Page 1

July 2013

Serving Alamo and Diablo

Danville Poets Society: Sharing the Art of Linguistic Alchemy By Jody Morgan

Members of the Danville Poets Society (Poets Society) meet monthly to share their passion for spinning simple words into complex threads of meaning. Initiated in the late 1980s as an adjunct to the Danville Area Cultural Alliance (DACA), the Poets Society originally exhibited framed poems for sale in the gallery space DACA leased from the town above the Village Theatre. When the second-story fine arts gallery closed and DACA disbanded, founding member Paul Sheckler kept the Poets Society going. During the time the Poets Society operated under the DACA umbrella, the group published a number of anthologies and also sponsored poetry contests. Robert Eastwood, leader of the group for the last ten years, learned about its existence when he entered some pieces of art work in a DACA exhibit. In addition to crafting poems, Eastwood draws and paints in acrylic, watercolor, and oil. When the town reclaimed the 233 Front Street space, Eastwood found space for society meetings in conference rooms, at local businesses and at members’ homes. The workshop element once part of each meeting has yielded to the members’ preference for focusing on feedback. “I have always found that monthly meetings stimulate my writing and that I gain a great deal from the feedback,” Eastwood explains. “Poetry Members listen carefully and give thoughtful comments on each poem. requires a disciPictured left to right: LaDonna Fehlberg, John Barry, Jamuna Advani, pline of revision, and the group input and Mary Lou Haugh. Photo by Jody Morgan. assists that necessary work.” Susan Wilson agrees: “It’s important to have a poet’s community in which to share and trade poems and ideas. Writing is a solitary endeavor and it helps to connect with others who also love the act and the art of writing. Feedback on new work is also very valuable.” Each month 8-10 of the 28 members gather for two hours, exclusive of social time before and after. Each poet brings two pieces to read aloud. Each in turn passes out copies of one of his or her poems to every member present. The group provides thoughtful criticism and enthusiastic encouragement following each reading. Line breaks and punctuation, order of concepts within the piece, phrases that capture the imagination, and images that need re-working are examples of what the discussion may include. Each member comments aloud in turn, but is also able to return the poem to the author with private written comments. Then the second round begins. For the past three years, Jan Hersh has hosted monthly meetings at her home.Amember for the past decade, Hersh takes notes and often discovers new words. “Poems are stories and everyone has one to tell,” she believes. “So the social aspect is precious to me. The members are encouraging and generous in their sharing of what works in our writing.” The variety of voices heard at any meeting may far exceed the number of members

Local Postal Customer

June 1st was a historic day for the Bounty Garden as the community celebrated the grand opening of this service garden in Hap Magee Ranch Park. The Garden teaches volunteers to raise organic vegetables and all produce raised is donated to the Food Bank of Contra Costa. Pictured above are members of the Bounty Garden board, AKA “The Hive.” Left to right (back): Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Danville Councilwoman Karen Stepper, Hive members: Kellee Reed, Sara Marks, Marilynn Gray-Raine, Louise Fredriksson, Joann Oliver, Kathy Torru, and Danville Councilman Robert Storer. (Front) Hive member Cynthia Ruzzi, Co-Founder Amelia Abramson, Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Anderson, Co-Founder Heidi Abramson and Hive Member Janet Howes. Photos by Rich Reed.

Keep Informed on Alamo Roads Projects By Sharon Burke

Earlier this year, Alamo’s Supervisor, Candace Andersen, set into motion the process required by state law to spend the funds in what is known as the Alamo Area of Benefit Fund (Alamo AOB). Fees accumulating in the Alamo AOB Fund have been assessed on new homes built in Alamo since 1998 and now total over $2,000,000. Funds are intended to mitigate the traffic impacts caused by new development and can only be spent for road projects that improve safety and traffic mobility. Anyone who develops property and adds additional vehicle trips to the road network is subject to AOB fees. The County hired traffic engineering consultants DKS Associates to evaluate and perform cost/benefit analysis on any proposed projects. Three community meetings have now been organized by Sup. Andersen’s office to provide the required community input from Alamo residents. At the June 19 community meeting, DKS presented a detailed slide show analyzing the projects that had been suggested by Alamo residents in the February and April community meetings. Alamo Municipal Advisory Council member Steve Mick has posted the presentations from all three community meetings on his website, and the presentations make interesting reading for any Alamo resident. On the front page of the www. website, click on the link Volume XIII - Number 7 titled “Alamo Area of Benefit Informa3000F Danville Blvd. #117, tion” on the left hand side of the home Alamo, CA 94507 Telephone (925) 405-NEWS, 405-6397 page. This slide show includes detailed Fax (925) 406-0547 See Poets continued on page 29 analyses of Alamo’s traffic safety issues, maps, pictures, proposed projects Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher PRSRT STD suggested by Alamo residents, and U.S. Postage Sharon Burke ~ Writer PAID DKS assessment of which projects are Permit 263 legally eligible for AOB funding. For The opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do Alamo CA necessarily reflect that of Alamo Today. Alamo Today example, among projects suggested by not is not responsible for the content of any of the advertising ECRWSS herein, nor does publication imply endorsement.

See Roads continued on page 26

Page 2 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Boulevard View

By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

On a stop at the library a couple months ago, I spotted a flyer noting author Michael Pollan would be speaking at the Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek. Having read many of his books, it seemed like a great opportunity to see this local legend in person. Pollan was speaking about his latest book Cooked - A Natural History of Transformation, which I just finished reading. The book explores cooking and four elements - fire, water, air, and earth - which all help to “transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink.” Every time I would sit down and read a few pages I’d get ravenously hungry, although it didn’t help that my reading time was usually early evening before dinner. During the talk, Pollan noted that he felt that the acquiring of cooking skills is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children and to ourselves. | I’ve said it before, and the book reinforced the fact, that as a culture and society we have divided labor and outsourced many tasks that were skills that were once offered in the schools, such as cooking, sewing, “home ec,” wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, and electronics. Our high school even had a semester long course entitled “Living on Your Own” which covered things like how to fill out a check and balance a checkbook, how to plan menus, and how to contact and sign up for utility service. In Pollan’s book he notes how the specialization that we have acquired can be debilitating. He says, “It breeds helplessness, dependence, and ignorance, and eventually it undermines any sense of responsibility.” I think many have lost the puzzle pieces and building blocks to repair, build, and even create what they need. In many ways we’ve become unconsciously lazy, paying others to do things that our parents would have simply done for themselves. It’s not only expensive, it robs us of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to let someone else have the fun of doing these things for us. Our kids who have “left the nest” find that many of their peers lack any concept of cooking, favoring something that is quickly “zapped” in the microwave or comes to life by the addition of boiling water (AKA the young adult staple of Top Ramen). Learning to prepare food just wasn’t a priority in their homes growing up. We’re fortunate that each of our kids in their own way have embraced healthy eating and prepare many of their meals from scratch. Cooking is healthier than eating out, usually less expensive, often less time consuming, way more social, and much more satisfying on a personal level. Our daughter moved into a home with four roommates and has started a “Taco Tuesday” tradition. She’s attempting to help the other girls get a sense of the satisfaction and pleasure derived from a meal everyone helps create. Looking through our favorite food website, www.foodgawker. com she stumbled upon a recipe for easy crockpot cooked chicken tacos (please see page 14 for the recipe) which has now become a staple. She’s enjoying the camaraderie, and the smells and the tastes of making her college kitchen like home, and her friends look forward to this weekly event. The element of food is also a great socializer. Summer is the perfect time to gather people together  for a potluck or block party. It is an opportunity to connect, reconnect, and make new friends. It is a  good excuse to do something different, meet a new neighbor, and try a new recipe. The other day, our neighbors, who are downsizing, brought over a huge commercial grade soup pot that was too big for their current lifestyle. While I didn’t have a particular need in mind, I gladly accepted the sturdy pot. Not a week later I got an email from our oldest son who was looking for a large cooking pot, and I told him I had just the thing. While it might be oversized, it is a “lifetime” piece that he can use for years. Just in the last week the pot has been filled with Spanish rice and a big batch of chili which will be saved for his upcoming week of meals. After reading Cooked, I am even more inspired to try fermenting some of my garden vegetables. I keep eyeing the stoneware crocks and think one of them is next on the list of gadgets for our Bring in this kitchen. I think I’ll also try yet again to master a good sourdough, as we get back to making more Introductory Coupon of our own bread. OFF Pollan noted at the end of his talk, “I think we are being robbed of a terrific pleasure by not cooking. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.” We, and a couple hundred others in attendance, completely agreed! If you Receive a 20% savings get the chance, pick up one of Mr. Pollan’s books on your next purchase of on food. His books are easy to read, interesting, womens shoes at your new and incredibly informative. McCaulou’s Livery Shoe Boutique Check out more of the summer food themed Coupon valid at the “Reading is so Delicious!” library programs and Livery Location Only events at Void after July 15, 2013 homepage.asp?ProgramID=3.  

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Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 3

Alamo ~ Light and Bright w/Room to Roam! 5 Bdrms, 3 Baths: This home boasts just under 3700 sq ft with spectacular views & walls of windows. Great West Side Alamo Location backing up to the Iron Horse Trail! Call for information on other homes in the area. $1,150,000

Alamo ~ Awe-inspiring, this perfectlyplaced Alamo 5 bdrm, 4.5 bath French Traditional on premium flat lot exudes the very finest of California lifestyle. Enviable privacy, yet easily accessible for commute, and within the coveted Alamo schools area. $1,659,000

Alamo ~ Gorgeous views of the Mt. Diablo Hills. 4 bdrm, 3.5 bath single story 3594 sq ft home in White Gate on one of the best private lots. Remodeled kitchen w/lg center island & eating area all open to the family rm. Pebble tech pool & spa. $1,729,000

Nancy Benvenuto ~ 925.855.1955

Michael Hatfield ~ 925.984.1339

Gretchen Bryce ~ 925.683.2477

Blackhawk ~ Newer Blackhawk (Canyons) home recently remodeled on .42 acre private lot with patio pavilion and waterfall. 5 bdrm suites with attached baths, new cook’s kitchen, handhewn hw flooring. Spa-like master bath. Exceptional Blackhawk Home! $1,749,000 Mira Goetsch



Diablo ~ Set at the base of Mt. Diablo on 3/4 of an acre of gorgeous landscaping is this 4 bdrm 3 bath single story in Diablo. Enjoy the light bright feel to the kitchen & separate eating area all open to family room. Beautiful living room with views to both back & front yard. Master bdrm has vaulted ceilings and cozy retreat or office. 2 car garage plus extra covered carport. A must see! $1,395,000 Gretchen Bryce

Walnut Creek ~ One of a kind magnificent home conveniently located to 24/680 & dwntwn W/C. 5300+ 5 bdrm 5 bath home, separate office or 6th bedroom. VIEWS from almost every room. Gourmet kitchen, hardwood flrs, 3 car garage, & more. Wonderful private deck w/built in spa to enjoy the view. Vineyard A must see Call today for your private showing! $2,099,000

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Page 4 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today Alamo Municipal Advisory Council presents the

2013 Summer Concert Series Fridays 6:30 6:30-- 8:30p.m. at Livorna Park

(At the corner of Livorna Road and Miranda Avenue in Alamo.)

Admission is Free

June 28th: The Sun Kings

Performing the music of The Beatles with driving energy, authentic arrangements and spot-on harmonies, reminiscent of the earliest Beatles concerts!

July 12th: Alma Desnuda

Captivating harmonies, rhythmic grooves, and inspiring lyrics. "California Acoustic/Soul that'll make you smile!" Renee Richardson ~ KFOG

July 26th: Evan Thomas & Papa’s Garage An electrifying experience packed with a high energy show! Inspired by a variety rock and blues legends.

August 9th: Mixed Nuts

Spanning the last 7 decades, “Mixed Nuts” plays a wide variety of great dance music . Bring your dancing shoes.

Bring blankets, chairs, snacks, family, and friends. For information call Recreation Staff at (925) 313-2272.

Veterans of Foreign Wars

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) will be held on Wednesday, July 17th. The VFW Post 75 of San Ramon Valley meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Veterans Memorial Building located at 400 Hartz Avenue in Danville. The building is located on the corner of East Prospect Avenue and Hartz Avenue. Doors open at 7PM, and the meeting begins at 7:30PM. For more information, contact Post Commander Ernie Petagara at (925) 362-9806. Find out more about the VFW and our Post on the internet at

Danville Library Book Sale

Friends of the Danville Library will hold a sale of new and gently used books from July 26 to 28. Book categories include children’s, mystery, scifi, fiction, and non-fiction. We also have a wonderful array of cookbooks, art books, and vintage books. The event will be held at the Danville Library which is located at 400 Front Street in Danville. • July 26 ~ 9 - 10AM members only; 10AM – 5PM public invited • July 27 ~ 10AM - 4PM public invited • July 28 ~ 12:05PM - 3:45PM Bag Day ($5/brown bag)

Museum Volunteers Needed

Looking to get involved in your community? The Museum of the San Ramon Valley needs your help. Volunteer positions are available in the following areas: • Greeters • Docents • Walking Tour Docents • Events Committee • Educational Programs (One Room School/Indian Life) Call Eve or Donna at 552-9693 or send an email to for additional information.

SAVE THE DATE September 7th Alamo Music Festival! San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society

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 Alamo Municipal Advisory Council presents

2013 Movie Under the Stars Friday, July 19th Movie starts at 8:30 p.m. at Livorna Park in Alamo

(Located at the corner of Livorna Road and Miranda Avenue)

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club

A Welcome Coffee is open to all who are thinking of joining the AlamoDanville Newcomers Club. This casual get together is the perfect opportunity to learn about the many facets of the Newcomers while enjoying coffee and chatting with Club Members. Please contact us for the date of our next free Coffee gathering. For more information about the Newcomers, visit our website at www., call us at (925) 281-1307, or email us at

Alamo Sheriff’s Station Staffed and Ready

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Station, located in the Alamo Shopping Center, is now staffed with volunteers to assist you Monday through Saturday from 8am-5pm and Sunday from 8am-12:30pm. When closed, citizens can use the outdoor red phone for all emergency and non-emergency calls. For help or information, call (925) 646-6180 or visit the office at 150 Alamo Plaza #C.

Delta Nu Psi

Thanks to the generosity of our shoppers we have collected enough “Gourmet Junk Food” to ship to our servicemen this month. Delta Nu Psi will not be holding a collection day in July. The group has now sent 1,092 boxes weighing 26,766 pounds to the War Zone. Cash for the postage is always necessary. For information or monetary donation visit deltanupsi. org for contact information.

Bring blankets, chairs, flashlights, snacks, family and friends. For information call Recreation Staff at (925) 313-2272.

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Alamo’s Real Real Estate Estate Expert Expert Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 5 Alamo’s Call us today for your complimentary staging and market analysis of your home! Call us today for your complimentary staging and market analysis of your home!

Alamo Home Sales – June 2011 Alamo HomeBed/Bath Sales – June List2011 Price Sale Price 1401 Bernie Lane 3/2 $679,000 $685,000 Bed/Bath List Price Sale Price 347Bernie BryanLane Drive $1,199,000$685,000 $1,180,000 1401 3/24/3 $679,000 Gran Drive Via $750,000 $1,180,000 $680,000 34710Bryan 4/33/3 $1,199,000 N. Jackson Way $968,000 $680,000 $968,000 10 80 Gran Via 3/34/2 $750,000 Las Trampas $750,000 $968,000 $705,000 80 1524 N. Jackson Way Road 4/23/2 $968,000 296Las Livorna Heights 4/2 1/2 $750,000 $969,000 $705,000 $905,000 1524 Trampas RoadRoad 3/2 Lupin Place $1,149,900$905,000 $1,100,000 29663Livorna Heights Road 4/25/3 1/2 $969,000 Muir Lane $1,099,000$1,100,000 $1,010,000 63 107 Lupin Place 5/33/2 $1,149,900 Oakshire 5/4 1/2 $1,099,000 $1,375,000 $1,010,000 $1,310,000 107554 Muir Lane Place 3/2 Shawn Court 1/2$1,375,000 $989,000 $1,310,000 $910,000 55439Oakshire Place 5/44/2 1/2 Stone Valley Road 4/24/2 1/2$989,000 $1,090,000$910,000 $1,025,000 39 3424 Shawn Court 1/2 10 Viejo 4/3 $950,000 $1,025,000 $885,000 3424 StoneVista Valley Road 4/2 1/2 $1,090,000 Woodhaven 3/2 1/2 $950,000 $769,000 $885,000 $750,000 10 7Viejo Vista Court 4/3 *All single family in Alamo 5/17/11$750,000 thru 6/24/11 7 Woodhaven Court homes sold 3/2 1/2 $769,000 *All single family homes sold in Alamo 5/17/11 thru 6/24/11

Happy 4th of July, Alamo!

The the current current4th 4thofofJuly July TheHay HayDays Daysparade paradetook took place place until until the parade began in 1962took when Virginia Deaton organized aJuly pet The Hay Days parade place until the current 4th of parade patriotic began in speeches, 1962 whengames VirginiaforDeaton organized a pet parade,began children and fireworks. parade in 1962 when Virginia Deaton organized a pet parade, patriotic speeches, games for children and fireworks. Happy 4th of July, parade, patriotic speeches, games forAlamo! children and fireworks. Happy 4th of July, Alamo!

