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October 2011 Roger Smith Named Alamo Citizen of the Year

At the 29th Annual Alamo Music and Wine Festival held on Saturday, September 10th, the Rotary Club of Alamo named Roger Smith as the 2011 Alamo Citizen of the Year. “This is the 27th year that the Rotary Club of Alamo has presented this award,” said Chris Suter, Club president. The Rotary Cub of Alamo selects the Citizen of the Year based on service, integrity, and citizenship and is a person who has demonstrated a unique commitment to the Alamo community that places her/him in a special place deserving this recognition. All members of the Alamo community are encouraged each year to nominate that person who best meets these criteria. Roger Smith is a 15 year resident of Alamo and is currently co-chair of the Alamo Improvement Association's Planning Committee. He is also president of Benefits Store Insurance Services. Roger has contributed to Alamo’s independent voice with all the surrounding governments and districts which impact Alamo neighborhoods, businesses, and L TO R: Emylin Struthers, representing State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and community groups. Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, presented certificates honoring Roger Smith His approach is to (middle). Chris Suter, (right) President of the Rotary Club of Alamo presented present the scope of the Citizen of the Year award to Roger. Alamo opinions to governments and support the rationale to resolve to issues impacting individual neighborhoods or Alamo as a community. He is a champion of community interaction, consideration and mitigation of issues impacting planning, and transportation/traffic control. For fifty years, the Planning Committee of the Alamo Improvement Association has reviewed discretionary applications referred by Contra Costa County or development in Alamo. Roger Smith has chaired the AIA Planning Committee since 1998. Under Roger’s leadership, the AIA application review process has become more efficient and more inclusive. He improved the process by assigning each building project a lead Planning Committee member who oversees all phases and coordinates the work of the project among all parties the County, the applicant, and project neighbors. He facilitates resolution among these parties by bringing them together in a respectful and deferential manner, persuading them to talk to each other, and helping them to compromise. He was nominated for his respect for his fellow citizens in the complex, contentious, and vital process of planning and development in Alamo. The Rotary Club of Alamo was founded on May 7, 1971 and has 50 members. Each year, the Club sponsors the Alamo Music and Wine Festival, which supports the music programs at Alamo and Rancho Romero Elementary Schools, Lucille Mauzy School, Stone Valley Middle School, Monte Vista and San Ramon High Schools, as well as other community and international service projects. The Club meets on Wednesdays at 12:15PM at Round Hill Country Club located at 3169 Roundhill Road in Alamo. To learn more about the Rotary Club of Alamo and its many activities, visit the Club’s website at PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Permit 263 Alamo CA

Serving Alamo and Diablo

Back Row Left to Right: Nicolette Allen, Amelia Abramson, Jeff Abramson, Tom Miner, and Glen Robins. Front Row Left to Right: Dashiell Miner, Dallin Robins, Ryan Nearon, Joshua Miner, Michael Reeve, Weston Nearon, Jack Vonsosen, and Jared Robins.

Scouts Begin Building Bounty Garden Beds

Under the guidance of Life Scout Josh Miner, local teens began construction of The Bounty Garden’s raised vegetable beds. For much of the summer, Josh has been finalizing the construction of the beds with The Bounty Garden Co-Founder, Amelia Abramson. The Bounty Garden, to be located at local Hap Magee Ranch Park, will be a community place to grow fresh produce for local Food Bank programs. Recently a Josh lead a construction day to begin assembly of the beds. In two short hours, six beautiful boxes were finished. Josh

Guitars Not

See Garden continued on page 13 Guns By Fran Miller

Jimi Hendrix or John Mayer they likely will never be, but the children and teens who participate in weekly guitar lessons through the Guitars Not Guns program don’t seem to care. Most simply are pleased to have some positive adult attention – something to which most are not accustomed. Guitars Not Guns (GNG) California Vice President and lead guitar instructor Randall Davis recalls a particular lesson session in Martinez, attended by three sisters, who all had different fathers, each in prison. Due to their mother’s drug issues, the girls lived with their grandmother. “About halfway into their eightVolume XI - Number 10 week course, the girls did not ap- 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, Alamo, CA 94507 pear for class although they were Telephone (925) 405-NEWS, 405-6397 Fax (925) 406-0547 always eager to attend and had each made great progress,” says Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher Davis. “We inquired and learned Sharon Burke ~ Writer that the County's Child Welfare Service Agency had made a suropinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do prise visit to the home and found The not necessarily reflect that of Alamo Today. Alamo Today is not the grandmother smoking crack responsible for the content of any of the advertising herein, nor

See Guitars cont. on pg. 20

does publication imply endorsement.

Page 2 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Trick-or-Treating at Alamo Plaza!

Come and enjoy trick-or-treating, face painting, balloon artistry and more at the Bewitching Fun Event taking place at Alamo Plaza Shopping Center located at the corner of Stone Valley Road and Danville Blvd in Alamo. Children and families are invited to enjoy a safe Halloween from 1pm – 5pm on Monday, October 31st. Participating merchants will hand out candy and goodies to children in costume. Bring a bag for all your candy and goodies, and have a spooky good time! For more information visit

AARP Tax-Aide Call for Volunteers

Do you like working with people? Are you good with numbers? Contra Costa CountyAARPTax-Aide is looking for volunteers to become members of a team providing free tax preparation for individuals of all ages. Volunteers are trained by Tax-Aide and become IRS Certified tax counselors. Other volunteer positions are available. For information, or to apply, call LaVerne Gordon, District Coordinator, at (925) 726-3199. Orientation is in November, and classes for tax counselors start in January 2012.

Visit the Alamo Cemetery Right Before Halloween

There won’t be any ghosts, but you will meet some interesting historic figures from the San Ramon Valley when you visit the Alamo Cemetery two days before Halloween. Museum docents, who enjoy researching and portraying the lives of our Valley pioneers, will be there in costume talking to visitors about the lives of their characters in the San Ramon Valley. The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is hosting its annual Autumn Tour of the Alamo Cemetery on Saturday, October 29th at 10AM. Participants should meet at the front gate of the Cemetery located at the end of El Portal near La Gonda Way in Danville. The tour cost is $3. The Alamo Cemetery is part of the Alamo/Lafayette Cemetery District, which was established in 1937. It is a public, non-profit and non-denominational cemetery. For more information, visit or call 925-837-3750.

Pumpkin Jubilee Harvest Festival

The Danville Livery will be celebrating Halloween with their Annual Pumpkin Jubilee Festival on Saturday, October 22nd, from 11AM – 3PM. Kids and families are invited to dress-up in their Halloween costumes and participate in this year’s festivities which will include live music, pumpkin carving demonstrations, pumpkin giveaways, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, balloon twisting, magic shows, strolling entertainment, arts and crafts, and trick-or-treating at participating Livery merchants. Bring the entire family, and enjoy a day of fun! For more information, contact Mimi Goc at 1-800-762-1641 or visit

Support the SRV Police Dog Fund

Help bring additional police dogs to the San Ramon Valley and defray the cost of maintaining local K-9 units by attending the Alamo Pet Store’s “Howl-Oween” Dog Parade and win great prizes too. Alamo Pet Store will donate all proceeds to the “Dogs of Danville.” “Dogs of Danville” has helped defray the cost of obtaining and caring for local police dogs since 2005. The event will be held October 30th. Come at 2:25PM to enter your dog for the parade. The entrance fee is $10 for advance registration or $15 at the event. Also being held will be the Alamo Kids Costume Contest, which is free to enter. Visit Alamo Pet Store or for registration forms and details. Additional parade festivities will include vendor booths, bobbing for Howl'oweenies, a dog treat stacking contest, and photo opportunities.

Danville Fall Crafts Festival

A visit to the Danville Fall Crafts Festival from 10am to 5pm October 22 and 23 is the perfect way to herald the fall season and feather your nest for the holidays. Unique craft items, Avenue of the Giants sculpture garden, Halloween costume parade, and music and dance are all part of the family fun. The DanvilleArea Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Danville mark their th 20 year hosting the festival on Hartz Avenue, between Diablo Road and Hartz Way with a new expansion of local artists at work, make and take workshops, and other merchant activities along both East and West Prospect Avenues. More than 200 artists from across the U.S. and California gather to show paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, wood, metal, leather, glass, fiber, and mixed media. Special to the Fall Crafts Festival is the Halloween Costume Parade Saturday at 10am, beginning at Hartz Avenue and School Street. “Safe-trick-or-treating” will be held both Saturday and Sunday inside designated shops and restaurants along Prospect and Hartz Ave. Also, local dance troupe Next Step Dance will perform at 1:30pm on Saturday at a new venue on East Prospect near Danville Chocolate. Local merchants don’t miss a beat in supporting the festival by bringing their art, Fall crafts and hands-on workshops to West Prospect and the Alamo Danville Artists Society hosts plein air demos and paintings for sale on East Prospect. Look for one of the five Concierge booths to pick up a Fall season “Treasures of Danville” strolling map featuring shopping and dining recommendations and discount coupon. To serenade festival-goers, musicians will play in street corner concerts and the Beverage Garden, sponsored by the Danville Chamber of Commerce, will have its own entertainment along with fine wines and microbrews. Fine food abounds throughout the event. Admission is free to the Danville Fall Crafts Festival, and parking limitations will not be enforced during the festival weekend. For more information, call (925) 837-4400 or visit

Boulevard View

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 3

By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

Do you remember what you wore four weeks ago? Probably not. Can you remember what you wore to your high school prom, to your first day of kindergarten or to your wedding? Quite possibly you do. While most of the clothes we wear may end up “handed down” to someone else or donated to a charity without another thought about them, some items hold a special spot in our memories. I recently had some old slides scanned by the local Aberscan photo scanning service. It was a delight to find some hidden gems I didn’t know existed. One small stack of pictures included my fathers’ beloved Auntie Dee and her husband whom he thought he had no pictures of. (The price to scan those slides and come up with that treasure was worth every penny.) Another photo that jumped out to me was of my Grandma Horine. In the margins of the slide Grandpa Horine had carefully labeled the photo “Grace’s new red coat.” In the photo, Grandma stands proudly in her bright red coat with the black faux-fur trim. I reflected how some clothes can be very special. Some are almost an event unto themselves. I’m not sure of the story behind Grandma’s coat, but I am certain that, to her, the coat was a special purchase. My other grandmother, Dorothy Parizek, once told me about a jacket she dreamed of owning and how it led to the only job she ever held. She recounts, “I very, very briefly held a job. When I was first married, I saw there was a Sears store not too far away, and I saw something in the window I wanted. It was a great jacket. I decided I would go to Sears and see if I could work during the Christmas rush to make money to buy the jacket. So I worked for three weeks at Sears in a department where they sold trimmings and curtains and accessories. I did alright, I guess. After the three weeks I quit. I took my money and bought the jacket. That was my big experience in the work force.” These special purchases can define the seasons. They are planned for and saved for. The back-to-school season is synonymous with the purchase of new fall attire for many kids. I was looking at a photo my sister posted of my niece on her Facebook page. Whitney is entering second grade and was decked out in fancy tall Sketchers boots that appear woolly and warm...great for fashion, not great for the hot end of summer days. Whitney insisted on wearing them on the first day of school even though it was a very warm August day in California. By the time Whitney got home, her pants were rolled up to her knees, and she had a sheen of sweat on her forehead. However, despite the heat, she did not regret wearing her new boots. Her mom (my sister) recalls a similar first day of school of her own. She began seventh grade on a sweltering September day wearing the latest style of plaid wool skirt, argyle sweater vest, and knee socks. My husband, Evan, and I went to our high school Winter Ball together in 1980. I wore a white floral Gunne Sax dress. It was the “cool” thing to go to the Gunne Sax outlet (When outlets were really outlets!) in San Francisco in order to find the perfect dress. Evan wore a matching white tux with a ruffled pale blue shirt and coordinating white vinyl shoes. While these are certainly not outfits we would buy now, it sure brings back fun memories of those times. Just like a certain song or a unique scent can unlock a memory, so too can special clothing items. What clothing brings back special memories to you? Please send me a note, let me know, and include a photo if you have one. You may be included in a future article in Alamo Today!

Borrowing From Your 401(k) Can Be Taxing

Both a borrower and a lender be. With apologies to Shakespeare, when you borrow from your 401(k), you become both a borrower and a lender. Whether that's a good idea depends on your personal financial situation – and in the process of making the decision about lending money to yourself, you may have questions regarding the tax consequences. For instance, though you probably know the initial borrowing has no federal income tax effect, you might be wondering whether the interest you pay will be deductible. In general, the answer is no. That's true even when you use 401(k) loan proceeds for your home. Ordinary loan repayments are not taxable events, either. That is, you don't have to pick up the interest you repay into your account as taxable income. And, though you're increasing your 401(k) account with the principal portion of each payment, that amount is not considered a contribution. You can still make pre-tax contributions up to the annual limit ($16,500 for a traditional 401(k) during 2011, plus an additional $5,500 when you're age 50 or older). What if you default on the 401(k) loan? The balance of your loan is considered a distribution to you, and you'll have to report it as ordinary income on your federal tax return. In addition, when you're under age 59½, a 10% early-withdrawal penalty typically applies. Being both a borrower and a lender can lead to results Shakespeare never imagined. Give us a call to make sure you have the whole story.

BonnFeeney, LLP

Certified Public Accountants

3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 150 • Alamo, CA 94507 (925) 314-1891 • Fax (925) 314-3097 • Email:

Page 4 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Portable CIO Computer Service Serving the Bay Area since 2002

Did your hardisk crash? Do you want to network your computers or set up a new computer? Is your printer not working? Have viruses and spyware taken over your system? Are you trying to sync email or music to a new phone? Are you in need of backing up your important photos and documents to prevent loss? How can we help you?

