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

from the publisher by David King

The Secret is Out Lets Celebrate! We are honored and excited here at Diablo Gazette for our new Secret Service Insider column, (pg3). This column will share true life experiences from a veteran agent who now lives in Concord. He is still a federal agent so we have chosen not to reveal his name. It is such a rare job, shrouded in secrecy, laden with critical responsibilities to protect us all, we are certain you will find the stories interesting and entertaining. I am personally looking forward to each month’s entry. I hear there will be many. You know what I like most about July 4th celebrations? The accumulation of small parties and events makes it great big festival to kick off summertime and the start of the vacation season.

Check out our Calendar of Events (pg.9) for a complete list of Fourth of July events in our area as well as other summer activities to come. If you are a parent who finds that sending your kid off to college to start their own independent life is an emotional event, then you will enjoy the Journey-man’s Journal in this edition. (pg. 8) As always there’s more to read and experience on our website Diablogazette. com. Please follow our facebook page for daily updates and announcements. Thank you all for reading the Diablo Gazette. Please support your local businesses, and the advertisers you see in this publication.

Ship a Canoe, and Other Things, Too Pak Mail Owner Enjoys the Challenge by David King

I recently read a list on the internet of the 10 most boring jobs. Shipping was at or near the top of the list. It had a 2.94 enjoyment rating. I’m not sure what that really meant, but it sounded official. In thinking about postal services, many times when excitement happens there, it’s bad news…really bad news. So maybe it’s a representative list after all. However, this article is about the entrepreneurial spirit that resides in small business owners that suggests such lists are unfounded. I had met Terry Edwards from Martinez. Years ago, Edwards was a division manager of the Safeway bakery department. He was ready to retire and own his own business. Having been to a UPS Store, he was intrigued with the different services it provided, each with its own revenue stream for the business. Now, he owns a Pak Mail franchise location on Main St., downtown Martinez. Pak Mail is known for its custom packing and shipping services for large oversized, awkwardly shaped items. I wonder if this boring job list existed when Edwards bought this business eleven years ago. In speaking with Edwards, his enjoyment needle just keeps rising. For Edwards, he takes special pride in his work and recognizes the service he is providing. With shipping and receiving requests to and from anywhere, he has discovered that he’s performing services not just for the Martinez community, but for the entire world. Nothing displays this fascination better

than the map of the world on his wall speckled in colored push pins. Each pin is a destination of a shipment he has had to make. Every continent except Antarctica is dotted with colored push pins. It’s an understated wall ornament, until you understand what it represents. “Each pin has a unique story behind it,” he says. Pak Mail’s business specialty is to help ship the hard stuff. “I have been challenged to ship all sorts of items including furniture, art, all sorts of things,” Edwards says naming some of the more odd requests. “I’ve shipped 7 tons of exercise equipment, pallets of 30 tons of liquid road, and fertilizer for soccer fields, to United Arab Emirates. I’ve shipped a tractor, and a trailer, and a grandfather clock.” Most recently when I visited his store, he was preparing to ship a canoe to Mississippi. The canoe filled the hall, covered in protective plastic wrap waiting for the crate that Edwards will custom build. Such challenges become personal, creative projects that when completed reward him with a sense of satisfaction as any well done accomplishment would. Edwards also happens to be serving as President of Downtown Main Street Association and had been on its board for the past eight years. So why does Edwards show so much enthusiasm towards his business when online studies says he should be bored? It’s because he has a great positive attitude. Difficult tasks are challenges to him, not hardships. His passion is infectious and it’s refreshing to witness.

Clayton Update Clayton’s 4th of July: Clayton once again transforms into that “Norman Rockwell” Howard Geller, Mayor of Clayton community we all love as we celebrate America’s Independence Day. Our 4th of July Parade volunteer committee comprised of City officials and volunteers has worked hard organizing, embracing sponsors and parade volunteers to make this year’s celebration a memorable one, “Hats Off to Clayton.” We still need volunteers. If you plan on being at the parade, please contact Janet Brown, our City Clerk, to be a short-stint volunteer for crowd safety, clean up or barricade duty. Janet can be reached at 673-7304. Each donation is always appreciated to help defray the cost of this communityled event. The 4th of July seems to bring out the patriotism in all of us as we don our red, white and blue. The Star Spangled Banner flies and our streets are lined with cheering crowds. Elected officials are driven in showcase convertibles down Main Street, USA. The uncontested highlight of each parade remains – it is the hundreds of children with painted faces and patriotic clothing riding bikes with furled streamers or walking down America’s Main Street. Moms and Dads pushing baby carriages with our future generation are proud to be part of this great day as they instill lasting memories with their children. There are floats from community organizations, while horseback riders remind us of our special valley heritage. Background music trumpets famous patriotic songs as our Master of Ceremony, “CW”, gives tribute to those who pass the grandstand. This is an event not to be missed and you will still have plenty of time for your backyard BBQ. Come on down and proudly celebrate America with us. “Do the Right Thing” Program: At the last City Council meeting, I was once again privileged to give Certificates of Recognition honoring local youth selected by their teachers for our “Do the Right Thing” citizen values. We recognized 18 students chosen for their acts of Courage or Integrity. A packed house of proud parents and friends overflowed into the hallway. During the past year, the City recognized over 50 students living American traits of Courage, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect, Kindness and Self-Discipline. The Clayton Business and Community Association Scholarship Program (CBCA): The CBCA continued its program of awarding monetary scholarships to worthy collegebound students. To be considered for a scholarship, students needed to write an essay, have an exceptional grade-point

average and pass an interview conducted by the CBCA Scholarship Committee. The committee always comes away feeling the Clayton community has wonderful children we can certainly be proud of. These young adults know the difference between right and wrong. They care about their peers, their future, their community and about our future. CBCA & VESTIA: Once again, the Clayton Business and Community Association will be collecting for the VESTIA program. Sue White and her committee are looking for donations of backpacks and school supplies to distribute to less fortunate students. Please call 672-2272 to donate or obtain further information about this very worthwhile cause. Concerts In The Grove Park: With our first two Saturday Concerts behind us, we have eight more. Here is July’s line: July 2nd - “Pride and Joy” - One of the most sought-after Pop/Soul bands in the Bay Area singing the sounds of Motown’s greatest hits, including the best of the Temptations and the Supremes. July 9th – “The Retromaniax” - an exciting Party Band delivering a high energy show providing a wide variety of danceable hits from the 1970s through today, including Motown, 80s Pop, Latin, Rock, R&B & Top 40 favorites. July 16th – “The Houserockers” - This 10-piece powerhouse Rock and Soul band plays the greatest songs recorded. They are known for their high energy that gets everyone up dancing to the music of the Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Springstein and many more. July 23rd – “Larry Lynch and the Mob” - Playing exciting, energetic music that appeals to the masses and keeps your feet tapping with an expansive song list spanning seven decades. July 30th – “Cut Loose”Rocking the East Bay and beyond…with the remarkable vocals of Hillary Lee, a tight rhythm section and over 80 years of combined stage experience, Cut Loose will make you want to dance, sway and sing along, fueled by their passion for Rock, Blues and Soul. Clayton’s Farmers’ Market: Our Farmers’ Market is in full swing at its new location starting July 2nd in the KinderCare parking lot next to the Clayton Historical Museum. Local corn arrives from Brentwood and the strawberries could not be any sweeter. Freshly picked fruit is ripe and ready to eat. This is certainly a great time of year to feast healthy and support our local farmers. Direct comments to Howard Geller, Mayor of Clayton at: Hgeller@ci.clayton.

Thank You For Reading

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Secret Service Insider Stories from a Former Agent

Not Just for Parmigiana Anymore

Evolution of the Secret Service

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


farmerfresh by Debra Morris,

Pacific Coast Farmers Market

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 Fords theatre, just blocks from the White House. At approximately 10:15 p.m., John Wilkes Booth entered the private box where the First Family was seated and fired a single .44 caliber bullet into the back of President Lincoln’s head. The assassin’s bullet would claim the life of the nation’s 16th president at 7:22 the following morning. 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

Story continues on page 13...

Almost everyone has had Eggplant Parmigiana, or Ratatoulle, or Baba Ganoush, pretty standard recipes for using eggplant. But have you tried big slabs of eggplant on the grill, or roasted tomato eggplant pasta sauce, or stuffed eggplant? Eggplant is very versatile and easily prepared. It has long been used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, but now finding its footing in Western cooking. It is also used frequently in vegan and vegetarian cooking because it has a meaty texture. Also called an aubergine, it is a beautiful vegetable unto itself, with varieties that range from egg-shaped to long and narrow, or large and oblong to tiny and round. Colors range from almost pure

white to mellow orange to deep rich purple. They are very easy to prepare and cook, can be added to almost any dish, and are readily available. Most vegetable growers have one variety or another. Check out Borba Farms from Aromas, Thao Family Farms from Sacramento, or FT Fresh Farm from Fresno for really nice eggplant in many shapes and sizes. While the different varieties have slightly different tastes and textures, generally eggplant has a mild to slightly bitter taste and a spongy texture that absorbs whatever flavors are in the recipe. The skin can be eaten or removed, though the white variety has a tougher skin and should be cut off. Stop by and get some recipes using eggplant at your farmers’ market and talk with the farmers about how they use it. You’ll get some great ideas!now. They are low in calories and have substantial vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. All have mild flavors that go well with almost anything.

Spiced Italian Eggplant 3 small Italian eggplants 2 tablespoons of preserved lemons 1 garlic clove 1 teaspoon of paprika 1 tablespoon of cumin

2 teaspoons of coriander 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 cup olive oil Parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine seasonings, half of the olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Slice eggplants in half length-wise, score them, and place on baking pan skin side down. Drizzle the other half of olive oil on the eggplant and allow it to soak in. Pour seasoning mixture over eggplant halves. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or until tender. Roughly chop parsley and use as garnish. Recipe: Chef Mario Hernandez, PCFMA Cookin’ the Market.

