekdowntown.com/events


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.   •August 5-6 - Summer Contra Costa Crystal Fair at Civic Park Community Center, 1375 Civic Drive (at Broadway) in Walnut Creek. Hours: Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Admission: $12 (under 12 free) - good for both days. Gems, jewelry, crystals beads, and metaphysical healing tools, over 30 booths.  For information, go to www. crystalfair or call (415) 383-7837 or email jerry@crystalfair.com. •August 5- Chinese Martial Arts Championship. The International Traditional Kung Fu Association (ITFKA) will be having its 9th ITKFA Chinese Martial Arts Championship in the Centre Concord. Opening ceremonies at 9am. Hand forms, weapons forms, sparring, weapons sparring and sports san da. At 5pm starts with amazing Dragon Dance and Master’s Exhibition and Performances, from Masters from coast to coast and Brazil. Tickets are $10.00. 5298 Clayton Rd. For more information check www.itkfamartialartschampionship.com , or call (925)671-7100 •August 17 - Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club and SATERN will be holding a 7-week course to earn your Technician Class (entry level) FCC Amateur Radio License. Course begins at 7-9 pm. ​ at Salvation Army 3950 Clayton Road, (Cross is West St.) Concord. Online Registration is required. We use the ARRL Textbook and if you don’t have a book you can order your book in the online registration process. Each student must have full access to a copy of the text. There is a ​$6 admin fee. For info & registration email: HamRadioClass@gmail.com. Complete class calendar at http://www.mdarc.org/activities/education/Classes •August 25 -Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society – Monthly show. All aboard the Diablo Valley Lines Railroad model show.  See one of the largest exclusively HO scale model railroads in the United States. Additonal shows, September 16, 17, 29. 2751 Buena Vista Avenue, Walnut Creek. •September 12 - Laurie Strawn performs, “Brave Little Nell-the Eleanor Roosevelt Story” at the Clayton Valley Woman’s Club monthly meeting. Audience can ask questions and discuss her (Eleanor) remarkable life and the times she lived in. St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton. For more information visit www.claytonvalleywomansclub.org. •September 14- Book release, lecture and demonstration with San Francisco-based botanical artist, Tiffanie Turner author of The Fine Art of Paper Flowers. 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Camellia Room @ The Gardens at Heather Farm. Event Admission Only: $15 Public | $10 Members. Event Admission and Book Package: $35 Public | $30 Members. Register online at www.gardenshf.org or call (925) 947-1678. 1540 Marchbanks Drive , Walnut Creek. •September 23- So You want to Write a Book – San Ramon Valley Library – 1:30-3:30pm. Forum on being published with panel of four blockbuster and award-winning local authors. B. Lynn Goodwin, Jill Hedgecock (Diablo Gazette Book Ends), Judith Ingram, Judith Marshall. 100 Montgomery St. 925-973-3200 •September 29- Senior Transportation Forum 2017 – 9:00 am- 3:00 pm Discuss solutions to transportation for aging community members. Lunch provided at John Muir Medical Center. Sponsored by Senior Mobility Action Council of the Contra Costa Advisory council on Aging. RSVP to Meals on

Wheels Outreach Services 925-937-8311


•September 9- Hawaiian Fusion with Don Ho, six time Grammy winning artist, producer, composer. A fundraiser for scholarships for underpriviledged seniors. 4:30-8:30. tickets $50, Table of 10 $450. www.cityofconcord.org/hawaiian fusion. •Concord 29th Annual Music and Market Series 8/10/2017 Soul Power Soul, Funk, Dance and R&B Horn Band 8/17/2017 Orquesta Borinquen Acclaimed Powerhouse Salsa Band from SF 8/24/2017 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper - The Sun Kings A Beatles Tribute as Nature Intended 8/31/2017 Foreverland An Electrifying

14-Piece Tribute to Michael Jackson http://foreverlandsf.com 9/7/2017 Fresh Original Songwriting! Co-bill: The Next of Kin, rustic sounds with a modern flair plus Whirl, the Future of Pop/Rock. 9/14/2017 Annie Sampson Concord’s Blues and Soul Diva •Clayton Concerts in the Grove August 19 Busta Groove Busta Groove – Northern California’s hottest dance party band with hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today! www.busta-groove.com September 2 The Fundamentals – Performing a high-energy stage show with three dynamic lead vocalists, the hottest horn players around and a tight fourpiece rhythm section. www.thefundamentals.com September 16 East Bay Mudd - A great band to end our concert season. www. eastbaymudd.net

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017 • Page 10 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990


by Carol and Randi -The Frugirls www.frugelegance.com

Shabby Chic Pin Boards

To start, purchase a foam board, available at the local dollar store, and cover the entire board with your chosen material. Using duct tape, secure areas on the back of the board. Not to worry if it looks messy on the back, no one will see that part once it’s hanging. Take ribbon or thin cord, wrap around board in desired directions. Make them go on an angle and then secure on back with duct tape. We love the look of using a vintage frame for our shabby chic style. If you prefer a thicker and fuller look to your pin board, use a layer of fabric batting in between the material and foam board. Wrap tight with a ribbon and hang without a frame.

Pin Boards are versatile and easy to make. They can be elegant and stylish, and if you make them yourself, they won’t cost a lot of money. Many rooms could use a pin board including dorm rooms, teen rooms, bedrooms, even home offices.

For an extra bonus, we also love a simple DIY to bling up our plain dollar store push pins. All you need is one package of Crystal Acrylic Stones, one tube of quick drying glass and bead glue (purchased at a local craft store), one package of clear push pins (from our local Dollar Store). Put a small dab of glue on the end of the push pin, place a crystal and press firmly. Let it dry. You can also add a small ribbon or bow around the push pin. Or use colored stones instead of clear.

You really do not need to go buy material unless you prefer that. The material we used was from a linen case the sheets came in so that we could match the bedding, Other great sources of material that you would already have on hand include an old pillow case, bed sheets, even an old t-shirt.