Drop Zone

East Bay Chapter 101 Blue Star Moms is having a Drop Zone to collect donations for their upcoming “Holiday Hugs” care package mailing to our Troops in December. The event will take place on October 8th from 10AM - 3PM at Lucky Supermarket located at 660 San Ramon Valley Blvd in Danville. Our goal is to send out 2,000 care packages, and we cannot do it without the generous support of our community. All donations will be mailed to our brave men and women serving our country overseas. Come say hello, sponsor a care package mailing ($12.50), make a postcard or two, or drop off a donation to show your gratitude for what our brave troops do for all Americans each and every day. Go to and click on care packages for more information, including a list of our donation items. Thank you for supporting our Troops!

Food for the Troops

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Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

VFW Post 75, San Ramon Valley, meets every second Thursday of the month at the Swain House at Hap Magee Ranch Park, located at 1025 La Gonda Way in Danville. The next meeting will be held Thursday, October 13th. Doors open at 7PM, and the meeting begins at 7:30PM. For more information, contact Post Commander Nathan Greene at (925) 875-1747. Find out more about the VFW at

Alamo Women’s Club

Where Women Come Together to Work Toward a Better Community for All

Members of the Alamo Women’s Club have been serving the community for nearly 100 years, since 1916. We are the longest running service organization in the Tri-Valley Area. We are 64 members strong and growing because of the quality of programs, the service we give to the community, and last but not least, the friendships shared. Our October excursion will be a delightful day of walking around the old Mission District in San Francisco followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant. Our “not to be missed” semi-annual Community Garage & Craft Sale will be held October 29th, 9-3PM. Call Anita for reservations at 925-837-1242 or email by October 20th. These are just a few of our activities. Keep reading for more.


5th: 10:30AM Mahjong 11th: 10AM to Noon Cards Club, 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 13th: STAND, Charity Fundraiser 18th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 19th: 10:30AM Mahjong, 1PM Book Club l, 2PMBook Club II 20th: Excursion – Walking, Tour of SF Mission District & Mission Dolores 25th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 26th: 11:45AM Sloats Nursery: “Seasonal Decorating” 28th & 29th: Annual Garage Sale and Craft Faire, contact at Anita 837.1242, or

Delta Nu Psi will once again collect in October for our Troops. We will be at CVS of Alamo on Friday, October 7th and at Lunardi's on Friday, October 14th. At both locations the hours will be from 11am until 2pm. Thanks for your support of our service men and women. We send “gourmet junk food” plus letters from school children and scout groups. Please shop at either store, and also encourage groups of children to write to our squads. Letters can be brought to CVS or Lunardi's on the appropriate day. Thus far we have sent 841 boxes containing 21,545 pounds of “gourmet junk food.” Left over Halloween candy, especially anything chocolate, would be an added treat for the squads. For more information, visit or email

TroopsDirect Poker Tournament

On Saturday, October 15th , TroopsDirect will host its 1st Annual “Frontline Poker” Tournament at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial building. This will be an action packed fun evening supporting TroopsDirect's continuing mission to supply our ‘heroes’ at unprecedented levels. Register online at

Museum of the San Ramon Valley

The Museum of the San Ramon Valley will feature an exhibit on Indian Life. Visitors can see model tule houses and animal mounts from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, including a mountain lion, a coyote, a grey fox, and various birds. New this year is a condor hung from the rafters with an 8-foot wing spread and an intricately carved head. The Museum hours are Tuesday-Thursday 1-4 and Saturday 10-1. The museum is located at 205 Railroad Ave. in Danville. For more information, visit or call 837-3750.


1st: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 2nd: 10:30AM Mahjong 8th: 10AM Cards Club, 4-5PM Let’s Walk 15th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 16th: 10:30AM Mahjong, 1PM Book Club l, 2PMBook Club II 29th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 30th: Excursion – Filoli Gardens Holiday Tour & Lunch December: 1st: Holiday Clubhouse Decorating! - All day 5th: Executive Board Meeting - 4pm 6th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 7th: Mahjong- 10:30-12:30pm 13th: Cards Club - 10-12pm 13th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse 14th: Business Meeting - 11:30am, Hospice Tree Lighting and potluck luncheon 27th: 4-5PM Let’s Walk, meet at Clubhouse On the second Wednesday of each month we will also be offering “Knitting for Kids” at 10:30AM. Want to become a member? Be our guest at our October luncheon to learn about our Club’s philanthropies and mingle with the members. If you’ve been thinking about joining, our luncheons are the perfect occasion to join us at the Clubhouse, 1401 Danville Blvd, Alamo, 11:30AM. Please respond to Nancy Dommes, Membership Chair, 831-0111 or, and bring a friend, too! If you have any questions, please contact our President, Nancy Combs at

Alamo. Great neighborhood tucked at the back of White Gate. 2 story 4 bdrm 3.5 bth home w/over 3100 sqft. updated throughout. Private backyard w/ newly refinished pebble tech pool & wonderful outdoor kitchen. Large game rm w/pool table, plasma TV & more included in the sale . $1,299,000

Gretchen Bryce 925.683.2477

Alamo. ROUNDHILL CLASSIC!4 bd, 4 bths, incl. 2 MASTER SUITES. Enormous living rms, family & dining rms w/ massive open bean ceilings atrium, koi pond, sparkling pool & cabana. LARGE 3500 sf, private setting, a gated & walled retreat sits off Royal Oak Dr & backs to golf course. Magnificent Giant Redwoods & Oaks. $1,095,000

Jay Weymouth 925.915.1100

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 5

Alamo. Prime Alamo Oaks! SUBDIVIDEABLE! Restore this mansion to Grandeur! 5000sf single level estate on level knoll top of apprx. 2.5 ACRES. Regional views, secluded at end of drive. Pool, shops, apt unit too! $1,895,000

Westside Alamo. Gorgeous floor plan, formal living/dining/family rm, large bonus rm, 5 bdrms, master suite. .35 acre lot w/pool. Room off pool w/kitchen &1/2 bath. $1,399,000

Jay Weymouth 925.915.1100

Rick Fiset 925.362.0415

Alamo. Roundhill single story w/ vaulted ceilings! High-end kitchen remodel w/slab granite counters & large island, Wolf range/ovens. Huge family rm w/ bar & space for 5th bed. or office. .58 ac lot. $1,349,000

Alamo. REDUCED! Wonderful estate like custom single story in tranquil setting. Gated flat 1/2 ac w/beautiful gardens & large pool/spa. Huge master suite w/fireplace & French doors opening to yard. Eat-in kitchen w/ granite counters, top of the line appliances. Short Sale. $1,325,000

Tony Cristiani 925.785.8948

Gretchen Bryce 925.683.2477

Walnut Creek. Walnut Knolls. Close to top schools & frwy access. Views, backs to open space, end of cul-de-sac. 2 story, 3500sf, 4 bd, library, BONUS RM, 3 frplcs, true master suite, open ceilings, arched cathedral windows. $1,265,000

Walnut Creek. Desirable Lakewood area. 3700 s.f. w/2 master suites, 4bd/4bth/two half baths. 400 vine Zinfandel vineyard on private 1/2 acre lot. Gourmet kitchen. Backs to open space. $1,200,000

Jay Weymouth 925.915.1100

Stephanie Stadtler


San Ramon—THE BRIDGES. Impressive One-Level Home with Bridges Golf Course Views & low maintenance yard. Large open Kitchen/Family room. Relax on the flagstone patio & be entertained watching the golfers. Wood, marble and tile flooring. Plantation shutters. Custom finishes and cabinetry. Approx 2727 sq ft on approx 8000 sq ft lot. Ready for immediate move-in . $985,000

Peter Bareiss


Page 6 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Role Players Ensemble

Dawn King

The Role Players Ensemble presents Bookkeeping Services Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award Winning Full-charge bookkeeping services. 20 years’ experience. play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are • QuickBooks Setup • Cash Flow Planning Dead, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM • A/R, A/P, Bill Payment • Online Remote Services and on Sundays at 2PM from October 28 • Bank Reconciliation • Paperless Office Solutions • Financial Statements – November 19 at The Village Theatre located at 233 Front Street in Danville. 925.933.0553 In the play, two incidental characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet are thrust into the forefront of this re-telling of Hamlet to absurd comic effect. For tickets, costing $18-$26, call (925) 314-3400, or buy tickets online at or at the Danville Community Center. For more information, go Charles Woodson Parker (Guildenstern) and Damien Sepperi to (Rosencrantz); Photo by Eric Fraisher Hayes.

Book Your Party at The Gardens at Heather Farm


Embracing a rolling hillside in Walnut Creek’s Ygnacio Valley, The Gardens at Heather Farm reside on six acres adjoining Heather Farm Park. Parties and other gatherings are held in the Camellia Room, with views of Mt. Diablo and the gardens. Fully climate controlled, with neutral walls and a newly installed floor, this pleasant space is easy to decorate. The Gardens at Heather Farm is proud to have been awarded the Best of the East Bay award from Diablo Magazine for Best Garden in 2005. We are a Certified Wildlife Habitat and a Contra Costa Certified Green Business. The Gardens are located off Ygnacio Valley Road, two miles from downtown Walnut Creek. Holiday party sale: Mention this article and receive 25% off the base rental fees for any rental date on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in November or December 2011. Weekend dates are still open for rental this year. We can accommodate parties of up to 150. Call us at (925) 947-1678 or e-mail rentals@ for more information.

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Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote in California

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 7

By Beverly Lane

On October 10th we should all celebrate the important centennial of California women winning the vote. Woman suffrage was part of a long list of progressive issues on a special election ballot which included recall, initiative, and referendum, powers which are still used by voters today. In Contra Costa County, 14 communities supported woman suffrage 100 years ago: Alhambra, Byron, Bat Point Cornwall, Crockett, Hercules, Lafayette, Lone Tree, Oakley, Richmond, San Ramon, Selby, Stege, and Walnut Creek. Woman suffrage won by 21 votes, 1,569 to 1,548, in the County. There were five Equal Suffrage Clubs in the County in Concord, Danville, Martinez, Oakley, and Walnut Creek. Martinez, the County seat, was very active with Equality Teas and special Suffrage Smokers for men. The successful California campaign tried innovative approaches which were used throughout the country. These included car speeches from a snazzy touring car, parades, huge billboards, posters and buttons and flyers of all sorts, and programs with songs, dances, monologues, and lively speakers. The West led the way. California’s male voters awarded women the right to vote in the state by barely 2% - 125,037 to 121,450. Farmers throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles County voted in favor, while San Francisco voted against. California’s success doubled the number of women voters in the country. In October and November the Contra Costa County Historical Society’s History Center in Martinez has an exhibit and lecture series which features the centennial. The Center (610 Main Street) features the campaign to win the vote and includes women in vintage white clothing wearing the California suffrage sashes of blue and gold. Results from all the cities in the county are featured. The exhibit runs through November 23, and is titled The Women Have Something to Say, Celebrating California’s Equal Voting Rights Centennial. It is open 9AM - 4PM Tuesday through Thursday and every third Saturday. Lectures at the Martinez Veterans Hall, located at the corner of Ward and Court Streets, will be held six Thursday evenings at 7PM, beginning on October 13. The first program will feature Danville’s Beverly Lane speaking on women’s rights history and docent Carmen Curtis portraying the indomitable pioneer and suffragist Alamo’s own pioneer Mary Ann Jones. For more information about the lecture series, visit or call the History Center at (925) 229-1042.

Elegant Flea Market

An “Elegant Flea Market” will be held on October 22 from 9 to 3 at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley located 205 Railroad Avenue in Danville. Special items will be sold to benefit the Museum. Donors have contributed items which don’t fit in with the Museum collections but are lovely historical pieces. Sale items will include pictures, books, knick-knacks, antiques and more. If you would like to contribute items for this sale to benefit the Museum, please bring them to the Museum during museum hours. No clothing please. Contact Jan Habiger with any questions at 925-837-3089. nd



Seneca Falls

Celebrating Women’s Suffrage, AAUW Luncheon

In honor of the 100th anniversary of California women’s suffrage, passage of the 19th amendment, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday, the November American Association of University Women luncheon will present the award-winning documentary Seneca Falls featuring writer/ producer Louise Vance. The event will take place Saturday, November 5th at 11AM at Crow Canyon Country Club located at 711 Silver Lake Drive in Danville. For more information, call (925) 945-1938.

Page 8 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Alamo Elementary School Got Science? By Stan Hitomi, Principal

Rancho Romero Elementary School By Skye Larsh, Principal

The success of the United States in the 21 century, its wealth and welfare, will depend on the ideas and skills that we develop in our students today. Students’ academic success in science is widely seen by political and business leaders as key to the nation’s economic rebirth and future competitiveness in the global economy. However, recent reports, including Rising Above the Gathering Storm by the National Academy of Science, indicate that the United States is in danger of losing its preeminence in science to countries such as China and India. In California concern over science education is critical considering the key role played by science, engineering, and technology industries in the economy of the Golden State. In the latest report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) California ranked next to last among all states participating in the science assessment. Nationally 34% of 4th graders and 30% of 8th grade students are performing at or above proficient levels. Only 1% of students scored at advanced levels. A recent study by the Lawrence Hall of Science and WestEd on science education in the Bay Area reported that 80% of K-5th grade level multiple subject teachers who are responsible for teaching science in their classrooms reported spending 60 minutes or less per week on science, with 16% of teachers reporting spending no time at all on science. Alamo School is taking the challenge of providing a high quality experience in science seriously by making a focused effort to make improvements in its science program this year. A major part of this effort has been centered on the Science Lab class that is taught by a Science Specialist. Each Alamo student (grades 1 – 5) attends one 45-minute lab-based class each week in the Science Lab. This year, Alamo School opened its new science lab classroom complete with new lab furniture. The Alamo School Ed Fund has allocated an additional $7,000 to provide new and up-to-date scientific equipment and supplies. A $10,000 grant from Lawrence Livermore National Lab will provide additional laboratory materials for the hands-on study of alternative energy. Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the science program is our new Science Specialist Chaya Frash. Mrs. Frash brings a wealth of experience to our science program, having worked in the education programs at the Headlands Institute (Marin Headlands), Aquarium of the Bay (San Francisco), San Francisco Zoo, Discovery Bay Museum, and Save The San Francisco Bay. Mrs. Frash also brings an undergraduate preparation in science (Environmental Studies – UC Santa Cruz) to the Science Lab program, something that Alamo School has not had in recent years. In addition to these changes, Alamo School will continue its strong science program in grade-level classrooms. The classroom teachers at Alamo School do a superb job of implementing the adopted McGraw-Hill science program, as well as providing additional hands-on experiences. Science is also a major component of field trips and outdoor education programs. All 5th graders at Alamo School design, conduct, and report on an individual research-based science project. 8


Lost Dog!


