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0DUFK6HUYLQJ$ODPRDQG'LDEOR The Alamo Post Office By Stanley M. Piller The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news spread all over the world, and by 1849 people started flocking to San Francisco and the Northern California Gold Fields. The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. On November 1, 1848, the Postmaster General of the United States appointed William Van Voorhees a Special Agent, with instructions to proceed to San Francisco and to appoint postmasters in San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey en route. On arriving in Panama,

The original three members are clockwise top left, Don Martin, Don Unini, Russell Honsowetz, Jr. (in pink with Katy) and one of the newcomers (only a member for about 16 years) Ernie Alamillo. The other church members were not present.

The Church of Monday Night Football By Fran Miller Most every small town can point to at least one location that can be considered the heart of the community. For Danville and Alamo, that location might be the 20-foot-wide Iron Horse Trail which meanders through residential and business areas, schools, parks and open spaces, offering recreational and social An example of the return to a hand stamp. Here is a 2¢ 1887 stamp cancelled with a purple 3 ring activities for bikers, rollerbladers, runners, and walkers alike. target and a matching Alamo February 25, 1888 CALA. Postmark on a cover to Oakland. The Trail is a meeting place, a destination, and a respite from fast-paced Voorhees boarded the S. S. California which was sailing to San Francisco. lives. It is also a hub for memories – as evidenced by the commemoraBecause of a shortage in coal onboard, only one stop was made. On February tive benches that line the trail corridor. Each bench, while duly providSee Bench continued on page 27 23, 1849, in Monterey, Voorhees delivered mail to Capt. William G. Marcy and appointed him as Postmaster at Monterey. His appointment had been Be Aware, Keep Your Valuables Hidden approved in Washington on November 21, 1848. Thus, the first Post Office was opened by the United States in California at Monterey. It should be noted By Sharon Burke An Alamo couple had an unpleasant surprise when they returned to at that time, California was not a possession, territory, or state of the US. It their car after dinner at an Alamo Plaza restaurant on a recent February was an independent entity with a military form of government from June 4, weekday evening. Broken glass surrounding their car was the first sign 1848 until December 20, 1849. It had a local civil government from then until that something was wrong, and they discovered that a rear passenger September 20, 1850 when it became a state. window had been smashed, and the husband's briefcase was missing See Post Office continued on page 14 with a valuable hard drive inside. The Westside residents asked me not to publish their names, but they Clean Water Ballots – What’s This All About? were willing to share their story as they feel it is valuable for Alamo By Sharon Burke residents to know that crime occurs everywhere. Ballots went out in late February to Alamo property owners asking for their The wife told me, “We feel it was vote on the Contra Costa Community Clean Water Initiative. The election is stupid of us to leave a briefcase in required by Prop. 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, passed by California votfull view in the car, but we tend to ers in 1996. The countywide initiative was ordered for election by the County Volume XII - Number 3 feel safe in Alamo Plaza. We were 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, Board of Supervisors on February 7 on a 3-1 vote. A majority vote of property parked in a well lit area immediately Alamo, CA 94507 owners in the County is necessary to pass the fee. Critics have questioned the adjacent to the restaurant with the Telephone (925) 405-NEWS, 405-6397 See Vote continued on page 28 Sheriff's substation nearby. I want Fax (925) 406-0547 Alamo folks to know that we all need Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher PRSRT STD to be more aware and watching out U.S. Postage Sharon Burke ~ Writer for each other.” PAID Local Permit 263 The husband noted that he got a Postal Customer The opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do Alamo CA call a few hours later from an alert not necessarily reflect that of Alamo Today. Alamo Today is not responsible for the content of any of the advertising ECRWSS herein, nor does publication imply endorsement.

See Aware continued on page 22

Page 2 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Pillar Wealth Management might be right for you IF, Hutch Ashoo, CEOo

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Chris Snyder, Principal, SR. VP

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Boulevard View By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor The other day I got a call from a 21 year old friend of the family. She was filling out a job application which asked how many words per minute she typed and how fast she wrote in shorthand. Shorthand?! Heavens! (Someone needs to update their job applications they hand out!) Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s, I knew what shorthand was, but I have never seen anyone actually use it. I think she assumed shorthand was something akin to abbreviations and texting slang, like LOL or OMG. I asked others in the 20-30 age crowd if they knew what shorthand was, and they were clueless. For those of you in the younger crowd, Wikipedia defines shorthand as “an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed or brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language.” It goes on to say, “A typical shorthand system provides symbols or abbreviations for words and common phrases, which can allow someone well trained in the system to write as quickly as people speak.”

The above reads: “One thing at a time and that done well is a very good rule as many can tell.”

I started thinking how much communication has changed in a small period of time. While reading Steve Jobs autobiography, I keep reflecting how the whole personal computer industry is less than 35 years old. The World Wide Web was implemented in 1991, and the iPhone, which millions now have at hand 24/7, wasn’t even introduced until five years ago. Recently an email popped up in my Inbox from a favorite artist/craft selling website, Blending the old with the new, the item for sale was an old Underwood typewriter. It was the same kind I used to type reports on for

school, using “onion skin paper,” carbon-paper for copies, bottles of white-out and those round typewriter erasers with brush attached, always at the ready. The artist took the typewriter and made it into an iPad stand. He added some electronics to make the typewriter keys fully USB functional for a PC, a Mac, or the iPad. The carriage return (for those of you who know what that is) is what acts as the Enter key to bring you to the next line. It still looks, feels, and works like a regular typewriter, but also as a keyboard. To see it in action, visit www.usbtypewriter. com. For those of you who are handy with a soldering iron and who have an old typewriter in your closet, they have a “do it yourself” conversion kit that works with most old manual typewriters for $79.20 shipped. It’s tempting! Seeing the guy typing on that demonstration video reminded me how much longer each keystroke took and how much more pressure on the keys was involved. Remember what it was like? *Press* the key… and the metal arm raises and strikes the ribbon, and then through to the paper, then the arm descends…one character done…repeat.... And you better press hard, or you get a light-strike and maybe a blank spot in your word! Back then, a spilled drink or a hungry dog truly were a threat to that book report or term paper you’d been working on. Remember the professor who wouldn’t accept a paper with a single correction on it? We’re so spoiled now, because when I hit the wrong key and make a typing error, I can easily hit the backspace key and recreate the word correctly. And we shouldn’t forget inline typing correction, or the handy spell-checker and thesaurus built into all of our word processors now. It hasn’t been that long, and we have become completely comfortable with these amazing improvements in conveying the written word. Communications have certainly evolved, and never has it been more so than in the last few years. The instant access we have to each other with phones, email, and text messages has drastically sped up our lives, which really helps us in some situations, but also robs us of the simplicity and leisure we once enjoyed. While some technologies are better in the past, combining the past with the future can bring the best of both worlds together and act as a pleasant reminder of a more uncomplicated time. Importantly, we shouldn’t ever forget where the On/Off switch is, because sometimes it’s great to just un-plug!

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 3

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Page 4 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today th

12 Annual Bookies Award Dinner The 12th Annual Bookies Award Dinner, a Celebration of Books and the People Who Love Them, sponsored by Project Second Chance, Inc. and Real Books, will be held on Thursday, March 29 at 6PM at the Lafayette Park Hotel. Laurie R. King, author of highly praised mystery series and suspense novels and winner of the Edgar, the Nero, the Macavity, and the John Creasey Awards, will be the guest speaker. The evening will include dinner, wine, and a silent auction. Tickets are $60 each. All proceeds benefit Project Second Chance, the Contra Costa County Library’s adult literacy program. To purchase tickets, call Fremont Bank at (510) 723-5811. You may also visit the Project Second Chance website at for more information.

Fun Horse Show and BBQ for Kids By Aline Spyrka, 4-H youth member You are invited to attend a fun Horse Show/ BBQ fundraiser. The goal of the event is to have many people attend and learn about horses, our local 4-H club, and the community. The date is set for Saturday, March 10th at 9AM. The event will be held at Summit Ranch Equestrian Center located at 100 Summit Ranch Road in Alamo. The show includes 4-H Cloverleaf Barrels, Bareback Dollar, Tutu Race, and many other events to benefit 4-H. This show is an opportunity to let kids who don’t have horses come and learn about horses and join in the fun. Special classes are planned for kids who don’t have a horse or who want to be a part of the show and win a prize. Our Horse Project is what we have chosen to do to work towards our Emerald Star designation through our 4-H group. The Emerald Star program is “designed to help youth learn about project planning, organization, and presentation.” Kelly Vanderwerf, Bailey Newlin, and I have all been in 4-H for four years and are very involved in the Tassajara club. All of us have many horses and love to do anything around a horse. That’s why we decided to do something involving 4-H, horses, and food to meet the project requirements. For more information, email

San Ramon Valley Horsemen’s Association

Do You Know the Arithmetic of Real Estate Sales? An old quote says real estate and arithmetic are acquired together. The two also go together when figuring the tax consequences of selling property. Here are numbers to know. Amount realized. How much did you get for the property? You may think first of the selling price, but noncash receipts also affect the amount realized. For example, if the buyer assumes an existing mortgage, the amount you no longer have to pay on the loan increases the amount realized. Adjusted basis. To calculate adjusted basis, start with what you paid for the property, add the cost of capital improvements, and subtract amounts you recovered through tax benefits during your ownership, such as depreciation or certain energy credits. Gain or loss realized. Subtracting adjusted basis from the amount realized gives you the gain or loss on the sale. In general, the gain or loss realized is the same as the amount recognized on your tax return, though there are exceptions. One you're probably familiar with applies when you sell your principal residence. Sell at a loss, and it's considered personal and nondeductible. If you have a gain on a home sale and meet certain requirements, you can exclude the gain from income. Did you sell property in 2011? Give us a call. We're happy to help with the math.

Feeney McClaskey and Associates, Inc Certified Public Accountants 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 150 • Alamo, CA 94507 (925) 314-1891 • Fax (925) 309-2462 • Email:

The San Ramon Valley Horsemen’s Association invites you to join us Friday, March 16th at 6PM for a catered dinner and social. The evening will feature nonprofit organizations in the horse community. Horse rescue, trail safety patrols, trail maintenance, and riding therapy programs will be represented. Learn what our local non-profits are doing and how you can help if you so desire. The event will be held at the Alamo Women’s Club which is located at1401 Danville Blvd in Alamo. Cost is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Soda, iced tea, coffee, and water will be provided. BYOB. RSVP by Wednesday, March 14th to Linda Post at (925) 479-9788 or

Xenophon Gala Fundraiser Please join Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center for its annual gala fundraiser, “An Enchanted Emerald Eve.” This year, the event will be held at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo on Saturday, March 17th at 6pm. The evening includes a sit down dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions. Tickets are $100 each, and reservations are required. Please visit for more details and to purchase tickets or call 925.377.0871. Funds raised at this event will be used to support the overall cost of providing riding lessons to children with special needs. Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center is a nonprofit organization located in a beautiful rural setting in Orinda. The center offers life-changing experiences for children with a wide range of disabilities, and it provides therapeutic horseback riding in a safe and secure environment. The children achieve goals that they never before dreamed possible. By focusing on enhancing their unique abilities, and with a horse as their guide, there is no limit to what these children can achieve.

Alamo-Danville Newcomer’s Club Please join the Alamo-Danville Newcomer’s Club on Tuesday, March 13th for our monthly luncheon. This will be our ‘sweetest’ luncheon ever as we are lucky to have an employee from Danville Chocolates speaking to us about everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate...Who can resist? Reservations are required. Please contact Marty at (925) 838-8113.

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 5

What is Your Antique Worth?

Most everyone has a few treasures on a shelf or in the attic, but who has wondered what value they might actually have? In an event very much like the popular television program Antiques Roadshow, The Gardens at Heather Farm will help locals discover the monetary value of their jewelry, antiques, and other collectibles. The annual Antique and Collectibles Appraisal Event is open to everyone from amateurs to serious collectors. The event will be held Sunday, March 11th from Noon to 5pm at The Gardens at Heather Farm located at 1540 Marchbanks Drive (off Ygnacio Valley Road) in Walnut Creek. The cost for entry and appraisal of the first three items is $15. There’s a $5 charge for each additional item. All proceeds benefit The Gardens at Heather Farm, its educational programs and demonstration gardens. For more information, call The Gardens at Heather Farm, (925) 947-1678 or visit

Museum of the San Ramon Valley Special Presentations at the Museum: • Saturday, March 24th, 10am, Jungle James from Animal Adventures will share his large butterfly collection from all over the world. He will show how to mount and explain how to preserve the butterflies while telling entertaining stories about his adventures. Bring your child or grandchild and yourself for a morning of lepidoptery. • Saturday, April 7th, 10am, Gemstone carving and polishing will be featured along with a display of beautiful gems and handmade jewelry. Dick Friesen will share his knowledge of gem collecting along with the tools and equipment that he uses in his hobby. Join us for what will surely be a polished and brilliant talk. Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday 1pm to 4pm, Saturday 10am to pm 1 . The museum is free to members, and there is a modest fee for nonmembers. Donations are always welcome. For more information, visit or call 925-837-3750. The museum is located at the corner of Railroad and Prospect Avenues in downtown Danville.

From the authors of

The Westside Report Thinking about Spring Cleaning? Organizing Your Garage?

Save the Date!

First Annual Westside Alamo Yard Sale Saturday, May 5th 8am-12pm Email to say “I’m In!” What We Do:

What You Do:

• Advertise for You • Place Directional Signs • Arrange for Charity Pickup • Give Maps to Shoppers indicating Your Participation

• Let us Know “You’re In!” • Organize and Price Items • Open Your Doors • Sell-Sell-Sell!

Sponsored By Your Alamo Real Estate Team: Andrea Scott Alain Pinel Realtors 925.788.9374 DRE#01400374

Jason Brown Stonecastle Financial 925.785.4200 DRE#01327738 NMLS#280803

Building an Iconic Bridge Presentation - March 27 Rebuilding the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge loomed large in everyone’s mind after one of the upper spans of the eastern bridge pancaked downward during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Political squabbles delayed the selection of a final design and start of construction until 2002. The fascinating final design will create an iconic new Bay Area landmark to rival the Golden Gate Bridge upon its completion, hopefully by Labor Day, 2013. Since the bridge opened on November 12, 1936 it has become a critical link between San Francisco and the East Bay. Today 280,000 vehicles a day cross the bridge. The new eastern span with its 1.2 mile side-by-side deck skyway joins the new one mile single Self-Anchored Suspension span (SAS) and will connect to the existing Yerba Buena Island Tunnel. The SAS is the largest single tower single cable bridge in the world. A special presentation, Building an Iconic Bridge, will be given by Sarah Len representative for the Bay Bridge public information office. The presentation is scheduled at the Village Theater, 233 Front Street in Danville on Tuesday, March 27th at 2pm. The Museum of the San Ramon Valley, the San Ramon Historic Foundation, and the San Ramon Valley Historical Society are event sponsors. Tickets at the door are $10 for sponsor members and $15 for guests. For more information, call 925-837-3750 or visit

Explore Sicily with Russ Belleci presents...

September 2-13, 2012

Make Your Reservations Now!

Hidden Treasures of Sicily Featuring Palermo, Siracusa, and Taormina

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society 12 Days • 18 Meals • Lodging • Airfare Optional

*Space available, contact Dolores*

Dolores Urani, CTC, MCC owner | CST #2018322-40

3200A Danville Blvd., Suite 102 | Alamo (925) 838-5422 | (925) 348-1067 cell

The San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society meets at 10AM the third Tuesday of every month, except August and December, at the Danville Family History Center, 2949 Stone Valley Road, Alamo. There will be a speaker at every meeting. Everyone is welcome. For information, call Ed at (925) 299-0881, visit www., or email

Page 6 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

County Plan Still Includes Widening Danville Blvd! Does Alamo really want this scene replaced with more lanes of freeway traffic?

• Tell the county no! • Start the process now to remove project #5 from the Alamo Area of Benefit (AOB) project list of the County’s updated roads plan*. Project #5 is the widening of the Danville Blvd/Stone Valley Rd intersection that the County promised to take out of its roads plan in 2008!

Please Contact Alamo’s Supervisor Gayle Uilkema at 925-335-1046 or, and Clerk of the Board Tiffany Leannear at 925-335-1900 or *CRIPP, or Capital Roads Improvement & Preservation Program. For more info visit . Go to Appendix D for Alamo Area of Benefit. Advertisement

Alamo Women’s Club Where Women Come Together to Work Toward a Better Community for All Please join us at our upcoming events!

MARCH 7- Mah Jongg - 10:30-12:30pm 13- Cards Club - 9-Noon 14- Business Meeting - 11:30am Executive Board Elections 20- Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 21- Mah Jongg - 10:30-12:30pm 21- Book Club I - 1pm 21- Book Club II - 2pm 27-Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 28-Program Meeting-11:30am -TBA

APRIL 1- Annual dues and participation sheets due 3- Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 4- Mah Jongg - 10:30-12:30pm 9-Executive Board Meeting -4pm 10- Cards Club - 9-Noon 10- Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 11-Business Meeting-11:30am, Old/New Philanthropy vote, Member of the Year nomination taken 17- Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 18- Mah Jongg - 10:30-12:30pm 18- Book Club I - 1pm 18- Book Club II - 2pm 24- Let’s Walk! - 4-5pm, meet @ Clubhouse (rain cancels) 25-Program Meeting-11:30am, STAND! “Spa Day” Want to become a member? Be our guest at one of our events 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 located at 1401 Danville Blvd in Alamo. Please respond to Nancy Dommes, Membership Chair, by calling 831-0111 or emailing, and bring a friend, too! For questions, please contact President, Nancy Combs at

NEED A PLACE TO SELL YOUR $$$$ TREASURES? $$$$ Need to clean out your garage? Do you have crafts and jewelry to sell? WE HAVE THE SOLUTION! Bring your items to the SEMI-ANNUAL Alamo Women’s Club COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE & CRAFT BOUTIQUE WHERE: Alamo Women’s Club, 1401 Danville Blvd. DATE: Saturday, June 9th ~ 9am – 3pm Parking Lot spaces - $50* Inside Clubhouse space - $60*

YOUR EARNINGS ARE YOURS! RESERVATION CUT OFF: May 31, 2012 Limited spaces available – don’t delay *Rental donations benefit our many deserving charities Call Anita, 837-1242



WE’LL BE THERE RAIN OR SHINE! The Women’s Club annual Crab Feed and raffle was a great success! Lauren Hash (standing) and volunteers from Youth Homes (one of the philanthropies the Women’s Club supports) enjoyed a fabulous evening.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 75 of 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. Doors open at 7PM and the meeting begins at 7:30PM. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Thursday, March 8th. For more information, contact Post Commander Nathan Greene at (925) 875-1747 or visit

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 7

Two Great Properties 133 Canada Via • Diablo • Stunning Custom Estate on Diablo CC's 4th fairway. • Nearly 6000sf with 4 bedrooms/5 baths. • Elegant kitchen with large island and nook. • Great Room with adjacent bar and workout room. • Detached Casita with built in BBQ, fireplace, TV, heaters, and pool/spa. • Beautiful amenities throughout. $2,795,000

Delta Nu Psi Thank you Alamo and Danville shoppers. Because of your excellent support, we will not be collecting for our service people in March. We will still be sending our 30 pound boxes of “Gourmet Junk Food,” but we only need a few items to fill the boxes. Girl Scout Cookies are favorites with our men and women serving in Afghanistan. Please go to our website at or email to donate all flavors of the cookies, especially Thin Mints. With your generosity we have sent 22,599 pounds of “Gourmet Junk Food” to our service men and women!

