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June 2013 Serving Alamo and Diablo Restoring the Eye of Diablo: Save Mount Diablo Lights the Way Alamo Summer Concert Series By Jody Morgan and Movie Under the Stars The Beacon atop Mount Diablo first lit up the night sky in 1928 as part of a string of transcontinental aviation guides. Doused in December 1941 in compliance with the World War II blackout, the Beacon has been switched on once a year since 1964 at sunset on December 7th to honor those who served at Pearl Harbor. Over time, the Beacon, also known as the Eye of Diablo, has suffered the ravages of the elements and become almost inoperable. Recognizing its historical significance and the need for intervention before irreparable damage extinguishes its light forever, Save Mount Diablo (SMD) has taken on the task of preserving the Eye of Diablo, the sole known working survivor of its line. In 1928, Standard Oil of California, now Chevron, provided five 36” Sperry Gyroscope Beacons along the West Coast. Charles Restoration will keep the Beacon watching over the Diablo foothills and Lindbergh pressed the Eye of Diavalleys for years to come. Photo by Cris Benton blo into action by remote control. Mounted on a 75-foot tower, the Beacon boasted the latest technology including a timer that automatically adjusted start and stop sequences seasonally. Walter Frick, who owned the land at Mount Diablo’s summit, gave his consent for the installation.

See Beacon continued on page 26

The Alamo Rotary Club recently presented Student of the Year and Teacher of the Year Awards to the five schools which Alamo students attend. The awards were presented by the principals of each school. Pictured left to right: Janet Terranova, principal, Monte Vista High School; Ruth Steele, principal, San Ramon Valley High School; Turner Stanton, Student of the Year, SRVHS; Beverly Davies, Teacher of the Year, MVHS; Cindy Egan, Teacher of the Year, SRVHS; Shaun McElroy, principal, Stone Valley Middle School; Connor Cook, Student of the Year, MVHS; Teresa Butler Doran, Teacher of the Year, SVMS; Evan Segimoto, Student of the Year, SVMS; Stan Hitomi, principal, Alamo Elementary School; Emily Hora, Student of the Year, Alamo School; Beth Summers, Teacher of the Year, Alamo School; Linda Post, Teacher of the Year, Rancho PRSRT STD Romero Elementary U.S. Postage School; Anne Marie PAID Local Santich, Student of the Permit 263 Year, Rancho Romero; Postal Customer Alamo CA and Skye Larsh, principal, Rancho ECRWSS Romero School.

By Steve Mick, Alamo MAC

Put your dancing shoes on, pack a picnic, and enjoy live music at Livorna Park. 2013 marks the seventh year of the popular Alamo Summer Concert Series. Sponsored by the Alamo Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), the four free concerts attract a large number of people and will be held on June 28th, featuring the Sun Kings (Beatles Tribute (At Band); July 12th, featuring Alma Desnuda (Original Pop); July 26th, featuring Evan Thomas & Papa’s Garage (Blues & Rock); and August 9th, featuring Mixed JuneAlthough 28th: Th Nuts (Classic Pop from 1940’s to present). PM Performing music of Th the concerts begin at 6:30 , many arrive early to the stake energy, authentic arrangemen out a good spot on the grass and enjoy a picnic dinner reminiscent of the earlie both before and during the concert. The band sets up in the park gazebo, which is almost totally surrounded by people on blankets and in lawn chairs when the concert starts. There are often many groups who plan a sumptuous shared picnic. The concerts offer an ideal experience for the whole family. For children, the large meadow offers opportunities for kite-flying, sand-court volleyball, games of tag, and Frisbee tossing. Another part of the park offers extensive play structures and a large sandbox. Parents can relax and enjoy the concert while their kids play. July 26th: Eva Each band will still be playing when the sun sets over Papa’s G Las Trampas Ridge. The air will turn a little cooler, and An electrifying experience pa PM before you know it, the concert will beshow! overInspired at 8:30by a.variety There is always a wonderful sense of community that pervades these events. In addition to the concerts, the MAC is also sponsoring a “Movie Under the Stars” night on July 19th, which will also be held at Livorna Park. This summer’s movie is Hugo, winner of five Oscars. Plan to bring your blankets or chairs, and sit out under the stars and enjoy the movie, which begins at 8:45PM. Please visit for more information. The Alamo MAC is always interested in hearing from the residents of Alamo. If you have any suggestions or Bring b comments, please contact Supervisor Candace AnderFor inform sen’s office at (925) 957-8860 or Field Representative Donna Maxwell at donna.maxwell@ b o s . c c c o u n t y. u s . Volume XIII - Number 6 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, You are also welAlamo, CA 94507 come to attend the Telephone (925) 405-NEWS, 405-6397 Alamo MAC meetFax (925) 406-0547 ings that are held Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher at 6 PM on the first Tuesday of every Sharon Burke ~ Writer month at the Alamo opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do Chamber of Com- The not necessarily reflect that of Alamo Today. Alamo Today merce located at is not responsible for the content of any of the advertising 120-B Alamo Plaza. herein, nor does publication imply endorsement.