[Carol and Randi, the FruGirls, are local home decorators and stagers. FrugElegance is where Frugal and Elegance come together. You can also find them Blogging about many other ways to live an elegant life for less at www. frugelegance.com]

bookends by Jill Hedgecock,

Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club jillhedgecock.com

War for the Planet of the Apes Ever since Charlton Heston uttered the ever-resounding line: “Get your paws off me you damned, dirty ape,” audiences have had a fascination with our less advanced simian relatives ascending to take, from us, that which we have quite badly abused. In this, the third of the reboot sequel, Caeser (Andy Serkis), long suffering from his initial goal of “Ape no kill Ape,” endured after a coup attempt by his once loyal second, Koba, leaving Caeser wounded, and an uprising among the remnants of humanity. Humans had not fared so well. Wiped out by a virus that was created as an offshoot of the genetic experiments that gave rise to simian intelligence, most of the planet has been eradicated. In this film, the war begins in earnest as crazed military man, known as “The Colonel”, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, sets out to capture, kill, torture, enslave any apes he can find. Caeser wants nothing more than to find an oasis far in the desert, discovered by his son. The plans, however, go awry as The Colonel captures Caeser’s tribe, including his wife and sons. If you have not seen the film, it is the best of the series, bringing well crafted effects (there appears to be far less CGI) into realistic apes, and blending the original film with this modern day version. It is a story of humanity, in its underlying themes, beginning with Caeser’s misguided hope of apes not killing apes, a bloodlust that mankind surely understands so well. The cause of The Colonel, is no different than the cause of any nation under an iron-fisted rule (I will omit parallels to the USA for the sake of reader peace

of mind), as are the outcomes. To say that the apes only ever have a long shot for survival against the military might, that in the end, truly cements the fate of all species involved, would be an understatement. Nonetheless, this is not just a film about man versus monkey. Matt Reeves directed this visually stunning feast. And since the title, of both the original film, and the current iteration, includes the words “Planet of the Apes,” one does not have to stretch to find what will be the ultimate conclusion. In both versions, humanity becomes their own failure. The ending, poignant, yet satisfying, does leave room for one more film, although it would appear for the sake of tidying up the loose ends to fully bring about this new order, or perhaps to explore it more along the lines of Charlton Heston’s character in the original 1968 film. As a side note, the film series originated from a French author, Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel “La Planète des Singes” or “Monkey Planet.”

Still Missing

“Still Missing” by Chevy Stevens (2014, St. Martin’s Paperback, mass market paperback, 384 pages, $6.35) is the story of 32-yearold Annie O’Sullivan, a realtor who is abducted as she is closing her open house. Annie’s kidnapper has taken her to a remote mountain cabin that runs solely on generator power. Annie soon adapts to her situation and through trial and error learns ways to avoid angering her sadistic captor – a survivalist who’s fantasy is to raise a family while living off the land and believes that he is saving Annie from the evils of society. Annie’s story is told as she recounts the traumatic events of her kidnapping in a series of sessions with a therapist after she’s escaped. Her anger and defensive attitude toward her psychologist is realistic as she discloses the extent of her horrific experiences. Her captor controls her every move, from what she wears, when she’s allowed to go to the bathroom, to how she must bathe. The man is so well-described and Annie’s reality so chillingly presented, that this book is hard to put down. After over a year in the abusive environment with a man she only knows as “The Freak”, Annie-Bear, as her mother calls her, continues to struggle to adapt back into her former life. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by the horror of it all, but the author skillfully returns the narrative to Annie’s

post-rescue life, which provides readers respites throughout the book. It’s easy to understand why Annie is unable to return to work or sleep anywhere but in a closet and why she’s distanced herself from her immediate family, her former boyfriend, Luke, and her best friend, Christina. Annie’s obsession in assisting with the police investigation ultimately helps Annie’s healing process and eventually leads to the discovery of her captor’s identity. But even after the man’s name is uncovered, there’s a piece of evidence that troubles Annie. Where did The Freak get a family picture of her? Her dogged persistence to answer this lingering question eventually leads to a stunning revelation as to why she was abducted, one that sends Annie into a tailspin. “Still Missing”, initially released in 2010, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Since then, Stevens has been busy churning out thrillers at a page-turning pace. Her other books include “That Night, Never Knowing, Always Watching”, “Those Girls”, and “Never Let You Go”. Chevy is a pen name for Rene Unischewski, a tribute to her father’s nickname and her brother, Steven. She lives on Vancouver Island and, like her protagonist in “Still Missing”, was once a realtor. This is not a book for the faint of heart, but if you like gritty, edge-of–your-seat prose, then this is the book for you. Fans of Emma Donoghue’s “Room” will probably love this book.

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017• Page 11 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

International Chinese Martial Arts Championship in Concord, August 5 The International Traditional Kung Fu Association (ITFKA) will be having its 9th ITKFA Chinese Martial Arts Championship at the Centre Concord. The ITKFA was founded by Master Daniel Tomizaki and his longtime friend, Master Marco Serra in Brazil. They were seeing the rise in non-traditional kung fu at exhibitions and tournaments, as well noticing the “watered down” teaching of the arts. Missing, was the core values of discipline, respect, honesty and integrity. They wanted to form an association that would support traditional kung fu. Traditional martial arts take more time to learn, but the discipline and respect that go with it, impact the student for life. Currently, the ITKFA has 18 schools within the association, with over 3000 students and grow-

ing. The USA headquarters is located at Tomizaki’s Champions Kung Fu Institute, in Concord. The tournament will begin at 9am with opening ceremonies and competition to follow. There will be hand forms, weapons forms, sparring, weapons sparring and sports san da. At 5pm starts the Master’s Exhibition and Performances, with an amazing Dragon Dance and Masters from the Bay Area, Southern California, East Cost and as far as Brazil. Spectator tickets are $10.00 and are good for all day. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The Centre Concord is located at 5298 Clayton Rd, by the Clayton Valley Bowling Alley. For more information check www.itkfamartialartschampionship.com , or call (925)671-7100

going to waste that feeling. I was determined to make Brendan proud and to make a life for myself that he would be proud of (and he is!).  