Carondelet Grad Wins 2016 ABC-7 Star Scholar Congratulations to Giovy Webb. She Bay Area. Each school nominated up was the lone student from Contra Costa to four students who met the criteria, County to be chosen as one of seven which included having a 3.5 GPA and Star Scholars for 2016. This is the first time a student from Carondelet/DeLa Salle has won the prestigious award. ABC-7 Star Scholars is a scholarship and television opportunity recognizing the Bay Area’s top high school academic achievers. ABC7 Star Scholars will award $1,000 scholarships to seven local graduating high school seniors who are college-bound. Giovy Webb with her Yale penant These students will be profiled in stories featured in ABC-7 Newscasts as well a special program, “ABC-7 Star Scholars”. The committed to continued education at half-hour special will premiere Saturday, university or college. July 30 airing 7:30-8pm and run again Once nominated, each student on Sunday, August 7 from 1-1:30pm on application was reviewed by a ABC-7. panel of judges comprised of ABC“This is our 11th year of Star Scholar,” 7 representatives and community said Jennifer Rumple, producer and members. Once Star Scholars judge for Star Scholar. “It is intended semifinalists were chosen, each was to promote academic excellence by invited to the ABC-7 offices in San honoring and rewarding top achievers.” Francisco for in-person interviews. Invitations to participate in the ABC7 Star Scholars program were sent to hundreds of schools throughout the Continues on page 13...

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The Singing Barber by Maxine Thompson

Some people simply work harder than others. I can’t help but admire the energy and drive that fuels them. Their pursuit of happiness defines their success, exactly what our forefathers had intended in the Declaration of Independence? I recently had the grand opportunity to catch up with local business owner, Jerald Stroughter of International Barbershop and Salon in Antioch. He has one of the most respectable and state of the art barbershops in East County. But that’s not all that makes his business special. Walking in, you immediately feel the welcoming atmosphere, because Jerald is the differential advantage. He is the singing barber. Jerald wears many successful hats.

When he is not in the shop, you can find Jerald rehearsing with his band “A Touch of Velvet.” Jerald’s band performs often at various locations and events including at his own barbershop. He delights his audience (whether they are customers for service or just fans coming to enjoy the show) down memory lane by

White Pony Express Urgently Needs Volunteers for Deliveries White Pony Express (WPE), a nonprofit group dedicated to ending hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County, is calling for volunteers to help keep up with its rapid growth. WPE delivers fresh, top-quality food and high quality clothing, toys, and children’s books, all free of charge, from its Pleasant Hill warehouse to about 60,000 county residents in need.

A generous merchant at a Farmers Market donates fresh and nutritious food to a grateful White Pony Express volunteer.

Seven days a week, WPE Food Rescue volunteers take trucks to supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets where they pick up surplus food—high quality, nourishing food— that would ordinarily be thrown away. There are many generous donors to this vibrant food rescue program, including those located in Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek. After WPE volunteers sort the food, they deliver it to Contra Costa nonprofit groups that feed the hungry. All of this is done free of charge. “Our success has only been possible because of the selfless service of 400 volunteers who find great satisfaction and joy in being so helpful to others,” says Gary Conner, Executive Coordinator. “Going forward, our ability to help our neighbors is limited only by the number of people who join with us. Joy and delight radiate from a young We welcome more shopper leaving a Mobile Boutique. volunteers! We have many roles available with flexible schedules. Just give us a call!” In two and a half years, WPE has delivered more than 3,000,000 pounds of meat, dairy, eggs, produce, deli, and baked goods (equivalent to 2,500,000 meals) that would otherwise have gone to waste and that the hungry would have gone without. Interested volunteers should contact Mandy Nakaya at 925-818-6361 or email her at mandy@ For more on WPE, go to

crooning tunes such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, The Spinners “I’ll Be Around” or a medley of songs that he has penned himself. In addition to all of this, somehow he and wife L’Tanya find time to counsel and mentor young married couples as part of their Ministry. You see, Jerald is also an ordained minister. When asked where does all this energy come from? He simply replies “Only from God! I live in his loving kindness for the gifts he has given me. That keeps me moving forward.”

Jerald grooming a customer

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The Goodness of Grasses: Easy, Drought-Tolerant


By The Gardens at Heather Farms

Summer is here and the dry heat is on! During times of high temps and very low precipitation, gardeners are pushed to consider what plants work best in that kind of environment. When we consider what a droughttolerant plant looks like, cacti and succulents quickly come to mind. Though these sorts of species are clearly drought-tolerant, they bring with them a heavy task-list and lots of labor to prepare the garden for planting. In many cases, soil needs to be thoroughly amended to provide adequate drainage, especially when planting into our native adobe clay soils. But is there something else we could use that provides dry-season beauty without so much work? Ornamental grasses are extremely drought-tolerant, low-maintenance (cut back once a year), and provide decorative garden interest through all four seasons. Commonly used specimens like deer grass and purple pennisetum work well; but they are so prevalent in gardens

Ornaments for Your Garden

around this area, you might want to explore some more unusual species to really make your plantings stand out. Great alternative options we highly recommend are pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and giant

sacaton (Sporobolis wrightii). Pink muhly grass is certainly one of the most stunning grasses readily available. During the fall, its iridescent pink inflorescences, or flower heads, will have all of your gardening friends

begging you for the name of that plant! It tolerates nearly any soil condition and is incredibly drought-tolerant once established. Even at maturity, it doesn’t grow much beyond 3-feet square, leaving plenty of garden real estate for your other creative ideas. Giant sacaton is an excellent candidate when you’re looking to design a multi-leveled viewing experience. It doesn’t overgrow its plot, but will reach heights of 5-7 feet. The puffy inflorescences will remain attractive all through the winter months. Paired with some shorter specimens like pink muhly, you can achieve a gorgeous, unique display of grasses with a minimal amount of effort and care. Try complimenting the stately look of these grasses with some solar up-lighting for added drama after dark. Now you’ve got a show!

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aRt Cottage by Frogard Butler

aRt Cottage is Expanding Frogard Butler, owner of Concord’s aRt Cottage is excited. “ARt Cottage is expanding into a complex!” The aRt Cottage is well known in the creative world of Concord and surrounding communities as a quaint and intimate venue that provides a comfortable environment for artists and art

gathered from available items at the cottage. Each student (whether in the same class or group) may be working on a different project that is uniquely theirs. aRt Cottage allows for ceramics, oil painting, watercolor, mixed media, building from recycled material, sewing costumes, theatre and

aficionados who enjoy honing their skills and learning various disciplines. It continues to grow in popularity. “The property attached to the backyard of aRt Cottage is becoming a part of the artistic learning experience.” Fro says. “This is where we have a barn, flowers, and animal murals.” It is also been a valuable destination for parents looking for activities for students during summer break. In fact, the aRt Cottage has a lot of new activity this summer. Classes have grown and the aRt Cottage is now actively mentoring 20 students per week. Each student comes at an arranged time on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis. “At the aRt Cottage we believe in emergent curriculum,” Fro says. In other words the students choose the projects they want to work on and the materials and supplies are

drama, murals on an old barn, and so much more. The creative mind of the student, whether age 9 or 99, drives the project. Each month, the aRt cottage features local artists with rotating shows. The Gallery Exhibit for July will feature Mixed Media and Collage as well as other work running July 5 through July 31. The public is invited to join in the fun for some good art, refreshments, and conversation at the Artists Reception on Thursday, July 7th from 7 - 9 pm. . If you are looking for something fun to do for the summer for you or your family, the aRt Cottage may be the perfect recreation to consider. Give them a call (925) 9563342 or drop in at 2238 Mt. Diablo Street. Learn more on their website

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Summer Home Selling Tips Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor

If you’re thinking about selling your home, now is a great time! It’s estimated that fifty percent of homes are sold in the summer, making this the best season to get your house on the market. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your summer listing. Make all the needed repairs. If your home needs some obvious repairs, be sure to tackle them before you list. There’s no need to slow up the closing process by haggling with potential buyers over the cost of repairs. And since summer will give you the best weather in which to work, there’s really no reason to put those fixes off. Focus on the outside. Everyone tends to spend more time outdoors in the summer, so be sure to spend some time getting the outside areas of your house ready for showing. Keep your lawn fertilized, watered and trimmed and add colorful annual blooms to beds and containers. Add cozy seating areas to decks and porches and set up a grilling station with a barbecue and tools. Make sure your pool is clean and ready for use and add some pretty rolled up beach towels to lounge chairs around the perimeter. You want your outdoor spaces to look as inviting as possible and serve as extensions of the indoor living space. Cool it off. Once the dog days of summer hit, remember to keep it cool inside. Have the air conditioning serviced and turn it on before any potential buyers visit. You should consider keeping the

thermostat a little lower than usual, since people will be opening and closing doors and windows. Set out pitchers of ice water or lemonade and keep the fridge stocked with other cold drinks. Offer some light snacks that will encourage buyers to linger a little longer. Keep it light. When you’re showing your home, you want to have as much light inside as possible. Remove heavy drapes from windows and open all the blinds. Tie back lighter curtains and turn on inside lights. Make sure the windows are clean, especially when there’s a nice view on the outside. If you’re showing your home in the evening, be sure all the outdoors areas are well lit. You can easily add some inexpensive solar lights along the walk to the front door or some romantic string lights on your back deck. Get the air moving. Nothing is worse than a stuffy house, and in the summer the air can get a little stagnant when the windows remain closed. If you have ceiling fans, be sure to give them a good cleaning and then turn them on to provide some cool circulation. Bring the outdoors in. Just like taking your indoor areas out by adding furniture on decks and patios, bring the outside in with plants and flowers. Nothing beats a beautiful vase of colorful roses, which will also add a lovely light fragrance to the room. If selling your home is in your future, why not give yourself the best possible chance by putting your house on the market during the hottest season of the year? There’s no time like the present! Compliments of SEEOUR AD ON PAGE 6

So, Who’s Watching Out For You? RMM computercorner

By William Claney, Computers USA

Each day the crime against your computers, laptops and cell phones gets more intense and the ransom demanded to “fix” your computer becomes more expensive. The standard “fix” from the cyber criminals is now costing over $500.00 with a promise from them that everything will be okay, just trust them and allow them to have access to your computer so they can “help” you. Wow, if that scam doesn’t scare the stuffing’s out you, perhaps nothing will. I suppose the question becomes, who’s watching out for you? Is your antivirus strong enough to protect you? Are the Cyber-Criminals outrunning your best efforts to keep them out? Are you spending a great deal of time upgrading and reviewing the latest threats? Well, for some of you, this is like a game – good guys vs. bad guys starring Ronald Reagan and Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo. For the rest of us, it’s not a game, it is real life and your individual efforts may not be good enough, besides, who’s got the time to invest in learning antihacking techniques, constantly update software, patch faulty programs (even if you knew which ones to patch) and monitor the health of your computer… when all you want to do is surf the web? Perhaps the good guys now have the upper hand thanks to technology and some very savvy geeks who have invented

RMM. RMM, or Remote Monitoring and Management systems use massive computer power and acres of servers, cloud based storage systems and crime fighting Enterprise levels of protection that may finally give the good guys the upper hand. All the protection you need for under ten bucks a month. Think about it. Standard antivirus costs about that on a monthly basis. But, you do all the work to keep it working. For about the same price hire a local geek and it’s their job to keep an eye on the criminals for you. Besides fighting crime, we know when a hard drive is about to crash and can tell you, or we know when to patch software and do it for you. Easy. RMM systems have been in development for years but mostly for large Fortune 500 companies, however, one now exists for smaller users. These systems have made health monitoring and Enterpirse level Anti-Virus service available to companies like ours. Our geeks now have the tools to monitor, repair and maintain your computer health that will protect your system locally. Bad guys, Ronny’s got SDI. See your “LOCAL” computer dealer for details. If they don’t have them, we do.