Page 2 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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This is a wonderful time of year. There are many things happening that celebrate the human spirit, and it’s exciting. All across the country hard-working graduates are beginning to make choices about what’s next in their lives. All of their accomplishments began with a single step. For some this step was programmed and mandatory. For others, it was a choice such as attending college, a trade school, or the military. In all cases, graduates share the experience of striving for, enduring, and eventually accomplishing something that initially looked perhaps daunting or intimidating. They persisted. They stuck with it all the way to its conclusion. Such discipline and persistence should be applauded, supported, and nurtured. At the end, what do they have? A piece of paper? That’s not important. The journey is the destination. The process of pushing one’s boundaries, of purposely making oneself uncomfortable while being exposed to new thoughts and skills is what we’re applauding. I’m grateful to see a resurgence of trade schools. Combined with education online such as Khan Academy, Udemy, Udacity, 2U and Coursera, and our traditional junior colleges and universities, there have never been more educational choices for the ambitious to choose from. Knowledge is power, and knowledge has never been more accessible than it is today. Maybe, for some young people, the courage to say no to college is just as important as the courage to stick with it. We’re so conditioned to believe that the only path our kids should travel includes a four year school and a corporate job. We don’t always stop to consider how many roads there are to adulthood. What will make these graduates successful in the job market? Should they simply follow their heart and ignore financial concerns? Maybe a balanced approach is what should be recommended, and all those commencement speakers compelling youngsters to follow their hearts might be better advised, as Carl McCoy wrote recently, to worry less about following what they love. Maybe they should worry more about love as a consequence of investing themselves in meaningful work instead of being the motivation for it. I don’t know. That

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seems so bereft of passion, so dry. You can’t accomplish anything unless you’re willing to act, take a risk, and seize the moment. That’s how you get what you want in life, because nobody is going to hand you a wonderful life on a silver platter. It can only be created and grown by its owner. Reward requires risk of some sort. Recently my son, Kevin, who just finished his college journey at UCSB, was taking a trip abroad. En route, plane troubles dictated an unanticipated missed connection in Beijing with an overnight stay. Seizing the moment, he found a kindred soul and caught a cab to Tiananmen Square at five in the morning to visit and take pictures. Empty but for a few souls, he knocked an item off his bucket list and snapped some pictures. It wasn’t particularly risky, but it took a sense of adventure and gumption that I admire. He seized the moment. There’s something that transforms in people when they reach their goals. The change is usually proportional to the amount of hardship and obstacles one endures to accomplish the objective. One such example is my sister-in-law who, at sixty years of age, just graduated with her Associates degree in Theatre Arts, with a term left before she is awarded a second degree in Criminal Justice. I think she enjoyed the process, but it was also incredibly hard for her to do it while working, managing a household, and supporting children and grand-babies. The process changed her. She speaks with confidence, seems more self-assured, and at sixty-years-young, is making plans for the future like never before. It reaffirms my belief in the human spirit and what people can do when they really believe in something. I really respect her sacrifice and dedication to reach her goal, and I am so proud of her. At a recent ceremony I attended, a speaker mentioned the 2005 commencement speech given by Steve Jobs at Stanford. I looked up the speech and took two things away from it. The first is that we never know how things today will be related to tomorrow. Steve didn’t know the Calligraphy class he crashed at Reed College was going to be the basis for a revolutionary technology a decade later; he took the class because it drew him in, fascinated him. Secondly, Steve was a huge proponent of doing what you love, because that’s where genius occurs and people can fully express their human potential. It worked out pretty well for Steve, and maybe it will work out well for your graduate, too. Congratulations to all graduates as you embark on your next journey!

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Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 3

June 22nd & 23rd

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Come enjoy the art of 200 talented artisans, Italian street painting, Abstract Alley, continuous entertainment, Prospect Avenue activities, gourmet food, fine wines, and microbrews on June 22nd and 23rd from 10am to 5pm on Hartz Avenue in downtown Danville. The event is hosted by the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Danville. Admission and parking are free. For more information, contact (925) 837-4400 or visit

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) will be held on Wednesday, June 19th. 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

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club June Coffee Wednesday, June 26th, 10am-noon

Alamo’s Top 1% Producers Gated Westside Alamo Estate 359 South Avenue Call for Details!