Free Tax Preparation Free Tax Preparation will be offered by Tax-Aide’s AARP sponsored program and Earn It, Keep It Save It’s (EKS) United Way sponsored program. The fast, free, confidential tax service, provided by IRS certified tax preparers, is available now. For information or to make an appointment for the Tax-Aide sites serving the Danville/San Ramon area, please call Danville-Community Presbyterian Church (925) 480-7202 or San Ramon Senior Center (925) 973-3250. For general information and other site locations, call (925) 726-3199. If you need additional information concerning the EKS program, call 211 or visit

Blackhawk Republican Women Present Mike Winther, President of the Institute for Principle Studies will be speaking on “The Constitution under Siege” on Thursday, March 15th at the Blackhawk Country Club, located at 599 Blackhawk Club Dr. in Danville. A social will be held and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 5:30PM followed by the speaker at 6:15PM. The cost is $25. Mike will explain the fundamental principles of constitutional government from a strict constructionist perspective. He will explains the concepts of enumerated powers and separation of powers and present the Biblical basis for these principles. Participants will learn how our thinking about creation often determines whether we interpret the Constitution based on original intent or as a “living, breathing document.” Mike will also explain the frequently misunderstood constitutional “loopholes,” such as, the “general welfare clause” and the “necessary and proper clause.” Come hear the founder of the Institute for Principle Studies, a Christian think-tank dedicated to researching and teaching foundational principles of government, economics and history, and learn how to defend our Constitution which is under siege! Please make reservations or cancellations by noon on Tuesday, March 13th by contacting Mrs. Lyons at 856 Turrini Dr., Danville, 94526, rlyons1009@sbcglobal. net, or (925) 820-6452.

San Ramon Valley Republican Women The San Ramon Valley Republican Women invite you to hear the Republican candidates who are running for office at our March meeting. Among those who will be speaking are Candace Anderson running for Supervisor and David Haubert running for State Assembly. There will also be a discussion on the new Primary System. Please come and be informed! The meeting will be held at Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive in Danville on Tuesday, March 27th. Social gathering begins at 11:30AM followed by lunch at noon. Cost is $25 (payable at the door.) For reservations, call Mary at (925) 837-5465 or e-mail

San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club The San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club invites new and long-time residents to its monthly luncheon on March 15th at Faz Restaurant located at 600 Hartz Ave. in Danville. The speaker will be Harry Hubinger, an author of a monthly column “Stamps on my Passport.” The cost is $21. Call Grace at 828-8554 for reservations or information.

102 Stowbridge Ct • Danville • Beautifully Decorated with Brazilian Cherrywood Floors. • Granite kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances. • Private backyard with views of Mt. Diablo. • Located close to downtown Danville on cul-de-sac. • 4 bedrooms/2.5 baths. $929,000

Exclusive Listing …

John Fischer Broker Associate 925-855-4146 (Direct)


The Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley The Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley meets for lunch the second Wednesday of every month at Faz Restaurant in downtown Danville. The Club’s sign-in and social time begins at 11:30AM. The meeting starts promptly at noon and ends promptly at 1PM. Our one-hour program features guest speakers and a business networking speaker. Guests are welcome. Price is $16 for members and first time guests and $20 for returning guests. For more information, call Karen Stepper, President, at (925) 275-2312, email, or visit

Rowan Branch Seeking Members Rowan Branch auxiliary of Children's Hospital Oakland has been an AlamoDanville institution for more than 50 years. Meeting once a month in Alamo and Danville homes, this group of 50 or so women organizes two fundraisers each year to benefit the Hospital. In spring, Rowan Branch puts on the popular Spring Shopping Spree at Round Hill Country Club. Sold out every year, the Spree attracts over 250 attendees who shop at selected vendors, enjoy lunch, and listen to a speaker from the Hospital. In the fall, Rowan Branch presents the annual Gala des Enfants, a grand but not stuffy affair that features a live auction, fun games and raffles, and each year raises a significant amount of funding for the Hospital. This year's Gala is set for Saturday night, October 13th, at Diablo Country Club. Do you have some time on your hands to devote to a good cause and enjoy the company of fellow Alamo/Danville women with a philanthropic bent? Our meetings are held on the first Wednesday night of the month. We would love to meet you and welcome you to Rowan Branch! Please call membership chair Jill Pfeiffer at 837-2507 or email

The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde Friends of the Danville Library will present a program covering this exhibit at The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Included in the exhibit are superb Victorian artworks encompassing painting, fashionable trends in architecture, and interior decoration. Master painters and designers are represented. The program will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 1PM in the Danville Community Center located at 420 Front Street. Admission is free.

Page 8 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Fine Mexican Dining

743-8997 In Stone Valley Shopping Center

Enjoy Our Patio Dining Monday - Saturday: Lunch and Dinner Sunday: Dinner only We Offer a Full Bar and Lounge 3168 Danville Blvd, Alamo Margaritas are a House Specialty

Your Five Wishes The San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church presents a five part lecture series covering how you can take control over how you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill. Five Wishes is an advance directive giving your doctor and family direction on how you want to be treated if you become seriously ill and are unable to speak for yourself. Presenters will guide you through each of your Five Wishes. • Wish One: The person I want to make health care decisions for me when I can’t • Wish Two: The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want • Wish Three: How Comfortable I want to be • Wish Four: How I want people to treat me • Wish Five: What I want my loved ones to know Wish One and Two lectures will take place on March 18 from 1 - 3:30PM, and Wish Three, Four, and Five lectures will take place on March 25 from 1 - 3:30PM. The series will be held in the Wesley Center of the San Ramon United Methodist Church which is located at 902 Danville Blvd in Alamo. A $5 donation is requested to cover the cost of materials. Registration is required by calling (925) 837-5243.

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, call 925-837-2851.

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Kiwanis of SRV Calls for Grant Applications More Than $41,000 Available to Community Non-Profits The Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley through its affiliate, the San Ramon Valley Kiwanis Foundation, has issued a call for community nonprofit organizations throughout the area to apply for more than $41,000 in grants to be awarded during 2012. Ranging from $500 to $3,000, the Kiwanis grants are designed to support programs and projects that help both specific organizations and the broader community. According to grants chairman, John Lineweaver, the bulk of the grants will be awarded in May. Additional monies will be held in reserve to provide emergency grants, fund Kiwanis community service projects, and support of four local Kiwanis High School Key Clubs. The total of this direct youth support will exceed $15,000 making the total dollar amount of community service grants and funding by Kiwanis $56,000 for 2012. Lineweaver noted that Kiwanis generally recognizes grant applications from projects that serve residents of the San Ramon Valley, although nonprofit organizations need not be located in the Valley itself. Because Kiwanis makes a single grant to the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation for distribution to district schools, grants are NOT available for individual schools. Grant consideration is given to programs that focus on children, the infirm, or the elderly and provide solace, comfort, or consolation. Funds for the annual grants program are raised by the San Ramon Valley Kiwanis Foundation through several fundraising projects, including staging the annual Danville 4th of July Parade. Applications and further information, including eligibility criteria, can be obtained from the Kiwanis website at or by contacting John Lineweaver at 925-837-3665. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Founded in 1915 in Detroit and with headquarters now in Indianapolis, Kiwanis International is a thriving organization of service and community minded individuals who support children and young adults around the world. More than 600,000 Kiwanis family members in 96 countries make their mark by responding to the needs of their communities and pooling their resources to address worldwide issues. Through these efforts, Kiwanis International truly is “Serving the Children of the World.” Anyone interested in learning more about the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley is invited to visit The club holds weekly luncheon meetings at Noon on Thursdays at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo. Please join the club for lunch, and find out more about the organization.


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Sustainable Danville Area Tip of the Month Rub-a-dub-dub, Less Water in the Tub By Rachel Egan, Sustainable Danville Area Have you ever wondered where your water comes from? Of course you know that it comes through pipes and into your sink every time you turn on your faucet. But, did you know that every time you brush your teeth, take a shower, or run your dishwasher you are using a portion of the world’s minimal potable water? Potable water is that which is available for human and animal consumption. Although the earth is comprised of over 70% water, 97% of that is salt water, 2% is frozen in ice caps and glaciers, and only about 1% is suitable for human use. Some even argue that, at the rate at which we use fresh water, we will run out of the resource within the next 20 years. There are, however, steps you can take in order to reduce the amount of water you use in your daily life – and hopefully offset that 20-year prediction. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go as far as collecting rainwater off your roof. Instead there are smaller, more manageable steps you can take in order to conserve water and make sure you aren’t overusing this limited resource. Not to mention, using less water saves you money too! Here are some tips for water conservation in your home, especially through this dry winter, but also throughout the rest of the year: • Water your lawn weekly instead of daily, and do so in the early morning hours before dawn – this will allow the soil and plant roots adequate time to absorb the water without it being evaporated by the sun first. For more helpful instructions, check out this guide from East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) sites/default/files/pdfs/WateringGuide_0.pdf. • Reuse water from cooking to water plants inside and outside of the home (using water from cooking spaghetti or rinsing vegetables are wonderful places to start). • Wash your car in carwashes such as Sponges or at gas stations rather than in your driveway. Car wash stations recycle their water, ration water so you only use what is necessary, and even have special draining systems that prevent pollutants from soap and car grease from entering into the groundwater and fresh water supply. • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth twice a day for the recommended 2-3 minutes and leave the water running, you would be wasting up to 3,285 gallons per year. • Make sure all of the pipes and taps in your house are tightly sealed so as to prevent leaking and water loss. According to the National Environmental Services Center, one drop of water per second can add up to 2,700 gallons per year. (Hint: put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If you start getting color in the toilet bowl without flushing, there is a leak.) • Only do laundry if you have a full load. • Take shorter showers. On that note, you might also want to take a look at the gallons-per-minute (gpm) ranking on your showerhead. If it is more than 2.0 gpm, you will find new models provide wonderful pressure using less water. • Compost organic waste instead of using the garbage disposal – this will reduce your water usage and you can use the compost as fertilizer for growing your own veggies! • Don’t use water to wash porches or decks; instead, use a broom. The Environmental Protection Agency and EBMUD have many more water conservation resources on their websites. To learn more about how you and your family can conserve water, please visit www. and Want to know more about this precious resource? We do…so Sustainable Danville Area and San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club are bringing you two events in March to help us learn more about global and local water issues. Join us on Tuesday,

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 9 March 13 th at 7 pm at SRVHS’ Performing Arts Center 501 Danville Blvd. for a screening of the award-winning documentary Blue Gold that sheds light on the approaching crisis of dwindling water supplies. Suggested donation is $5. To compliment movie night, join us on March 21st at 6:15pm at San Ramon Valley High School in Room S3 in the Administrative Building (upstairs). Our speaker, Leslie Dumas, Hydrologist and Senior Project Manager with RMC Water and Environment will help us gain an understanding of our local water resources and future vulnerabilities. Visit for more information.

Page 10 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Rancho Romero Elementary School

Last Child in the Woods By Stan Hitomi, Principal

By Skye Larsh, Principal

In his book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv talks about the growing divide between children in America and the outdoors. He directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s “digital natives” – he calls it nature-deficit – to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Louv presents a growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. His message has spurred a growing “Leave No Child Inside” movement across the country, with 21 states adopting the initiative. We are pleased to say that Outdoor Education is still alive and well at Alamo School. Last week Alamo School 4th graders attended a three day program at Camp Arroyo in Livermore. The students spent a great deal of the time outdoors (rain or shine). The program included a rigorous three mile hike to Cresta Blanca (hilltops overlooking Lake Del Valle) that focused on geology, watersheds, and most importantly, personal accomplishment. The students were also exposed to organic gardening and eco-design, learning about natural resources and conservation. Earlier in February all of the 3rd grade classes at Alamo School attended an all-day outdoor education trip to Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals. They had perfect weather to hike the dunes and beaches to see the elephant seals, along with native plants and other animals. In May, the 5th graders at Alamo School will make their annual trek to Yosemite National Park to hike its many trails, visit Yosemite Falls, and study the ecology of the Yosemite Valley. For many of our 5th graders it is their first trip to Yosemite, but hopefully it’s not their last. All around the Alamo School campus every effort is being made to make the campus outdoor-friendly. As often as possible our students eat outdoors, under the cover of the newly replaced shade of the amphitheater (thanks to the generosity of the Alamo School Education Fund). At the Northern entrance to the campus, Kody Wedell (Alamo Alum) has created an outdoor seating area, complete with bench and native plant garden. On our lower playground area we are making available tools, including bug boxes, so that our developing entomologists have what they need to study the invertebrates that inhabit our grounds. In the near future we are hoping to develop a “teaching garden” along the back of the campus. The effort is being spearheaded by Sharon Dodson (school nurse), and Melanie Volk and Lisa Gartland-Dempster (parents). The group is in the process of writing grants and soliciting expertise to help develop a plan for the garden. In our rush to prepare our children for life in a digital world, I hope we don’t lose sight of the real world that surrounds them. Playing soccer or baseball outdoors is not enough. It is important for us to teach our children about natural resources and conservation, and to inspire them to talk about the importance of nature in their lives. It is important for our young people to aspire to become good stewards of the planet, and to create change in their community, school, and family to support a healthy planet.

March Calendar of Events March 8 March 9 March 12 – 16 March 21 March 30

Alamo Elementary School

Teacher Work Day – No School School Recess – No School Conferences – Minimum Days Alamo School Advanced Band, MVHS gym, 7PM Talent Show 6:30PM

Upcoming Meetings and Events AIA - Alamo Improvement Association - March 20th , 7pm - Creekside Community Church -1350 Danville Blvd. Alamo MAC (Municipal Advisory Committee) - First Tuesday of each month 6pm - Alamo Chamber of Commerce Office 120-B, Alamo Plaza P2B - Police Services Advisory Committee - First Monday of each month, 5pm Meets at Alamo Chamber of Commerce Office located at 120 -B, Alamo Plaza P5 - Round Hill Police Services Advisory Committee - Second Tuesday of each month, 7pm - Meets at Round Hill Country Club - Lower Level Meeting Room CERT classes - Community Emergency Response Team - Visit www.

It takes a village or, in the case of a school a professional learning community, to respond in a timely and appropriate way when students are not making progress. In particular, we need to pay close attention to students’ ability to read, as reading remains the language of learning. In fact, did you know: • Dyslexia affects one out of every five children - ten million in the U.S. alone? • U.S. adults ranked 12th among the top 20 high-income countries in composite literacy (reading documents, prose and quantitative reports)? • The educational careers of 25 to 40 percent of American children are imperiled because they don’t read well enough, quickly enough, or easily enough? • To participate fully in society and the workplace in 2020, citizens will need powerful literacy abilities that until now have been achieved by only a small percentage of the population. The most important goal of reading instruction in elementary school is to help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to read grade-level text fluently and with good comprehension. Rancho Romero’s Reading Intervention Program, and now part of Response to Intervention, was established to provide both small group, targeted instruction to struggling readers and to come along side all teachers in a collaborative model, similar to that of a coach. Services are designed to offer early intervention to students in addition to, not as a substitute for the instruction they receive in the classroom. Highly qualified staff are essential to the success of the program. At Rancho Romero we are incredibly fortunate to have a part-time reading specialist, Sandy Conti, and two highly trained instructional aides. The reading specialist is our resident expert in the teaching of reading. She meets with the principal on a regular basis to discuss individual students, and review data and program needs. Additionally, she meets with grade level teams each Wednesday to go over specific reading strategies, provide resources, and address student progress. Thank you Rancho Romero Education Fund, and parents and families in the community for your generous support of this program. You are investing in the success of all of our children.

Alamo Rotary Donates $9,000 to Six Valley Schools The principal beneficiaries of Alamo Rotary’s annual Music Festival are the music departments of the six valley public schools: Mauzy School, Alamo School, Rancho Romero, Stone Valley, Monte Vista High, and San Ramon Valley High. Alamo Rotary was pleased to award $1,500 checks to each of them. In these days of perennially tight school budgets, needless to say, the music departments were thrilled to receive the contributions! On hand from our local schools were Mona Epstein and Carmen Trefil from Mauzy, Nancy Raaum and Stan Hitomi from Alamo School, Christine Bertolero and Skye Larsh, from Rancho Romero, Ben Loomer and Shaun McElroy from Stone Valley School, Bruce Kolicht and Ed Cloyd from Monte Vista High School, and Cheryl Yee and Scott Caroline Thiessen presenting a check to Stan Osterholt from San Ramon Valley Hitomi, principal of Alamo School and music teacher Nancy Raaum High School. It was a lively group and the Alamo Rotary Club was happy to welcome all of them!