Chris Campbell driving Alamo resident and WWII Hero Joe Vender Haeghen who in 1943 was a B-17 Pilot in the 384th Bombardment Group of Chris Campbell driving Alamo resident and WWII Hero Joe Vender Haeghen the Eighth Air Force. who in 1943 was a B-17 Pilot in the 384th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force. hris Campbell’s family has lived in Alamo for nearly


Chris Campbell100 years. As a lifetime Alamo Jared Higgins resident, (925) 838-5700

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(925) 487-2907

hris Campbell’s family lived in for nearly years. As ainto lifetime Alamo resident, Chris’ knowledge andhas affection forAlamo the area give him100 unique insight the Alamo real estate DRE# 01354618 DRE# 01781054 market and local community. Chris’ knowledge and affection the area give him unique insight into the Real Alamo real estate Chrisfor Campbell is your neighbor and Alamo’s Estate Expert! market and local community. Chris Campbell is your neighbor and Alamo’s Real Estate Expert! ®

38-5700 s E-mail s Web Casting Call for Children of World WarsII Film -5700A “Shout s E-mail W eb Out” looking for participants in an upcoming documentary

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which will be beginning production soon! A documentary film production seeks people who were children during World War II to share their experience as a child growing up during war time. The film (a 30 minute short form documentary) focuses on children living in the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding areas. Producers are seeking personal stories from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. Participants will be asked to provide and bring supporting materials to assist in telling their story. Production begins in late July, so please contact us immediately. Send your contact information and a short summary describing your experience to Mike Paunovich, an award winning documentarian, will be conducting a follow up phone call with each participant to get to know each other before going on camera.

3 New Stores In the Danville Livery McCaulou’s Home McCaulou’s Cards and Gifts McCaulou’s Shoe Boutique


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Page 6 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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2013 FHF Summer Camps

For the fifth consecutive year, Families Helping Families (FHF) will be hosting fun-filled summer camps for local area children aged 3 to 6. FHF youth-counselors are looking forward to seeing familiar little faces and getting to know new campers as well as they take part together in a variety of games and arts-and-crafts activities. FHF Summer Camps are a unique, positive, and activity-filled way for your little ones to experience the loving care and creativity of our all-volunteer team of youth and adult counselors, led by experienced elementary-school teacher Shannon Neach. Each day will feature a different theme: • July 29 ~ Safari • July 30 ~ Sports • July 31 ~ Carnival • August 1 ~ Under-the-Sea Camp takes place at the Neach Residence at 547 El Pintado, Danville and the camp runs from 9AM to noon each day, at a cost of $30 per day per child. FHF Summer Camps are a substantial part of fundraising in support of the educational needs of low-income children with language-based learning disabilities, whose fundamental reading and math skills lag far behind grade level. Education is “the great enabler,” and there are no greater enablers than reading fluency and math basics. For these middle and elementary school children, closing this learning gap is critical to their long-term success and to the overall health of our community. Your donation will enable FHF to expand our inter-related, educational intervention services which include: Adult and youth-mentoring to build self-confidence and the experience of social inclusion; Funding of educational therapy and pediatric specialists; Funding of summer, residential programs that specialize in both academic and social development for children with ADHD, dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities. We have already seen measurable results; with your help, we can continue to make a sustained difference to these children’s lives. The need is great for learning-disabled children in our community. By participating, you make possible a true win-win-win: your youngsters have a blast, our volunteer youth-counselors grow through the experience, and the vital educational needs of our community’s children are met. Enroll your child for camp at or by emailing

Fine Mexican Dining

Forest Home Farms Historic Park & Glass House Museum

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

Upcoming Meetings and Events

AIA - Alamo Improvement Association - Please visit for upcoming meetings - 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 Wednesday of each month, 7pm - Meets at Round Hill Country Club - Lower Level Meeting Room CERT classes - Community Emergency Response Team - Visit www.

Come to Forest Home Farms Historic Park and the Glass House Museum for Fun on the Farm from 10AM to 2PM on the second Saturday of each month. On these days you can step back in time to explore the site, enjoy tours, and participate in a free activity from days gone by. On July 13 the theme for the day will be Splash of Water. Wear clothes that can get wet. This day is about exploring how we used water differently in days gone by. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get splashed as you soak, scrub, rinse, and wring while doing laundry the old-fashioned way. Try pumping water with a hand pump. Discover how ice kept things cold in the days before electricity and where it came from. End your visit by squeezing your own lemonade and dropping in a few ice cubes to cool it off. Tours of the restored Victorian Glass House Museum will be held at 10AM, 11AM, 12PM and 1PM, and tours of Forest Home Farms Historic Park, including the tractor museum, will be held at 11AM and 1PM. Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes, and the fee is $5 per person or $8 for both tours taken on the same day. Tour tickets can be purchased in the Gift Shoppe. Children ages 2 and under are free. For more information about Forest Home Farms Historic Park, call (925) 973-3284 or visit Forest Home Farms Historic Park is located at 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., just south of Pine Valley Road in San Ramon. 8

Lost Dog!


If you find her and your name is drawn!

Alamo Zoe is Missing

Alamo Zoe has become lost in this paper... Search through Alamo Today and see if you can find her! She is very small, so you will have to look hard if you want to find her.

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

Hannah Connelly is our winner

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 7

"Brad is a true professional, energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent. He found what we wanted and made it happen. If the need arises we would use his services again." - Steve, Jean & Bonnie - Alamo Resident/Business Owner

Brad Gothberg J.Rockcliff Realtors DRE# 00964026 925-998-5151

*The above comments/ statements are that of Brad Gothberg clients. All comments are deemed true and are on record for the specific purposes for marketing and or advertising for Brad Gothberg.

Totally Trains

Trains will be running through the depot in downtown Danville once again. You may not be able to hop on board these locomotives, but your imagination will certainly be able to take a journey through the old glory days when railroads expanded horizons and changed the course of history. The Museum of the San Ramon Valley presents the “Totally Trains” exhibit in the Freight Room from July 9 through August 18. The Museum’s own Train Club has been reinvented with a new enthusiasm and dedication toward reviving the Museum’s train collection. First appearing in 2000, We’ll Power Wash it for this layout was designed and you, and blast all of those constructed by an enthusiasClean up your nasty cobwebs from the tic group of train buffs. In the outdoor living areas. eaves of your home at ensuing years, outside train no additional charge. clubs were invited to display Call for a FREE their layouts. The need to uticonsultation. lize the Museum’s collection • FRIENDLY RELIABLE SERVICE in order to save it prompted the formation of the revital• LICENSED BONDED & INSURED #833462 ized Train Club. The Club’s members have been meeting • FREE CONSULTATIONS for over a year to bring this wonderful exhibit back to the Museum. The Totally Trains exhibit features the Museum’s colDECKS • DRIVEWAYS • FENCES • FLAGSTONE lection of “O” Gauge trains. PATIOS • STUCCO • BRICKWORK • WALKWAYS These models span the late HOUSING EXTERIORS • OUTDOOR FURNITURE nineteenth and twentieth



See Trains cont. on pg. 31

Enjoy the Summer Concerts in our District Two Communities By Supervisor Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County District 2

There are many reasons why Contra Costa County’s District 2 is such a great place to live, but high on my list are the Summer Concert series that so many of our communities host every year. This summer there are many musical opportunities for your entire family to take advantage of, and I thought it would be helpful to list them all in one place. The concerts are held on various nights of the week, and the music reflects many different genres. The park settings and a picnic dinner are perfect complements to an evening of music outdoors. Alamo – Livorna Park ~ Fridays ~ 6:30PM – 8:30PM ~ Call (925) 313-2272 for information • July 12th: Alma Desnuda (Original Pop) • July 26th: Evan Thomas & Pap’s Garage (Blues & Rock) • August 9th: Mixed Nuts (Classic Pop from 1940’s – Present) Danville – Oak Hill Park ~ Saturdays ~ 6:00PM – 8:00PM (except as noted below) ~ Call (925) 314-3400 for information • July 6th: The Shanks (Classic Rock) • July 20th: The Sun Kings (Beatles Cover Band) • August 3rd: Spinout (Early Rock & Roll) Held at the Town Green, 400 Front Street Walnut Creek – Stanford’s parking lot (unless otherwise noted) ~ Thursdays ~ 6:30PM – 8:30PM ~ Call (925) 939-7600 for information • July 11th: Pride & Joy (Pop/Soul) Held in Broadway Plaza Street • July 18th: Nick Colionne (Jazz, R&B, Blues, Funk) • July 25th: The Sun Kings (Beatles Cover Band) • August 1st: Tainted Love (1980’s Dance Band) Enjoy the rest of your summer. I hope you have a chance to take advantage of the free concerts with your family and friends in our great communities.

Page 8 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Rancho Romero Elementary School By Skye Larsh-Faraghan, Principal Reflections

School ended on June 13 with some hoorays, lots of hugs, and a few tears. One hundred ,eighty-five days flew by in a blink of an eye. Eighty-six fifth grade students, many who started kindergarten at Rancho, were promoted to Stone Valley Middle School. They too seemed curious about where the time disappeared. With mixed emotion our fifth graders celebrated their accomplishments and reflected on their experiences in elementary school and the great teachers that have served to influence their academic and personal decisions. One of the annual highlights this time of year is the presentation of Rancho Romero’s PTA Scholarship. Each year the PTA awards a scholarship to a former student. Each year we have many wonderful applicants, all deserving of this honor. This year the 2013 scholarship went to Bridget Schinnerer. Bridget was in the Rancho Romero fifth grade class of 2006. She graduated from San Ramon Valley High School this year and will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall to study language. Bridget addressed the fifth grade class, reflecting on the question, “How has something that you learned at Rancho Romero helped you during the rest of your academic career?” Although Rancho Romero taught me many things, one lesson in particular has stuck with me throughout the years and that is to trust in the community we have around us. From the teachers, administration, families, friends, room parents, and community members I learned that you don’t have to get through life all by yourself – there are plenty of people around that are more than happy to help. This sense of a loving and supportive community started at Rancho. Throughout my years at Rancho I came to know and understand it more and more; however, it wasn’t until after I was promoted from elementary school that I fully comprehended how important this support system was and how lucky I was to be a part of it. I have taken this sense of community with me throughout my academic career and it has helped me immensely. I am able to fully trust in the support of those around me, especially those at school – teachers (past and current), counselors, administrators – they all helped me learn and grow. The support system has given me the courage I needed to be able to be the President of Generation 4 Change at SRHS. Through this club I have been able to reach out and give the same support I received to others within our community and around the world. Without the encouragement of the community around me there is no way I would have been able to do it. I am blessed to have this community and grateful that Rancho taught me how to recognize its importance. Congratulations Bridget and the 5th grade class of 2013.

High Five

On behalf of Rancho Romero I want to thank Gaby Ghorbani for her tireless philanthropy through Pledge to Humanity. Pledge to Humanity makes it possible for our students to take an active role in supporting and aiding needs in the community and around the globe. In May Rancho students raised and donated $8,858.42 to the Shelby Clark Memorial Fund, which directly assists families of children with special needs. Then in June all of our fifth graders participated in making 640 sandwiches that were delivered to a local homeless shelter in Concord.

San Ramon Valley High School By Ruth Steele, Principal

This year has been quite a journey for SRVHS, and I have enjoyed every step of the adventure! Aside from learning what makes SRVHS such an amazing school, and building relationships with staff, students, parents, and the community, there is a lot of planning to be done for the future. There is a significant shift coming with the implementation of Common Core, and there is much that Site Leadership/administration needs to do in order to support teachers, students and parents through this transition. American schools are in a fascinating place right now, and Common Core opens the door to transforming our instructional practices so that students truly acquire the skills they need for the rest of their lives. There are several academic shifts within Common Core that will help us to prepare students with skills that will serve them beyond high school. The simplest way to explain this is perhaps to say that we will focus on them becoming “learners” rather than “learned.”

Stone Valley Middle School

By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal Work Ethic – the gift you give yourself

At this year’s awards night and 8th grade promotion I used work ethic as the central theme of my comments. Work ethic does not require anything extraordinary from each of us except effort. Our friends at Webster’s dictionary define Work Ethic as: a belief in the moral value of work. If you are willing to put in the effort, positive results will follow. Several years ago Word Cup and Olympic Gold Medalist Tiffany Roberts spoke at a leadership conference for middle school students from SRVUSD. The focus of Tiffany’s speech was about her work ethic. In 1999 Tiffany was the youngest member selected to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. Only 15 years old, Tiffany was by far the youngest member of the team. Tiffany told her young audience that she wasn’t sure how she would add value to the team because all of the other women were better players than her. Tiffany decided that she could be the fittest member of the team and developed a grueling fitness routine that allowed her to run up and down the field for 90 minutes and not get tired. Tiffany’s work ethic provided her with an opportunity to contribute to the team on a world stage. Tiffany was elected to the Women’s soccer Hall of Fame in 2011. It is typical to use an athlete as an example of work ethic, however in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he cites research which indicated that anyone who puts in 10,000 hours on a given task will become an expert in that area. The 10,000 hour rule is now referred to as the “Virtuoso Effect.” Examples in Gladwell’s book came from the entertainment industry, fields of computer science and sports, and nearly every corner of the work world.

Information for the Kids…

Just for fun, measure your time spent on tasks learning about anything that you feel is your strongest area of achievement. Do the math and see how close you are to becoming a virtuoso. Remember the rule is 10,000 hours. Have your children do the same calculation to measure their progress along the path to excellence. Work ethic is made up of three main parts: reliability, enduring failure, and perseverance. The greatest complaint from employers is about employee attendance and punctuality. Reliability means that you arrive early; no one is ever penalized for being early. Enduring failure is all about how your respond to setbacks in your life. Failure is a great teacher. How you recover from failure will determine your future successes. The final trait is perseverance. As students move through school (and life), more is required of their time, effort, and expertise. Effort must match these demands. Work ethic is something only you can control, as you are in charge of how hard you work. The satisfaction of working hard and achieving something is the birthplace of a healthy self esteem. Too often we (parents) make the mistake of rescuing our children from life. We see the rescue as an act of love, but in reality we are doing long term harm. It is important to know nothing trumps work ethic--not intelligence, not charm, not good looks, nor test scores; nothing replaces hard work. In closing, ask your daughter/son if they are doing their summer work: one hour of reading and vigorous exercise each day, practicing their math skills, and journaling. Feel free to assign extra chores as well. Work ethic does not end with the last school bell. These shifts include: Speaking and listening - How to thoughtfully discuss, debate, analyze and present information Reading - How to break down increasingly complex text and understand it Writing - How to write argumentatively, using evidence from multiple sources Common Core focuses on the process by which students learn, how they learn, and what teachers can do to support our students in that endeavor. Students will still be learning the same content in subjects like Math, Science, World Language and Social Studies, but the way they learn it and the way it will be assessed will look different. Students will still take tests, do homework and be assigned grades, but those assessment systems will focus on both the knowledge students acquire as well as the learning process. Traditionally we have focused more on the right outcome rather than the learning acquired in the process. Valid assessment of learning should include both. The main goals for next school year are to make strategic and purposeful progress as we navigate this transition and to make sure that everyone involved understand the shifts as they happen. In 2014-2015 the first Common Core Assessments will be used in schools, so we have a lot of work to do!

The Cox Team R E A L E S TAT E

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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream By Stan Hitomi, Principal, Alamo Elementary School and Janet Terranova, Principal Monte Vista High School

Inspired by the hit movie and NBC TV series, Friday Night Lights, Monte Vista High School and Alamo Elementary joined forces to put together a one-of-a-kind event last month. First through fifth graders from Alamo School signed up for a magical evening under the lights at Sam Zackheim Stadium on the campus of Monte Vista High School. Students had the option to participate in either a football or cheerleading clinic, culminating in a BIG GAME experience under the lights on the artificial turf field – all of the sights and sounds of the real thing! Friday Night Lights was a fundraising event sponsored by the Alamo School Education Fund. Its impact could be felt beyond what could be measured by the dollars that were raised. In fact, both of us principals we were so impressed by the event that we were inspired to co-write this month’s letter. Monte Vista’s football and cheerleading programs provided students to serve as “coaches” for this magical evening, but the real magic is what went on between the high school students and the kids from Alamo School. The amazing thing that both of us witnessed was that the experience had benefits for the students from each of our schools. The Monte Vista students had the experience of becoming the teachers and igniting excitement in the younger students, while at the same time building leadership and organizational skills. Parents from Alamo School were impressed by “how much the high school students cared about the younger children” and “how patient they were.” There was little doubt that the younger students looked up to their coaches as positive role models, and it was a powerful experience for the high school students to see that they could have an impact on the younger kids’ lives. “Friday Night Lights was an awesome experience--getting to learn drills

and run patterns on the field, under the lights, with my friends--it doesn’t get better than that!” said Christopher Natali a 5th grader at Alamo School. Christopher’s mother, Ruthie Natali, coordinated the event with help from Craig Bergman (MVHS Varsity Football Coach) and Lori Carson (MVHS JV Cheer Coach). Forty boys and 30 girls participated in the event which is likely to become an annual tradition. Both of us principals believe that what started with “Friday Night Lights” may expand to include other programs at Monte Vista and include other elementary schools as well.