Adoption, Continued from Page 3

was immediate. I felt like I was playing God giving this family another kid.  My love for them made it easy not to think about how I would feel at the hospital when I left without my baby.  They were kind and compassionate, smart and stable.  I knew that if I changed my mind they’d be okay with it.  I trusted them completely.  At some point during my pregnancy, I started to believe that this was their baby and that he had been theirs all along.   Adoption was my idea… or maybe it was my mom’s.   I gave my baby up for adoption because my mom told me to.  Well, not exactly.  I was 20 years old and afraid to tell my parents I was pregnant.  Anytime I told them something really stupid I had done, I’d start to laugh.   I didn’t want to start laughing when I told them this doozie.  I was afraid they’d think I was kidding and then I’d have to be earnest and passionate and convincing.  I wanted this to be a short conversation.  I had been stalling for months and had no idea how to bring it up.   I finally had the not-so-good sense to tell my youngish and cool aunt with the big mouth.   Did I know my aunt would tell my uncle, who would then tell my mother, his sister?  Probably.  All I know for sure is that I came home one day, and my parents called me into their room saying we needed to talk.  My dad was lying on their bed in a red polo shirt and black pants (why do I remember this?).   Mom was standing next to him and looked like she was about to jump on me.  “So,” she says in her church lady voice, “Do you have something to tell us?”   I don’t remember what I said next, but I do remember word for word what Mom said in response.  She looked at me with crossed arms and a stoney face and mumbled, “Well, at least we know you can have kids.”  And then, “So, what are you and whatshisname going to do?  Adoption?”  I didn’t think my mom knew me very well but now, I think she knew me better than I knew

myself. She said the word I had been afraid to say for months, and I looked at her and nodded yes. Somehow, hearing Mom say the word “adoption” made me feel better.  The whole idea of pregnancy and adoption was suddenly less scary, and more important, my mom had given me permission.  She knew I was going to put my baby up for adoption, and we were going to be okay.   Leaving the hospital was the saddest day of my life. I put my baby up for adoption, and

it was the saddest day of my life. On the day he was born, I wasn’t scared or overwhelmed.  I was broken-hearted.  I am ashamed to admit that I was also incredibly relieved. I knew adoption was the right choice.   I knew Brendan would have the life he deserved. As for my own life, it was wide open and in some ways a clean slate.  I had been through the hardest thing a woman could ever do, and I felt like a person reborn.  I came out the other side of my grief and loss and felt I could accomplish anything.  I wasn’t

I’ve kept in touch with my son. I wouldn’t have done an adoption if I couldn’t have contact with my son. The family I chose has always been flexible, and for this I am grateful.  Most women want to know that they can stay in contact with the baby and the adoptive family, but not all.  Keep your heart and mind open as you venture down this path.  Contact can be as simple as annual photos and updates, which is what I did at first.  Some women want more contact and want to know that they can see their baby in the future.   I met Brendan for the first time when he was six.  I didn’t know how much contact I wanted with the adoptive family at first. There were times I wanted more and times when I wanted less.  Now that Brendan is in his 20’s, my husband, daughters, and I see him a couple times per year.  I expect this will continue to evolve as my daughters get older and develop their own relationship with him.  Nothing is for certain, but I’m staying open to possibilities. Adoption was the right choice for me.

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017 • Page 12 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

legally yours


Rita Holder / Holder Law

by Douglas A. Prutton, Attorney



Avoid Taxes - Top 5 Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan Truth be told, most estate planning is done to avoid taxes and court costs. After a loved one’s death, the family living trust becomes both a channel for money and property passing to the beneficiaries and the trust itself becomes a taxpayer. Sometimes there are tax consequences and tax returns that must be filed by both the deceased’s estate and the beneficiaries. Most income or property passing to a beneficiary is free from income tax. And, for most of us, we will not need to pay estate taxes after a loved one’s death. That’s because for 2017, the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.49 million per individual, up from $5.45 million in 2016. An individual can leave $5.49 million to their heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax this year. A married couple can leave twice that: $10.98 million. There are a variety of special tax planning options if you are lucky enough to be reaching this limit either as an individual or a married couple. But these tactics are beyond the scope of this article. The high limit for estate and gift taxes means that we mere mortals will not usually pay estate or gift taxes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some essential estate planning documents written up before you or your loved one passes away. Here are my top 5 reasons: 1. Pour-Over Will. The Pour-Over Will specifies that your property is to be added to your Revocable Trust upon your death. A pour-over will, combined with a revocable trust agreement, avoids the cost and hassle of having to get probate court approval for every action with respect to your assets upon your death. Under the terms of the Will, any assets held by you which have not previously been transferred into your Trust will be added to the Trust at the time of your death. The purpose of this is to make sure all of your assets, whether in your Trust or not, are distributed according to your plan set forth in the Trust. Many times, people use the Will to name beneficiaries for personal assets. Should you die without a will, state intestacy laws govern how your property will be dispersed. Your property will go to your closest relatives, first your spouse and children, then to your grandchildren or your parents, then siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and even your spouse’s relatives. Uncle John could end up with your favorite golf clubs. 2. Revocable Trust Agreement. The main reason for a Trust Agreement is to avoid the time and expense which is involved in a probate proceeding if you don’t have a Trust. The Trust ensures that your property passes to your beneficiaries with a minimum of hassle and expense. Another important feature is that it allows your designated successor Trustee to promptly take over your care and the management of your financial affairs if you should become unable to manage your affairs due to illness, accident, Alzheimer’s, etc. A Revocable Trust Agreement creates what is called a “Living Trust.” It can be amended by you at any time during your lifetime; it becomes irrevocable only upon your death. Property that you transfer to the trust during your lifetime avoids the court probate process upon your death. You name the persons you want to serve as trustees of your estate after your death. 3. Durable Power of Attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney names

the persons you want to serve as your attorney-in-fact, also called your “Agent,” to deal with matters affecting your property. You can give your Agent the power to act on your behalf, both while you are alive and healthy and if you become incapacitated. However, this document gives your Agent broad powers to dispose of, sell, convey and encumber your real and personal property. So please proceed with caution. In California, you can add “Estate Planning Powers” to your power of attorney. This will give your Agent flexibility to modify your revocable trust (and related documents) on your behalf. This is important because you could lose capacity long before death and be unable to amend your estate planning documents in response to tax law changes, MediCal qualification rules, or significant changes in your estate size or family situation. 4. Nomination of Guardians. A Nomination of Guardians for Minor Children names the person or persons you do and do not want to care for your children if you and your spouse should die. Parental nomination of a guardian in a will or related document is authorized by CA Probate Code §§1500 and 1502. In California, there is no other legal substitute for naming guardians. In the event of your death, if you are divorced your minor children would be in the full custody of the other parent. That means that your nomination of guardians for the children would not take effect. However, your nominees could file a petition seeking their appointment as guardians if they believe that their appointment would be in the best interests of the children. It is also possible that, if you die before the other parent, she or he might still die before the children reach age 18. In this situation, your children would need a guardian and the court would consider your nominee. 5. Advance Health Care Directive. The Advance Health Care Directive and related documents enable you to name the persons you want to act for you if you become unable to make medical decisions. Your named Agent will have the power to make medical decisions, sign consents and releases with hospitals and doctors. It also acts as your “living will” for endof-life decisions. The Directive may also include final disposition instructions, giving you the opportunity to specify how you wish your remains to be dealt with (i.e., cremation or burial); to provide information of any prior arrangements and to designate the persons to carry out your wishes. A HIPAA Authorization and Waiver is a “stand-alone” document to authorize your health care providers to release information concerning your otherwise confidential medical information to the individuals you have designated to act on your behalf in the event of disability and to any other individuals who you would also want to have such access. If you have any questions, please call my office at 925-482-8910 for a free 30-minute consultation. Let us help you plan well for the future. Your loved ones will thank you for it. Rita A. Holder practices family law, tax law and wills, trusts and probate. Her Walnut Creek office offers a free 60-minute consultation. Call at 925-482-8910 or at rita@ritaholderlaw.com