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Stone Valley Middle School By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal “Everyone dreams of being a matador (or teacher) until they find themselves in the ring with 2,000 pounds of bull bearing down on them when the realize all they really wanted was to wear tight pants and hear the roar of the crowd.” ~author unknown

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 11

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The Art of Teaching The format of our principals’ meetings changed this year to include two new elements, vertical articulation with all K-12 feeder pattern school principals and walkthrough classroom visits. Classroom walkthrough visits are a common practice among most school administrators. The purpose of the walkthrough is to get a sample of instruction in a variety of classrooms. The walkthrough is the “dipstick” approach to judging the level of instruction in the school community. As part of our January 30th principals’ meeting, we visited several classes at San Ramon Valley High School. I have worked at three different high schools as an administrator and a teacher, but it has been several years since I’ve been in a high school classroom. For our San Ramon visit we were given a campus map, assigned to a group, and given a list of classrooms to visit. At the end of our visit we debriefed as a group about the instructional practices we observed. I walked away from this round of walkthroughs totally elated by the level of instruction I observed. I felt privileged to watch three outstanding teachers who are at the top of their game. Each of the teachers I observed are at different places in their respective careers, a veteran of many years, mid-career, and a beginning teacher. In Lisa Sabatini’s Advanced Placement English class we observed students dissecting a poem they had read. Students were asked to present their analysis from the podium at the front of the room. Even though the class was mostly silent except for the speaker and the teachers’ remarks, there was an implied understanding that serious learning takes place in this room. In Susan Regalia’s class student began learning prior to entering the classroom. Students used their smart phones to log on to the teacher’s website and began the warm-up for the day. Upon entering the classroom, students sat with a partner and began solving the warm-up problems. Teacher interaction began about 5-7 minutes into the class when Mrs. Regalia solicited the answers from each group and provided feedback on the answers and problem solving processes. Mr. Santos’s class was very high energy. Even thought the class was large, most students had a chance to participate. Mr. Santos broke up the class routine with a mini exercise lesson aimed at increasing blood flow to the brain. After the visitation, I interviewed several students about the three teachers. Here’s what they said: Lisa Sabatini - “Ms. Sabatini is hands down the best teacher ever; she totally prepared me for college writing” (AP English) David Santos - “Mr. S makes a personal connection with every single student. He makes algebra understandable” (Algebra I) Susan Regalia - “Mrs. Regalia does an enormous amount or preparation outside of class because when she explains something, we really get it!” (Geometry) Students in and out of class were friendly and well behaved. The common trait I observed amongst students was the high level of engagement in all classes. It was clear to me that the students really like their teachers and spoke highly of their overall experience at San Ramon Valley High School. Several members of the SRVHS Impact club join our students for lunch twice each month. We affectionately refer to them as the “purple people.” The SRVHS students are passionate about their campus and their teachers. No doubt these conditions translate into outstanding learning outcomes. I have been on staff at seven SRVUSD schools as a teacher and administrator. I believe what I observed at SRV is the norm in the SRVUSD as we tend to attract and retain the best and the brightest classrooms teachers.

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Young Writers Contest The California Writers Club/Mt. Diablo Branch presents its Young Writers Contest - Honoring a New Generation of California Writers for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in Contra Costa County. Categories include Short Story, Personal Narrative, and Poetry. Prizes will be awarded for each category at each grade level. First prize is $100, second prize is $50, and third prize is $25, plus the winners will be invited to a banquet with a book editor or author on May 19th, and have their names printed in the Contra Costa Times. Deadline for entries is April 1, 2012. For details visit

Chromatica – a new Chorus in the SR Valley Chromatica is a newly formed chorus for men and women in the San Ramon Valley that is focused on performing high quality vocal music for regional audiences. It has already attracted an outstanding director and accompanist/assistant. We are singing mostly classical music and are seeking experienced singers who can read music or learn it quickly. Rehearsals are held Monday from 7PM -9:15PM at Peace Lutheran Church on Camino Tassajara in Danville. We expect to have an initial limited performance in May and then start a new semester in the fall with concerts scheduled just before the holidays. We are looking for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass singers. If you are interested contact Sharon Kantor at or Chris Kenber at 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 &$ANVILLE"LVDs!LAMO #!

Jeremiah Christiansen is our winner

Page 12 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Monte Vista High School

San Ramon Valley High School

By Janet Terranova, Principal

By Joseph A. Ianora, Principal

March signals not only the beginning of spring but thoughts of the new school year. In March students begin to choose classes for next year. Classes that students choose for the 2012-2013 school year may look very different than the classes many of us chose when we were in high school. If you walked into a classroom today, it would look very familiar, but the options students have when choosing their classes is very different. Students are still required to take the usual array of required academic courses, English, mathematics, science, social studies, but even within these disciplines students have many options. When it comes to choosing electives, our students have a plethora of choices. High schools today have a number of electives that not only engage students with project based learning but provide opportunities for students to examine future career paths. Engineering, Robotics, and Architectural Design are just some of the electives students may select. While physics is a class many of us took in high school, today students may take “PET” (Physics, Engineering, and Technology). Students enroll in both physics and engineering beginning in a physics class and moving on to their engineering class where they put into action the information learned in their physics class. Today students have the opportunity to enroll in a number of visual and performing arts classes that stretch their creativity and allow them to investigate possible careers. Students can enroll in traditional black and white photography classes but may also choose from digital photo, video production, graphic arts or advance their musical talents through music theory classes and several band options. Students may take classes that allow them to gain college credit or gain the knowledge to enroll in more advanced classes when they matriculate to the community college. Sports Medicine and Careers with Children prepare students for advanced classes at local community colleges. While classrooms may physically look as they did 10, 20, or 30 years ago, the classrooms of today are vastly different and students have the opportunity to explore a variety of exciting electives. If you are helping a student choose classes for the next school year, encourage them to stretch, choose classes that pique their curiosity and allow them to gain a variety of experiences. If you would like more information about Monte Vista High School, please visit our website at

AAUW Scholarships The Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is offering scholarships to local women. Last year 12 deserving recipients received $1,000 each and one received $1250. This year awards will be granted for $2,000. A special grant will go to the Jane Trittipo scholarship winner. Applicants must be a college junior or higher as of September 2012 at an accredited college or university. Graduate and post graduate students can also apply. Applicants will be accepted from Walnut Creek and the San Ramon Valley - please see our website for more specific requirements. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of scholarship, educational goals, and campus or community involvement. Completed scholarship applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2012. Applications are online at AAUW membership is open to all graduates of accredited fouryear colleges or universities and those holding an Associate Degree or equivalent. Prospective members can contact Tena at 925 837-0826 or

Hello San Ramon Valley High School Community! Spring is here, and with it comes a myriad of activities. First of all, I would like to congratulate all who participated in the winter activities including athletics (17 teams were awarded Scholastic Achievement teams) and performing arts. They continually provide us with incredible performances, and we thank them. As we roll into spring, here are some updates for you. Because this list may not be complete, please check the website www. for updates so you can make sure you don’t miss a thing!

SRV FUNraiser Please mark your calendar for our annual auction and get-together. This year, tickets are limited to 200. We will have an online auction, silent auction and live auction, plus good food, entertainment, and most of all FUN! Plan on joining us on March 31st.

Construction We are back into construction mode with the demolition of our old pool. The parking lot behind the tennis courts will be closed until the project is complete (late winter of 2012). The new pool will be “deep, deep” for water polo competitions and diving. It will also have a shallow portion.

Freshman/New Student Orientation - Registration We hosted our student orientation for freshman and new students. It was a two part evening – a discussion with the counselors for the first hour and then a discussion with students for the second hour. The evening was very informative. Registration is going on right now (March 8 – 16) for our current students for next year’s classes.

The Junior Prom – March 24th Our ultimate goal is to offers a safe, respectable event that gives our students wonderful memories. The Prom often brings a tremendous amount of pressure for students to consume alcohol. We have worked very hard to educate our students that this is not acceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. On behalf of the entire administrative team, I would appreciate it if you would spend time prior to the event discussing the importance of an Alcohol-free Junior Prom. Many students view this event as a time to “party” and leave all training and decorum at home. For many students, it comes as quite a surprise that the same rules at school apply as well to both the Junior Prom and Senior Ball. We expect the same standards of behavior when students attend the Prom as we do during the regular school day. Please help us communicate to your student that drinking and smoking is not allowed. If we do find a student who is under the influence of any alcoholic intoxicant or controlled substance, the parents will be contacted, and the student will be released to the parent.

CAHSEE Testing – 10th Graders/ Mock CAHSEE – 9th Graders Testing for all Sophomores, and, new this year, all Freshmen will be held the on March 13th and 14th. This “high stakes” test is one of three major requirements (CAHSEE, passing Algebra I, and completing 240 units) for graduation from San Ramon Valley High School. Please check the web page for specific testing times. Testing will affect all students as the daily schedule will be different; please plan accordingly. The freshmen will take a diagnostic test so that we may more accurately help them be successful when they take the CAHSEE as a Sophomore. Once again, thank you for truly making San Ramon Valley High School a great place to be!

Local Families Needed For Exchange Students ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is seeking local host families for international high school boys and girls. The students are 15 to 18 years of age, and are coming to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester. These personable and academically selected exchange students are conversant in English, bright, curious and anxious to learn about this country through living as part of a family, attending high school and sharing their own culture and language with their newly adopted host family. For more information call 800-733-2773.

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 13

Young Returning Veteran is Grateful for Local Programs US Army Sgt. Teresa Somoza was recently honored with a Welcome Home Celebration by her appreciative San Ramon Valley neighbors. She came home on leave to Alamo after serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan during her second deployment to Afghanistan, following a tour in Iraq. Many new programs are envisioned for the renovated and expanded Veterans Memorial Building of San Ramon Valley for veterans such as Teresa. Some of the line up to support our local population of younger veterans includes: State Employment Development Department Outreach, Family Outreach Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Training and Counseling, plus Support Groups for Employment Assistance, Current Veterans Issues, and Social Interaction. “I appreciate that these opportunities will be available right in our Valley. Returning to civilian life can be a huge adjustment for many, and it will be great to have these resources,” said Teresa. “Thank you to our community for providing a place for Veterans of all ages.” Help is needed to complete this exciting project for veterans, our seniors, non-profit groups, businesses, those wishing to have party or wedding, and generations of Saturday, March 24, 2012 our neighbors. You can make a donation and/or learn more about this 10AM - 2PM building at www.SRVVeteransHall. Creekside Community Church org by calling the Veterans office at (925) 1350 Danville Blvd, Alamo 362-9806. Sand C Sand reek CrossCing reek C rossing

Alamo Public Safety Fair FREE ADMISSION!


Danville Community Band Concert The Danville Community Band takes an “Instrumental Road Trip,” visiting a broad selection of classics and marches from the past to the present, on Sunday, April 1st at 2pm. We'll The Danville Community Band Presents be performing in the main gallery of the An Instrumental Blackhawk Auto Museum located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville. For museum information, call 925.736.2277 or visit Come see the fabulous auto galleries, tour the current jukebox exhibit, and enjoy a concert all in the same building. The concert is FREE with admission into the Museum (free for museum members). For more information, see our website at Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 2 pm Blackhawk Auto Museum

Road Trip

National Charity League Tea The Diablo Valley Chapter of the National Charity League held its annual Mother-Daughter Tea. The theme was “Royal Tea.” The Tea was hosted by the class of 2014 sophomores. The class of 2013 Juniors modeled clothes which embraced the theme by looking as though they were attending a British tea party. The 2012 seniors served the tea. National Charity League is a mother-daughter organization dedicated to serving local communities and fostering mother-daughter bonds. Daughters along with their mothers participate in a six-year program of philanthropic work, educational activities, leadership, and cultural events. The Diablo Valley Chapter members are residents of Alamo, Diablo and Danville with daughters in 7th grade through 12th grades. We have a current membership of over 135 mothers and 163 daughters. We are proud that we support and meet the requests of our philanthropy clients with approximately 10,000 annual hours of volunteer service in our community. For more information about the group, please visit A few Juniors model from the fashion show


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Page 14 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

The Car Guy By Paul Matthew Peterson, Specialty Sales Classics If you follow the collector car world, you already know about Scottsdale in January. If you are new to classic automobiles, I’ll fill you in. Every January, Scottsdale Arizona becomes the Mecca for the entire planet in regard to investment and collector cars. Think Super Bowl, only with old cars…and you get the picture. There are now so many classic car auctions in one week that it’s nearly impossible to attend them all. I chose to spend time this year at Silver Auctions’ Fort McDowell sale, Russo and Steel, and the 29-Ring circus that Barrett-Jackson has become. I’ll start with the big guns. Barrett-Jackson was once a great classic car auction, with a few Lifestyle events surrounding it. Now it has become a festival of anything and everything ‘car’ related…and a ton of stuff that isn’t related to old cars at all...and BURIED somewhere in there are cars for sale and an auction. I could have spent eight hours looking at art, another eight hours looking at neon signs, another whole day looking at ….???? Yep, somewhere in there are some cool cars and an auction. Did I mention it costs $55 just to get in? Crazy. Russo and Steele’s has evolved into one class act. It feels like a HUGE production, yet the folks that work there are so personable that you feel like you’re dealing with friends instead of a heartless corporate auction house. Same goes for Silver, without the big, slick production values. Attending, buying, or selling at a Silver Auction is what the business was like “back in the day” before the SPEED Channel, and the ‘circus’ aspect took over. It’s always an auction full of real cars, real people, and some great deals for both the sellers and buyers, with a Downto-Earth approach to the business. Both R.S. and Silver are highly recommended by this particular old car guy. Now, as for the collector car market in general? In a word: STRONG. Quality is king these days, and the prices and sale percentages reflected that rule. The incorrect, edgy, and thrown together cars went home on the trailers unsold for the most part, or at seriously low prices. A very large number of the correctly restored cars, the beautiful unrestored original cars, and the over the top Resto-Mods brought solid prices and went home with new owners. The sale percentages were fantastic, into the 70% + sold range. If one factors out the junk that wasn’t ever going to sell in the first place, then that percentage climbs to over 90% sold. That’s pretty strong. There was a flood of new investors in the market this year, likely a result of the challenging Real Estate and Stock Markets and the losses large investors have suffered recently. In the past, these newbies typically came with a checkbook and zero knowledge of what they were getting into. As a result, large numbers of these folks bought bad cars, fake cars, and vehicles that just weren’t a good investment. Those times are over, and even the brand new Classic Car investor has someone on his arm advising him on his purchase. Wise move. So, after four days of endless cars, car people, and a front row seat-style market report, I can offer this basic observation: Park your investment capital in STEEL. Make that classic and collectible steel with some rubber, vinyl, chrome, and gasoline thrown in for good measure. Seriously though, Classic Cars are a great investment, if you do your homework and educate yourself, and they’re actually a better place to park your investment capital than ever. Ask for advice from a large car collector or a ‘car guy’ if you can find one. Visit some Classic Car shows, cruises, and showrooms (We have 220+ different Classics spread in four showrooms in the SF Bay Area for example), and see which cars give you an emotional reaction for whatever reason. Educate yourself about that particular model, and then with some expert help, go buy the nicest example of that car you can find. Always buy what you love, but keep a keen eye towards investment potential. Good quality = Good investment. So…the water’s fine. C’mon in and take a swim! Classic cars are a ton of fun if you let them be, and they’re a fine investment that you can ENJOY while your money grows! See you at the Cruise and check out our inventory at www.SpecialtySales. com. Feel free to email me at with any quesAdvertorial tions or comments, or call 800-600-2262.

Post Office continued from front page Voorhees arrived in San Francisco on February 28, 1849, and he proceeded to open a Post Office in San Francisco. He appointed C. L. Ross to open and distribute mail, pending the arrival of the appointed Postmaster, Stephen J. Dallas. For whatever reason, Dallas did not take office, so on April 1, 1849, Voorhees appointed John W. Geary the first Postmaster. By 1850, Contra Costa, one of the original of the 27 counties established by the California Legislature, consisted of what is known today as Alameda County and Contra Costa County. There were 22 different Post Offices established in Contra Costa County from Statehood until 1876. The first Post Office in Contra Costa County was called Junction. It was established April 9, 1850. Junction was located near Pittsburg, which is today at the Contra Costa County as it was in 1850. “junction” of Suisun Bay and the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. There are no known postmarks or letters from Junction. The second Post Office to be established was Martinez, the county seat, on July 28, 1851. The rate at that time to mail a letter from California to the East Coast was 6¢. The third Post Office to be established in Contra Costa was Livermore Ranch. This was named after the pioneer rancher, Robert Livermore, and it was established July 7, 1851. Robert Livermore was the first and only

Mail going to Alamo is also shown. This letter was mailed from Bristol, NY on Mar 16, 1860. It is addressed to Hiram Bailey, Alamo, Contra Costa Co. California. The stamp, a 10¢ 1860 type V, is tied by the postmark. The enclosed letter is datelined East Bloomfield, NY March 13, 1860. The letter is from one brother to another detailing sheep selling (he sold 77 sheep for $415.50).