Alamo School - Important Dates

Online Registration available on district website July 29 School Office opens August 12 New Family Orientation August 15, 3:30PM Annual On-Site Registration August 15, 4 – 7PM Annual On-Site Registration August 19, 9AM – Noon First Day of School August 27 (minimumday)

Monte Vista High School - Important Dates Registration Packet Pick-up Registration Freshmen Orientation Freshmen Dance First Day of School

August 14 3pm– 7pm, August 15 Noon – 2pm August 19 and 20 1pm – 7pm August 21 August 21 August 27 (minimum day)

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

Page 10 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 11

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Alamo Women’s Club

The Alamo Women’s Club was established in 1916 and is the longest standing service organization in the valley. The group welcomes members from the Alamo, Danville, and Walnut Creek areas. We invite you to get to know us by joining us at one of our upcoming programs. For more information contact Jeri Strong,

Craft Boutique & Garage Sale

Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 12th from 9AM – 3PM for our fabulous Craft Boutique & Garage Sale. Rental spaces fill up quickly, so if you are interested in selling your items call or email Anita at (925) 837-1242 or If shopping is what you like, save the date to come and check out the 40+ vendors who will be showcasing their items. It’s a great time to shop for the holidays! The event will be held at the Alamo Women’s Club located at 1401 Danville Blvd., Alamo.

Installation Luncheon

The Club held their annual installation luncheon on Wednesday, June 12, at the home of member Jean Stringfellow. Outgoing presidents, Nancy Dommes and Vicki Koc, were recognized for their contributions to the club, and

the AWC Executive Board was inducted for 2013-2014. Pictured from left to right are Barbara Ingraham, Sally Cohen, Jerilyn Strong, Jean Stringfellow, Kay Sanchez, Nancy Dommes, Pamela Singh, Phyllis Clark, Marcelle Roise, Claudia Waldron, Carol Atwater, and Nancy Combs. Barbara’s first order of business was to award a grant to the Contra Costa County Humane Society for their compassion and care of animals in need. The Alamo Women’s Club is looking forward to many activities with the motto, “With open hearts and helping hands there is much that we can do.”

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By Cynthia Ruzzi Get your Civic Good on!

We’ve all heard the term “politically correct” – as in “That’s not PC,” meaning the referred remark discriminates against a particular group. In our educated, multicultural community one would hope others would not have to be reminded to be fair, equal, and kind to their neighbors. However, it does seem that political fractions of our country often divide instead of unify our communities. As we prepare to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States, let’s forget politics and demonstrate our civic good. What’s Civic Good or “CG”? CG is a welcomed acknowledgement of any activity that’s performed to benefit a town, city, or local area where you live or work. It benefits you and your neighbors by improving the community, and along the way it turns neighbors into friends. We are tremendously lucky to live in an area where individuals and groups are focused on non-partisan ways to enjoy and preserve our community. Whether it’s the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley hosting the Danville 4th of July Parade since 1975 or the elementary school students that collected bottles at last year’s event to raise funds for hurt or injured soldiers, there’s always a local way to be a Civic Hero. The parade is the largest single Bay Area event celebrating our nation and draws over 30,000 people each year. Many locals know that parking for the parade is a nightmare, so it’s a perfect occasion to dust off your bicycle and ride to the event. This year the San Ramon Valley Varsity Football team will host a free bike corral at 675 Hartz Avenue in the Balford Building parking lot next to Country Waffle. The bike corral works similar to a coat check – participants check their bike in and retrieve it at the end of the parade (hours 8AM -12PM). Perhaps you’re already familiar with our portable bike racks (thank you Monte Vista Mountain Bike Club for hosting them at the Danville Art Faire) and are looking forward to using them again; look for them at Downtown Danville Summer night festivals on July 11th and August 8th and at the Danville Fall Crafts Festival in October. You have probably seen the barrels at grocery stores at Thanksgiving and

Christmas to collect food for the needy, but there are folks in our community that are hungry year-round. Recently, it was brought to my attention that we have senior citizens trying to exist on $300 per month – and that’s not their food budget. The Foodbank of Contra Costa and Solano County works to alleviate hunger for over 132,000 people in our county each week – and over 25% of these are children. Locally, volunteers for The Bounty Garden (www.thebountygarden. org) and The Urban Farmers ( grow fresh vegetables and collect backyard fruit to help those in need – including individuals within our own community. Both of these groups are always interested in new volunteers, but you can be a Civic Hero by donating extra vegetable seeds from backyard planting or telling a neighbor with abundant fruit about how to register their tree. Local opportunities abound! Friends of San Ramon Creek invite anyone interested in learning more about the creek and the local watershed to help protect the riparian habitat of the San Ramon Creek (Please contact Mary Grim at mary. for more information about events and work days). Local government wants you to be a Civic Hero, too. Yes, we all pay our taxes to live in a well-cared for community, but who says that you can’t help take care of it? You can register as a volunteer for an event or a service project online with the Town of Danville (, and in Alamo The Alamo Improvement Association ( has been working since 1955 to preserve and foster the established character and quality of their town. It doesn’t take much to be a Civic Hero. As you go about your community you might notice a street light out or a missing or defaced street sign. Most cities welcome the ‘heads-up’ and starting this month, Danville residents will be able to use a mobile phone app to quickly and easily submit inquires or requests using a smart phone or tablet. Demonstrate your ‘CG’ and use your phone to submit a picture of the issue – the app will automatically route the request to the appropriate department to be addressed. Are you a Civic Hero? If so, we want to hear from you. Join us on Facebook at or email us at sustainabledanville@ Go get your CG on and have a wonderful July 4th holiday.

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 13

2013 Get to Know Contest

Bay Area agencies and the international Get to Know Program are working together to encourage youth to connect with nature through the 2013 Get to Know Contest. The contest invites youth (19 years and under) to get outdoors and submit works of art, writing, photography, video or music inspired by their natural world. Entries may be submitted online at until November 1, 2013. View entries online in the Get to Know Gallery during the entire contest run. Contest winners will receive prizes, including art supplies, books, outdoor gear, and cameras. For more information, visit

Now available in Danville 2013 SRVLL Triple A Champs won the 2013 CA 57 Tournament of Champions. The local team of 9-11 year olds had an awesome season! Pictured from left to right: Coach Jason Belzer and Assistant Coach Marc Meadors; Jack Hildebrand, Matt Stone, Sam Belzer, Nick Gookins, Andrew Corkern, Brandon Jauregui, Jake Simpson, Hayden Brown, Grant Meadors. Not pictured: Erik Altemus, Jordan Garson, Stephen Voorhees, and Manager Bob Altemus.

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Page 14 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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Growing up, my parents had a list of three skills that my brothers and I had to have. The first was to swim. Second was to know how to drive a manual car. Third was to know how to cook. As I’ve gone to college and lived with roommates from all over, it has never ceased to shock me how few of my peers know how to cook. Either their parents didn’t cook when they lived at home and frequently bought pre-made meals or takeout, or their parents didn’t spend the time to teach them how to make the homemade meals that they pine for while they’re away at school. Although nothing can beat your mom’s cooking (Doesn’t everything taste better when someone else cooks and cleans?), it’s a shame that so many people my age seem to believe that they are not able to cook healthy and delicious food for themselves. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to pick up a frozen dinner from Trader Joe’s on your way home from class, or go out to get a burrito instead of cooking. And every once in a while, those are fine as treats. But as my roommates have found, getting takeout every night of the week does not do good things to your budget (or your waistline). Recently, I had Taco Thursday with some of my friends. I made crockpot salsa chicken and Spanish rice from scratch to go in to the tacos. My friends were amazed that I knew how to make these things, asking me where I found the recipes and how I knew to make it. The funny part is that they are two of the simplest recipes I know! For a weeknight dinner, crockpot chicken has become a favorite. My grandmother gave me her crockpot, and I am so excited to experiment more and try new recipes with it! For the chicken, use a 16 oz jar of salsa (or one and a half jars, depending on how much sauce you want), 1 lb chicken breast (boneless and skinless), 2-3 tsp cumin, and a packet of taco seasoning (2-3 tsp if you don’t have a packet). Put the salsa and cumin in the bottom of the crockpot, give it a quick stir to incorporate all the ingredients, and add the chicken breasts on top. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8. With about half an hour left, add in the taco seasoning and stir. Shred with two forks when it’s done. If it seems like there’s too much sauce, you can leave the top off for the last half hour of cooking. The nice thing about this recipe is that I can put it in the crockpot before class, and then I can come home after class and studying and have a great meal prepared for me. Low time commitment, but great results! The other great thing about this dish is that it is a very customizable recipe – you can add pinto beans, corn, cream cheese, bell peppers, jalapenos, or whatever your heart desires during the cooking process to customize it. The Spanish rice takes a little more time to prepare, but it is definitely worth it if you have half an hour. The rice is also quite customizable. The ingredients are ½ onion (chopped), ½ bell pepper (diced), 1 carrot (finely chopped – or if you’re trying to use up baby carrots, use ¾ cup of chopped), 1 cup long grain rice, 1 ½ cup chicken broth, 1 can stewed tomatoes (juice left in), 1 pinch cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook onion, pepper, and carrots in a little oil. Once cooked and a little translucent, add rice. Stir occasionally, but not too much. Once rice is browned, add spices and stir. Add chicken broth and tomatoes with juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes (leave undisturbed – no peaking and no stirring!). If needed, add more broth. If you’re not a big fan of bell peppers and carrots, feel free to take them out. Or add some garlic. Or use diced tomatoes that have chilies in them. Whatever you do, have fun with it! I have learned in the past couple of years that my must-have ingredients that I always have on deck are 1-2 bell peppers, a tomato, garlic, onion, eggs, tortillas, and broccoli. Yes, all together they may be a bit strange. But in addition to basic pantry staples, you can make great, cheap, healthy, and fast meals with almost any combination of them. Cook the garlic and onion, add the broccoli to steam in the pan, and add to some pasta with a little parmesan and pesto/marinara/olive oil, and it’s an easy quick dinner! You can add some chicken if you want protein, as well. Cooking has become one of my favorite hobbies, and I hope that I can share my love of it with those around me. I’ve already made plans with some friends to make 1-2 meals a week together over summer to teach them how to make easy basic lunches and dinners for when they go back to school!

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 15

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Quick Trips

By Linda Summers Pirkle The New Exploratorium

The New Exploratorium, located at Pier 15 in San Francisco, is open. It is beautiful. The publication Explore says, “Glass surfaces act as mirrors large and small, revealing and reflecting in surprising ways. The surrounding bay waters double this effect, reflecting the architecture of the new campus as well as the city and natural landscape around it.” On a Thursday evening, my son Reed, age 22, and I took BART to Embarcadero station and walked along the waterfront on Bay View Walk (10 minutes) to the New Exploratorium. From the moment we arrived, helpful and friendly staff answered questions and seemed genuinely happy to be working at the New Exploratorium. I later found View of Bay Bridge from the Exploratorium's Observatory Terrace. out that the orange jacketed staff is made up of 300 students recruited from Bay Area schools to help visitors understand the exhibits and also to learn more about science themselves. There is so much to see as the space is the size of three football fields. There are over 600 exhibits. Besides just looking, though, the visitor is encouraged to touch, tinker, and even smell the exhibits. I spoke to Ms. Leslie Patterson, Public Information Officer at the Exploratorium who pointed out some of the most popular exhibits. The Giant Mirror, where you will usually find a crowd, is an interactive giant upside-down image. Even the smallest faraway object appears in perfect focus. Another must see is Team Pac-Man, where visitors are required to cooperate to play a classic video game-each player can only move the Pac-Man in one direction. According to the website, in Team Pac-Man, you are the exhibit! My favorite exhibit, The Changing Face of What is Normal, a special exhibit until April 2014, explores “how we have defined, categorized, and treated people who fall outside of a professional or societal conception of what constitutes normal mental health and activity” according to the website. This exhibit takes a while to explore, as it is made up of photographs, video, poetry, and compelling artifacts. I also loved the Fog Bridge, by artist Fujiko Nakaya. The website explains it as ephemeral and other-worldly. It magically envelops a 150-foot-long pedestrian bridge between Piers 15 and 17 in an ever-changing blanket of fog. It is lit at night, and it is indeed magical. After spending about two hours in the exhibit area, we headed up to the Bay Observatory Gallery on the second floor. What a sight! From the deck we could see the Bay Good July 5 through July 31 Bridge light show with the rising full moon behind it. Everyone who came up to the deck made the same exclamation, “Wow!” The museum has two restaurants, a walkup in the front of the museum and SeaGlass, with 200 seats inside and additional seats outside facing the bay and the pier. Even though the restaurant was very busy, Executive Chef Loretta Kelly found the time to make us feel welcome. Reed and I had the lamb and pulled pork tacos which were delicious. The menu includes honeycomb paired with cheese, rotisserie chicken, pizza, salad, soups, and sushi. The prices range from $9-$13 for entrees. • Thursday evenings at the Exploratorium from 6PM -10PM are for adults only. The first Thursday of the month has a theme, and oftentimes there is music. • Bay Area residents are eligible for a discounted rate (except Thursday night which is already discounted), so mention your zip code Open Tues thru Sat 10 to 6 Visit our website for more info upon arrival. Sunday 11 to 5 • Closed Monday The Exploratorium is openTuesday-Sunday, AM PM PM 10 -5 , Wednesday until 10 and Thursday for adults only (over the age of 18) from 6PMDanville 925.648.0293 • 3426 Camino Tassajara 10PM. Their website is Alamo 925.820.8492 • 3189 Danville Blvd. To share your “Quick Trips” ideas, email

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4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off Hwy 580, 1 Block

$5 values to3’$12.99 x 5’ –

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3All forother sizes 50% off

$3.99 Thank You For $10 Supporting Local Family Business


Our Entire Selection of Artist’s Canvas Our Stretched Entire Selection of


Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 Ad prices effective through 7/16/13

Sidewalk Sale Sale Sidewalk Sidewalk Sale Sidewalk Sale Party Planning at Richards Going on Now Sidewalk Sale Artist’s Stretched Canvas Going on Now Going on Now Going Now Going onon Now

u Floral FloralOur Stems Our Entire Selection of Bushesof Entire Selection of Our EntireBushes Selection u Floral Floral Stems Special Purchase 70 % off u Vines & Swags Greens uu Floral Floral Stems u Floral Floral Stems Floral Bushes Bushes Floral StemsBushes Neon T’s by to Dried Flowers u Vines & Swags Greens Size Reg. Greens Sale Price u Vines & Swags Up % off The u Vines & Swags Greens u Vines & Swags Greens Celebrate Tie Dye Kits NOW $9.99 Special Purchase % off4th of July! Anvil u Fruits Floral Garlands 8”x10” $7.99 $2.40 Dried Flowers Dried Flowers Dried Flowers regular prices Richards is Your reg. $19.99 Tie Dyesu 10-15 Shirts Adult & Up Upto % off Up %% off toto % off 11”x14” $11.99 $3.60 Dried Flowers With American Flags u Succulents Grapes Orchids Up to off u Fruits Floral Garlands Children’s Sizes Size Reg. Sale Price stars u Fruits Floral Garlands Included DVD provides techniques for Floral 16”x20” Garlands $18.99 $5.69 u Fruits Sturdy nylon, embroidered and stripes regular prices Local Family regular prices Fruits Floral Garlands Thank You For Supporti reg. 4.99 Thank You For Supporting Business Decorating Source regular prices uuu Succulents u Grapes Grapes Orchids great results every time! Succulents Orchids 24”x36” $44.99 $13.49 8”x10” $7.99 $2.40 regular prices u Succulents u Grapes Orchids VALUABLE COUPON $3.99 u Succulents u GrapesDiscount off regular price Orchids 11”x14” $11.99 $3.60 Bunting Summer Party Pla All other sizes 50% off

Home Style

Alamo Store 820-4731 Alamo Plaza Shopping Center Stone Valley Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680 to Danville Blvd., Right 1 Block. Mon.-Sat. 9:00-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 11:00-5:30

All Spring Floral

80 70 80 80 80 80

Livermore Store 447-0471 Alamo Store 820-4731 Plaza 580 Shopping Center Alamo Plaza Shopping Center 4502 Positas 1st St. Exit off Stone Valley Rd. Exit WestLas off Hwy 680 toRd., Danville Hwy 580, 1 Block Blvd., Right 1 Block.