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Book Review: Americanah bookends

by Jill Hedgecock,

Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club Summer reading can take the form of breezing through light and easy beach novels or tackling a complex literary tome. Americanah (2014, Anchor, paperback edition, $9.04) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie meets the latter criteria, weighing in at 588 pages. But rest assured, this meaty read is well worth investing a chunk of your dog days. Americanah opens with the primary character, Ifemelu, setting out to have her hair braided in a New Jersey hair salon—one of her last tasks before she voluntarily departs the United States to return to Nigeria. Despite attending Princeton, overcoming cultural hurdles, and running a successful blog business, she wants to leave her comfortable life in United States. How can that be? This tantalizing premise compels readers to turn the page. Ifemelu is both saucy and smart, but she can be tragically naïve and prone to make self-destructive decisions. Obinze, her Nigerian sweetheart, delivers an equally compelling tale of his immigration woes in Europe and rise to success back in Nigeria. Their romance spans continents. Ifemelu’s aunt, Uju, enjoys a comfortable lifestyle in her homeland as the mistress to a military leader, but when his plane crashes, she must flee her country. Uju perseveres as she repeatedly

tries to become a medical doctor in the United States while raising her son and continues to make questionable romantic choices. Set in Nigeria, the United States, and England, this novel examines immigration, racism, deportation, the desperation of poverty, and the intricacies of family and love. Sweeping in scope and difficult subject matter, Adichie’s skilled storytelling keeps readers turning the page through the richness of her characters. By the end of the book, I had a whole new compassion for immigrants, an appreciation of the uniqueness of each one’s experience, as well as an understanding of the emotional challenges they face after returning to their native country. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria and the authenticity with which she tells this story shines through the page. In addition to being the Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Americanah has been selected as a New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year, an NPR “Great Reads” Book, a Chicago Tribune Best Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick. Adichie also delivers a wonderful TED talk on the dangers of having a “single story” about racial differences.

Reflections on the Warriors Season by Richard Eber

Actually, it did not take the 89-93 loss by the Golden State Warriors in the 7th game of the NBA championship game long to resonate. By the time all of this drama unfolded, the loyal fan base including myself were exhausted. It seemed like the hoops season had been going on forever. Counting exhibition contests, the 81-game schedule, and play-offs, over eight months had elapsed. Every game was considered to be important, since each game became an opportunity to break another NBA record. It did not matter that our home boys came up short and the Warriors had found themselves on the wrong side of yet another milestone – they were the first team to lose an NBA Championship after mounting a three-games-to-one advantage. How ironic that that would happen to this team, of all teams! At the end of the day, the Warriors loss could hardly be construed as a tragedy. Broken hearts of sports fans mend quickly. Is it really important who wins a particular division, game, or series? Even when prayers to higher powers are uttered to influence outcomes, the answer is emphatically no! There are other things in life such as health, happiness, and prosperity which count much more. Do we really want our lives, or even our happiness to be determined by whether a 3-point jump shoot will swish thru the net, or if a 7’ 1” Zombie can convert a free thrown in the waning seconds of a game? Despite the short-lived depression we might feel with the Warriors loss, the team gave us a lot of pleasure. The Warriors had re-energized professional

basketball. The nation tuned in to watch our Warriors with a resounding ratings windfall, peaking at 44 million viewers by end of the final game, the highest numbers since 1998. Despite the loss, the Oakland community had found a badly needed distraction and an exuberant source of pride and unity that transcended the usual myopic sportsmania. Virtually all of us identified with their creed “strength in numbers” and the team’s desires to play together like a finely tuned instrument. We were able to marvel at the ballet-like precision that defined the Warriors. Had they become the new Globetrotters? They showed us the religion of excellence, that there is always a higher level to attain. During this odyssey of basketball, reality seemed to be suspended rather surrealized. (It’s in the Urban Dictionary). The Warriors were ours, and Steph Curry had moved into our neighborhood. With the end of the NBA Play-offs, we are now free to unbuckle our seat belts and go back to weeding the garden, or painting a long forgotten fence, reading a book, focusing on our work, or taking mother to lunch. So to Curry, Thompson, Green, Kerr, Iguodala, Barnes, “Mo Buckets” and the rest of the gang, as Bob Hope aptly put it, “Thanks for the Memories”. You were a class act. We definitely enjoyed the magical ride. As long as this season had seemed, the off-season may feel even longer as I jump back in line to wait for another ride next year when we go all the way.

journey-man’s journal

by John Cooper

An Unintended Adventure in San Luis Obispo

Not all adventures in life are travel private and spacious; on both counts I bound. Sometimes, major life changes could not argue. Further, my son reaare the start of a metaphorical journey. soned, “there are four rugby guys that live For example, when a first born first leaves in the two-bedroom house, but I have the home; it’s a new chapter in one’s life entire garage to myself because nobody journal “The Adventures of Parenting”. I else wanted it”. That’s true, I thought to am sure many of you can relate to the asmyself, there’s not a lot of competition to sault on emotions that moment provides, live in an unimproved garage. To comwhether experienced or anticipated. plete the discussion, my daughter replied, My latest adventure was really inadver- “besides Dad, it smelled like death in that tent as I spent last Sunday, Father’s Day, house”, not unexpected from a house full moving my son Ryan into his first “home of rugby players. away from home” in San Luis Obispo. While we loaded and unloaded boxes Although he actually spent the last year living in the freshman dorms while attending Cal Poly University, the big move last weekend from campus life into a single family home qualified in my mind as his first real move, and an introduction into adulthood. Perhaps, I should explain myself. When I said he’s living in a single family home, what I really meant was that he’s living in a garage located at the rear of the property of the home. The two room home, as it turned out, was already occupied by four other students, but the unimproved garage was open and available for anyone desperate or crazy enough to occupy; and it appeared my child had both credentials. Before I could judge my son’s condition Ryan and his pygmy goat unfavorably, he was quick to remind me that his choice of living conditions had of all his worldly possessions, he began to in fact many positive attributes not the tell me of all the plans he had for the layleast of which was that it was both very out of his new pad. “The mini-fridge will

probably stay right there in the corner” he a strict financial budget. In short, it cost said while moving his dirt bike motorcyjust short of nothing, but worked very cle closer to the bed, “and the Christmas well as intended. lights will be great hanging from the open I was invited into Topher’s pen to take rafters”. The full-sized cow hide will act a few photos and play, but also warned as carpeting, and numerous couches will of his penchant for head-butting people. be lined throughout the garage, in the One might normally find this characterisevent a party breaks out; tic less endearing, a very real possibility in but it was quite college. fitting for the As we looked around rugby boys. and discussed the possibilAs the day unities, Ryan said “follow me folded, I thought and I’ll show you where to myself, how Topher lives”. Topher is do you really a pygmy goat who acts as know whether the Cal Poly Rugby team’s or not you’ve mascot as well as the chief been a successful lady-magnet during parfather? There are ties; who doesn’t want to a number of criparty with a pygmy goat? teria to consider I wondered if he’s worn a I suppose, but in Hawaiian shirt at previous my definition of parties, but was afraid to success, if your ask. kid is healthy, As it turned out, Topher happy, respectful lives just outside the and considerate, garage in a handmade pen then it’s hard to constructed of recycled argue that you Ryan at his garage door wire, wood, twine, and haven’t been an assortment of other successful. While paraphernalia pilfered, or should I say some father’s measure success by the ac“borrowed”, from various places around cumulation of wealth, sometimes success town. It was everything you might and happiness is as simple as living in a imagine coming from an Environmental garage and taking care of a head-butting, Protection and Management major on pygmy goat.

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The Diablo Gazette’s

July 2016

CALENDAR OF EVENTS begins at 6 pm. Bring a picnic and a blanket to sit on the grass, and wish our nation and musical happy birthday!


Clayton: July 4th Parade The town of Clayton will once again celebrate its community with the annual July Fourth Parade in downtown Clayton on July 4, 2016. The 2016 theme is “Hats Off To Clayton.” The parade down Main Street will start promptly at 10 am with kids lining up down Oak Street in wagons, on bicycles and on roller skates. Concord: Festival Starts at 4 pm, Fireworks at 9 pm, Monday July 4th, 2016 Mt. Diablo High School, 2450 Grant St., Concord The spirit and success of this event with the fireworks show has quickly made this celebration as one of Concord’s signature events. The family friendly celebration includes a carnival, live music, food booths, local vendors, and of course, an incredible fireworks show. Pleasant Hill: Pleasant Hill College Park High School for a truly spectacular fireworks display. 201 Viking Dr, Pleasant Hill. This crowd-pleaser is an exciting treat for the whole family. Make yourself comfortable in the grass at the soccer field and be prepared for a dazzling presentation of fireworks and live music. It all takes place right here in Pleasant Hill at College Park High School, located on Viking Drive just west of Contra Costa Blvd (between Morello & Contra Costa Blvd).The fireworks begin at dusk, around 9:10 pm. Arrive early enough to enjoy the music prior to the fireworks, provided live by Sugadady Band. The music will begin at approximately 7:15 PM and will continue until the fireworks display begins. Admission is free. Martinez: 4th of July Parade Downtown Martinez, Monday, July 4, 8am-10am - Pancake Breakfast Sponsored by Roxx on Main, 627 Main St. 9am-9:15am - Flag Raising Ceremony, Veterans Memorial Building, 930 Ward St. 10am - Hometown Parade on Main St. Parade begins at Court St. & Main St. Ends at Alhambra Ave. & Main You’re invited to the 8th Annual 4th of July Parade in downtown Martinez. Over 40 entries including many community groups will march down Main Street. Walnut Creek: The Walnut Creek Concert Band will celebrate Independence Day with a free concert at Civic Park, Civic and Broadway, on July 4. The music

Benicia: July 4th, 12 noon – 7 p.m. Picnic in the Park & Fireworks, First Street. This event is a wonderful way to spend the 4th! Benicia’s City Park is filled with arts and crafts, delicious hot food, live entertainment and children’s activities. Fireworks start about 9 p.m. at the foot of First Street making this a great event for the whole family.