Postmaster as the office was discontinued on Jan 6, 1853. Antioch became the fourth Post Office in Contra Costa County. In 1849, the place was known as Smith’s Landing after the first settlers, twin brothers J. H. and W. W. Smith. In 1850, W. W. Smith, a minister of the Gospel, invited some New Englanders to settle on his property. At a picnic on July 4, 1851, the citizens chose a new name, Antioch, after the Biblical town in Syria. The appointment and establishment of the Post Office was on October 21, 1851 but was discontinued on September 15, 1852, and it was moved to Marsh’s Landing. It was re-established January 18, 1855. In 1862, the post Office again was discontinued. However, it was again re-established on March 5, 1863. The fifth Post Office to be established in Contra Costa County was the City of Contra Costa. Many of you may not recognize this city. Contra Costa, Spanish for “other shore,” refers to the bayshore opposite San Francisco in the area

See Post Office continued on page 32

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 15

Longer Passwords are Better By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO I’ve written many times about using good passwords (Dec 2010, Jan 2008, Nov 2006), but change is difficult, and a lot of you are still getting into trouble. The telephone calls we get go like this: “Over the last couple of days, all of my friends/business associates have begun receiving emails from me that have a link to a weird website, and their antivirus goes crazy when they go to it, but I didn’t send them that email. Then, it happened again this morning, and I’m starting to get concerned. Is my computer hacked?” No, your computer isn’t hacked, your email password is hacked. What is happening? The bad guys are relentless in their effort to find email accounts from which they can send spam email links to their infected websites to millions of people. Their infected website usually contains embedded code that will automatically try to infect your computer with something like “XP Antivirus,” the fake antivirus program that pops up endless messages telling you to enter your credit card information to “fix” it. The more people they can trick into clicking onto their website, the more infections, and the larger number of people who unwittingly give out their credit card information to be stolen. More opportunity for identity theft is good business for the bad guys (and yes, people give their credit card information to them - we’ve seen it happen multiple times). The bad guys have some extremely clever computer programs that go around and target email accounts from the largest email domains, such as AOL, Hotmail, ATT, MSN, Comcast and Yahoo. They go one by one, using a “bot” to test commonly used passwords and even attempting some limited brute-force cracking. This sort of “farming” of email addresses ensures they have a steady revenue stream. Virus infections are no longer courtesy of your neighborhood teenager experimenting on his dad’s computer. Now, they’re big business for Eastern Bloc mafia cartels, which goes far to explain why the problem has exploded over the last few years. Back to passwords. Who do you think the bad guys are going to victimize? Are they going to be able to take over person A’s email account who uses the password “flower,” or person B who uses the password “Plausible*Deniability”? If you guessed person A, you win. Why? According to the password checking website, “flower” is among the 260 most common passwords, so it would be hacked almost instantly, and “Plausible*Deniability” would take 28 million years for a common desktop computer to break. Even adding an exclamation point to “flower!” would only extend your safety to twelve minutes before it could be broken, because it’s a common word and it’s far too short. The problem with password security is that the IT guys (yes, heavy sigh, my brethren) have made password management a royal pain in the neck, and they have burned people out. If you work for a state or federal agency, or a typical large corporation, they’ve probably fueled the law of unintended consequences with rules that make it impossible to remember your password. I never thought it was reasonable to make people change their passwords every 30 days to something completely unique and unused over the previous year. I don’t know anyone who can remember that many unique complex passwords. What happens is that normal people like you and I end up writing down that ridiculous password we had to create (or that we were given), and we put it on a Post-it note, and stick it on our monitor or under our keyboard. We’re just trying to do our job, right? Who can remember this password: “3RzH@=#xFq” ? But that’s not very secure, thus the unintended consequence. Password philosophies are beginning to change. Long password phrases are more powerful than outright password complexity, because every additional simple character increases the complexity 26 times. But if you add complexity such as a punctuation mark to that phrase, a 20-character phrase is virtually un-crackable by common desktop standards, because it’s added an additional 33 character set that the cracker must include in their cracking search. For example, the phrase “twentygoodcharacters!” is one trillion times more complex than “twentygoodcharacters” because the addition of the exclamation mark increases the overall search space so dramatically. THAT is why upper and lower case, numbers and special characters are so important to use. Most websites don’t accommodate long phrases because they’re still adapting to this new knowledge. For example, AOL wants a password of between only 6-16 characters that must include letters, numbers and punctuation characters. Others want upper AND lower case letters, punctuation and numbers. One of their examples; Harry Potter becomes “ HaRrieP0tt3r!”. There is much more to write about this, but I’m out of room. I’ve put some great links to password testing sites on Portable CIO’s Facebook page, as well as more examples of ways to substitute numbers and punctuation into a password in a way that helps it make sense. In the meantime, if you get stuck please call the experts at Portable CIO at (925)552-7953, or email us at Advertorial

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Page 16 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Tax Tips Tips Regarding Capital Gains/Loses By Bob Shalon, IRS Enrolled Agent, H&R Block, Danville Four years ago during the last presidential election year, the subject of cutting or raising taxes was an issue. Eliminating the capital gains tax break was discussed and then quickly dropped. With the upcoming election it will probably be on the table again. Here are ten facts to know regarding the importance to you, the taxpayer, as to the lower tax rates given to capital gains. 1. Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure, or investment is a capital asset. 2. When you sell a capital asset, the difference between the amount you sell it for and your basis – which is usually what you paid for it – is a capital gain or a capital loss. 3. You must report all capital gains. 4. You may only deduct capital losses on investment property, not on personal-use property. 5. Capital gains and losses are classified as long-term or short-term. If you hold the property more than one year, your capital gain or loss is longterm. If you hold it one year or less, the gain or loss is short-term. 6. If you have long-term gains in excess of your long-term losses, the difference is normally a net capital gain. Subtract any short-term losses from the net capital gain to calculate the net capital gain you must report. 7. The tax rates that apply to net capital gain are generally lower than the tax rates that apply to other income. For 2011, the maximum capital gains rate for most people is 15%. For lower-income individuals, the rate may be 0% on some or all of the net capital gain. 8. If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, you can deduct the excess on your tax return to reduce other income, such as wages, up to an annual limit of $3,000, or $1,500 if you are married filing separately. 9. If your total net capital loss is more than the yearly limit on capital loss deductions, you can carry over the unused part to the next year and treat it as if you incurred it in that next year. 10. This year, a new form, Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets, will be used to calculate capital gains and losses. Use Form 8949 to list all capital gain and loss transactions. The subtotals from this form will then be carried over to Schedule D (Form 1040), where gain or loss will be calculated. Pay particular attention to item #7. Long term capital gains is a major tax savings for most taxpayers. Listen carefully to what the candidates are saying regarding capital gains; we do not want to lose that discounted rate. This is also the time to make the candidates address the issue of Alternative Minimum Tax. Originally designed to affect the wealthy, top 3% wage earners, it is now taxing the middle class substantially. I truly hope with the economy being the main issue in this election that something can be done to eliminate the extra tax that AMT is taking from many of our paychecks. This has been an extremely busy year in our office with so many taxpayers taking advantage of our second look program and tax planning expertise that go with our tax service. I am enjoying every minute of it! It is wonderful to be able to listen to my clients and help them understand how the tax code works and how to deal with it individually to eliminate stress and anxiety. Please call or visit our office, each tax professional is among the highest trained in the income tax field with emphasis on the issues that effect communities like Danville and Alamo. Bob Shalon, EA Wishing everyone a Master Tax Advisor • Enrolled Agent happy and healthy year. Please call me 925.820.9570 at any time at 925- 714 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite B, Danville 820-9570 with quesSycamore Square (next to Lucky’s) Advertorial tions.

Alamo Police Services District P-2, Zone B Deputy Mike Carson, Alamo Resident Deputy, activities for January 2012

Deputy Carson Completed:

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â&#x20AC;˘ 7 Citations â&#x20AC;˘ 5 Field Interview Cards â&#x20AC;˘ 9 Reports â&#x20AC;˘ Attended the Alamo Elementary School Traffic issue meeting

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Deputy Carson responded to or conducted: â&#x20AC;˘ 4 Alarm calls â&#x20AC;˘ 3 Security checks â&#x20AC;˘ 25 Patrol requests â&#x20AC;˘ 4 Suspicious subjects â&#x20AC;˘ 1 Civil issue â&#x20AC;˘ 3 Suspicious circumstances â&#x20AC;˘ 4 Service to citizens

Reported Incidents:

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Danville Boulevard and La Serena â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Deputy Carson responded to a call of an illegal entry into a vacant home. Upon arriving at the location with the owner, we entered the house through an unlocked door. The interior of the house had been vandalized with holes punched into walls and graffiti spray painted throughout, with some other moderate damages to the home. Identifying information was found by Deputy Carson for a possible suspect in the incident, and follow-up is being conducted. Miranda Drive â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Deputy Carson responded to a local school where a juvenile was being detained for possessing several knives while on campus. The juvenile was arrested for the weapons on a school campus and released to the custody of his mother. The juvenile is being referred for expulsion, and the case has been forwarded to Juvenile Probation. Miranda Drive â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Deputy Carson responded to a call of a sexual battery on a school campus. The sexual batteries had occurred over several months, but reported to school administrators just prior to winter break. The incident was brought to Deputy Carson's attention after winter break was over and school was back in session. A thorough investigation was conducted, and two suspects were identified. The juveniles were placed under arrest at the time of the report, but the case was referred to Juvenile Probation. Both students have also been expelled from school. Via Bonita â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Deputy Carson took a report of a Residential Burglary. The suspect(s) entered the home through an unlocked door. Jewelry and loose change were taken along with a pillowcase. The scene was processed, but no evidence was found. There are no known suspects or independent witnesses. Kirkcrest Road â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Deputies responded to the area for a reported suspicious vehicle. A vehicle was located in the area that was not familiar to the neighbors. Deputies found the vehicle had a different front license plate and a different rear license plate, which both had been reported stolen. Deputies also discovered that neither of the license plates matched the VIN number of the vehicle. While doing an inventory of the property inside the vehicle, it was determined that a large amount of the property was stolen from homes throughout the county. There are no known suspects or independent witnesses. Deputy Mike Carson is the current Alamo Resident Deputy. His position is funded by a police tax in County Service Area P-2, Zone B.

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Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 17

Multi Generational Travel Valley Teen Idol The San Ramon Valley Rotary presents the Valley Teen Idol final is Perfect with Disney By Joyce McConnaughey, Travel Consultant, Alamo World Travel

competition on March 24 from 1 - 4PM at CrossWinds Church located at 6444 Sierra Court in Dublin. Have fun and support our teens at this competition which will feature good food, great music, and live and silent auctions. Winners of the competition will win prizes including a grand prize of $1,000 and a recording session. For more information, visit, call Sharon Mace at (925) 872-9079, or e-mail Proceeds from Valley Teen Idol benefit local school music programs and the local and worldwide charitable work of the Diablo San Ramon Valley Rotary Foundation.

Many families have known the rewards of family travel, but after the events of 9/11, it has been more evident that “family” is most important to all of us. This has expanded to multi-generations, and Disney provides many perfect options for travel that appeal to all ages. Walt Disney found and designed a magical way to take care of the family of kids, parents, and grandparents. He started with Disneyland® Park, and the rest is history. There is Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, Disney Cruise Line® (with their 4th ship due this month), Adventures by Disney®, and with the newest Aulani - a Disney resort and spa in Hawaii that opened in August 2011. My family was fortunate to take two Disney Cruise Line® vacations (on the Disney Wonder®) and the kids are still waiting for a third trip. There was something for every age group to do the entire cruise. Grandma and grandpa, my husband and I, were honored to care for the two youngest grandchildren, ages 4 months and 18 months, while the parents and other children were free to enjoy the pool, go on M. E. L A N D O L F A R C H I T E C T U R E shore excursions, enjoy the “Kids Club,” or attend Custom Houses . Remodels . Additions one of the many activities offered every day. Mealtimes were special as we rotated each night through three different dining rooms, each with a different theme and with the same waiters who made every meal pleasant and enjoyable. Breakfast and lunch were served in one of the dining rooms and in the enormous “Topsiders Buffet.” Many other food offerings are available on the pool deck, and you don’t have a chance to get hungry! There was a different stage show in the Main Theater every evening that was enjoyed by all. Many had a Disney theme as you would expect. Make the most of your investment by starting with a The productions were as professional as any show quality design that adds value to your home. on Broadway. Often in the evening after dinner and show, there was a special event held on the top OFFE R ING: deck. The favorite was the “pirate invasion.” After Over twenty years of home design experience. a dueling battle, Captain Mickey saved the ship Complete service from concept to completion. and all the guests. The dinner theme that evening Simple additions, complete remodels and custom homes. was “pirate” and we were all given a red scarf and Beautiful curb appeal, excellent layouts and structural economy. treasure map when we were seated. Complimentary initial design consultations. Our latest venture was the new very Hawaiian, Aulani - a Disney resort and spa that I visited in CONTACT: Mark Landolf October with my daughter and two little grandsons, 925.8 37.3434 Email: ages five and almost two. Aulani is a resort that only Disney could have imagined and developed, and it is located on a beautiful beachfront cove on the southwest corner of Oahu. It is an easy drive from the Honolulu airport. The guest rooms are beautiful with every amenity you could imagine. The dining and other public areas are amazing and the grounds are unbelievable. There are many pools, waterslides, and a big winding “Lazy River” for tubing. Aunty’s Beach House is a place of fun and discovery for kids. My five year old grandson loved the “Menehune Bridge,” an interactive water play area with three slides, many water elements, and a climbing play structure. The two year old also loved his special corner with a curved waterslide that he could do by himself. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and many other Disney characters are seen frequently each day in varied areas of the resort for fun, games, and photo opportunities. They were the highlights for my grandsons, especially the two year old. Along with two main dining restaurants, there are numerous other food options spread throughout the grounds and by the pool. The favorite “Character” Breakfast and Dinner that are so popular with other Disney Resorts, are also a big attraction at the Aulani Resort. Mickey Mouse greets each family with the opportunity for a perfect photo. Then you are escorted to an assigned table and allowed to help yourself to a plentiful buffet of local and chef-inspired dishes. Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Aunty (A lifelong resident of Oahu – she is so beloved that everyone calls her Aunty) visited all the tables often Alamo World Travel announces to entertain the kids and adults alike. Fun games were played, and Aunty led the parade of kids around the dining room as the meal was nearing the end. Spring Fling Cruise Sale March 19-26. Every minute of the vacation was magical with so many great memories. Offering lowest cruise prices, reduced deposits, It doesn’t get any better than that! onboard credits, and more. Alamo World Travel is ready to help you plan your next vacation. Alamo World Call 925 837-8742, email or Travel & Tours (31 years of Group, Individual, and Corporate Travel- Tours, Cruises visit our office at 3201 Danville Blvd, Suite 255 Alamo. and Hotels) 3201 Danville Blvd, Suite 255 Alamo, CA94507 (Between Ace Hardware and the Peasants Courtyard) (925) 837-8742 (800) 848-8747 -Thousands of travel options CST#2008416-10 Advertorial

Page 18 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Art in Everyday Life

By Tony Michael Vecchio

“You don’t take a photograph,” said Ansel Adams, “you make it.” I think of this insightful quote when I come across an exhibit of fine art photographs. Whether in art galleries, corporate lobbies, art fairs, or other creative venues around the area, I try and look at the image from the photographer’s point of view. Where were they physically? What did they feel? What were they thinking? Another quote I also like is by another photographer, Ted Grant who said, “When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” I believe this thought similarly applies to nature, which Ansel Adams has shown in his body of work that has eloquently captured the inherent beauty and magnificence of nature. We’re all drawn to beautiful photography because we can relate to the photographer’s unique vision in perceiving and recording the world around them. Photography allows an artist to explore the physical world and interpret its diversity with a stunning depth of creative expression and awareness. We magically feel an impassioned sense of place and time in great photography, whether it’s nature, people, events, or objects of interest, because beyond being a singular image of the world around us, an inspired photograph provides a transformative view of our world in revealing its beauty and mystery. Fine art photographers look at life around them with an eye borne of their own unique personal experiences and background, thereby offering diverse visual interpretations of our world and its many inhabitants and environments. We all see the world differently. And having the technical artistry and ability to see a random and unassuming moment in time and instinctually transform that instant into a lasting visual memory is a veritable DNA gift and talent that celebrates the joyful visual appreciation of the world we live in. Dramatic and exceptional photographs show who we are. What we love about life. What inspires us. What awes us. And when we hang the work of photographers in our homes or business environments, we’re acknowledging, and sharing with our guests and visitors, an important emotional or sensory connection with that photo image. It’s a feeling that we can revisit daily that triggers Important memories and illuminates a valuable sense of connection to the world around us. If we’re also able to have met and talked with the photographer who created the work, then our kindred and personal attachment to the image is affectionately enhanced. When you see photography on exhibit, try to imagine how the photo came about. Consider what the photographer was experiencing when they were looking through Exp. 3/31/12 the lens. What the moment felt like. That will often enhance and transform your appreciation of that instant captured in time. Experiencing the world through a great photograph will arouse your imagination to a deeper understanding of creative vision, and it will spark subtle insights into how a photographer enthusiastically views life. Local art exhibits in March: Danville’s Village Theatre Art Gallery’s Branching Out, runs through April 13th. This exhibit will show how artists explore the subject and material related to trees. The Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society’s (ADAS) exhibition, Artistic Fusion, runs through March 25th at the Blackhawk Art Gallery in Danville’s Blackhawk Plaza. An exhibit of over 40+ artists showing oils, mixed media, photography, sculpture, jewelry, and textiles. The Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts presents Outfitters: The Contemporary Art of Clothing March 4 - May 13th. This intriguing exhibition presents artists who use the armature of clothing or actual clothing Danville 925.648.0293 as a premise for creating sculpture. 3426 Camino Tassajara Tony Michael Vecchio writes about visual imagery, painting, and style. Alamo 925.820.8492 Contact him at tonymvecchio@gmail. Open Tues thru Sat 10 to 6 com. His work is currently at the 3189 Danville Boulevard Sunday 11 to 5 • Closed Monday Blackhawk Art Gallery.



Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 19

Page 20 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Life in the Alamo Garden More Than a Garden By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect Over the many years of writing “Life in the Alamo Garden” and following up with my clients after they have lived in their gardens, I have discovered some new distinctions about our Alamo gardens. There are so many aspects to a garden, and I have attempted to cover the important ones over the years. I have talked about the various elements of design as well as practical advice such as how to save and conserve water and plant selection for deer territory. As a landscape architect with more than 35 years of experience in California, I have come to the conclusion there is so much more to a garden than meets the eye. When you think about it, it is more than a garden! A garden has the power to rejuvenate, inspire, and relax. When you take in consideration how we use our Alamo gardens, what comes to mind are the endless hours of peaceful contemplation, lively gatherings, and toiled love. We use our gardens not just for something beautiful to look at, although that is part of it. When I design a client’s garden, I first have them answer a questionnaire that I have developed over many years. I ask many questions spanning the gambit from functionality and budget to their vision. I delve into specifics, but I also try to go deep into what makes them feel they way they want to feel when they are in their garden. What I am bringing to the design is more than a garden! In this busy world, we all deserve our own little paradise where we can retreat to.

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We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area where we can consider the garden as an extension of our homes. Here in Alamo we can live outside just about as much as we live inside. Consider the time spent swimming in the pool, playing sports with the kids, barbecuing and eating outdoors, harvesting fruits and veggies, and reading a good book under a shade tree on a warm spring day. All these activities add many dimensions to our lives outdoors, making it more than a garden. When it is more than a garden, we have the opportunity to use our gardens for other activities that contribute to our families, friends, and community. Think of the limitless activities and special events you can have such as weddings, anniversary celebrations, graduation parties, birthday parties, etc. Garden tours have become a viable way to raise needed donations for some very worthy organizations. A well designed garden can present endless opportunities to bring family and community together. Over the years my wonderful clients have generously offered their gardens for various garden tours. Last year we had our second tour; “Life in the Lafayette Garden” fundraiser. It was a wonderful success! We had between 400-500 people and generated close to $18,000 for wonderful organizations such as Hospice of the East Bay and others. By popular demand, I have been requested to organize a third annual tour of gardens exclusively designed by my firm that will benefit the Quincy Lee Foundation, Hospice of the East Bay, Guide Dogs for the Blind Contra Costa Raising Club, and others. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: JMLA is delighted to announce our third annual Garden Tour Fundraiser: “Life in the Walnut Creek Garden” a tour of five distinct Walnut Creek gardens. I invite you to come enjoy the afternoon with us; stroll the gardens, chat with me, and enjoy several surprises we have planned. Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 5th from 11AM to 4PM.