Mon.-Fri. Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 Mon.-Sat. 9:00-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00,9:30-8:00, Sun. 11:00-5:30 Ad prices effective through 7/16/13

Summer Party Planning at Richards VALUABLE COUPON VALUABLE COUPON 30-50% off $12.99 VALUABLE COUPON Any One Regular Priced Item Celebrate The 4th of July! COUPON 50% off SidewalkVALUABLE Sale Style Flags Any Priced Item AnyOne OneRegular Regular Priced Item Going on Now 50% off Home 16”x20” $18.99 $5.69 48” – Lamps, Trunks & Chests, Wall Decor, 24”x36” $44.99 $13.49

50% off 80 50% off

50% off

Apothecary Jars, Chandeliers, Containers & Vases, Art, Floral AllFramed Spring Richards is Your Any One Regular Priced Item Item Mirrors More. Any One&Regular Priced Up to % off Clocks, Decorating Source regular prices

reg. $19.99


With American Flags

Sign up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate! other sizes 50% off Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars and stripes StoreAll 447-0471 820-4731 ____________________________________E-Mail AddressLivermore 3’ x 5’ – *Alamo *Livermore 580 Shopping Center Shopping Center Sign up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 GiftPlaza Certificate! up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate! Discount off regular price I’mSign 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off reg. $28.99 Discount off regular price Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680 toalready Danvilleon the list! Livermore Store 447-0471 ____________________________________ E-Mail Address Hwy 580, 1 Block One coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree,*Alamo Wilton, Games, *Livermore Martha Stewart, 1 Block. Plaza 580 Shopping Center ____________________________________ E-Mail Address 48” – reg. $19.99 *Alamo *Livermore Meri, Markers, Pets and Webkinz. Limited to stock on hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off price. Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat.regular 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun.Meri I’mCopic already onPillow the list! 4502 LasGift Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off for our11:00-5:30 e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Certificate! wySign 680 toup Danville Livermore Store 447-0471 Ad prices effective through 7/16/13 Valid Through 7/16/13 I’m already on the list! a monthly drawing for a $50 Sign up for our e-mail list and enter Gift Certificate! Hwy 580, 1 Block One coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined other offers. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, Plaza with 580 Shopping Center

All Spring Floral $16.99 Bunting $12.99

Sidewalk Sale

Our Entire Selection of CLIP ‘N SAVE! Flags ____________________________________ E-Mail Address un. 11:00-5:30 Artist’s Stretched Canvas Floral Bushes Floral Stems uHwy ____________________________________ E-Mail AddressBusiness Thank You For Supporting Local Family Going on Now 580, 1 Block *Alamo *Livermore UABLE COUPON Plaza 580 Shopping Center x 5’ – $16.99 Valid Through3’7/16/13 I’m already on the list! Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 CLIP ‘N SAVE! 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off reg. $28.99 u Vines & Swags Greens I’m already on the list!Livermore Store Lamps, Trunks & Chests, Wall Decor, 447-0471 Ad prices effective through 7/16/13 CLIP ‘N SAVE! Special Purchase 70 % off 580, Local 1 Block nk You Supporting One coupon perFor family per day. Cannot beHwy combined with other Family offers. ExcludesBusiness custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, Plaza 580 Shopping Center One per family per day. be Webkinz. combined with other offers.on Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Demdaco, Mon.-Fri.Dried 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 Flowers Apothecary Jars, Chandeliers, Mericoupon Meri, Copic Markers, PillowCannot Pets and Limited to stock hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount takenBooks, off regular price. Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, 4502 Lasand Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit offto Up to % Through off 7/16/13 Any One Regular Priced Item Meri Meri, Copic Markers, Pets Webkinz. Limited stock7/16/13 on hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. Livermore StorePillow 447-0471 Ad prices effective through Size Reg. Sale Price Valid For Supporting Local Family Business Art 580, 1 Block Containers & Vases, Framed Art, u Fruits Floral Garlands Artist’s Stretched Canvas Plaza 580 Shopping Hwy Center Valid Through 7/16/13 8”x10” $7.99 $2.40 Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 wing for a $50 Gift Certificate! prices 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off Clocks, Mirrors & More. 11”x14” $11.99regular orting Local Business Ad prices effective through 7/16/13 Spe u Succulents u Grapes Orchids $3.60 580, 1 Block Family ____E-MailHwy Address Special Purchase 70% offLivermore Store 447-0471 *Alamo *Livermore

30-50% off Summer Party Planning at Richards 80 mer Party Planning at Richards CLIP ‘N SAVE! SAVE! Celebrate The 4th of July! CLIP ‘N Party Planning at Richards With4th American Flags Local Family Business Celebrate The of July! Planning at Richards VALUABLE COUPON Celebrate The of July! With4th American Flags amily Business lning Spring Floral CLIP ‘Nat SAVE! Richards Bunting With American Flags Celebrate The 4th of July! ing Floral at Richards $12.99 Any One Regular Priced Item Bunting With American Flags loral ebrate The 4th of July!

OneMeri coupon family per day. Cannot be Webkinz. combinedLimited with other offers. Excludes custom framing andDiscount prior sales, Books,price. Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, Meri,per Copic Markers, Pillow Pets and to stock hand. Other apply. takenKlutz off regular Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 4502 Las Positas Rd.,on 1st St. Exit offexclusions Livermore 447-0471 *Alamo *Livermore Meri Meri, Copic Markers, Pillow PetsStore and Webkinz. Limited to stock on exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. Valid Through 7/16/13 Adhand. pricesOther effective through 7/16/13

Alamo Mon.-Fri. Store 9:30-8:00, 820-4731 Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 16”x20” $18.99 $5.69 Ad pricesPlaza effectiveShopping through 7/16/13 Size Alamo Center rs. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, 24”x36” $44.99 8”x10” $13.49 on hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars and stripes Stone Valley Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680Valid to Danville Through 7/16/13 11”x14” All other sizes 50% off Blvd., Right 1 Block. 16”x20” Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars and stripes

Reg. $7.99 $11.99 $18.99 24”x36” $44.99

Sale Price $2.40 $3.60 $5.69 $13.49

Plaza 580 Shopping Cente 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st S Hwy 580, 1 Block

50% off The 4th of July! Thank You For Supporting Local Family Business Discount off regular price Mon.-Sat. 9:00-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 11:00-5:30

Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars and stripes

48” –

reg. $19.99

ff regular price Our Entire Selection of Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars and stripes 48” – reg. $19.99 e Sign up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate!


$12.99 Flags With American Flags Floral Stems u Floral Bushes Our Entire Selection of $19.99 & Swags Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars Bunting and stripes48” – $12.99 u Vines Greens reg. ____________________________________ E-Mail Address u Floral Bushes Floral Stems American Flags 3’ x 5’ – $16.99 FlagsGreens Dried Flowers u Vines & Swags

Sidewalk Sale All other sizes 50% off

Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6 Ad prices effective through

Our Entire Selection of Going onSidewalk Now Floral Sale u Floral Bushes Stems

Summer Party Planning at Richard

Up to 80% off $12.99 Bunting Flags $16.99 80 $16.99 Bunting$12.99 Flags Artist’s Stretched CLIP Canvas ‘N SAVE! $12.99 VALUABLE COUPON Reading Flags Glasses $16.99 Artist’s Stretched Canvas70 Flags Artist’s$16.99 Stretched Canvas

Going on Now u Vines & Swags Greens Dried Flowers reg. $28.99 mbroidered stars and stripes 48” – reg. $19.99 Floral Garlands 3’ x 5’ – u FruitsDried Flowers Up to Floral %Garlands off u Fruits regular Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 u Fruits Floral Meri Meri, Copic Markers, PillowOrchids Pets and Webkinz. Limited to$28.99 stock on hand.Garlands Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. prices u Succulents u Grapes Orchids reg. u Succulents u Grapes Ad prices through 7/16/13 reg. $19.99 48” effective – regular prices 3’ x 5’ – Orchids u Succulents u Grapes Valid Through 7/16/13 reg. $28.99 VALUABL 48” reg. $19.99 s – 3’ x 5’ – VALUABLE COUPON tton reg. $28.99 Shirts Special Purchase % off 2 for $5 Any One 3’ xvalues 5’ – to $12.99 Any One Regular PricedSignItem reg. $28.99 up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Size Reg. Sale Price Special Purchase % offSign 3’ x 5’ – up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate! ____________________________________E-Mail Ad 8”x10” $7.99 $2.40 Special Purchase Sign% off e-mail list and ____________________________________ reg. $28.99 up for our enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate!E-Mail Address I’m already on the list! Size Reg. Sale Price *Alamo 11”x14” $11.99 I’m $3.60 One coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes custom fra already on the list! Sturdy nylon, embroidered stars*Livermore and stripes ____________________________________ E-Mail Address Meri Meri, Copic Markers, Pillow Pets and Webkinz. Limited to stock on hand. Other exclus Size Reg.8”x10” Sale Price $7.99 $2.40 *Alamo *Livermore coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, 16”x20” $18.99 One $5.69 Special Purchase % off Meri Meri, Copic Markers, Pillow Pets and Webkinz. Limited to stock on hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. I’m already on the list! 8”x10” $7.9911”x14” $2.40 $11.99 $3.60 AT CLIP ‘N Valid Through 7/16/13 24”x36” $44.99 $13.49 One coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart, ’s bySize 11”x14” $11.99 $3.60 CLIP ‘N SAVE! 16”x20” $18.99 $5.69 Meri Meri, Copic Markers, Pillow Pets and Webkinz. Limited to stock on hand. Other exclusions apply. Discount taken off regular price. Reg.% off Sale Price Purchase il 8”x10” $7.99 Valid Through 7/16/13 16”x20” $18.99 $5.69 $44.99 All other sizes 50% off 24”x36” $13.49 $2.40 & 24”x36” $44.99 $13.49 Reg. Price $3.60 off Sale 11”x14” $11.99 Sizes% All other sizes 50% off ”99 $7.99 $2.40 48” – 447-0471 reg. $19.99 16”x20” $18.99 $5.69 Livermore Store Alamo Store All820-4731 other sizes 50% off le Price 4” $11.99 $3.60 9 Our Plaza 580 Shopping Center 24”x36” $44.99 Alamo Plaza $13.49 Shopping Entire Selection of Center .40 0” $18.99 Stone $5.69 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off Valley Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680 to Danville u Floral Bushes loralAllStems .60 other sizes 50% off Hwy 580, 1 Block 6” $44.99 $13.49 Blvd., Right 1 Block. eGreens Selection of uMon.-Sat. Vines9:00-8:00, & Swags .69 of Mon.-Fri. 9:30-8:00, Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 10:00-6:00 Sat. 9:30-6:00, Sun. 11:00-5:30 u Floral Bushes Dried Flowers Ad prices effective through 7/16/13 3.49 her sizes 50% off ushes *Alamo *Livermore Livermore Store 447-0471 Plaza 580 ShoppingI’m Center already on the list! 4502 Las Positas Rd., 1st St. Exit off Hwy 580, 1 Block One coupon per family per day. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes custom framing and prior sales, Klutz Books, Demdaco, Sizzix, Willow Tree, Wilton, Games, Martha Stewart,

Celebrate The 4th of J 50% off 50% off 70 $16.99 50% off With American Flags Artist’s Stretched Canvas 70 Stretched Canvas 70 All Spring Floral d Canvas 70 Bunting


Any One Regular Priced Item

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Sidewalk Sale Going Sidewalk Saleon Now Sidewalk Sale Going on tyle UpNow to 80% off Going on Now Vines & Swags u Fruits Floral GarlandsSidewalk ags Sale Up to 80%regular drchids Flowers off off prices Your u Succulents u Grapes Up to 80 % off Hanes lands u Fruits Going on Now Sidewalk Sale




3’ x 5’ – reg. $28.99

Page 18 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Are You Confident About Your Estate Planning Team?

By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law



Remodeling or Home FINANCING Improvement? Remodeling or Home ● Purchase or Refinance Improvement?


As always, the first question about estate or(OWNER-OCCUPIED Home ONLY) ● 1-4 Unit Properties ● Purchase or Refinance planning is: Do you have an estate plan? Remodeling FINANCING A FIXER-UPPER? Remodeling or Home ● FHA ● 1-4Down Payment (3.5%) Unit Properties (OWNER-OCCUPIED ONLY) Naturally, if the answer is no, you should Improvement? Improvement? ● FHA Down ● Flexible Payment Credit Qualifying change that by working with an experienced ● Purchase or(3.5%) Refinance Remodeling or Home ● Flexibleor Qualifying Refinance ● Assumable Loans ●Credit estate planning attorney to establish and ob- • Purchase 1-4 Unit Properties (OWNER-OCCUPIED ONLY) Improvement? ● Assumable Loans ● FHA Unit Properties (OWNER-OCCUPIED Down Payment (3.5%) ONLY) tain advice about core documents, including • 1-4● Purchase or Refinance ● Flexible Credit Qualifying Payment (3.5%) ● 1-4Down Unit Properties (OWNER-OCCUPIED ONLY) a living trust; will; power of attorney; and • FHA ● Assumable Loans ● FHA Down Payment (3.5%) • Flexible Credit Qualifying advance health care directive. ● Flexible Credit Qualifying Loans If you have an estate plan, the next question is: When was the last time • Assumable ● Assumable Loans you had it reviewed and updated with legal counsel? Consumers sometime You just love the house. view estate planning as a static, one time event. It’s not. Your life and those You just love the house. Except for the leaky pipes. Or maybe the kitchen is too small. of your loved ones change. Your financial situation has ups and downs. Except for the leaky pipes. Or maybe the kitchen is too small. You just love the house. You just love the house. New tax law is passed. Estate planning law and practice evolves. As I’ve Except for the leaky pipes. Or we maybe is too small. the house almost havethe the kitchen perfect solution: Youthat's just love the perfect, house. written frequently, it’s generally a great idea to engage in a comprehensive Except forFor For the house that's almost perfect, we have the perfect solution: the leaky pipes. Or maybe the kitchen is too one. small. Except for the leaky pipes. Or maybe theand kitchen is too small. Our Renovation Mortgage, a mortgage home improvement loanallallinin Our RenovationFor Mortgage, mortgage home one. estate planning review at least every 3-5 years, or sooner if anything matethe houseathat's almostand perfect, we improvement have the perfectloan solution: For the house that’sMortgage, almost we have the perfect rial changes in your financial or personal life. Ourhouse Renovation aperfect, mortgage and home improvement loansolution: all in one. For the that's almost perfect, we have the perfect solution: ●●mortgage ● ● Purchase Add a porch, deck or patio Update electrical wiring, plumbing or refinance Mortgage, a and home improvement loan all in one. Our Renovation Mortgage, a mortgage and home improvement loan all in one. If you have an estate plan, you also have an estate planning team. The Our ● ●Renovation Add a porch, deck or patio Update electrical wiring, plumbing Purchase or refinance orheating heatingsystems systems ● ● Remodel or Replace a leaky roof the kitchen or bath ● ● Replace a leaky roof Remodel the kitchen or bath ● Add a porch, deck or patio ● Update electrical wiring, plumbing ● Purchase or refinance team may seem to consist of just your estate planning lawyer. Who else Conserve energy with new windows ●●Conserve energy with new windows ●●Put ● or heating systems ● Add ● Update ● Purchase ininor carpeting Renovate or● or add a room a porch, deck patioflooring, plumbing or refinance ● Renovate ●new Put new flooring, carpeting add a room Replace a leaky roof electrical wiring, Remodel the kitchen or bath might you consider or hire to be part of your team? Albeit some of these • Purchase or refinance • Update electrical wiring, • Add a porch, deck, or patio or heating systems ● or tiling Plus much more! ● ● ● Replace a leaky roof thehouse kitchen or bath energy with new windows or tiling much more! ● Remodel ● Put in new flooring, carpeting ● PlusConserve ●house Paint the or add Renovate orsiding add a room ● Paint the or add siding ● Conserve energy kitchen or bath with new windows plumbing, or heating systems Replace a leaky roof team members play smaller and some larger roles, they might include • Remodel ● Put • ● Renovate orthe in new flooring, carpeting add a room ● or tiling Plus much more! ● Paint the house or add siding ● Plus much more! or add a room or tiling ● Paint the house • Conserve energy with new windows • Put in new flooring, or add siding (among others) the following professionals, as merited - your: i) tax ac- • Renovate • Paint the house or add siding • Plus much more! carpeting, or tiling countant; ii) financial advisor; iii) insurance (life, disability, long term care, etc.) agent(s); iv) business attorney; v) banker; vi) real estate agent; vii) mortgage broker. Jim, MBA Black ,MBA MBA If you have read my articles before, you know I place a high value Jim Jim BlackBlack Jim ,Black , MBA VicePresident, President, Area Manager 203k Renovation Specialist Vice President, Area Manager | 203k Renovation Specialist Vice Area Manager || 203k Specialist Vice President, Area Manager | Renovation 203k Renovation Specialist NMLS #633511 | Cell: (925) 285-4898 | Fax:| (855) 450-1673 on hiring excellent professional advisors. A solid investment in the right NMLS NMLS #633511#633511 | Cell: (925) | Fax: (855)285-4898 450-1673 NMLS #633511 | Cell: (925) (855) 450-1673 | 285-4898 Cell: (925) 285-4898 | Fax: Fax: (855) 450-1673 Web: | Web: Web: | Web: Web: Web: Web: | Web:| professional team members can pay off handsomely in helping you make a series of important decisions throughout your life. People establish and Oak Hill Road When Experience 999 999Hill Oak Hill Road Road continue relationships with various professional team members for a whole Lafayette, CA 94549999 Oak Experience WhenWhen Experience Matters 999 Oak Hill www.mmcdcorp.comLafayette, Lafayette, CA 94549 CA Road 94549 When Experience Matters Lafayette, CA 94549 host of reasons. Interestingly, these reasons often do not include that the Matters Matters client is extremely confident about the ability, responsiveness, and ethics or last revised) as primary and alternates for each of the handful of critical roles I of a particular advisor. In my view, it’s very important to evaluate carefully when hiring, and re-evaluate identified above? If not, it should only take a few minutes to pull out your documents and check. If you don’t feel very strongly that these are your best current candidates, at appropriate intervals, your level of confidence in each of your professional advisors. If it’s anything but very high, you should really make a change or add a team be proactive and work with your estate planning attorney to re-evaluate these prior member who can fill a particular need in an expert manner. We are fortunate to live decisions and revise your documents to set up the optimal team. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 1333 N. in an area in which there are many fine professionals from whom one can choose. California Street, Suite 350, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 944-9700; rsilverman@ Aside from professional advisors, you’ll need to assemble the right “personal team His practice emphasizes Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate, members” – typically loved ones and/or close friends (and in appropriate circumstances, private or institutional fiduciaries). These are folks you appoint to serve, at Real Estate, and Business. Mr. Silverman offers a free introductory consultation. This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial the appropriate time when called upon, a critical role in your estate plan, including: and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal • The successor trustee(s) of your living trust; Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein. Advertorial • The executor and successor executor(s) of your will; • The person(s) you nominate in your will to serve as guardian of your minor children; • The primary and successor agents you nominate in your Advance Health Care Directive to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated; • The primary and successor agents you designate under your Durable Power of Attorney to handle your financial matters if you become unable to do so. Just as it’s important to have a full, excellent team of professional estate planning team members, it’s essential that your estate planning documents designate the key personal team members who are most likely to carry out your affairs responsibly and in accordance with your wishes when the need arises. Your estate planning attorney can and should play a valuable role in helping you identify sound, objective criteria for making these appointments. Of course, subjective and emotional issues should not be ignored or dismissed; however, a seasoned estate planning attorney and other professional team members can be very helpful in identifying potential conflicts, warning signs, risks and problems with a client’s initial instincts about who will fill these personal team member positions. The neutral “reality check” such professionals are able to present – particularly when based on many years of actual experience helping people plan and administer trusts/estates – should provide powerful assistance in helping you appoint an estate planning team in which you have justifiable confidence. Do you remember those you chose (when your documents were originally drafted Lic# 1100014354; Bay Area Entertainment Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS #1141

Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California

Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS #1141 Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS #1141

Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. NMLS #1141

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 19

Choosing the Right Trustee Brought to you By Peter, Jim, Paul, and Bob

ment advisor.