Clayton Farmer’s Market is Moving The Clayton Farmers’ Market is moving to a bigger and better location at Main and Morris streets in the Kindercare parking lot. To celebrate the new location, they are adding several new vendors, balloons, face painting, crafts, and more from 8:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday, July 2nd. Lynette Miscione, Clayton Farmers’ Market manager, says the move will, “… make this market the best Clayton has ever seen. The market will be growing this season. With the support of the local community, we hope to make this market a go-to weekend event for families and foodies alike.” Producers will be offering a colorful variety of seasonal California produce, from summer favorites like sweet strawberries,

juicy stone fruit, peppers, corn, and melons, to September’s apples, figs, and grapes. Throughout the season, patrons can enjoy an array of musical entertainment, activities for both kids and adults, and other seasonal events. All PCFMA farmers’ markets accept WIC-FMNP (Woman, Infants, and Children Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) coupons, CalFresh EBT, and offer Market Match benefits. Market Match allows CalFresh shoppers to receive up to $10 in free produce per day when using their CalFresh benefits at the farmers’ market.

Jazz at the Lesher Center July 30 - August 27 Walnut Creek’s Jazz Series comes out swinging in 2016! 4 Great Shows only $125 Saturdays at 5 pm & 8 pm.

albums as a leader.

Geri Allen Quartet, July 30, Celebrated pianist Geri Allen is a Guggenheim Fellow and NAACP Award recipient. A respected composer and educator, Ms. Allen’s many honors also include the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Jazz Legacy Award and has released 20

Warren Vaché Quintet, August 6, A trumpet/cornet player with a distinctively warm and sophisticated sound, Mr. Vaché has played all the major halls and festivals of Europe, Asia and the U.S. with such artists as Rosemary Clooney, Benny Goodman, Hank Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Bobby Short, and Benny Carter. Arturo Sandoval, August 20, This legendary Cuban trumpet player has won four Grammys, six Billboard Awards and an Emmy (for the score of an HBO movie based on his own life). He has played at the Academy Awards with Celine Dion, the Grammy Awards with Justin Timberlake and the Super Bowl with Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle.

San Ramon: Independence Day Celebration July 4, 5:00 8:00pm, San Ramon Central Park Amphitheater, 12501 Alcosta Blvd Celebrate the 4th of July with a free concert featuring music from the iconic American rock band-The Eagles. Bring the entire family, some beach chairs and a picnic. The evening will begin with patriotic music performed by the San Ramon Symphonic Band, a salute to our Veterans and free crafts for the kids will round out the activities. Admission is FREE Additional Parking Available at Iron Horse Middle School There will be no fireworks display. Oakland: 8th Annual Oakland Symphony Independence Eve Celebration, Craneway Pavilion, 414 Harbour Way S, Richmond Sunday, July 3, 8:00 pm (Doors Open & Pre-Show: 6:30 pm) FAMILY FUN – LIVE MUSIC – FIREWORKS, 5:00pm: Paid parking will be available. 6:30pm: Doors open; performance by Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, 8:00pm: Oakland Symphony concert Sousa marches, music from the movies, sing-alongs & more! 9:15pm: Spectacular Fireworks Display over the water, accompanied by the Symphony

FUNDRAISERS Pancake Breakfast - Supporting Veterans of foreign Wars – 2nd and 4th Sundays includes eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. Willow Pass Road, Concord $5, $3 Children under 12. Mark O’Connor, appearing at the Lesher

Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing, August 27, With more than two million CDs sold, Grammy Award-winning violinist Mark O’Connor collaborates with artists ranging from Bela Fleck to Itzhak Perlman, from Wynton Marsalis to Yo-Yo Ma.

Now through July 3 “Hand to Heart” exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley is focusing on quilts, wood crafts, and other objects made to benefit the community. Diablo Woodworkers,

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CALENDAR CONTINUED both men and women build beautiful creations out of wood which they sell to raise funds for battered women’s programs, teaching disabled veterans, and a variety of children’s causes. For additional information contact: Carmen Curtis 837-9781 or Donna Hardman 820-1262. 205 Railroad Ave. in Danville.








July 13 - Clayton Valley Garden Club - Guest speaker will be Sara Leon Guerrero from HelpABee U.C.Berkeley at Diamond Terrace Retirement Living, 6401 Center Street, Clayton. Sara is the Urban Bee Lab manager and project manager for Farming for Native Bees Project. Native bees are docile and do most of the pollinating. They do not have hives. Business meeting is at 7PM. Speaker Presentation is at 8PM. http:// www.claytonvalleygardenclub. org/








Walnut Creek: Off the Grid Every Tuesday; 1380 N. California Blvd. from 5-9pm; Live music from 6-8 pm featuring, Quinn Deveuax , Food truck lovers rejoice! The community of Walnut Creek can come together to enjoy a variety of Off the Grid food trucks, live entertainment, wine and beer garden, and lots of tasty reasons to come back every Tuesday with family and friends for this ongoing weekly event. The rotating lineup of nine food trucks in Walnut Creek will include: Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, Gyro Stop Kebab G, ADOruBOwl, and IzzyA’s Frozen Custard Find the full lineup available at http://



Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays. Find the full lineup available at http://

Farmers’ Market


Danville: First Sunday of every •Month: Cars ‘n Coffee, On the First Sunday of every month, automotive enthusiasts gather in the parking lots of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum to share their vehicles and admire the other fabulous classics, exotics, rods and anything else with wheels and a motor. There is no fee for Cars & Coffee. Also, the Museum opens at 9am on Cars & Coffee Sundays. 8am - 10am , Blackhawk Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville p:925.736.2280,, http://www.blackhawkmuseum. org/carsncoffee.html




6095 MAIN ST



Saturdays • 8am - 12pm PCFMA.ORG


Life Around Mt. Diablo Photo Feature

July 1, 15 - Merry Mixers of Contra Costa hosts dances on the 1st & 3rd Fridays at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge at 1475 Creekside Drive in Walnut Creek. Bill Blankenship will give a complimentary dance lesson at 7:00 p.m. followed by live music at 7:30-10:30. Singles and couples welcome at $12 per person, free snacks, water, and coffee; no-host bar. Optional dinner at 6:30 is available for an additional $15. Scheduled: July 1 “Manny Gutierrez Quartet” & dinner choice of Grilled Ham Steak with Baked Beans, or Chicken Cordon Bleu with Rice, or Vegetarian July 15 “100pruf” & dinner choice of Marinated Flank Steak with Bernaise, or Grilled Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa, or Vegetarian Please call (925)969-9693 with any questions. August 4- Mt Diablo Amateur Radio Club - Ham Radio “EXTRA License” Training class starts. Thursday 08/04 at 06:30 pm (The EXTRA license is the 3rd and highest level Ham license) Morse Code is no longer required. Registration required so we can electronically send you class links and notices - Email: mailto:HamRadioClass@gmail. com and you will receive a registration form. Classes are held at The Salvation Army Corps, 3950 Clayton Rd., Concord CA 94521, Fireside Room Registration required.


Photo by Micah

Concord’s perennial DCI World Champions, Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, entertained an enthusiastic crowd during their Family Day Preview at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg in preparation for their 2016 Competitive Events and performances.

Saturday, July 2 & Aug 6 Free Fishing Clinic. Learn everything you’ve wanted to know about lake fishing. From bait and knots to trolling and cleaning, our experienced staff will provide tips to help you reel in the big one. Clinics are tailored to participants’ skill levels. Open to all ages. Come with questions. 9:00 AM-11:00 AM at Los Vaqueros Marina, 9990 Los Vaqueros road, Byron. For more information Contact: 925-3712628 Sunday, July 31- Fish Printing Art. 10:00 AM-11:30 AM -- Delve into fish form and function and investigate their aquatic lifestyles and then get crafty! Bring a T-shirt, pillowcase, canvas bag or something else to decorate as we print up some fishy works of art! Limited supply of blank T-shirts on hand for sale ($5 each). All ages, but young children will need close adult supervision and assistance. Galindo Home and Gardens - 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

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Downtown Clayton -

the 1875 addition by Francisco Galindo’s son, Juan “John” Galindo. Tours are Sundays 1pm – 4pm and by appointment. For further information, contact the Concord Historical Society www.

