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Local news posted 24/7. Bookmark Town Square is where you can post your own news or discuss and check it throughout the day for important community news community issues with other San Ramon residents

Central Park playground will reopen in April

The Central Park playground will rise again - better than ever with fun, imaginative equipment and friendly, safe surfacing. The playground, which was installed 1987-88 when Central Park and the Community Center were constructed, was closed Nov. 1 and is scheduled to reopen in April. The play equipment was removed but the concrete paths, trees and seat walls will stay the same. (Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:00 PM)

Wildcats victory on the soccer field

The Dougherty Valley High School boys JV team won its first game of the season over Campolindo, 2-1, with two goals by Anoop Gala, last Wednesday, Dec. 30. The season began Nov. 9 and ends Feb. 2. Varsity boys also won their Campolindo game, 3-0, to improve their league record to 2-2-0. (Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:59 PM)

Celebrating women in film

Enjoy a dangerous beauty and help a good cause. San Ramon AAUW is hosting its first “Celebration of Women in Film” on Jan. 23 to raise awareness of women’s pursuit of equality - and to raise funds to help women further their education. It will air “Dangerous Beauty,” a film that addresses the struggles women faced in the 16th century, which are similar to their struggles today. (Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009 at 6:02 PM)

New year looks good for Embarcadero Media

A new year, a new decade, and Embarcadero Media Co. is continuing its mission to deliver local news to residents. The Danville Express has increased page views to 100,000 per month and nearly 35,000 unique visitors per month. (Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 at 5:59 PM)




McNerney Campaigning at Taxpayer’s Expense This week I received two glossy, full-color fliers telling me about all of the good things Representative Jerry McNerney has been doing for the 11th Congressional District. Last comment from Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer, on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm (Comments: 13)

Injured soldier buys condo after four years in San Ramon Sgt. Manny Mendoza-Valencia, the injured soldier helped for the last four years with a scholarship from the Sentinels of Freedom, has done more than adjust to his injuries and make a life for himself here in the San Ramon Valley. Last week he became a homeowner. Last comment from Longtime Resident, a resident of San Ramon, on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:47 am (Comments: 1)

Protesters arrested at Chevron A protest group said that several of its members were arrested this morning for blocking a gate at Chevron’s headquarters in San Ramon this morning to highlight what they say are efforts by the oil giant to undermine the fight against global warming. Last comment from David, a resident of San Ramon, on Jan 1, 2010 at 10:33 am (Comments: 4)

Contrasts in Himalayan kingdom act as muse to San Ramon girl by Teresa C. Brown

See NEPAL on Page 4


Villagers from Chaukati photographed by Chrissy Anderson during her two-month visit to Nepal. She was fascinated by the contradictions found in the country: the beauty vs. the grim reality of daily life.

Nepal inspires teen to win writing contest

Nepal sounds like a faraway world, but for San Ramon resident Chrissy Anderson, the country was a muse. Her journey to the distant kingdom inspired her to write an article that won her second-place accolades among 8,500 entries in the annual Teen Travel Writing Scholarship competition. Chrissy’s award-winning essay, titled “Beautiful Nepal,” earned the 18-year-old Diablo Valley College student a $500 scholarship, much needed funds she plans to use when she transfers to a New York college in the fall. The contest is sponsored by Family Travel Forum, Society of American Travel Writers and Homewood Suites Hotels. Her writing submission in the competition was done “on a whim,” said Chrissy. She explained that she had been searching online for scholarship opportunities when she found the travel writing contest. But


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This story ran on See more stories like this online. January 15, 2010 | | PAGE 1