In conjunction with Spectrum Wealth Partners, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a registered invest-

Trusts can be used to accomplish any number of estate planning goals. But the success of a trust strategy often depends on how well the trust is managed — and that depends on the abilities of the person (or institution) named as trustee. Trustees must wear many hats. They are responsible for investing the assets placed in the trust, interpreting the terms of the trust, making distributions to the beneficiaries, keeping detailed records, potentially filing reports with the court, and filing tax returns, among other duties. If you are creating a trust, you’ll want to choose your trustee carefully. Legally speaking, almost any adult can qualify to serve. You could select a family member, a friend, a corporate trustee, or a professional advisor such as an attorney or accountant. Each has pros and cons to consider.

Stay in the Family?

11 Critical Home Inspection Traps to be Aware of Weeks Before Listing Your Home for Sale Alamo - According to industry experts, there are over 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. A new report has been prepared which identifies the 11 most common of these problems, and what you should know about them before you list your home for sale. Whether you own an old home or a brand new one, there are a number of things that can fall short of requirements during a home inspection. If not identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair. That's why it's critical that you read this report before you list your home. If you wait until the building inspector flags these issues for you, you will almost certainly experience costly delays in the close of your home sale or, worse, turn prospective buyers

away altogether. In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you're looking for, and knowing what you're looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones. To help home sellers deal with this issue before their homes are listed, a free report entitled "11Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection" has been compiled which explains the issues involved. To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report, call toll-free 1-866-265-1682 and enter 2001. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how to ensure a home inspection doesn't cost you the sale of your home.

A family member will already know your beneficiaries and will be motivated on a personal level to make your trust a success. A family member may not charge trustee fees, either. But This report is courtesy of J. Rockcliff Realtors #01763819. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2013 you need to consider more than a caring personality when naming a trustee. Financial skills and the ability to make unbiased decisions are also option with the corporate trustee, as many corporate trustees do not like serving essential. Individual trustees often find they need to hire professionals to help, with an individual co-trustee. Either way, you should interview and discuss your trust with the potential trustee before naming them in your document to make sure which can eliminate any cost savings. Your trust may last for a long time. If you choose a relative as trustee, you they are willing to serve and that you are comfortable with them. should name one or more successors in case the first trustee dies, does not want What if Your Family Isn’t Happy? Trustees usually serve for the trust’s entire term. But sometimes beneficiaries are to serve, or is unable to do the job for some other reason. (If you haven’t named unhappy with a trustee’s performance. To allow for this possibility, you should include a a successor trustee and one is needed, a court will step in and choose one.) Time and diplomacy are important considerations, too. You want a trustee who will provision in your trust for removing one trustee and substituting another. The procedure have enough time to devote to administering the trust. And since conflicts could arise should be carefully structured, however, to prevent tax problems and to make sure your among beneficiaries, good people skills and sound judgment may be real assets as well. beneficiaries aren’t able to change the intent of your trust. One simple way to do this is to require that an independent third party agree with the change of trustee. Rely on Friendship? If you’re planning to set up a trust, naming the right trustee is very important. Your If you choose a friend as your trustee, personal concern and knowledge of your family are again important pluses. As a matter of fact, a friend may be more capable financial planner can help provide strategies — but ultimately, the choice is yours. Please contact Peter Waldron to schedule a complimentary review of your of making evenhanded decisions and resolving disputes among beneficiaries than a financial situation, call 925-659-0383 or email family member. But remember the importance of financial skills and stability, too. Peter T. Waldron, James R. Westermeyer, Paul Solorzano & Robert J. Waldron Jr. are registered representative of

Choose a Professional Advisor or Institutional Trustee?

You can name a bank or trust company or a professional advisor as your trustee. The advantages of using a corporate trustee are that they have the knowledge and experience to administer trusts. They operate in an unbiased professional manner in administering the trust. Their goal is to carry out the terms that you set forth while investing the funds to maximize return potential based on the beneficiaries needs. Since they are a corporation, they also have longevity, you do not need to worry about the beneficiaries outliving the trustee. The disadvantages of using corporate trustees are that they do charge fees. There is significant liability and responsibility in serving as trustee so they must be compensated. Most corporate trustees also have minimum annual fees which may be prohibitive. Another potential disadvantage with a corporate trust is the trustee, not knowing the beneficiary as well. Since the trustee is not family, they do not have that intimate knowledge about the beneficiary’s needs. In addition, many corporate trustees have significant turnover, so you may be working with many trust administrators over the years. The professional advisor has the same advantages as the corporate trustee and many of the same disadvantages. One major disadvantage is that you can not name a law firm or an accounting firm as the trustee in many states, so you would need to name an individual attorney or accountant as the trustee and they may leave the firm requiring you to amend your document resulting in additional hassle and expense.

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, Spectrum Wealth Partners, 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. CRN200709-2008060 Advertorial

Or a Combination?

You can give your family the advantages of personal insight and professional skills by naming co-trustees. The professional advisor or institution you name could handle the investments, taxes, and reporting duties. And your relative or friend could interact with your beneficiaries and respond to their individual needs. If you choose this route, be sure to specify how the co-trustees are to make decisions and resolve disputes when you set up your trust. Also make sure and discuss this

The Alamo Women’s Club awarded scholarships to Del Amigo, Monte Vista, and San Ramon Valley High School seniors in the fields of Arts/Literature/Music, and to Diablo Valley College mothers reentering the work force. Pictured top row, left to right – Vanessa Martinez, Katherine Friedman, Hayley Cole, Samantha Vilfort, Joshua Herman, Jessica Hauh. Pictured bottom row, left to right – Rachel Ennen, Timothy Wraith, Daniel Richardson. Congratulations!

Page 20 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Life in the Alamo Garden

By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect #4059 Swimming Pools

Summer is finally officially here, although it has been a mild one so far. I assure you that the summer heat is on the way. One way to keep you cool during those blazing hot Alamo summers is to have a swimming pool. With the hotter months yet to come, Alamo residents are finding creative ways to keep cool in their backyards. If you don’t already have a swimming pool, you might be knocking on your neighbor’s door offering 25 cents a head to take a dip, or is it more like $5 bucks now? Getting out the “Kiddy” pool, Slip n’ Slide, Crazy Daisy or just running through the sprinklers are some other creative ways to stay cool without a pool. If you are considering a swimming pool as a major asset to your home environment, here are some things to consider before jumping off the diving board. Pools in today’s terms are a major investment. No longer can you get a simple rectangular pool for less than $70,000. Most pools today are falling into the range of $70,000-100,000+. Why? It’s because of the complexity of the pool designs, accouterments, and locations they are being constructed at. Some key considerations in designing and constructing a pool are the engineering and accessories that accompany today’s pool. Most flat lot pools can be constructed with standard engineering. Most of Alamo’s soil is either expansive clay-type or sandstone bedrock or both. If your pool is going into the clay-type soil, potential problems such as expansion, settlement, and drainage are major issues to consider. If you are digging into sandstone, that’s a good thing. You may pay more for digging, but most likely your pool will stay put. Popular additions to the pool design are spas; waterfalls; water slides; automatic covers; solar heating panels; in-floor cleaning systems; plasters such as pebble-Tec, Satin Matrix and Pebble Sheen, custom masonry and tile; and of course, computer systems to run the whole thing. Your computer can manage your pool temperature, lights, waterfall, filtering system, landscape lights, cleaning system, solar, and even turn on your spa to warm it up hours before you even get home for that late night dip. For those with a view, the ever-growing popularity of the vanishing edge or infinity edge pool is changing the way pools have been used in the traditional sense. With high-tech engineering and pier-holes drilled thirty feet into the ground, you can hang a pool off the edge of almost any hillside lot. Of course, you only do this if you are willing to spend what the average Alamo home cost in the 1990’s. V-edge pools are simply breath-taking. Depending on the degree of difficulty you can expect these pools to start at $125,000. If you have the opportunity to design one of these babies into your home environment you will be totally awe-struck by the beauty of your surroundings being reflected into the mirror glass reflection of your vanishing edge. If you are planning a pool as part of your home environment, it is best to integrate the pool design and the landscape design as an integrated master plan design. Pool companies design pools but often end up plunking a pool into your backyard without consideration of your lifestyle and the rest of the project. Start by creating the environment as a whole and integrating a cohesive design of pool, hardscape, and softscape. Do you want a more naturalistic or formal

setting? Installing a pool also makes you think about what other elements you want in your backyard. What kind of pool decking would be best? Should you use concrete, flagstone, slate, etc? What other additions to your pool-side entertaining do you want? What is your budget? As you can see, designing a pool into your yard is a serious commitment and investment with a lot at stake. Swimming pools can certainly be the magnet of joy and good times, as well as a liability. If you decide that a pool should be in your backyard, always consider safety first, be vigilant, make sure your children are pool safe and never, ever leave them unattended, not even for a moment. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Always hire a state licensed contractor to build your project.. Check their license status and referrals. Make sure they have done projects similar to your own. You can verify the status of a contractor at the California State License Board (CSLB). You can check on-line at Gardening Quote of the Month: “I can’t fly, but swimming is the next best thing.... The water is my sky.” ~Author Unknown If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas, visit Advertorial

Succulent Garden Design

Whether you are replacing your lawn with a drought-tolerant landscape or creating a stunning arrangement in a bed, learn how to landscape with fashionable succulents by attending a lecture about water-wise gardening using water-storing plants on July 6th from 10AM to 12PM. Discover how to utilize these plants to the best of their potential and thrill with succulents. Optimize the water-conserving nature of a succulent garden by designing from terrain and drainage to plant selection. The advice and tips from The Ruth Bancroft Garden’s Curator Brian Kemble will help you to understand the initial stages of garden design and the potential that your garden will reach with proper care and maintenance. View established succulent gardens planted by Mr. Kemble, and understand the components that went into planning and designing the landscapes. Come to the garden willing to carpool to a couple different sites. Be inspired by interesting plant choices, and decide what you’d like to purchase prior to our Summer Plant Sale on July 20th. Join us for a hands-on class about transforming your lawn to a garden on August 24th. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek. Admission for the event is $20 for general admission and $12 for members. For more information, please visit The Ruth Bancroft Garden or call (925) 944-9352.

Bathroom Remodeling Basics

A quick look at today’s bathroom remodeling project By The Bath Studio Staff

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 21

Many homeowners begin the bathroom remodeling process by looking at home design magazines and visiting home improvement stores to get ideas and formulate an overall vision. As you begin to explore the multitude of options available today, the first step is to identify all of your requirements for the space, including: • Do you have enough space for all of the components you want in your new bathroom? • How much storage do you need and where? • What size and type of shower do you want? • Do you want a soaker, whirlpool, or air tub? • What type of overall style and feel are you looking to achieve? • Do you want to add heated floors, towel warmers, or a steam shower? After defining your requirements, detailed attention should be given to space planning. If more space is desired for, say, a larger shower, additional storage, or a separate room for the toilet, there may be opportunities to expand the bathroom by annexing a closet or other adjacent space; sometimes, just redesigning the existing space may meet your requirements without taking space from other areas. Location and size of windows should be considered so that you can bring in as much natural light as possible while maintaining privacy. Product selection is the next step and will require a review of many items, including: • Tub: When selecting a tub, consider size, shape, hydrotherapy options, style, warranty, and cost. • Shower: Today’s shower systems can contain multiple shower outlets, including rain heads, hand showers, and body sprays. • Cabinetry: Cabinetry in today’s bathroom can be anything from built-in “stock” cabinets to elegant furniture-style. Storage requirements and style preferences should dictate your choice. • Tile / Surfacing materials: The walls, floors, and countertops of the bathroom have a significant impact on the overall look of the space. These choices should be made with aesthetic and maintenance aspects in mind. If you would like assistance with a bathroom remodeling project, visit our design showroom in San Ramon to see how we can help define and create your vision for a new space. We are located at 2410 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, 925-735-1400. For a preview, visit us on the web at Advertorial Berkeley calculates that for every $1.00 the city spends on planting and pruning How Much are your Trees city trees, its citizens reap $1.40 in measurable benefits; for Sacramento the return Really Worth? is $1.80, and for New York City an astounding $5.00 is the return for every dolBy Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb lar spent. The value added to pruning and planting trees on your own property is With the world in economic and ecologihigher than that for street trees because trees have a real effect on real estate prices. cal turmoil, it pays to take a deep breath and Overestimating the value of trees to the entire planet is impossible: how can consider the real value of your assets. It’s best you put a price on the continuation of human life? If too many trees are stripped to start this exercise close to home because from the planet, then tipping points in the carbon cycle are crossed making global for most Americans their largest asset is their home. A surprisingly large contribuwarming spin out of control… and making the world too hot for human life. Our tion— between 8 and 19%1 — to the value of your home comes from your trees, Earth is small, and global warming makes it ever smaller. The easy division beshrubs, and other landscape plants. If your house is worth $500,000, that places tween what is global and what is local no longer holds: a ton of carbon dioxide the value of your plants at between $40,000 and $90,0000. Your trees deserve care from burning rainforests in Borneo heats the air as much as a ton of carbon dioxide commensurate with the value they add to your home’s portfolio. from the tail pipes of commuter traffic on I580. We are all part of the problem. We Trees, of course, have value far beyond real estate. Here’s a quick tour of values are all part of the solution. economists give for urban trees: Trees play a role in all three strategies to fight global warming. Trees help reduce Trees add to home values and thereby form part of the tax base. In so doing energy use, and they may someday become a source of renewable biofuels. We trees help fund schools, fire protection services, and police. can protect and restore rainforests and other carbon sinks. Through its work in the Trees work to clean the air. In the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb pollutants and even convert harmful chemicals, like nitrogen oxides and airborne Borneo Project, Brende and Lamb works hard to leverage local support for the protection of rainforests. Closer to home we can all help with strategic planting of ammonia, into benign forms. Trees act to reduce local tax rates by reducing infrastructure costs. Trees absorb urban trees to sequester carbon, to reduce heat island effects, and to lower energy rain and slow the speed at which storm water accumulates, thereby helping to consumption. The dividends far outstrip the costs of caring for trees as a necessary part of the ‘green economy.’ prevent flooding and the need to install larger storm drains. Like other living beings, trees do require care. With people it costs less to avoid Trees not only filter pollution, they help prevent it. Shade from trees can reduce getting sick than to pay for a cure. The same is true with trees. Quality care improves air conditioning needs by as much as 30%, and trees planted to intercept prevailing the health of your trees, extends their lifespan, and increases their beauty. Quality winds can reduce heating needs significantly. “Projections suggest that 100 million additional mature trees in US cities (three trees for every unshaded single family tree work pays dividends to you and to the planet. If you need help, do not hesitate to give us a call for advice or to do the home) could save over $2 billion in energy costs per year.” 2 Trees also help prevent car pollution. In the Sacramento area, an astounding work. At Brende and Lamb, we have 20 years of experience balancing the aesthetics of your trees and shrubs and maintaining your screening needs. If 16% of air pollution comes from cars parked in the sun. Shade from trees greatly your trees need a little TLC, please call 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at reduces the loss of gas, thereby reducing air pollution. Trees aid healing. When hospital rooms have views of trees, patients heal at a for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website www. measurably faster rate. Trees help us fulfill Dorothy Day’s maxim: create a world to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work Advertorial in which it is easier to be nice to each other. Studies find that trees in public housing in your neighborhood. 1. neighborhoods reduce levels of fear and decrease aggressive behavior; and students 2. with ADHD develop more self-discipline when they play in natural settings.