Open to all who are thinking of joining the club, this free, casual get together is the perfect opportunity to learn about the many facets of Newcomers while enjoying coffee and chatting with Club Members. For more information call (925) 281-1307, visit our website at or email

SAVE THE DATE September 7th Alamo Music Festival! Join the 2013 Trails Challenge

Are you ready to explore your Regional Parks? The award-winning EBRPD Trails Nestled at the base of Las Trampas Ridge on Challenge program provides participants with 1.27 +/- acres of lush grounds and is adjacent to the a free PDF guidebook featuring 20 different Las Trampas hiking trails and within walking dis- trails, including everything you need to know tance to the Iron Horse Trail. This home is located to plan your hike. Complete the challenge by hiking five of at the end of the court in one of Alamo's most desirable locations. It offers 4 large bedrooms, 3.5 baths the trails listed or 26.2 miles of trails. Get a FREE organic cotton T-shirt (while and 3,857 +/- sf of living space. Gourmet kitchen supplies last). A commemorative pin will be with Viking stove and Sub-Zero resent once you complete the challenge; pins frigerator. Elevator leads to private will be mailed in the fall (while supplies last). wine cellar. This is where family and Registration is open and free. Get started friends will want to gather. now by creating your online account. Go to Offered at $1,799,000 There is no Put the power of a top producing real estate team and phone registration for this program. Thinking of Selling? the East Bay’s #1 real estate firm to work for you! Get started today!

Page 4 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Mt. Diablo Branch California Writers Club

Historical novelist Margit Liesche will present “Weaving Stories Around Actual Events” at the next luncheon meeting of the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) on Saturday, June 8th at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Liesche will discuss finding inspiration in historical nuggets; using historical events, objects, individuals, and settings to drive the storyline; and drawing character inspiration from historical figures. Liesche is the author of Lipstick and Lies and Hollywood Buzz, both novels set during World War II. Her new novel, Tryptich, will be released in October. Check-in for the event is from 11:30AM to noon, a buffet luncheon will be held from noon to 12:45PM, and the program takes place from 12:45 to 1:30PM. The cost is $20 for CWC members and $25 for guests. Reservations are required. Contact Robin Gigoux at or by calling (925) 933-9670. Expect confirmation only if you e-mail your reservation. The California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch web address is

Call for Entries for Third Annual Juried Exhibition “All Figured Out,” Juried by Reneé de Cossio

It’s that time of year again! The Town of Danville is hosting the Third Annual Juried Exhibition in the Village Theatre Art Gallery and would like to encourage all accomplished, mid-career, and merging artists in the United States to apply. The theme for the June 28th through August 12th juried exhibition is “All Figured Out. Artwork, which includes all things figuration, can consist of humans, animals and invented forms. Creative interpretations are encouraged. The juried exhibition is a highlight for local and regional artists and is open to the public. All ages are welcome to apply. A non-refundable entry fee of $30 is required. Entries must be at the Village Theatre Art Gallery by June 7th on or before 5pm. Any entries received after that date or that are incomplete will not be considered. Entries will not be returned. Artist will be notified of the results by e-mail no later than June 12th at 5pm. For more information, visit or call (925) 314-3460.

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.

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Walnut Creek ~ One of a kind magnificent home conveniently located to 24/680 and downtown Walnut Creek. This 5300+ 5 bedroom 5 bath home with a separate office or 6th bedroom has VIEWS from almost every room. Gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors, 3 car garage, & more. Wonderful private deck with built in spa to enjoy the view. Vineyard A must see Call today for your private showing! Listed at $2,099,000 Gretchen Bryce ~ 925.683.2477

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 5

Alamo ~ Home Inventory in the San Ramon Valley is low and the market is very active. Most believe the “real estate market has bottomed and is starting back up.� As the level of inventory is not expected to grow anytime soon, it is a fantastic time to sell your property as well as buy a new home. Let me do the work! Michael Hatfield

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Alamo ~ Light and Bright with Room to Roam! Five Bedrooms and Three Full Baths: This home boasts just under 3700 sq ft with spectacular views and walls of windows offering natural light! Great West Side Alamo Location backing up to the Iron Horse Trail! $1,150,000 Nancy Benvenuto

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Page 6 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Alamo Women’s Club

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)

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

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, Members of the Alamo Women’s Club recently traveled to San Jose to experience the myths surrounding the Winchester Mystery House. We enjoyed a tour of 110 of the 160 rooms of the Mansion, 24 of which are restored with Victorian era furniture. We also donned hard hats and toured the basement. There were bizarre features which include doors and windows opening onto blank walls, a staircase from the floor to the ceiling, a door opening outward to an eight foot drop as well as beautifully crafted art glass windows. After the tour and a visit to the gift shop (very important!) we walked across the street to Santana Row Shopping Center where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and camaraderie at Left Bank Restaurant with our fellow Club women. An enjoyable day was spent. We look forward to many more excursions in the coming year.

