Diablo Gazette • MAY 2016 • Page 2 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990
from the publisher by David King
May Day May Day Are you looking forward to May? A lot happens in May. Mother’s Day, Small Business Month, Memorial Day, graduations begin, and some schools will be finished for the summer. Plus we have the Warriors trying to win a NBA Championship for the 2nd year in a row. I wonder if Steph Curry would be interested in a summer job delivering papers. With his skills, I bet he’d never miss hitting the driveway. Maybe I’ll give him a call when the season is over and he settles down in his new home in Walnut Creek! If you haven’t heard, JetSuiteX is flying private commercial flights to Las Vegas and Burbank out of Buchanan. Suddenly quick trips to Vegas and LA are very attractive. May also marks the one-year Anniversary for the Diablo Gazette! That year went by fast. It’s been exceptionally entertaining. One of the reasons it’s been a great year is from ongoing calls and emails for news tips, story ideas, article discussions, or looking for some publicity for their club, organization or cause. Many are enthusiasts wanting to be a part of this different but growing publication. It’s flattering and I want to hear what you have to say and what you can do. Nothing makes a community paper shine more than when the community is writing it. Be
sure to check out www.diablogazette.com for current updates and expanded version of articles. Even if you have a complaint, but be careful. I might enlist you as one of our writers, that’s how Maxine Thompson got started. We live in a friendly and picturesque region. The cover photo of a Red Tail Hawk taken by Charles Lindsey of CSK Photography is a perfect reminder how lucky we are. Diablo Gazette is introducing a new column called “Living Around Mt. Diablo” and will feature a photo capturing remarkable and beautiful slices of life that makes the rest of the world want to live here. Charles is an amazing photographer. We won’t always feature wildlife, but even still, Charles could be the next Ansel Adams. By the way, since I fully expect Steph Curry to take over distribution, I would be interested in adding one or two energetic sales people to come aboard and make some money. You must have experience, a car, a license, phone, and can work well independently. Full or part time. It pays on commission. If interested send an email and experience to info@ diablogazette.com.
Sum Of Irks Or Irksome by Edi Birsan,
Concord City Councilman
In the course of being on a City Council there are occasions when constituents come to you with situations that they find 'irksome' or as the dictionary says: annoying; irritating; exasperating; tiresome. It should be no surprise that many of these frustrations are shared by your Council members in full agreement with you. Here are some of irksome issues that have come up...and have been fully IRKed by them myself either directly or vicariously through my constituents... 1. Barking dogs in a distance at 3AM. Animal control is not available then. 2. Neighbor noises- or the whole issue of Noise policing. People want the police to arrest the offenders but do not want to stand up and make a citizens arrest and stand before a judge. 3. Single occupant bathrooms that are restricted by Male/Female- the STATE code will not allow us to make two identical single use bathrooms multi-gender. So lines form at one when the other is empty. (I got over the restriction when various body parts turned 65 and demanded a 'necessary violation... or else’)
4. You back up to County land and that neighbor has a rooster. 5. You are in a dense residential street and one household has 7 cars and do not use their garage for cars. Plus their cars are ugly and they park it in front of your house. 6. Two neighbors are in a Hatfield and McCoy s feud and are calling Code Enforcement on each other for every perceived infraction. 7. Free Range cats that come into people's backyards taking things or leaving biological messages. 8. Speeding cars and why is it that the only time I see a traffic cop is when they are behind me? 9. Why can't we force business to answer your complaint with a real human being rather than a series of push button automatons and then when you do reach a person, after explaining the situation twice you have serious doubts as to what level of human evolution their species is. 10. Mondays that insist on coming back. 11. Drones disguised as humming birds... oh wait that is for another column on the 'Conspiracy theories in the City Mail Box”.
A Shout Out to Our Join the Jet Set Club Small Business JetSuiteX launches service out of Concord JUSTIN BARKER Concord Chaber of Commerce
This is exciting for area residents… the notion of quick trips to LA and Las Vegas flying right out of Concord…on a semi-private jet. At the moment, while demand builds, travel is starting at $109 each way. Kudos to County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff for seizing this opportunity. Up until now, there was no such thing as a “quick get away” to Las Vegas or LA. With an hour transport to the airport, two hours advance arrival, plus parking hassles and fees, baggage lines, security lines, and then boarding lines and the 1.5 hour flight on a crowded uncomfortable seating, and… well you get the picture. Compare that experience to, well, none of the above and join the local Jet Set club. Cushy seating, spacious (only three seats per row and space with a side table that may be used for work or play); maximum 30 passengers, free WiFi and
in-flight entertainment streamed to passengers’ personal devices; free parking; plus you’ve knocked perhaps two hours off of the travel prep time. JetSuiteX services Burbank Monday through Friday and Las Vegas on Friday nights, returning to Concord on Sunday afternoons. Even though it just launched the service, flights are already filled. The demand was there and the area responded. Prices will creep up with demand. All flights may be purchased by visiting jetsuitex.com, by downloading the JetSuiteX app, or by calling 800-IflyJSX. (435-9579). Lowest fares require two weeks’ advance purchase. Seats are on sale for travel through July 31. Additional routes to, including San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Phoenix are forth coming. For more information about retail flights and private jet membership, visit www.jetsuite.com.
May is Small Business Month. When we think of men and women answering the call to service, we often visualize the same individuals. We think about the firefighter putting out a destructive fire, the policeman rushing to the scene of a crime, or the teacher prepping our next generation of citizens. But one group of people often get overlooked for their service - the men and women who serve as small business owners in our community. In my time working with the Chamber of Commerce, I have come to realize the hard work that our local business owners put into their businesses to serve us - the community. I have met the restaurant owner, who starts the day at 5:30am every morning to pick up fresh ingredients for the day’s menu. I have talked with the computer technician who stayed up late rebuilding a computer so that his client may continue operations the next morning uninterrupted. I have seen the shoe shiner working hard early in the morning, hands already stained by shoe polish. I have also seen the barber who, in addition to his regular work day, visits the local community center to provide free haircuts to needy children. Seeing these and other similar acts of service have made me ask myself, “should the customer be more grateful for the baker than the baker for the customer?” Owning a successful small business requires a level of hard work, discipline, and passion that the average citizen may ever recognize. The words “vacation”
and “day off” are rarely, if ever, used by some business owners. It is the small businesses that give our community its character, as each one is unique and adds to the cultural identity of our community . These men and women whose uniform is the apron, the Dickey’s shirt, or work boots, often go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their fellow community members are satisfied. If you ask any business owner what their main goal is, they will often reply, “that my customers leave happy.” I have seen business owners bend over backwards and go the extra mile to ensure just that. I applaud these men and women for rising to the challenge to fulfill a need. People sometimes perceive the small business owners as “pricey”. But are they really? Our local business owners are willing to share a few dollars profit to support a good cause in the community - whether it be providing lunch for a non-profit fundraiser, sponsoring a ball field for the little league, or donating a breakfast to the church. In an Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, 50% more money stays, circulates and supports your community when shopping at a locally owned business than when shopping at a national chain. Specifically, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $68 will stay in the community. But when you spend that same $100 at a national chain, only $43 stays in the community. So, the next time you visit your barber shop, your tailor, or your favorite restaurant, appreciate the fact that they just made your day a little bit easier and your community a little bit stronger.
Diablo Gazette • MAY 2016 • Page 3 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990
WINNERS of the 2016 “Best of Claycord” For the past few years Claycord.com has asked its readers to vote for there favorite local business, activities, institutions… actually, the readers create the categories with their votes. And that list of categories tends to expand each year. It is a completely unaided readers’ poll. A participant can only vote once. “We received thousands of votes this year. This gets bigger each year.” reported the Mayor (Claycord publisher). It’s a fun poll and somewhat informative for the rest of us. But to be named, a winner must be honored. Out of 205,000 ish unique monthly users, and a month long survey, Claycordians’ votes were cast and counted. Here are the winners for 2016 “Best of Claycord”. Best Garden Center: R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts, and Gardens – Clayton Best Place to Get Breakfast: Giant Chef – Pleasant Hill Best Fast Food: In-N-Out – Pleasant Hill Best Italian Restaurant: Fiore – Concord Best Chain Restaurant: Lazy Dog – Concord Best Place to Get a Hamburger: The Counter – Walnut Creek Best Chinese Restaurant: Hunan – Concord Best Place to Get a Veggie Burger: Fuddruckers – Concord, Walnut Creek Best Seafood Restaurant: Scott’s – Walnut Creek Best Mexican Restaurant: La Tapatia – Concord Best Flower Shop: Jory’s – Concord Best Auto Repair Shop: Five Star – Concord Best Pet Supply Store: Pet Food Express – Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill Best Hiking Trails: Mt. Diablo State Park – Mt. Diablo Best Place to Go Swimming: Rankin Aquatic Center – Martinez Best Place to Take Your Kids for Fun: Jump Sky High – Concord Best Place for BBQ: Back Forty Texas BBQ – Pleasant Hill Best Place to Get a Donut: King’s Donuts – Concord Best Public Place with the Cleanest Restrooms: The Grove Park – Clayton Best Grocery Store: Nob Hill – Walnut Creek Best Movie Theater: Brenden Theater – Concord Best Historical Location: John Muir National Historic Site – Martinez Best Hardware Store: Bill’s Ace Hardware – Concord Best Shopping Center – Crescent Plaza – Pleasant Hill
Best Hotel: Renaissance Club Sport – Walnut Creek Best Sports Supply Store: Sports Basement – Walnut Creek Best Veterinarian: Encina Veterinarian Hospital – Walnut Creek Best Local Book Store: Berkshire Books – Concord Best Coffee Shop: Cup O’Jo – Clayton Best Thrift Shoppe: Teen Challenge – Concord Best Community Event: KidFest – Concord Best City Sponsored Event: Concerts in the Grove – Clayton Best Public Official: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier Best Local Hero: The men & women of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Best Commenter on Claycord in the Last 12 Months: Hope Johnson Best Story on Claycord in the Last 12 Months: Coverage of the Concord Naval Weapons Station Drama Best Place to Get a Meal for Under $5: Taco Bell – Concord, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Pleasant Hill Best Bakery: Alpine Pastry & Cakes – Concord Best Place for a Romantic Dinner – Moresi’s Chophouse – Clayton Best Place to Get Your Car Washed: Autopia – Concord Best Place to Get Fish n’Chips: Ed’s Mudville Grill – Clayton Best Kid Friendly Park: Heather Farm – Walnut Creek Best Place for a Family Picnic: Mt. Diablo State Park – Mt. Diablo Best Overall Restaurant (something for everybody): Chili’s – Concord Best Pizza: Melo’s Pizza & Pasta – Pleasant Hill Best Overall City: Clayton Best Locally Owned Business: – Alpine Pastry & Cakes – Concord Best Locally Owned Restaurant: Moresi’s Chophouse – Clayton Best Place to Get Ice Cream – San Francisco Creamery Co. – Walnut Creek Best Housing Development: Dana Hills – Clayton Best BART Station: Pleasant Hill BART – Pleasant Hill Best High School – Clayton Valley Charter High School – Concord Best Post Office – Clayton Post Office – Clayton Best Place to Get a Fast Taco – Tortilleria El Molino – Walnut Creek Best Place to Get a Fast Burrito – Tortilleria El Molino – Walnut Creek Best Dog Park – Newhall Park – Concord Best Place for a Hair Cut: Hair’s the Place Barber Shop – Clayton Best Delicatessan: Luigi’s – Concord Best Celebrity from Claycord (Living or Non-Living, Originally from Here and/or Currently Living Here): Steph Curry – Walnut Creek “Congratulations to all the Winners. Thank you readers for all of your selections” – the Mayor.
Over 1 ven dor bo0o0 ths!
Featuring Vintage • Antiques, & Collectibles Repurposed & Upcycled • Arts and Crafts!
May 21 & August 6, 2016 8am to 4pm John Humphries, collectibles author, radio and tv host, will evaluate your treasures (up to 3 carry-in items) for a donation to the Martinez Historical Society. Look for him on Ferry St. at Main St. - All Day!
Plenty of restaurants! FREE PARKING!
A Main Street Martinez Event
www.MartinezPeddlersFaire.com • (925) 228-3577 Shell Oil Products US Martinez Refinery
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Successful Small Businesses Started from Home By Richard Eber TLC Foods It’s 5:35 am on a spring morning in Concord. At a time when the roosters have not yet awakened, Rob Comeau is gathering his ingredients to venture over to the El Monte Shopping Center on Clayton Road. Utilizing the licensed commercial kitchen at Parma Deli, Comeau is preparing his famous scones that most folks believe are the best ever. Comeau and his wife Tina are the owners of the fledgling company TLC Foods. They are one of many people who hold regular jobs that pay the bills to fund starting a business based upon their hobbies. In this case Rob Comeau, a computer security consultant by profession, is attempting to start an enterprise that one day might become a full time gig. Following years of having prepared cakes, pies, tortes, and other goodies for his friends, he was encouraged to go commercial. Lacking the capital to buy all of the equipment and procure the necessary licenses, Comeau has been using Parma’s facilities as an interim step to ply his trade. After glazing a batch of scones hot out of the oven, Comeau proudly displays his efforts that have the word “delicious” written all over them. One hopes that he will soon realize the dream of opening a bakery where others can appreciate his culinary talents. Parma owner Mary Totah is pleased to work with TLC Foods and other local enterprises. As a small business she likes to use vendors from the neighborhood. In addition to Comeau, the iconic deli stocks the shelves with start-up companies, Vincenza Wines, Cool Beads Ice Cream Bars, and Dog Day Spice rubs. Biota Gardens Biota Gardens is a model for home-based enterprises. Kelley Burnham operates from her house on 5th Street in Concord. She has a plant business that provides vegetable seedlings for home gardeners in the area. Starting off in 2010 preparing fewer than 1000 tomato plants, Burnham has built up her clientele producing over 3500 plants this year. Demand has been so great that she no longer conducts her sales at FarmKelley Burnham er’s Market‘s. A former graphic designer/colorist for concrete floors, Burnham wants to keep the operations of Biota manageable by not getting too big. In addition to preparing the vegetable seedlings at a makeshift Greenhouse facility on Chestnut Street, Burnham has ventured out to landscape design that utilizes edible
perennials that make up draught resistant-sustainable gardens. Her handiwork utilizing rain and recycled water has been on display in private gardens and at some schools. In the future she hopes to continue “flying under the radar and do my thing for all to enjoy.” http://www.biotagardens.com/ Epidemic Ales Erin Schally and her partners at Epidemic Ales have a slightly different prospective. They Started making beer as a hobby about five years ago, beginning with a 5-gallon pot on their stove. Eventually this was upgraded to a 1 BBL (one barrel, 31 gallon) Erin Schally homebrew system. Soon, they began acquiring additional equipment that in time had taken over their office, garage, and backyard. When friends and family began requesting more beer, Erin surmised, “we may be on to something.” Eventually this resulted in starting Epidemic Ales with sister Raina, their husbands, and a couple from Granada. Locating their business in a 5000 foot warehouse on Mason Circle in North Concord, Epidemic’s beers have unique names ranging from Affliction Amber to Wicked Ailment and Zombrew. Along with producing several varieties of beer, they also operate a tap room at the brewery which is opened for limited hours Thursday through Sunday. In the tradition of start-up companies, Epidemic sells snacks from local vendors. This includes popcorn produced by Pop Mama Pop! of Pleasant Hill, spicy peanuts from Chef Kev’s Specialty Foods in Concord along with Beef & Goat Sticks manufactured by Hanson Family Farms in Clayton. Eventually Erin, whose full time day job is as an Economic Analyst, hopes that their operation will become more successful allowing some of Epidemic’s owners to work full time in the business. In the meantime, they are struggling to meet the demands for their product which is distributed in over 25 outlets including the Hilton Hotel and Tower Grill in Concord. http://www.epidemicales. com/ Dog Day Spice Rub For Concord Police Sergeant Greg Rodriguez, his fledgling concern has a different set of issues than that of Epidemic Ales. His start-up company Dog Day Spice Rub markets a product line of six unique seasonings for beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, and wild game in local Ace Hardware stores along with local farmer’s market venues.