Page 22 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Solar Currents

By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar The Four V’s

Independence Day is a wonderful holiday. Local parades and celebrations are a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s 237th birthday. Coincidentally, “Buy American” is becoming more in vogue again for various reasons. For the solar industry, “Buy American” has of late become a very obvious choice. Recently in the New York Times an article titled “Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels” was published. Before reading on, it’s very important for the reader to understand that there are solar panel manufacturers still in business who have never had a recalled or defective product. These manufacturers have strict quality control and testing standards. Every solar panel from these manufacturers is tested as it leaves the assembly line. Many panels made by these companies 30 years ago are still in service today. It’s safe to say that the best value panels are not lowest cost panels. The best value panels will provide the highest long-term production, thereby the best financial returns that can be achieved from a solar system. As I read the New York Times article, a sense of pride began to well up inside of me. If one were to “read between the lines,” the article validates what I’ve been proselytizing for years: The best value and lowest long term Total Cost of Ownership (LCO) of solar projects rarely comes with lowest initial price. After finishing the article, four words instantly came to mind. “I told you so” (directed at no one in particular) were not the words, although they may have best described my feelings at that moment. The words were “Validation,” “Verification,” “Vindication,” and “Value.” Validation: For the consumer, choice and installation of products based on price alone, without regard to performance history, bankability, and compatibility, will result in a higher long-term cost of ownership. There are literally tens of thousands of solar panels that are at the center of these quality control problems located around us. A solar panel that fails is a solar panel that most likely provided the lowest initial cost, yet at much greater long-term risk, financial or otherwise. Many of these panels will perform until their seals fail, be it 2, 5, or 10 years from now. Read the article for more details. Verification: Over 50% of Chinese solar panel manufacturers have become insol-

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

I found the meadow movement flourishing at the Royal Horticultural Society’s 100th annual Chelsea Flower and Garden Show. No matter how formal the design, a swathe of wildflowers softened the edges of hedges or hardscape somewhere in almost every show garden. Designer Chris Bradshaw writes: “More and more pressure is put upon gardens to provide something for wildlife...” I waved to sunset orange California poppies dotting informal areas. Gusty breezes helped them return the acknowledgement. Azure camass, another North American native, was frequently featured in displays. Eye-catching clouds of white blossoms wafted above the naturalized spaces wherever the eye wandered. My American companions instantly wanted the name of that flower. Although Philadelphia Flower Show attendees may find fall-flowering football mums forced into bloom to underscore spring-blooming forsythia, visitors to London’s Chelsea event can count on plant materials utilized being seasonally appropriate. Taller than Queen Anne’s lace and blossoming in spring rather than summer, the British wildflower so prevalent throughout the show is locally called cow parsley. Like other members of the parsley clan, cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is attractive to bees and a host plant for butterflies. Better, nonetheless, to admire it as a tourist than to bring it home. Several states, including Washington, have this European import on their list of invasive undesirables. It spreads both by prolific seeds and underground runners. Possibly better behaved, the cultivar ‘Raven’s Wing’ boasts edible burgundy foliage dramatically performing as a foil to the effervescent foam-white flowers. Annie’s Annuals offers seed for this versatile variety, which is drought and deer resistant as well as tolerant of clay soil. Is ‘Raven’s Wing’ a courteous containable courtier or a wicked wandering warrior? Alas, I lack the requisite experience to offer advice. Despite the royal reference in its name, Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) is a carefree carousing commoner romping through roadside ditches and imbedding itself in open fields. Arriving from the Old World with the first settlers, Queen

vent in the last few years, including the world’s former largest manufacturer, Suntech. Multiple independent third party testing services confirmed product quality control problems at multiple module manufacturing sites. It was determined that quality control problems occur when corners are cut in material selection and when solar panel production is subcontracted to other smaller Chinese manufacturers. Defect reporting is not high on the priority list of companies having difficulty remaining solvent. Some developers worldwide reported a 22-35% failure rate of mostly Chinese modules. Vindication:Abusiness plan based on utilization of best choice products is the correct approach to appeal to customers who choose value over cost. In my opinion, the best solar panels are panels that are compatible with other products, have long-term performance histories, are price competitive, are aesthetically pleasing as possible, and createAmerican jobs. The best-marketed solar panels are the “most efficient,” yet are seriously lacking in compatibility. I’m not singling out Chinese products, but they happen to be at the center of the studies, and traditionally have been the “best” in when it comes to price. When choosing products to achieve maximum financial returns over the course of 25 plus years, the wise choice is a quality product that combines and ranks high in all of the necessary above-mentioned traits. Ultimately the best insurance policy is excellent product. One American manufacturer is about to increase their solar panel warranty to 30 years. A product with a flawless performance history backed by such a warranty is easy to trust. Value: Three separate groups should benefit from the research published by the New York Times. Manufacturers with rigorous testing and quality controls should be able to reap the rewards of their value-add approach by selling more product. Installers who have strived to maintain a business plan which is most advantageous to their customers will also likely be rewarded with their foresight. Satisfied customers generate more referral business for the installer. Customers who have chosen quality over price are vindicated in their choice of product. Those extra few dollars you’ve spent on high quality products are an inexpensive insurance policy which will ensure 25 plus years of excellent financial returns. If you’re wondering whether your solar system is operating at optimum, or how you can leverage the most financial return out of your solar system, please contact us. We provide bi-monthly seminars to solar home and business owners in our Danville showroom. Mark Becker is the President of GoSimpleSolar, by Semper Fidelis Construction Inc, a Danville based Solar Installation Firm (License 948715). Mark can be reached at 925.915.9252. Visit GoSimpleSolar’s showroom at 114 West Prospect Avenue in Danville or, or email Advertorial Anne’s lace rapidly colonized North America. One legend explaining the flower’s moniker relates that Queen Anne, brought to England from Denmark to wed James I, was so adept at making lace that she challenged the ladies of the court to best her skill at tatting. Tactfully, none succeeded. The crimson dot in the center of the flower is said to be a drop of blood shed by Queen Anne when she pricked her finger with a needle. Also known as wild carrot, this naturalized citizen has a taproot that is edible early in its first season, but unappetizingly woody in the second year when flowering occurs. The comestible carrot is a subspecies: Daucus carota var. sativus. Wild carrot is listed among the herbs grown during the 8th century BC in the palace gardens of Babylon. Edible carrots first found favor in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan more than 3,000 years ago. These early carrots were purple, but at some point mutant yellow, red, and white roots evolved. About the time when tulip mania was poised to bankrupt speculators in the Netherlands, a few more practical 17th century Dutch growers turned to breeding carrots. Soon their sweeter orange varieties became popular throughout Europe. I have successfully cultivated Queen Anne’s lace as an ornamental. The flowers last a long time in a vase. The foliage feeds swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, and the blossoms nourish bees. Deadheading controls the reseeding process. Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’ is a mauve-flowering variation that is actually a comestible carrot. You can buy seeds online form Johnny’s Select Seeds. Wild carrot’s distant cousins Ammi majus and Ammi visnaga, both commonly called laceflower or bishop’s lace, are regal-mannered annuals that stand tall in any cutting garden. They are offended by being transplanted, so plan on sowing seeds directly into the location where you want them to hold court. Ammi majus ‘Graceland’ wears snow-white flower caps on sturdy stems rising to a height of four feet or more. Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’ has a refreshing mint tinge to the flowers and is less bothered by heat. Swallowtail Garden Seeds, an online-only source based in Northern California, has both available. Beware the skeleton-maker in the family closet. The foliage of poison hemlock, Conium maculatum, closely resembles that of its non-lethal relatives. California is one of many states listing this species as invasive. Sentenced to death by the court of Athens in 399 BC for corrupting the city’s youth, the philosopher Socrates succumbed by imbibing a beverage brewed from this plant, also known as poison parsley.

Explore 3D Printing

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 23

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

3D printing. What is it? Why does it matter? How can it help me? These are all the questions I began asking my son Alex when he brought up the topic. I have him to thank for the education I’ve received over the past few months. He’s been out on the front edge of learning this technology, as he’s an entrepreneur looking for creative ways to manufacture all the product ideas he’s been coming up with. In addition to his endless web research, he read and recommended a book called Makers – The new Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson. It’s a really good book, and I recommend it as well. Put simply, a basic 3D printer is a device that takes a specially processed drawing file from a computer and “prints” progressive layers of plastic on a bed to form an object. That object can be almost anything, as long as it’s not bigger than a one foot cube. Alex’s printer is about twenty inches tall and eighteen inches square. It uses a spool of plastic filament, which comes in different colors, to print. The print head is actually a heated nozzle which melts and extrudes the plastic filament down in a precise bead in thousands upon thousands of layers. It can print anything up to a foot square, which is about the size of the printing bed. The plastic is identical to that of a LEGO piece, so you get an idea how sturdy the printed product is. Alex ordered his printer as an unassembled kit to save a couple hundred dollars. When he got it he was intimidated by the sea of parts, but he stayed up into the wee hours one night to charge through, and I think he surprised himself with how fast it actually went. And it didn’t work right at first, either. Partly, it needed adjustment, and other part was that he was still learning the software that drives the printer. Self-assembly was very educational. This is a very early-adopter technology. In five years, it won’t look or behave like this. In ten years, this will be a quaint antique. But right now it’s exciting and useful. One simple example of something he’s made is a replacement part for his Foosball table. He broke one of the guides on which the handles passes through the side of the game. Using his Autocad program, he measured and designed a work-alike piece, ran it through the special rendering software that tells the printer how to break it down into “slices” for the printer, and created himself a new one. A couple other items he’s made so far are an iPhone case, a business card holder, an iPhone/iPod stand, a replacement hinge for our Igloo cooler, and a Rubik’s cube type of geared object. He has more complicated projects planned. If you want to take a look at objects other people have designed and shared, check out and explore their catalog. The possibilities for what you can create with a 3D are as endless as your imagination. And that’s the point. Manufacturing was always something only big corporations could do, and do at great expense. Now, between the advent of 3D printing and all the outsourced services for circuit design, programmers, and just about every other skillset you can imagine, we’ve entered a golden age of micro-manufacturing. It’s a more boutique style of creation and one that favors the small-lot over the mass production of a particular object. Today, an entrepreneur is much more likely to make their product a web-based, open-source project and manufacture in small lots at a higher price, because the object they’re producing is for a specialized audience, even though it may be world-wide. That audience is OK with paying a higher price for a boutique object, because they’re making a conscious choice to go this route rather than the mass-produced object route. Printing takes a while depending on the size of the object and the detail required. To facilitate this, Alex has set up his computer for remote control, and he’s setup his camera with Skype on auto-answer so he can watch it print while he is away. It can be mesmerizing to sit there and watch an object be created layer by layer before your eyes. There’s much more to say on this topic, and I’m just getting warmed up. Stay tuned as we talk more about boutique manufacturing and the amazing array of resources available for entrepreneurs today. In the meantime, if you have questions or need help with your systems, networks or technology planning, you should contact the friendly staff at Portable CIO! Email, or reach us at 925-552-7953. Advertorial

Page 24 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Alamo Improvement Association By Roger Smith, President Alamo Improvement Association Alamo’s “Area of Benefit” – Good or Bad? Part 2

The Alamo “Area of Benefit” Town Hall Meeting was held on June 19th. More than 200 Alamo residents were in attendance to listen, question, and debate both the CCCounty Public Works Representative, Senior Civil Engineer Christopher Lau and Representatives from the County’s designated Consultant for the Alamo AOB, DKS Associates from Oakland (who also has access to refer projects to the Tri-Valley Transportation Council). Please visit for information on the Alamo AOB review process. This was the third Town Hall meeting, in a series of what will be four meetings in total, to determine the use of Alamo Area of Benefit (AOB) funds. The County position, as verbally expressed at the meeting by both Christopher Lau and our Supervisor, Candace Andersen, is not to use AOB funds to widen Danville Blvd. During the meeting, however, it was also offered as a possibility, among others, that such proposed projects as the operation of the Stone Valley/Danville Interchange and changes to exit ramps from 680 remain on the projects list as safety improvements. DKS Associates projection through 2040 shows Alamo will add only 102 single family residences and 110 jobs that will impact our traffic counts. However, DKS Associates projections for 2040 also show two Alamo intersections (Stone Valley/Danville Blvd and Stone Valley/Green Valley Road) exceeding the County’s service standard and being labeled as “Level of Service F” - a classification that when waiting at a red light which then turns to green, some vehicles may not make it through the intersection before the light turns red again. When asked about the projections for Alamo adding only 102 residences and 110 jobs through 2040 and why this would result in the projected changes of intersection status, the audience was told that this would be due to additional traffic coming through Alamo intersections from outside of the Alamo area. A major project of concern, the “Ultimate Configuration,” does not appear to be proposed for the AOB project list at this time. However it does remain on other transportation project lists. This is a project that impacts the Stone Valley Road/ Danville Blvd intersection and also includes expansion of the I-680/Stone Valley interchange. Although the interchange and intersection projects are referenced under different names in some project lists, County staff has indicated that they

Alamo Police Services District P-2, Zone B

Deputy Michael Carson, Alamo Resident Deputy, activities for April 2013

Deputy Carson Completed:

190 Calls for service • 10 Moving citations • 1 Non-moving citation • 7 Reports • 24 School security checks • 3 FI cards

Deputy Carson Responded to or Conducted

31 Patrol requests/Vacation house checks • 6 Alarm calls • 4 Found property • 1 Lost property • 7 Suspicious circumstances • 7 Service to citizens • 2 Vandalism • 1 Identity theft • 4 Petty thefts • 3 Auto burglary • 2 Commercial burglaries • 3 Battery • 1 Warrant arrest • 1 Outside Assists

If I Were a Thief Program

429 Streets covered • 161 Flyers distributed

Reported Incident

• Danville Blvd - Petty Auto Burglary - Valley Station Deputies responded to a reported Auto Burglary in the 900 block of Danville Blvd. The suspect(s) broke a vehicle window to gain entry. Personal items were stolen from the vehicle. There are no known suspects or independent witnesses. Evidence was collected and this is going to be an ongoing investigation. • Stone Valley Way - Suspicious Circumstances - Valley Station Deputies responded to a suspicious circumstances call, along with other Valley Station Deputies, on Stone Valley Way. A worker at a home in the area was approached by an unknown female who asked for assistance with her vehicle. The worker went out front to assist the female, who appeared nervous to the worker. A few moments later, two male suspects came out from the garage area of the home and stated, “There’s nothing.” The three unknown subjects got into the vehicle and left the area. A few minutes later, the vehicle returned and pulled into the driveway of the home. The worker, who was now on the side yard, working on a shed, saw one of the male subjects

consider them to be all the same project. DKS representatives referenced a number of items proposed by attendees at the previous meeting, including: 1) Undertake improvements to I-680 to add capacity and increase throughput 2) Add BART down the middle of I-680 3) Eliminate the HOV lane between Walnut Creek and Danville After funding commitments for several local projects under construction, approximately $1 million in funds would currently remain in the Alamo AOB. It was also suggested to the County during the meeting that approximately $2.9 million in the South Contra Costa Regional Fee Program currently allocated to enlarging the ramps of the Stone Valley/I-680 Interchange (a project that would likely increase diversions of freeway traffic to local streets) be reallocated to a current CCTA project to close the gap in the I-680 HOV lane that now exits between North Main Street and Rudgear Road (a project that would ease I-680 congestion and reduce diversion of freeway traffic to local Alamo streets).

HOV Lane Addition to 680 and Widening of the Freeway Entrance at Rudgear Road

The aforementioned project to extend the existing HOV lane through the I-680/24 interchange appears to include the addition of one or two lanes to the southbound I-680 on ramp at Rudgear Road for expanded ramp metering which will necessitate: 1) A tapering widening and additional retaining walls along the west side of the freeway as far south as Stonecastle. 2) Relocation of sections of the current sound wall near Stonecastle, and 3) The possible construction of new sections of sound wall on the west side of I-680 near Rudgear and Stonecastle. An environmental review document is currently scheduled to be released in July for review by the public. Please join your neighbors in attending the upcoming and final meeting on August 21st at 6 PM at the Alamo School, and find out more about the Alamo “Area of Benefit” and ways that it could be used for Alamo’s benefit without diverting freeway traffic onto our local roadways through our downtown. The audience attending the most recent meeting appeared to favor using Alamo AOB funds for traffic, and bicycle and pedestrian safety in and around our three local schools – Rancho Romero Elementary, Alamo Elementary School, and Stone Valley Middle School. Not at member of AIA? Consider joining and “help us, help you” and the rest of our Alamo community. Visit for more information and a membership form. exit the vehicle and approach him. The subject began to tell the worker that he was there looking for his wallet. The worker became suspicious of their actions and told them he was calling the police. As the worker reached for his cell phone and called Sheriff’s Dispatch, the male subject ran back to the vehicle, yelling to the others that “He’s calling the police.” The male subject got back in the vehicle and drove off toward Stone Valley Rd. The worker used his cell phone camera to take a photograph of the vehicle as they drove off. Deputies conducted a search of the area for the subjects and vehicle with negative results. • Alamo Glen Dr. - Auto Burglary - Valley Station Deputies responded to a reported Auto Burglary on Alamo Glen Dr. The unknown suspect(s) entered the locked vehicle and stole items. There are no known suspects or independent witnesses. This is an ongoing investigation. • Alamo Square Dr. - Suspicious Circumstances - Deputy Carson responded to a reported suspicious circumstances. The person reporting the incident had received a phone call stating that he had an outstanding balance with a loan company, and that if he did not call immediately and pay the debt, he would be arrested. The caller ID displayed the public line to the Sheriff’s Office, Valley Station. This incident has been documented and is being followed up by the Investigations Division. Deputy Mike Carson is Alamo’s full time resident deputy. His position is funded by Alamo’s P-2B police services district, which includes approximately 60% of Alamo household. District households pay an $18 annual parcel tax plus a portion of the 1% property tax. The Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee advises Sheriff David Livingston on the resident deputy and his services. The Committee is composed of Alamo residents within the district and it meets on the first Monday of each month at 5pm in the offices of the Alamo Chamber of Commerce, located at 120B Alamo Plaza. Alamo citizens are welcome to attend the meetings.