At-Will Employment Revisited Helga High wages flops down in the lawyer’s office, sighs, and relays the following sad story. “For 10 years I had a decent job at Concord Fish Bait, but I really wanted something new, so I started surfing the ads on Craigslist. I found a position at the Martinez Worm Farm that paid two dollars an hour more, so I said adios to my old boss. Well, guess what, two weeks into the new job and Mr. Maggot, the owner, fires me, saying that the worms don’t seem to like me and were acting depressed! Now my old boss won’t take me back – what am I going to do? It’s ridiculous.” “Helga,” the lawyer responds. “I feel for you, it sounds completely unfair. Do you think that maybe Mr. Maggot fired you for some other reason?” “Yeah,” Helga says. “I think he didn’t like my purple hair. We’ve got to sue his butt!” “Helga,” the lawyer carefully proceeds, “I’d be mad too if I were you. It’s not right, it’s immoral, it’s unethical, it sucks. But, you’re here to ask me if what happened was illegal.” “Have you ever heard the term at-will employment, Helga?” “I think so, somewhere, but I’ve got proof, those worms were not depressed, they were happy as could be. You should have seen them laughing and joking around whenever they saw me!” “Well, at-will employment means that an employer does not have to have a reason to fire an employee. An employer can fire someone for no reason at all.” Helga is now getting a little irritated with the lawyer who does not seem to understand her situation. “Look,” she says: “I can’t believe that an employer can fire someone for

no reason, but even if you’re right, Mr. Maggot didn’t fire me for no reason, he fired me for bumming out the worms and I can prove that is a lie.” “Helga, under at-will employment an employee can leave without having a good reason and an employer does not have to have good cause to also terminate the relationship. If you were in a union or if you worked for the government you could not be fired without good cause, because the union contract or the constitution would demand it, but with private employers the Courts just are not equipped to have a lawsuit and a trial every time an employee feels that his or firing was wrongful or unfair.” “Now, there are exceptions to the at-will employment rule, Helga. If there weren’t I would not be in business. The obvious exceptions are that an employer cannot fire an employee because she is pregnant, or because she is a woman, or because she is African American or Asian, things like that. But, firing someone for having purple hair is not an exception. People with purple hair are not in a protected category. So, I hope you understand. I know that you can prove without any doubt that the reason Mr. Maggot gave for firing you is false, but unless the real reason he fired you is illegal, you are out of luck. It sounds like you are entitled to unemployment.” Helga walks out, shaking her head, muttering, “Well that just doesn’t seem fair.” Doug Prutton is an attorney specializing in employment and personal injury law. You can contact him at (925) 677-5080 or  www.pruttonlaw.com

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017• Page 13 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

Resident Tales

August is the New September Memoir of a teachers first day, by Kathie Micallef

Welcome back teachers. Teachers across the state have heard the advantages of returning from summer break in August instead of September for test preparation among other things. As a teacher, what it also means is that I will have more time for instructional preparation, as well as time to examine new student material, and prepare for the state tests. Some teachers, however, are perplexed and are dealing with nostalgia fueled with anxiety at the loss of the traditional Labor Day.

So, accept the new calendar year of 220 days, because for the kids, it means they will be in school somewhat longer, hopefully learning more. When the last school term closed, I was already looking towards the next year, even while the current term was still on my mind. I have just sent my students off on the Challenge School Bus and I’m thinking about why I love teaching and when I love teaching. When that school bell rings in August, my new

students will come fast and curious about new friends, old friends, and their new classroom. I have promised myself to greet each student personally, as I have spent time memorizing names. Each one will be welcomed with a pencil as they take their new seats. The room will have been decorated around a theme for the year and their name tags ready. Do they have their book bags? Do they have their supplies from the school supply list? How many have remembered to bring their signed emergency evacuation forms? I have made up a game for the first day as a way for getting to know each other. I tell them my name, and then one by one they say theirs. If they need my attention, all they need to do is raise their hands. We’ll discuss PASS Rules for leaving class for bathroom, hallways, computer room, foreign language, challenge school bus, and P.E. The latter requires some discussion about when and where to change for P.E. Expectations are set for these situations throughout the year. We discuss permission tag usage and where tags are posted. FIRST SCHOOL EVENT: “Back to School Night”- tomorrow. Students will decorate a personal folder. They will be ready with a first day project for parental viewing. HOW WE GO HOME: First day also means discussing rules for hauling students to and from home. This follow-up letter is prepared for them to take to their parents thanking them for being part of the school bus challenge. It includes rules and a structured dismissal procedure, beginning tomorrow. A busy first day has come and gone; tomorrow begins in earnest. I must write some lesson plans. [Kathie is a retired school administrator and student tour coordinator throughout six foreign countries, assisting students from Pre-K thru Junior College.]