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We have a wonderful venue with a kitchen that you can rent. Interested? Have a look at our website at for details. Please contact us for rentals at 925-820-1943 or

Supervisor Andersen’s Alamo Liaison Meeting By Sharon Burke

Alamo's County Supervisor, Candace Andersen, holds a monthly Alamo Liaison Meeting to hear reports and share information among various Alamo organizations. At the May 20th meeting, a lot of information was presented: Lt. Stephen Perea, California Highway Patrol noted an Alamo School parent recounted an incident in which her car had almost been hit while exiting Wilson Road by speeding construction trucks in both directions. Lt. Perea noted the CHP would welcome documented complaints of observed dangerous driving on Alamo roads. Documentation should include the date, time, license plate number, and dangerous driving situation noted. Alamo residents should call the local CHP office at 646-4980 with this information and ask for the watch officer. A letter will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. He cautioned this is not intended to be a tattletale situation and should not be used for minor incidents such as cell phone usage nor should it be used for freeway incidents. Bill Nelson, Alamo Police Services Advisory Committee (formerly P-2B Committee) reported the Committee has voted to recommend to the Alamo MAC and to the County Board of Supervisors that speed-activated radar signage on Danville Boulevard at the southern and northern end of the business district where the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour should be installed. County Public Works will recommend type and exact locations of signs. Signs will state speed limit and “Your Speed Is” and indicate the speed of the passing vehicle. The Committee has also voted to recommend purchase of a new portable radar trailer with speed activated signage that can placed at different locations around Alamo to replace the current outdated and nonworking trailer. Purchase is underway and a trailer will be deployed soon. David Barclay, Vice Chairman, Alamo Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) said the MAC has voted to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it install bocce ball courts at Livorna Park, in the area currently occupied by the sand volleyball court. Bocce ball courts were the number one recreational amenity requested by Alamo residents in the Alamo recreation survey conducted by the MAC in 2011.

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 7 The MAC has inventoried and studied all available vacant parcels of Alamo land for possible acquisition for a new park. Owners of all parcels are not currently interested in selling, but the MAC will continue to monitor the situation. The MAC is investigating with East Bay Regional Park District some minor improvements to the Iron Horse Trail at its widest spot just west of Alamo Plaza. Mike Gibson, Alamo Improvement Association discussed issues with the Alamo Summit development and also the actions of the Tri-Valley Transportation Council. See further information regarding these issues in the AIA column on page 24. In addition, parking issues have arisen in downtown Alamo due to the recent opening of the RPM Mortgage office on Stone Valley Road West. Some parking spaces were removed during remodeling before the office opened, and the office is high density with a greater number of employees than parking onsite can accommodate. Residents have been complaining that cars parked on Stone Valley Road West are blocking sight lines for safe exiting and entering of Alamo Plaza. RPM Mortgage, the owner of 3189 Danville Boulevard (where the Patio and Fire Place store is located, which is not a part of Alamo Plaza), and the owners of Alamo Plaza all claim rights to the parking in the southern section of the Plaza between Richards Craft Store and the former location of Wolf Camera. This is a private property issue but has spilled over to inconvenience Alamo residents. A resident voiced her concern about safety issues when exiting Alamo Plaza onto Stone Valley Road due to the increased parking on the street which blocks sight lines. She was advised that cars on Stone Valley Road West are legally parked but Public Works is aware of the issue and is looking into how safety can be enhanced. Another resident voiced her concern about real estate signs in Alamo posted in violation of the county ordinances. Sup. Andersen replied that Alamo comes under the county rules, which allow only one real estate sign to be posted on the site of the property for sale, and no signs may be posted offsite or on major roads leading to the property. Alamo residents who observe real estate signs posted in violation of the county rules should call Code Enforcement at 925-674-7210. The next Alamo Liaison Meeting is scheduled in Supervisor Andersen's office at 8am on Monday, June 17th. To receive a meeting notice, contact Donna Maxwell at 925-957-8860.