As a dedicated hunter and outdoorsman, Rodriquez and his wife Kerry have been experimenting with making rubs for several years. After concocting numerous different blends for their friends and neighbors to sample, they began manufacturing limited amounts of product in 2012. They currently do their production at the commercial kitchen of the Concord Police Officers Greg Rodriguez Association (POA) headquarters. All of Dog Day’s seasonings honor special canine friends including Caro, the famous Police Dog, Maxi the neurotic shepherd, and Jack the Black Lab, to name a few. They take pride in using high quality ingredients purchased from the San Francisco Spice Company. Even though their lines of barbecue rubs are selling briskly, Rodriguez does not think this will turn out to be a full time occupation until his anticipated retirement from the law enforcement seven years or so from now. “I enjoy meeting the people from diverse backgrounds. It is a pleasant change from my profession of being involved with police work,” Rodriguez says. http://dogdayspicerub.com/ It is often said small businesses are the foundation of capitalistic society. Starting out in kitchens and garages does not take away the luster from this American tradition. In agreement with such an assessment is John Montagh, Concord’s Economic Development & Housing Manager. “Small businesses are the foundation of a diverse local economy. The vast majority of Concord’s businesses are small entrepreneurs that decide to open shop and sell a product to the public,” says Montagh. “From these startups, many long term enterprises form that creates jobs and revenue for the local economy. Concord has taken steps to reduce fees and permitting processes so these small businesses can open their doors as soon as possible.” Montagh added. As an example of a major success story, he points to Rachel Dunn Chocolates which developed from being a mom and pop operation to become a major employer in Concord. While not every business is expected to be as successful as them, for those who risk their economic resources and labor to a start-up enterprise, they should be commended for putting so much on the line to fulfill their dreams. Whether it is walking dogs, providing day care, making wine, or providing any other niche services, such efforts gives ample evidence that capitalism is alive and well in the communities we live in.
Local MMA Fighter Rick" Boomer" Reger Signs Multi-Fight Contract , Fights to be Televised Rick Reger grew up in Concord and is a well known MMA fighter locally. Rick, aka Rick"Boomer"Reger, just signed a multiple fight contract with Bellator MMA and will make his televised debut May 14th at the S&P Center in San Jose on SPIKE TV at 9PM PT. Rick is a father of three and a youth self-defense trainer from Concord. He has been training MMA most of his adult life. He started competing in the amateur level of MMA in August of 2010. After a successful amateur run, Rick made his pro debut in August 2011 and has fought his way to a successful record of 7 wins and 1 loss including a championship belt at the lightweight division. Rick is also the Ambassador for RMA, Redemption Martial Arts, a non-profit anti-bullying organization. Bellator is an
internationally known and recognized MMA organization and along with UFC these two organizations are the "Major League's" of MMA fighting. Bellator recently reached out to Rick and offered a multi-fight contract. "I'm very excited and blessed to have this opportunity with such an established organization like Bellator.” Rick commented. “I feel like it's finally my time to be on the big stage. I have put in years of blood, sweat and tears to get where I'm at. I do this for my kids and my family. My kids are my motivation. I will do whatever it takes to provide a better future for them.” Rick took his first fight on two weeks notice, which should make it extremely difficult to prepare, but Rick remains confident. “I stay active and train all year so I feel I'm always ready for
anything that comes my way. Rick went to Concord High and was a prominent HS football player. But a knee injury ended his college football prospects. He’s well known locally, especially at the local gyms. That’s enough for us to want to wish him success and safety. “I just want to thank Bellator for this opportunity as well as my family, friends and fans for their continual support. I will put on a great show so please make sure to tune in to Spike TV May 14 2016 at 9pm." For up coming fight's, visit www. RickReger.com. Social media sites: facebook-www.facebook.com/Rick-Boomer-Reger Twitter- @RickReger925 Instagram-rickreger925
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Diversity Spring Festival Featured in KidFest When the late Rodney King infamously asked, “Can we all just get along?”, it was a powerful moment in American television. And although it was addressing LA riots, the question is still valid today. Every culture and faith believes that they are the model culture or faith. Each in their own right bring unique contributions that build a stronger community, a cooperative world…if we let it. Yet, despite their collective promise of peace and happiness, here we are still today, wrestling with conflict, suspicion, mistrust and violence…divided and fragmented. Very few followers incorporate the real essence of their faith i.e., to create harmony within and among the different communities. The Spring Diversity Dr. Harmesh Kumar Festival is a small atFounder of Diveristy tempt to build bridges Spring Festival and understanding between each faith community within our area and to showcase the talents and culture of each faith. This year, the Festival will be featured as part of the Silver Anniversary Bay Area KidFest on Saturday, May 28, in Downtown Concord. KidFest has been a major family-oriented event in the Bay Area on the Memorial Day Weekend since its inception in 1990. The first day of KidFest traditionally draws over 5000 attendance, even before the added attraction of the Spring Diversity Festival.
The Diversity Spring Festival was envisioned 13 years ago by Dr. Harmesh Kumar, Founder of SABH Foundation (A Non-profit Organization) in collaboration with the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and other faith organizations of the Bay Area to create harmony and goodwill among different faith and ethnic groups. It is an attempt to promote goodness and service for humanity without any expectations. The Sikh religion was founded on April 13, 1699 by the Tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, in the State of Punjab in India to eradicate the discrimination based on religion and caste, race and social and economic status as also enshrined in the Constitution of our Great Nation, United States of America. The Sikh Gurus promoted Human Rights of everyone including the so-called untouchables in the Indian Society. Therefore, they were tortured and killed for creating awareness of Human Rights violations for socially disadvantaged and the powerless. Jesus had the same principles and fought for human dignity, human rights, equality and freedom for all. The universal message for every Sikh (meaning Seeker of truth) is to live a simple life and work hard and share the fruits of his/her hard work with others. This is what our constitution promotes too. In the United States, where human rights of all Americans irrespective of creed, race, caste, religion, nationality and sexual orientation are to be respected and promoted; there is no
better place in the world to celebrate such a festival. “We acknowledge and promote nurturing, caring and loving values inherent within all of us. We further strive to protect and preserve the integrity and mutual respect of individuals and organizations we work with by maintaining these principles. As a group we look forward to providing meaning to Social Responsibility by supporting individuals and sponsoring businesses that strive towards improving the quality of life and building bridges within our local communities, consisting of diverse people with different faiths, cultures and ethnicities.” Dr. Kumar explains. “We know that ignorance breeds misunderstanding and prejudice and it leads to acting out and violence against each other as we have seen.” “This is our attempt to bring people together with their families and children so that we can provide them a venue to get to know each other’s faith and see the positive contributions they offer in making our human race more loving, caring and peaceful.” “Kids are our future. We need to educate them by role-modeling positive behaviors and making them interact with others, who may look different, in a humane way,” says Dr. Kumar. The KidFest is an ideal place to start.
Bay Area KidFest Has a Potpourri of Family Entertainment and Activities May 28-30 in Downtown Concord The annual Bay Area KidFest is one of the Bay Area's longest-running family events, will continue for its 27th year. It is coming to Downtown Concord this Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-30, with plans to jam-pack all three days with entertainment, activities, food and other spacious outdoor fun. KidFest features free non-stop entertainment on the Main Stage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Michelangelo &
Raphael, Olaf from “Frozen,” Cirque Adventure aerial and acrobatic circus, America’s No. 1 family game show Kid’s Celebration, BMX Bike Stunt Team plus skateboard and scooter demos, Bike Rodeo (Saturday and Sunday) and Spring Diversity Festival (Saturday only). There are dozens of free kid’s activities including Kid’s Town America, face painting, balloon hats, spin art, keepsake handprints, inflatables, slides, crawls, fire truck, golf, flag football and much more. It’s all included in the admission price. Of course, there will be plenty of thrilling rides including a zip line, pony rides, Bobble Lagoon, Zippy Pet cars, Zorbs, Euro-Bungy trampoline, Spider Mountain,
Ferris wheel, giant slide, petting zoo, trains and more. There is also an eclectic Food Court, as well as arts and crafts and exhibitor booths. For the sixth year KidFest presents a special Memorial Day ceremony at noon Monday, May 30, with the Concord Blue Devils C Corps, ROTC Jr. color guard and music honoring America's service people past and present sung by Janelle Feraro. Admission is just $6 with a donation of canned food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano or $7 without donation to the Food Bank. Children under 24 months and seniors 65+ are free. On Saturday attendees can double the deal by bringing two canned goods to get $2 off an admission. Proceeds from Bay Area KidFest benefit local educational, health and sports groups. KidFest continues for the 21st year as one of the major annual donor events for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. KidFest is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday at Mt. Diablo High School, 2450 Grant St. in downtown Concord just off Highway 242. Bike Concord will provide free bike valet parking every day. There will be plenty of free street parking around the site. Convenient on-site vehicle parking is also available for $5. For more information visit www.KidFestConcord.com.
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Concord’s Flying Colors Responsible for Global ‘Free Comic Book Day’ on May 7 DESIREE MEDLEN It is hard to beat the feeling of sitting down with a brand new comic book. The crinkle of the plastic as you carefully remove the tape sealing the case, pulling out the crisp the paperback, the smell of fresh ink, and the promise of an action packed story and vivid art starring your favorite heroes. The only thing better is when that comic book is free. Yes, true believers, Free Comic Book Day will land on Saturday May 7th at Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff , 2980 Treat Blvd Concord. The store opens at 11am but the line starts to form well before that. Bringing joy to those young and old, Free Comic Book Day actually started fifteen years ago by an idea proposed by Joe Field, the owner of Flying Colors. A simple plan to promote the comic industry around the release date of a Spider-man film has grown to be not only a national phenomenon but a global one. The official website, freecomicbookday.com, has a search to find a comic book store anywhere in the world that is participating. “I don't think I envisioned what it was going to become, I just wanted to make it happen,” said Field. “It has sort of taken on a life of its own. The first year we had about four comic books and 1,600 stores. Now it is
around 6 million comics, 2,300 stores, and in 65 countries.” Even more impressive, Field’s notoriety has also risen worldwide. “I took my first trip to Europe, to Ireland, London, and Paris. In each of those places I visited comic shops that take part in Free Comic Book Day and they already knew who I was. It was really fun to see what they do." Each year new comics are written and printed exclusively for Free Comic Book Day, so any comic you pick up at this event will be a storyline you cannot get anywhere else. All of the big publishers, like Marvel and DC, put out comics alongside smaller independent publishers getting new brands out there. This year a few of the comics focus on the Marvel’s epic Civil War drama as the new Captain America: Civil War movie comes out the day prior. If the Avengers are not your thing, there are still plenty of other comics to check out, ranging from classics like Archie to premiering books like Spectrum. Personally, I have been attending Free Comic Book Day for the past four years and each year it gets better. Last year I brought my young son with me and I am not sure who was more excited, him or me. With this being the fifteenth year, I wondered if there was going to be anything new or different this year. “More comics.” Field responded. “This year our special guests are really good for some local reasons. Both of
Book Review: Circling the Sun bookends by Jill Hedgecock,
Program Coordinator Mount Diablo California Writer’s Club jillhedgecock.com Circling the Sun (2015, Random House LLC, hardcover, $17.03, 385 pages) by Paula McClain has been a New York Times Bestseller and voted One Of The Best Books of the Year By NPR, Bookpage, and Shelf Awareness for good reason. This historical novel chronicles the life of Beryl Markham, the first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic solo from east to west in 1936. Set in a remote region of British East Africa (now Kenya), Beryl’s nontraditional upbringing in an exotic land is fodder for a great tale and McClain delivers. The prologue launches with Markham during her daring plane journey across the Atlantic, but then McClain returns to Beryl’s childhood, her miserable marriage as a teen bride, then her accomplishments and the challenges of being a woman and a horse trainer. The subject of her piloting career doesn’t resurface until Chapter 58. While piloting may have been Beryl’s primary life achievement, McClain investigates a deeper subject—what set of circumstances, what upbringing, what fundamental personality was necessary for a woman
to have the opportunity to have a career in the 1930s? Was it a harrowing attack by a lion as a child? Being abandoned by her mother who kept her brother, but not her? Was it a permissive father who let her drop out of school at a young age? Or was her drive to push through social norms there at birth? McClain’s talent shines through the page. It is revealed in her word choices, her ability to paint the African landscape in a reader’s mind and to capture the essence of a person’s personality through dialogue and action. Beryl’s life was far from easy; she loved and lost many times over, but she was a risk taker and McClain depicts her in a way that Beryl Markham’s accomplishment will not soon be forgotten. Circling the Sun recounts the remarkable life of an unstoppable woman who plowed her way through the barriers of a good-old-boy world in an era when women were expected to be small. If you also want to learn more about Beryl’s piloting adventures, follow up by reading Beryl’s own memoir: West with the Night.
our guests have been here before. Brian Hess, the artist and creator of the series AWAKE grew up coming here. (to Flying Colors). To finally get to the point where he’s a part of Free Comic Book Day is really fun. Brandon McKinney, the last time he was here was about seventeen or eighteen years ago and has done a lot of stuff since then. He is working on the Bruce Lee book (Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises).” It’s comics, balloons and cake. Superhero look-alikes walk along the line to get into the store for plenty of memorable photo opportunities. Plus, many people waiting for comics show off their costume making skills with great outfits of their favorite comic hero. Waiting in line becomes half the fun of going. It isn’t just about getting a free comic, it is about being absorbed into comic culture and the enjoyment that goes along with them. It is a day of excitement and nerdy-ness not to be missed. I hope to see you there, masked or not. Excelsior!