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017 • Page 14 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

Danville’s Ty Akabane, 16, Competes In U.S. Women’s Open Story by MIKE WOOD | Photos by SAMUEL STRINGER Ty Akabane had to wait. That happens a lot in the sport of golf. What happened next, doesn’t. Having posted her 36-hole score before approximately half of the rest of the field at a June 5 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier. Akabane had to watch the scoreboard at Lake Merced Golf Club with growing restlessness — there were only two qualifying spots up for grabs. She became antsy, but then the news finally broke: she was going to play in the women’s golf’s national championship, the oldest of the women’s majors, with a purse of $5 million. “When I found out, it was just so cool. It just didn’t feel like it actually happened,” she said. “’What? Really? I’m going to the Open?’” Akabane, 16, who will be a junior this fall at San Ramon Valley High-Danville, played in the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship at Trump National Golf Club from July 13-16. She didn’t make the cut, but her 15-over score through two rounds was still better than four professionals and three other amateurs. Interviewed shortly before leaving for the Open at Bedminster, N.J., Akabane bubbled with enthusiasm while displaying considerable humbleness and gratitude. “It’s been a goal of mine to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open ever since I

was a little girl,” Akabane said. “That’s been the pinnacle of golf. All these great people have played in it. To be able to play in it is so humbling.” The ‘wow’ factor extended to her parents, who have been supportive throughout Ty’s burgeoning career. They have had a front-row view of Ty’s successes, but this was a roof-raiser for them. “We were shocked,” said her mother, Paige. Added father Chris: “This was unexpected. There are so many top players and veterans trying to make it.” Akabane’s whirlwind summer took off right after school ended. After her last final exam on Friday, June 2, she was in Daly City in the grueling 36-hole sectional qualifier the following Monday. Her qualifying score was a 4-overpar 148 with two steady rounds of 74. Former Alameda High and Cal player Emily Childs was the other qualifier at Lake Merced with a 144. “I actually played with Emily at the U.S. Open qualifier two years ago, and we had a great time playing 36 holes at Serrano Country Club in Sacramento,” Akabane said. “I got to know her pretty well and got to learn about her college experience. She’s a great person and it was really awesome getting a chance to meet her. Now it’s so cool that we played together and we both qualified to go to the Open. ... It’s a dream come true.” It’s come true thanks to hard work and practice. Akabane puts in time at The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon and at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton. For two years she has been part of Castlewood’s Junior Merit program, a merit scholarship awarded on golf, academics and giving back to community. With help from her mother, Akabane has developed a Friday miniclinic for anywhere from 5-10 developing Junior golfers. “Ty works very hard at her game, as we see her out here a lot at practice,” Castlewood assistant golf pro Kevin Chen said. “She is very focused, does well in the classroom

and finds time to mentor our Juniors. Her attitude is very remarkable; always smiling, very courteous.” Right after qualifying for the Open, Akabane emailed Castlewood head pro Brett Faulkner and Chen a letter of appreciation. “We are super happy for her,” Chen said. “I know she has had great success at the Junior level, but achieving something like this is a whole other stage. I knew her game was there.” Akabane, who cites driving, bunkers and putting as strong suits in her game, has a bit of quirk: she is a left-hander in every way, except she plays golf righthanded. “It just happened naturally,” she said. “I throw a ball left-handed. I kick with my left foot. I write with my left hand, but I do golf right. I just happened to pick up the club that way.” Akabane has grown up in a family immersed in golf. She also played middle school golf — and will play her third year with the San Ramon Valley team this fall. Her interest began when she was 6. “I used to hit golf balls across the street and we had this big hill across our house and my dad got me these plastic clubs — they were like Snoopy clubs with Peanuts characters on them,” she said. “I’d always try to hit the ball as far as I could and measure how far I’d hit on the hill and try to hit higher each time.” By age 8, she was going to events like the Junior World Championships in San Diego. Her rapid rise has allowed her to meet famous individuals. When visiting Hawaii a few years ago, she was playing with her uncles and father at Luana Hills in Oahu. Suddenly she noticed several men in black suits and sunglasses “all looking super professional” along with what she described as a herd of golf carts. “Then we saw President Barack Obama and he’s like “Hey you guys, how are you?” We gave him a high-five when he was passing by.” She’s met NFL legend Jerry Rice twice. And there was a

chance meeting with one of the sport’s top young pros at the LPGA Kia Classic Qualifying event earlier this year, which she took part in after being a medalist at a pre-qualifier. “… I was putting with this pro and at first I didn’t realize who it was,” she said. “I was getting her golf ball and she was getting mine. And my dad came over and said ‘You are playing with Yani Tseng.’ And I looked up and was star-struck.” Colleges she’s considering include Cal, Oregon, Princeton and UCLA, her father said. There’s two years of high school before then. She treasures playing with her Wolves teammates. Together they went to the NCS Tournament of Champions both years as a team. Her freshman year, Akabane qualified for NorCals but withdrew due to a biceps injury. As a sophomore, she finished NorCals in a three-way tie for first at The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas and played in the state championships at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga. “We are always there supporting each other, even if it’s not the outcome we wanted or we don’t win a match,” she said of her Wolves teammates. “It’s all right, we’re still like a big family.”

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017• Page 15 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

Californians Still Trying to Secede

According to the Sacramento Bee, a group that wants California to secede from the United States can start collecting signatures for its ballot initiative. Atty. General Xavier Becerra issued an official ballot measure title and summary Tuesday, July 25 called “California Autonomy from Federal Government” initiative. Backers of the plan, known informally as “Calexit” have 180 days to collect 585,000 valid signatures for the initiative to go on the 2018 ballot. The initiative would form a commission to recommend avenues for California to pursue its independence and delete part of the state constitution that says it is an inseparable part of the U.S. The measure would also instruct the governor and California congressional delegation to negotiate more autonomy for the state. This is the second attempt to put a socalled Calexit measure on the 2018 ballot. An earlier attempt was withdrawn in

April, less than three months after it got the green light to start gathering signatures. The proposal has been scaled back but would direct California’s governor to negotiate more autonomy from the federal government, including potentially putting forward a ballot measure to declare independence.   The initiative wouldn’t necessarily result in California exiting the country, but could allow the state to be a “fully functioning sovereign and autonomous nation” within the U.S. The initiative’s fiscal analysis says it would cost the state at least $1.25 million a year for an advisory commission to assist the governor on California’s independence plus “unknown, potentially major, fiscal effects if California voters approved changes to the state’s relationship with the United States at a future election after the approval of this measure.”

Walnut Creek Mayor Proclaims “Active Senior Living Day”

Mayor Richard Carlston announces “Active Senior Living Day” with an Leasing Director Steven Eggert looking quite appreciative.

Walnut Creek Mayor Richard Carlston, Congressman Mark De Saulnier and members of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce were just some of the dignitaries who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony honoring the newly renovated and rebranded Senior Independent Living Community The Heritage Downtown Formerly known as Heritage Pointe, The Heritage Downtown was established in 1986 and is an active senior living community with world class amenities, including beautiful landscaped sur-

roundings, wellness and fitness classes, a diverse range of social activities, and state of the art technology to residents connected locally and globally. Located off Shuey Avenue, just blocks from Walnut Creek’s many downtown restaurants, business services, museums, art centers, The Heritage Downtown is a shining light for active senior living communities and for Walnut Creek. Mayor Richard Carlston proclaimed July 11 as Active Senior Living Day.