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Continued from Page 1 while the contest entry was impulsive, her writing was anything but that. The essay was based on a “slam” poem (performance poetry) she had written during a two-month visit to Nepal when she was 16. The poem detailed the paradoxical life she observed there, the things she noticed the most. “You notice the contradictions, beauty vs. the fact it’s a dirty country,” Chrissy said. Her essay sharply contrasted poverty with an enriched life; beauty with gritty reality; and having so little while sharing so much. Her juxtaposition of Nepalese life intrigued the contest judges. “Chrissy’s essay was remarkable in its playful use of language,” said Kyle McCarthy, editor of Family Travel Forum. “Over the past three years we’ve had student travelers submit poems and stream-of-consciousness style journals and even rap songs, but few have been able to pull it off. Chrissy used the rhythm of the Buddhist chant to set the tone for her piece, and her words very poetically gave the reader a strong sense of place and her view of Nepal.” This was Chrissy’s first writing contest, and competition was vigorous. With more than 8,000 submissions, every word counts, and the theme must be eye-catching through the multiple elimination rounds. “Judging the scholarship has been a process of elimination for us,” said Carthy, “because so many entries are received and each is read at least twice. We have teams of readers, typically pairing a college and high school reader for the first rounds, then passing on essays that have merit to a round of graduate students and editors, until the semifinalists have been narrowed down to the finalists — this year less than 2 percent of all applicants.” It came as a surprise to Chrissy when she was notified in October that her essay had caught the eye of the judges and was one of the 25 finalists, before the final selection earned her second place. “I loved Christine’s piece because Nepal was one of the first places I traveled to on my own, so I related to it for that reason,” said McCarthy. “But also because I admired her bravery at submitting something out of the box.” Writing an unconventional essay may have been inspired by Chrissy’s unique experience with Nepalese life. She was able to see life beyond the tourist streets and shops. Her visit was part of a program organized by Where There Be Dragons, an organization that offers educational trips to teens which focus on cultural immersion. Chrissy’s trip was part of the Himalayan studies program. As part of the trip, Chrissy along with 10 other teens from throughout the United States and three adult instructors, stayed in host families’ homes in villages throughout India and Nepal. The home stays were filled with chal-

Courtesy Chrissy Anderson

Chrissy Anderson wrote an unconventional essay about what she found during her stay in Nepal.

lenges. “It was nerve-wracking because of the language barrier and the cultural barrier,” said Chrissy. They didn’t speak English and, she noted, she couldn’t speak the native languages. She explained that she learned a few important words, like the word for “enough,” to let host families know when she had had enough food to eat — otherwise, they would insist on serving her more and more. The adult instructors were also helpful because they had been residents for years of the visited countries. Staying in homes gave Chrissy an intimate glimpse of everyday life, and she was struck by the kindness and generosity of everyone. It was one of many contrasts Chrissy saw in Nepal. “Families who can barely feed themselves welcome strangers for tea, and a meal if you’ll let them,” she wrote in her essay. “Sleep on the floor so that you can have their bed, sometimes their only bed. If they don’t leave you alone, it is only because they don’t want you to be lonely.” The experience of visiting Nepal served to whet Chrissy’s appetite for world travel. In the fall, she plans to transfer to the Global College in Long Island, N.Y., where, as part of her education plan, she’ll spend a year in India. Nepal gave her a greater understanding of the world and instilled a sense of purpose. Someday, she said, she hopes to join the Peace Corps and perhaps lead a cultural program much like the one that took her to Nepal. But more than that, she said, “I want to go everywhere.” To read Chrissy’s essay in full, visit 8419-Beautiful-Nepal.

Celebrating women in film San Ramon AAUW launches new fundraiser Enjoy a dangerous beauty and help a good cause. San Ramon AAUW is hosting its first “Celebration of Women in Film” on Jan. 23 to raise awareness of women’s pursuit of equality — and to raise funds to help women further their education. It will air “Dangerous Beauty,” a film that addresses the struggles women faced in the 16th century, which are similar to their struggles today. “This is what we hope is the first of a series,” said Elaine Baldwin, publicity coordinator of the film committee. “We’re hoping it will grow and we will have more than one film in the future.” “Dangerous Beauty,” filmed in 1996, is a lavishly produced film set in 16th-century Venice. It is the true story of Veronica Franco, a renowned courtesan and published poet, based on the book, “The Honest Courtesan.” “Lots of scenes in the film are appropriate to today’s struggle for women to have equal rights and a recognition of their talents,” said Baldwin, noting that even though Sen. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House, the overall number of women in Congress is small. The evening will include commentary during the intermission and afterward by Dr. Karen Van Zino, a physician, author and lecturer. She will lead a brief discussion of how the experiences of Renaissance beauty Veronica Franco, who defied the conventions of her era, relate to issues faced by today’s women — and men. “Dr. Van Zino is a very interesting, dynamic woman. She spoke to us last year,” said Baldwin. She became excited about them launching the “Celebration of Women in Film” and recommended “Dangerous Beauty.” “We thought we should do something that would be fun and be in line with our