Film Review: Purple Rain moviemavericks by Jason Rugaard www.moviemavericks.com
With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward. Dipping into his own upbringing, The Kid (Prince) is shown dealing with a tumultuous home life, his abusive father (Clarence Williams III) is an abominable and towering figure in the young man’s life. As the Kid’s career begins to take off, he becomes smitten with a beautiful vocalist (Apollonia). Their love affair is
alternately sweet and clumsy, a lakeshore first date is laughable, but the power of several key concert-style sequences underlines everything that the dialogue is incapable of expressing. Prince’s Oscar-winning music takes center stage throughout the film, with such hits as “When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, and of course the title song. Purple Rain‘s greatest strength is in presenting an intimate concert-film around an enigmatic presence. You leave the theater feeling a bit closer to the man, saddened for the loss, and headed to find the soundtrack. Director: Albert Magnoli Stars: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Clarence Williams III
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How To Make An Offer A Seller Can’t Refuse Jennifer Stojanovich Realtor
It’s finally happened – you found the perfect house. It has exactly what you are looking for, it’s in the right neighborhood, and it’s actually in your price range. All you have to do now is make an offer and start packing, right? Maybe not. Unfortunately, you may not be the only potential buyer out there who has their heart set on this house, your offer may not be the only one a seller has to consider. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your offer is the one a seller can’t refuse. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – if you’re serious about buying a home it’s imperative that you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Many sellers will not even look at an offer that doesn’t come with a pre-approval, especially in a competitive market. A pre-approval signals to the seller that you are serious. Do yourself a favor and take care of this necessary step before you even begin looking at homes. Make a connection with the seller. Whether or not a seller connects with you will influence which offer they eventually accept. Homeowners often develop attachments to their homes, and may be more likely to sell to a potential buyer who has the same emotional response, as opposed to an argumentative or insulting buyer who bids higher. Don’t bid too low. It can be difficult to know sometimes if other offers have come in for the same house you are
bidding on. While you don’t have to offer the listed price, if you do offer a lower price be prepared to explain why. Know what the comps in the neighborhood are as well as any potential repairs that will need to be made to the property. Have deposit money ready. While you may not be in the position to make an all-cash offer, consider having enough money ready to increase the amount of the deposit. It could mean the difference between winning a bidding war – or not. Another possibility is to include a goodfaith deposit with your offer, which is a check written for up to three percent of the asking price. Just be sure that you’re able to get that deposit back should your deal fall through. Limit contingencies. If you’re selling your current house while you’re buying a new one, consider selling first so that the deal is not contingent on its sale. Most sellers prefer not to deal with contingencies, and if there are several offers on the table they’ll likely go with the one that has the fewest contingencies. Write a letter. In addition to making a connection with the seller, if you feel strongly about the home consider writing a letter to the seller, telling them about yourselves and why you love their home. That kind of emotion could be enough to seal the deal. The bottom line is, if you really want to make sure your offer is the one that stands out, be as prepared as possible. It could mean the difference between moving into your dream home and accepting a compromise. Compliments of Virtual Results
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Bay Point 6 Year-Old Student Hears Back From President Obama
MAXINE THOMPSON When 6 year-old Gianna Tims decided to send President Barak Obama a Valentine Card she never expected a response! While her classmates, at Belair Elementary School – in Bay Point - were preparing to exchange Valentine cards with each other, Gianna announced that she wanted to send President Obama and his family a Valentine. She felt it was important. “I wanted to let President Obama know that he is a good President,” she said. That is exactly what she did. Gianna created artwork depicting the entire First Family and with the help of her family, she addressed the envelope and hand delivered it to the Post Office. Not only did she receive a letter complementing her artwork, she now has autographed photos of the entire Obama family including pets Bo and Sunny. As Gianna’s Great-Aunt,
Eve Fleming, presented the official brown envelope to her – Gianna burst into tears. When asked why the tears, he simply replied “I’m just over-whelmed and happy.” Gianna’s 80 year-old Great-Grand Mother, Juanita Fleming proudly looks on as Gianna reads the letter to her. What a magical and inspirational moment for this family.
Life Around Mt. Diablo Photo Feature by Charles Lindsey of CSK Photography
This red tail hawk was seen on Pine Hollow Rd. in Concord preparing to have his squirrel dinner. A beautiful bird of prey doing its natural job of rodent control. Living so close to nature is one of the most attractive features on Living Around Mt. Diablo. PHOTO TECH SPECS: Camera: Nikon D3 Lens: Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 lens @200mm Settings: 1/200, f2.8, iso500 Shot in RAW and edited in Lightroom CC
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Open House Showcases Our Students Excellence in the Classroom and Beyond From the Principal’s Desk By Jeff Eben, CVCHS
Clayton Valley’s annual Open House is always a great opportunity for our school community to showcase student excellence to our parents. I was impressed with the participation level and genuine interest of our parents at Open House. Parents are welcome to visit classrooms and speak with teachers about their student’s progress. However, it’s a much more eventful evening as our teachers have teamed up to showcase projects and highlight outstanding achievements of our students. For example, our Arts Expo packed our multi-purpose room where students exhibited projects in painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, drawing, and video. This year, we even added a new, unique category for 3D models. I was amazed by Huy Tran’s project called Inverted Sky. When placed in a viewing
device like a camera, the exhibit changed colors to reflect the night sky. Parents were also treated to a great performance by our highly talented Jazz band. As a huge Jazz fan, I never get tired of listening to these young musicians improvise with multiple melodies and rhythms. I had many parents visit me afterwards complementing their musical performance. And lastly, our Public Service Academy students presented semester-long projects based on their community service fostering portable life-skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. It’s just another example of CV’s commitment to our students by providing meaningful involvement in the community and preparing them for post high school education and public service careers.
Windows 10 Upgrade Is Great – But Four County Teachers Named computercorner as Finalist in Teacher of the Year By William Claney, Computers USA
If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.x now is the time, your free software waits, but the deadline for your free software is quickly approaching. You likely have a notification sitting in your “systems-tray” reminding you to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. You should do this before June 2016, otherwise you will need to purchase and reinstall the operating system again. We have found over several hundred upgrades or so that Win10 is a very good operating system with few major issues. It is, in my opinion, the best software Microsoft has ever made and even better than Apple’s aging OSX. But, (there is always a “but”) there are a few issues you will experience. If you have already upgraded you may have run into a software incompatibility with Microsoft Office. Office XP (2002) and Office 2003 are no longer functional in Win10. You will need to repurchase Office version 2016 in order to read and write existing files. This issue is easily fixed. The Office glitch is really a choice Microsoft made to help harden their security within the new operating system.
Because Office 2003 and older didn’t really address modern security systems they decided to drop support for it. So, if you have Office files that were made with the older application you need to purchase the latest version. Your files will convert to the new version of Office automatically. Older antivirus and malware programs may not be compatible, but users simply need to update their antivirus and antimalware programs after the upgrade, and that usually takes care of any remaining issues. Here’s a tip, disable your antivirus before you start your upgrade, upgrade to Window 10, then update your antivirus and be sure it is back on and running to protect you. In short, take advantage of the free upgrade offer from Microsoft, deal with any remaining small issues now and set your sites to some really interesting features Microsoft will be announcing shortly. If you haven’t upgraded to Win10 do it now, solve your minor issues, and prepare for something BIG coming to Windows 10 soon.
Currently, there are approximately 8,400 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. This year’s 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru adult education, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall. The following four teachers have been named as the 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Shauna Hawes, MDUSD teaches computer applications/technology to grades 6-8 at Valley View Middle School, in Pleasant Hill. The 18-year teacher has been with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during her entire teaching career. Prior to her current position, Hawes taught 6th grade core (English, history, and reading) at Valley View. Before coming to Valley View, she taught 5th grade at Hidden Valley Elementary in Martinez from 1998-2007. Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District will soon be finishing her 25th year of teaching. For the past 17 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught 2nd grade at Oakley
Elementary School, in Oakley. Her former teaching experience includes preschool and transitional kindergarten grades, as well as elementary after school and summer school instruction. Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District has been an educator for 16 years at Liberty High School, in Brentwood. Rodriguez has taught all levels of high school English, AP English language and composition, and AP English literature and composition. In addition to her education duties, she has served as director of the school’s student activities. Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District began her career in teaching after serving as a senior programmer analyst/senior systems analyst for Mervyns, as well as an independent computer-training consultant. She is currently in her 13th year teaching for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she has served as an instructor for Dougherty Valley High, California High, and Coyote Creek Elementary. She has been teaching first and second grades for the past five years at Creekside Elementary in Danville. The county’s TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). All 21 TOYs will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord on September 22 with Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata serving as master of ceremonies. The banquet will close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year. May the best two TOYs finalist win.
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farmerfresh by Debra Morris,
Pacific Coast Farmers Market http://www.pcfma.org/concord
A staple in Chinese cooking, bok choy is one of those vegetables that are often familiar, but most don't know how to cook with it. It is a simple veggie with green leaves and a crisp root end. The flavor is mild and yet adds texture and flavor to soups and stir fry. •Sauté: Add to noodles and pasta, or serve alone as a side dish with salt, pepper, and garlic •Stir Fry: A traditional method, cooked
quickly and integrated into dishes with tofu, shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables. •Soup: Chop and add to broth and noodles with other vegetables and/or meats. •Salad: Eat raw in salads, sliced, for a nice green with crunch. •Steamed: Steam a couple of minutes to wilt and serve as a side with teriyaki or soy sauces. The ways to enjoy bok choy are endless. Use in place of other green vegetables such as spinach or Swiss chard to change things up in your everyday meals. Tip: Separate and rinse leaves before cooking, as residue can cling between leaves. Don't wash until just before using.
Sautéed Bok Choy with Mushrooms 2 lbs bok choy 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 green onions, chopped 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 3/4 teaspoon salt fresh ground black pepper 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
Cut off the base of the bok choy stalks; discard. Separate the stalks and leaves. If the stems of the bok choy leaves are large, chop finely. Wash the leaves and stalks; drain in a colander. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the green onions, mushrooms, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in the bok choy and coconut milk; cook, stirring until the leaves are tender and stalks are still crunchy, 3-6 minutes.
City of Concord Unveils Todos Santos Events The much anticipated Thursday Night Music and Market series launches May 19 in Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord. The series opens with an evening of cajun music and ends with the The Purple Ones, a farewell tribute to Prince on September 15. This year's schedule offers an eclectic mix of music from a wide variety of genres, starting May 19 when Cajun Fiddle Master Tom Rigney & Flambeau authentically re-create the sounds and feel of a Louisiana Mardi Gras. Tom Rigney was recently featured in his own hour-long segment of the film series “Music Gone Public” that was broadcast on over 100 PBS stations nationwide. Three additional shows in the series commemorate the music of performers who have passed on. The Jean Genies Tribute to David Bowie takes the stage June 23, Hotel California’s ‘A Salute to the Eagles and Glen Frey’ is slated for July 14, and Foreverland honors the music of Michael Jackson on July 26. Other Thursdays this summer offers a musical line-up mix appealing to a variety of tastes. June 2 -The Bird Dogs who are getting accolades for the twin Zmed brothers, whose familial voices invoke the exquisite vocals and repertoire of the Everly Brothers. June 16 - World and Latin music lovers should attend the David Correa Group for some great flamenco and Spanish guitar. June 30 Handsome, youthful, Americana rockers Kingsborough will appear with rich four-part harmonies, and genuinely appealing, energetic, original songs. July 21 - The co-bill with Dakila and Da Island Way blends Polynesian dance with Latin Rock. August 11 - Violin and harp virtuoso Carlos Reyes and the Electric Symphony returns. August 18 - Soul, funk, and R&B fans will enjoy Project 4. Band leader Gerald Glasper will bring the house down dressed as James Brown and other funk superstars. Many of the concerts will be broadcast live on Concord Cable TV channel 28 (Comcast), 29 (Astound) and 99 (U-Verse). Thursdays begin with the Farmers’ Market in the plaza from 4 to 8 p.m. Bands take the Todos Santos stage from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July’s Tuesday Blues series returns
this year with four shows from 6:30 to 8 p.m. from July 5 to July 26. The series will open with Concord’s own Annie Sampson, and close with LA’s charismatic blues singer Shari Puorto. The July 5 opener will also include Cool Concord Cars - a display of vintage autos show. The Fargo Brothers perform July 12, and perennial favorite Willie G takes the stage on July 19. Downtown Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza have announced two special events this summer. To start, celebrate Mother’s Day on Saturday, May 7. The event includes the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation’s Annual All Area Music Festival, featuring music students from Mt. Diablo elementary, middle and high schools from noon to 5 p.m. Winners of the Mother’s Day Essay Contest will also be announced. Admission is free. The AAUW Art and Wine (and Beer) Walk is also in the plaza from 1 to 4 p.m. The July 4th Independence Day celebration features a pancake breakfast , the Concord Police Association Stars and Stripes run, a parade, and then entertainment and fireworks at Mt. Diablo High School. This is a very robust entertainment schedule. The 28th annual Music and Market Series is one of the longest running, most popular free civic concert series in the Bay Area. The series is funded through donations collected from attendees during last year’s concert series and by local sponsors including Concord Disposal, Pacific Service Credit Union, Tesoro, Dolan’s Lumber, Chevron, Ashby Lumber, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market, Concord Police Association, Brenden Theatre and the tourism consortium Visit Concord with its “Diablo Valley, Defying Expectations, Concord California” campaign. We would like to say thanks to all the sponsors and many organizers that present these events to our community. There’s something for almost everyone to enjoy a night out downtown in Concord.