For more information, go to our website garden-tour page. It will be a pleasure to meet you all! Gardening Quote of the Month: “Gardeners are - let’s face it - control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wrestling weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.” - Abby Adams, What is a Garden Anyway If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas visit Advertorial Spring Pruning By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb Once again, its that time of year when the landscape grows lush, beautiful – and out of control. At Brende & Lamb, we prune to balance the practical with the aesthetic. When our clients ask us to restore their views, bring more light into their gardens, and reduce fire hazards, we do our best to keep their screening intact and to protect their privacy. At the same time, we work hard to enhance the natural beauty of their trees. Balancing your tree care needs are skills we’ve developed over decades of caring for trees.

Aesthetic Pruning Each plant has a natural growth pattern. Aesthetic pruning accentuates the shape given the plant by nature, good pruning creates a light and open feeling. A well pruned plant enhances the observer’s experience by accentuating the interplay of light and shadow, open spaces and denser spaces, and by revealing the sculptural elements of trunk and branch. The first step in aesthetic pruning is to see the flow of the tree. We begin by looking at the base of the trunk, then we let our eyes follow the trunk upward into the branches and out to the branch tips. We notice how the flow of the branches determines the tree’s form. The form may be weeping, as with Willows and Chinese Elms. Perhaps, as with Monterey Cypress, the branches form at acute angles to the trunk, giving the tree an upswept look. Or the branches may bend and twist, forming complex arcs, as does the Coast Live Oak. Within these patterns, each tree has its own unique form and flow.

Pruning and Size Reduction It is important to prune in a manner that does not harm the health of the tree. When thinning a pine, for example, it is important not to strip the major branches of their smaller branches, a practice called “lion-tailing” which leaves a branch denuded except for foliage at the end. Lion-tailing increases the chance of branch failure by concentrating the weight at the branch tips.

Clip Notes By Jody Morgan For nearly three decades, dedicated Bay Area floral designers have participated in the de Young Museum’s “Bouquets to Art” exhibit. Each arrangement pays tribute to a specific work of art selected from the museum’s permanent collection. Whether the bouquet expresses the essence of the art as a literal translation or an abstract vision, the flow of color forms a visual link between the two. Given the short shelf life of the natural elements, this year’s show will last only from March 13-17. Bouquets in art, on the other hand, can be enjoyed for centuries. The 4th century BC Greek artist Pausias is credited with being the first Westerner to effectively capture the saturated colors and supple form of floral arrangements with brush and paint. His major works have survived only in the literary accounts of Pliny and Pausanias. Known as one of the foremost practitioners of the encaustic process that fixed wax impregnated pigments with heated irons to render them longer lasting, Pausias certainly endeavored to delay the disintegration of his masterpieces. Pausias fell for the charms of the lovely Glycera who supported herself by weaving intricate garlands from fresh flowers. Tales of the two have embellished a story that may once have been grounded in fact to fit the fancy of susceptible audiences throughout the ages. Fascinated by Glycera’s floral creations, Pausias worked diligently at recreating their vibrant hues and subtle textures in his own more permanent pieces. Once he had mastered the art of painting flowers, Pausias did a portrait of his beloved plying her trade. The floral bouquet did not come back into favor as a subject worthy in itself of an artist’s time for more than a millennium. Detailed illustrations of plants in 15th century herbals were intended to aid in their proper identification for medicinal or culinary use. Interest in botany increased as explorers returned to Europe with exotic specimens from the New World, the East and southern Africa. Wealthy individuals coveted the collectible yet inconveniently difficult

Alamo Today ~ March 2012- Page 21 A healthier tree, and more subtly beautiful look, is achieved by thinning to highlight the spaces or “layers” in its natural patterns. Removing diseased wood, and removing or reducing crossing branches that interrupt the natural flow, lets in more light and air, encourages interior growth and overall health. Careful pruning can increase desired screening over time by encouraging interior growth.

Aesthetic View Work In view work, the beauty of the view and the beauty of the tree often seem to be in conflict. Some tree-workers will sacrifice the tree for the view by “topping” the tree. Topping is almost always a bad idea. “Topping” creates a dense re-growth in water-sprouts that is unsightly. But more than the tree’s beauty is at stake here. Topping wounds the tree and promotes disease, including heart rot, and can make the tree dangerous. The water-sprouts on a topped tree are not deeply anchored in the trunk and are subject to failure in high winds. Add in the fact that these sprouts may be anchored onto a rotting trunk, and you have a safety problem that gets worse over time. Responsible arborists do not top trees. Removing a tree, perhaps replacing it with a smaller variety that can be kept out of the view, is usually preferable to beheading it. Looking at tree and view as two elements that complement each other can often solve view problems. Sometimes, lightly bringing the tree back without cutting into major branches can prevent further encroachment on the view. To open even more of the view, we create windows by selectively removing branches not essential for the tree’s natural form. We can enlarge these windows by removing branchlets that rise or drop into the view. Thinning above and below the window creates a feeling of openness, rather than gaping hole. The image formed by Mt. Diablo, framed by the trembling leafs of a well-windowed tree, proves that nature and civilization can complement each other. If your trees need a little TLC, please call 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial to cultivate treasures for their aesthetic qualities. Taking advantage of the advent of improved printing techniques and the introduction of metal-plate engraving, Adrian Collaert published the first book (or florilegium) dedicated to depicting the decorative properties of plants in the 1590s. Intricate floral arrangements replete with face flowers emerged as a popular genre of painting in the early 17th century. In his book entitled Great Flower Painters: Four Centuries of Floral Art, Peter Mitchell notes: “The early concept of painting a flowerpiece was akin to the contemporary group portraits. It is as if each flower had, like each sitter, paid its fair share and demanded to be portrayed as clearly as the next.” Confirming that these bouquets as art were highly valued, Mitchell explains: “When Maria de’ Medici visited the Netherlands no finer gift could be envisaged than a De Gheyn flowerpiece (for which the State paid the artist one thousand guilders).” What gift was fit for the king who had everything? For Louis XIV, a French duke selected a Mignon floral still life. Back to Pausias and Glycera, for a glimpse of the painting produced by Peter Paul Rubens in 1612-1615 see it displayed in the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The heads of the central figures are attributed to the master himself, but the floral pieces, though originally attributed to the skill of Jan Brueghal the Elder, are now believed to be the work of Osias Beert, another floral still life specialist. Studios in the day employed apprentices as well as other known masters to get their jobs done. Crazy for flowers would generally describe the era. Are you familiar with Tulipomania, the feverish trading of tulip bulbs that infected Holland between 1634 and 1637? In 1637, the final transaction before the total collapse of the market netted a price of 5,400 guilders for a single bulb of ‘Admiral van Enkhuijsen’ – about what an Amsterdam bricklayer earned in fifteen years. Less costly than the ephemeral organic objects, paintings of vases of the most expensive striped tulips and other equally exquisite blossoms now seem much the wiser investment. The top price for a painting by a grand master of Dutch floral art commissioned during the same time frame rarely exceeded 5,000 guilders. This year I have planted my tulips inside an uphill fence where the deer devils don’t dare to travel. So far the clever clawing ground squirrels have not discovered the bulbs I concealed in containers with herbs they abhor.

Page 22 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

A Natural Pair Wine and cheese are friends from way back. Both are the product of fermentation, and both can express terroir, or the taste of the place they come from. In the case of cheese, the taste of terroir emerges from the different milk-giving animals; which can range from cows, goats, sheep, and even water buffalos – my favorite cheese of all times.

Wine & Cheese Pairing Tips: The first rule of thumb is that white wines usually pair better with cheese than red wines do – sorry red wine lovers. White wine’s acidity cuts through cheese’s butterfat beautifully. The creamy and nutty flavors in cheese can also bring a white wine to life by contrast. Along those lines, some consider Sauvignon Blanc the overall cheese-friendliest wine. Among red wines, the easiest to pair with cheese are the light and fruity varieties. Terroir-inspired combinations, wine and cheese coming from the same region, are almost always winners.

Pairings that Please: • White or bloomy rind cheeses such as Camembert and Brie are the trickiest to match; safe bets include soft, fruity reds such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais-Villages. • Hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Parmesan, and Manchego go with the widest range of wines; safe bets are medium to full bodied reds without too much tannin such as a softer style Bordeaux or good quality Cotes du Rhone-Villages. A buttery, medium bodied Chardonnay is a surprising star as well. • Blue cheeses can be troublesome partners for any wine apart from the classic partnerships of Roquefort and Sauternes or port and Stilton. The salty with sweet principle prevails here. • Strong, pungent cheese offers no safe bets. Sweet or fortified wines are likely to pair well or try an aromatic white such as the classic combination of Munster and Gewurztraminer. • For goat milk cheeses, Sauvignon Blanc is a good match especially with young soft cheeses; the more acid in the cheese, the more acid the wine should have. • Sheep milk cheese can handle a robust red made from

Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, or Tempranillo grapes. Or try countering the cheese’s saltiness with a little sweetness in the wine.

Strategies for Harmony: When planning a cheese platter, try adding walnut bread and a selection of dried fruits to create a more wine-friendly match. When serving a selection of cheeses, try to choose three or four which all pair well with a particular style of wine. Highly-oaked and super-tannic wines can be difficult to pair with cheese so be careful! Pairing up cheese with wine can work like a charm. Just say “cheese please,” and discover a delicious new dimension to your wine-drinking pleasure. Monica Chappell teaches and writes about wine. To register online for the Wine & Cheese Pairing Workshop on Friday, March 9th from 6:30 - 8:30PM, go to

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Aware continued from front page employee at the San Ramon Safeway who had discovered the empty briefcase under his car. A US Bank employee at that Safeway had also reported a smash and grab that evening, so the husband theorized that the thieves had headed back to the freeway to find more easy pickings at a large parking lot close to a freeway exit. An examination of the crime statistics in Alamo available at the crime reporting website used by the Contra Costa County Sheriff ( shows that crime in Alamo is relatively infrequent compared to neighboring areas. But, in the last thirty days, thefts from a vehicle in a public parking lot included the incident above in Alamo Plaza, a theft from a vehicle parked at the trailhead parking lot at the end of Livorna Road outside Stonegate, and a theft from a vehicle parked at Stone Valley Middle School. In reviewing the crime reports for the past year, theft from cars parked at trailhead parking lots and school parking lots are among the most frequent crimes reported in Alamo. Residents need to be aware to hide their valuables out of sight or better yet, not bring valuables in the car when heading out. In addition, in the last 30 days, there were five residential burglaries reported in Alamo (Roundhill Road, Crest Avenue, Livorna Road, Via Bonita, and Danville Boulevard). For the January P-2B report, please see page 16. After last month’s article I wrote about a double auto theft on the Westside, an unhappy reader sent an anonymous letter challenging the veracity of my statement that read, “As is the custom with many Alamo families, the cars were unlocked.” After regularly attending the monthly meetings of

the Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee (also known as the P-2B Committee for the tax jurisdiction it represents, County Service Area Police District 2, Zone B), I find most times I am the only member of the public there in attendance with the Alamo members who serve on the Committee, Lieutenant Jim Grottkau who is in charge of the Alamo substation, and Deputy Mike Carson, the Alamo deputy paid for by P-2B funds. At nearly every meeting, the Sheriff’s representatives note that many Alamo citizens regularly leave cars, garage, and house doors unlocked. The letter writer went on to say that, “Making such an assumption in a publication read by many people gives fuel to future thefts in Alamo.” However, like the recent theft victims at Alamo Plaza wanted to share their story so others could learn from their mistakes, discussion, awareness, behavior changes, and rallying of concerned citizens, rather than ignoring what is going on, is what is going to lead to change. The Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee meets the first Monday of each month at 5pm in the Alamo Chamber of Commerce offices at 120-B Alamo Plaza, immediately adjacent to High Tech Burrito. As an official county Advisory Committee charged with advising the County Sheriff on the expenditure of funds raised by Alamo's P-2B police tax (currently $200,000 per year), the P-2B meetings are run in accordance with the Brown Act, and Alamo citizens are welcome to attend and become informed of police activities in Alamo. Agendas and minutes of the Committee meetings are available from Supervisor Gayle Uilkema's office which can be reached at or 925-335-1046.

Estate Planning for Cyber Assets By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 23 4) Provide Access and/or Control To Whom You Wish. If and to the extent you feel comfortable, provide trusted loved ones access to digital files you wish to disclose and share. 5) Name Successors in Your Estate Plan. More and more people will choose to formally specify the person(s) who are to be allowed access to and/or succeed to the ownership of their digital files, documents, and accounts. You can do so when you establish a Will and/or Living Trust, or if you already have such documents in place, you can modify (add to) them by means of a Codicil and/or Trust Amendment. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 1333 N. California Street, Suite 350, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 944-9700; rsilverman@ His practice emphasizes Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate, Real Estate, and Business. Mr. Silverman offers a free introductory consultation.

Estate planning is not limited to wills and trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. It directly or indirectly involves so much more, such as special needs planning for disabled loved ones receiving benefits for a disability, estate tax mitigation, properly titling assets, and ensuring the optimal designation of beneficiaries on IRA’s and 401 K’s. One new and often completely overlooked area is “cyber” or “digital” estate planning - protecting, providing access to, and planning for ownership succession of your electronically stored This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied accounts and files, including hardware and software: cell phones, computers, CD’s, upon as legal, tax, financial and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific DVD’s, on the “cloud,” etc. advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended So much of our business and social activity these days is electronic in nature. 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. Much of its use depends on user names and passwords. Privacy is a paramount Advertorial concern. From an estate planning standpoint, this is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing to the extent that it effectively blocks others from seeing or using your data, except as you otherwise desire. It’s a curse, however, when people die or become incapacitated because then thorny access, use, control, and ownership issues arise. The New York Life family is here to help you achieve your financial Virtually all online accounts require users to agree to goals through the products we offer. Whether you’re purchasing a the terms under which they are permitted to use such acfirst home, starting a family or business, accumulating funds for your count. But few people (including me) tend to pay much children’s education, or saving for retirement, we will work with you attention to these long, boilerplate provisions. Nevertheto develop a financial strategy that’s right for you. less, it’s becoming widely known that most sites do not allow for the seamless transfer of the account, let alone any transfer at all, to anyone other than the original acCall our office today. (925) 552-7152 count holder. Rather, many digital assets endow owners only with a license to use the asset during life, and no right to assign or transfer ownership or use. Digital files, such as photos, music, books, personal contacts, financial and insurance information and estate planning documents, can sometimes be very difficult to find on another person’s computer. Even more troublesome is that files stored in the “cloud” or somewhere other than on a personal computer or electronic device may be unknown to others and remain difficult or impossible to discover. So, when someone dies, his or her personal representative (executor named in the Will, or administrator if he or she dies without a Will) - is likely to have a significant Group Photo Here challenge. Fortunately, the law in this area should develop rapidly. New laws and improving technology will undoubtedly allow users more direct and user-friendly options to enable others, including their personal representatives on death, the right to access, use, and assume ownership of a decedent’s cyber assets. Meanwhile, in the midst of many unanswered questions, you might consider taking some or all of the following steps to protect and provide for the succession of data you value: 1) Inventory. Create a list of your digital assets, directions on how to find each account and/or file, and how to access each, including the applicable user name and password. These types of assets may include, but Pictured are agents of the Greater San Francisco General Office of New York Life Insurance Company in Alamo. not be limited to, email accounts, photos and videos, From left to right: spreadsheets, important Word documents, music, social media accounts, bank accounts, life insurance policies, 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) retirement plans, and estate planning documents. 2) Learn About Transferability. Read and inquire 3000 Danville Blvd., Suite L in detail about your ability to transfer account use and Alamo, CA 94507 ownership upon your death, particularly for accounts Tel. (925) 552-7152 / Fax (925) 552-7127 you care a lot about. 3) Document Your Wishes. Draft a list in which © 2011 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010. SMRU00454979CV (Exp. 08/25/13) you indicate what you’d like to have happen to each digital file and online account/service upon your death.

From Our Family to Yours

Page 24 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Using Charitable Trusts in Your Retirement Planning Brought to you by Peter T. Waldron & Robert J. Waldron In conjunction with Waldron Wealth Advisors, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.

Land “rich” and cash “poor.” That describes Jim and Angela in a nutshell. While they actually live quite comfortably on their professional incomes, they are getting closer to retirement age and are looking for ways to supplement the income they expect from their employers’ retirement plans. By far the largest asset they own is a tract of unimproved real estate that Angela inherited from her parents. Part of her family’s former farm, the property is located in a prime new development area, which has made its value increase over the past few years. But the land provides no current income.

What Can They Do? Angela could sell the land to a developer now or at retirement and invest the proceeds in income-producing investments. Either way, she and Jim would lose a substantial portion of the property’s appreciation to capital gains tax. A better strategy might be to establish a charitable remainder trust (CRT). To implement this strategy, Angela would transfer the land to an irrevocable

trust created to provide lifetime payments to her and Jim. At the death of the surviving spouse, the trust property would be transferred to a charitable organization Angela has named in her trust agreement. With a CRT, the trustee can sell the trust property and reinvest the proceeds without having to pay any immediate tax on the gain. Thus, Jim and Angela would have more money invested toward retirement than if they had sold the land and invested the proceeds themselves. They also may be able to claim a current income-tax charitable deduction for the value of the trust property, which the charity will eventually receive (within tax-law limits). Jim and Angela could invest their tax savings outside of the trust to produce additional income.