If you find her and your name is drawn!

Alamo Zoe is Missing

We have a new dog, but now she has become lost in this paper... Keep your eyes out for Alamo Zoe! She is very small, so you will have to look hard if you want to find her.

To be eligible send a letter telling us where you found her, along with your name and address, to: Lost Dog! ~ Alamo Today 3000F Danville Blvd #117 • Alamo, CA 94507

October’s Winner Is Chialo Stiefvater

Statewide test results were released in August. Districts, school sites and individual teachers have been busy analyzing and evaluating the data to determine growth, identify trends and patterns across student groups, and set new goals for the 2011-2012 school year. The data reveals that many more students in second through fifth grade are proficient or advanced compared to last year in both English language arts and mathematics. We are very proud of the accomplishments our students have made over the past year, and we commend the exceptional teaching staff and commitment of parents in promoting academic excellence for every single child at the school. Promoting academic excellence remains a key focus for everyone at Rancho Romero, and we have learned by experience and research that to really create an environment of success, we have to nurture the “whole” child. Staff and the School Site Council have and will continue to participate in rich professional conversations on doing what it takes for children to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, thereby creating a highly respectful learning environment built on strong relationships. Two programs implemented at Rancho Romero that get right to the heart of respect are Second Step and The Nurtured Heart Approach. The Second Step curriculum is a district wide program utilized by teachers in grades K-5 as well as through the Rainbow Program. Grade levels and classrooms teach about specific feelings, traits, and problem-solving strategies through welldesigned lessons. The program is taught through weekly themes consisting of short activities. The activities build on each other to develop children’s self-regulation skills and social-emotional competence. The Second Step program supports skill development in four key areas: empathy and compassion, friendship skills and problem-solving, emotion management, and Skills for Learning. The Nurtured Heart Approach compliments Second Step. The Nurtured Heart Approach is a way of thinking and a set of strategies that are particularly useful for intense children, but they are valuable for all children. It establishes a structure of clear and consistent boundaries while bringing forth the positive qualities in the child that often get overlooked. Its goal is to reward desired behaviors with positive attention and to not reward undesired behavior with attention of any sort. Training, practice, and fidelity to the programs are essential for effectiveness. To assist parents and families in their understanding and reinforcement of Second Step skills, Rancho Romero PTAand former Rancho Romero parent, Kristin Bodiford, presented a complimentary Second Step workshop September 27. Additionally, a three-part training on The Nurtured Heart Approach will be offered by BJ Byrd, Rancho Romero physical education teacher, November 9 and 30, and December 7 from 6-8pm in the Rancho Romero multi-use room. We welcome and encourage your participation. For more information on these programs or to register for The Nurtured Heart Approach workshop, please contact the Rancho Romero school office at 925-855-5700.

Danville Library Book Sale

Friends of the Danville Library will hold a huge sale of gently used books, all priced 50 cents or $1. The sale will be held in the library located at 400 Front Street in Danville. Hours on October 14th are 9AM-10AM for members only. The public is invited to shop October 14th from 10AM-5PM, and on October 15th from 10AM-4PM. On October 16th a bag sale will be held from 12:05PM-3:45PM. During this time everything you can pack into a bag costs $5. For more information, call (925) 837-4455.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

AIA - Alamo Improvement Association - October 12th , 7pm - Creekside Community Church -1350 Danville Blvd. Alamo MAC (Municipal Advisory Committee) - First and third Tuesdays 6pm - The Cottage at Hap Magee Park Hap Magee Ranch Joint Planning and Operations Committee December 1st - 5pm - The Cottage at Hap Magee Park P2B - Police Services Advisory Committee - November 7th , 4:30pm - Meets at Valley Station located at 150 Alamo Plaza P5 - Round Hill Police Services Advisory Committee - October 12th, 7pm - Meets at Round Hill Country Club - Lower Level Meeting Room CERT classes - Community Emergency Response Team - Visit www.

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 9


These father/son restored cars are both for sale! 1974 Chevy Nova • 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe

1974 Chevy Nova in good running condition. Recently rebuilt engine, new tires, and more! Interior needs some work.

$8,000 • 925.552.0435

Stone Valley Middle School

This car gets a lot of looks, and is one very few vintage turbocharged inline-six cars in the country. It has a long list of new/replacement parts. It is ready for daily use, or as a starting point for even greater restoration or modifications. • Rebuilt Carburetor • Holset Turbocharger • Front-mounted intercooler • Oversized 1" front swaybar • Front-end cross-braces (stiffening) • Boost Gauge • Tires and brakes less than 5k miles on them • New shocks • New leaf springs • Flat black paint • New interior carpets & liner • Ignition cut-off • 4-speaker stereo/MP3/CD player.

$5,500 • 925.216.1298

By Shaun McElroy, Principal What does the future hold for our children?

Here’s a topic that we can all weigh in on with passion, typically in the negative: “Kids these days...They’ve got no work ethic, no manners, no respect, and they’re entitled.” On and on rolls the rhetoric about “these kids.” First of all I’d like to rephrase “these kids” to “our kids.” That way we can all take some ownership in their future. The “our kids” statement is aimed at all of us, with or without children. Wouldn’t it be great if when we see kids in public without their parents that we engaged them in conversation instead of crossing the street to avoid them? I guarantee that you’ll find some really great future stars and leaders in the crowd. So what else can we do for this up and coming generation? I’ve got a few ideas that just might help provide you with some insights to their world: First of all, most teens don’t know what they are going to be when they grow up because the jobs we need to prepare them for don’t currently exist. We are no longer a nation that builds or grows things. Most of the jobs in the United States involve heuristic or thinking tasks usually done in groups. According to Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap, our children need to possess the following competencies to compete in the global economy: • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving • Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence • Agility and Adaptability • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism • Effective Oral and Written Communication • Accessing and Analyzing Information • Curiosity and Imagination. So when you summon up the courage to engage a teenager on the street, you might want to consider asking questions from one of these seven categories. I think you be surprised at how well students can answer those questions. To get a sneak peak at their future, visit or Google search SHIFT HAPPENS. On our end, the educational community, we are working on this new focus called 21st Century Learning. 21st Century Learning includes the competencies mentioned above and more. I invite you to look at the newly adopted SRVUSD “Framework for Excellence” on the district home page or visit to learn more about what the focus for today’s learner looks like. The San Ramon Valley Education Foundation ( is currently on a mission to create several “Classrooms of the Future” throughout the district. These classrooms will become models for future generations of the classrooms that will not only engage our learners but prepare them for future employment. On the school level we try and engage learners in three main categories: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. Rigor: increasing student engagement by providing more dynamic lessons in the classroom. Teachers and administrators

See SVMS continued on page 11

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Page 10 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

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Monte Vista High School

San Ramon Valley High School

By Janet Terranova, Principal

It is hard to believe but it is already fall and school has been in session for almost six weeks. Students are settled into their classes and are back into a school routine. The opening of school is a major undertaking and requires the help of many. I would like to thank those groups that are instrumental in making the opening of the school year so successful. Our parent groups work countless hours organizing registration. Monte Vista’s PTSA takes on the task of organizing much of our registration, getting over 100 volunteers to organize and stuff registration packets, work our two days of registration, and even getting volunteers to arrive at 6:30am on the first day of school to help with late registration. All our booster groups work at registration and beyond to ensure a smooth start for students involved in their activities. At the school site, the staff works overtime to have the campus ready for the return of our students. Thanks to all for a successful start to the school year. One of Monte Vista’s goals for the year is to build a character development program that touches each student on our campus. This year Monte Vista is highlighting one character word a quarter. This quarter the word respect is highlighted throughout the campus. Students see the word on our marquee as they arrive at school each day. Every classroom has the word respect prominently displayed in the classroom and our teachers are connecting the word respect to their curriculum. Our drama class is producing a short video on the word respect which will be shown to all classes during homeroom period. We will focus on responsibility, empathy, and integrity in future quarters. Our leadership class joins this effort by providing opportunities for students to become involved in school activities and working toward build positive relationships between students. Their theme, “no judgments” will be the focal point of many of their activities this year. For more information about Monte Vista and our activities, please visit our website at

(Across from Costco Gas Station, next to Harvest House)

By Joseph A. Ianora, Principal

Well, not only have we made it through the first couple of weeks but we are already looking at the end of the first quarter! As we settle into our educational routine I want to remind the community of our Mission Statement: The San Ramon Valley High School community empowers students to achieve their educational potential. This statement accurately reflects what we are all about – student learning.

Tuesday’s Schedule

Our Tuesday schedule is in full swing with multiple opportunities for students to receive enrichment and remediation. Almost all teachers are available from 2:15 – 3:15pm (except those who teach an “A” period). Peer Tutoring is also available in the library. Lastly, Departmental Tutorial Schedules are posted on our website and teacher pages at

Ski Swap

Our 36th annual Ski Swap is being held November 5th and 6th. Don’t forget to put this great event on your calendars!


I am happy to report we have finished our Concession/Rest Room facility and will be using it for all home contests. Our next major project will be a new pool with construction beginning in the late spring.

Special Community Event:

Homecoming is October 21st. The Homecoming parade will begin at 2:15pm and will move from SRVHS along Danville Blvd. to Railroad to Prospect and back onto Hartz. The parade will end at the high school campus. There will be Homecoming floats, alumni, and sports teams participating in the parade. Mr. & Mrs. SRVHS will also be crowned. Everyone is invited! Visit our website for more information.


Our API score rose five points this year! Our score is now 895. Congratulations to all on this great accomplishment. Once again, thank you for your support of SRVHS. Go Wolves!

Hang Up!

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 11

Burkin Electric

Every month I could fill this space with information about scam artists, viruses, and the seedy underbelly of computing. Let Us Usually I don’t, because I think you’ll get bored reading the same old warnings. But, there is a new scam affecting the computer Your community, and we already know several people who’ve been approached, so I think you should know about it. The scam begins with a simple telephone call. The caller says they are calling either from “Microsoft” or from “Windows.” The caller informs the victim that the victims’ PC system is reporting major problems and Serving Contra Costa since 1991 All wor says they can show the victim where the errors are on their system. The scammers know More than 35 years experience k d that almost all computer logs will look to most people like there’s a serious problem, so Licensed � Lic. # C10-631523 by oone they play on your fears to trick you into cooperating. Just for reference, almost every wne r 925.672.1519 PC computer registers these “error events.” You will see logs filled with warnings and errors which usually mean nothing, but they look scary to the uninformed. The scammers convince the victim to go to a website which allows installation of a remote control tool on their computer. The access allows the scammer to take control of the victim’s computer where they lead the victim to the error logs. The scammer then A Short Sale May Be An Option For You directs the victim to a website that requires the victim to pay between $40 and $300 Log on to a year for an antivirus scanning tool. In a recent case, the victim figured out he was Are you facing foreclosure? I understand how difficult the situation you are going scammed, refused to pay the $300, and hung up. However, the victim had no idea through may be for you and your family. I want you to know there are options available what the scammer could have copied onto his system while it was being remote other than the devastating process of foreclosure. controlled. What he did was really dangerous. Please visit to learn about your Doing a little research, I found that this scam is a worldwide problem. options to avoid the foreclosure process. You will be able to confidenComputerWorld ( wrote an article in April about tially download free reports, learn the differences between a foreclothis, from which I quote below. sure and a short sale, and use forms to see if you qualify for a short “Microsoft Australia has admitted an inability to effectively shut down an Indisale process. I can help. I am only a phone call or an email away... an-based telemarketing scam which offers users of its Windows operating system Ed Ramos, DRE#01043554 • (925) 765-3179 virus protection. (It’s based on the same tactics as the one I mention above.) The scam, known as Windows Event Viewer - or simply ‘eventvwr’ - involves telemarketers requesting the recipient’s authority to run a Windows program by the This is not intended to solicit property currently listed. same name in order to fix ‘bugs in the operating system.’ Other callers claim they can remove the virus for a fee and ask for people’s credit card details. However, SVMS continued from page 9 the telemarketers only charge the credit card for the amount the customer agrees (typically in pairs) will be performing instructional rounds in classrooms and providto and, according to the vendor’s research, do not use the card details again. (It’s ing feedback on their observations to the classroom teacher. Improving instruction by these nuances the scam artists are avoiding prosecution.) begins with objective neutral feedback from peers. “The difficulty that we have here [in Australia] is that because the telemarketRelevance: We have added an additional technology rich semester elective class, ers seem to be based in India, there are some intricacies of the Indian law which Video Production, in which students will be producing a weekly television show that suggest they may not be breaking any laws there. Even if they are breaking some is seen each Monday by the entire student body. We added two new elective classes consumer laws in Australia, trying to prosecute anyone under Australian law in last year, Robotics and Environmental Marine Science. Our Robotics class will be India is exceptionally challenging. What I do know is that from an enforcement creating a competition team this year. Our Environmental Marine Science class has perspective in Microsoft, we’ve been very active in trying to track down people been working on creating a community garden at the north end of our campus who have used our logos without permission or tried to represent themselves as Relationships: Our traditional programs that focus on campus life are Leadership, having an alignment to Microsoft.” WEB (student orientation group), and Safe School Ambassadors. Those programs Since telemarketers weren’t impersonating Microsoft employees or claiming will continue to support student life on campus. We are currently looking for student and parent representatives to join our Site Climate Committee. The Site Climate to be from the company - instead mentioning key brand names such as Windows Committee will be charged with creating a campus wide focus for improving campus Vista or XP - they were treading a “fine line” on the case. life. Please contact me directly if you are interested at The scam involves a random telephone call made to an Australian number from I wish everyone a great school year. I am proud and honored to lead Stone Valan offshore call center. A computer is used to do predictive dialing and connect the ley for my 10th year. call, which is characterized by a delay of a few seconds before the calling party answers. The caller then claims to be a representative of a software company and Alamo Danville Newcomers Club requests the recipient to run a program to fix ‘bugs’ in the operating system. October Luncheon The point I want to drive home here, is that Microsoft, or “Windows” will Discover nutrition and lifestyle strategies at theAlamo Danville Newcomers Club Ocnever call you. Neither will any of the other big technology companies. I need tober Luncheon. Speaker Kathy Napoli, is a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in you to be extremely skeptical when “Good Samaritans” claim to be acting on private practice inAlamo. She will be speaking to us about natural therapies and avoiding your behalf. Honestly and unfortunately, I’ve not ever been contacted by some- weight gain as we enjoy a healthful lunch at Sunrise Bistro in Walnut Creek. Ladies who one who truly had something of real value for me that didn’t want even more are new to the area or long-time residents are invited to join us on Tuesday, October 11th in return. If it seems too good (or too amazing, or too scary) to be true, it most at 11:30am. The cost is $20. Call Marty at 925-838-8113 for reservations. likely is. The world is full of scam artists, and as economic times put the pinch Welcome Coffee on more people, the bad guys are getting more brazen and desperate. Don’t be A Welcome Coffee will be held for ladies who are new to the area or long-time their next victim. When someone calls and says they want to fix your PC, hang residents. Join a casual get together to learn about the many facets of Newcomers up and call Portable CIO. We’ll tell you the truth. while enjoying coffee and some treats with friends. The next Coffee is Thursday, If you want an actual evaluation of your system, or have a problem you wish to October 27th at 10am to noon. For information call 925-775-3233. address, give the friendly and honest staff at Portable CIO a call, 925-552-7953, Contact us at or visit our website Advertorial or email us at