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The Diablo Gazette’s
CALENDAR OF EVENTS Support Groups
Al-Anon Family Group 7:30 p.m. Mondays, St. Martins of Tours Anglican Church & Preschool, Concord. 932-6770 or www.ncwsa.org. Alcoholics Anonymous - 939-4155 or www.aa.org. Bereavement Support Group:1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, 4:30 - 6:00 pm. pre-registration. Call (925) 887-5681 The Bridge A program that provides support to children, teens, adults and their families grieving the death of a loved one. Hillcrest Congregational Church, 404 Gregory Lane Pleasant Hill. 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month Through June. Pre-registration is required. (925) 887-5681 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cardiac Care Support Group - 7 p.m. second Thursdays, John Muir Walnut Creek or Concord. 947-5206. Fibromayalgia Support Group - 2nd Friday of each month. 11A.M. - 1 P.M. Concord Library, 2900 Salvio St. Concord. More info: Call Joyce 925-671-2779 Concord Neuropathy Support – 1:30 p.m. 3rd Thursday of every month at the First Christian Church, 3039 Willow Pass Rd. Concord For more information call 925-685-0953 Debtors Anonymous (DA) meets every Friday Night 7:00 to 8:30 PM, First Baptist Church, 1802 Downtown Martinez. Call Lynda K (925) 228-9111 or go to: www.debtorsanonymous.org. Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implant Wearers Support Group - 7 p.m. 1st Wednesdays, Walnut Creek United Methodist Church. HLAADV@hearinglossdv. org or 264-1199. Hospice East Bay has announced a new schedule for their support groups and classes. All, except drop-in, require pre-registration. Call (925) 887-5681 or emailgriefservices@hospiceeastbay. org. Our Bereavement Services are provided free of charge to all community members in need. Services are provided at the following locations, unless otherwise noted: Pleasant Hill Office, 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill and our Brentwood Office, 80 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite A, Brentwood. Drop-In Grief Support Pleasant Hill 4:30 - 6:00 pm 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month Drop-In Grief Support Brentwood 4:30 - 6:00 pm 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month Drop-In Grief Support In Spanish Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 500 Fairview Avenue, Library, Brent wood 4:30 - 5:30 pm 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month Through April 6
Mt. Diablo Branch California Writers Club
The Young Writers Contest Award Winners will be honored at the next meeting of the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) on Saturday, May 14 from 11:00am – 2:00pm at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Special guest speaker Heather Mackey will discuss “Turning Ideas into Stories.” She will cover story hunting ideas, building a story, and why storytelling matters. Heather Mackey is a kid’s literature author of fantasy adventure novels. Her books include Dreamwood, and the forthcoming The Shadow Clock. She is a member of the National Writing Project’s Writers Council, and consults with the online student writing community, “Write the World.” Sign-in is 11:00 am. Awards will be announced followed by Luncheon and Heather Mackey. Registration is $25 for CWC members, $30 for guests. Reservations are required, and must be received
Drop-In Grief Support For Seniors 55+: Pleasant Hill Community Center, 233 Gregory Lane, Game Room, Pleasant Hill 10:00 - 11:30 am, Mondays Through March 28 Drop-In Pet Loss Support Group Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek 5:30 to 7:00 pm 2nd Tuesdays of the month Parent Loss Support Group – Evening Pleasant Hill Mondays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm April 18 - June 13 Spouse and Partner Loss Group – Afternoon Pleasant Hill Thursdays, 1:30 - 3:30 pm April 14 thru June 2 Spouse and Partner Loss Group Pleasant Hill, Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, May 2 thru June 27
no later than noon on Wednesday, May11th. Contact Robin Gigoux at ragig@ aol.com or call (925) 933-9670. The California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch web address is: http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.com/
Understanding Grief Class - Pleasant Hill, Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, June 16 Creative Writing Workshop Explore various styles of creative writing and discover a new way to give voice to the story of your loss and grief. No writing experience necessary. 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill Wednesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, March 23. Pre-register by March 21 Forget-Me-Not Workshop - Decorate a flower pot in commemoration of your loved one, and take home a seed packet of Forget-Me-Not flowers to plant in their memory. 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill Tuesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. April 12. Pre-register by April 5. HIV/AIDS Support Group - 7-9 p.m. 2nd & 4th Thursdays, John Muir Concord. 925- 674-2190. John Muir Behavioral Health Center 2740 Grant Street Concord. Call 925942-0767 or www.namicontracosta.org Leukemia Society Family Support Group - 7 p.m. first Thursdays. 9474466, ext. 32797. NAMI Connection Peer-led Support Group Living with a Mental Illness? Join. Saturdays 1:00 - 2:30 pm Held at Nar-Anon - 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, John Muir Concord. http://naranoncalifornia. org. Pet Loss Support Group, Second Tuesday of the month, 5:30-7PM. (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration required. Retired & Senior Volunteer Program 472-5777. Stroke Support Group of Contra Costa County will hold its meeting on November 9th in the Sterns Conference Room at John Muir Medical Center Walnut Creek Campus (1601 Ygnacio Valley Road) from 7-9 p.m. Contact Ann Dzuna at 925-376-6218. Meetings are free and open to the public.
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Government Concord City Council, 1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, Council Chambers, 1950 Parkside Dr, Concord. Or watch online at http://www.ci.concord.ca.us/ citygov/agendas/council/
‘Music Festival 2016’ to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Concord
American Legion Post 171 - 5 p.m. Third Tuesdays, Veterans Memorial Hall, Concord. 687-1427. B2F Business Networking Group Noon first and third Thursdays. 9988844.
Concord Planning Commission 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7 p.m. Concord Chamber, Concord Civic Center 1950 Parkside dr. www.cityofconcord.org
Clayton Valley Garden Club- 7p.m. second Tuesday, February-November. Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Contact: www.claytonvalleygardenclub.org
Clayton City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7pm. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Rd, Clayton. http://ci.clayton.ca.us 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.cityofmartinez.org Walnut Creek City Council, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7 pm. Or watch online at http://www.walnut-creek.org/services/ citizen/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 http://www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us/media/
Fundraisers Saturday, May 7 Elks of Walnut Creek Second Annual Car Show 10:00 AM – to 3:00PM at 1476 Creekside Drive in Walnut Creek. Free Admission. The fundraiser supports the Purple Pig campaign helping handicap children. Silent auction for weekend getaways in a Tesla, BMW or Porsche. Other raffle prizes include gift certificates, car care products and food items. New and old domestic, imports, exotic and racing vehicles will be on display to see up close. “It’s a great day of cars, fun and food for the entire family,” says Greg Hunter, Exalted Ruler. “There is something for everyone in the family.” For more information please contact: Mike Schaaf, Event Chair, 925-548-0895 Thursday, June 2 Denim and Diamonds Gala – 6PM10PM Concord Pavilion; BBQ, Dancing, Music, Live Auction and More. Presented by Contra Costa School of Performing Arts (SPA). General admission $50. For VIP sponsor and ticket information contact: email@example.com. Saturday, June 4 Cobra Day Car Show - 12:00 – 4:00 pm. 777 Arnold Drive in Martinez. Enjoy cool cars, lunch, ice cream beverag-es , beer cars and camaraderie. The Show will feature over 150 Ford cars produced or reproduced through the 70’s. The event is free to attend as a spectator. Those who make a donation of $20 or more will have an opportunity to ride in the “Final Cruise Lap”, a short drive at the close of the show. Rides are limited, pre-designated and you must be present to participate. Application Deadline is May 21. Proceeds to Benefit The Cobra Experience, a non-profit museum committed to the promotion, conservation, education and preservation of the cars produced by Shelby American. Tax Id – 46-4161030. Visit www.cobraday.org for applications and more information.
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. Call Sheila at 925-672-7947 or www.claytonvalleywomansclub.org. The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation "Music Festival 2016" is MDMEF's signature event, showcasing student music ensembles from throughout the District. This year's Festival, in partnership with the City of Concord, will be held Saturday, May 7th, from 12 noon to 5 pm at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. Admission is free. Like last year, this year's Festival is on the Saturday before Mothers Day; so we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day while we feature music groups from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. “This year’s Music Festival will be a bit different from our past festivals because the event is bigger this year”, stated Joan Miller, MDMEF President. “We have more students performing than before, from beginner to advanced and small
groups to very large groups because the school district restored 4th and 5th grade instrumental music this year. We also have many more and different types of vendors participating. They will be offering items such as bath salts and scrubs, music items, clothing, bedazzled Tupperware, and jewelry. We also have a specialized Face Painter, so there’s something to enjoy for the whole family. It will be the perfect location to purchase your Mother’s Day gift! We’ll also be holding a raffle of items from our vendors and Peet’s Coffee and Tea will be offering free coffee!” It's shaping up to be a can't-miss event. Bring Mom, listen to beautiful music and support our students. More information is available at www.mdmef.org.
Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club- 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton. 6897640 or www.claytonvalley-rotary.org. Concord Art Association - 12:50 p.m. second Tuesdays, Concord Library. 6465455. 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 EdiBirsan@Gmail.com or 510-812-8180. Concord Garden Club - 9:30 a.m. third Tuesdays, Bethel Baptist Church, Concord. 687-2334. Concord Lions Club - 7 p.m. third Tuesdays, La Tapatia Restaurant, Concord. 687-3594. Concord Mystery Book Club - 2:30 p.m. second Sundays, Concord Library, 646-5455. Concord Senior Club - ballroom dancing, 1 p.m. Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 p.m. second Saturdays. 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. 798-4557. Contra Costa Genealogical Society 7 p.m. second Thursdays, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Concord. www.rootsweb.com/~cacccgs. Contra Costa Mineral & Gem Society - 7:30 p.m. second Mondays, Centre Concord. 429-2748 or www.ccmgs.org Creekside Artists Guild Meets 2nd Wed. each month @ 7-8:30pm. Clayton Library Story Room, 6125 Clayton Rd., Clayton. Arlene 673-9777, akiksen@aol. com Diablo Toastmasters every Thursday 7 -9 p.m. Sizzlers in Concord. www.diablotoastmasters.org. Kiwanis Club of Greater Concord - 8:15 a.m. Wednesdays, Buttercup Grill and Bar, 4301 Clayton Rd., Concord. 372-5348.
May 21 ............Vintage Market June 7 ............ Urban Century: America’s Return to Main Street - Documentary June 11 ......... Spring Wine Stroll July 4 ............ 4th of July Parade Aug. 6 ............ Vintage Market Sept. 10 ......... Madness on Main Car Show Main Street Martinez PO Box 776 Martinez, CA 94553 www.MainStreetMartinez.org (925) 228-3577 facebook.com/downtownmartinez
Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038 Meets 7:30 p.m. 1st Tuesday of the month, St.Bonaventure Church, 5562 Clayton Road, Contact Rayce at 683-9717 or firstname.lastname@example.org. National Marine Corps Business Network: www.nmcbn.com. We normally meet the second Tuesday of each month. Contact 925-680-8714. Rising Stars Toastmasters. This group was created for job seekers. For more information, contact Derrick Smith at (925) 381-4551 or go to risingstarstm. toastmastersclubs.org.
For a complete list of club listings, go to diablogazette.com
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Visual Arts/Theatre/ Music May 2-30 aRt Cottage Tuesday, May 3 Concord Art Association- Sketch Night at Markham Nature Park & Arboretum 5:30-7:30pm (free to members, drop-in okay) details: www.concordartassociation.com Friday, May 6 Tapestry - The Bay Area’s only combined vocal and handbell ensemble, will present a program titled “The Brilliance of Broadway” Join Tapestry for a sparkling evening of favorites from classic Broadway shows. The concerts are free, open to the public, and are appropriate for all ages with a free-will donation benefiting Swords to Plowshares, providing ser-vices and care for our American Veterans. 7:00 P.M Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave., Walnut Creek. Traditional pie party to follow. Saturday, May 7 7:30 P.M. Tapestry Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. 1578 Kirker Pass Rd. Clayton Saturday, May 14 7:00 P.M. Tapestry Asbury United Methodist Church; 4743 East Ave., Livermore Sunday, May 15 4:00 P.M. St. John’s Parish; 5555 Clayton Rd., Clayton. For more information, contact Cindy Krausgrill, Director, 925-672-7751 or visit www. tapestryringersandsingers.org.
NUDE NOT NAKED Comes to the Art Cottage in May NUDE NOT NAKED is the next show featured at the aRt Cottage. Most of the artists have been painting together for many years in a studio art setting. They work from poses done by draped as well as nude models. Some of the models used are from the Bay Area Model Guild and are also used by colleges around the area. They are professionals. Did you know that very few galleries will exhibit nudes. Why is this? As artists we do not understand why. We look at the human body as a beautiful landscape with many interesting shadows, shapes and lines. Nudes, whether painted in abstract style or lifelike, have been done since the beginning of time. The Nude not Naked exhibit will be open to the public at 2238 Mt. Diablo St. Concord for the month of May. There will be a reception to meet the artists on Saturday, May 7th from 1 - 5. This coincidentally is the same day and time
May 21 - 26, Concord Community of Artists “Sight/Unseen” Show - Fourteen artists share their stories and personal views of culture, identity and ancestry. Special music performances throughout the weekend - May 21 (11am-1pm) and May 22 (11am5pm) At The Artist’s Den, 1913 Salvio St., Concord. Details: www.concordartsalive. com as the Concord Art, Wine, and Beer Walk. aRt Cottage is the last stop on the map. You will have to keep your eyes open to take in all the beautiful work. The Nude and Naked art exhibit will have mostly works from the Jody Mattison Group. Image below is by Pam McCauley.