Income Options A CRT can be structured either as an annuity trust or as a unitrust. The type of CRT chosen determines how payments from the trust are calculated. If Angela chooses a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT), she and Jim will receive annual payments of a set percentage of the trust’s initial fair market value. The percentage must be at least 5% and cannot exceed 50%. A charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) would pay Jim and Angela an annual income based on the fair market value of the trust property, revalued each year. Again, the percentage must be at least 5% and cannot exceed 50%. If the trust investments perform well, the income will increase. Some people prefer to use a CRUT because it can provide a hedge against inflation. CRUTs also can accept additional gifts; CRATs cannot. Two other CRUT features that might appeal to Jim and Angela are the option to limit the annual payments to the trust’s income in any year when the trust’s income is less than the fixed percentage amount (a net-income CRUT or NICRUT) and the ability to include a “makeup” provision (a net-income makeup CRUT or NIMCRUT). The makeup provision would require the trustee to make higher payments in years in which the trust income exceeds the fixed percentage amount, to the extent that payments in prior years were less than the fixed percentage. How would these features help Jim and Angela? When they establish the CRUT, Angela could transfer the land and Jim could transfer a small amount of income-producing investments or cash to be invested. The trust could hold the land until Jim and Angela are ready to retire, paying them the income from the investments in the meantime. Then, the trustee could sell the appreciated land and invest in securities that would produce a current income for their retirement. Even if the investment income exceeds the fixed percentage set for their CRUT, the makeup provision would require the trustee to pay the excess to Jim and Angela to compensate for the earlier years of low income.

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A CRT also may offer some protection from creditors. Depending on the laws of their state, inserting spendthrift clauses in their trust agreement could protect the trust property from creditors. (In some states, spendthrift protection is applied automatically by statute.) Jim and Angela should be aware, though, that certain states extend spendthrift protection only to trust beneficiaries other than the trust grantor(s). A charitable remainder trust can be used to help accomplish numerous financial planning objectives. However, complex legal requirements must be met to secure many of the benefits a CRT offers. You’ll want to consult with your professional advisor before deciding to use a CRT in your financial planning. And, if you decide to establish a CRT, seriously consider using an experienced professional trustee, such as a bank or the charity itself, to administer your trust. Please contact Peter Waldron to schedule a complimentary review of your financial situation, call 925-659-0383, or email peter. 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. CRN201011-2047882 Advertorial

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 25

FREE Alamo Public Safety Fair, Saturday, March 24th Please join AIA and your community at the free Alamo Public Safety Fair in support of the many Emergency Response and Public Safety Organizations (and their personnel) that help protect you and your family members. The event will be held at Creekside Community Church located at 1350 Danville Blvd., Alamo on Saturday, March 24th from 10AM to 2PM. Learn about specific programs and opportunities for you to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Organizations attending include: AMERICAN RED CROSS – Emergency Services and Aid - The American Red Cross provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. By helping people learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, we strengthen our community and make it more resilient to disasters large and small. Visit www. CONTRA COSTA COUNTY COMMUNITY AWARENESS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE DEPARTMENT (CAER)- The CAER group is a non-profit public benefit corporation of public emergency response agencies, local government officials, and facilities and businesses that protect the use, storage, handling, production, and transportation of hazardous materials. For more information, visit CONTRA COSTA COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPT (OES) - OES coordinates information, plans for resources, and supports priorities among County agencies, local governments, and special districts. OES serves as a link between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and the County’s cities, towns, villages, and special districts.Learn more at CONTRA COSTA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT - The members of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deptartment have provided our communities with over 150 years of dedicated service. Their motto “Community Policing since

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1850” sums up their philosophy. No matter what challenges face us in the future, the citizens of Contra Costa County may be assured that the quality of life they now enjoy will be protected by the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office with HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT, LEADERSHIP, and TEAMWORK. The business of public safety is a partnership. Deputy Sheriffs and citizens must work closely together. Learn more at NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM – Cervato Circle, Alamo The Cervato Circle neighborhood in northwestern Alamo has established a Neighborhood Watch Program based on the guidelines from the National Sheriff’s Association. Details of the program are evolving and provide an example for other neighborhoods in Alamo. Neighbors are the only ones that know what is normal in any given neighborhood area. RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) Founded in 1952, the RACES is a pubic service provided by a reserve (volunteer) communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the government agencies they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation will be different, the common thread is communications. See for more information. SAN RAMON VALLEY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT (SRVFPD) - The SRVFPD provides all-risk fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, San Ramon, the southern area of Morgan Territory and the Tassajara Valley - all located in Contra Costa County. The District’s service area encompasses approximately 155 square miles and services a population of 169,900 residents. See their site at SRVUSD SAFETY PROGRAM – Emergency Evacuation Program - The San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) is committed to providing safe and orderly transportation services for all students and also to provide professional staff development and training, policy, resources, and professional responsible leadership. Visit Please join us at our Public Safety Fair, and participate in an opportunity to personally thank the first responders and support personnel from these great organizations, all while learning more about how to prepare yourself for an emergency! See you there!

By Peggy Horn

Renaissance Man This month’s film classic is, Renaissance Man, (1994) starring Danny DeVito and directed by Penny Marshall. This movie presents Mr. DeVito as Bill Rago, a Princeton educated advertising executive who graduates from self-importance to actual importance when he becomes a teacher to eight Army recruits that, according to their superiors, need to learn comprehension skills. Rago accomplishes this objective by guiding his students through an in depth study into the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. You may ask, “How can a movie from 1994 be a classic?” To this I reply that a classic film may be defined as one that has lasting significance or serves as an outstanding representative of its kind. This movie achieves classic status for its discussion of contemporary problems in a realistic and humorous, yet profound, way. For instance, every one of these recruits has talent and ability but all suffer from some form of neglect, abuse, or difficult circumstances that has handicapped their ability to succeed. Rago works with these young people, shows interest in their Lic# 1100014354; Bay Area Entertainment predicaments, and leads them to richer more enjoyable lives. Still, you may ask, “How can profound issues be humorous?” Here I make a declaration that humor is a natural and powerful vehicle for profundity. One of our famous American social commentators, Will Rogers, was adored for his humorous maxims. In earlier times, Academy Awards were enthusiastically given to comedies (It Happened One Night, (1934), You Can’t Take It With You, (1938), and The Sting, (1973) have all won Oscars). Here is a salute to humor and its restoration to importance in the American way of life! Renaissance Man, is available for purchase inexpensively online and at select DVD rental establishments.

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Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 27

ing rest for weary walkers, is a small memorial – the engraved plaques bearing the names of honored family members and friends. Each bench has a story. Donna Unini, Alamo resident since 1968, offers hers, “Thirty years ago, six Alamo men got together and formed The Church of Monday Night Football. To this day, they rotate from home to home with the host supplying dinner and each man bringing his own drinks. I and most Purveyors of classic, exotic, and of the other wives are not particularly football fans, but high-performance cars for more than 30 years. we attend each Super Bowl Sunday where we work a large jigsaw puzzle in front of the TV because we like California’s #1 Classic Car Dealer the commercials. ‘Church’ members, of which there Over 200 vehicles in inventory! have been a total of 13 over the years, came and went. Some moved out of state, and some returned to continue their membership. In 1996, the Church was saddened to lose an original member - Colonel Russ Honsowetz. The Colonel was an Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and won many medals, including the Purple Heart. The Church members decided that a bench on the Iron Horse Trail – which he so enjoyed - would be a great memorial for him. So, we bought a commemoShowrooms in Pleasanton, Benicia, and Fairfield. rative plaque. In 2000, when the Colonel’s wife Eileen passed away, another plaque was added to their bench | 800.600.2262 just south of Livorna. Recently, on the 30th anniversary of the Church, the three remaining original members and the rest of the group gathered at the bench and toasted the Colonel. It was a special occasion, and it ADAS Presents Two Events Artistic Fusion was the first time we had all gathered together at the bench since 1996. Alamo Danville Artists’ Society (ADAS) is hosting Artistic Fusion, featuring 45 gallery member artists exhibiting oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, photography, sculpture, wearable art, jewelry, and note cards. Among the artists are Barbara Davies, specializing in European street scenes, Norma Webb, finding inspiration in landscapes, and Pat Smith, designing fashionable scarves.Nancy Slack, glass art specialist, will exhibit her colorful eye catching platters and vases. In addition, guest artist, Carlo Sequin, University of California at Berkeley professor of Computer- Aided Geometric Design and Modeling, will have on display his computer gener“We use the trail four or five times a week, and my favorite thing besides the ated sculptures in bronze and FDM models. Carlo will be available at the beauty is the fact that I feel so safe on it, even early in the morning. The second reception for discussions relating to the computer’s place in art applications. th thing I enjoy is how many of the same people are always there to say good morn- The exhibit runs through March 25 and is free to the public seven days a AM PM 8 and Sunday 11AM - 6PM week, Monday Saturday, 10 ing and to share smiles. I feel as if they are friends. In fact, some of us have been Blackhawk Gallery is located at 3416 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, in Blackmeeting every morning for years in Alamo to share dogs and stories. And it all hawk Plaza. started on the trail. I often wonder what the story is behind each bench I pass.” Currently no bench spots are available for new dedications as there was an Primavera Spring Art Show and Wine Stroll overwhelming response to the program when it began. If you’d like to share your Elegant modern sculptures, traditional watercolors and oils, pottery, glass, artistic jewelry, textile, and many other types of art will be presented during the 35th Anbench story, please send an email to nual Spring Art Show, Primavera. Many local fine artists will display and sell their Branching Out artworks in the main rotunda and adjacent inside space in Blackhawk Plaza. The Town of Danville presents Branching Out during its upcoming exhibition. Wine vendors will be provide wine tasting. Primavera is a fundraiser for the In this exhibit, Branching Out refers to the creative push an artist makes while San Ramon Valley Schools art programs. staying grounded to such a universally recognized and admired subject, the tree. Primavera is open to members and non-members. The show is professionally Imagery of branches, roots, pods, figures, and more encourage the viewer to enter judged, and cash and ribbons are awarded to the winners. Artists in all mediums the work with nature as their guide and the renewal of spring as the backdrop. (2D and 3D) are welcome. The Call For Artists information and application are Branching Out is an invitational exhibition approved and selected by the Town at http://adas4 /spring-show/. of Danville’s Curatorial Committee. Exhibition dates are March 1 to April 13, The show will be held Saturday, May 5thand Sunday, May 6th at Blackhawk PM 2012. There will be an opening reception for the artists on March 1 from 5 to Plaza in the Rotunda Area. 8PM. Two special events are also scheduled for this exhibition: Young @ Art and The Alamo Danville Artists’ Society is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that Art Chat. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit www.danvillerecguide. fosters fine art appreciation and education within our communities, provides the opportunity for artists to further their artistic development, and supports the San com or call (925) 314-3400. Young @ Art! Ramon Valley Schools art programs through fund-raising. Thursday, March 15, 3:30PM to 5PM matter and what inspires them to explore that topic further. Come listen to two This new series of programs for children, ages 5 to 11, promises to be a fun established Bay Area artists, Elaine Coombs and Eric Zener, explore the evoluand educational way to introduce children to gallery exhibitions while stimulating their creativity. Explore topics such as theme, composition, installation practices, tion of their subject matter and find out how they are sustained and challenged media, and artistic vision. Children will work on an art project to take home that by their relationship to it. There will be a slideshow presentation from each artist showcasing their past and present work in addition to questions and light refreshis related to this exhibit by creating their own trees using spring motifs. ments. This is a free event. Art Chat: The Artists’ Muse Visit or call (925) 314-3400 for more inWednesday, March 28, 7PM to 9PM formation. People often wonder why or how an artist is drawn to a particular subject

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Vote continued from front page mode of election used for this measure, which is required in accordance with Prop. 218, written and championed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Prior to Prop. 218, no vote was required to assess a property related fee. And since property owners felt it unfair for renters and other non-owners to vote on property related fees, Prop. 218 specified that only property owners could vote in a property related election like the Clean Water Initiative. This means the Elections Department, which only tracks registered voters, cannot conduct the election and usually counties and cities hire an outside consultant to conduct the election, which has been done in this case. Further criticism has been generated because the county materials sent with the initiative ballot are vague and do not contain the usual supporting and opposing arguments voters use to make an informed choice. Prop. 218 did not specify that arguments should be sent with ballots to property owners. And, the fee to be charged is not specified in the materials sent, but is shown in tiny type on the address label of the ballot so voters have to search for the amount they will be charged. In Central County (Alamo), the base fee will be $22 per parcel per year for most property owners. However, this fee changes depending on the size of the parcel and the amount of impervious material (i.e. paving and roofs that cause stormwater runoff). I live on a one acre parcel, and my proposed fee is $34.20. The fee would raise $8 million countywide and would expire in 10 years. Revenue raised in each jurisdiction would stay in the jurisdiction: i.e., the fees paid by Danville homeowners can by law only go to the Town of Danville to be spent on clean water issues in the Town. However, since Alamo is an unincorporated area, the fees paid by Alamo can legally be spent anywhere in the County, as is true of all other sales and general property taxes paid by Alamo residents. Since 1993, county property owners have paid a stormwater runoff fee of $30 per half acre and $51 per acre (found on the front of your property tax bill as "Stormwater Utility Fee"). However, the nearly 20 year old fee was not indexed for inflation and costs for clean water mandates from the state and federal governments have exceeded the revenue raised for many years. The current initiative is a response by the County and its 19 incorporated cities to deal with the increasing costs of clean water standards. Clean water is an important issue. Alamo's San Ramon Creek, which runs through the center of town, would benefit from this initiative. It is important to keep San Ramon Creek clean. However, voters might ask, is this the right measure to do this? To help you make an informed choice, here are the major opposing and supporting arguments, gleaned from published reports and research. Supporters include the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley. Supporters give the following arguments in favor: 1) Federal and state unfunded mandates for clean water means cities and the county have had to dip into general funds to cover the costs of meeting the mandates. This negatively affects the amount of general fund money available for law enforcement, parks and other municipal services. 2) The fee is minimal and for the vast majority of households will amount to less than $2 per month. It is a small price to pay to keep our bay, streams, and creeks free of debris which ends up there from stormwater runoff from our properties. 3) The fee will expire in 10 years, and voters can evaluate the costs and benefits again. An independent Citizens Oversight Committee will oversee expenditures and conduct mandatory annual audits. 4) Only property owners are being asked to vote because only property owners will pay the fee. This is the right way to conduct a property owner election. 5) If this measure doesn't pass, it will only end up costing taxpayers more in the future as local jurisdictions are liable for huge fines if they don't meet clean water standards. Better to pay this small amount now rather than a larger amount

down the road. Opponents include the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association and nearly every individual who spoke at the Board hearing on the measure. They give the following arguments in opposition: 1) It is bad timing to increase fees on property owners at a time of economic distress and falling property values. 2) There are no specific programs listed in the ballot that would be funded by the fee. 3) By calling this a fee, the measure is an end run around Proposition 13, which would require a 2/3 vote for any tax increase. 4) The fee differs in three areas in Contra Costa County that seem to have no other basis than what polls show people will pay. 5) The fee is not modest like stated (businesses can pay thousands of dollars) and because it is indexed for inflation, the fee can be raised annually for the next ten years. 6) There is already a similar fee on your tax bill that goes to fund stormwater cleanup. 7) The “calculations” include vague number justification and include dubious amounts for public outreach. 8) There are no scientific studies that validate the claims that are being made for the need for many of the issues raised. 9) The trash reduction component in the measure is unrealistic and could actually cause flooding when such small particulates are trapped (think leaves in the fall). 10) The state has recently announced that property related fees are not deductible from state income taxes like property taxes are, and the state will begin to enforce this. That means this “fee” won't even be tax deductible. (Thanks to the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association for most of the opposing arguments). Those are the pros and cons for you to decide. Please remember to get your ballots in by April 6. Editor’s note: The author is a member of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, which has taken a position on this initiative.

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Multiple Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis By Michael Nelson, M.D. There are few neurological conditions that have as many potential symptoms as multiple sclerosis. As a medical student doing their neurology rotation, if you wanted to sound smart, you could give multiple sclerosis as a diagnosis to almost any neurological symptom. These symptoms include vision loss, numbness, weakness, dizziness, hearing changes, bladder changes, fatigue, memory loss, incoordination, slurred speech, swallowing trouble, burning sensation, word finding difficult; well you get the idea. These multiple symptoms also lead to a lot of anxiety in patients that look up their symptoms on the internet and then become convinced they have multiple sclerosis (MS). Let me give you an example. You wake up in the morning, and your hand is asleep. You become concerned and search “hand numbness” on the internet, and multiple sclerosis comes up. You then read about fatigue and memory loss as other symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and the next thing you know you are dialing my office for an urgent appointment. While I generally feel that the internet is helpful in medicine, this morning it has lead you astray. It can’t separate simply sleeping on your hand verses having a serious neurological condition. Common symptoms like fatigue and memory loss add to the trouble. Who isn’t tired or occasionally forgets things? Most symptoms of multiple sclerosis come on over several days and leave over several weeks. They are constant during this period. Because the symptoms come from a plaque forming in a specific part of the brain or spinal cord, they follow neurological patterns consistent with those locations.