Light Up




Page 12 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Alamo World Travel & Tours Celebrates its 30 Year in Alamo th

The Travel Consultants at Alamo World Travel & Tours ( are often asked what the hot trends are in travel. One fast growing area is river cruising, with newer and better boats added almost monthly. Plusses for river cruises include smaller and more intimate boats, continuous scenery, included shore excursions, no large waves, all outside cabins, and wine or beer included with dinner for those over 21. Popular destinations are Western European rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, and Mosel. In Russia you can cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg, and in Vietnam and Cambodia you can cruise the Mekong river. Culinary travel is also popular, with wine and food oriented themes in cruises and tours in the USA, Europe, Africa, South America, and Africa. Some of the more popular cruises and tours have Food Network celebrities on board. European and Hawaiian destinations remain strong, Mexico is starting to come back, and more people are exploring exotic locations such as Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Tahiti, and Africa. Alamo World Travel works with individual, group and corporate travelers, traveling to destinations worldwide. Our travel agents are ready to help with your simple or complex travel plans and help you avoid some of the nightmares of “internet travel.” We are located at 3201 Danville Blvd #255 in Alamo Commons between Ace Hardware and the Peasants Courtyard restaurant. Please contact us at (925) 837-8742. Advertorial

Because your smile means so much, we are proud to offer


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Wine Types Demystified

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 13

By Monica Chappell

I’ve come up with a list of terms my students often want to know about regarding Alamo the world of wine. Many of these are simply terms that you might hear in any polite Shades & Shutters conversation about wine. I have avoided almost all wine-tasting terms, which are a whole column in their own right. Ready? Here they are, in alphabetical order. 925-837-2010 Bordeaux. French region best known for classy reds made primarily The Right Look For A Lot Less from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. •Free Measuring & Installation• Burgundy. French region best known for reds made from Pinot Noir and whites made from Chardonnay. Cabernet Sauvignon. Red-wine grape responsible for famous Bordeaux wines and many California “cult wines.” Cava. Spanish sparkling wine. Chablis. French region (part of Burgundy) making special, seafoodfriendly wines from Chardonnay. Champagne. French region making outstanding sparkling wine from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Chardonnay. Great white grape of Burgundy. No. 1 “varietal” wine in America. Chenin Blanc. Fine grape for dry and sweet wines. Sometimes used in U.S. to mean “cheap white,” but sometimes a fine varietal. Gewurztraminer. Peppery white wine that’s a specialty of the Alsace region of France. Merlot. Bordeaux blending grape. First bottled as a U.S. varietal in 1972 by Louis Martini. Top red varietal in the U.S. Muscat. Honey-like grape grown all over the world to make slightly sweet to very sweet wines. Nebbiolo. Great grape of Barolo and Barbaresco in the Piedmont region of Italy. Pinotage. Spicy, unusual red wine of South Africa. Pinot Grigio. Italian wine - same grape as Pinot Gris - that recently became the most popular imported wine in the U.S. Pinot Noir. Great red grape of Burgundy. Specialty of Oregon. Riesling. Great white-wine grape at its best in Germany. Rioja. Spanish district best known for woody red wine. Sangiovese. Great grape of Chianti. Sauvignon Blanc. White grape that makes grassy dry wines all over the world. Also used in dessert wines. Same as Fume Blanc. In Stone Valley Shopping Center Shiraz. Australia’s signature red-wine grape. Same as Syrah. Varietal. Wine named for a grape type, like Chardonnay. In U.S., a wine must be at least 75% of a grape type to be called that. Zinfandel. U.S. red grape (originally from Croatia). White Zinfandel, Enjoy Our Patio Dining with juice allowed a little skin contact for color. Remember, you don’t need to memorize this list to enjoy a delicious glass Monday - Saturday: Lunch and Dinner of your favorite wine. Cheers! Sunday: Dinner only We Offer a Full Bar and Lounge Monica Chappell teaches wine appreciation classes in Lafayette, Walnut Creek, 3168 Danville Blvd, Alamo Margaritas are a House Specialty and Danville. For upcoming classes, go to

Fine Mexican Dining


ADAS Events

October ADAS Meeting ~ Guest Artist is Bill Parsons

Bill Parsons is the Guest Artist for the Alamo Danville Artists’ Society (ADAS) meeting on Tuesday October 11th at 7:30PM. The meeting will be held at the Alamo Women’s Club located at 1401 Danville Boulevard in Alamo The public is invited to attend at no charge. Parsons’s presentation will include a short charcoal demo of classical realism techniques and then a painting demonstration showing how these techniques apply to oil. He will also provide commentary on his techniques as he draws and paints.

New Exhibit at Blackhawk Gallery

Blackhawk Gallery opens an all-new exhibit Artful Treasures on October 27th. The Gala Reception will be held on Saturday, October 29th from 5 to 7PM. The public is invited. The current exhibit “Artistic Visions” will be on display through October 23. The Blackhawk Gallery, located at 3416 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville, is operated by ADAS. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 8PM and on Sundays from 11AM to 6PM.

ADAS to Add Fine Art to Danville Fall Crafts Festival

The Danville Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Alamo Danville Artists’ Society by adding fine art painters to the Fall Crafts Festival. Artist booths will be located on East Prospect Avenue between Hartz Avenue and Front Street on October 22nd and 23rd from 10AM to 5PM. Artists will donate a percentage of their sales to the Art for the Schools program.

Garden continued from front page

noted, “It was so exciting finally getting the building of the boxes underway. The outreach of the community has been wonderful and six beds have already been made with the help from many citizens in the Danville-Alamo area. I look forward to having more building days and meeting many loyal members of the community.” Amelia added, “The Scouts were great! They completely exceeded our expectations by completing the number of beds we’d hoped for in less time than we estimated.” Life Scout Dallin Robins agreed. “It was a lot of fun, a bunch of community members showed up to help, and we got a bunch done!” Construction of the first eight boxes has been made possible through generous donations from Channel Lumber of Berkeley, which donated the materials for two boxes and has offered the remaining boxes’ materials for sale to The Bounty Garden at their cost, of approximately $150 each. Additional help has come from generous hardware donations from ACE Hardware of Alamo. Members of the community are invited to support the construction of the 42 raised vegetable beds that will be located in The Bounty Garden at Hap Magee Ranch Park. For a donation of $200, each donor’s name will be inscribed on the bronze donors plaque to be displayed at the Garden. To donate or participate in an upcoming work day, please contact Heidi or Amelia Abramson at 925-855-1864 or visit the website at All donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated!

Page 14 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Art in Everyday Life By Tony Michael Vecchio

shapes. The Lafayette Gallery’s new exhibit, Textures, Layers, and Lines, will be on display from October 11-29 with an artist reception on Friday, October 14, from 5PM to 8PM. Located at 50 Lafayette Circle in Lafayette, the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM to 5PM. For information, see The Village Theatre Art Gallery’s exhibition, Offerings; Works of Text and Image, runs through October 29. The Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society exhibition, Artistic Reflections, continues through October 23 at the Blackhawk Art Gallery in Blackhawk Plaza. Tony Michael Vecchio writes about visual art and style. If you have any comments, contact him at View his collage and assemblage work at

The holidays and gift-giving season are right around the corner! Here’s an idea for a memorable and artistic present for a family member, best friend, favorite relative, or... Hand-paint a pair of groovy shoes for them! You can create an original design that fits their fashion sense, lifestyle, or personality. And, who knows, you might change their whole outlook on life by making them a pair of colorful and (maybe) magical shoes! Stranger things have happened, and the whole process is easier than you think. Create your design with the personality of your recipient in mind. Think about their favorite expressions or song lyrics, cartoon characters, hobbies, colors, and any clever images you imagine they’ll like. Start by buying a pair of white or natural cotton canvas shoes—sneakers, “tennies,” or casual shoes. A number of brands on the market have canvas shoes that will serve perfectly as your blank canvas. All you need to know is the shoe size that the person wears and what style they may like. Then, you’re ready to roll! Here are the simple steps to creating your shoe masterpiece: 1. Use a sharp pencil or mechanical pencil to draw your design lightly on the canvas areas of the shoe. The design can link both shoes with various design elements, but the two shoes don’t have to match at all. Be wild. Be clever. As you proceed, you can easily erase and refine your design. 2. Use fabric paint or fabric marker pens to color your design. Leave a narrow gap between colors—where the pencil lines are—as you’ll cover these later. As you apply color, alternate between shoes and design areas so you don’t paint next to wet areas. Take the time to let every color area dry thoroughly before you continue. You’ll end up with a fully colored pair of shoes with tiny white outlines between the colors. 3. Next, use a sharp, new black permanent fabric marker (or a Sharpie) to fill in all your white outlines, working quickly so the color doesn’t bleed. This black outline Gas Log & Firepit will tie everything together nicely. You may Season is Just still want to touch-up color here and there, as needed. 4. After the outlines are comAround The Corner plete and everything is dry, spray the shoes with a waterproof shoe spray to extend the longevity of the artwork and to make them easier to clean. 5. Find a fun pair of laces to fit the color scheme you’ve created—bright, striped, leopard spotted, whatever fits—and your gift is complete! The recipient of your one-of-a-kind pair of shoes will remember your effort and treasure the shoes. To give you an idea of what you can do, I’ve included photographs of a couple of pairs that I’ve completed. (Notice that I’ve even used fabrics to decorate shoes to get the effect I wanted.) Have fun! Local art happenings in October: The 9 Piece Set 19th annual Danville Fall Crafts Festival Retail $3,748 will be held on October 22 & 23 from 10AM Clearance $1,999 to 5PM on beautiful Hartz Avenue, featuring a Saturday morning parade, over 200 artisans, a friendly wine and beer garden, ongoing entertainment, and the ever-popular Danville 925.648.0293 glass pumpkin patch with enticing, highly 3426 Camino Tassajara decorative glass pumpkins of all sizes and

End of Season Clearance Sale on Patio Furniture

Sale Ends 10/30/11 Limited to Stock on Hand

Open Tues thru Sat 10 to 6 Sunday 11 to 5 Closed Monday

Alamo 925.820.8492

3189 Danville Boulevard

Livermore Store 447-0471 Mon. - Sat. 9:30-8:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 Alamo Store 820-4731 Plaza 58011/1/11 Shopping Center Ad prices effective through Plaza Shopping Center Thank youAlamo for supporting your local merchants 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off Stone Valley Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680 to Hwy 580, 1 Block Danville Blvd., Right 1 Block. Mon. - Sat. 9:30-8:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00

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Page 16 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Fall Pruning

By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb

Now is a great time to prune your trees to protect them against winter storms. Judicious pruning can reduce the likelihood of branches falling and causing damage to person or property. Evergreens, such as cedars, and many species of deciduous trees, such as valley oaks, can be pruned in the late fall and early winter, and it’s by far the best time to prune pines. Monterey pines should be pruned from October 15th to February 15th. Sap from pruning cuts attracts beetles that are destructive to pines. These beetles become dormant during the fall and winter months. Some species of beetles carry pine pitch canker, an increasingly common fungal disease that disfigures pine trees, and sometimes kills the trees. If your tree has dead tips scattered throughout the canopy, it probably suffers from pine pitch canker. To prolong the aesthetic life of the diseased tree, now is the best time to prune out the infected tips. Pruning trees for safety is a craft requiring study and experience. A wellpruned tree should not only be safer, it should look beautiful. At Brende & Lamb we take great pride in both the science and the art of pruning. Each plant has a natural growth pattern. Our trimmers are experts at accentuating the shape given the plant by nature. Within the bounds of what is healthy for each species, Brende and Lamb works to make trees as beautiful as possible. Our trimmers are well practiced in aesthetic pruning and are attuned to the artistic flow inherent in tree forms. The form may be weeping, as with Willows and Chinese Elms. In some species, such as Monterey Cypress, branches ascend at acute angles to the trunk,