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Page 8 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Looking for Answers About County Programs or Services? By Supervisor Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County District 2

Looking for answers about County programs or services? Tap into the “Live Chat” service. Navigating through the County’s large volume of programs, services and information can be difficult, but help is just a click of the mouse away. Contra Costa County’s website includes a LiveChat program, weekdays from 8:30am until 5pm. You can access it right from a button on the County’s homepage at You will also find the LiveChat button on every page of the County’s website. Thousands of county residents have taken advantage of this service, posing questions ranging from how to access property information, where to pay taxes, or how to license a pet. Tap into the Live Chat team, and you’ll be talking in real time with staff at Contra Costa’s Libraries trained to help answer questions that might be tough to resolve just by searching online. Response to the service has been overwhelmingly positive, from both citizens who have used it and from staff who have expressed how rewarding it is to be able to help residents navigate the sometimes complicated maze of County government information. Much of the information is actually available on various pages of the County website. Your inquiries through LiveChat, which are tracked and reported to the County’s departments, will help to organize the information so that it will be easier for future visitors to find. My staff works hard to make my own District 2 website, www., informative and up-to-date with many useful resources for my constituents. In addition to links to all of the District 2 city websites, you will find links to many local, county, and state organizations such as East Bay Regional Park District, Contra Costa Water District, local CERT training groups, and the California Secretary of State for voter registration. You will be able to see the advisory boards I make appointments to, where there are vacancies, and how to apply for those openings. You can also quickly access the Board of Supervisors’ agendas for the current and past meetings, view past issues of my eNewsletter, as well as sign up to receive a copy each month via email. If you’re not already, I encourage you to become one of our many regular eNewsletter subscribers. Each month’s edition showcases local events and includes short, informative articles about what is going on in the County. Along with my Facebook page and Twitter account (@AndersenCandace), my eNewsletter is another way of communicating with you on a regular basis.

Delta Nu Psi

Delta Nu Psi has sent 1,082 boxes and 26,576 pounds of “gourmet junk food” to our Troops! Thanks to all of our shoppers. We will be collecting donations at CVS in Alamo on June 7th and at Lunardi’s in Danville on June 14th. We will be at both sites from 11am to 2pm. All of the help that is given to our group and our servicemen is greatly appreciated. For information, email or visit

Exchange Club of SRV

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

Blue Star Mom Drop Zone

East Bay Chapter 101 Blue Star Moms is having a Drop Zone event to collect donations for their upcoming “Star-Spangled Thank You” care package mailing to our Troops in June. While you are out shopping, please consider picking up an item or two and dropping it off. Please help us show the Troops that we have not forgotten them and all they are doing to keep our Country safe! Our goal is to send out over 1,000 care packages, and we cannot do it without the generous support of our community. All donations will be mailed to our brave men and women serving our country overseas. Come say hello, sponsor a care package mailing ($13.30 for postage only), make a postcard or two, or drop off a donation to show your gratitude for what our brave Troops do for all Americans each and every day! Go to and click on care packages for more information, including a list of our donation items. Please join us Saturday, June 8th at Safeway, 200 Alamo Plaza, Alamo.

The Cox Team


Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 9





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Spectacular gated estate on ~.95 acre grounds. Charming home offers offers 4BR/3BA + office. Remodeled kitchen and baths. Breezeway to huge bonus room + 2BR/1BA + home gym + billiards room. Sonos sound system. Parklike yard with lush lawn & garden areas. Offered at $1,699,000 DANVILLE 601 SYCAMORE VALLEY RD. W., DANVILLE

Alamo Elementary School

By Stan Hitomi, Principal Looking Back...and Remembering

The end of the school year is a time for both reflection and celebration. In a few days our yearbooks will arrive, and it will start a rush to collect signatures of classmates, friends and staff. This ritual gives us a chance to say goodbye to each other and to look back on the year. I would like to reflect upon some people who have made our school such a fun and interesting place to teach and learn. We have recognized these special people with our PTA Honorary Service Awards.

Very Special People

• Mary Bennett – If there could be an award for most versatile, Mary would win hands down. Her primary role is Senior Intervention Para in the Rainbow Room, but she also is our recess supervisor, is our math intervention specialist, provides coverage on IEPs, subs as office manager, and is a member of the School Site Council. • Christy Campos – Christy has made a tremendous impact through service. She has been Ed Fund Secretary, Yearbook Co-chair, Camp Alamo Co-chair and online auction facilitator. • Raquel Clark – For the past two years Raquel has been our Yearbook co-chair, and rarely do we see her on campus without her camera. She has also served as our Head Online Auction facilitator, and she helps in the classroom. • Wendy Segol – Wendy has been our Marquee/Publicity coordinator and also our Room Parent Coordinator (and was a room parent herself). She is also actively involved in the choral program. • Elke Sprunt – Elke built legacy of service including PTA Financial Secretary, registration coordinator, Camp Alamo Co-chair, Staff Appreciation Co-chair, Spring Book Faire Co-chair, and Pony Express Coordinator. Elke also helped with Perceptual Motor Training and can often be seen on yard duty!