mission — to advance women’s equality,” explained Baldwin. “That’s the reason we picked this film.” Cost of the evening is $25, and this donation will go directly to the cause, noted Baldwin, because six businesses have stepped up to sponsor the event: Janice Colby/ Keller Williams Realty, the San Ramon-based geotechnical engineering firm ENGEO, Joy Perkins/ Omnibus Organizing, the dentistry practice of Drs. Czekala, Schinnerer & Associates, Ma Jolie Salon and Spa, and Crazy Flower Wines in Napa. “The diversity of our sponsors indicates the broad appeal of AAUW’s mission to further women’s educational opportunities and to remove barriers that block women from full equality,” said Andrea Gibson, co-chairwoman of the organizing committee. The event starts at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23. To purchase tickets, call 973ARTS (973-2787) or go to http://www. htm. All tickets are $25, with minimal processing fees for tickets purchased online or mailed. Refreshments will be served at the intermission. Seating is limited. The movie was rated R due to some scenes of strong sexuality, and for nudity and language. The American Association of University Women promotes equity for women and girls, lifelong education and positive society change. The San Ramon Branch was begun in 1982. It raises fund for scholarships and grants for women but also provides members with opportunities to associate with like-minded women and men through its activities and special interest groups. To learn more about the San Ramon branch of AAUW, go to aauw/. 

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Time to play Playground at Central Park will reopen in April By Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Marketplace General Contracting

Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The new state-of-the-art play equipment has been installed in Central Park in the old footprint, with the seat wall around it.

The Central Park playground will rise again — better than ever with fun, imaginative equipment and friendly, safe surfacing. The playground, which was installed 1987-88 when Central Park and the Community Center were constructed, was closed Nov. 1 and is scheduled to reopen in April. The play equipment was removed but the concrete paths, trees and seat walls will stay the same. “All the equipment is in — and it’s pretty stunning,” said Karen McNamara, director of the Public Services Department. The new equipment is in two sections, with a tot lot for ages 2-5 connected by a bridge to an area suitable for ages 5-12. It will accommodate 240 children. “We got a really good deal by going directly to the manufacturers,” said McNamara. “Our first goal that we actually set them working on was to design the most play value and equipment that they could in the existing space.” Playgrounds need safety zones between their boundaries and the nearest sidewalk, she explained. The city wanted to keep the seat wall around the existing playground. The contractor is Playworld Inc. with equipment is coming from NSP3. “We got the best design and most equipment, given the existing footprint,” McNamara said. The new surfacing will include Fibar, rubber surfacing and a sand area. A swing set will be put on the lawn area between the playground and the existing restroom and concession facility. “The mushroom fountain that people have always loved will stay,” said McNamara.

Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Construction of the renovated playground is scheduled for completion in April.

A new filtration system with a chemical controller are being installed for the fountain and play stream, and a below-ground vault will circulate the water. The cost of the project is approximately $625,000, coming from the City of San Ramon and the East Bay Regional Park District’s Measure WW funding, which voters approved in November 2008. “I’d like to let voters know this is their money at work,” said McNamara. “The timing was good.” Although the playground is not available for use during renovations, visitors can stop in the lobby of the adjacent Community Center to learn more about what they can expect upon completion of the project. This story ran on See more stories like this online.

Community Calendar San Ramon Library Foundation Book Sale

Support your library through the San Ramon Library Foundation Book Sale from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16 and from noon-5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17, at the San Ramon Library, 100 Montgomery St. There will be a members-only preview from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 15. Call 973-2850.

Lynn Shephard Student Art Show

Lynn Shephard, an instructor at the San Ramon Community Center, presents an exhibit of her students’ most recent work. The show will be visually stunning with work presented in watercolor and acrylic and will be on display until Jan. 31. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and admission is free. Call 973-3200 or visit

Pajama Time

Not quite ready for bed, but ready for a story? Come with the entire family to enjoy this evening storytime at “Pajama Time” at 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20 and 27, at the Dougherty Station Library, 17017 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon. This event is free. Call 973-3380.

‘Dangerous Beauty’

San Ramon Branch, American Association of University Women, presents “A Celebration of Women in Film” with a viewing of “Dangerous Beauty” at 6:30 p.m., Saturday Jan. 23, at the Front Row Theater, Dougherty Station Community Center, San Ramon. Tickets are $25. Proceeds benefit AAUW Educational Opportunities Fund. For information or tickets, call 973-ARTS (973-2787).