Sustainable Danville Area – Tip of the Month By Cynthia Ruzzi, President, Sustainable Danville Area

Have you ever overheard someone referring to a woman as “plastic?” The term just as easily could be used to refer to a man, but with either gender, “she’s so plastic” usually describes the person as fake or phony – or that she has undergone one too many cosmetic surgeries! However, if the world continues its love affair with plastic polymers, one day soon we might all be more plastic than a Barbie doll. In the opening pages of Plastic, A Toxic Love Story, author Susan Freinkel attempts to go an entire day without touching anything plastic. After touching numerous plastic objects during her morning routine, she revises her plan and decides to write down everything she touches that is plastic. This strategy nets her four notebook pages of plastic items by the end of the day! If you’re not convinced we all live in “Plasticville,” then consider that the average American uses between 330 - 500 plastic bags a year for an average of 12 minutes before throwing them out (that adds up to between 100-150 BILLION plastic bags used last year in the United States alone). Unlike most other trash, plastic isn't biodegradable, and most of our bags are not recycled. What happens to a discarded bag besides becoming a modern day tumbleweed floating along our streets? Spooky, they never go away - apropos for the coming Halloween – but not for the environment! Sunlight eventually breaks the bonds in the plastic polymers, a process known as photodegradation, but the plastic bits never really go away entirely. There is a floating “island” of plastic swirling around in the Pacific Ocean known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” And while you may not be planning to visit the island on your next family vacation, you may want to think about how this “plastic soup” can visit us! What I mean is if fish in the Pacific Ocean eat the plastic bits (thinking that it’s plankton, better known as fish food) and then we eat the fish, we’re essentially eating the toxins from that old water bottle. San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club (E2) students have come together with Sustainable Danville Area and The Sierra Club, to bring the award-winning film Bag It to Danville. Bag It is a touching and often funny documentary about how we use and abuse plastic. This featured film will be screened on Wednesday,

giving the tree an upswept look. Branches in the coast live oak bend and twist, forming complex arcs. Each tree species has a unique form and flow. When necessary, trees and shrubs can be reduced in size, but crown reduction requires a good eye: a poorly reduced tree looks like a thicket of stubs. Topping is almost always a bad idea. However, the crown of many trees can be reduced by cutting back long branches to the crotches formed by shorter branches growing in the same direction. If the branch doesn’t fork, we cut back to the lowest growth point that will neither create a thick stub nor undermine the arching quality of the branch. When a tree or shrub has been reduced in this way, it’s difficult to detect the cuts or tell that the branches have been shortened.

Brende & Lamb Client Testimonials:

• Excellent work - I wish I had found you sooner. ~ J.R., Alamo • Great Job! My blue oak looks beautiful. Thank you for your expertise. Your crew knew exactly what they were doing. ~ M.R., Alamo • I have never been happier with a tree trimming! ~ D.H., Danville •Thank you - your workers showed great professionalism. ~ S.M., Danville • You have a very happy customer. Thank you - pleasure to do business with you! ~ Mrs. S., Danville • I felt as if I were getting real trained professionals instead of just laborers! I was looking for someone with a sense of aesthetics and found them with B&L! ~ S.B., Walnut Creek If your trees need a little TLC, give us a call at 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at for a free estimate. Additionally, visit to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, Advertorial and work in your neighborhood. October 12th at 7pm in the San Ramon Valley High School Performance Arts Center located at 501 Danville Blvd. in Danville. The group hopes to raise awareness of the impact of single use plastics, like plastic bags and water bottles, on our community. The film offers an eye-opening look at the environmental and health dangers posed by the global use of disposable, non-biodegradable plastic products. Told with wit and humor, Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier

See Sustain continued on page 18

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Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 17

Life in the Alamo Garden

Surface Trends By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect #4059

One of many important decisions you will make while designing your Alamo garden will be what kind of surface materials will you be using for your patios, walkways, decks, and hardscape. Today the choices in materials are numerous. Sometimes the choices are overwhelming! When you think of what has been available in the past, you think of dull gray broom-finished concrete, tan Arizona flagstone, and red brick. When you think of decking materials, redwood has dominated the industry for the past fifty years. Today, a myriad of hardscape materials are available. Natural stone products such as flagstone, slate, wall ledger, and rock have dominated current trends in hardscape materials. In the past ten years the natural stone industry has grown by leaps and bounds. When considering natural stone as your primary surfacing material, you must understand this is the most expensive approach. Generally, natural stone surfacing runs $15 to $35* a square foot when mortared over a concrete base. *Prices indicate current market averages including material, labor, and profit by licensed contractors. With the awareness of “green” building methods, manufactured surfacing material choices have also gone off the chart. There is an abundant choice of manufactured stone and pre-cast concrete products in a multitude of colors. These products make long-lasting affordable surfaces for patios, walls, and veneers. They are less expensive and less labor-intensive to install, and prices range from $12 to $25 a square foot depending on your surface and product. A popular trend that came into the industry about fifteen years ago is interlocking concrete pavers. When first introduced, the shapes, colors, and surface choices were limited. Today interlocking pavers span a wide range of colors, textures, and shapes. Pavers have become the new “cheaper” solution to large expanses of surfacing such as driveways, patio, plazas, and streetscapes. Concrete once dominated the industry as the number one choice of surface materials. Recently pavers have taken over because of effective cost, ease of installation, sustainability, and a more creative design detail. Interlocking paving generally ranges from $9.50 to $15 a square foot, although large expansive streetscapes can be installed as low as $3.50 a square foot. Concrete is still one of the most popular choices for hardscape. It is cost effective, although concrete prices have sky-rocketed over the past five years as petroleum prices increased shipping costs. Concrete’s versatility is its strong point. Innovations in concrete treatments have soared in efforts to keep up with the natural stone industry growth. New treatments, such as dust-on color hardeners, pigmented acid stains, multi-colored stamped concrete, and creative designs, have given concrete a new lease on life. These new treatments have replaced exposed aggregate, salt finish, and broom finished concrete. Concrete prices range from $9 to $25 a square foot. Other uses include lightweight concrete counter tops for outdoor kitchens. A specialized product that I have been enjoying lately is a product called “ArcusStone™,” aka “Coolstone” and “Patternstone.” These products are very attractive and durable. They add an element of elegance and uniqueness that other hardscape materials don’t have. Basically the material is an overlay of a cementitious limestone with natural mineral pigments that can be customized into any design and color range thinkable. When you think of “Old World” techniques, this is exactly that. It takes a trained craftsman to apply it because it is totally shaped, colored, and created at your project site. It runs $10 to $25 a square foot when overlaying a concrete or wall and can be used as a patio, walkway, wall face, cook center countertops, fireplace, or bar top. Wood surfaces have fallen in popularity because of rising costs, maintenance concerns, and environmental issues. Redwood was once abundant locally but has now become expensive and marginal in quality because of the halt in foresting and environmental concerns. If a natural wood product is what you’re looking for, redwood has been replaced with Ipe (epay) or ironwood and other sustainable woods. Manufactured wood products such as “Trex” and “TimberTech” have also become extremely popular because of their environmental approach and low maintenance. If you are looking for a wood look as a choice in hardscape, there are many choices ranging from $15 to $25 a square foot. One of my favorites is the use of gravel or decomposed granite for informal

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patios and paths. This is the lowest cost solution ranging from $3-$5 a sq ft. When I work with my clients in the creation of their garden environment, choosing the hardscape material can sometimes be one of the highest hurdles to get over. With adherence to the design process, the choices are narrowed by the design goals and budget decisions to an appropriate choice that you will be happy with for many years to come. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Don’t order catalogs; the internet is a great place to start your search for hardscape materials. A lot of suppliers and manufacturers have good pictures of ideas on their websites. Gardening Quote of the Month: “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~Thoreau If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to Advertorial or for design ideas visit

Page 18 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

The Law and Unintended Consequences By Robert J. Silverman, Esq.

The estate planning “game” is one every adult plays, but some play more actively and more intelligently than others. The challenge lies in understanding how all the rules work, and thus it is the optimal way to play. It can be pretty tricky and difficult without expert professional advice. Nobody likes losing. Sadly, however, if you lose this game, your loved ones usually suffer the worst. Despite best intentions, unintended consequences happen all too frequently, as in the hypothetical examples below. Family #1: Judy has two adult children, John and Jane. Judy’s primary assets are a $1 million home, with no mortgage, and a $200,000 bank account. Family #2: Bob has two adult children, Bill and Betty. Bob’s primary asset is his $1 million 401K. Judy and Bob divorced their first spouses, got married, and have been happily married for 15 years, living in Judy’s home. They keep a small joint checking account for routine living expenses, but they otherwise maintain separate assets. Judy and Bob know that all responsible adults make Wills. Thinking they don’t need a lawyer, they download basic Will forms from the internet, and they each sign one. Each Will states that on the death of the testator, all assets go to his or her children in equal shares. Simple enough, and they are satisfied… Other salient facts: 1) Judy and Bob take out a home equity credit line on Judy’s home, and to qualify, Bob’s income is needed. So Bob goes on title as required. Their neighbor (who seems like a pretty smart guy) tells them that he and his wife hold title to their home as “joint tenants,” as do most married people. Judy and Bob tell their lender that they’ll take title as joint tenants. 2) In case anything ever happens suddenly to Judy and Bob, Judy wants one of her children to have authority to access funds from her bank account. She thinks about adding both John and Jane, but since the kids don’t get along well (and Judy wants to avoid a conflict) and Jane lives in N.Y., Judy adds John as a signer.

3) After Bob divorced his first wife, he listed his children, Bill and Betty, as beneficiaries of his 401K. Let’s explore the very harsh unintended consequences when Judy or Bob dies: 1) Judy’s $1 Million house. Joint tenancy carries with it the “right of survivorship” (“R.O.S.”), which trumps a Will. This means that at the death of one joint tenant, title vests fully in the name of the surviving joint tenant. Since Judy added Bob as a joint tenant when they took out a home equity line, the R.O.S. feature results in Bob becoming the owner of 100% of the house on Judy’s death. Even though John and Jane are in Judy’s Will to receive all of her assets, they receive no interest whatsoever in their mother’s house. 2) Judy’s $200,000 bank account. Judy didn’t understand that adding John as a signer meant that he became the legal co-owner of this account. Notwithstanding the Will’s express language that John and Jane share equally in all of Judy’s assets, on Judy’s death, the joint account acts the same as a joint tenancy - John owns 100% of it. Instead of John and Judy each receiving $100,000 as Judy intended, John gets all $200,000. Disliking his sister, John, as the legal owner of the account, doesn’t feel any obligation to share half or any of it with Jane. 3) Bob’s $1 Million 401K. ERISA (Federal law governing 401Ks) dictates that the wife of a 401K owner is entitled to it on the death of the plan participant. If Judy had signed a written waiver, formally consenting to having Bob’s kids as the beneficiaries, Bill and Betty would each receive half of Bob’s 401K, as intended and consistent with the beneficiary designation on file with the custodian. But no such waiver is on file, so Judy is entitled to all of it, and Bill and Betty none. Next month, I’ll describe how good planning offers some very interesting and effective alternatives for Judy, Bob, and their respective children. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with Shapiro Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 1333 N. California Street, Suite 350, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 944-9700; His practice emphasizes Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate, Real Estate, and Business. Please call for a free introductory consultation. This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein. Advertorial

Sustain continued from page 16

one time and then, without another thought, throw them away. Remind as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our me, what’s AWAY? If I remember that “away” really just means “out plastic world. The film focuses on plastic as it relates to our throw- of sight” and “see you soon as fish food,” then I might remember to away mentality, our culture of convenience, our over consumption of grab a few of those ten re-usable bags sitting in my car trunk as I enunnecessary, disposable products and packaging – things that we use ter the grocery store. I’ll even fill a reusable water bottle if it keeps toxins out of my fish, and it’s a bonus knowing that I’m not adding to the island vortex in our oceans. General admission to the film screening is open to the public with seating availability on a first come basis. A $5 suggested donation benefits the Serving Alamo & Danville Since 1979! San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club (E2) Collegiate Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded for a second year in June 2012 to a graduating SRVHS student that has demonstrated their commitment to the environment through action in our community. Join the Near-Zero Waste Preshow. Weather permitting, we’ll gather in front of the theatre for snacks and games. Test your recycling knowledge Call us and ask about and win cool prizes. Learn how to protect our creeks Pentair’s IntelliFlo pump and water resources. See worm composting in acwhich qualifies for a $100 tion, and take a tour the school’s organic and drought tolerant planting beds. Jules Thin Crust Pizza will be PG&E rebate! on hand with samples of their delicious, organic thin crust pies, along with other Danville Area SustainWant Soft Sparkling Algae Free Pool Water ? able Businesses. Please bring a reusable container Ask about the IntelliChlor salt chlorine generator for beverages. Activities begin at 6 PM on Wednesday, October 12 th. For more information regarding this event, or to donate to the San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club (E2) Collegiate ScholarVisit our website at ship, please visit

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Transferring Wealth the Right Way

By Peter T. Waldron & Robert J. Waldron

In conjunction with Waldron Wealth Advisors, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.

One of the most rewarding benefits of wealth is the ability to make a lasting impact long after you’re gone. To this end, you could set up trusts that provide a financial cushion, pay educational costs, or provide business seed capital for multiple generations of family members. Maybe you want to have your name on a library or to fund scholarships at your alma mater. Perhaps there is medical research or another cause that you strongly support. The idea of making the world a better place certainly has its appeal. It’s also nice to know that you can provide that financial cushion that helps your kids and grandkids pursue careers that they really love.