Continuing Service Awards

• Jean DeFreeuw – Jean has been a long-time volunteer with the PTA and Ed Fund. She has readily taken on leadership roles as well as worked at the grassroots level. Jean has served as EdFund Secretary, PTA Secretary, Camp Alamo Co-chair, GATE Coordinator, Fall Fundraiser Chair, and Spirit Wear Chair. • Sharon Dodson – Sharon is the Health Educator/Nurse at Alamo School. Each year Sharon coordinates the Coins-4-Cure campaign and this year has been the driving force

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behind the creation of our new Teaching Garden. • Carol Even – Carol is recognized as a parent leader on campus. Carol has served as assistant secretary for the EdFund, Parent Volunteer Chair, Family Events Co-chair, Family Reading Night Co-chair, Online Registration and Auction Proofreader, and Kids Generated Art Coordinator. • Kathleen Herrmann – Kathleen has taught at Alamo for 11 years, and she currently teaches 2nd grade. Kathleen encourages her students to love music by organizing an annual 2nd Grade Musical Play. She has been instrumental in Alamo’s intervention program by co-facilitating Student Success Team meetings. She also serves as the representative for Alamo School with the San Ramon Valley Education Association. • Melanie Volk – Melanie has served as a senior leader for the Alamo PTA, serving as PTA Executive VP and 1st VP. Over the past two years she has helped organize Alamo School’s participation in Waste Busters, Earth Day, and helped to organize this year’s Day on the Green. Melanie has been active in writing grants and coordinating the development of our new Teaching Garden.

Honorary Service Awards

• Raylinn Bianchi – Raylinn has not only sustained her volunteering over time, but she has also served in the most challenging of positions. Raylinn is completing her 2nd year as PTA President, and will stay on next year as our PTA EVP. Raylinn has also served as PTA 4th and 1st VP, as well as volunteered as Room Parent, and KGA Coordinator, and served on the Ed Fund Board. • Heather Morgan – Heather has been a volunteer in nearly every aspect of our school. She has served as PTA 2nd and 4th VP, as well as Historian. She has chaired the Alamo Music Festival and been Co-chair of the Talent Show and the Reflections Program. Heather spends time as a Room Parent, volunteers in classrooms, and helps at recess duty.

Golden Oak Award

• Margie Hart – The Golden Oak Award is the highest honor bestowed by the PTA. Award winner, Margie Hart, has served as Ed Fund President for three years, during which time the Ed Fund has reached all-time highs in raising funds to support teaching and learning. Margie has also been involved at the District level as co-chair of the successful Measure-D campaign, A $260 million local school bond measure – for which she was recently presented an Honorary Serve Award by the San Ramon Valley Council of PTA’s. Margie has also served as PTA Parliamentarian, PTA Legislative Rep, PTA 1st VP, School Board Representative, PTA Membership Chair, Fall Book Fair Co-chair, Auction Gala Co-chair, Camp Alamo Instructor, and Room Parent. Looking back at 2012-2013, we will take into the summer many great memories and look forward to many more in the years to come.

Page 10 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

8 Summer’s Here By Susan Sokat, Director Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Time to hit the beach . . .and the books!

Right now, most students can’t wait for summer to start. However, come early July, many will find themselves with long hours of unimaginative video game playing and television watching. This lapse in learning can have a negative impact on students’ mental capacity. One research study collected by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Summer Learning shows that children typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they did on the same tests taken at the beginning of summer vacation. A different study claims that, on average, students lose 2.6 months of gradelevel equivalency in mathematical computation skills before going back to school in August or September. If a student does not require summer school, that’s great, but that does not mean that every student will be ready and equipped to begin the next level of curriculum once September rolls around. Parents are smart to consider alternative ways of keeping their kids above the curve and ready for fall to begin. During the summer, there’s nothing like the convenience of In-Home Tutoring that provides one-on-one tutoring in the home, just steps from your If you find her and your name is drawn! backyard or pool. Make it convenient for your schedule, whether its morning or evening. Popular sellers for this summer are: Alamo Zoe has become lost in this paper... Algebra and Geometry – Get a kick-start for next year. If students go into the Search through Alamo Today and see if you can find her! year already mastering the first few chapters, grades will start off with a big boost, She is very small, so you will have to look hard if you want to find her. and the students start off with confidence, ready to master the more difficult concepts. To be eligible send a letter telling us where you found her, The Power of Words – A proprietary writing curriculum addressing all along with your name and address, to: areas of essay writing. This curriculum is also very popular for SAT essay Lost Dog! ~ Alamo Today writing and college essays. 3000F Danville Blvd #117 • Alamo, CA 94507 And of course, seniors taking SAT/ACT in early fall, definitely don’t want to slack off this summer. Use this time for SAT/ACT tutoring geared to your individual needs, and watch your scores increase an average of 100-200 points. Younger students can bridge the gap by catching up and being ready for next year. Rancho Romero Elementary School “Use your time wisely” is never more appropriate than now! Have a great summer! By Skye Larsh-Faraghan, Principal To reach us please call us at 925-786-7149. For more information, visit Heading into the last couple of weeks of school, Ran Advertorial cho Romero would like to acknowledge and celebrate our website at