July 2 - Pride and Joy 6P-8:30PM Pride and Joy is one of the most sought-after Pop/Soul bands in the Bay Area singing the sounds of Motown’s greatest hits, including the best of the Temptations and the Supremes. Rhythm, perfect pitch and harmony from their four lead sing-ers, backed by a five piece spot on band, will keep you on your feet all night long. With 25 years of phenomenal success, this is a show not to miss! www.pridejoy. com

First Wednesdays Street Festival This family-friendly evening includes live music, a street full of local vendors, arts and crafts, and the aroma of tasty treats, both sweet and savory, under festive Tivoli lights as families stroll down Cypress. Free hot chocolate and apple cider are available to warm up the winter night. Every first Wednesday through June 2016. Admission: Free! Cypress Street, closed for foot traffic only between N. Main Street and Locust Street. THE SUMMER CONTRA COSTA CRYSTAL FAIR -August 6-7; The Pacific Crystal Guild has been presenting the Annual Summer Contra Costa Crystal Fair in Walnut Creek for the last 24 years. You will find a magical mix of crystals, minerals, beads, gems, jewelry and metaphysical healing tools. Thousands of items will be available at excellent prices, plus you can get a massage, have your aura read, and have a great psychic reading. Civic Park Community Center, 1375 Civic Drive at Broadway, Walnut Creek. Saturday, August 6, 10am - 6pm; Sunday, August 7, 10am - 4pm. Admission: $10 for the weekend (12 and under free) Email: or visit our website at


Clayton Saturdays 8am to 2 pm Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, rain or shine, Todos Santos Plaza. •Concord Thursdays, 4pm to 8pm, Todos Santos Plaza. Martinez, Farmers Market, Sundays, 10am to 2pm, yearround, Main St. and Estudillo. Walnut Creek Diablo Valley Farmers Market Saturday 9a.m. - 1 p.m. Shadelands Business Park, N. Wigett Lane and Mitchell Dr. Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. (925) 431-8361

VISUAL ARTS/THEATRE/ MUSIC Clayton – Concerts in the Grove

July 6th 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Car Show) 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Mixed Nuts (Concert) July 9 The Retromaniax The Retromaniax is an exciting Party Band delivering a high energy show providing a wide variety of fun, danceable hits from the 1970s through today, including: Motown, 80s Pop, Latin, Rock, R&B & Top 40 favorites. The Retromaniax will get you moving, singing, and dancing all night long. They are one of he best dance bands in San Francisco and the Bay Area. www. July 16 The Houserockers The Houserockers – This 10-piece powerhouse Rock and Soul band plays the greatest songs recorded. They are known for their high energy that gets everyone up dancing to the music of the Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Springstein and many more. They bring together elements of Rock, Swing, Blues, 60’s Soul and R & B. It’s going to be a party tonight. www. July 20th Tone Pony (concert) 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; (Car Show) 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. July 23 Larry Lynch and the Mob Larry Lynch and the Mob – Each band member in Larry’s band brings a unique talent and extensive live performance experience to the Mob. Together they play exciting, energetic music that appeals to the masses and gets everyone up on their feet and out onto the dance floor. Their expansive song list spans seven decades and they are ready to make their performance an event you won’t soon forget! July 30 Cut Loose Cut Loose – Guaranteed fun! “Cut Loose” rocks the East Bay and beyond…with the remarkable vocals of Hillary Lee, searing

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CALENDAR CONTINUED guitar leads of Steve McConnell and a tight rhythm section with over 80 years of combined stage experience. And, that’s not all! Cut Loose will make you want to dance, sway and sing along to their extensive catalogue of familiar songs fueled by a passion for Rock, Blues and Soul. Come on out and cut loose with Cut Loose. August 3rd PHD’s (Concert) 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. ; (Car Show) 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. August 13 Diamond Dave Diamond Dave – Entertaining Bay Area audiences for over 20 years, Dave is back for the 9th consecutive year. With capacity crowds at every Clayton Concert, he is truly one of Clayton’s favorites. His ability to cover classics of Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Timberlake, Lady Gaga and many other great artists is a tribute to his amazing talent. Showcased and singing the newest hits of our time will be daughters Kelly, Kaitland & Meghan.


Concord City Council, 1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, Council Chambers, 1950 Parkside Dr, Concord. Or watch online at citygov/agendas/council/ Concord Planning Commission 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7 p.m. Concord Chamber, Concord Civic Center 1950 Parkside Dr Clayton City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7pm. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Rd, Clayton. •Martinez City Council, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. City Hall, 7 pm, 525 Henrietta Street, Martinez. Or Listen online at http://www.granicus. com/streamingMediaHelp/ minimumSystem.htm, http://www. •Walnut Creek City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7 pm. Or watch online at granicus.asp •Pleasant Hill City Council, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 7:30 pm, Council Chambers of the Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Or follow online at media/


American Association of University Women - Concord Branch www. American Legion Post 171 - 5 p.m.

Concord Young Professionals Fights Cancer in

Relay for Life

By Melissa Rea, Events and Membership, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.

The Concord Young Professionals is a group of 21-39 year old professionals overseen by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, who have a passion for personal development, expanding professional networks, and determined to better their neighborhoods through volunteerism and activism on the local level. The young professionals have all been touched by cancer in some way, so American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Concord became an opportunity for them to join together with members of the community to recognize those battling cancer, remember those they have lost, and fight back against the disease. This is the second year the Concord Young Professionals have created a team to help fundraise, raise awareness and join the community to one day eliminate

cancer for our future generations. The progress made in cancer research and detection from previous generations to now has been tremendous with the death rate decreasing 23% from 1991 to 2015 according to American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures 2016”. Participating in Relay for Life Concord is one way CYP can contribute and support this fight. Everyone has been touched by cancer, whether it is a family member, a friend, a coworker, or an acquaintance. Relay for Life of Concord event is on July 16, 2016 from 10 am to 10 pm in Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. To find out more details regarding the event, create a team, or simply donate, visit

by A.W. Gensburger

The Year of Voting Dangerously

For most people, this election cycle has been the most contentious, most confusing, at least desirable, in what is our constitutional right to choose leadership. In the left corner of the ring, coming off a run as the former Secretary of State, wrapped up in controversy between Benghazi and official emails placed on her personal email server, former President Bill Clinton’s wife Hillary, now vying to be the first female president. In the right corner of the ring, coming off a successful run of reality television, real estate mogul Donald Trump, a man with a uniquely drastic view - banning Muslim entry to the US until a decent vetting system can be put into place matching his uniquely drastic hairdo, and yet nonetheless boldly securing the votes needed to make him the presumptive Republican nominee. I cannot recall a time when the left and the right were so diametrically opposed, to an extent that defies logic given that the founding fathers wanted a system of checks and balances, not extremes, so extreme that it is inconceivable a moderate position might ever be reached again. But too, neither side is rating favorably - trust factors with Hillary Clinton casts a huge shadow on her presidential bid, and the lack of knowledge, political experience, and tact on the part of Donald Trump, who has probably managed to offend just about everybody, despite maintaining his popular position, makes this the year of voting dangerously. What remains to be seen at the end of

the day, is whether voters will choose the lesser of the two evils; electing Clinton out of familiarity from her husband’s tenure, or electing trump out of a deep desire to totally shake up the system and not repeat the mistakes of the past few decades. In this ever increasingly dangerous world, we find ourselves caught up between political correctness and avert, unrestrained bombasticity, with voters aligning strictly and unceremoniously on the side of their party’s candidate - for the most part. Whomever becomes the next president of United States, the challenges left by the debris of our massive national debt, our inability to prevent terrorists from coming in, and a rapidly devolving international arena, may prove to be insurmountable. And that coupled with an average 46 percent of citizens electing not to vote, further muddies a process that was designed to unite and strengthen us. Many people argue the choice for president no longer matters in the face of divisive partisanship that has stagnated effective governance for too many years, and which may well continue, akin to bickering children left unattended. Had they known this, I suspect the founding fathers may well have chosen to include a few more rules for their children to follow. Ding, ding. Let the match begin!


third Tuesdays, Veterans Memorial Hall, Concord. 687-1427. B2F Business Networking Group - noon first and third Thursdays. 998-8844. Beachcomber Singles - Social and service activities for active adults age 45 and above. For more information call (510) 799-2207, Or visit our website: British Club - 11:30 a.m. first Wednesdays, Zio Fraedo’s, Pleasant Hill. 682-7978. Circle of Friends - second Mondays, Walnut Country Club, Concord. 998-8844. Clayton Valley Garden Club- 7p.m. June 8, Diamond Terrace 6401 Center St., Clayton. Guest Speaker: Corky Quirk from U.C. Davis discusses “Bats in the Garden” complete with live bats. Contact: Clayton Valley Woman’s Club meets at 10:00 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, in Clayton. New members are always welcome. Make new friends have fun working together for the community. For more information call Sheila at 925-672-7947 or visit www. Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club- 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton. 689-7640 or Clutch Busters Square Dance Club - 7:30 p.m.-9:30 pm Thursdays, New dancers and those wanting brush-up are welcome. Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 E Olivera Rd, Concord. 686-3774. Concord Art Association - 12:50 p.m. second Tuesdays, Concord Library. 646-5455. Concord Ducati Bike Night, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the fourth Friday of each month at Lazy Dog Café, 1961 Diamond Blvd, Concord. 925/849-1221 http:// Concord Diablo Rotary - 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Concord. EXCEPT the 2nd Wednesday, meeting is at 6:15 P.M. at the Crowne Plaza. Contact or 510-8128180 for more information. Concord Garden Club - Meets third Tuesday of the month, The Salvation Army Community Church Fireside Room 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 3950 Clayton Road, Concord, CA 94521. Contact Concord Garden Club President Devlyn Sewell 925825-9097 for additional information.

A complete list of this calendar can be found on our website at Please submit your calendar items to info@diablogazette. com no later than the 15th of the month preceding publication.