Planning is Paramount

The movement of intergenerational wealth over the next 50 years may be substantial. The keys to a successful wealth transfer and accomplishing legacy goals all lie in the planning – from deciding on your specific objectives to discussing your intentions with future heirs and working with your financial advisor and estate planning team to execute the plan.

The Dream Team

An estate planning team will usually consist of your financial advisor, attorney, and CPA or tax professional. This concentration of financial and legal firepower helps you address all aspects of your wealth transfer. The attorney can draft documents to set up trusts or foundations, the CPA can help optimize tax outcomes, and your financial advisor works to coordinate these activities and to address specific investment implications and create appropriate investment strategies. There are so many great ways to transfer assets if you do the work ahead of time. But if you don’t properly structure your estate, you could end up leaving Uncle Sam and your local state a large amount of estate taxes which could equal what you leave for your own family.

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 19

Celebrity Chef Night T o p o f T h e S t r at f o r d ! T h u r s d a y • O c t 2 0 th • 5 : 3 0 p m

5-Course Dinner featuring the Signature Dishes of Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck “The na me Wolfgang Puck is synonymous with the best of r e s ta u r a n t h o s p i ta l i t y a n d t h e u lt i m at e i n a l l a s p e c t s o f t h e culinary arts.” S t r at f o r d ’s E x e c u t i v e C h e f J o s e p h Husary will present a five course d i n n e r s e r v i c e f e at u r i n g C h e f P u c k ’s s i g n at u r e d i s h e s f r o m h i s f l a g s h i p r e s ta u r a n t s , i n c l u d i n g Be v er ly Hi l l’s and San Fr a n c i s c o ’s fa m o u s .

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A Taxing Issue

Though far less onerous than it was a decade ago, the estate tax should still figure prominently in your planning. In 2009, it affects estates larger than $3.5 million, and the tax is scheduled for a one-year repeal in 2010. In 2011, however, the estate tax is due to return and with a much lower exemption of $1 million, and a higher top rate of 50%. This means that even if you have an estate plan in place, you need to review documents to make sure they’re in line with the new tax environment. You should also use that opportunity to make sure your plan still reflects your intentions.


Family in Focus

Deciding how to divide and transfer your estate can have a major impact on family dynamics. There may be family members who feel that they didn’t get their “fair share” or others who may feel burdened. The best way to address these problems is by letting family members know your intentions ahead of time and, ideally, achieving some kind of consensus early on. When you get everybody into a room to talk about things like a family financial philosophy and multigenerational roles and responsibilities, it boosts the power of that legacy to actually accomplish the goals you’re hoping to accomplish.

Starting Now

Regardless of the specific mechanics of your ultimate plan, there are steps that you can begin to take today to help reduce your estate tax burden – and they all revolve around giving away assets to reduce the size of your estate. It may be tough for people who have retired recently to start to look at what they have and start giving it away. But the sooner you get started making gifts and funding trusts, the greater are your chances of leaving something substantial to your family or philanthropy – instead of to the government. Please contact Peter Waldron to schedule a complimentary review of your financial situation, call 925-659-0383 or email

Peter T. Waldron & Robert J. Waldron Jr. are registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory service through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, Waldron Wealth Advisors, 3000 Executive Parkway, Ste 400, San Ramon, CA 94583. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. . This information should not be construed as legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a tax advisor regarding this information as it relates to your personal circumstance. The content of this material was provided to you by Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. for its representatives and their clients. CRN201105-2054273 Advertorial





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Guitars continued from front page

Alamo Holistic Healing Center

cocaine. Thus, the three girls were separated for the first time and sent to three different foster homes. Healthcare You Deserve Their guitars remained in their grandmother's home. “The girls so wanted to play guitar and see each other, that they insisted the Agency retrieve Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Massage, Craniosacral Therapy their guitars and that their foster home guardians w w w. A l a m o H e a l i n g . c o m bring them to class. Thereafter, they came to virtually every session we held in Martinez, to learn guitar and to see each other. Their new guardians 3200-A Danville Blvd, Suite 100 told us it was the GNG courses that were a stabi- Alamo, CA 94507 lizing force in their fractured lives.” The goal of GNG is to help prevent violence in schools and on the streets by providing foster kids and at-risk youth with focus and self-actualization – by means of weekly guitar instruction. Using music as a catalyst, GNG encourages children and teens ages 8 – 18 to use their creativity to foster personal development and to help divert them from self-destructive influences such as drugs, alcohol, and gang-related activities. In addition to learning how to master chord changes, children learn perseverance, discipline, and self-esteem. More importantly, the kids learn to enjoy the positive adult interaction. Founded by Ray Nelson, GNG is headquartered in Georgia, with branches across the United States and Canada. The completely volunteer-run program consists of eight consecutive weekly classes with a maximum of 10 students and three adult instructors. Those who complete the full program are allowed to keep the guitar. “We are providing these kids with adult attention, CONTRA COSTA ONCOLOGY discipline to deal with their stress and circumstances without resorting to violence, and the skills to critically think about the consequences of their actions - all this simply by teaching them to play guitar,” says GNG California President Frank Darling. A retired paper company executive, Orinda resident Darling learned of the program through his wife, who attended an event at which GNG was being promoted. Before he knew it, Darling was using his own money to purchase wholesale guitars for each participant. “One of my favorite parts of this program continues to be the smiles I see when we tell the students at the end of the course that they get to keep their guitars.” Darling emphasizes the ulterior benefits of the program. “Over time, we have come to know that this is much more than guitar instruction. We know that the learning of music assists with learning in school. We also feel that we are providing life lessons such as responsibility (they are assigned a guitar to take care of for 8 weeks), focus and perseverance (they come to class and have a purpose), discipline (practice, practice, practice), feeling valued (instructors are volunteering their time to be with the kids), and finally, the feeling of completion (most of these kids have never completed anything in life).” “I applaud Frank’s program,” says Stuart Mc Stuart McCullough, Executive Director of Youth Homes in Walnut Creek, who has seen first-hand the positive effects on his charges. “It is very difficult to make a highly traumatized foster care adolescent do something they do not want to do,” says McCullough. “All of our kids who participated in the program did so willingly and really enjoyed the learning. About half of the kids finished the course, and the celebratory evening was a wonderful event. Our kids have so few such successes in their young lives, and I believe that AT CONTRA COSTA ONCOLOGY, we are committed to providing WALNUT CREEK night will be something they will never forget.” the highest quality care. Specializing in comprehensive cutting-edge treatment SAN RAMON For instructor Davis, the greatest reward is programs for all forms of cancer and blood disorders, our nationally recognized CONCORD when the light goes on and the student willoncology experts and specialized oncology nurses are dedicated to providing ROSSMOOR ingly applies himself to learn. “Playing guitar is the best possible care experience. We understand the wide array of concerns physically hard on the fingers,” says Davis, who and challenges faced by you and your family, so we ensure the most sophisticated DANVILLE [ Opening this Fall ] has been playing guitar for 42 years. “It requires levels of medical oncology and hematology care, while providing you with the dexterity that only comes with repetition and utmost support, compassion, and respect. 925.939.9610 practice, and these kids are provided little or no

With Them

my story Continues.

See Guitars continued on page 21

Alamo Improvement Association By Roger Smith, President

On September 10th, the San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair was held. The Fair’s goal is to provide residents with information on the various services available to our area. If you did not attend this year, you missed an opportunity to become more informed about local Emergency Services. Visit www.BeReadySRV. org for more information on this annual event. There is a new website that helps families become more prepared to survive an emergency. On the site you will find information on basic items for a Family Emergency Kit along with a supplemental list of additional items to consider based upon health, age, entertainment, and pets. Find out how to keep food safe during and after an Emergency by visiting Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what will you do in different situations. A “Family Emergency Plan” should be part of your preparation. 1) Identify an “out-of-town” contact. It may be easier to make a longdistance call than to call across town. The contact can act as a communication coordinator for your family. 2) Make sure each family member knows the contact number and has a way to contact them by cell phone or prepaid phone card. Don’t forget to program your cell phones with the contact’s number. 3) Teach family members to text messages (if they do not know how to do so already) as the Short Message Service (or SMS) used for text messaging is often more

The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Halloween and Colored Contacts

Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner. Since the local school district is not in session that day, we would like to invite you and your kids to come by the office in the afternoon after the Alamo Plaza festival for a little trick-or-treat at the office. Your child is welcome to come by in costume to pick up a few goodies before the real trick-or-treating begins! It is during this time of the year that kids start thinking about their costumes for Halloween. Depending on your child’s age and costume, some decide that colored and/or specialty contacts are to be a part of their disguise. However, it is very important to understand that contact lenses that are not fit and prescribed by a doctor can be potentially visually threatening due to a corneal infection and other adverse conditions. As mandated by federal law, contact lenses are medical devices that need to be properly fit and assessed by an eye care professional. All lenses do not fit and breathe the same. In addition, just because you are currently wearing a particular type of lens, that does not mean that you can just wear and order any type of specialty lens. If the lens does not fit and wear properly, there can be a lot of potential damage to the eye. Conditions such as a corneal ulcer are very painful, cause light sensitivity, and cause the eye to become very red and teary. Granted, an infection like this can happen to anyone wearing contacts regardless of care, hygiene, and sleeping with the lenses on. However, when the lens is not fitting properly, the likelihood of a bad outcome increases. The other issue with specialty contacts is that if the patient is not familiar with proper care and handling, insertion and removal, and proper disinfection of the lenses, a mishap is more likely to occur. In addition to the above reasons, purchasing lenses from an outside vendor without proper prescription verification is against the law (this is also true for your normal everyday contact lenses). Depending on the vendor, the specifications, material, quality, and sterility can not be verified. Most of the brand name and mass-produced lenses purchased through a reputable store or vendor are usually not a problem. It is the smaller and/or foreign companies that produce these specialty lenses for Halloween that can be an issue. It is pretty rare that we see complications from contact lens wear because our patients are educated about proper contact lens care. However, it is in times of non-compliance including sleeping with the lenses on and poorly fit lenses that these consequences arise. It is our hope that for those that choose to wear

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 21 reliable in an emergency than the wireless or ground based telephone systems. 4) Subscribe to “Alert Services” that send instant text alerts or emails about bad weather, road closings, and local emergencies.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family and your neighbors in the event of a disaster. During an incident, emergency service personnel may not be able to reach everyone right away. By being trained in CERT, you will have the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property. CERT training is provided at no cost by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRVFPD). A series of six sessions totaling 20 hours of instruction comprise the training. Visit for more information on this valuable program. Over 100 Alamo residents have already received their CERT training, why not you?

Public Safety Committee

AIA is interested in attracting Alamo residents with suitable career experience in “First Responder” categories to volunteer time to our Public Safety Committee. Please contact our Committee Chairman, Bill Nelson at

Neighborhood Watch

Interested in enhancing communication with your neighbors and neighborhood groups? AIA is interested in helping establish a network of interested representatives from various neighborhoods and neighborhood groups in Alamo to discuss the Neighborhood Watch program and its benefits. Please contact our Committee Chairman, Bill Nelson at Not a member of AIA? Consider joining and “help us, help you” and the rest of the community. Visit for more information. these specialty contacts for Halloween that it is done in the correct way and is able to add to their costume without any visual compromises. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our newly updated website at,, and become a fan on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page. Advertorial

Guitars continued from page 20

support at home. It’s cool when it all comes together for them.” Helping to spread the word about GNG’s good works is Barbara Gorin who, in addition to participating as an instructor, is the group’s Vice President of Fundraising and Public Relations. A legal assistant by day, Gorin spends most of her free time promoting the organization. She annually attends the National Association of Music Merchants show held in Los Angeles, where she meets music company manufacturers and artists, many of whom are successfully swayed by her enthusiasm about GNG. And, she organizes a variety of fundraisers at venues such as Walnut Creek’s Red House Studios, Slims, Vinnie’s in Concord, and other outdoor festivals. A Diablo Magazine “Threads of Hope” award winner for her work with GNG, Gorin is tireless in her fundraising efforts and has managed, through her connections, to obtain and auction autographed guitars from some of the biggest names in rock music – Slash, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Sammy Hagar, and Blondie’s guitar player are all GNG converts. Gorin’s passion for the program makes it an easy sell. “I love this program so very much,” says Gorin. “Inspiring kids and building encouragement is very rewarding to me. It is always about the kids. I feel a sense of accomplishment when a shy kid begins the class, and eight weeks later opens up into a little future rock star. Learning to play guitar is a fun part of this program, and we will definitely make participants better players, but we are also mentors, helping kids to understand that dedication, commitment and responsibility are important life lessons as well.” Gorin, one of the programs few female instructors, recalls story after story of young lives touched by GNG, and she was pleased when a former student recently contacted her via Facebook to update her about his life. “This former student is now working at a full time job, and he told me that although at the time it did not seem he appreciated what I did for him, I (and the program) helped him grow as a person. It meant so much to me to see he is doing well in society and that the program had a positive impact on him.” For information on bringing the Guitars Not Guns program to your location, or if you are interesting in participating as a volunteer teacher, please visit, or

Page 22 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Have You Been TP’d Lately? By Brandi Geiger MS, CMT