‘Rumors’ Ends After Fantastic Run
Saturday May 7 Music Festival 2016 – Mother’s Day .The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation signature event, showcasing student music ensembles from throughout the District. This year’s Festival, in partnership with the City of Concord from 12 noon to 5 pm at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. Admission is free. More information is available at www. mdmef.org. The AAUW Art and Wine (and Beer) Walk is also in the plaza from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14 Concord Art Association Workshop Painting and Printing with a Gel Plate (Instructor: Fatima Rizvi) at The Artist’s Den, 1913 Salvio Street, Concord. 1-4pm ($45 members; $54 non; must register in advance) details: www.concordartassociation.com Tuesday, May 17 Concord Art Association Plein Air Painting at St. Mary’s College, Moraga 10am-1pm (free to members, drop-in okay) www. details: concordartassociation.com Thursday, May 19 Music and Market Series- Cajun Fiddle Master Tom Rigney & Flambeau authentically re-create the sounds and feel of a Louisiana Mardi Gras. 6:30pm -8PM; Farmer’s Market 4 to 8pm. Tom Rigney was recently featured in his own hour-long segment of the film series “Music Gone Public”. Todos Santos Plaza Concord. Saturday, May 21 CLAIRDEE, Vocalist & her Trio ; Peace Lutheran Church, 3201 Camino Tassajara, Danville. Tickets @ brownpapertickets.com or at the door $25. Benefits Jazz Camp Scholarships & San Ramon Library Jazz Collection May 20-21 Synergy Theater presents Spontaneous Shakespeare, a completely improvised two-act comedy in the style of the Immortal Bard. Mayhem, mirth and merriment abound. Chock full of bawdy
l-r front row: Roxanne Pardi, Peggy Scalise, Bill Dietz, Tamara Filener, Nathalie Archangel, La Tonya Watts (standing) l-r back row: Terese McGregor, Ron Craven, Don Stone, Teresa Grosserode, Chip Renner, Patti Berrow, Terry Tracy, Cara Bent, James Bradley, Jr.
Clayton Theatre Company just concluded a successful 3 week run of “Rumors” by Neil Simon. Over 600 patrons attended the performances and laughed till their cheeks hurt! CTC will be holding a Summer Stage Theater Camp for children
humor, mistaken identities, outrageous disguises, star crossed lovers, mischievous spirits, wily servants, exciting sword fights, hysterical wordplay and more “thees” and “thous” than you can shake a cudgel at, this hysterical improvised comedy is made up entirely on the spot and all based on your suggestions! Thou wilt not believe it’s improvised. Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 at 8:15 pm. The Lesher Center for the Arts, Knight Stage 3 Theatre, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596. Tickets $15 at www.lesherartscenter.org or (925) 943-7469
ages 6-16 July 11-28. For more information, please go to claytontheatrecompany.com. CTC’s will present “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in Oct. 2016
June 2 Music and Market –The Bird Dogs The Bird Dogs have been getting accolades for the twin Zmed brothers, whose familial voices invoke the exquisite vocals and repertoire of the Everly Brothers. 6:30pm – 8:00pm. Farmers Market 4:00pm8:0pm. Todos Santos Plaza Concord. Free Parking.
Club/Support Group Events Tuesday, May 10 Concord Art Associaton Member Meeting at Concord Library, 2900 Salvio Street. 1-3pm. Guest artist demo: Pat Calabro & Roger Renn - Printmaking (free; open to public, drop-in okay) details: www.concordartassociation.com May 14 Mt. Diablo Branch California Writers Club (CWC) -The Young Writers Contest Award Winners will be honored at the next meeting at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Special Guest speaker, Heather Mackey, will discuss “Turning Ideas into Stories.” See article this edition. Sign-in is 11:00 am. Awards 11:30. Luncheon 12:15 pm. Speaker 1-2 pm. Registration is $25 for CWC members, $30 for guests. Reservations are required, and must be received no later than noon on Wednesday, May11th. Contact Robin Gigoux at email@example.com or call (925) 933-9670 or visit the California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch website: http:// cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.comnext-program/ May 21 Carfit - The Pleasant Hill Commission on Aging is sponsoring a special program on May 21st called CARFIT. This event is aimed to improve older driver safety by making sure that the car and the driver “fit” each other, i.e. rear view mirror, seat po-sition, etc. Because the car review is so extensive and takes about 30 minutes, reservations are necessary. Thursday 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: 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 - Email: HamRadioClass@gmail.com
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Home & Garden/ Farmers’ Markets Clayton Saturdays 8am to 2 pm Concord Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, yearround, rain or shine, Todos Santos Plaza. •Concord Thursdays, 4pm to 8pm, Todos Santos Plaza. Galindo Home and Gardens - 1721 Amador Avenue, Concord CA (map) Visit the fully-restored 1856 Victorian home of Francisco Galindo, one of Concord’s founding fathers, and his wife, Maria Dolores Manuela (Pacheco) Galindo. This includes the 1875 addition by Francisco Galindo’s son, Juan “John” Galindo. Tours are Sundays 1pm – 4pm and by appointment. For further information, contact the Concord Historical Society www.concordhistorical.org Martinez, Farmers Market, Sundays, 10am to 2pm, year-round, Main St. and Estudillo. Walnut Creek Diablo Valley Farmers Market Saturday 9a.m. - 1 p.m. Shadelands Business Park, N. Wigett Lane and Mitchell Dr. 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 Cy-press. 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. Go to www.walnutcreekdowntown.com for more information. Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market Sundays 9 am - 1 pm, Year Round, North Locust St between Giamona and Lacassie St. (925) 431-8361 http://www.cccfm.org May 7 Free Comic Book Day - Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff, 2980 Treat Blvd Concord. The store opens at 11am but the line starts to form well before that. Ends May 15 “Art of Survival” exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville. Explore the history of the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in WWII internment camps across the West Coast. Discover artifacts from the camps, see a variety of photographs, and read very informative story panels explaining how this painful chapter in America’s past happened. 205 Railroad Ave, Danville . Take the Diablo Road 680 exit to access the Museum. For additional in-formation about the exhibit and supporting programs visit www.museumsrv.org.
AAUW-Concord Art and Wine (and Beer!) Walk—Becoming a Mother’s Day Weekend Tradition! CARLYN OBRINGER Concord residents are invited to stroll around Todos Santos Plaza, Salvio Pacheco Square, and downtown Concord while enjoying fine wines, craft beers, and appetizers, and viewing beautiful art for sale produced by two dozen local artists on Saturday May 7 from 1 pm to 4 pm. The 2016 Walk features nine wineries and five breweries, and includes 24 businesses and restaurants. This event is organized by the Concord Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Music will be provided by Mt. Diablo Unified School District student music groups on the Todos Santos Stage and by live bands performing on the patio of Vinnie’s Bar and Grill, and by acoustic musicians visiting the participating Walk businesses and restaurants. The money raised by the Walk is used to send seventh grade girls– selected from applicants attending a different Concord elementary school each year-to a summer camp called “Tech Trek” to stimulate their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. The Walk also provides scholarships to local women who have completed their AA degree and have been accepted to a fouryear university. In 2015, AAUW-Concord Branch sent five girls to Tech Trek and awarded five $1,000 college scholarships
to local women. The Walk also promotes downtown Concord. The hope is that attendees will become regulars at participating Walk restaurants and businesses. “We received a lot of repeat customers after they discovered us when we participated in the 2015 Walk,” says Game Time Sports Bar & Pizzeria owner, Michael Guy. The Walk starting point will be located at the corner of Salvio Street and Grant Street, outside of E.J. Phair Brewing Company-Concord Alehouse. A complete list of participating breweries, businesses, and wineries is available at http://concord-ca.aauw.net/. For more information, contact carlyno@ yahoo.com or (925) 324-9595. Tickets are $22 through noon on May 6 at http:// concord-ca.aauw.net/activities/programs/purchase-here, $25 at the door.
Outdoors May 28-30 Bay Area KidFest Memorial Day Weekend, Sat. – Mon., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closes 5 p.m. Monday). 27th annual Kid-Fest is the East Bay’s largest annual family event with dozens of activities for kids, tweens and parents. Enjoy “Kid’s Cele-bration”, America’s No. 1 Family Game Show; Cirque Adventure acrobatics, high-flying aerial acts and family fun; BMX Bike Stunt Show plus scooter and skateboard demos; Superstars Raphael and Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Olaf from “Frozen.” Nonstop entertainment on community stage plus more free activities - face paint-ing, balloon art, sports, golf, bounces and crawls, Kid’s Town America and Bike Rodeo. Arts & crafts and exhibitor booths, plus food court, 20 rides and much more. Admission $6 per person with the donation of a canned good for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. $7 without can donation. Children under 24 months and seniors 65+ are FREE. Free valet bike parking daily. Benefits local non-profits. Downtown Concord, 2450 Grant St. www.KidFestConcord. com May 30 Memorial Day Commemoration at KidFest Monday, 12:00 p.m. - 6th annual Memorial Day ceremony on the main stage at Bay Area KidFest with World Champ Concord Blue Devils C Corps, young singing phenom Janelle Feraro performing the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs with the Mt. Diablo High School Jr. ROTC color guard. Downtown Concord, 2450 Grant St. www.KidFestConcord.com 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.blackhawkmuseum.org/carsncoffee.html Concord: Todos Santos Park OFF the Grid Mondays 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://offthegridsf.com.
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An Ode to Mother’s Day By Phyllis Tovani, Age 91 Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day I recall with much grinning. Breakfast in bed, Not missing one trimming. The kids run to me, With lots of hugs and kisses, Then for dear mom Plenty of dirty dishes. “One of the many blessings of being a grandmother and great grandmother is the unconditional love that you feel. Grandkids, and great-grandkids, love you just as you are. It’s a wonderful feeling.” --Beverly Harris, Age 84
“Being a mother is the most wonderful, fulfilling thing that can happen to a woman. A mother, of any species, will protect her babies with her life. She gives love, hope, and charity to them, and lots of forgiveness (but never forgets!). A mother is powerful, for ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’.”-- Kay Conover, Age 94 “As I’ve matured in age, I rely more and more on the proverb that states, ‘don’t neglect your mother as she grows old.’ And thank goodness my children do not. My daughter sent me this quote: ‘Mothers are like fine antiques—as the years go by, they increase in value.’ So I’m not old; I’m collectible!” --Marie Sutton, Age 95
“When I was born, I was the youngest of five children, with a wonderful mother, so when I got married I wanted to be just like her, and also have five children. But after bearing two wonderful children (one girl and one boy) I decided that was enough for me. I was so lucky with them, and how great they were, that I didn’t want to push my luck. They’re what have made motherhood worth the trouble.” --Sally Turner, Age 84
“My son was born in the midst of an air raid during World War II in Lancashire, England, and is my only child. When he first started to walk I was so happy to see his little legs come running towards me, or when he would run to meet his dad at the door when he would get home from work. He loved to play with animals and as he grew older, he brought home many different kinds of animals, thinking he could keep them all. I had wished for more children, but it wasn’t meant to be. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything.” --Edith Beesley, Age 96
“I loved growing up in a family of nine children. My mother taught us all to be patient, kind, and charitable to those around us. My mother (and father) made sure that the whole family was in church every Sunday, rain or shine, and they were never timid when it came to telling us kids how very proud they were of each of us and that we were loved, unconditionally. I am grateful for my dear mother, for all she sacrificed to give us a wonderful life. She was a woman full of patience and understanding and encouraged her children to face every situation with tact and kindness. I, in turn, have tried to give that same advice to my two boys, my seven grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren. The best part of motherhood is spending time together as a family and knowing that loved ones may leave over time, but their memories never will.” --Mabel Truax, Age 98
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Oakmont of Concord Model Save Mount Diablo and Joaquin Units Are Now Open Moraga Intermediate School Enter Conservation Agreement Concord’s reputation to be an ideal retirement area is getting the attention of retiring seniors, and to industries that cater to the senior population. While Concord’s rank as “10 Best Places in the World to Retire” by Conde Nast Traveler may have surprised many locally, some companies had already invested in that notion long before the article. “The Concord area is a wonderful place for seniors, with easy access to hospitals, the arts and community events” said Crystal Robinson, VP of Marketing and Sales or Oakmont Senior Living. “Montecito, Oakmont of Concord’s sister community on Clayton Road, has thrived since it’s opening 10 years ago and we look forward to the opportunity to offer our 5-star services and amenities to even more local seniors.” Ground broke on the 2.4 acre property back in November. The community will feature 59 assisted living and 26 memory care apartments that range from 400 to 1300 square feet with 10 foot high ceilings and spacious bathrooms. However, it’s so early in construction that there have been no models to tour. Seniors are registering based on the reputation of Oakmont’s other retirement communities. Until now. Two completed and fully furnished model units are now open for viewing at Concord’s newest retirement community Oakmont of Concord. A spa-
cious studio and large one bedroom apartment home can be viewed via appointment or by stopping at the Information Center, located on site and open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Oakmont of Concord will cater to active seniors in search of resort-style amenities and continuing care services. It will provide 24/7 staff that will deliver high-quality care services and 7 day a week nurse coverage including as-needed assisted living and memory care services for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The community will feature a library, plush movie theater, fitness center with exercise classes, activity rooms, salon and day spa, a flower and vegetable garden, walking paths and a pet park. There will be a full social calendar as well as off-site recreational activities. An executive chef will operate the restaurant-style dining program. In addition residents will have access to complimentary chauffeured transportation, housekeeping and concierge services to make daily tasks even easier. Oakmont of Concord is located at 1401 Civic Court, Concord, CA 94520. For more information call 925-329-3008 or visit www.oakmontofconcord.com . Happy retirement.
I have to say one of the most important lessons you can give your child is to have them "witness" you flossing and brushing your own teeth! We all know that first time parents are very eager to do the right thing (dare I say overprotective, I was certainly guilty!). That's why I find it very ironic when the second child seems to have more dental disease than the first child, even though it seems we are treating both children identically the same. More times than not we parents have learned from our mistakes. For many reasons each individual child has his or her own risks of getting tooth decay. Remember that it takes a combination of genetic factors (hard or soft teeth is an old wife's tale), bacteria and sugar for decay to form. Healthy snacks still contain sugar so it's still most important to build good habits early and clean your child's teeth after each meal AND snack! I get the funniest look from kids who have been taught to brush and floss every morning and bedtime. When I ask "How many times a day do you eat?" and they answer with three times, I say, “You eat three times a day but you only clean your teeth two times a day!” Their little faces just light up! But again…. extra work for Mom and Dad to get kids to brush after lunch!!! Let' face it. The best present you can give your MOM is a big SMILE and hug and thank her for all the wonderful things she's done selflessly for you. THANKS MOM! (Dedicated to Faye S. Waldman 1923-2011) As always, please remember to always swish, floss, brush and swish again and continue to see your dentist at least every six months or as often as your dentist prescribes. Please visit my webpage roberthwaldmandds.com and feel free to email me at email@example.com with any questions.