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Secret Service continued from page 3 days or even weeks-worth of Secret intrusions. Also, as a result of the and environments. It’s just part of the Service advance work, null and void. Patriot Act, the Secret Service job. But in spite of the pressure, long When protectees change plans at the established and maintains hours, and time away from home, most last minute or in mid-stream, agents Electronic Crimes Task Forces of us thrived on the challenges. Being a must scramble to set up entirely new throughout the United Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service operations plans, resulting in agents States and internationally. was a fascinating job that I would have getting little to no sleep sometimes for They are responsible for the paid the government to do. I absolutely several days on end. This can also result investigation of electronic loved it and it was an incredible time in in being away from home much longer crimes, focusing on potential my life. It sounds shallow, but outside of than originally scheduled. These are terrorist attacks against my family and close friends, the Secret examples of the bear getting you. critical infrastructure and Service was the most important thing in But, there are also times where agents financial payment systems. my life. come out ahead (and get the bear). Even though the Agents are frequently asked about the An example of this would be when a Secret Service has personal side of those whom we protect; foreign dignitary is coming into the a dual mission their personalities, demeanor, what United States. Let’s say the dignitary’s (protection and do they discuss when not in the public first touchdown on American soil is investigations), eye, are they friendly, etc. Although in Hawaii. This becomes the point it is protection not classified information, a protectee’s where Secret Service protection of the that most personal life is just that; personal. I dignitary begins and will continue for people think of when they think of the would never discuss, nor would any other the duration of his U.S. visit. Agents are Secret Service. For me it was by far the agent worth his or her salt, and certainly scheduled and fly out to Hawaii prior to most interesting and unique aspect of not in a public forum, anything that the scheduled arrival. Once in Hawaii, the job and the sole reason I became a shed a bad light on any Secret Service they learn that the foreign dignitary has Special Agent with the Secret Service. protectee’s personal life. However, there postponed the trip for 3 days for some Agents, like anybody else in our society, were several incidents over the years have their own individual that I witnessed, political views, opinions, and others that and party affiliations. were told to me by However, on the job, agents fellow agents who are ‘A’ political. Politics do had experienced not and understandably them, that reveal cannot play any role nor the true colors have any bearing on the and human side execution of an agent’s of protectees duties. when the cameras Protection operations were off and are extremely detailed, time no press was consuming, at times tense, present. During and often require days these moments and even weeks away from they weren’t home. There’s a saying that politicians, they is heard often in the Secret were just regular Service, “Sometimes the people, who, after bear gets you; sometimes spending the vast you get the bear”, meaning majority of their that some assignments are waking hours in boring (i.e. standing post all a fishbowl for night in a hotel hallway for hours on end) reason. Nobody cares or complains about all to observe and critique, were now the schedule change in this scenario or miserable off the clock. The human side could be because the agents just got three days (standing post refreshing to see. paid vacation in Hawaii complements in a suit in the In future issues of The Diablo of the US Government. In all honesty, I snow or rain for Gazette, I’ll share with you some of would be stretching it a bit (quite a bit) hours on end) the experiences that made this job so if I said this happens very often. Nine or are overly memorable for me: next month - my Broderick’s Roadhouse held times out of 10, the bear gets you. strenuous and first protectee assignment, Former First their official Grand Opening. However, the sense of duty, unity, don’t go as Lady Barbara Bush. Located in the former and camaraderie, shared by the agents planned. For If you have questions you would like Hubcaps location at 1548 is extremely strong; a brotherhood, example, a to ask the agent, please send them to Bonanza St. Born from a food a second family. Agents know the protectee may Select questions truck in Sacramento, their importance of their mission and the change his/her will be answered in a Q and A format in menu is comprised of comfort potential catastrophic outcome if things schedule at the future editions. food “scratch-made, over-thego wrong. Agents are prepared to deal last minute, top and shining with bright with changing situations, schedules, rendering and bold flavors.” Check out their website http://www. ABC-7 continued from page 3 Give them a try your next trip After making it through the the Black Student downtown. semifinal round, a TV news Union, and a crew came on campus for member of the California Pizza Kitchen at more interviews and to get a Spanish National 1325 South Main Street has look at Giovy’s student life at Honor Society. unveiled their re-imagined Carondelet. As Head of fully remodeled restaurant! In addition to the criteria, Communications, If you haven’t been there in judges also look at the students’ she spearheaded awhile, you will appreciate extra curricular activity including a change in PA the exciting new restaurant community service and how a design,unique renovations, announcements creative décor and seasonallystudent gives back to his or her into video inspired menu. community. “I thought I was a announcements go- getter when I was in school, delivered similar Giovi being interveiwed as part of the application Leadership Contra Costa. until we interviewed Giovy”. to a newscast. The raise funds for the church’s Food The Walnut Creek Chamber Jennifer Rumple said. result was a direct increase in Pantry. Because of her efforts, of Commerce & Visitors And with good reason, her list student participation in clubs and she earned President’s Lifetime Bureau is currently accepting of accolades is enormous. Giovy different events. Volunteer Achievement Award applications for enrollment played varsity softball all fours Outside of school, Giovy is very for completing more than 4000 in Leadership Contra Costa, a years and won several EBAL engaged with her church. “In our hours of volunteer work. program designed to motivate athletic awards. She has already interview, we learned that she is Whew. That is impressive. and identify potential committed to Yale and will play very interested in ending world leaders and prepare them for We look forward to seeing your softball there. She finished with hunger, and actively involved community leadership. story on ABC-7. You certainly a 4.7 GPA with a course load working with the Food Pantry.” To obtain an application have earned the spotlight. Giovy including four AP classes. Giovy Rumple said. She is a member of for Leadership Contra Costa is headed for great success in her is a member of the Associated church choir at St. Bonaventure 2016–2017 season, please future. Congratulations to her and Student Body Leadership. She visit the Chamber’s website at Catholic Church. She’s stays to ABC-7 for this extraordinary is also a member of the National www.walnut– involved in any opportunity to program. Honor Society, a member of

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 vice presidential 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 still 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

Walnut Creek Chamber Round Up Walnut Creek’s 35th Annual Art & Wine Festival was a huge hit this past month. If you didn’t attend, you missed out on a variety of Bay Area music and entertainment, handmade crafts and works of art from more than 200 artisans, award-winning local and regional wines and microbrews, festival food, the Craft Beer Garden, and the Kids Zone. This year’s event also included several new entertainment performances, Our Rising Star Showcase, Freestyle Motocross, and Aquanuts display, were all crowd pleasers. Through the use of a voting app from BoomerangCast, anyone could vote for the festival’s best wines, beers and band at the event. The results are in, dim the lights, and the People’s Choice Awards went to: Best Red Wine: Markham Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Best White Wine: Cakebread Cellars 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley Best IPA Micro Brew: Black Diamond Brewery, White Witch Best Non IPA Micro Brew: Heretic Brewing Company, Evil Twin Best Band: Neon Velvet

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John Muir Donates $10,000 to “Safe and Sober Grad Night” John Muir Health donated $10,000 to local high schools across Contra Costa County to support the programs and services related to the schools’ 2016 “Safe and Sober Grad Night.” Twenty high schools each received a $500 check from John Muir Health. Here are the schools. Acalanes High School, Alhambra High School, Antioch High School, California High School, Campolindo High School, Clayton Valley Charter High School, College Park High School, Concord High School, Deer Valley High School, El Cerrito High School, Freedom High School, Heritage High School, Las Lomas High School, Liberty High School,

Miramonte High School, Monte Vista High School, Northgate High School, Pittsburg High School, San Ramon Valley High School and Ygnacio Valley High School. Media tends to overlook the financial contributions and corporate citizenship efforts that benefit our area. As a result, residents become unaware of the benefits provided to them. It may not be exciting news, but important to recognize nonetheless. On behalf of our graduating students, the families of grads, and the schools of Contra Costa County, Diablo Gazette thanks you John Muir.

Contra Costa County is Dedicated to Memorialize Its 70,000 Veterans

by Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, District IV

There is something special about beginning the month with a treasured national celebration. I enjoy watching the communities of District IV (Concord, Walnut Creek, Clayton and Pleasant Hill) come together for the 4th of July and look forward to the parades and BBQs held in honor of our country. These festivities provide an occasion to enjoy the company of friends and family, but they also serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made to shape and protect our nation. There are more than 70,000

veterans in Contra Costa County, all of whom deserve an extra thank you on the 4th of July. Fortunately, Contra Costa County’s dedication to its veterans does not end when the fireworks stop. Recognizing our veterans is part of the important work of the Contra Costa County Veterans Service Office. This exemplary department’s main goal is to help local veterans and their families obtain veterans’ benefits from federal, state, and local agencies. The department also strives to create a culture of inclusion and respect for current veterans and honor those we’ve lost. Last fall, the Veterans Service Office held a dedication of their new flagpole and memory garden outside their offices located at 10 Douglas Drive, Martinez. This is also one of the many reasons I am supporting the High School Memorial Project, sponsored by Blue Star Moms Chapter 20. This

CVCHS First Freshman Class Graduates From the Principal’s Desk By Jeff Eben, CVCHS

On June 3, Clayton Valley Charter High School completed another exciting school year honoring nearly 500 graduates at the Concord Pavilion. Despite the 100-degree weather, our school community gathered with thousands of family members to celebrate our graduates’ outstanding achievements and academic accomplishments. The two-hour ceremony involved a cast of great speakers including students, teachers and administrators sharing a common theme of friendship and praising those unique bonds created during their high school experience. As I addressed our new graduates, I asked the Class of 2016 to go forward with hope for a bright future and to acknowledge the impact of their family

project hopes to create a granite memorial at each of the 11 high schools in our area where a former student died in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom and/or Operation Enduring Freedom. This includes Antioch, Berean Christian, Clayton Valley Charter, College Park, Concord, De la Salle, Las Lomas, Liberty, Mt. Diablo, Olympic and Ygnacio Valley. There have been 16 students that have died in combat. Many of the families of these fallen warriors still live in our local community. These memorials will provide a permanent monument for loved ones and serve as a reminder to the school communities of the sacrifices of students who came before them. It can be humbling to know that someone who walked the same halls everyday gave his or her life for our county. Each memorial will cost about $5,000. If you would like to join me in supporting this project, please visit www.gofundme.

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support network – the one established here at school and at home. I can’t overstate the importance of our parents, teachers, coaches and counselors who provided constant support and encouragement for all of our graduating students to depart our school with Ugly Eagle pride. Upon reflection, it is quite remarkable that our Class of 2016 began their high school journey as our first freshman class when CVCHS initially opened its doors as a new charter four years ago. This year’s graduation rate of 99% highlights our students’ impressive and hard work to accomplish this amazing achievement. We have a lot to be proud of at CVCHS this year. Our graduating students reveal the best of our school community. And as our young leaders advance into the real world, I am confident that CVCHS has diligently prepared them for success in the 21st Century.

com/23ta7d84. The memory garden is a living memorial for fallen soldiers and their families, a place to honor service members who were killed in action. The area also features a set of benches for Gold and Blue Star families. These create a place of solace and remembrance for the families of service members (Blue Star families) and the families of those who lost their lives serving our country (Gold Star families). I am always impressed by the thoughtful ways organizations recognize and honor the sacrifices our service men and women make. Projects such as these provide constant physical reminders of the dedication and commitment of our veterans. I am grateful to organizations such as Blue Star Moms and public departments such as the Veterans Service Office, who have created unique ways to commemorate those who serve.