The Brow Lift By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc. Our natural aging process lets gravity accelerate the descent of one of the most prominent features of our face, our brow. Take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror. • Are you using your forehead muscles to hold up your brow? • Do you see horizontal lines on your forehead? • Do you have to hold your forehead up in order to see? Patients often mistakenly relate these issues to needing their eyelids rejuvenated (blepharoplasty). However, these issues are not resolved with the pulled back look of a blepharoplasty alone. What is needed is a complete repositioning of the brow to a natural, youthful position…a brow lift. The brow line for women tends to be proportionally higher on the face and is naturally arched – positioned just above the rim of the upper orbital bone. In men, the brow line is less arched and is positioned closer to the rim. As we age, the change from a youthful position of the brow presents itself as forehead wrinkles, as a subtle hood, or as excess skin over the eyes or on the brow between the eyes. A sagging forehead places excess tissue at the eye brow line and just above the eyes. This gives the face a tired, frowning, and often times, angry look. This sagging tissue can actually also impair vision. Repositioning the tissues back to their natural location eases this aged appearance and opens up the eye region of the face. When evaluating the face during a consult, I look at and make note of the morphology/anatomic features, I evaluate those changes resulting from the aging process. Morphology refers to the shape or form of anatomy. It is the morphology of the face, rather than the anatomy itself, that we change through aesthetic surgery. As a highly trained Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, I understand the artistry behind morphology while also possessing the detailed knowledge of the related anatomy essential for superior aesthetic surgery results. Depending on age, there are a variety of ways to achieve a brow lift. Younger patients can have carefully placed Botox to temporarily lift the eyebrow and smooth the forehead. However, expert placement of Botox used for this purpose is required to ensure the eyelid does not inadvertently droop. Fillers such as Sculptra, Juvederm, Radiesse, and Restylane can also be used to provide a minor lift to the brow. These treatments can last anywhere from four months for Botox to two years for Sculptra or Radiesse. Additionally, recent advances in Laser technology

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 29 It is more common to have an entire leg go numb rather than just your big toe. Another example is change in vision. The vision change of multiple sclerosis is most commonly optic neuritis which leads to decreased vision in one eye. Don’t forget about the timing pattern. If you have symptoms for thirty seconds, it’s not going to be multiple sclerosis. The other important consideration of multiple sclerosis is the multiple part of the name. This refers to have two events separated by time and location. For example, a young woman had optic neuritis two years ago and is now coming to my office with entire right leg numbness. She probably has multiple sclerosis. Now I do realize that I am giving the older definition of multiple sclerosis and MRI technology combined with a lumbar puncture can greatly predict the chance of having multiple sclerosis after one event. My point is that a single event is harder to diagnosis and more likely to be innocent. Your age will also help judge your chance of having multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in women aged 20-40 and men aged 30-50. So, if you are old enough to live in Rossmoor, and you have a new neurological symptom, it is probably not going to be multiple sclerosis. Hopefully this article will provide some education into the puzzling world of neurology. Proper diagnosis of any of the above symptoms should be made by a neurologist. Neurologists are medical specialists who treat multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. If you would like to learn more about multiple sclerosis or contribute to its cure, please visit the MS Society website at Michael Nelson, M.D. is a board certified adult neurologist who has been serving general neurology patients in the East Bay for the past nine years. His office is located at 970 Dewing Ave, Suite #300 in Lafayette. He can be reached at (925) 299-9022 to schedule and appointment and can also be Advertorial found on the web at allow treatment that can reinvigorate the collagen in the skin, providing a short term natural looking lift to the brow. When we start looking at longer-lasting results available through the use of surgical options, there have been significant technological advancements in the procedure which have improved effectiveness while ensuring a more natural look post-surgery. Surgical brow lifts are performed either “open” or “closed.” In most cases I prefer to perform a closed, or endoscopic, brow lift. The endoscopic brow lift procedure utilizes small incisions in the hairline and a tiny microscope to guide the surgeon during the procedure. Post-operative recovery time is shorter, and results are more natural looking. An open brow lift involves a longer incision at the hairline or scalp, allowing for removal of forehead tissue and excess skin when necessary, and tends to be more appropriate for a patient with a high forehead. A closed brow lift is appropriate for patients with a moderate or low forehead as there is generally little or no skin removed with a closed procedure. Whether open or endoscopic, the brow lift procedure is the same. The tissue above the forehead bone is released and re-positioned. Small muscles which cause frowning are weakened or removed. The tissues are then re-attached to the bone using sutures, screws, or, my preference, endotine technology. The absorbable natural endotine plate holds the brow in its new position after surgery and during the healing process. Endotine technology enables the soft tissue of the forehead to be repositioned and fixed into place so it can heal as the surgeon intends. An endotine is made of the same substance as dissolvable sutures and is ultimately absorbed by the body. Many of my patients elect to have a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) at the same time as the brow lift. A blepharoplasty removes the sagging skin which develops around the eyes. We target the upper eye, lower eye, or both. Laser skin resurfacing around the eyes is also often incorporated with the brow lift to rejuvenate the eyelid skin and to eliminate crow’s feet. The brow, eyelid, and face are best rejuvenated from the top down. That means we evaluate the brow and move lower to the eyelids, cheeks, chin, and neck when discussing your goals for a natural, aesthetic, and lasting change. It would be my pleasure to consult with you on how the aesthetic benefits of a brow lift may be the change you are looking for… back to a more natural and youthful facial appearance. Barbara Persons, MD is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. She is available at Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc. 911 Moraga Rd, Suite 205, Lafayette 925-283-4012 or info@ Advertorial

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What’s You Number? By Brandi Geiger MS, CMT No, I’m not asking for your phone number! I’m talking about your BMR, as in your basal metabolic rate. “What’s that?,” you may be asking. Your BMR is the amount of energy or calories your body expends during the course of the day in order for your body to function in a normal state...that’s not including exercise. Energy expended or calories burned is based on our organs and our body composition, as in fat mass vs. lean mass. As we age, our BMR decreases because we don’t maintain our lean mass and we become more sedentary. How many of you are as active as you were when you were younger? I know I’m not in as good of shape as I was before my back injury because I’m not working out as hard. I’m working at getting stronger again, and I really have to control my food intake in order to maintain my weight. It’s a balancing act. If we are not as active, we also don’t need as many calories. If we are still eating the same way we did when we were younger, the weight will creep on us. Bummer, I hate when that happens! I want to eat what I want and not have to work so hard...too bad, so sad. I don’t have those blessed genes to be able to do that! Most people don’t. About 70% of a human’s total energy expenditure is due to the basal life processes within the organs of the body (liver 27%, brain 19%, heart 7%, kidneys 10% skeletal muscle 18% and other organs 19%). Almost 20% of one's energy expenditure comes from physical activity and another 10% from thermogenosis, or digestion of food (protein, carbohydrates and fats). Therefore, what we eat can affect our metabolism and how we look and feel. We can’t build a healthy body by eating 1,500 calories of cookies instead of 1,500 calories of lean meats, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. So, the type of calories count as well. It use to be believed that aerobic exercise increased our metabolism, but studies have shown that not to be all true. We burn more calories while

Benign Skin Growths By Dr. Kelly Hood As we grow older, we see and feel certain changes in our skin, the body’s largest and most visible organ. Most unwanted aging-associated skin problems can be addressed by therapies now available.

Brown Spots Brown spots, whether sun spots, freckles, “liver spots,” “age spots,” or melasma, are a source of frequent complaints by my patients. These lesions are Dr. Kelly Hood, Lafayette caused by excess pigment production, and they have nothing to do with the liver. Common causes of excess pigment production are excessive sun exposure, genetics, hormones, and medications. Patients often find these dark spots annoying and difficult to cover with makeup. For this reason, there are hundreds of products on the market touted as “lightening creams.” Although there are many products available, the number of effective products is relatively small. The most effective topical agents contain hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is available in 2% concentrations over the counter and higher percentages in prescription products. It is effective as a sole agent, but it is often combined with other agents such as tretinoin, glycolic acid, or kojic acid. There have been concerns about the safety of hydroquinone. However, side effects associated with topical use of hydroquinone have been limited to only blue brown marks in areas of prolonged use. This is an extremely rare occurrence and is more common in patients with darker skin types who have used over the counter hydroquinones for years. Intense pulsed light (IPL) laser treatment is extremely effective for removing flat pigmented lesions. This is an in office procedure that causes the pigmented lesions to slough off. Diligent sun protection is required, but there is very little down time with this treatment.

Red Spots and Blood Vessel Lesions Cherry angioma are harmless, small, bright red domes created by dilated blood vessels. They occur in 85% of people over 40 usually on the trunk. Electrocautery and laser therapy removes these spots. doing cardiovascular exercise, but it doesn’t stay elevated after we finish. The studies have shown that it is actually anaerobic exercise, such as weight training that increases our metabolism. That makes perfect sense, since muscle burns calories and fat does not. The more muscle we have, the higher our metabolism. Therefore, weight training is VERY important to increasing our metabolism as well as building strength. Don’t let the weights scare you! I hear many women say, “I don’t want to do weights because I will get bulky. I don’t want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Don’t worry ladies, you won’t! Most women don’t have the testosterone to bulk up unless they are using enhancement drugs. What women notice is their muscles getting stronger and more tone, but they don’t change their eating habits to shed the excess fat as fast. There will be a period of time that your pants may feel tight, but if you are eating Paleo style (a diet based on the presumed ancient caveman diet of wild plants and animals), the fat will melt away as you strengthen and tone your muscles. Cardio may make you look fabulous in clothes, but weight training will make you look fabulous naked or in a bikini! So how do we figure out our BMR? Here is a quick formula that will give you a rough estimate of how many calories you need a day. Women: BMR=655+(4.35 x weight in lbs)+(4.7 x height in inches)-(4.7 x age in years) Men: BMR=66+(6.23 x weight in lbs)+(12.7 x height in inches)-(6.8 x age in years). You will probably realize that we don’t need many calories, so make them count and make your workouts count. If you want to learn more, I have a Tanita Scale that measures your BMR, fat mass, lean mass, and more. For more healthy tips and tricks, follow me on Facebook and Twitter at ‘Fit Mind n Body’ or You can also visit for more information. My office is located at 55 Oak Ct #130 in Danville. You can email me at or call (925) 984-9259. Advertorial Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well. “Broken capillaries” or telangietasia are dilated facial blood vessels. These are usually related to rosacea or sun exposure. They also respond to laser treatment. Bruising or purpura is common in seniors. Many seniors complain of black and blue marks or bruises, particularly on the arms and legs. These are usually the result of the skin becoming thinner with age and sun damage. Loss of fat and connective tissue weakens the support around blood vessels, making them more susceptible to injury. Bruising in areas always covered by clothing should be evaluated by a doctor. Bruising is sometimes caused by medications that Dr. Shanny Baughman, Alamo interfere with blood clotting or internal disease. Varicose veins are enlarged leg veins that appear blue and bulging. They are common in older individuals. The veins become twisted and swollen when blood returning to the heart against gravity flows back into the veins through a faulty valve. This condition is rarely dangerous. The aching associated with varicose veins can be eased by avoiding standing for long periods, by keeping feet elevated when sitting or lying down and by wearing support hose or elastic bandages. More severe cases can be treated with surgery. Injections and laser therapy may remove smaller varicosities. Varicose ulcers are caused by the same sluggish blood flow that results in varicose veins. When a crack or cut occurs in the skin of the leg, it may fail to heal because of poor blood flow. The injury can develop into an ulcer or shallow wound that may contain opus or infection. The ulcers may last for months or even years, healing poorly. Varicose ulcers often develop at the ankles. They may be accompanied by swelling and red, itchy scaly skin around the ulcer. Another cause of ulcers on the legs is poor blood flow in the arteries. This condition is associated with medical disorders such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes. To have your skin evaluated by a board certified dermatologist and have a treatment specifically designed for your skin, contact Dr. Kelly Hood, 970 Dewing, Suite 301, Lafayette, 925-283-5500, or Dr. Shanny Baughman at Alamo Oaks Dermatology, 3189 Danville Blvd, suite 130, Alamo, Advertorial 925-362-0992,

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 31

Your Personal Nutritionist By Linda Michaelis, RD. MS. An Overweight Teen Case Study and a Few Tips on Controlling Sodium Intake


With Them

my story Continues.

I see a lot of overweight teenagers – I have a particular empathy for them because I also had weight problems in my teens and overcame them. Teenagers typically share a similar pattern of skimping on food during the day and overeating from 4PM on. Let me tell you about my 16 year old client Molly. Molly skips breakfast and eats a Cliff bar for a morning snack, drinks several glasses of juice and at least one Coke each day, and usually has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with either an apple or salad with chips for lunch. She admits that when she comes home she is ravenous and can’t remember anything she has eaten. Her favorite after school snack is either multiple quesadillas or several bowls of cereal. When she sits down to dinner with the family she is not hungry but eats anyway because mom prepares a healthy meal. Dad has a sweet tooth and loves to end the meal with dark chocolate, a habit which Molly has taken on as well. The only time Molly has a good source of fiber and protein is at dinner when mom makes her chicken and broccoli that she loves. After evaluating Molly’s eating habits, it was obvious that she was eating very little protein and fiber, and this was the reason she was feeling hungry all the time. I educated AT CONTRA COSTA ONCOLOGY, we are committed to providing WALNUT CREEK Molly and mom on how to read food labels the highest quality care. Specializing in comprehensive cutting-edge treatment SAN RAMON for protein and fiber. I showed them many high programs for all forms of cancer and blood disorders, our nationally recognized CONCORD protein and high fiber foods that Molly was oncology experts and specialized oncology nurses are dedicated to providing ROSSMOOR the best possible care experience. We understand the wide array of concerns open to trying such as Kashi Go Lean cereal, and challenges faced by you and your family, so we ensure the most sophisticated DANVILLE oatmeal with yummy toppings, and quinoa. levels of medical oncology and hematology care, while providing you with the Since Mom works and Molly doesn’t prepare utmost support, compassion, and respect. anything for herself, Molly simply eats the easiest 925.939.9610 thing. After finding out her likes and dislikes, I prepared a list of lunches and after school snacks that included her favorite foods (including broccoli) and stressed it was Molly’s responsibility to take a few minutes each day to prepare the right foods. I suggested she continue with her protein consumption for dinner but that she lessen the portion and use some of the dinner portions for her sandwich or salad the next day. We talked about adding fiber to Molly’s lunch with items such as black beans with salsa and 100% whole wheat breads and crackers. For snack she will have a small baked potato topped with broccoli and cheese, or even scrambled eggs with a whole wheat English muffin. I told Molly if she substitutes all of the sugar in the glasses of orange juice and Cokes with non-sugar drinks, then she can enjoy a nice dessert each day. Molly was thrilled that after two weeks of counseling she had lost 7 pounds. The high blood pressure epidemic we read about is certainly visible in my practice. The new dietary guideline for those who have hypertension is to consume no more than 1,500 mg/day – quite a low amount when you consider a packet of oatmeal has 240mg, a slice of bread has 130mg, a one ounce slice of cheese has 170mg, and a tablespoon of butter has 80mg. The most common question I’m asked is, “How can I enjoy food and limit my sodium?” After discussing their habits, I often wind up suggesting they save all their salt for one meal a day, whether it be while out at a restaurant, socializing, or just being in the mood for some pizza. That way they don’t deprive themselves when their other meals can more easily be salt-free. Common suggestions include cooking your own one minute oatmeal, whole wheat couscous or pasta, quinoa, or even legumes. Then all you have to do is add your own meats and veggies with spices like lemon pepper, garlic, onions, wine, lemon juice, or low salt chicken stock. Create a salad and make your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs. By the way, most desserts are not laden with sodium. It’s also important to keep your weight under control, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, limit alcohol to two drinks per day, and drink lots of water. Finally, take your vitamin supplements and fish oils, eat lots of fruits and veggies. Molly’s visits were paid for by her Hill Physicians health insurance which cover 10 visits a year. Many health insurance plans cover my services. Please feel free to call me at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail me at and tell me about your nutritional concerns. Refer to my website Advertorial for past articles, recipes, and nutrition tips.

Page 32 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

Post Office continued from page 14

Our mission is to provide personalized care, help that is now known as Jack London Square in maintain independence and enhance our Oakland. The Post Office was established on client’s quality of life on a daily basis. November 6, 1851, and it was part of Contra • Free in-home assessments • Regular home visits Costa County. It became part of Alameda ensure the right care plan • Hourly care Heartfelt & County when Alameda County was created for you • Live-in care Supportive • Fully bonded and insured • Geriatric care mgmt. on March 28, 1853. Contra Costa changed • Elder referral and placement its name to Oakland on March 2, 1855. At All Times... 3645 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite D San Ramon followed with the sixth Post OfLafayette, CA 94549 fice established in Contra Costa County. The (beside Trader Joe’s) 925-284-1213 name San Ramon comes from the Rancho San Ramon, which was granted to Bartolo Pacheco and Mariano Castro in 1833. “cottonwood” tree. The town was settled in 1852 and for many years The Post Office was established on Jan 20, 1852. On November 16, 1859, was a station of the branch line of the Oakland & Antioch Railroad which it was discontinued. The post office reopened on December 4, 1873. ran from Saranap to the resort town of Diablo. The first Postmaster was John M. Jones. Alamo is the second longest continuously run Post Office in Contra Costa County. To put things in perspective, Alamo existed before the following cities: San Pablo (1854), Lafayette (1857), Danville (1860), Walnut Creek (1862), Concord (1872), and Orinda (1888). This year on May 18th marks the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Post Office in Alamo. It is the second oldest continuously run Post Office in Contra Costa County and one of the oldest Post Offices in California. Alamo was never a town, never a city. We who live in Alamo should be proud of its heritage and perhaps when we go to the Post Office we should congratulate George and his fellow workers for being there. Our Post Office has served us a very, very long time. For questions or comments please email or visit Letter with a 3¢ 1861, cancelled by manuscript, and a matching Alamo, July 6th, 1866 postmark to Martinez, CA. By 1866, something had happened to the hand stamp.