MOMS are SPECIAL Dr. Robert Waldman Call it mothers' intuition, but Moms always know before a child gets a new tooth. Even a new mom who hasn't even experienced this phenomenon before knows her child's temperament is different before the "teething" starts (usually at 6 months old). Of course she usually figures out how to soothe her child during this very uncomfortable stage. Frozen wash rags and teething rings are very soothing. With my daughters, my wife used to get the hard baked Dutch pretzels and they would gnaw on them for hours!! Sometimes the gums get so sore during eruption that it helps to use an over the counter numbing agent. It's a liquid so only use a little, otherwise a baby's whole mouth goes numb and they start crying even louder! Care for baby's 1st teeth is very important. Most pediatricians do an oral exam on infants, but by the child's first birthday it's time to take the child to the dentist. I always encourage Mom and Dad to bring their baby to their appointment when the child is six months to one year old. Now many dentists, myself included, feel it’s most appropriate to bring your child in for their first dental appointment (I call it a Happy Visit) between 2-3 years. At that age most children will actually sit in the chair by themselves and cooperate fully with the dental team. Having said that, I'm always happy to meet with Mom and Dad and baby at one year in order to teach about infant dental care, especially to first time Moms and Dads. Habits of brushing and flossing must start early and of course the responsibility falls on the parents! This is where Dads can give MOM a really nice mother's day present by sharing the ritual of oral care.
On April 22, Earth Day, Save Mount Diablo (“SMD”) and Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (“JMIS”) signed a creative Conservation Collaboration Agreement. This is SMD’s newest program to collaborate with schools to educate and connect students with nature, SMD and in order to help protect the Mount Diablo area - including the two major acquisitions SMD is currently pursuing – completion of the 1,080-acre Curry Canyon Ranch project, and the recently announced North Peak Ranch project, 88 acres just east of Clayton. “This will be our first Conservation Collaboration Agreement with a school and it could not be more timely,” said Ted Clement, SMD Executive Director, referring to Earth Day and John Muir’s birthday. Clement stated, “We are grateful for the leadership and long-term vision demonstrated by Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. I also want to express my thanks to Dawn Lezak, a teacher at the school who helped make this possible. To expedite our time-sensitive land conservation work, Save Mount Diablo is reaching out to young people to join the cause. Young people have a major stake in what our future environment will be like. We look forward to entering such agreements with other schools,” said Clement. The Agreement recognizes that the Mount Diablo area’s natural environment is threatened by development and other pressures. Decisions which will impact that environment are happening now. The students of JMIS have a major stake in what their future environment will be like. Students will learn to directly connect with their natural environment, and re-
alize that a fast paced society can distract us from the natural world we depend upon. The program will educate ways to actively protect their natural landscape and how to contribute to such community efforts. Dawn Lezak, a JMIS teacher, stated, “Joaquin Moraga Intermediate's EARTH Class and ECO Club students will be able to apply what they learn in school and see how land conservation works in practice. This experience will give them the opportunity to see how relevant their classroom curriculum is to local conservation and environmental activism." The Conservation Collaboration Agreement has three basic parts. First, the staff of SMD will provide in-class educational presentations regarding land conservation to the JMIS 6th grade EARTH Class and ECO Club on May 4th. Next, SMD staff will teach and lead the JMIS 6th grade EARTH class and ECO Club in an outdoor, experiential service project at SMD’s Curry Canyon Ranch preserve, which will also include a contemplative journal writing exercise about nature. Finally, JMIS and its participating students will work towards raising the necessary funds by June so that all of its students in the 6th grade EARTH Class and ECO Club can become members of SMD and get directly involved through SMD’s new Young Friends Membership Program. Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, non-profit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org
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Godless Do-gooders NIK WOJCIK
It was a crisp Sunday morning when Debra Wong and a group of seven others gathered together in comfortable shoes and armed with protective “hand socks” and gloves to guard them from the abundant poison oak. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., they helped to clear a small piece of the El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area of invasive, fireprone French Broom. The only noted reward for their work were the Chips A’Hoy cookies at break time. The volunteers had been organized through the East Bay chapter of the Sunday Assembly, part of a nationwide group that dedicates time, throughout the entire East Bay, to things like bringing art programs to Oakland schools, working with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a defunct playground in Pittsburg and lending a hand at food banks. On March 27, a much larger group got together for their monthly meeting at the Oakland Peace Center to “sing, listen, think, laugh, and learn.” There, speakers talk to attendees about science and education while children play and then they collectively gorge at the following potluck and proceed to plan out their next community service pursuits. These people are your neighbors, co-workers and fellow soldiers in the PTA trenches. Many of them also happen to be atheists. Last May, the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life released data from their comprehensive Religious Landscape Study. It was reported that 22.8 percent of the U.S. population fall into a group of people that don’t claim any religious affiliation. That means that nearly 1-in-4 people now openly admit to being agnostic, spiritual-but-not-religious and yes, atheist. They are all part of the rapidly growing group, both here in the U.S. and globally, recently dubbed the
“Nones,” and a majority of them are considered among the least trusted people in America and abroad. It boils down to this one question: can somebody really be righteous and moral without the belief that “God” is watching? For many nervous citizens of traditionally religious cultures, the answer is still no. There seems to be a disconnection between the perception and reality of who these “Nones” are. That misinformation may be contributing to some very real discrimination, as was explored in depth by the American Psychological Association in 2007 and reported as Resolution on Religious, Religion-Based and/or Religion-Derived Prejudice. Their studies found that anti-atheist prejudice has a direct impact on detrimental areas like employment, military service and electoral participation. Pew Research Center issued another report on Jan. 27, titled Faith and the 2016 Campaign, which in part explores how “being an atheist is still a liability for politicians.” Although negative feelings have declined by 10 percent since 2007, still, over half of our population said “they would be less likely to support an atheist” as a presidential candidate. The University of British Columbia conducted research in 2011 that produced even more alarming results. Participants placed atheists remarkably close to rapists on the trustworthiness scale, as was reported in their report titled, Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust is central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice. After spending a day pulling weeds with some that fall within this group, it’s hard to imagine how they can generally be seen as untrustworthy and even more, as a threat. Vincent Verna and Debra often coordinate events like these for Sunday Assembly, a non-religious congregation that “celebrates life!” Their motto is “Live better. Help often. Wonder More.” They encourage people to “come out” about their beliefs. “People distrust what they don’t understand,” said Vincent. “It’s harder to hate us when they realize we’re their neighbors.” Both are atheists and no strangers to volunteer work. They’re not alone. The secular world is filled with people who choose to do good things. Hemant Mehta writes a blog as the “Friendly Atheist.” “I think non-religious people are just as charitable and empathetic as everyone else;” said Hemant, “we just don’t always have opportunities to give as a ‘group.’” He works closely with an organization called Foundation Beyond Belief in order to get “atheists to give to great causes together.” Hemant migrated to the atheist side as a teenager, when he started asking questions critical of his beliefs. “I began asking…why I was right and everyone else was wrong.” said Mehta. “It became apparent that no one religion had it right. They were all making guesses on issues we just didn’t have answers to…they were selling hope rather than truth. He feels that people who tend to criticize atheists never seem to describe them correctly and that this lean
toward secular life is far from a trend that will easily fade away. “I think the religious groups are doing their best to spin the data so it doesn’t look as awful,” said Hemant. “But that basically amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Debra agrees that there are likely far more “Nones” out there than are willing to admit, but reiterates that they’ll find open arms if and when they choose to question their religious indoctrinations. While the country, and international community struggles with processing the shock to their demographic comfort zone – many atheists and agnostics will be out serving their communities and gathering to support each other. In reality, spending a day with some of these non-religious folks looks, feels and smells a lot like hanging out with church people, sans the big book and gospel tunes. Many of them are caring, productive members of society that really just want the same things that most people do: a happy, healthy life and a good group of friends. They also want to know they’ve done something good for the world they live in and for the other people that live in it – and somehow, that doesn’t seem very threatening. “If you don’t believe in there being something ‘after,’ that there isn’t a God to save us,” said Debra, “if this is all we’ve got…then we want to leave it better than the way we found it.” Amen.
Nurture the Ground Beneath Your Feet: The Importance of Healthy Soil
By Brian Larsen Garden Manager at The Gardens at Heather Farms
The most important factor in ensuring the success of your garden is the soil. An essential element of the growth process and the source of viable nutrients for plants, soil can act like a nurturing mother, slowly guiding your crops to a successful harvest; or it can be a fickle mistress thwarting all of your horticultural plans. Ensuring your plantings develop and thrive means paying close attention to the ground beneath your feet. Before you begin setting out your vegetable crops for the season, it’s best to incorporate some additional organic
materials into your soil. Not only will this practice feed your crops this season, but it will continue to help build a healthy, friable soil for seasons to come. Consider adding mushroom compost, chicken manure, or other natural ingredients to get the ball rolling. Low-maintenance and easy to plant, cover crops are an excellent choice to improve soil quality and protect your garden’s bounty. Laid between your crop rows, these hard-working plants will suppress weed growth, help control pests and diseases, and provide nitrogen fixation
(one of the most important biochemical processes on Earth) for healthy, green crops. Clover and fava beans are some of my personal favorites. The can be easily grown from seed which is available at a reasonable cost in bulk. Many gardeners in the area are afflicted with heavy clay soils. Poor to drain, hard to work and often overly alkaline, clay in soil can cause problems with plant root growth and nutrient absorption. Beginning a yearly program of amending with quality soil amendments, such as a healthy dose of organic matter, will ensure greater success for seasons to come. Maximize your garden’s potential this year and start from the ground up. Include helpful cover crops and add organic material to improve nutrient density and soil consistency; then watch your garden
grow. Learn more: Join us for a free class “Healthy Soil for Your Home Garden” and learn about the importance of composting. Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. Free. Register at gardenshf.org.
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Are Rhinos Too Valuable To Save? Walnut Creek Biologist to share safari findings with Mount Diablo Audubon Society JILL HEDGECOCK Jill Hedgecock, the Diablo Gazette Bookends columnist, became passionate about the fate of rhinos during an African safari vacation last October. After learning that three of these magnificent creatures are killed illegally each day in South Africa, she decided that people needed to learn more about what is happening. Jill is a biologist and holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management. She is scheduled to present photos from her safari trip to the Mount Diablo Audubon Society and will discuss the plight of the rhinos on June 2nd. She has shared highlights of her presentation in this article. Like most people, Jill went on her African safari to see the legendary Big Five. Not the largest animals, but the five most dangerous land mammals: rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard. She was lucky to see all five. But tourists may soon have to downsize their list to the Big Four because rhinos are disappearing at an alarming rate. Driven by greed, poachers kill them for the profitable horn. A single rhino horn can sell for a half-million dollars on the Asian black market. An ounce of rhino horn is currently more valuable than gold. If the current rate of rhino horn poaching isn’t stopped, wild black rhinos could become extinct within the next decade. Rhinos, in addition to being a draw for tourists, serve a critical function in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. A 5,000-pound white rhino can consume 50 or more pounds of food in one day. But it isn’t only the sheer bulk of vegetation consumed that makes them so important. Unlike elephants, who browse on trees, rhinos act as giant weed whackers, selectively grazing on certain plants and grasses, creating biodiversity in the landscape. These dietary preferences also create a mosaic patchwork of habitat that is more attractive for other grazers such as zebra and antelope, who, in turn, are food for lions, leopards, and hyenas. Worldwide, four of the remaining five rhino species are threatened. Three are critically endangered. In the early 19th century, approximately one million rhinos roamed the world. In 1970, their numbers fell to around 70,000 or seven percent of their peak population. Today, there are only around 28,000 rhinos surviving in the wild. In South Africa alone three rhinos are killed every day. No wild rhino is safe, not even the rarest. After the miraculous discovery of a small population of Sumatran
rhino in Borneo, a species previously thought to be extinct for 40 years, tragedy struck. Despite efforts to treat a leg injury from a poaching snare, one of these precious rhinos died from infection on April 5, 2016. There are now only fourteen Sumatran rhinos in the East Kalimantan jungle. Other rare rhinos are on the brink too. Only three northern white rhinos and 5,055 black rhinos are left in the world today. The demand for the keratinous material in the horn in the Asian culture appears to be insatiable. The misguided belief that the horn powder has curative powers for everything from hangovers to impotency to cancer has created a frenetic seller’s market, driven largely by China and Vietnam. What these people are spending fortunes on is essentially the same material as fingernails.