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another exciting year of learning, growing, and achieving. Teachers have courageously embraced instructional shifts in preparation for Common Core. Walking into classrooms across the campus students are engaged in mathematical problem solving, reading multiple texts in a single subject area, citing evidence to support and defend positions, asking questions, writing across all content areas, using scholarly vocabulary, and working together on challenging projects. Over the course of the year, staff have also continued to stress the development of qualities essential to good character and citizenship, such as fairness, concern for others, and personal responsibility. Students and staff share an understanding of the school’s values, which then shape daily interactions. Purposeful service and enrichment opportunities were offered this year to provide meaningful and impactful connections for students. More highlights from the year: Most recently Camp Rancho, coordinated by parents Nicole Shay and Tracy Iler, brought in 185 enthusiastic students to participate in a variety of camp-like activities after school. The Rancho Romero art program, taught by Danielle John, has connected the world of art through different artists and mediums throughout the year, promoting artistic expression across all grades. Rancho Romero Choir, coordinated by Jill Thompson, has delighted us with four major performances. Additionally, students in grades K-5 were introduced and taught to play one of several musical instruments including bells, rhythm sticks, recorders, and ukuleles. Student Council and grade level representatives, coordinated by Deb Varo and Sandrine Wright, took students to a new level of leadership. One activity arranged by parent Gabi Ghorbani, allowed our students to spend the day in classrooms with students at our sister school, Coronado Elementary School. Rainbow Intervention Program, staffed by Jennifer Abbott and Lisa Grover, worked with over 40 students this year enhancing social skills, developing leadership skills, and fostering a healthy self-concept. Roadrunner Running Club, coordinated by BJ Byrd, encouraged 225 runners to walk/run all the way to Washington, D.C. (our goal) in 14 weeks. The students, parents, and staff have totaled 2,870 miles.

Instructional technology, led by Matt Graham, revealed profound implications on learning this year. Using iPads, notebooks, and exciting applications, students connected and created with peers and with the wider world in ways that were unfathomable just a few years ago. The science lab received funding for a new digital smart board, electronic scales, and science lab tables. Beginning next year fifth grade students will enjoy an additional science lab. All of this is due to the generosity of our Rancho Romero Education Fund. The library has been approved for a full remodel over the summer to reflect an environment required by teachers and students for teaching and learning in the 21st century. This is made possible by the Rancho Romero PTA. School Site Council, Rancho Romero Education Fund, and teachers unanimously passed a smart and balanced budget to support students and their learning and staff and their work over the next year and beyond. “We can achieve our fundamental purpose of high levels of learning for all students only if we work together.” And, that we do quite well. Thank you Rancho Romero teachers, staff, parents, and community partners for a terrific year. We look forward getting on with the show in 2013-14.

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

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

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 11

Stone Valley Middle School By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal Thanks to our Major Supporters

The end of the school year is filled with award ceremonies to acknowledge student achievement and to recognize those adults who make a significant impact on the lives of our children. Here are some highlights. Stone Valley PTA Honorary Service Award winners are parents - Lynnette Breyton, Yvonne Poon, Joan Remmert, and Mary Stark, and teachers - Shirley Dawkins, Jean Egan, and Nancy Olson. The PTA High School Alumni Student Scholarship was awarded to Joshua Herman. Josh will be attending Brown University in the fall. Thanks to Caryl Peterson and Kim Keane for setting up the Honorary Service Awards, organizing the presentation to the parents, and honoring the nominees with certificates and flowers. Thank you to Linda Kwong for skillfully handling the Alumni Scholarship. Congratulations to teacher Teresa Butler Doran and student Evan Segimoto, Alamo Rotary Teacher and Student of the Year. Mrs. Butler Doran has been teaching 6th and 7th grade science at Stone Valley for 15 years. Mrs. Butler Doran serves on several school committees, and directs the National Geographic GeoBee and the 1:1 technology initiative. Teresa’s quote about teaching: “It’s not a job, it’s part of who I am.” Evan Segimoto has taken two music classes every year for three years and auditioned into the concert and jazz bands. Evan has also dedicated himself to several philanthropic causes inside and outside of school. Evan is the son of Arnold and Mari Segimoto. Congratulations to both on earning Stone Valley’s highest award.