Cinderella Kids

This show features all your favorites from Cinderella, including the evil step-sisters, the handsome Prince, the beloved fairy godmother and all those wonderful mice who help Cinderella make her dreams come true. See it at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 23-24, at Front Row Theater, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon. Tickets are $8. Call 973-ARTS or visit

Forest Home Farms to start docent training Make a difference for third-graders in the San Ramon Valley Forest Home Farms will have a docent training session for new volunteers from 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Jan. 21. This training is open to the public and is for anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer at the farm, but you are not required to volunteer after attending the meeting. If you have an interest in local history, are a retired teacher, or love working with children, then Forest Home Farms is looking for you. This fieldtrip program is great for retirees, stay-at-home moms, parttime workers, and those with extra free time who would like to be involved in the community. Docents lead hands-on activities that teach the agricultural history of the San Ramon Valley and Forest Home Farms. It is a very rewarding experience to see how much the children enjoy learning and to be able to answer their questions. There are four different areas for volunteers to choose from:  Grandpa: leads tours and activities;  Grandma: leads tours and activities;


College Planning for Special Needs Parents

College planning can be a daunting process in and of itself. If you’re a parent of a special needs student, you have one more layer of complexity to add to it. Come hear a panel of Career Center, Resource, and College Disability Services professionals speak from 7:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Iron Horse Middle School, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon. We will also have breakout sessions where parents can ask questions related to their individual student. This event is free and is sponsored by PTSA. For immediate questions, e-mail

Performing Arts Show

Can you sing, dance, recite poetry or play an instrument? If so, come and perform at the Tri Valley Eisteddfod from 4-8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29, at Windemere Ranch Middle School, 11611 East Branch Pkwy., San Ramon. Tickets are $2. For more information, call Emma at 208-1083, e-mail or visit

San Ramon Historic Foundation Crab Feed

San Ramon Historic Foundation will host a Crab Feed with fresh cracked crab, pasta, salad, french bread, coffee and tea starting at 6 p.m. with a no-host social hour and complimentary hors d’oeuvres (dinner served at 7 p.m.), Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Dougherty Station Community Center, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon. Tickets are $40. Call 828-0586.

‘Peace’ with Jorge Santana

Listen to this new and explosive tribute band performing “Latin Rock” with a touch of Woodstock at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, at San Ramon Valley High School, 501 Danville Blvd., Danville. Influences include Santana, War and Tower of Power. Tickets are $10, $25 and $40. Call 229-2710 or visit

American Red Cross Public Blood Drive

One donation can help save the lives of up to three people. American Red Cross is holding a public blood drive from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, at PriMed Management, 2409 Camino Ramon, San Ramon. To schedule an appointment, call (800) 4483543 or visit (Sponsor Code: PRIMED). For more information, see the Community Calendar at

 Garden: explains concepts of organic gardening and aids children in gardening chores; and  Canning: presents a canning demonstration and leads activities. Public speaking experience is helpful, but not required. Education docents need to attend a three-hour training session twice per year. Volunteer commitment is two times per month minimum, and each tour lasts three hours. Volunteers must be available on weekday mornings and be fingerprinted through the San Ramon Police Department. Fieldtrips run 9 a.m.-noon MondayFriday during the school year with a short break in the winter. Spring fieldtrips for 2010 begin Feb. 2. The docent training session will be held in the Boone House, Apt. B, at Forest Home Farms. The address is 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. For more information, contact Stephanie Herscu at 973-3282 or 

Read Elizabeth’s Blog Online

Amid Recession, You Still Have to Pay for College In those agonizing months between sending out college applications and waiting for those admission decisions in the spring, many high school seniors and their parents will be applying for financial aid. Financial aid should never be an afterthought. (Read more at Doing college, posted by Doing College, a resident of another community, Jan. 11 at 9:35 am.

Top 5 reasons why you should visit #1 Local news about San Ramon and the region as it happens, 24/7 and debate on local issues on Town Square, the #2 Conversation communty’s interactive forum calendar, listing San Ramon area events you may want #3 Community to attend

#4 Free local online classifieds, to buy and sell merchandise of interactivity and ways to contribute your own stories, photos #5 Lots and videos January 15, 2010 | | PAGE 7

It’s not just selecting a doctor, it’s choosing someone you can trust with your life.