England’s Prince William, who serves as president of United for Wildlife, a consortium of wildlife charities, has recently became a strong advocate for the rhino. On March 15, 2016 at Buckingham Palace, he unveiled a global agreement to crack down on wildlife trafficking routes. Forty transportation authorities, representing airline, shipping and custom agency leaders signed the declaration to stop the movement of poached animals and their associated products into the black market. British royalty aren’t the only celebrities using a public platform to try to stop rhino horn poaching. Film stars, including Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III and Nikita) have been part of an ad campaign showing the stars gnawing on their fingernails to help educate people that rhino horn has no health benefits. WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation launched the promotion in both the Chinese and English languages. In 2014 the Vietnamese Ministry of Health confirmed that rhino horn had no medicinal value, but this has had little impact. The hope is that a Vietnamese campaign starring some of their country’s biggest celebrities will have better success. Many solutions are being considered to address the poaching problem. Dehorning, once thought to be a magic solution, has largely failed. Poachers either not wanting to track a rhino without a horn or to secure the limited amount of stub of horn still left, will still shoot the animal. In Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, during the early 1990s, the majority of dehorned rhinos were killed just 12 to 18 months after being dehorned. The dehorning operation is also risky due to veterinary complications while the animal is under anesthetic that may result in death. In addition, dehorned rhinos are at risk of being unable to adequately protect themselves and their young. Other options being proposed to combat this incredibly complex and controversial issue include poisoning the rhino horn, developing synthetic horn material, legalizing trade, improving anti-poaching techniques, and relocation of rhinos out of high poaching areas. Poisoning the horn seemed like a fail-proof solution to make rhino horns worthless. A colored toxic dye that didn’t hurt the rhino was injected into the horn and the outer skin of the rhino’s horn was painted a bright color. But poachers soon discovered that the poison didn’t spread throughout the dense fiber of the rhino horn. Critics of the synthetic horn believe that fake horn will drive up the cost of poached rhino horn, creating an even bigger market for a product seen as more potent and, therefore, more desirable. The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) opposes the sale of synthetic horns. Opponents of legalization believe it will only create more demand and could lead to establishment of rhino horn farms. Because rhino horns regrow, sustainable farming has been suggested, but this has raised ethical issues. To the relief of many rhino protection groups, on April 21, 2016 South Africa announced that it would continue to oppose legalization of rhino horn trade. Legaliz-
ing the sale of tiger bone and cultivated ginseng resulted in a rise in use of both. While the connoisseurs of rhino horn are mainly successful Asian men over the age of forty who buy entire horns as a symbol of their wealth, there are more potential customers waiting for the price to drop. This could represent millions of middle class consumers in Southeast Asia. Anti-poaching activities have largely failed in most areas of Africa, although efforts in some countries have met with limited success. The areas where rhinos roam are large, often in terrain with limited sight distance. Fueled with black market dollars, poachers are often outfitted with the latest technological tracking tools. Funding game wardens with anti-poaching equipment such as drones, trained dogs, and night-vision binoculars has helped. One game reserve in a province of South Africa, Limpopo, is reporting success using military thermal cameras to track the movement of poachers. Overall, 40 fewer rhinos were poached between 2014 and 2015 in South Africa. But considering that 13 rhinos were killed in 2007 compared to 1,175 in 2015, game wardens may occasionally win a battle, but it appears they are still losing the war. The Rhinos Without Borders campaign based in South Africa seeks to relocate rhinos from high poaching areas. They hope to move 25 rhinos to Botswana by the end of the year. This effort comes with a high price tag
Diablo Gazette • MAY 2016 • Page 19 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990 ($45,000 per rhino). Other efforts to establish a breeding rhino population outside Africa involve the relocation of 80 rhinos from Africa to Australia over the next four years. It remains to be seen if this relocation will work and with up to a sixteen-month gestation, replenishing wild rhino populations will not happen quickly. Still, these transplants may have a better chance of success than if they were sent to zoos. Rhinos born in captivity rarely bear young. However, here in California at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, on April 7, 2016, a southern white rhino was finally born to a captive female after ten years of breeding efforts. The success was attributed to a change in the mother’s diet. An Indian rhino calf was born in the Toronto zoo in February and the male calf appears to be thriving. It is unlikely that the rhinos currently living in zoos will be able to save the species from extinction. But these recent births give cause for hope. There is no single answer to combat the current rhino poaching crisis, but time is running out. One of the Big Five safari animals isn’t inching its way toward extinction, its population is plummeting. But the rhino, this “landscape architect” of the African savannah, must be saved. They are too valuable. Come find out more about rhino poaching as Walnut Creek resident, Jill Hedgecock, at the Thursday June 2nd meeting of the Mount Diablo Audubon Society in
the Camellia Room of the Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek (across the street from The Greenery). Doors open at 6:30 p.m., the main program begins at 8:00 p.m. The event is free. For more information about the plight of the rhino visit: https://www.savetherhino. org/rhino_info/thorny_issues/ Sidebar Information: SAVE THE RHINO BY PURCHASING A UNIQUE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT The International Rhino Foundation is promoting An Adopt a Rhino campaign for Mother’s Day. Sponsor a specific rhino and receive a thank you packet with a personalized adoption certificate and a rhino photograph http://rhinos.org/adopt/ for photos and information. The International Rhino Foundation hosts a shopping webpage that sells rhino-inspired jewelry and clothing:
https://irf.z2systems.com/np/clients/irf/giftstore.jsp Preorder a 2017 Rhino Keepers Association Calendar: http://www.rhinokeeperassociation.org/ To see more amazing Safari photos, go to diablogazette.com.
Caught Reading: Photo by Micah
Scott Rich reads the April issue of the Diablo Gazette to pass time at the Antique Faire.
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To China with Mom journey-man’sjournal
by John Cooper May, the month of Mother’s Day, and lest we forget the importance of our relationships with our Mothers, allow me to tell of an adventure trip that I took with mine. My mother was elderly at the time, or just north of her prime to be more politically correct (sorry Mom, but facts are facts, are the math doesn’t lie). Like me, she also has an appreciation for travel and asked if I would accompany her on a week-long trip to China sponsored by the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce. The trip was thinly veiled as a “Business Leader’s Excursion to China” with the underlying theme of learning how to do business in China. The first stop on the tour was the capital city of Beijing, one of the most populated cities in the world with a staggering sum of nearly 22 million. Beijing is also home to the Great Wall and the Palace Museum, otherwise known as the Forbidden City, both of which are recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The Great Wall of China, constructed of stone, brick and wood, extends nearly 5,500 miles, and in excess of 13,000 miles by some estimates if you include all of its branches. You can forget about Donald Trump’s boast that he’ll build a fence between Mexico and the United States; a measly 2,000 miles. The Great Wall of China could surround the entire United States in every direction. A long-standing bucket list item of mine has been to run the entire length of the Great Wall, but after having witnessed its enormity, I’ve since substituted that for something more suitable and realistic; like tasting all of Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors in one sitting. Located in the center of Beijing is the Forbidden City, the most visited mu-
seum in the world, and the home of 24 emperors and their families dating back to its construction in 1420. The complex consists of 980 buildings that were used by politicians and other influential dignitaries of the times. In its storied history, the Forbidden City has endured invasions by foreign countries, occupation by hostile forces, withstood rebellions, fires and other manner of chaos, but the most impressive opposition was that of a modern-day Starbucks that opened in 2000, which after a few short years was forced to close due to public outcry. We also visited Tiananmen Square, the location of the 1989 Democracy Movement in China. If you remember, at its height, nearly one million student-led protesters assembled in Tiananmen Square and were suppressed by nearly 300,000 government troops. Who can forget the image of the individual who stood defenseless and stopped the advance of a column of tanks as the world was looking on? Much had been heard about the smog and pollution in Beijing, but it was altogether another thing to see it in person. On what would normally be a bright sunny day, the pollution was so great that the entire landscape was overcast with a thick layer of gray and so dense you could actually taste it. Shanghai is a city experiencing explosive growth at a rate of 1 million per year over the past 15 years, accentuated by an endless number of construction cranes rising high in the sky. Shanghai was every bit a modern day city full of the latest architecture and design and the infrastructure that goes with it; traffic and congestion, noise and neon signs. But Mom and I were impressed nevertheless. About an hour west is the old city of Suzhou, which appeared to be forgotten in time. With open air markets selling anything from fruits and nuts to live chickens and ducks and freshly butchered meats, including what was reported to be monkey brains! and other delicacies. It’s generally not been my nature to shy away from daring and speculative undertakings, but I drew the line at monkey brains. Speaking of food, there were a number of observations that we both found interesting. The first example was that
the plate sizes and food portions were significantly smaller than what we were accustomed too. Whether we were at a restaurant or a banquet, the typical plate was equivalent to that of a common salad plate…and going back for “seconds” was frowned upon. As the week unfolded, we became very aware , embarrassed really, at just how much food Americans eat, the abundance of food that we take for granted, and the amount of waste we produce. The second observation we noticed was that the food was spectacularly delicious, but very simple. Rice and vegetables were served at every meal with some type of fish, chicken or duck as a supplement. We asked a waiter if he offered any fortune cookies. “Only in America,” he laughed. As it turns out, the fortune cookie is not Chinese at all. Instead, popular legend attributes the fortune cookie to have been invented in San Francisco by a Japanese immigrant in the early 1900’s. Unfortunately, Suzhou provided the first glimpse into the daily hardships that many Chinese families experience. Poverty was pervasive throughout the country. We watched several women wash their clothing in the dirty local waterway while raw sewage poured out from unfiltered drains just feet away. In Hangzhou we visited tea houses, pavilions and ancient temples, all of which were impressive in their own right. However, my most memorable experience there was that of a midnight shopping event. Our travel host asked if we were interested in late night shopping for “knock off” merchandise. The opportunity to purchase copies of purses and handbags of brand-names like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Gucci - of course Mom was interested. Having no need to buy personally, but curious nonetheless, I elected to go along with her. We entered through a side door in an
otherwise typical retail store. As the doors shut behind us, and another interior door was opened on a swivel, not unlike something you’d expect to see in a James Bond movie, we entered into a room filled top to bottom with thousands of purses and handbags; copies down to the very stitch. Being one of only two men in a large group of women shoppers, we watched these frantic bargain hunters run amok. It was a first-hand sighting of women shopping in all their glory - a “Black Friday” sale on steroids. For me, exploring China with my mom was remarkable. We toured silk, rug and embroidery factories, and learned about growing and processing tea. We were introduced to its rich history and culture and viewed its breathtaking landscape. We discovered the greatness of China and it was fascinating. More importantly, I also discovered that my relationship with my mother had grown, from that of a parent-child to a shared, mutually-respectful adult connection. Traveling together for an extended period of time provided the perfect opportunity for that to maturate. And there’s nobody I’d rather have enjoyed the experience with than my Mom. Happy Mothers Day. To see many more photos of China, go to diablogazette.com.
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Home Concerts; What Are They And How Do They Work? MIKE SPELLMAN AND ELLA WOLFE are Bay Area native vocalists who love to develop and perform shows for a wide variety of audiences and venues. Rather than dance music or background music for a party, their shows engage the audience by giving the songs our personal interpretation and relating to events and experiences in their lives. “We love seeing the different emotional responses to a song expressed on their faces.” Mike says. “Audiences frequently tell us that we project a unique stage personality that is warm and charming, like having a good friend over for dinner.” It seems their style also works well for private events including home concerts. Their current show is a supper club-style show called “Songs From a Suitcase.” The show is an eclectic mix of songs that are tied together by a travel theme. Backed by a trio of some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians, the show explores travel situations that are playful, poignant and sometimes hilarious. “We debuted the show last year at the prestigious Society Cabaret in San Francisco and have since performed it at theaters, country clubs and adult communities around Northern California.” Mike and Ella also enjoy performing for residents of assisted living homes around the Bay Area. “They always appreciate having live music brought to them.” In a way, our shows are a throwback to the intimate supper clubs so popular in San Francisco in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, such as the Hungry i, Bimbo’s 365 and the Purple Onion. Today, this performance style is sometimes called “cabaret,” minus the bawdy outrageousness depicted in the movie of the same name. In today’s cabaret the artist shares his or her interpretation of the songs with a small, attentive audience. As those iconic supper clubs closed their doors, opportunities for talented cabaret and acoustic-style singers and musicians in the Bay Area were diminished. However, the genre is now seeing a strong rebirth in popularity. “We believe the demand is there…what’s needed are more venues.” The answer might lie in a
growing phenomenon in the Bay Area and the country known as “home concerts.” What is a “Home Concert?” Home concerts are exactly what the name says; performances inside a private residence hosted by the homeowner in a living room, or a backyard, dining room, even a barn. Let’s be clear. This is not hiring a band to play dance music or background music for a party. This is a sit down event where both audience and artist experience an intimate concert in a comfortable setting. The concert usually consists of two sets (30–45 minutes each) with a short break, often with snacks and drinks provided. While home concerts are not new, the current wave is the brain child of devout music lovers dissatisfied with
Centenarian Salute to Carmen K. Papetti-Cattolico MAXINE THOMPSON
Happy 100th Birthday! Carmen turned 100 this past April 18. 100 years ago, in April 1916, there were quite a bit of historical events taking place. The first US National Women's swimming championships were held, the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is founded in New York City. The Chicago Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park (modern-day Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings. Woodrow Wilson was the president and gas prices had just hit an all-time high of 18 cents a gallon in San Francisco. And Carmen K. Papetti was born on April 18, in the small town of Collinsville in Solano County, to the proud parents of Salvator and Splendora Papetti. Carmen is the 3rd oldest of 11 children. Growing up her responsibilities included cooking and cleaning for the family as well as assisting her father in his commercial fishing business. Her Dad insisted that she was “strong as an Ox,” Carmen agrees. Because Carmen had to stay at home, taking care of family, cooking 16 loaves of bread every 3 days and other responsibilities, she home schooled. Even her diploma was delivered to her at home. Over her lifetime Carmen has held at least 13 jobs ranging from commercial fishing, Al’s Snack Shop and the Cannery in Antioch to the Walnut Creek’s John Muir Hospital where she retired after 14 years of service in the Surgery Depart-
ment. In 1939 Carmen married the love of her life, Victor Cattolico, who was also a commercial fisherman. They had 3 daughters and one son; they also raised two nieces. Carmen has nine grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Her husband, Victor, passed in 1981 and she remains a widow. When asked what she attributes to her longevity? Carmen keeps it simple, “Growing up we ate beans every day, a lot of fish and vegetables. We didn’t know nothing about no candy or sugary drinks. We had water. I have a sharp mind and I’m in good health.” Carmen plays cards twice a week and bingo 4 times a week. She beams as she announces “My California driver’s license has just been renewed for 5 more years!!!”
the crowded and impersonal environment of noisy bars and large halls where it was near impossible to focus on the performer and vice versa. Hence, home concerts were born, offering intimate settings where attentive and undistracted audience members could interact with the artist. For the performer it’s a welcome alternative where he or she knows their music is being heard and appreciated. Dozens of home concert venues are popping up in the Bay Area–many in the East Bay–but we believe this barely taps the potential. Hosting a home concert is a lot like planning a party, and the rewards can be even more fun and fulfilling. They are private affairs attended through invitation only by friends, neighbors, co-workers, family and maybe a few fans of the artist. Typically, a “suggested donation” of $15-25 is collected at the door from each attendee. Donations rather than charging a ticket price avoids any pretense of operating a business in your home. All proceeds are given to the performer, sometimes less the host’s expenses, which are usually minimal. A host may choose to provide snacks and drinks or ask his guests to bring a dish to share. Some hosts, often helped by friends and neighbors, even serve dinner. Obviously, the most important determination a potential host must make is whether their home can comfortably accommodate at least 20 people. Most people underestimate how much space they have for seating. Ella and I are performing in a home soon that at first glance would seem to seat 15-20 people. By slightly re-arranging some furniture and bringing in portable chairs, we will have an audience of 40. The fine details of hosting a home concert are easily addressed. “How-to” information is abundant. Anyone interested in hosting can begin by contacting Ella or Mike at 925-202-1041, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website www.boomermusicevents.com.