Testimonial “Thank you, Diablo Gazette, so many people congratulated me on my anniversary, it was really nice” - Ray Rosenblatt, Sugar Plum Café

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Teens Learn and Earn While Painting Murals in Pittsburg Jelly Belly’s Bean artist to lead Internship Program Pittsburg Arts and Community Foundation (PACF) has chosen Jelly Belly’s Jelly Bean artist, Kristin Cumings to teach its Teen Mural Internship Program (TMIP). Kristin was featured in Diablo Gazette (Feb 2016.) for her outstanding jelly bean artwork. TMIP is a 12-week combination art class and internship for high school students that is led by a local working artist year round. The summer session runs July 5th through September 30th, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm. The PACF created the teen internship program to support future local artists by providing them with instruction, encouragement, skill development, and

opportunity to be paid for their artwork as high school students. Students earn community service hours for time spent in the classroom, and are paid a stipend for hours spent painting the mural for the city.

“It is an impressive activity for students to be able to put on their college applications and job applications.” says Kristin. “It will help students improve their drawing and painting skills, meet peers who are interested in art, fulfill their community service requirement for graduation, and it is a really fun way to learn to collaborate with other creative minds.” All high school students are welcome to apply. Students who live in Pittsburg or attend Pittsburg High can participate for free, and for all other students it is only $25 per month, which breaks down to just $1.50 per class. Each session has room for 12 students, but there is discussion to expand the program to be able to include as many students as are interested. The first few weeks are in the classroom at the Art Shack. Then for the last few weeks, the class works on a site somewhere in Pittsburg to paint a collaborative mural designed by the

students. The current session is painting a mural at Small World Park, 2551 Harbor St. The mural depicts seven little girls of seven different ethnicities dressed as seven careers or callings that they might choose as grown ups, and a large tree trunk with roots that symbolizes our community and its nurturing of our youth. For Kristin, “My desire is to help build a strong and supportive community for high school artists in the area, where they can be themselves, learn to communicate with others through visual art, and collaborate with each other to produce meaningful public art.” The program has been in operation for several years. And so far, it is well received by its student interns. “It was a creative way to give back to the community and experience working as an artist, as well as working with great people,” according to intern Andrea Alvarez, a junior at Pittsburg High. Olivia blades is a sophomore at Pittsburg High. “The Teen Mural program was awesome, because I had something to do by drawing, sketching, and painting so many things, as well as learning new things about art I never even knew about. I loved

the fact that I got to meet new people who kind of think like I do, and that I could share my ideas and opinions where I could be heard. PACF is currently accepting applications for the summer session. Interested students should email or Rose Mary Tumbaga, the director of the PACF, at rtumbaga@pittsubrgfoundation. org for instructions on how to apply.

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Clayton July 4th Parade Inspires Easy Patriotic Home Decorations

Red Wagon Centerpiece


by Carol and Randi The Frugirls

There is something special about 4th of July and fun hometown parades. The FruGirls were inspired by some of our favorite memories of our kids riding in their little red wagon in the Clayton town parade for July 4th. We have lived in Clayton for many years and one very special feature to living in a small town is what a fabulous community we live in, and how it comes together for the yearly July 4th parade. People of all ages enjoy the festivities which include decorating your own wagons or bicycles and participating in the parade. When our kids were smaller, we pulled them in a decorated red wagon. As they grew, they decorated and pulled their own red wagon (usually with the dog riding

inside). They marched with such huge smiles and pride in their creations. The memories would forever last in our hearts. Now, that the kids are older we can look back on those days with so much happiness. Creating a red wagon table centerpiece makes us all think of those splendid days. A FrugElegant home decoration that will keep those wonderful memories close. So grab a little red wagon to create an easy table centerpiece, decorate the outside and fill it with flowers, treats, serving items, or fun pinwheels and bubbles for your guests to grab and celebrate the day. We purchased our fun pinwheels and bubbles at the local Dollar Tree. Another fun idea if you are hosting a July 4th gathering, to use the wagon to hold your serving supplies. Mason Jars wrapped in red checked ribbon are perfect for utensils, plates, and condiments. It can all go in the wagon. What a fun and creative way to roll out your supplies. Happy and wonderful July 4th & hope you go and enjoy the parade. Do come see us any time on our blog www. for many more of our favorite frugelegant seasonal home decor ideas, including our DIY post on how to create those easy Mason Jar Utensil Holders.

Film Review: Finding Dory


by Jason Rugaard

Stars PPPP Finding Dory reunites audiences with the absent-minded blue tang fish from the Pixar smash Finding Nemo. This side character made such an impression that she’s been given a spin-off sequel to further explore the plights of that forgetful fish deep within the aqua blue seas of an undisclosed Oceanic reef. Filled with the typical visual splendor of the Disney/Pixar brand, Finding Dory looks to capture the title of timeless classic that only a few titles from the mouse house have ever attained. Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) has been searching for her parents most of her life. Now, she’s had a break-through remembering that they resided along a reef in Morrow Bay, CA... Enlisting her friend Marlon (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo, the trio head out across the Ocean to seek out Dory’s long-lost family. Marine biologists pull Dory from the California waters and drop her into a

research institute that serves as an aquarium. Here, we meet charming new characters like, an escaped-minded Octopus (Ed O’ Neil), a beluga whale (Ty Burrell) incapable of using his echoing ability, and a pair of sea lions (Idris Elba) unwilling to share their rock with anyone. I also liked the lovelorn clam bellowing for his Shelly to return to him. Finding Dory does what few sequels, particularly this summer, ever do. Instead of shamelessly rehashing what worked before and deeming it fit for release, the creative team, revels in the opportunity to expand and expose on the world, characters, and themes, while also retaining the exuberant spirit of the original film. It’s a great, visually pleasing entertainment both beautiful and earnest. Director: Andrew Stanton Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O’ Neil, Albert Brooks

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Blockbuster By Desire Medlen, Clean Air HVAC

In the heat of summer, everyone looks forward to the relaxing coolness of a movie theater while enjoying the newest blockbusters. For many people when they think summer, they think going to the movies. Movie production companies think the same thing, releasing their biggest films in the hottest months of the year. However, this was not always the case. During the 1920s, movie theaters would see a drop in their sales as the temperatures rose outside. Movie theaters in that era were musty and hot, especially when it was a full house. So how did we go from avoiding the theater for three months of the year to relishing in it? It all started in 1902 when a Brooklyn publishing company approached Willis Carrier with a problem. During the summer months, the humidity and heat would not allow the print to set. Carrier devised and installed a machine that would remove humidity so the ink could adhere correctly. The employees

noticed a pleasant by product – the system cooled the air. In 1925, Carrier, the father of air conditioning, approached Paramount Pictures about installing his new air conditioner at their leading theater in New York. The Rivoli Theater, located in Time Square, was under construction and perfect to test the new machine. On Memorial Day, the first air conditioner in a movie theater ran with a packed house. The most important member of the audience was the president of Paramount Pictures, Adolph Zukor. At the end of the film, Zukor said to Carrier “Yes, the people are going to like it.” And with that, the summer blockbuster was born. Yes, the people did like it.

Fabulous Fourth (of July) Facts •July 2nd is the real day of Independence. The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was initially adopted by Congress on July 2nd, 1776, but then it was revised and the final version was adopted two days later. •Thomas Jefferson used a laptop to draft the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, a “laptop” was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap. •The Declaration of Independence was a justification for a revolt against the British which included a list of charges against the British king. •The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island. It began in 1785.

•Congress declared July 4th as an official holiday in 1870 as part of a bill to officially recognize other holidays, Christmas being one of them. Then, in 1938, Congress reaffirmed the holiday to make sure all workers received full pay. •The Fourth of July is also celebrated outside the U.S. in Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. This is because thousands of people emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Some European celebrations on the Fourth take place near tourist destinations to attract U.S. travelers, or near American military bases. •The “Star Spangled Banner”, was originally a poem by Francis Scott Key stemming from his observations in 1814 concerning the British attack on Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It was later put to music, that originally came from an English

drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” (Go to if you wish to hear the original song.) It was decreed the official national anthem in 1931.

Fourth? A) Calvin Coolidge B) Benjamin Harrison C) John Quincy Adams D) Gerald Ford

•Fireworks were first used to celebrate July 4th in 1777. Congress chose fireworks as a way to celebrate the first anniversary in Philadelphia. The celebration also included bonfires and bells.

4) How many presidents have died on the Fourth of July? A) None B) Two C) Three D) Four


1) B) Francis Hopkinson designed the first American Flag. Robert Heft designed the current flag. 2) D) Turkey, He felt the Bald Eagle was on immoral character 3) A) Calvin Coolidge, born July 4th, 1872 4) C) Three of the first five presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The second president, Adams, and the third, Jefferson, both died in 1826, on the 50th anniversary.

1) Who designed the first American Flag A) Betsy Ross B) Francis Hopkinson C) Ben Franklin D)Robert Heft 2) What did Benjamin Franklin prefer to be our National Bird? A) Condor B) Oriole C) Swan D) Turkey 3) What president was born on July


Born on the 4th of July Malia Obama, Daughter of President Obama George Steinbrenner – New York Yankees Geraldo Rivera – News Anchor/Reporter Neil Simon – Film Producer, Screenwriter, Playwright, Author Twins Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) Tokyo Rose – WWII Radio Announcer Gina Lollobrigida – Italian born Actress Nathaniel Hawthore – author The Scarlet Letter, the House of Seven Gables Koko – Gorilla born in San Francisco, understands 1,000 signs and 2,000 English words

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Resident Tales by Marie Sutton As the boat that I was in drew up to the landing at the Federal prison located near San Francisco with the infamous name of Alcatraz I was amazed! I never before had seen guards with guns at the ready and aimed at me! Those guns were leveled at me! Guards with rifles aimed at my husband and children! We had come to the federal prison at Alcatraz to visit my second cousin who was an engineer at the prison. This evidently was the reception that all people faced who came to the island in the 1950’s. Perhaps this was the only way in and only way out for prisoners, employees and visitors. Whatever, it was scary but that scare didn’t last long as I knew we were just visitors and wouldn’t stay long! My cousin lived in a house on the island that overlooked San Francisco in the 1950’s. We had previously visited him when he was working at another federal prison, one located in Steilacoom, Washington, but never a prison on an island like Alcatraz. We had lunch at their home and looked at the gardens. I was amazed at the serenity of their location and wondered how the flowers could grow and thrive as all the water had to be hauled to the island from the City. Years later I again visited Alcatraz. This time there was no guard waiting at the entrance. Instead there was another kind of government employees, U.S. National Park employees. The prison had been closed and the prisoners sent to other federal prisons. My cousin retired and lived by a serene lake in the state of Wisconsin, his home state. I again visited him, but without my family this time, instead I was with my mother who knew him as her first cousin. I can remember my last visit to Alcatraz. It was so dirty. Since it was now a part of the national park service it was not kept up by employees and prisoners of the federal prison system. There was no need to keep the floors swept and kept clean. I especially noticed this as this visit I was accompanied by my teenage daughter, Joyce, who suddenly became very ill. She just lay down on the dirty floor until she felt better. I will never forget that dirty floor, but maybe she recovered more quickly because of it. On that visit to Alcatraz I did not see any of the small houses and gardens where my cousin had lived. I don’t know if they

Remembering Alcatraz even existed after the island was no longer an infamous federal prison and had been through extreme changes. I did not miss the guards with guns at the ready for my last visit to the

infamous Alcatraz. It is a definite tourist attraction today and run by the U.S. National Park Service. But it isn’t for me! I have “escaped” its attraction but still wonder if anyone ever really did

escape from that island prison. We will never know just like we’ll never know where Amelia Earhart ended up - another mystery.