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 25

Leg Veins

By Dr. Jerome Potozkin

As I write this article, it is the first day of summer. For many of us, that means family vacations, summer barbecues and picnics, and simply relaxing from the pressures of our kids’ school year. For others, it means the embarrassment of wearing a bathing suit and showing unsightly varicose and spider veins. However, there is hope as the treatment of varicose and spider veins has undergone great improvements from years past. In my practice, we are lucky to have Dr. Monica Brar. Her practice is limited to the diagnosis and treatment of leg veins. Many people knew Dr. Brar when she practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology and delivered many of your babies. I am also lucky to be married to her. The reality of family life and incredible demands of being a solo practicing Obstetrician and Gynecologist led Dr. Brar to retrain in phlebology (the specialty of treating leg veins). Many of the advancements in the treatment of leg veins stem from the use of the Duplex Ultrasound Machine to visualize the veins underneath the skin. This was a natural transition for Dr. Brar as using diagnostic ultrasound was part of her daily Obstetrics practice. She has studied this art and, because of her expertise, has been an invited speaker at national leg vein conferences. Some people only have small spider veins that we can easily treat with injection sclerotherapy. However, a diagnostic ultrasound is usually performed to make sure that there is not a larger vein under the skin feeding the superficial veins. If there is a deeper vein feeding the superficial one, and you only inject the superficial veins, treatment in unlikely to succeed. A common myth is that injection sclerotherapy hurts and stings. Newer FDA approved solutions do not sting and burn the way hypertonic saline did in the old days. If a larger vein is identified feeding the smaller ones, that vein would be treated first. Some of the greatest advances have come in the treatment of varicose veins. In the late nineties techniques were pioneered that have all but replaced vein stripping. Vein stripping was often accompanied by a great deal of pain and downtime. The biggest advancement in treating varicose veins came with today’s endovenous techniques where a laser fiber or radio frequency catheter is inserted into a vein to destroy it. These techniques have all but replaced stripping. This is a procedure that is routinely performed in our fully accredited operatories with local anesthesia. Most people are back to work the next day, and the results can be incredible. If you have leg veins ranging from large varicose veins to small spider veins, Dr. Brar is happy to help you. You are welcome to find out more about the current state-of-the art treatment available by scheduling a complimentary leg vein consultation. It may be too late for this year’s bathing suit season, but there is always next year to think about. Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the local community since 1993. His office is located at 600 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 102 in Danville. He is accepting new patients. Please call 925-8384900 or visit for more information. Advertorial

Blackhawk Automotive Museum Lecture

J. Michael Hemsley, author of Art Deco and the Automobile, will be lecturing at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum on Saturday, July 13 from 10am-noon. Hemsley retired from the US Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1994, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2001, and from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2008. As a freelance journalist, he has reported on motorsports events at all levels of the sport and has written about automotive history and, especially, Alfa Romeo automobiles. He is currently writing a book on all types of vehicles whose design was influenced by or reflects the Art Deco style. The working title for the book is Art Deco and Transportation. The Blackhawk Automotive Museum, located in Blackhawk Plaza, Danville, opened in August 1988 to fulfill its mission of ensuring that significant automotive treasures blending art, technology, culture, and history would be exhibited for public enjoyment and educational enrichment. The Museum houses a rotating collection of 90 one-of-a-kind custom coachwork classic cars, limited production cars, and concept automobiles across two galleries. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is open year round, 10AM - 5PM, Wednesday through Sunday and most major holidays. For more information, visit

CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations to Iris Wen, of Monte Vista High School and Andrew Parese of San Ramon Valley High School! Iris and Andrew were each honored with $1,000 scholarships presented by our Chamber Members! These scholarships are funded our monthly Mixer Raffles supported by generous member-donated prizes. We welcome community members to join us at our July 24th Mixer at Alamo Ace Hardware, 3211 Danville Boulevard. Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. ALAMOCHAMBEROFCOMMERCE.COM

Meals on Wheels

Seniors in your community need your support! Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services has been supporting seniors in YOUR neighborhood since 1968. Two of our programs, Meals on Wheels and Friendly Visitors, rely on the support of volunteers, and we need your help now more than ever. Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers deliver meals to local homebound seniors through regular two hour shifts once per week or as substitute drivers. Friendly Visitors volunteers provide weekly one-hour companionship visits to isolated seniors. To volunteer for either program, please call (925)937-8311.


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Page 26 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Options for Knee Pain for the Over 40 Athlete By Dr. Jeffrey G. Riopelle, MD

Knee pain is one of the most common causes of reduction in activity for people over 40. To understand how to help knee pain, one must start at the root of the pain. Although the knee is a rather complex joint with movement in multiple directions, knee pain can best be understood as resulting from one or more of four basic causes: ligamentous pain, meniscus pain, pre-patellar bursitis pain, and chondral cartilage pain. By far the most common cause of knee pain in people over 40 is chondral cartilage pain, which includes arthritis, and this article will mostly be focused on this cause. But let’s discuss the others first. Ligamentous pain occurs due to an injury to one or more of the four ligaments: the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), the posterior cruciate ligament, the medial collateral (MCL), or the lateral collateral ligament. These injuries are common in high intensity younger athletes, especially football, basketball, and soccer players. Ligamentous pain injuries are less common in older athletes, but they may lead to chondral cartilage pain years after the original injury if the injury, especially an ACL, was never fixed. With ligamentous pain, the involved ligament is either torn completely or partially disrupted. Diagnosis of ligamentous pain is made by exam and by MRI. Treatment usually involves ACL reconstruction for an ACL and may involve either surgery or non-surgical treatment for the other injuries. The meniscus is a band of cartilage around the edge of the knee joint which aids in smooth motion of the joint. Meniscus injury can occur in any age group from a twisting injury or blow to the knee. It is most commonly seen in football players and other high intensity collision sports players. There are two meniscuses, the lateral and medial meniscus in each knee. Similarly to ACL injuries, an untreated meniscus injury can lead to chondral cartilage damage years later. Diagnosis is again made by exam and MRI. Treatment usually includes repair or partial removal of the meniscus via arthroscopic surgery. Pre-patellar bursitis is the least serious of any of the causes of knee pain. A bursa is a thin sack filled with the body’s own natural lubricating fluid. This slippery sack allows different tissues such as muscle, tendon, and skin to slide over bony surfaces without catching. If the bursa becomes inflamed from repeated trauma or kneeling, a bursitis occurs, and the knee can become painful and swollen. In the case of bursitis, however, the problem is not in the joint itself. Treatment includes rest, ice,

Roads continued from front page

Alamo residents that were deemed not eligible for funding included the suggestion to make Danville Boulevard a toll road, use AOB funds to repair and maintain roads, or provide school bus service. Among other suggested projects that are eligible for AOB funding are crosswalk improvements in the business district, bike lanes on all major Alamo roads, speed bumps on Las Trampas Road at the Iron Horse Trail, improved pedestrian safety around Alamo’s public schools, and many more projects. Each suggestion is rated as to feasibility, benefit and cost and is illustrated with detailed drawings and photographs. Almost every Alamo resident would be affected by these projects, and many of the suggestions are much needed improvements to keep Alamo residents safe on our roads and sidewalks. Your input is important! Visit the www.alamore. org website and study the slide show to keep yourself informed. Call Supervisor Andersen’s Danville office at 925-957-8860 to be included on the notification list for future community meetings. No decisions have been made yet, and there’s plenty of time to get involved. Community Meeting #4 is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 6-8pm, Alamo Elementary School, MultiPurpose Room, 100 Wilson Road, Alamo.

anti-inflammatory medications, and occasionally drainage and/or cortisone injection. Chondral cartilage pain (including arthritis) is the most common cause of knee pain in the over 40 athlete. It occurs either due to chronic wear and tear from overuse or kneeling, or due to a specific injury. A trauma to the knee can scuff the cartilage or, as mentioned above, an old meniscus tear or ligament tear can cause the knee to function improperly year after year, leading to chondral damage. The chondral cartilage lines the bony surfaces that rub against each other in the joint, i.e., the femur, the patella, and the tibia. As the cartilage becomes scuffed more and more, it gradually wears down to the underbone and arthritis occurs. Bone spurs can form due to the inflammation. Diagnosis can be made by exam in combination with xray or MRI. Standard arthroscopic surgery to “clean out the joint” is surprisingly ineffective for both chondromalacia (cartilage wear and tear) and arthritis. What treatments are helpful? Generally a combination of treatments is most helpful. Anti-inflammatory medications will help pain and swelling although they have not been shown to reduce progression to arthritis. Physical therapy and straight leg raises rebuild muscle strength and help in realigning the knee. Ice at night and heat in the morning are helpful. High quality shock absorbent shoes and padding help keep the cartilage hydrated and help take wear and tear off the joint. We also recommend eliminating exacerbating factor such as kneeling and squatting and, as the joint worsens, discontinuing high impact exercises such as running. Low impact exercises on the other hand keep the joint moving and can be helpful with reducing pain and swelling. Pilate’s exercises, done properly, can be particularly helpful. In our practice, we have found that supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are worth a try and provide significant improvement in symptoms for many patients. Studies show conflicting evidence about glucosamine and chondroitin, but our experience with these has been positive. Tylenol is also helpful for pain relief. For osteoarthritis, cortisone injections can provide up to six months relief, but with each subsequent injection, the time to recurrence of symptoms typically shortens. Hyaluronic acid injections such as sinvisc have typically been the last resort prior to knee replacement. When all else fails and pain is to the point it disrupts routine activities, knee replacement becomes the final option. One new final possibility for joint rejuvenation available in our office through a study protocol involves the use of autologous (your own) stem cells. We are now accepting local patients for a patient sponsored study through the Ageless Regenerative institute to evaluate the regenerative properties of stem cells in the knee. Further information is available through our office. For information on any of our programs, please call our office, San Ramon Valley Medical Group, Inc., at (925) 275-9333 or visit our website at www.riopellecosmetic. com. We are located at 5401 Norris Canyon Rd, Ste. 312 in San Ramon. Advertorial

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The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Foreign Bodies

Ocular foreign bodies happen often and are usually pretty annoying or painful to the patient depending on what the foreign body is and where it is located. Most of these are easy to remove in the office and bring immediate relief to the patient. Most foreign bodies that we see in the office are either located on the cornea or under the top eyelid. If there is a more serious accident where the object has penetrated the eye, more specialized care will be needed than can be provided at our office. In our office, the majority of corneal foreign bodies are metal. These usually involve working in the garage or at work with some type of metal and not wearing proper eyewear. If someone can see the piece of metal on the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), then the piece of metal is large. Most times the fragment is very small and can only be seen using the equipment at the office. If there is any type of insult to the cornea, it results in the eye being red, painful, teary, and light sensitive. Patients will usually contact the office quickly after the incident due to the pain. Vision will not be compromised, especially in the early stages. How deeply the foreign body is embedded in the cornea determines how easy it is to remove. In general, most are not that difficult to remove. If they are on the surface of the cornea, a simple tool or Q-tip will do the trick. The patient is given a topical anesthetic so they do not feel anything, and it is very simple to remove. If the foreign body has been present for a few days, some of the corneal tissue has now grown over it, and this now requires a little more work to remove some of the outer cells to get to the foreign body. If the piece is metal, a rust ring starts to develop around the metal fragment, and that also needs to be completely removed. We have the equipment in the office to do this, and it only takes a few minutes to complete. If a certain amount of tissue needs to be removed, then a bandage contact lens will be applied to promote healing along with an antibiotic drop, and proper follow-up management will be determined. The other likely place for a foreign body to be found is under the top eyelid. Anything from a piece of dirt, metal, or a contact lens fragment, to a loose eyelash can be found there. Most times when something comes in contact with the eye, it is trapped by the lid during blinking and remains adhered to the underside of the lid. As with corneal foreign bodies, these are very small and difficult for the patient or family member to find. As a consequence of this situation, the foreign body now typically scratches or irritates the front part of the eye every time you blink. Removing these particles is again very easy to do in office. The hardest thing is being able to invert the lid to be able to look at the underside surface. The eyelid is usually irritated and swollen which makes manipulating it more difficult. However, once that is done, visualizing the offending agent and removing it takes a very short period of time. As always, for situations like this, we try very hard to have a same-day appointment slot available. Anything foreign in the eye can be potentially serious and should be seen soon after the incident. As a reminder, anytime you are working on any project at home or work that could have fragments flying in the air, please wear proper eye protection to help avoid the situation in the first place. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 925-820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our newly updated website at, and become a fan on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page. Advertorial

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 are accepted. An assistive listening system is available for T-coils, and most meetings are captioned. Contact HLAADV@hearinglossdv. org or 925-264-1199 or for more information.

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 27

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Hospice Volunteers Needed

Hospice of the East Bay is seeking volunteers to assist Hospice patients and their caregivers. Opportunities include: • Licensed Hair Stylists to offer hair cuts and styling • Certified Massage Therapists to provide massage therapy • Mobile Notaries to witness the signing of important documents • Bereavement Support Volunteers to provide support to family members after their loved one has died • Patient Support Volunteers to provide companionship and practical assistance To apply for free training, call Hospice of the East Bay at (925) 887-5678 and ask for the Volunteer Department, or email 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. To learn more or to make a donation of time or money, please contact (925) 887-5678 or visit

Group Helps People Cope with Death of Pets

When you lose your pet, you often feel like a part of you is lost. The death of your beloved animal companion is one of the most difficult losses you may ever feel. This loss is sometimes made more painful by society’s seeming lack of support for pet grief. Hospice of the East Bay and the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation is offering a support group where participants can share memories and feelings and talk to others who truly understand and care. Meetings will be held the first Tuesday of each month from noon - 1:30PM at the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek. For further information and/or to register, please call Bereavement Services at Hospice of the East Bay (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration is required. Hospice of the East Bay Bereavement Services are provided free of charge to all community members in need. However, donations are greatly appreciated.

Page 28 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Your Personal Nutritionist By Linda Michaelis, RD. MS. Nutrition Has a Major Impact on Fertility

Our mission is to provide personalized care, help maintain independence and enhance our client’s quality of life on a daily basis.

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I have been seeing Lafayette, CA 94549 (beside Trader Joe’s) 925-284-1213 several women who are concerned with how their diet is affecting their ability to become pregnant. I am glad to inform you that there has been groundbreaking research from the long term Nurses’ Health Study that indicates that various components of diet can help avoid infertility. The researchers chose nurses for the study because they can be counted on to provide accurate and reliable information. In 1989 the second round of the Nurses’ study specifically explored fertility and was led by Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health. The results of the study were that simple nutrition changes can offer a powerful boost to ovulation-related fertility. Here are some of the important findings which I have attempted to incorporate into my counseling: Avoid trans fats which are artificial fats that have been extensively discouraged but are still widely used in commercially processed foods such as in French fries, donuts, and margarines. Healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil should be substituted. You must get more protein from plants and less from animals. The study revealed that women that consumed the highest animal protein were 39% more likely to experience infertility. Thus, adding one serving a day of red meat, chicken, or turkey predicted a one third increase in risk for infertility, while adding a serving of legumes, tofu, or nuts protected against infertility. In my work with couples I introduce to them a plan to still enjoy animal protein along with incorporating dishes that are plant protein based and simple and easy to prepare. Choose whole grains instead of highly refined white flour products that will create a slower effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. The study showed that women eating easily digested carbs such as white bread, pasta, sodas, and juices with little fiber exhibited insulin resistance. The resulting increase in insulin levels disrupts the finely tuned balance of hormones needed for reproduction. It is my job to show my clients how to substitute the carbs they enjoy with whole wheat breads, brown rice, and new grains such as quinoa and bulgur and to be creative with lots of bean dishes. I tell them that during the summer they should keep all the types of beans they enjoy in the fridge, and enjoy them with salsa or an olive oil vinaigrette like the old-fashioned three bean salad. The study shows you must have a full-fat dairy product such as a glass of whole milk or a small dish of ice cream every day. Removing fat from milk radically changes its balance of sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and androgens that can create infertility. The more full fat dairy products the nurses had in their diet, the less difficulty they had with pregnancy issues. Many of my female client get nervous when they hear this, and I help them add the dairy and then teach them to compensate by eating less fat in the other meals of the day. The study addresses the need to take prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid, iron, and B vitamins. For folic acid the women who got at least 700 mcg a day from diet and supplements were 50% less likely to have infertility vs. women that were getting less than 300 mcg a day. For iron, the benefit came with high doses of 40-80 mg. It was surprising that the sources of iron mattered. Women receiving their iron from meat were not well protected, while those receiving iron from veggies, beans, and supplements were more successful. I work with clients on a two part strategy, including foods rich in folic acid and iron in their diet. Beverages do matter. Water is great; coffee, tea and alcohol are OK in moderation. Leave sugared sodas and juice alone. A glass of wine once a week or cup of coffee once a day will not adversely affect ovulation. Women in the high caffeine group were no more likely to have problems with infertility compared to women who had barely any caffeine. Lastly, I receive many referrals from OBGYN’s for women that are suggested to lose weight to increase success with pregnancy. Excess weight causes insulin levels to climb and causes an increase in the amount of testosterone in the ovaries and bloodstream which can contribute to infertility. The Nurses’ study showed us that women with the highest BMI’s had trouble with infertility. I work very closely with my clients, holding their hand, talking to them each day, and making sure the weight comes off as quickly as possible with a healthy and tasty diet based on their favorite foods. I know this is an emotional time, and support is very important especially with work schedules and social occasions. Linda is glad to inform you that nutrition counseling is covered by many health insurances. Please feel free to call LindaRD and tell her about your nutrition concerns. You can call her at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail her at Also please refer to website for past articles, tips on nutrition, and recipes. Advertorial

Take Care of Your Bladder By Linda Adams, LVN

July is bladder cancer awareness month. The symptoms of bladder cancer may be similar to symptoms of other bladder conditions. It is important to be aware and understand the differences. The most common symptoms of bladder cancer include: • Blood or blood clots in the urine • Pain during urination • Urinating small amounts frequently • Frequent urinary tract infections If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor who will complete a thorough medical history and examination. You may then be referred to a urologist, a physician who has special training in managing diseases of the bladder. But what if you are just experience urinary urgency or urinary incontinence? Through simple behavior modification you can lessen your symptom’s severity. Here are a few self care tips to help with these very common issues. Regulate your fluid intake with a consistent and constant daily consumption. Many people with bladder control problems reduce the amount of liquids they drink because they fear urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence.