“Art of Survival” Exhibit Tells History of West Coast Internment Camps During WWII The “Art of Survival” exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville is a fascinating exhibit that explores the history of the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in WWII internment camps across the West Coast. Discover artifacts from the camps, see a variety of photographs, and read very informative story panels explaining how this painful chapter in America’s past happened. Several DVD’s bring the story home in the words of survivors. While not one of America’s finer moments, it is a story well worth knowing lest we repeat it again. Although the “Art of Survival” centers on Northern California’s Tule Lake camp, all ten camps get exposure in this exhibit. One interesting outcome has been how visitors keep mentioning that they have something their father, mother, or grandparent brought home from the camp and then volunteer to share it in the exhibit. The exhibit just keeps growing. When older Japanese American visitors arrive, they often come with their children and grandchildren in tow filling in blank pages in their lives that they want their family to learn about. Other visitors frequently relate that they have a friend whose family went off to one of the isolated camp sites and survived to recreate a normal life as a successful American after the humiliation of living behind barbed wire in the camp. This is a story that keeps resurfacing, refusing to fade away. Most of the families of mainland Japanese Americans were confined to internment camps in the United States. However, the 442 Infantry Regiment was a fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought in World War II.
Beginning in 1944, the regiment fought primarily in Europe during World War II. The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. The 4,000 men who initially made up the unit in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, earning 9,486 Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations, five earned in one month. Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor. War Veteran Isao "Ace" Handa is now 90 years old and lives in Danville. Ace was a member of the 442nd all Japanese Regiment. In July, 1946 he proudly carried the regimental colors when the 442 was reviewed by President Harry Truman in the rain in Washington, DC. The “Art of Survival” will be exhibited at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave, Danville through May 15th. Take the Diablo Road 680 exit to access the Museum. For additional information about the exhibit and supporting programs check out www.museumsrv. org.
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DIABLO GAZETTE FUN ZONE Micah’s Fun Facts, Legends, Myths and Lies Can you guess which of these facts are true, and which are not? Answers below, no cheating. 1.) Once Charlie Chaplin entered a contest for “Charlie Chaplin look-alikes” and he came in third. T ___ F___ 2.) Both of Jack Black’s parents were rocket scientists T__ F _ 3.) Velociraptors were just slightly bigger than chickens. T___F__ 4.) The Nintendo Entertainment System had over twice the computing power of the first lunar lander. T___ F___ 5.) A banana is actually a berry. A strawberry isn’t. T___ F___ 6.) A duck's quack doesn't echo anywhere and no one knows why. T___ F___ 7.) Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts T___ F___ 8.) Elephants are the only animals with 4 knees and can not jump. T___ F___ 9.) As a child Stephen King was irrationally terrified of curtains T___ F___
Decorating with Tissue Paper Flowers FrugElegance
by Carol and Randi The Frugirls
Making your own party decor can save lots of money. Especially with these colorful DIY Tissue Paper Party Flowers -aka, party pompoms. Last month we shared how to make decorative Teacup Flower Centerpieces. Because this is one of the busiest times of the year for parties and celebrations, we wanted to share with you another easy to make decoration. This one has to be the lowest cost and easiest project that just about anyone can do. It is also great project to do with the kids! Tissue Paper Flowers make fabulous "FrugElegant" summer party decorations for graduations, showers, and weddings. Paper flowers are bright and festive and only cost a few dollars to make. We purchased the three needed products at our local dollar store: assorted colorful tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and a bag of rubber bands. Here are the Steps:
Answers: 1 True According to an article in Newsweek Magazine April 2015, In 1975, Chaplin entered a look-alike contest of himself in France. He was a shoo-in for the prize. The goal was to win, then reveal his true identity, and everyone would be amused and laugh, right? Except he came in third. A theory: Chaplin’s eyes probably threw off the judges, since those baby blues couldn’t be seen in black and white. 2 True Jack Black was born April 7, 1969, in Santa Monica, California, to Tom and Judy Black, both satellite engineers. In a 2003 Newsweek interview with Devin Gordon, Black admitted it was ironic that both his parents were rocket scientists. He also put a Jack Black spin on the situation: "They're rocket scientists. I'm a rock scientist." 3 True We can thank Jurassic Park movies for this misconception. For a dinosaur that's often mentioned in the same breath as Tyrannosaurus Rex. Velociraptors were remarkably puny: this meat-eater weighed only about 30 pounds soaking wet (about the same as a good-sized human toddler) and achieved an awe-inspiring height of three feet, max. It is also believed that they had feathers, not lizard skin. I guess the producers felt getting killed by a chicken would scare no one, except colonel Sanders. 4 True The computing power of the first lunar landing has been compared to that of calculators, cell phone, Nintendo and other electronics. But an even more impressive comparison, to answer a simple Google search query would take all the computing done in flight and on the ground for the Apollo Program! 5 True As explained in Stanford Magazine earlier this year, botanists define a fruit as the portion of a flowering plant that develops from the ovary. Strawberries aren't really berries in the botanical sense. They are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, making them an aggregate fruit. True berries are simple fruits stemming from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds. Tomatoes fall into this group, as do pomegranates, kiwis and—believe it or not—bananas. (Their seeds are so tiny it's easy to forget they're there.) So, bananas are berries and strawberries aren't. Who knew? 6 False A duck's quack doesn't echo anywhere and no one knows why. I know why. It’s not true. Although you wouldn’t know that from social media. Snopes says it best, “Anyone who has used the Internet more than a week has probably received at least one of those annoying lists of "facts": dozens and dozens of items of no real significance that somebody thought would be cool for you to know. The purpose of these lists apparently is not to educate the masses (however trivially), but to induce readers into the information age equivalent of a scavenger hunt, sending them scurrying all over the Internet in an attempt to verify the truthfulness of the entries.” 7 True In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960’s, her parents’ names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. 8 False and True. This one is a trick question. Elephants like all quadruped mammals have 2 knees at their back legs and then elbows and wrists at the front. However, they can’t jump. The real question is why would they want to? 9 False. 100% False. I made it up.
1. Stack six sheets of tissue paper. Make 1" to 1-1/2" wide accordion folds. With each fold press to create a crease.
2. Using a pipe cleaner, wrap around the middle of the folded tissue paper. This will hold the flower together and use ends to attach to a banner or wherever decorations are needed.
3. Using scissors, trim ends of tissue into desired shapes. For pointy shapes, cut a V-shape. If you prefer round edges, cut more of a U-shape. 4. Separate layers one at a time till flower is full
To add variety to your paper flower decorations consider these options. Cut your tissue paper into smaller sizes to create different sizes. Use different color tissue sheets in your stack to make a multi-colored paper flower. Try Glitter Glue to gently add a little sparkle to some of the ends. Be sure to allow time to dry thoroughly. Use fishing line to hang your paper flowers. We love to make our celebrations look fabulous without costing a lot. For much more FrugElegance, please come on over to our blog at www.frugelegance.com. You can also find us on Facebook!
Diablo Gazette • MAY 2016 • Page 23 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette • (925)-298-9990
Opinions What a Mess!
three council members and directed Wright to withhold their recommendations from the final staff report. This was wrong. During my three terms of serving on the Concord City Council, I experienced two types of city Something went wrong. How could the final selection managers. One asks you, when you are proposing an process to determine the Master Developer for the Conidea if you have three votes, and the other type just does cord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) Project turn into the right thing for the city she or he serves. such a mess? The other two glaring problems that I have been able In January 2014 the City began an open selection to discern are also contributing to the process to identify the best candidate to current mess existing at city hall. The be the Master Developer for the CNWS city received two letters from Catellus lands. Finally in May of last year two asserting that Lennar violated the terms finalists were chosen, Catellus Developof their agreement. City Attorney Mark ment Corporation and Lennar-Urban. Coon was conducting an investigation of Each party signed an identical "Agreethe alleged violations when he tragically ment to Negotiate" with the city. In an committed suicide. effort to be fair this document clearly While the city was mourning, The Conprohibited each developer from lobbying tra Costa Times Editorial Board called for directly or indirectly Council members an immediate thorough investigation. In determining their fate. response to this community outcry, the This was clearly not the case as it was city hired the law firm of Michael Jenkins learned later on. for $50,000.00 to conduct all necessary Michael Wright was the staff manager interviews and present their findings in the selection process for the city. He publicly. assembled a team of experts whose reIn February of 2016, the findings, sponsibility was to rigorously investigate following extensive investigations, his the strengths and weaknesses of the two Colleen Coll report read, “Lennar orchestration of finalists based upon their “fact sheets.” campaign contributions to our former His team would ultimately recommend Mayor Tim Grayson’s Assembly camonly one finalist. paign constituted a form of lobbying prohibited by the Having served on the Concord City Council during Agreement.” Lennar’s friends contributing $ 16,800.00 1980’s up to 1995, it was always general city policy to to Grayson’s Assembly campaign. In addition Jenkins evaluate the merits of the staff recommendation and lisnoted that none of the people connected with Lennar ten to their presentation during an open public hearing. coperated with his investigation. In this case I do not understand “why” three members Because of this I wholeheartedly believed Lennar of the Council mainly Tim Grayson, Laura Hoffmeister, should have been disqualified for violating their agreeand Edi Birsan asked City Manager Valerie Barone to ment that was asserted by Catellus and confirmed by withhold staff’s recommendation from the public of Jenkins investigative work. This opinion was put forth Catellus being the superior proposal and being best qualin a letter I submitted to the City Council after reading ified to become Master developer for the CNWS project. Mr. Jenkins report. Apparently, Ms. Barone yielded to the wishes of the Soon after, Mr. Guy Bjerke, the new director of the
CNWS following Mike Wright’s retirement, recommended that Lennar stay in the Master Developer selection process. His rationale was the city would benefit from this. I wholeheartedly disagreed. I recall reading that Bjerke’s appointment to this position was “political”. To the best of my recollections a Contra Costa Times editorial stated that although he was not selected to be one of the finalists, the City Manager was asked by the council members to reconsider his qualifications for the job. This was done and Bjerke was subsequently hired. I believe from this narrative that the residents of Concord are being asked by our elected officials to accept Lennar to be Master Developer. This is not the best choice for our city. We deserve the best. To restore our trust and confidence, the council members should restart the process and reject Lennar from being our trusted partner on the CNWS project. Respectfully,
Colleen Coll, Former Mayor and Government Teacher Editors Note: Colleen Coll and her family has been a fixture in local politics for more than half a century. Her dad Tom Coll served on the Concord City Council in the 1950’s but was best known for his work on the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors where he was credited for providing the swing vote that resulted in the creation of BART in the early 1960’s. Colleen served three terms on the Concord City Council including a two year stint as mayor before retiring from elective office in 1995.
“MEASURE H” 10 Year Continuance to Keep Clayton Trails and Landscape Maintained On June 7th, Clayton residents will go to the polls to vote in the Presidential Primary and on other state and local issues. In Clayton, voters will also consider the continuance of our very important Trails and Landscape Maintenance District Tax, “Measure H”. Since 1997 this parcel tax has been the sole source of funds to maintain and beautify Clayton’s roadway medians, popular trails, open space weed abatement, and public landscaping improvements. The special parcel tax currently generates approximately $1 million a year for these exclusive purposes. The community-wide public services provided through these revenues could not and cannot be absorbed by the City’s unexceptional four million dollar per year General Fund, of which 51% goes to pay for local police services. Realistically, there is no alternative funding method. Clayton citizens’ demonstrative willingness again in 2007 to endorse and support this dedicated funding mechanism for the upkeep of Clayton’s landscaping, trails, weed abatement, or what is referred to as “Clayton's Front Yard”, plays a key role in ensuring safe, attractive, and water-efficient landscaping. Our electorate’s 82.94% affirmative vote in 2007 was during a period of economic uncertainty, and it demonstrates the level of commitment our citizens have in maintaining our community’s unique value and quality of life. Through it all, we have continued to enjoy the beauty and outdoor experience synonymous with Clayton. Plus, we helped preserve our
Howard Geller, Mayor of Clayton property values! The funding level and methodology enacted 10 years ago have proven to be sufficient. I am especially pleased to say, “We got it right!” Therefore, “Measure H” on the June 7th ballot is simply a continuation of the existing successful formulas for an additional 10 years. No Changes! The current residential parcel tax rate is $19.57 per month. The citizens’ oversight board (Trails and Landscaping Committee, (TLC)), is comprised of Clayton volunteers appointed by the City Council to scrutinize and recommend expenses of the Trails and Landscape Maintenance District. The fund is audited annually to ensure compliance with its mandate, and the District’s overhead expense is kept frugal at 3.3%. While these
monies maintain our trails and landscape along the City’s major roads, it does not underwrite the expense of our City’s parks which are maintained by separate funds. Having lived in Clayton for over 40 years, I am proud of our community’s landscaping we share with residents and visitors alike. “Measure H” enables your City to continue its care and improvement of our 27-mile public trail system meandering through Clayton to Mt. Diablo State Park and other open space edges of our valley. Funds from this measure were recently used to repave segments of the trail system and replace seven wood bridge
decks crossing creek beds. Cardinet Trail’s major erosion is under repair as I write. There are plans approved by the Trails and Landscape Committee and the City Council to change hardscape and landscape at seven gateway medians and replace the City trees along Keller Ridge Drive. These are examples of how your tax dollars are always working to maintain Clayton’s landscape integrity. Let’s keep Clayton one of the loveliest cities in Contra Costa County. I invite you to vote for Clayton, vote “YES” on “Measure H.” I know I will! Howard Geller, Mayor of Clayton
Diablo Gazette • MAY 2016 • Page 24 • www.DiabloGazette.com | www.fb.com/DiabloGazette •(925)-298-9990