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How to Stay Financially Afloat in a Sea of Fiscal Uncertainty by Colleen Geraghty There’s no doubt about it, these are challenging times in which we live. If you’ve lost sleep in recent months due to stress about paying for college, having enough money for retirement, or even keeping the roof over your head, you are not alone. With so many components outside of your control, it’s easy to feel adrift without a lifeboat. And since many experts say the economy’s instability is the one thing we can count on for the indefinite future, taking action now to help strengthen your financial position is essential. Five steps you may want to consider taking immediately: 1. Don’t panic and pull out. Most financial experts agree now is not the time to simply stop investing or cease contributions to your retirement plans. That’s especially true if your target retirement date is ten or more years away. Revisit your portfolio, your risk tolerance and how to reallocate funds if necessary to minimize losses and maximize gains. 2. Pay off unsecured debt. Pay down credit card and student loan debt. Trim your budget to make extra payments. Set a target goal date to become debt free once and for all. 3. Save, Save, Save. If the worst happens and you lose your job, do you have enough savings to carry you through? If not, start socking away at least 10% of your income if at all possible. In this economy, it could take six months or more to find a comparable new job, so six to eight month’s living expenses should be your target goal. 4. Review your insurance coverage. Now is the time to review, update or purchase insurance policies to make sure you are adequately covered. If you have neglected to purchase life

insurance or disability insurance, it’s time to explore the benefits of these important financial safeguards. 5. Inquire about annuities. If your retirement account balances have taken a tumble in recent months, searching out ways to establish a secure guaranteed stream of income during retirement is important. Investors should consider the contract and the underlying portfolios’ investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. This and other important information is contained in the prospectuses, which can be obtained from your financial professional. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing. Surviving an economic storm is difficult, but not impossible. It will take discipline, planning, and yes, even courage. But the good news is taking positive, proactive steps now can help put you back in the helm and keep your financial dreams afloat for years to come. For more information, contact Colleen Geraghty, CA Insurance License #0I89925, a Financial Professional Associate with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s located in San Ramon, CA. Colleen Geraghty can be reached at (925)302-4033. Offering securities products and services as a Registered Representative of Pruco Securities, LLC (Pruco). The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, NJ and Pruco are Prudential Financial companies. 0217612-00004-00, Ed 01/20/2016, Exp 07/20/2017

Elders Are at Higher Risk of Dental Problems lifetimeofsmiles Dr. Robert Waldman I just found out that my mother-in-law has been refusing to go to the dentist. Then when she did go, she resisted letting her dentist take X-rays of her teeth! At 87 she felt no pain and didn’t feel it was necessary to maintain the good habits she always practiced and preached to her family. Even though she doesn’t live locally, my wife and I have been engaged in discussions concerning her medical health and helped advocate seeing specialists for changes in medications, which have greatly improved her mental state. We thought we were very engaged in helping her stay healthy, especially her oral health. We knew her dentist, and the periodontal specialist. I know that in later years dental problems can come on swiftly and devastate even the healthiest of mouths. We assumed she was continuing the high level of dental care she had committed to many years ago. My mother-in-law’s dentist emailed me her X-rays to review her treatment options with me. Seven teeth need to be extracted because of gum line cavities that could have been easily filled if found earlier. Prior to this she had lost only one out of

28 teeth! That tooth was lost two years ago and at that time none of the other teeth were decayed. Too often our parents are giving up on their teeth figuring it is not important and it’s too expensive or offering excuses as “I’m just too tired at bedtime to brush my teeth”, “ I’ve been good and watched my diet my whole life, a little candy now can’t hurt me”, “I didn’t want to go to the expense of dental care when nothing bothers me”. I think the opposite... Prevention is still the most cost effective way to be healthy. Our seniors should be strongly encouraged to see a dentist for X-rays at least once a year and should have their teeth cleaned as often as possible because preventative cleanings are cost effective. It’s very difficult to tell a senior that they are in good health but that they have outlived their teeth; that they must be sacrificed, otherwise risk pain and infection. Please tell your parents to Swish, Floss, Brush & Swish again and make sure they are still seeing a dentist. A short span of neglect can cause expensive and devastating damage to healthy teeth in seniors. If you have any questions or would like me to write about a specific dental question please email me at and also visit my website at Happy Smiling -Dr. Rob SEE OUR AD ON PAGE 6



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Diablo Gazette • JULY 2016 • Page 20 • | •(925)-298-9990

The Black Whole Diablo Valley Volleyball Club’s 18-Black Heads to Junior Nationals -- By Chace Bryson | SportStars Magazine Jessica Stratton knew it. Her Diablo Valley Volleyball Club 18-Black teammates knew it too. It was ‘Dig Deep’ Time. It was an early Sunday morning in San Mateo on the first weekend of May. Diablo Valley was playing a Gold Bracket quarterfinal match in the Northern California Volleyball Association Power League Region Championships — the team’s last opportunity to earn a bid to the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships — and it had just lost the opening set 25-23 to seasonrival SF JRs RoShamBo 18-1. “I think that’s when we realized that we really wanted it,” said Stratton, a recent Clayton Valley Charter High graduate and one of Diablo Valley’s two standout liberos and captains. “I’ve never seen our team play as hard as we did that match.” Reaching the semifinals of the tournament was the only way the team would have a shot at qualifying for nationals. It was a do-or-die game, and the players on Diablo Valley refused to die. The team won the second set in convincing fashion. Then it fell behind early in the decisive third set before roaring to life behind big plays from Gabbi Heitmann, an outside hitter who attended Las Lomas, and Maddie Sehrt, an imposing middle who just completed her junior year at Monte Vista. Reenegerized, the team rallied to win the final set 15-13. In the semifinals, 18-Black fell in straight sets to Delta Valley (Lodi). However, the team would finish third overall behind a 7-1 weekend. All of which was more than enough to qualify them for the 18 American Division at the national championships, June 28-July 1 in Indianapolis. “That was the best we’ve played this season so far, and I’m hoping that the best is still yet to come,” 18-Black coach Jerry Mix said of the team’s play in the Region Championships. It took some time to get to that level of achievement for this group. Unlike a lot of club teams, this group of girls hasn’t risen through the club ranks together at each level. While there are a handful who have made the climb together, there was also a mixture

of younger talent who moved up a division at the end of last season as well as a pair of new members who arrived from other clubs. “We started out not really knowing a lot about each other,” said Sarah Hodson, the team’s other libero and captain. “Getting familiar with each other was definitely a challenge to overcome. We’ve come a long way now. Everything just flows together as we play.” A good majority of 18-Black’s offense can be attributed to the team’s least familiar players at the beginning of the season. The teams’ top two outside hitters heading into nationals — recent Acalanes graduates, Maddie Graham and Calista Lam — were both new to the club in 2016. Graham has emerged as the team’s most potent threat on the outside. “She’s just been phenomenal for us,” Mix said of Graham. “We put a big load of our offense on her and she’s taken a lot of really big swings for us.” Said Stratton: “One heck of a player. I’ve never seen a teenage girl hit a ball so hard. Her attitude is uplifting. She’s just a really good person to be with on an off the court, and it’s really fun to play with her.” However, for as well as Graham and Lam and have performed behind the strong setting of Lauren Pak (Campolindo) and Lexy Swenson (Alhambra), the team’s defense is arguably the biggest reason it’s headed to the national stage, led by the two captains who share time on the back row. Stratton and Hodson fuel each other as they compete to be in the back row in the team’s biggest moments. Their competitive fire and volleyball IQs have gradually helped shape a team-wide attitude that every point is in play. “We’ll go until the ball hits the ground,” said Hodson, who played for Mix at Carondelet the last two seasons. “We never give up on a play, even though it might seem like (the ball) is going down.” Stratton, who will play for San Francisco State in the fall, expanded on the team attitude and how it’s evolved over the past five months. “A lot of us were kind of shy at the beginning and got down on ourselves over mistakes,” she said. “We’ve learned how to control our emotions and keep fighting. I think that’s made a big difference.” The back row captains were also quick to

acknowledge the front row’s contribution to a defensive effort that’s crystalized toward the end of the season. Sehrt, Tori Klock (Clayton Valley) and Mimi White (Acalanes) comprise a very successful middle rotation. “We’re relatively small compared to other 18s,” Hodson said. “Our girls in the front row work really hard to get their timing right so the height doesn’t play a factor. Defense, being scrappy and not giving up on plays is what’s going to make us successful (at nationals).” Stratton knows if 18-Black can find a way to channel the energy it found against SF JRs in the NCVA Power League Region quarterfinals, it has a chance to shine in Indianpolis. “If we’ve learned how to control that energy and continue to play hard, we’re going to win a medal.” DIABLO VALLEY 18-BLACK ROSTER Player Position High School Grad Yr. Maddie Graham OH Acalanes 2016 Gabbi Heitmann OH Las Lomas 2016 Sarah Hodson L Carondelet 2016 Haley Jones M Alhambra 2016 Tori Klock M CVCHS 2017 Calista Lam OH Acalanes 2016 Lauren Pak S Campolindo 2017 Maddie Sehrt M Monte Vista 2017 Jessica Stratton L CVCHS 2016 Lexy Swenson S Alhambra 2016 Mimi White M Acalanes 2016

Chace Bryson is the editor for SportStars Magazine. Follow the magazine on Twitter @SportStarsMag and find more SportStars content online at www.

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