Elk Horn became the seventh Post Office established in Contra Costa County on May 7, 1852. The combined home, store, Post Office, stage stop, and hotel was located on the 1850’s road from Martinez to the San Joaquin Valley, about 14 miles NE of Livermore Ranch and 9 miles west of Tracy. It became part of Alameda County on March 28, 1853, when it was created and discontinued on December 17, 1853. The eighth Post Office established in Contra Costa County opened on May 18, 1852, in Alamo. Alamo is the Spanish word for “poplar” or

A Multivitamin a Day... By Jewel Johl, MD Multivitamin use is widespread in the U.S. There is general belief that multivitamin use can help prevent diseases such as cancer and reduce the risk of recurrence among cancer survivors. More than half of the American population currently uses dietary supplements, the majority of which are multivitamins. Even though vitamin deficiency is uncommon in the U.S., the use of vitamins is growing; it is currently a $20 billion industry. There is conflicting data on the benefit of using multivitamins for reducing the risk of cancer. The Women’s Health Initiative study, for example, did not demonstrate any reduction in the risk of cancer for those who used multivitamins. Several studies, however, have shown that certain vitamins such as folate, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, and retinol help fight cancer. Even though aspirin is not a vitamin, its use has been associated with reduced risk of colon cancer, especially in individuals at high risk, such as those with Lynch syndrome. There is even less information about the benefit of multivitamins for patients with established colon cancer. This issue was explored in a clinical trial in which patients with stage III colon cancer who were treated with chemotherapy were asked whether they took multivitamins on a daily basis. In this clinical trial, almost half of the patients with colon cancer

A 1¢ small USPOD watermarked postcard, cancelled by manuscript Alamo August 18, (18)75 postmark to San Francisco with black San Francisco Carrier postmark. It wasn’t until 1888 that Alamo started to use a hand stamp to cancel and postmark mail.

who received chemotherapy took multivitamins on a daily basis. The rate of cancer recurrence in multivitamin users was then determined and compared to those who did not use multivitamins. There was no difference in terms of risk of recurrence of colon cancer in either group, i.e. use of multivitamins did not help prevent recurrence of colon cancer. These results are consistent with a conference statement from the National Institutes of Health that concluded there was insufficient evidence to recommend either for or against the use of multivitamins for chronic disease prevention. Nonetheless, further research is needed to assess the utility of individual vitamins in patients with established colorectal cancer. Dr. Johl is a Medical Oncologist specializing in treating colorectal cancers. He practices with Diablo Valley Oncology, located at the California Cancer and Research Institute in Pleasant Hill. The center brings together medical oncology, hematology, radiation, chemotherapy, diagnostic imaging, clinical trials, and supportive care services. Satellite offices are located Advertorial in Rossmoor, San Ramon, and Brentwood. (925) 677-5041

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 33

An American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey reveals that 92% of adult respondents say an attractive smile is an important social asset. 74% believe an unattractive smile can hurt a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chances for a successful career. More than any other facial feature, a smile can reflect trust, comfort, confidence and the shortest path to reflecting your personality. Dr Rader is a graduate of the prestigious Las Vegas Institute (LVI), a renowned center for cosmetic,TMJ, and Neuromuscular dentistry. He is one of a few dentists nationwide to complete Full Mouth Reconstruction curriculum at LVI.

925.932.1855 Alex Rader DDS General, Cosmetic, and Neuromuscular Dentistry 1855 San Miguel Dr, Suite 12 â&#x20AC;˘ Walnut Creek, CA

The Eye Opener By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Save Your Vision Month Since March is Save Your Vision Month, we should look at the different ways to preserve and maintain your vision. Obviously, annual comprehensive exams are where everyone should start to assure good vision, binocular vision, and ocular health. In addition, taking care of your overall health and limiting certain occupational issues such as extended computer use and workplace injuries are a few of the ways that decreased vision and loss of vision can be avoided. By far the easiest manner in which to save and maintain your vision is to take care of your eyes through good overall medical health and yearly exams. It is of great importance to maintain your body in good shape and to keep any diseases such as diabetes and hypertension under good medical control. These two diseases in particular account for a large percentage of vision loss in adults. Even though these conditions cannot necessarily be prevented, they can be managed well through life style changes including smoking cessation, diet, exercise, and medication if needed. Diabetes and hypertension can have devastating effects on the body, including the eye; therefore, annual exams are paramount to assure that these and other systemic ailments are not affecting the eye. Examination of the retina gives a direct view for observing the blood vessels and allows for a visual assessment of their structure and stability without an invasive procedure. Now that your health is taken care of, we can start to address some common environmental issues that affect our everyday life but are not necessarily good for the eyes. Computers, smartphones, iPads, Kindles, etc. have become such a mainstay in our lives that is not uncommon that people are using more than one of these devices for long periods of time on a daily basis. However, prolonged use can cause eyestrain and fatigue, even in the most optimal of situations. Uncorrected or under-correction

Actual patient, smile design by Alex Rader, DDS

for near tasks, glare, lighting, viewing angles, dryness, and viewing distance can all affect comfortable viewing at the computer. Making sure all of these situations are addressed can go a long way in improving your comfort and vision while working on your computer or phone. Lastly, ocular injuries in the workplace occur about 2,000 times per day in the United States. The good news is that almost 90% of these can be prevented. The common injuries from chemicals splashing in the eyes, foreign bodies, UV exposure, and trauma from activities such as sports usually occur because a person was either not wearing any eye protection or was wearing the wrong type of protection. People that work with chemicals, fumes, and possible infectious diseases should wear goggles. If you work with flying objects or particles, your protective glasses should be OSHA approved for the activity, have side shields, and have lenses made out of polycarbonate. Other workplace hazards such as exposure to radiation and lasers must have shields that are designed and manufactured to block the particular wavelength being studied. The situations discussed here are obviously not all that can be done to prevent vision loss. However, the theme of maintaining good overall health, keeping any medical conditions well-treated, and eye protection whenever necessary are all huge factors in preventing vision loss. 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 Advertorial Alamo Optometry Facebook page.

Hearing Loss Association Come to meetings of the Diablo Valley Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America at 7pm on the 1st Wednesday of the month at the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church located at 1543 Sunnyvale Ave., Walnut Creek Education Bldg., Wesley Room. Meeting room and parking are at back of church. All are welcome. Donations accepted. Assistive listening system is available for T-coils, and most meetings are captioned. Contact: or 925.264.1199 or

Page 34 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

What is Chiropractic and How Does it Work? By Drs. Jerry and Malia Kenny, Kenny Family Chiropractic Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes in the power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery. A Doctor of Chiropractic (Chiropractor) focuses on the relationship between structure (spine) and function (nervous system) and how that relationship affects, improves, and restores better health. Because chiropractic treatments are primarily applied to the spinal region, many individuals incorrectly assume that chiropractors treat only back and neck ailments. While we do quickly and effectively eliminate back and neck pain, it’s not our only goal. The objective is to restore and optimize human health. In fact, according to a statement from The Association of Chiropractic Colleges, “The purpose of chiropractic is to optimize health.”

What Does a Sports Chiropractor Specialize In? The focus of chiropractic sports specialists is to provide care in the conservative management, rehabilitation, and performance optimization of neuromusculoskeletal system for athletic populations and to participate in a multidisciplinary sports injury care. Sports chiropractors have made contributions to protective gear and trauma management in contact sports, athletic health maintenance, therapy, and enhanced rehabilitation after injury. Spinal injury prevention has been identified as a role that sports chiropractors play.

What are Orthotics and Why are Specific Orthotics Important to Your Health? The feet are the foundation of the body. They support you when you stand, walk, or run. Feet also help protect your spine, bones, and soft tissues from stress as you move. By stabilizing and balancing your feet, orthotics enhance your body’s performance and efficiency, reduce pain, and contribute to your total body wellness. There are many brands of orthotics out there, but we have found Foot Levelers offer a very specific and individualized orthotic for different structured feet. Most people think their foot only has one arch, when there are actually three: the inner arch, outer arch, and across the ball of the foot we have the metatarsal arch. The three arches are interconnected to form the plantar vault. Orthotics is extremely helpful in supporting the foot bones and muscles, which maintains the structure of the plantar vault to balance the entire body.

What is Cold Laser Therapy and Its Benefits? Cold Laser therapy is non-invasive, safe, and scientifically and clinically proven to be highly effective at treating numerous conditions. Cold Laser treatment can help you get out of pain, reduces inflammation, relieves both acute and chronic types of pain, and speeds up tissue repair by generating new and healthy cells and tissue.

What are the Many Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage Therapy? Although there are many different types of massages, deep tissue massage therapy has benefits that will release toxins within the body, relax the mind, and release tension. Deep tissue massage is perfect for anyone who lives a hectic lifestyle and wants to set some time aside and indulge in relaxation. Not only does it help relax uptight and tense muscles, but did you know that muscles that are overly tense over time can actually cause health problems for many individuals? To have your health evaluated by a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic, contact Dr Malia Kenny, Dr. Jerry Kenny, or Dr. Mahsa Khodabakhsh at 925-838-9355 for a Complimentary Consultation today. Visit our website at Mention Alamo Today and receive a $17 Advertorial Spinal Assessment.

Cancer Support Community

Hospice of the East Bay

The following events are held at Cancer Support Community which is located at 3276 McNutt Avenue in Walnut Creek. Classes are free, but reservations are required. For information, call (925) 933-0107. Spirituality Through the Cancer Journey – This workshop focuses on religious traditions across cultures, how they can be helpful to those who are ill or at the end of life, and how spirituality can enhance wellbeing and quality of life. For people with cancer and their caregivers. Facilitated by Miriam Weisel, Chaplain with Evercare Hospice. Tuesday, March 13th from 2PM – 4PM. Cancer Transitions Series – This series focuses on many of the psychosocial and practical issues faced once cancer treatment is over. Learn ways to improve lifestyle, establish and incorporate exercise and nutrition goals, and understand medical monitoring during survivorships. Requires six week commitment. For cancer survivors two weeks to two years out of treatment. Mondays, March 19th through April 30th from 6PM – 8:30PM. Making Informed Choices – Learn steps to take in making treatment decisions and questions to ask about benefits and risks of standard treatments and treatments under study in clinical trials. Also, learn how new cancer treatments are developed and approved, how to sort out the myths from the facts about clinical trials, and how to locate clinical trials that may be right for you. Facilitated by Robert Robles, MD, medical oncologist with Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology. For people with cancer and their caregivers. Tuesday, March 20th from 6-8PM. Herbs and Cancer Treatment – Cancer treatment can often severely compromise the immune system. Learn how medicinal mushrooms, herbs, foods, and supplements can be used to safely build and support the immune system during and after treatment. Facilitated by Blythe Adams, a Western Clinical Herbalist in private practice. Saturday, March 24th from 10AM - Noon.

To register for the following classes, please call Hospice of the East Bay at (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration is required. You can also find the most current Bereavement Services calendar at Support Groups for Adults: Adults Who Have Lost a Parent: • Pleasant Hill - Mondays, 6 - 8PM ~ April 16 - June 11(No meeting May 28) Widow and Widowers’ Support: • Pleasant Hill - Thursdays, 2 to 4PM ~ April 5 -May 24 Drop-In Bereavement Support Group: • Pleasant Hill - 4:30 - 6PM ~ 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month Bereavement Services are provided free of charge to all community members in need; however, donations are greatly appreciated. Established in 1977, Hospice of the East Bay is a not-for-profit agency that helps people cope with end of life by providing medical, emotional, spiritual, and practical support for patients and families, regardless of their ability to pay. Hospice of the East Bay is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit, organization that relies on the support of the community we serve.

To place an ad, share a story, or for more information about our papers, call us at 925.405.6397 or visit our website

Moving for Life – Exercise for Cancer Recovery The California Cancer and Research Institute presents “Moving for Life – Exercise for Cancer Recovery” on Tuesdays from 6-7PM and Thursdays from 10-11AM at 400 Taylor Blvd #300 in Pleasant Hill. This class is a nationally recognized dance-based exercise program tailored for people with cancer, from diagnosis through treatment and onward. This aerobic and expressive exercise program: • Promotes increased range of motion, lymphatic drainage, aerobic capacity, strength-training, flexibility, and coordination • Enhances body image and overall body-minded wellness • Addresses fatigue, muscular weakness, weight gain and joint or bone pain • Provides realistic tools to deal with stress • Awakens and enlivens bodies and souls • Designed to teach and empower, so you can use techniques at home • Helps to alleviate symptoms of chemo brain For more details and to register, call Shayna at 925-677-5041 x231. Please bring your own yoga mat.

Alamo Today ~ March 2012 - Page 35

Family, Cosmetic, and Full Mouth Rehabilitation Dentistry • General Dentistry • Implants • Endodontics • Veneers • Periodontics • Oral Surgery • Orthodontics • FREE CUSTOM WHITENING FOR LIFE • Spa-like Anxiety-Free Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Evangelista • Dr Wong. • Dr. Wilson

925-831-8310 220 Alamo Plaza, Suite E, Alamo


APD is proud to introduce Dr. Amanda Wilson for your complete Orthodontic care. We are excited to bring in traditional braces as well as porcelain tooth colored braces. Please call today for a FREE consultation.

Exam, Cleaning & X-Ray


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Stroke Support Group

Is Food a Problem for You?

The Stroke Support Group Of Contra Costa County will hold its monthly meeting in the Ball Auditorium at John Muir Medical Center, located at 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek, on Monday, March 12 from 7-9PM. The speaker will Bob Kain, Executive Director of Diablo Valley Foundation of the Aging on the topic “Enabling You to Live with Optimal Independence and Freedom.” After the program, attendees will break up into three coping groups: stroke survivors without aphasia, stroke survivors with aphasia, and caregivers and families of stroke survivors. Each group will be led by a trained professional. For further information about the Stroke Support Group, contact Ann Dzuna at (925) 376-6218. Meetings are free and open to the public.

Overeaters Anonymous offers a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience and mutual support, are recovering from compulsive overeating. This is a 12step program. The free meetings are for anyone suffering from a food addiction including overeating, under-eating, and bulimia. The group meets Wednesdays at 6PM at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Lafayette. Visit for more information.







CONDO VACATION RENTAL Mauna Lani Resort, Big Island. New luxury 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo on 4th fairway. Minimum 3 night stay. Contact Alamo owners for discounted rate. 925.381.7042

Mended Hearts The John Muir Chapter of Mended Hearts will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 8th at 7pm in the Lesher Auditorium located at John Muir Medical Center-Concord Campus, 2540 East Avenue, Concord. Mended Hearts provides support for cardiac patients, their families, and caregivers. For more information contact Nancy Mitchell at 925-943-7549.







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 36 - March 2012 ~ Alamo Today

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The Combs Team Professionals You Can Count On



Call the Combs Team


925-989-6086 Last month I reported that the high end real estate market bottomed and showed some signs of upward movement. I also mentioned that a number of indicators were pointing toward the beginnings of a recovery. I will discuss one of these important indicators in this article. History shows that coming out of a real estate downturn, the lowest price homes in a market area respond more quickly to an improving economy and therefore are capable of predicting a real estate turnaround. Lagging a bit, mid-priced homes tend to follow the low-end homes and it makes sense. First time home buyers feel confident and buy. That prompts the middle market to sell and move up…and on and on until you have a fully functioning and healthy market at all price levels with home price appreciation roughly keeping pace with inflation…back to the old normal. Alamo’s low-end market (exclusive of a handful of condos and townhomes which these days is a market disaster unto itself) is fairly represented by three bedroom homes sales. For the purpose of this review, we take a look at the Alamo three bedroom home sales starting with 2007, the peak, through 2011 and discover the news is good. The attached chart and graph tell the story better than words. From 2007 until the end of 2010 sales of three bedroom homes fell from an average of $1,254,000 to $871,000 for a 31% drop in value. Dollars paid per square foot also dropped 3 Bedroom Home Sales Alamo 2007-2011 in this time frame from $543 to Year $ Sq. Foot Avg. Price Size Sq.Ft. $381 representing a correspond2007 $ 543 $ 1,254,000 2309 ing 30% drop. In 2007, at the 2008 $ 479 $ 1,116,000 2329 peak, 36 homes sold. During the 2009 $ 422 $ 896,000 2123 ensuing years significantly fewer 2010 $ 381 $ 871,000 2286 homes sold with only 16 closing 2011 $ 392 $831,000 2119 in 2008. The 2010 sales numbers rebounded to 30 and in 2011 a total of 33 homes sold… indicative of a more normal market. Although the chart shows a decline in average sales price from 2010-2011 of about -5%, this number is probably an aberration driven by size variation year to year. Three bedroom homes sold in 2010 were on average 7% larger than the ones sold in 2011. Equalized for size, average sales price in 2011 would be $896,000, roughly $25,000 higher. The adjusted number represents a 2.9% increase in average sales price year-on-year and agrees almost perfectly with the 2.8% increase in dollars

paid per square foot in 2011 dramatically displayed in the graph. This is very good news and a strong $550 indicator of changing market direction. $525 Like it or not, it’s obvious that massive government support including mortgage modifications and $500 interest rate suppression has slowly but effectively $475 put the brakes on Alamo’s market decline. I am hope$450 ful that this change in market direction will be noted $425 in Alamo’s mid-level market during 2012. I believe $400 it is highly probable given that inventories (Alamo $375 homes for sale) are at record low levels, interest rates $350 1 2 3 4 5 are at very low levels and well below last year, and Years 2007-11 $ Sq. Foot the banks are starting to lend more aggressively. It has been recently reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are moving to off-load their so called shadow inventory of defaulted properties. The properties will be sold in large blocks to 20 pre-selected investors with a minimum $1 billion purchase requirement. There will be a stipulation that the homes be maintained as rentals and held off the market for a number of years. Under the proposed plan, properties in various stages of default will not be available to individuals to purchase, not in short sale, not at auction. They will be discretely handed over to the select few, quietly and invisibly behind the Wizard’s curtain they will simply disappear. Given a government orchestrated market intervention this dramatic, it seems less likely that the long feared flood of distressed homes destined to swamp the market will ever arrive in a giant wave. This will stabilize and perhaps further energize the Alamo real estate market. If this turns out to be a fact, it is a negative game changer for current landlords and those individuals who have been painfully holding cash, delaying buying a home or investment property while waiting for the cents on a dollar tsunami of foreclosed homes to wash ashore. This move may also give the Fed latitude to begin raising interest rates without fear of destroying the economic recovery. I wonder if this spreading news is sparking the recent rise in purchases of existing mortgage backed securities? If you are thinking about selling your home in 2012 and you would like to talk it over, please give us a call at 925-989-6086 or send me an email We would love to help. Alamo 3 Bedroom Home


Dollars Per Square Foot

Alamo Real Estate Market Changes Direction…Up! Up! Up!

Three Large Lots for Sale

Westside Alamo Single Story

Alamo Custom Luxury Home

Three large lots for sale by different owners. 1.2 acres with utilities at street, 7.93 acres, and 12.87 Acres. Call for details.

Perfect throughout. 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath. Huge outdoor entertainment area and pool. $1,450,000.

Exquisite 5 bedroom 4.5 bath custom luxury home on level .5 acre lot. Custom pool and spa! Eye popping, mouth dropping, Wow! Appeal. $2,285,000.

The Perfect Downsizer

Alamo Westside Mediterranean

El Pintado Loop

D SOL Nancy and I represented the buyer on this lovely remodel of 2928 sq. ft. We have more buyers. $968,000

D SOL Perfect “10” 5 beds, office, huge bonus room, kitchen family room flow, exquisite mill work, views $2,095,000

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.

ING D N PE Amazing executive estate. 3.1 acres, 5,000 sq. ft., pool, barn, 5 car garage. $2,395,000. We represented the buyer. We have more buyers. J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Alamo Today, March 2012  

Alamo Today, March 2012. The town of Alamo, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.