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Food Bank’s Free Farmers Market Style Distribution Delivers Produce Where It’s Needed Most

5th Anniversary for Farm to Family Program Improving access to fruits and vegetables to the community members who cannot typically afford such nutritious food is part of the solution to fighting both hunger and obesity as well as establishing positive, lifelong eating habits for children. However, access and affordability are two common and significant obstacles for many people in our region when it comes to incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their meals. Thanks to the generosity of John Muir/ Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund, the Food Bank began the Community Produce Program to improve access to healthy fruits and vegetables by offering a farmer’s market style of distribution. 5th Anniversary. Since the program’s inception in June of 2012, 14 million pounds of produce has been distributed. Each month approximately 25,000 individuals receive fresh fruits and vegetables through the Community Produce Program. Twice a month, this program brings high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables in a refrigerated truck directly to people in need in our communities. No payment is required. Participants go home with an average of 20 pounds of produce, including items such as: pears, oranges, apples, potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

This benefits the health of our community and is also good for California farmers. Over 100 growers contribute more than 50 varieties of produce to Farm to Family. The result is more than 150 million pounds of California farm products being distributed each year to the California Association of Food Banks’ member food banks. On July 19, Larry Sly, Executive Director, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, recognized Lilliam Roselin, Executive Director, John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund, the California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program, and Raz Moghbel, Director of WIC for their commitment to improving access to fruits and vegetables for their ongoing support for their 5th Anniversary of Free Farmers’ Market Style, Farm to Family program.  The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has been serving the community for over 40 years. The work could not get done without the help of the hundreds of volunteers that donate their time to coordinate food drives, sort and pack the food, and help distribute it to their hungry neighbors. To learn more about the Food Bank and how you can help, visit  www.foodbankccs.org or give us a call at 800-870-FOOD.

Celebrated, San Francisco-Based Botanical Artist, Tiffanie Turner Brings Book Tour to Walnut Creek Renowned San Francisco-based botanical artist, Tiffanie Turner will appear at The Gardens at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek for her first book release signing, lecture and demonstration on September 14. Tiffanie’s book is an inspiring, practical, and gorgeous guide to crafting the most realistic and artful paper flowers. Walnut Creek is one of only six engagements she will be making on the tour. In her book, “The Fine Art of Paper Flowers”, Tiffanie provides a step-bystep guide for creating stunning paper creations, including her famous giant peony, plus instructions for turning paper flowers into garlands, headdresses, bouquets, and more. Guests will enjoy a presentation on techniques for making artful paper flowers and watch Tiffanie as she


by William Claney, Computers USA

Tech in English

Let’s Jump to Light Speed If you’re not ready to go blind then don’t read this article because it’s about blinding speed just introduced by the chip maker Intel, they have just released the (drum roll please) Intel i9 CPU. Intel’s introduction of a new i9 CPU takes its place in an already impressive line-up of chips, the i3, i5 and i7 processors. The Central Processor Unit (CPU) is the brain behind the computer and with each progressive chip release Intel moves closer to the speed of light, or should I say the blinding speed of light? Intel® Core™ i9-7900X X-series Processor is the latest in innovation that redefines speed with words like turbo rays, laser beams, unabashed, bold, breath taking and that’s just the package. Really though, this baby is fast with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz and a Turbo Boost feature that clocks in at more than 4.4GHz. (Max turbo frequency is the maximum single core frequency at which the processor is capable of operating using Intel® Turbo Boost Technology. Frequency is measured in gigahertz (GHz), or billion cycles per second.) Well, for you non-techies, that’s darn fast. So, how much work will it do? Well, in a word, oodles. CPUs have been built for multi-processing by adding “cores” to the chip. Each core is capable of processing multiple “threads” or thoughts. Think of it as if you were day-dreaming and working on a task at the same time, like you’re dreaming of that vacation in Hawaii, the food, the fun, the beach and the phone rings, you answer but all the time still working on your original task. So, that’s multi-tasking. This speed demon is actually 10 CPU’s (cores) inside the package. While AMD, a rival chip

manufacturer, has been including 6+ cores in desktop computers for a while now, this core count for Intel is a break from its usual 2 to 4 cores. (Yes Dennis, Xeon has more cores.) For CAD users, gamers and for people that just want the computer to go fast, this is your product. You will need a fat bank account, however, because the price for the CPU alone is over a grand. Plus, you will need to support the chip with a new series of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, a new motherboard, and some serious power from a massive power supply. To dissipate the 140 watts of heat this baby is producing you must be prepared to purchase a tower workstation. This chip is not for laptops. Find out more; visit a professional custom computer builder like us for details and out the door pricing.

Class of 1967 Prepares for 50th Anniversary Reunion

showcases some of her amazing botanical art.​Purchase tickets and register online gardenshf.org or call (925) 947-1678.

Class Photo from 1967. A larger image is on the website www.cvhs67.org. Alumnus are encouraged to tag themselves.

On September 15-17, the Clayton Valley High class of 1967 will get together for their 50th reunion at the Crowne Plaza in Concord. The Class of 1967 has the dubious distinction of being the largest graduating class in Clayton Valley High’s history, with 714 graduates. The reunion event begins that Friday with a meet and greet and no host cocktail party in the reserved area of the Atrium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 4:00 P.m. Planned weekend activities include CVCHS football game, picnic at Castle Rock, dinner and dancing at Crown Plaza Hotel, with music by DJ Les Olson (’67), breakfast and so on. It’s a pretty full weekend of events. Those interested can go to the website for more details and room reservations information at www.cvhs67.org or to their facebook page. What was Clayton Valley High like in school in 1967? “We had more rules. Dress codes were much stricter,” says alumnus Ann Dadami. “Girls were not allowed to wear culottes and no pants could be worn to school or any school events. Dresses had to be above the knees. Oh, and we were not to wear patent leather shoes. (to keep the boys from seeing up our dresses from the reflection.) Boys were not to wear hats.” she adds. “Also, we did not have lights for football games, so our home games were in the afternoon. Most other older schools

had lights then.” When asked about noticeable changes from today, Dadami notes, “We did have tremendous school spirit! Cheerleaders and song leaders that led pep rallies and were at every football, and basketball game. Students filled the stands for both sports. Now, its’s mostly parents and grandparents that are the majority at these Clayton Valley games.” mascot Baldwin One pleasant memory of Dadami, “All of my classmates fondly remember cheese zombies and huge cinnamon rolls - both served warm, and maybe cost a quarter! We would eat them for brunch.” “In 1963, our freshman year, we were broken-hearted over the JFK assassination. We grew up fast. We had to because the 60’s was so turbulent! A highlight was the British Invasion led by the Beatles. We were dancers, even the boys. We did the twist, the mashed potato, the swim, the cha-cha, and so many more. And we all watched American Bandstand! I could go on an on…” Sounds like she has much to talk about when she and her classmates reunite and travel down memory lane. I wish them a glorious weekend.