No I don’t mean toilet papered, I mean Trigger Point rolling. Although, with teenagers in the house I have experienced both myself. So what is Trigger Point you ask? Trigger Point Tools are the greatest self massage tools on the planet! In fact, they are so great that I called the company to become one of their first four Master Trainers. So what makes them so special? They were designed by an elite athlete named Cassidy Phillips who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in his 20’s. It would take him over two hours to get out of bed each morning. After trying many therapeutic modalities, the only relief he got was from massage. He set out to design a self massage tool so he could take care of himself, because who can afford a massage everyday anyways? Trigger Point Tools are a similar concept to foam rolling only much better. These balls and rollers are small enough to travel with anywhere. You will actually find me rolling against the wall in an airport to help unlock my hips and back before I hop on a plane to relieve the pain from my herniated disc. I don’t care that people are staring at me, they are just jealous that they don’t have a pair of balls like mine. Unlike a tennis ball, which will collapse under pressure or a baseball and lacrosse ball, which are too hard and could cause tissue damage, Trigger Point Performance Tools were designed to mimic a massage therapist’s hand to conform to the muscle within 5-7 seconds. The goal is to compress and release the myofacia that surrounds our muscles and creates tightness in order to increase range of motion and relieve muscular tension. It works so well that you may ask why I would support such a tool that could cut into my business. Maybe it does but I came back to this field after doing medical sales to empower, educate, and motivate people to take care of themselves. I would rather my clients take charge of their health and see me for maintenance, than become dependent on me. Plus, if I help them, they will tell all of their friends, and I will get more clients to help. How cool is that? The Trigger Point balls are so wonderful, everybody needs a set. TP Tools are for anybody with muscles, that would be all of us, who want relief right now. Perform Myofacia Compression Techniques before you exercise or at the start of your day. It increases the fluidity and elasticity of your muscles

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 23

and prepares them for work to help prevent injury. Take a TP break instead of a coffee break. It works so well that you will feel the difference right away. It’s amazing! Just ask SF Giant’s Nate Schierholtz and former NFL Player Tank Williams. I rolled Nate’s one calf, and he stood up to walk around, turned, and looked at me with a look on his face that was priceless. He then said, “You have to roll the other one now.” I was going to make him walk around all day with only one side rolled so he could feel the difference, however, there was no need because he felt it right away and was off with his kit in hand. Tank Williams wishes he knew about Trigger Point when he was with the NFL. He said, “I wish I had you and TP when I was playing. Maybe I wouldn’t have had so many injuries and would still be playing. I feel like a new man!” As TP’s inventor Cassidy Phillips says, “What you tolerate, you accept.” Why accept pain and discomfort when you have total control to do something about it? Do you want quantity of life or quality of life? I actually want both. Yes, I want it all! I would like to thank Chris Lieto for introducing me to Trigger Point Performance, good luck at Kona Ironman. It has changed my life and so many others. Let me help you feel your best with a Trigger Point Kit and a one-on-one instruction session. Find me on Facebook and Twitter at Fit Mind n Body. For more info about Trigger Point Therapy, visit and for all of my services offered, visit My office is located at 55 Oak Ct. #130 in Danville. You can email me at or contact me at (925)984-9259 for appointments or more information. Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well Advertorial

The Many Faces of Breast Cancer

The Many Faces of Breast Cancer event is slated for Saturday, October 15th from 10AM-12PM during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer Specialist Tiffany Svahn, MD and Diablo Valley Oncology partner with the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Support Community, and AstraZeneca to present this complimentary event. It will be held at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. This educational talk focuses on the unique needs and issues of survivors, providing the latest information on breast cancer. Medical experts will speak on issues effecting survivors and offer insight into treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help with rehabilitation. Reservations are required as seating is limited. For reservations call 925-677-5041, ext 260.

Page 24 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today


Oaks Dermatology

Shanny A. Baughman, MD with Alamo Oaks Dermatology Invites you to join us for our Third Anniversary Celebration! Bring a friend and enjoy Tasty Appetizers Drawings for a gift basket and free products Learn about cosmetic procedures we offer* and hear special guest speakers from Dysport and Sculptra Friday, October 14th @ 5 PM to 7 PM Alamo Oaks Dermatology 3189 Danville Blvd. Suite 130, Alamo Please call 925-362-0992 to reserve your spot today.

*We offer Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, Sculptra, and carry Latisse, Epionce skin care line, and EltaMD sunscreens

Go Take a Hike

By Dr. Shanny Baughman

One year ago hiking the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim with a group of 14 women reminded me of the delight of experiencing natural spaces. For this year, I chose a trip that is more level, yet not without its challenges. The southern Sierra, specifically in Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park, was my destination. The tremendous snow pack in the Sierra this year Dr. Shanny Baughman, Alamo resulted in streams flowing like creeks, and usually tame creeks were roaring like rivers. Details of the challenges of the Sierra can be found on a blog written by Erin S, a woman who just completed the Pacific Crest Trail, a journey of 2650 miles from Mexico to the Canadian Border ( Her narration of the Sierra, during June and July made for fascinating reading, but the idea of navigating creek crossings through thigh or knee high water sounded too ‘hard core’ for me. Yet her images reminded me of the stark, elegant beauty of the Sierra. A late August hike would have abundant water, yet stream crossings would be manageable. Berries would be ripe at lower elevations, and flowers would be lingering. My destination was the Kern River Canyon, a spectacular glacial-formed U shaped canyon, nearly 20 miles long, that resembles a petite Yosemite. Accessible only by trail, the canyon

is 18 miles from the closest trail head. Access is via Horseshoe Meadows, Lewis Camp, Shake Camp, Mineral King, or from the John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail. The valley has several meadows, a hot springs, boulders 70 feet tall surrounded by Horsetail, Equisetum, and fields of ferns that brushed my shoulders as I walked through. Native brown trout and golden trout are sought after by fly fishermen. Even though I hiked in shade a fair portion of the day, I was scrupulous about sun Dr. Kelly Hood, Lafayette protection. The daily routine included ELTA MD UV Shield SPF 45 applied liberally throughout the day, and a widebrimmed hat and long-sleeved sun protective shirt from Coolibar. Their garments are always stylish, light-weight, and fun to wear. Ten years ago, I hiked the canyon with my father and two other women on a trans-Sierra trip, from Springville to Mount Whitney, so the area was familiar. This time I hiked alone with a GPS locator for emergencies added to my camping gear. Highlights included seeing a scrawny bear cub, two rattlesnakes, and a pollywog. I camped near the Kern River four nights, listening to its sound as I fell asleep. The immersion into nature, helped ‘defrag’ my mind and brought clarity and energy back to my life. There will be follow-up hikes in the local hills. I invite you to go take a hike. To schedule a consultation with one of us, contact Dr. Shanny Baughman at Alamo Oaks Dermatology, 3189 Danville Blvd, suite 130, Alamo, 925-362-0992, or Dr. Kelly Hood, 970 Dewing, Suite 301, Lafayette, 925-283-5500, Advertorial

Saline or Silicone?

By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc.

Every woman is born with breasts that are not perfectly even. Some patients wish they were born bigger.As a female plastic surgeon with specialized training and experience, I can improve a woman’s natural breasts with breast implants. Implants make it possible to enhance each woman’s natural beauty while giving her the size she desires. In a typically week, I consult with a dozen or so women seeking breast augmentation. A number of questions and topics are discussed with the most popular being...saline or silicone? There are many factors involved in making the proper choice. This makes the need for an in-depth consultation even more critical. In general, most women are better suited for the new generation of silicone cohesive gel implants versus saline, although an increasing number are also opting for fat grafting. Recent studies have supported the use of fat grafting to the breast. Both silicone and saline implants have an outer silicone shell. The silicone implants come pre-filled with a cohesive silicone gel whereas the saline implants are filled with sterile saline after being placed. As an aside, the debate surrounding the safety of silicone implants has largely been resolved, as there has not been a single substantiated case of silicone filled implants causing systemic disease. Depending on the patient’s decision regarding implant choice, approach and size, the implant is placed in a pocket created under the pectoralis-major muscle (subpectoral) or under the breast tissue (sub-glandular). The type of implant placed will be determined by a number of factors discussed during the consultation. For now, we can look at the general differences and advantages of each type of augmentation. Saline implants tend to be chosen by a younger demographic prior to having children. Because these implants are filled after they are placed under the breast tissue, the incision can be more distant (such as the umbilical method of implantation) and will result in almost no visible scaring, which is a big appeal for this age group. Saline implants have a lifespan of 7-10 years before replacement or revision. For women in this age group the timing usually works out well as there could be an additional need for a breast lift after childbirth at which time it is convenient for the patient to replace her implants. Risks associated with saline implants include breast pain, changes in nipple sensation, infection, capsular contracture, deflation, and the need for revision. Saline implants are less optimal for women seeking larger implants such as a D cup, as the heavier weight of saline increases the risk of downward displacement and rippling. This heavier weight also makes saline feel less natural.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Here Again! By Tiffany Svahn, MD

About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is a very important health issue for women – it is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death. In 2010, there were more than 200,000 new diagnoses and more than 39,000 deaths in the United States. The good news is that death rates have been decreasing since 1990 as a result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. Join me on October 7th at 3PM for the opening ceremony at St. Mary’s College’s first Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. All cancer survivors are invited to participate in the survivor lap at the beginning of the event. On October 15th, “The Many Faces of Breast Cancer” will take place at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, from 10AM – 12PM. This educational community event focuses on the unique needs and issues of survivors, providing the latest information on breast cancer. Heather Quarterman from KKDV 92.1 FM will be the moderator, and medical experts will speak on issues effecting survivors and offer insight into treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help with rehabilitation. There is no charge for the event, however reservations are required as seating is limited. RSVP at (925) 677-5041, x231. This year, Diablo Valley Oncology, Sunvalley Shopping Center and Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance are partnering together to host a special Breast Cancer Awareness event entitled “Pink Up The Mall.” Throughout the month of October, Sun Valley merchants will feature “Pink” themed merchandise and special discount offers. The highlight of the event will take place on October 16th at 1PM in the

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 25 Silicone implants have once again become the more popular choice among all age groups (even though the implants themselves cost more) as the thicker, gellike consistency creates a more natural look and feel. These implants are highly effective at creating a natural effect for women desiring small, moderate or ample breast size. Arriving from the manufacturer pre-filled and sized, the augmentation procedure using this type of implants requires a small incision below the breast and results in a small scar, typically hidden under the breast. The risks associated with silicone implants are similar to those associated with saline. Silicone implants have a significantly longer lifespan. If you have existing silicone or saline implants and are unhappy or have noticed changes to the shape of your breast(s), please make an appointment for a consultation to ensure that an implant deflation or leak has not occurred. Recent advances in fat harvesting and grafting has made fat transfer the fastest growing method of breast augmentation in my practice. It is ideal for women looking to increase their breasts by one cup size, for example from B to a small C. Fat transfer is often incorporated with breast lift (mastopexy), reconstruction, and augmentation. Mild liposuction is used to remove the fat from an unwanted area such as the flanks or abdomen. The fat is then processed to obtain the highest quality and number of fat cells and adipose derived stem cells. It is then injected into the desired areas in tiny droplets using a syringe and without a need for any additional incisions, a superior aesthetic result is the norm. The final result of fat transfer becomes visible by the end of the first month and improves over the first twelve months. The grafting acceptance rate averages about 60% of volume, but unlike implants the fat grafts last for the lifespan of the patient. The one aspect of my plastic surgery training that I am most proud of is my fellowship in Aesthetic, Breast & Laser surgery. In addition to nine years of surgical training, trauma and plastic surgery, my cosmetic fellowship provided me with exceptional tools and incomparable experience in creating the most suitable outcomes for these types of surgeries. The Cosmetic & Reconstructive surgery center in Lafayette has one of the largest consignments of implants in the Bay Area which enables us to find the perfect size and shape for you. Whether you are considering a breast augmentation for the first time or are a patient with existing implants looking for a change, I look forward to sharing my experience and expertise in determining the most suitable augmentation option for you. Barbara Persons MD owns Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc. located at 911 Moraga Rd. in Lafayette. Please call 925-283-8811 or email drbarb@ Advertorial Grand Court. Breast Cancer survivors will be recognized by their oncologists and surgeons where they will be featured in the Surviving in Style Fashion Show. Join John Muir Health for a fun night out to help support and raise awareness for breast health in Contra Costa County on October 20th from 6-9PM at the Women’s Health Center in Walnut Creek. The evening includes education, special offers and goodies from participating downtown restaurants and businesses, and raffle prizes. Proceeds benefit the Every Woman Counts Program. These are a just a few of the Breast Cancer Awareness events in our area. Raising awareness about the importance of early detection is one of the most important things we can all do to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer! Dr. Svahn is a Medical Oncologist and Breast Cancer Specialist at Diablo Valley Oncology in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon. She is on the Medical Staff at John Muir Medical Center and San Ramon Regional Medical Center. She can be reached at 925-677-5041 or at Advertorial

Mended Hearts

The John Muir Chapter of Mended Hearts will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, October 13 at 7PM in the Hanson Room at John Muir Medical Center-Walnut Creek Campus which is located at 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. The speaker will be Rod Mclean, author of the book Stroke Survivors. Mended Hearts is a national organization providing support for cardiac patients, their families, and caregivers. For further information about Mended Hearts, contact Nancy Mitchell at (925) 943-7549.

Diablo Singles Dance Club

Diablo Singles Dance Club holds a public dance the last Wednesday of each month from 7:30pm-10:30pm at the Shadelands Art Center located at 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek. There is live music, refreshments, and free parking. The cost is $7 for members and $9 for non-members. For information please call 925-837-2851.