Find a physician 24 hours a day. Selecting a doctor is a very important decision. You need a doctor you can trust and who can talk to you and your family. The physicians on staff at San Ramon Regional Medical Center want you to feel confident that you’ve made the right choice when selecting us to provide your healthcare services. Our physician referral service gives you access to information about our doctors – specialties, insurances, office locations, education, and languages spoken. Visit Find-A-Physician on our Web site, or call 800.284.2878. 6001 Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon 800.284.2878

Our Doctors

Updated 11.09

FAMILY MEDICINE Renu Deshpande, M.D. Sean Feezell, D.O. Bradford Flagg, M.D. Dennis Fong, M.D. Erik Gracer, M.D. Richard Gracer, M.D. Jonathan Humphrey, M.D. Veena Jayaram, D.O. Béla Kenessey, M.D. Richard Kilker, Jr., M.D. Frank Lin, M.D. Robert Litman, M.D. Lindsay McCarrick, M.D. Mark Musco, M.D. Dolores Musco, M.D. Viktor Novikov, M.D. Jeffrey Riopelle, M.D. John Roberts, M.D. Paul Robinson, D.O. Michael Schierman, M.D. Douglas Severance, M.D. Jeffrey Wherry, M.D. Juliana Wong, M.D. Tsung Wong, M.D.

INTERNAL MEDICINE Michael Abdel-Malek, M.D. Michael Alper, M.D. James Blackwell, M.D. Christine Chang, M.D. David Chee, M.D. Kushal Chhabra, M.D. Lee Eisan, M.D. Sarah Ferguson, M.D. Umesh Gheewala, M.D. Kevin Hart, M.D. Denise Hilliard, M.D. Victorina Hoffmann, M.D. Frank Hsueh, M.D. Andal Kadambi, M.D. Nader Kaldas, M.D. Damayanthi Kalisetti, M.D. Sue Knight, M.D. Donna Kwong, M.D. Carol Lamb, M.D. Calvin Lemon, M.D. Fernandina Lo, M.D. Manisha Malhotra, M.D. Jatinder Marwaha, M.D. Zainab Mezban, M.D.

Smrutirekha Misra, M.D. Sunita Mistry, M.D. Badeia Morsy, M.D. Safa Nsouli, M.D. Neil Okamura, D.O. Donald Parsons, M.D. Gary Peer, M.D. Stephen Pratt, M.D. Sujatha Rajagopalan, M.D. Jon Rasak, M.D. Bakul Roy, M.D. Rahel Ruiz, M.D. Varsha Saha, M.D. Jyothi Sarma, M.D. Michael Temkin, D.O. Pamela Wang, M.D. Paul Wheeler, M.D. Jerry Yen, M.D. CRITICAL CARE/ PULMONARY MEDICINE Anitha Angan, M.D. Michael Kazemi, M.D. Narendra Malani, M.D. Bobbak Vahid, M.D.

John Yee, M.D. Raafat Zamary, M.D. GYNECOLOGY/ OBSTETRICS Patrick Dawkins, M.D. Rosemary Delgado, M.D. Karin DeNevi, M.D. Tanees Edraki, M.D. Emil Eyvazzadeh, M.D. Yaron Friedman, M.D. Renée Hilliard, M.D. Louis Klein, M.D. Mark Lollar, M.D. Scott Mack, M.D. Michael McGlynn, Jr., M.D. John Polito, M.D. Michele Riopelle, M.D. Forrest Smith, M.D. Joanne Vogel, M.D. Stephen Wells, M.D. Benjamin Wolsztejn, M.D. PEDIATRICS Richard Ash, M.D. Michael Cheng, M.D.

Lisa Erburu, M.D. Carol Gill, M.D. Gregory Hahn, M.D. Cynthia Hann, M.D. Lionel Herrera, M.D. Colleen Hogan, M.D. Anna Kerr, M.D. Thomas Long, M.D. Jeffrey Maynard, M.D. Brita Moilanen, M.D. Allen Obrinsky, M.D. Sam Pejham, M.D. Sharlene Pereira, M.D. Cynthia Quan, M.D. Asha Ramchandran, M.D. Misha Roitshteyn, M.D. Michael Ruiz, M.D. Suresh Sachdeva, M.D. Neena Shah, M.D. Budd Shenkin, M.D. Marianne Tosick, M.D. Tracy Trotter, M.D. Tracy Trujillo, M.D. Ting Wang, M.D. Debra Weiss-Ishai, M.D.

San Ramon Express 01.15.2010 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the January 15, 2010 editon of the San Ramon Express