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Views of the Valley with Tilly Turner

Vice principal of Mt. Diablo High School, Chris Beischel; superintendent of the Mount Diablo school district, Dr. Nellie Meyer and Principal of Mt. Diablo High School, Liane Cismowski, take time to share in one last student cooked meal at Serendipity. – Photo by Tilly Turner

Kelby Fuss installs tires at Les Schwab in Martinez going on three years. This is second nature to Kelby whose parents own the racing series called Lucky Dog Racing League. Kelby,19, graduated from Alhambra High School of class of 2017. - Photo by Les Scwab

First Wednesdays Street Festival in Walnut Creek. Photo by Micah

Father Mangini and Concord Mayor Laura Hofmeister at the Golden Jubilee Retirement Celebration to honor Fr. Richard Mangini. at Concord Hilton. – Photo by Tilly Turner

Contestants fishing off the pier at the Martinez Marina in the Junior Fishing Derby -Photo by Micah

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aRt Cottage

by FROgard www.aRtCottage.info

Tom Quinlavin Large Paintings Featured at the aRt Cottage At the aRt Cottage miracles do happen. Routinely, I really plan things well and labor over hanging a show, making labels, collecting entry fees, and making sure all the work is in on time and off the wall on time.  This past month the Concord Art Association (CAA) provided me with my first miracle of love and labor.  They did all that work for me and more.  Lisa Fulmer, current CAA president arranged for a hanging committee to hang the show, saw that the labels were done and had CAA members docent sit the gallery for many days of the month.  This generous offer came just in time for me because I am recuperating from some knee surgery.   Now for the month of August, a second miracle comes to aRt Cottage.  A gentleman by the name of Tom Quinlavin came by the cottage the first week of June.  He has driven by the aRt Cottage before, but on this day, he had some time to stop in.  He explained that he was a Concord resident and was an artist.  He wanted a venue for his very large paintings and other works. I said I had the month of August open, but that was it for 2017. So here was miracle number two.  After explaining the aRt Cottage policy on entry fees and commissions on sales, he wanted to know what he needed to do to have a one-man show. Due to my medical needs, Mr. Quinlavin said he could also help me.  Mr. Quinlavin knows what it is like to recover from something, having had a liver transplant. I could hardly believe it when he said he wanted to commit to August including hanging his work himself, doing his own post cards and poster, and helping me where needed.  I am just so amazed at the generous people who come across my path right when I need them.  What a joy it is to work with these creative people who are so willing to give of themselves. So, in August, aRt Cottage is featuring an extraordinary one-man show of large abstract paintings. Tom studied at Long Island University, C.W. Post, learning the “push pull” theory of Hans Hoffman. This show is a collection of his larger paintings from the last twenty years. “My work is abstract. However,

for the past few years while I’ve introduced some imagery into my paintings, they are still firmly rooted in the abstract. I’m very much interested in paint, color, speed and gesture,” Tom says. “The artist Ted Stamm called my earlier work ‘the transfer of energy.’ I’m a Modernist influenced by the Modernists.” Artist, Donald Alberti, also from New York, had this to say about Tom’s artistry. “Tom Quinlavin has been making abstract paintings in the expressionist genre as long as I’ve known him, which goes back to New York City around 1982. From the time he finished his studies, Tom never looked toward academia for support; instead venturing on an independent course pushing his personal limits of freedom and excessiveness. Always sincere and full of conviction, Tom’s work relies on an energy of unknown fearlessness and chaos and ranged from bacchanalian-inspired gestures of recklessness to gestures of furious directional intensity. With his recent work, his imagery continues to emerge with increasing focus, discrete edges and autonomous elemental shapes.” His large paintings are really something special. Tom Quinlavin exhibit will be showing August 1-28, Tuesday through Saturday. You can meet Tom on August 5, from 2P-4P during the open house reception. Never has aRt Cottage been so blessed as in these two months. My mother used to say, “be careful what you dream for, because it just might happen.” aRt Cottage is located at 2238 Mt. Diablo St. Concord. www.artcottage. info.

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017• Page 19 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990

Secret Service Insider Stories from a Former Agent

Inside the Secret Service REVEALED by Eric Enos

Editor’s Note: Much 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, whose name has been kept anonymous, is now a retired Federal Agent. He still does similar work for a large digital corporation as Deputy Director of Security Crisis Management. He investigates cyber espionage, including foreign government sponsored espionage, fraud and other cyberattacks. However, he no longer needs to remain anonymous. These are true stories of real life experiences of Eric Enos, a Concord resident who spent years as a Secret Service agent. Eric’s column has been on hiatus during his transition into the private sector and will return next month. Eric’s following continues to grow with each month’s article. If you are new to Eric’s Secret Service insights, here is his first column, (Diablo Gazette, July 2015), updated, introducing us into the Secret Service.