This practice actually makes those symptoms worse. However, I recommend limiting your intake 2-3 hours before bedtime if nighttime voiding is a problem. Eliminate bladder irritants such as caffeine, carbonated beverages, artificial sweeteners (particularly aspartame), spicy foods, citrus juices and fruits, and alcohol. Also, prevent constipation through use of dietary fiber, fluid intake, and exercise. Smoking cessation and weight reduction are also recommended. Avoid using the bathroom when you do not have an urge, this is called “just in case” voiding and can create your desire for increased frequency. Pelvic floor strengthening, called Kegels, (with or without biofeedback) done daily and correctly can reduce and even prevent certain problems. The recommended number of Kegels vary, but 60-80 per day has been proven to reduce bladder frequency symptoms. In most cases urinary incontinence can be treated and controlled, if not cured. If you are having bladder control problems, see your doctor or seek a specialist in urinary incontinence and bladder dysfunction. Linda Adams, LVN has dedicated her career to helping patients take control of their incontinence. She works with the urologists at Pacific Urology where together they have created a continence program that is specifically designed to reduce and/or eliminate the causes of incontinence. For more information about our Continence Center or to schedule an appointment with Linda, call Walnut Creek: 925-937-7740 or San Ramon: 925-830-1140. Advertorial

Sun Safety for Life

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

I’m often asked about the most common factors contributing to the aging process. Everyday exposure to the sun, pollution, and other factors in our environment contribute to the natural aging process. As residents of the Bay Area, we are fortunate to live in a very mild climate with lots of sunny days. However, this fortune comes at a price, as the sun is the number one enemy we battle in our quest to retain our youthful appearance. Frequency and intensity of sun exposure accelerates the aging process, damages skin, and increases the incidence of skin cancer. As such, part of any healthy lifestyle includes practicing sun safety. We start our lives with thin delicate baby skin and end up with thin delicate elder skin. The care we take to protect our skin really does make a difference. Wearing hats, sunglasses, protective clothing, and liberal use of sunscreen are necessary precautions to protect us from our infancy to our golden years. This summer, I have noticed children at the pool and playground becoming red and sunburned. Just one bad sunburn in childhood increases our lifetime risk of melanoma (the most fatal form of skin cancer). We need to take effective precautions to reduce these risks. While it is true that over-exposure to the sun may result in more sunspots and premature or excessive wrinkles, melanoma is a very serious consequence of enjoying too much sun throughout our lifespan. Recently, I removed over 50 skin lesions from a 70 year-old patient. Sadly, most of these lesions could have been avoided with a better understanding of how the sun damages the skin and knowledge of the best practices to protect it. The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays - UVA and UVB. Either can cause sunburn and damage skin. It is a common misconception that cloudy days offer protection from sunburn. UVA and UVB rays penetrate clouds and still result in sunburn and damaged skin. Medications can also increase the risk of sunburn. These medications include many antibiotics, most acne medications, and some antidepressants. It is always wise to review your medications with your doctor or

Poets continued from front page

present. Two poems presented by the same author may be as different in composition as rhapsody and rap. One may follow a format as tightly constrained as haiku, while the other may be structured solely by the cadence of imagined conversation. Hersh experiments with forms she discovers networking with other poets online. “It’s a challenge to puzzle out what I want to say within the restrictions of the various forms.” But she also enjoys letting her words flow in free verse. Whatever the format, Deborah Grossman contends that each element is essential: “In poetry, every word, every syllable, every sound counts.” Inspiration to write comes to members as a balance to other aspects of their lives, as an additional art form to explore, and/or as a primary mode of communication. Wilson began penning poetry at an early age. “I grew up in a very dysfunctional and sometimes violent family. Expressing myself was not safe, so I wrote stories and poems with imaginative characters in order to process my feelings.” Giving voice through poetry to the trauma she experienced has healed her, and she is hopeful that sharing her poems will bring others the same comfort. “Writing about that time in my life has created some of my best work and hopefully will help other girls and women find the power of their voices.” New to the group, Wilson discovered the Poets Society when she and Robert Eastwood were featured together at a poetry-reading event in March at Livermore’s Ravenswood Estate. Asked whether she finds reading to a live audience rewarding, Susan responds: “Yes, I believe poetry is meant to be spoken and heard. There is a rhythm, a cadence in poetry that sometimes doesn’t come across when it’s read silently on a page.” The appreciative audience of 60 clearly agreed with her assessment of the value of hearing poetry spoken by the author. Many members of the group have extensive publication credits. Deborah Grossman, more readily recognized for her prose regularly appearing in publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, discovered the power of poetry in elementary school and is past Poet Laureate of Pleasanton. Robert Shelby, past Poet Laureate of Benicia, has three chapbooks coming out this year. Wilson is awaiting word on two collections currently under consideration in a chapbook contest, one titled Like a Woman, the other Ancestor Moon. Hersh is compiling her first chapbook, but she has work in online publications and an award-winning poem in The Gathering 11, an anthology for The Ina Coolbrith Circle.

Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 29

pharmacist regarding sun sensitivity. The best way to enjoy the sunshine is to limit exposure when the sun rays are most intense (between 10am and 4pm) and to use adequate sunscreen protection at all times. While the use of sunscreen is critical, it must be used properly in order to be effective. Follow these simple and effective guidelines for sunscreen use • Sunscreens with a zinc base and broad spectrum coverage are optimal, and zinc is found in higher end brands (we offer Skinmedica, Skinceuticals, Obagi, and Image in our office). • While these brands are some of the most effective available, even the cheapest generic sunscreen is better than wearing nothing at all. • Do not wait until you are in the sun to apply. Sunscreens are designed to be absorbed into the skin. Apply liberally (two ounces, equivalent to a full shot glass, for arms and legs) 30 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen should be reapplied after swimming or excessive sweating. • Regular use of sunscreen can begin at six months of age and used indefinitely. • SPF means “sun protection factor.” SPF of four provides protection allowing four times the sun exposure before burning. SPF eight equals eight times and so on. SPF 15 blocks 93% of incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays. • One year of sun protection yields noticeably improved skin and reduced risk. It is never too early, or too late, to start using sunscreen so start applying it now. • Yearly skin checks with your GP, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon will help detect skin cancer early. These recommendations are meant to be guidelines and need to be tailored to individual skin types. If sunburn does occur, use of cold compresses, over the counter Benadryl, and pain medication may help with the sting. In cases of longer-term sun damage or skin cancer, your dermatologist and your plastic surgeon can help. As always, I welcome the opportunity to help you explore the options available. I wish you a sun safe and happy summer season! Barbara L. Persons, MD is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and owns Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc. located at 911 Moraga Rd, Suite 205 in Lafayette. She may be reached at 925.283.4012 or Advertorial

Grace Atkinson, Robert Shelby and Charlie McCauley offer comments at a recent meeting of the Danville Poets Society. Photo by Jan Hersh.

Eastwood’s work has appeared in over 100 journals, and Small Poetry Press has published three chapbooks of his poems. He has twice been nominated for the nationwide Pushcart Prize. Established in 1976, the Pushcart project produces an annual anthology of poetry and prose based on work submitted for consideration by hundreds of small presses and literary magazines across the United States. Each organization is permitted to nominate six entries from the current year’s releases. The term “chapbook” dates back to 16th century England when peddlers, also known as chapmen, began selling cheaply produced booklets of popular tales. “Chapman,” is derived from the Saxon word for merchant: “caepman.” Chapbooks became the favored form of publication for poetry when American Beat Poets and members of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the 1940s and 1950s revived the concept. With neither the inclination to send their work around and around to editors likely to supply nothing more than rejection letters nor the means to self-publish hard-bound volumes, they used mimeograph machines and cheap paper to get their work in the hands of the public. A slim booklet of 40 pages or less, the favored configuration for the current chapbook, affords a convenient format for poetry collections. Binding and stock range from inexpensive to deluxe. New members are always welcome, whether aspiring poets, published professionals, or devotees of the art form. The Poets Society meets in Danville, but it is

See Poets continued on page 31

Page 30 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Understanding Depression: It’s not as Simple as you Think!

By William Shryer, LCSW, DCSW - Clinical Director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare

The “Future of Fitness” is here.

Depression is a term everyone has heard of, and many think they have a basic understanding of what it is like to feel depressed. For years, if not decades, depression Custom Exercise + Custom Nutrition was thought to be related to early childhood issues, such as trauma, abandonment, =Amazing Results loss, and the like. While these are all significant life issues, not everyone who experiences these very predictable life Koko FitClub is the first to bring strength events becomes clinically depressed. What accounts for the vast difference in response rates? The answer to this questraining, cardio exercise and nutrition planning together, customizing it precisely to your body tion probably hides in your own genetic profile. Depression is not to be taken lightly or dismissed with such advice and your goals. It’s fast, motivating and so such as to just, “pull yourself up by your boot straps” and “snap out of it.” Depressed people cannot do that, as they effective, it’s patented. are biochemically changed by their own genetic profile. Summer Special Only $349 Depression is a chronic illness that takes a huge toll on America’s health. It affects more than 21 million children Get Fit in 10 Weeks - No Contract and adults annually and is the leading cause of disability in the US for people aged 15-44. Few are aware that the lost for Alamo Today Readers! productivity due to depression is estimated to cost the US in excess of 31 billion annually. Depression frequently coHurry! Offer expires 7/31/13. occurs with a variety of medical illnesses such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain. Not surprisingly, it is the principal cause of the 30,000 suicides in the US each year. What are the symptoms of depression? The essential feature of depression is a period of depressed mood with loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities. The individual may describe their feeling as low, down in the dumps, discouraged, or hopeless. The person may also just complain of feeling “blah,” having no feelings, or feeling anxious. In short, it is just a miserable way to live and to feel. Here is the good news. There are cutting edge treatments available that are going to change the way we look at a number of disorders. Traditional psychotherapy has a horrible track record with depression and so do the many 499B San Ramon Valley Blvd. Danville, CA 94526 antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft, etc. The side effects of medications for so many are intolerable 925-743-0802 with weight gain, dry mouth, loss of libido, sleepiness, and the list goes on. And it takes from 4-6 weeks of taking a medication to find out if it even works! The new treatment approach for those with depression, chronic pain, and a host of emerging diagnostic categories is TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This is not fringe medicine or smoke and mirrors. It is the first real breakthrough in decades. This is an FDA approved procedure that uses an electro-magnet that produces a magnetic pulse that stimulates the neurons to release the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. This is exactly what antidepressant medications attempt to do, without all of the side effects. It is not ECT or passing electricity through the brain that makes the treatment so cutting edge. This medically supervised procedure is performed in an office with the patient completely awake and alert. It is safe enough to be performed on pregnant women and an excellent treatment for postpartum depression without the danger of traditional medications passing on to the baby via breast milk. TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is being used in most major university hospital centers in the US. TMS centers are in use currently at Harvard, Stanford, Weill Cornell, Yale, New York University, and University of Michigan, to name but a few. Why are so many of these major hospitals and universities so interested in TMS? First, the treatment has far fewer side effects. Secondly, studies show that TMS works when drugs fail. TMS is being called the “Gold Standard” for treating severe depression. Initially insurance companies were reluctant to cover TMS, but lately more and more are, as even insurance companies can see this as a win-win for them and the patients. Medications over the long run are very expensive and often don’t result in remission. Remission means cure, or feeling completely well. Most patients taking antidepressants are lucky if their response rate reaches 50%, meaning that with medications one may be able to feel somewhat better but not completely well. TMS is having high response rates with remission, meaning completely well, occurring in upwards of 70% of cases. TMS requires daily treatment for about 37 minutes for 4-6 weeks; about the same time it takes for antidepressants to become effective. For more information about this cutting edge treatment for depression, call our office to learn more at 925-648-4800. Please also visit our website at www.behaviorquest. com. We are located at 4185 Blackhawk Plaza Circle Suite 210 in Danville. Advertorial

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Alamo Today ~ July 2013 - Page 31

Trains continued from page 7

centuries with freight and passenger trains pulled by both diesel and steam engines. The Museum’s scratch-built model buildings, including a replica of our Museum - the former Danville SP Depot, will be on display, along with selected Lionel “operating accessories” on loan to the Museum for this exhibit. To enhance your railroad experience, consider reading one of the many marvelous books about trains before you visit the exhibit. Children's imaginations will ignite with The Last Train written by Gordon Titcomb, which takes a nostalgic look at trains and days gone by. The historical novel Riders on the Orphan Train by Alison Moore will inspire history buffs of all ages. Please check the Museum of the San Ramon Valley’s website (museumsrv. org) for information about featured events during the exhibit. Special thanks to Bill Riley, Earle Schremp, Ed Best, Bob Sada, Bob and Cheryl Miranda, Donna Hardman, and Carmen Curtis for steering our community back on track to Totally Trains. The “Totally Trains” exhibit will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 1pm and Sundays from noon to 3pm. Please check the Museum of the San Ramon Valley’s website


Poets continued from page 29

open to adult residents of all area communities. “We drink wine so our comments remain kind,” Jan Hersh offers with a puckish smile. Insightful suggestions made by members are tendered with emphasis on what is most successful in each piece. Unlike the alchemists of old who jealously guarded the details of their experiments, members of the Danville Poets Society are eager to share their methods for working common words into susurrant sequences of multi-faceted significance. For more information about the Poets Society including an invitation to attend a meeting, contact Robert Eastwood at

Is Food a Problem for You?

Overeaters Anonymous offers a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience and mutual support, are recovering from compulsive overeating. This is a 12-step 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.


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Alamo Today Classifieds

Reach over 6,700 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 32 - July 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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Danville Area Real Estate: Home Sales Approximately 45 Per Month

With about half of 2013 behind us I wanted to review the Danville area real estate market in segments, and as the sum of its parts. I’ve included a chart for comparison. In our local market which includes Alamo, Danville, Diablo, and Blackhawk, homes are selling at rate of about 45 homes per month through June 18. This is really good when you consider that the economy, while improving, is still in recovery mode. Down from 33% in 2011, approximately 16% of pending sales are distressed sales, which are either bank owned or short sales. No doubt, these are still exerting some negative impact on local pricing. Homes in the Town of Danville lead the area with the shortest time on market at 22 days. Non-distressed, desirable homes priced right continue to sell fast. Yes! Fast! Already this year Nancy and I have sold several homes with multiple offers in the first week of coming to market, including one investment property which received 53 offers. What’s the secret? It’s very simple! The homes are lovely - nicely updated, freshly painted, and well staged. The homes receiving multiple offers were priced below $1.4 million which seems to be a price threshold that has been very difficult for today’s buyer to cross. Only 60 homes, or about 11% of the 537 homes sold here this year were sold at a price above $1.4 million. Homes in need of updating are sitting for a longer periods of time and are receiving discounted offers, if they sell at all. Today’s buyers can pretty easily qualify for a first mortgage to buy a home. Getting a second mortgage to fix one up is not so easy, which makes even cosmetic fixers significantly less desirable to the average buyer and valuable to flippers only at a discounted price. That’s why average price and dollars per square foot figures in today’s market can be misleading when applied to an individual home. Those measures can serve well to inform us of the direction the market is headed when one time period is compared to

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Home* Sales Alamo, Blackhawk Danville, Diablo (Jan1-June 18) Active Pending Sold DOM List Price Sold Price Sq. Foot Alamo 56 36 115 32 $ 1,270,858 $ 1,263,909 2,966 Blackhawk 38 22 61 44 $ 1,371,920 $ 1,346,694 3,610 Diablo 14 0 7 75 $ 2,086,857 $ 1,997,206 3,840 Danville 85 153 354 22 $ 851,530 $ 866,791 2,349

$ Sq. Foot $ 426 $ 373 $ 520 $ 369

Danville, which by the way, is the lowest for our market area, is $369 per square foot. That’s roughly a $200 dollar swing from the midpoint to either the top or bottom. Alamo swung from $239 to $751 per square foot with an average of $426. Again, a very large difference and why the column trailer always emphasizes this point. The 2013 selling season is off to a really great start as both inventory of homes and interest rates remain low. Assuming that the inventory doesn’t jump unexpectedly, it’s likely that gently rising interest rates in the foreseeable future will serve as a catalyst to spur greater demand and a further rise in prices. It’s important to remember that there really is no “average” home and no two homes are exactly alike. If you would like an honest “no strings attached” opinion of your home’s current market value and suggestions for getting it ready for market, please give me a call 925-989-6086 or send me an email joecombs@thecombsteam. com. Please visit our website to discover more information on our local market

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another. They can’t, however, tell us exactly what an individual home is worth. A careful visual inspection and tighter review of the most relevant comparative sales are required to discover a specific home’s respective value range. To illustrate this point, let’s compare two of our larger market segments. The lowest priced home that sold in Danville sold at $189 per square foot. The highest sold at $609 per square foot. Lowest selling price was $218,000 the highest selling price $4,650,000. That’s quite a difference. The average square foot price in the Town of

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


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Alamo Today, July 2013.  
Alamo Today, July 2013.  

Alamo Today, July 2013. The town of Alamo, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.