Page 26 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

Your Personal Nutritionist By Linda Michaelis, RD. MS. Simply Lowering Cholesterol

Nordic Naturals, Carlson, or Lovaza, available by prescription. I encouraged Tom to eat at least two oily fish meals a week such as salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, and tuna where then he would not have to use supplements. Since fish is not his favorite food, we decided he needed to take the fish oils. Plant Sterols and Stanols. I introduced Tom to products that are fortified with plant sterols and stanols. They are components of plant membranes. Recent studies have shown that consuming two grams per day can block the absorption of cholesterol from your diet and can lower your LDL’s by 10%. The best results come from consuming them twice a day at different times with other foods. Benecol and Take Control margarine spreads are very popular for this reason. After reviewing Tom’s food diaries and talking on the phone a few times a week for two months Tom’s total cholesterol went down from 270 to 225. I know with consistent exercise and losing more weight Tom will be in the normal range. Another piece of good news is that his health insurance covered my sessions where all he had to pay was a weekly copay. To discuss your nutrition needs call me at 925-855-0150 or email info@ Visit my website at Advertorial

I am glad to tell you about my client Tom that was referred to me by his doctor to provide nutritional counseling for high cholesterol and weight loss. Tom’s doctor wanted to give him the chance to lower his cholesterol by diet alone before going on medication. Tom was very motivated since he was already on medication for hypertension and did not want to add another pill to his life. During my years of practice and research I have devised simple, effective ways to lower cholesterol levels while eliminating much confusion. Our liver produces cholesterol in addition to the cholesterol that we take in our diet. The amount of cholesterol made in the liver is dependent upon what we eat. Saturated fat is the main culprit in producing high levels of LDL cholesterol which can cause heart attacks and strokes. The goal with my clients is to cut back on saturated fat intake without giving up great meals. I made it easy for Tom by saying he could have one meal a day which included his favorites: red meat, cheese, dark meat chicken, salami, pepperoni, and prosciutto. For the opposite meals that day I told him to turn to turkey, fish, egg whites, and non-fat dairy prodThe New York Life family is here to help you achieve your financial ucts which have very little saturated fat, or something goals through the products we offer. Whether you’re purchasing a vegetarian such as a meatless chili or a pasta primavera first home, starting a family or business, accumulating funds for your dish. Tom needed to plan his meals with more veggies, children’s education, or saving for retirement, we will work with you fruits, legumes, and whole grains. to develop a financial strategy that’s right for you. A typical daily meal plan for Tom includes oatmeal with a yummy topping or an egg white omelet filled with Call our office today. (925) 552-7152 veggies for breakfast. For snacks he enjoys fat-free cottage cheese and veggies, flavored non-fat Greek yogurt, nuts and fruit. For lunch he can still enjoy his hamburger, Buck Horn Grill Steak, or chicken sandwich with a salad. Then for dinner he can have a baked potato topped with nonfat sour cream and veggies, chicken, fish, pasta, sautéed greens, and a fudgesicle for dessert. Fiber. The addition of soluble fiber to Tom’s diet is important because it dissolves in water and when absorbed lowers cholesterol. Oats from his oatmeal contain beta-glucan which is a soluble fiber that soaks up excess LDL cholesterol and removes it from the body. Apples contain pectin which is also a soluble fiber and great for lowering cholesterol. A cup of beans is another good soluble fiber so Tom eats lots of burGroup Photo Here ritos and tacos with whole beans. Since we need 30 grams of fiber per day, I suggested Tom add Metamucil to his diet since he travels and often is not consuming enough soluble fiber. Remember high fiber in general moves the food through your gut faster allowing fewer contaminants and carcinogens to be absorbed into the intestine. Flaxseed. We added flaxseed to Tom’s diet which is high in fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed has been proven to prevent platelets from getting sticky which reduces the risk of heart attack. Grinding your flaxseeds provides the full benefit and refrigerating extends the shelf life. Tom now keeps it in easy reach Pictured are agents of the Greater San Francisco General Office of New York Life Insurance Company in Alamo. and sprinkles it on a variety of foods throughout the From left to right: day. Fish Oils. Tom, like most people, heard about the John Erwin "EJ" M. Magbitang, LUTCF (CA Ins. Lic. #0D37634), Emma M. Magbitang (CA Ins. Lic. #0710892), Julius Elmer "Joel" M. Magbitang, LUTCF (CA Ins. Lic. #0D35676) benefits and confusion of fish oils. It is important to buy one that provides the right kinds of Omega-3 in the right 3000 Danville Blvd., Suite L amount. Look for the bioactive ingredients, EPA and Alamo, CA 94507 Tel. (925) 552-7152 / Fax (925) 552-7127 DHA which are Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. It is recommended to get at least 650 milligrams of these key Omega-3 fats. Since Omega-3’s are not very well © 2011 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010. SMRU00454979CV (Exp. 08/25/13) regulated I told Tom it would be best to purchase ones that have the highest grade of potency and purity like

From Our Family to Yours

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8/30/11 3:56 PM

The 21 Century Woman – Part III st

Thyroid and Female Hormones, Friends or Foes? By Dr. Michael Ruscio

Female hormones and thyroid hormones are like a nineyear-old brother and sister. Put them in the wrong environment, and they will drive you crazy. Give them what they need and they will make you smile. Female hormones and thyroid hormones can work together, leaving you feeling great, or fight one another leaving you feeling stressed, frustrated, and in need of a vacation. Understanding their relationship can help the 21st century women resolve a chronic complaint. Navigating the relationship between female hormones and thyroid hormones can be tricky. The symptoms of low thyroid function include fatigue, weight gain, being cold, depression, slow thinking, constipation, thinning hair, dry skin, high cholesterol levels, and low libido which have a strong overlap with those of female hormone imbalance. To complicate things further, female hormones can cause thyroid imbalances, and thyroid can cause female hormone imbalance. So where do we begin? Let’s start with how estrogen can affect the thyroid. When estrogen levels become too high, they actually block thyroid hormones. Many women suffering with this will express symptoms of high estrogen along with symptoms of low thyroid. These women may not respond well to thyroid replacement therapy. This is because estrogen is working against thyroid hormones. It’s like giving love to one of our two fighting nine-year-olds without doing anything to make the other one happy. One child might be happy, but the family “system” will not be harmonious. Why am I high in estrogen? The answer might surprise you. Possibly the greatest reason for high estrogen, which suppresses thyroid, comes from environmental toxins. It is well documented that certain common environmental toxins function as estrogens. You might be saying, “Well if this was the case, how come my doctor has not mentioned this to me?” My answer is I don’t know. What I do know is what current science is saying. But don’t take my word for it, as in my last article I will show you the science. Simply type any of the following study ID numbers into www., and you will see the exact scientific study I am referencing. Study, 20030460, showed that common environmental toxins interfere with thyroid hormone in a variety of ways. Another study, 19478717, showed that environmental toxins function as estrogens in the body and can even derange puberty in young boys and girls. What can you do? The most basic action is to eat organic food, drink filtered water, and use natural/biodegradable household cleaners and cosmetics (soaps, shampoos, skin creams, etc.). Performing a periodic cleanse program can also be very helpful. Why does a women’s body temperature fluctuate with her cycle? This is because progesterone has a thyroid enhancing effect. After a woman ovulates, she produces much more progesterone. Fertility clinics track a women’s body







TREMENDOUS TUTOR – California credentialed teacher. Over 12 years teaching experience and 8 years tutoring experience. All subjects for students K-12. Your home or mine. Bilingual in Spanish. Stanford University Graduate in Child Psychology. References available upon request. Please contact Lynn Begert at 925-837-5779, 925-323-3370, or

Alamo Today ~ October 2011 - Page 27 temperature to determine when she will have the best chance of getting pregnant (see body temperature chart). If a woman has low progesterone, which I often find in women, she will not get this thyroid enhancing benefit. Women with low progesterone can benefit greatly from dietary and lifestyle modifications. This is because dietary stress and lifestyle stress will deplete progesterone. Women can also benefit greatly from herbal medicines to help balance progesterone as I discussed in my last article. Are you starting to see how female hormones and thyroid are related? Well, it’s not only female hormones that impact the thyroid. The thyroid can affect female hormones too. If a woman is low thyroid (hypothyroid), it can interfere with her ability to make estrogen and progesterone. This holds true whether she is still cycling or menopausal. In this case it’s necessary to correct the thyroid hormone imbalance in order to balance female hormones. I will dedicate an entire article to thyroid problems in the future. I hope this helps! For more info, visit Dr. Ruscio’s YouTube page, michaelruscio, view his recent newsletter visit, or email Dr. Michael Ruscio is the director of Functional Medicine at Johnson Chiropractic Group, 115 Town & Country Dr., Suite E in Danville, 925.743.8210. Advertorial

Walking the Tightrope of Elder Care

Eldercare Services and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Hill are sponsoring a day of workshops to empower and prepare family caregivers so that they can provide care and also find balance on the “tightrope” of elder care. Many community providers of service to elders and their families will have displays, and much of the support and information that family caregivers need will be found at this event. Keynote speakers include Neurologist Dr. Michael Nelson speaking on Alzheimer’s Care, Elder Law Attorney, Michael Hanson, talking about planning for the cost of long term care, Cazeaux Nordstrom, MFT, talking about how to keep a balance while care partnering, and Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC speaking on the Power of Love/Care and Forgiveness. In addition the day will be filled with breakout sessions on: Challenging Behaviors, Moving or Staying at Home, Hospice Services, Turning Resistance into Cooperation, and New Technologies in Care. Lunch and refreshments will provided, and a raffle will be held. All proceeds will benefit The Alzheimer’s Association and the local Meals on Wheels program. “Education is empowering, life giving, and life renewing. Caregiving can be a time of great love and connection and doesn’t need to be a time of 24/7 stress,” adds FodriniJohnson. The Family Circus: Walking the Tightrope of Elder Care will be held on Saturday, October 15th from 8:30AM to 3PM. The program will be held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church located at 1601 Mary Drive in Pleasant Hill. For information or reservations call (925) 937-2018 or email







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Alamo Today Classifieds

Reach over 6,300 homes and businesses in Alamo - Help Wanted, For Sale, Services, Lessons, Pets, Rentals, Wanted, Freebies... $35 for up to 45 words. $5 for each additional 15 words. Run the same classified ad in our sister papers “Lafayette Today” or “Danville Today News” at half off! Send or email submissions to: 3000F Danville Blvd #117, Alamo 94507 or Payment by check made out to “The Editors” must be received before ad will print. Your cancelled check is your receipt. We reserve the right to reject any ad. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name_________________________________________ Address__________________________________________ # of Words_______________ Phone________________________________________ Email ____________________________________________________________________

Page 28 - October 2011 ~ Alamo Today

The Combs Team

Professionals You Can Count On



Call the Combs Team


92 5 -9 8 9 -6 0 8 6

Alamo Real Estate: Rents are up! Rental Transactions are Down!

Last week I became aware that a serious real estate investor had begun selling off a number of rental properties in Alamo and Danville and it caught my attention. I wondered, why? By all news media accounts, rental rates are on the upswing and more people are choosing to rent than to buy. I was naturally curious and ran the rental history numbers for our market to see if I might find something relevant and useful to my readers who are probably hearing and seeing the same news media accounts as I am. This analysis looked at homes with at least 4 bedrooms and 2-3 baths. The data for all years listed runs from January 1-September 26, so it is an apples to apples comparison for all years. The data presented here are published on MLS and do not include every property rented during the time periods. A fair number of rentals are handled directly by the homeowner off MLS. Unfortunately, when we look at off MLS rentals we can only see the advertised price, not the rent actually agreed to, so current rents as advertised off MLS, while they may appear to be higher than reported here, most likely overstate the actual rent collected by the landlord. Rents have risen stratospherically in Alamo, from 2000-2010 approximately 44%, from an average of $2,712 per month to $3,924. That’s significant positive change and represents an annualized increase of 4% per year. Not too shabby when you consider the growth of most other investments over the same time period. When adjusted for average home size between the two periods the actual growth comes down to a more Alamo Family Home Rental earthly 23% as measured by dollars per square foot, moving from $1.13-$1.39 from 2000 to 2011. That doesn’t really seem to be that much when all things are considered such as increasing insurance and maintenance costs. At a 2% annual increase, rents appear to be just keeping pace with the every day cost of things. Average Sales Price

$6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000

Avg. Price

$2,000 $1,000 $-










10 11 12

Years 2000-2010

Most notable in the data presented here are the unit increases experienced and maintained from 2007-2010. These time periods reflect anywhere from 2-4 times the number of rental transactions than in the preceding time frames. I think we would expect that given the market conditions for home sales. Unable to sell their homes, a larger number of sellers opted to give renting a try and in the process became “unintentional landlords” while praying for a quick snap back in price. That was certainly a scary place to be considering that property values declined a full 25% from 2007-2010. I suspect that renting their properties was more than likely a bad bargain for the majority and they could have done better by selling early. Also, very interesting is that 4 bed 2-3 bath rental homes sales Alamo Jan.1- Sept. 26 Units $ Sq. Foot Avg. Price Size Sq. Ft. the number of rental transac- Year 2000 5 $ 1.13 $ 2,712 2400 tions has dropped back into the 2001 3 $ 1.36 $ 3,550 2610 2002 4 $ 1.22 $ 3,575 2930 pre-2006 range with only six 2003 3 $ 1.35 $ 4,066 3012 rental transactions reported on 2004 6 $ 1.47 $ 4,833 3288 MLS during 2011. The change 2005 7 $ 1.32 $ 4,100 3106 2006 7 $ 1.42 $ 4,285 3018 is fascinating and suggests that 2007 13 $ 1.48 $ 4,253 2874 fewer sellers are willing to try 2008 11 $ 1.45 $ 4,190 2890 renting their properties this year 2009 14 $ 1.34 $ 4,418 3297 2010 11 $ 1.28 $ 4,099 3202 than in the previous four years. 2011 6 $ 1.39 $ 3,924 2823 What this means is not clear. For the moment, property value declines seem less steep today than they were then. Falling interest rates and refinance alternatives may have helped. Whatever the reason, the numbers speak for themselves…significantly fewer rental transactions in 2011 when compared to the last four years. If you are thinking about selling your home and would like an honest opinion of its market value, please give me a call 925-989-6086, or send me an email Nancy and I will be happy to help.

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Data presented in this column is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Contra Costa and Alameda MLS service and other quoted sources. Joe and Nancy Combs, J. Rockcliff and the MLS service do not guarantee the accuracy of this information. DRE #0144125.

J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Alamo Today, October 2011  

Alamo Today, October 2011. The town of Alamo, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.

Alamo Today, October 2011  

Alamo Today, October 2011. The town of Alamo, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.