When The Diablo Gazette first approached me about submitting some stories about my time as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, I was a little hesitant because much of the job deals with matters of national security which are often top secret or classified in nature. In other words, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” (Okay, not really. But it’s such a great line from Top Gun that I just had to throw it in.) But, obviously not all aspects of the job fit into a “don’t ask, don’t tell bubble.” I spent over 11 years with the Secret Service. As I reflected back on my time in the Service I realized there were actually some pretty cool things that I got to see and do on the job. But, for the purpose of clarification and debunking

common misconceptions about the Secret Service, I think it is important to give a brief history of the agency and its responsibilities. A misconception that many outside the U.S. government have is that the Secret Service is part of the FBI or the CIA. It is neither. Since 2003, the Secret Service has been part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This happened when DHS was created after the 9/11 attacks. Prior to this, the Secret Service was part of the Department of the Treasury. Now here’s a bit of historical irony that you can impress (or bore) your family with around the dinner table tonight: President Lincoln’s last official act as President was signing legislation authorizing the creation of the Secret Service. The date was April 14, 1865. Later that evening, he and Mrs. Lincoln attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre, just blocks from the White House. Although he had just authorized the creation of the Secret Service, President Lincoln had no Secret Service protection that night. It wasn’t until July 5, 1865, that the Service officially came into being after approval by Congress. But, the Secret Service wasn’t created to protect the president. That assignment wouldn’t come for another 36 years. During the time of the Civil War, it was estimated that between 1/3 and 1/2 of all currency in circulation in the United States was counterfeit. As a result, the Secret Service was created to combat the production and passing of counterfeited U.S. currency. It wasn’t until the assassination of President McKinley in 1901 that Congress mandated that the Service protect the President of the United States. In 1968, after the assassination of democratic presidential candidate, Senator Robert Kennedy, the Secret Service’s protection responsibilities were expanded to include the protection of major presidential

candidates. Today the Secret Service is responsible for the protection of the president and vice president, their spouses and children, former presidents and spouses (for life), major presidential and vicepresidential candidates and their spouses, foreign heads of state/ heads of government and their spouses (when on American soil), and the planning, coordination and implementation of security operations at national major events within the U.S. such as the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games. Although the Secret Service is no longer under the Department of the Treasury, it continues to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency as well as other financial crimes against the government to include bank fraud, access device fraud, illicit financing operations, identity theft, and network intrusions. Also, because of the Patriot Act, the Secret Service established and maintains Electronic Crimes Task Forces throughout the United States and internationally. They are responsible for the investigation of electronic crimes, focusing on potential terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure and financial payment systems. Even though the Secret Service has a dual mission (protection and investigations), it is protection that most people think of when they think of the Secret Service. For me it was by far the most interesting and unique aspect of the job and the sole reason I became a Special Agent with the Secret Service. Agents, like anybody else in our society, have their own individual political views, opinions, and party affiliations. However, on the job, agents are A-political. Politics understandably cannot have any bearing on the execution of an agent’s duties. Protection operations are extremely detailed, time consuming, sometimes tense, and often require days and even weeks away from home. Some assignments are boring (i.e. standing post all night in a hotel hallway for hours on end) or miserable (standing post in a suit in the snow or rain for hours on end) or are overly strenuous and don’t go as planned.

For example, a protectee may change his/her schedule at the last minute, rendering days or even weeks-worth of Secret Service advance work, null and void. When protectees change plans at the last minute or in mid-stream, agents must scramble to set up entirely new operations plans, resulting in agents getting little to no sleep sometimes for several days on end. This can also result in being away from home much longer than originally scheduled. But, there are also times where agents do come out ahead. An example of this would be when a foreign dignitary coming into the United States first touchdown on American soil is in Hawaii. This becomes the point where Secret Service protection begins and will continue for the duration of his U.S. visit. Agents fly out to Hawaii prior to the scheduled arrival. Once in Hawaii, if the foreign dignitary has postponed the trip for three days, nobody complains because the agents just got three days paid vacation in Hawaii complements of the US Government. However, in all honesty, this doesn’t happen very often. The sense of duty, unity, and camaraderie, shared by the agents is extremely strong; a brotherhood, a second family. Agents know the importance of their mission and the potential catastrophic outcome if things go wrong. Agents are prepared to deal with changing situations, schedules, and environments. It’s just part of the job. Most of us thrive on the challenges. Being a Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service was a fascinating job that I would have paid the government to do. I absolutely loved it and it was an incredible time in my life. Outside of my family and close friends, the Secret Service was the most important thing in my life. Agents are frequently asked about the personal side of those whom we protect; their personalities, demeanor, what do they discuss when not in the public eye, are they friendly, etc. Although not classified information, a protectee’s personal life is just that; personal. I would never discuss anything that shed a bad light on any protectee’s personal life. However, over the years I witnessed, and was told by fellow agents of experiences that reveal the true colors and human side of protectees when the cameras were off with no press present. During these moments they weren’t politicians, they were just regular people off the clock. The human side was often refreshing to see. If you have questions you would like to ask the agent, please send them to secretservice@diablogazette.com. Select questions will be answered in a Q and A format in future editions.

Diablo Gazette • AUGUST 2017 • Page 20 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990

farmerfresh by Debra Morris,Pacific Coast Farmers Market http://www.pcfma.org/concord

Crenshaw Melons are a Treat From the Heat It’s melon season! Hot August days bring forth the Crenshaw melon in all its sweet glory. The Crenshaw is a hybrid melon with very sweet, juicy orange flesh. Crenshaws are among the sweetest of melons, making them a popular melon during their peak season between July and September. The Crenshaw, also spelled Cranshaw, resembles the Casaba melon. A cross between a casaba and a Persian melon, it is mostly spherical in shape and tapers to a rounded point. Crenshaw melons are quite large, averaging 8 to 10 pounds in weight. The hard rind is a lovely yellowish-green and has a corrugated texture with no “netting” look to it as you would see on a cantaloupe. The melon’s skin turns golden-yellow at the peak of ripeness and will have slightly waxy feel. The flesh is a gorgeous rich salmon pink with a large seeded area in the middle. It is a very sweet melon with slightly spicy undertones. This melon lacks the “melon” fragrance of most other varieties of melon. Use it in fruit salads, wrap slices with prosciutto, blend into a smoothie or melon margarita, or just eat out of hand. Look for melons that feel heavy for their size and yields slightly at the blossom end. Keep uncut ripe melons refrigerated for up to three days before

using. Fresh-picked from the farm at your local farmers’ market, these melons can be found at Bautista Ranch of Stockton, Resendiz Farms from Hughson, La Chiquita Farms out of Castroville, and other local farms. You will find better quality and freshness at your farmers’ market, which means flavors and textures are at their optimum peak. So stop by and pick up the best that our California farmers have to offer. See you at the market! Crenshaw Melon Salad with Mozzarella 2 cups of cold, bite-size Crenshaw melon cubes or balls 1 cup of bite-size fresh mozzarella balls or cubes 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves Small pinch of salt Small pinch of crushed red pepper (optional) Put melon chunks and mozzarella in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, mint, salt, and crushed red pepper. Pour dressing over the melon and mozzarella then toss to combine. Serve immediately. Recipe: PCFMA Staff

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