Philanthropic Opportunity for Class of 2013 - Backpack Brigade

On June 13th, 8th grade students will be collecting new or gently used school supplies for our sister school, Coronado Elementary, in Richmond. Our collection will include: notebook paper, pens/pencils, felt tip markers, binders, composition books, folders, backpacks, and compasses. Donations can be dropped at the school office anytime until June 13th. Email any questions to me at

11th Annual Field Day a Huge Success

Topping a classic event is a difficult task. However, this year’s organizers of Field Day a.k.a. the “FC” or Fun Committee, outdid themselves by recruiting new members and dozens of parent volunteers, and adding a few new field games. SV students were treated to two spirit rallies, an art and science activity, a talent show, Subway lunch, carnival games, face painting, a craft activity, bowling, a movie, large inflatable activities, cotton candy, rootbeer floats and popcorn. The Class of 2015 - “Yellow, not Mellow,” won the class competition. This is the first time a 6th grade class has won. Congratulations “Yellow Fellows.” The 2013 “FC” members are: Kathleen Arbulu, Monique Metzcus, Teresa Butler Doran, Courtney Konopacky, Ben Loomer, Eric Rasch, Spencer Erickson, Devrah Lawver, Wendy Nacamu, Jenna Ray, and Irma Volenec. Special Thanks to Greg Phillips for capturing the day on film.

Class Size Reduction (CSR) Campaign Offers new Corporate Sponsor Recognition

The Stone Valley Ed Fund Class Size Reduction Campaign is at 25% of the annual goal of $186,000. Middle schools are the only level in education that does not receive federal or state dollars for reducing class size. For the past two years our campaigns have fallen short and we have dipped into our reserves to offset the deficit. Our reserves are now exhausted and we must now look outside the school community for support. If you are a business owner or work for a corporation that would like to participate, a $15,000 donation will cover one class or section. King of the Pride –Corporate Donation Level includes: • Personalized parking space • Company name will appear in every notice, and the marquis on the gym, the weekly Roar newsletter, the monthly Alamo Today, the Donor Plaque in the school office, on independent signage in the school parking lot, and in Ed Fund letters to parents. If you are considering this level of donation, please contact our Ed Fund President Gary Zilk at or Elisa Tinker, or visit http:// and click on the “easy button” for donations online.

Now available in Danville Jewelry Dept. Sterling Silver Charms starting at 25.00 Town and Country Center

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.

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.

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.

Page 12 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

San Ramon Valley High School Relationships

By Ruth Steele, Principal

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” Theodor Roosevelt. This has never been more true than in our classrooms. A teacher can design the most scintillating lessons and incorporate the most up-to-date technology and resources, but if the students don’t have a connection with that individual, then it is not going to work. Our students need to know that they matter to us as human beings, that they are important and special. If they don’t then why would they want to work in our classrooms? After all, students do not have a choice - they have to attend school every day, and they have to take many classes that they may have no interest in. We demand that they sit in uncomfortable desks for hours at a time, listen to us, show us respect, and follow our rules. Is it not reasonable to expect that we make students feel comfortable, respected, and safe in return for everything we ask of them? Teaching is a busy, demanding, under-paid and over-stretched profession, and often educators will state that they are too busy to be able to take the time to check-in with students, and that there is too much curriculum to work through. However, the most effective teachers will find ways to weave those personal opportunities into their teaching. Rita Pierson (an educator of 40 years) proclaims that what students need most are teachers who are AT willing to be champions for them, love them, and insist that they be the best that they can be. However, this does not mean that we should be friends with our students or blur the boundaries between educator and student, far from it. In fact the very creation and maintenance of those boundaries, those structures and those rigorous expectations is the foundation of showing students that they are cared for. Kids need adults who can guide, nurture, and challenge them to become successful, confident, life-long learners. These adults come in many forms: parents, coaches, teachers, family members, and other mentors. We give children the most opportunities for success when they have multiple people in this role. The most important thing to remember is that this is a shared responsibility, and it must begin in our own homes. If our children are raised in homes and learn in classrooms where they are provided with love, structure, respect, and accountability, then they will have all of the tools that they need to be successful in life. It’s hard work and it requires a genuine commitment, but it is nothing less than every child deserves. Learn more in the seven minute YouTube, TEDTalks video with Rita Pierson titled “Every Kid Needs a Champion.”

Monte Vista High School By Janet Terranova, Principal

Monte Vista has had a whirlwind few weeks as we wind down toward summer vacation. We finished up both STAR and AP testing and had several assemblies. Mike DeCesare, president of McAfee, and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom spoke with students about the importance of technology in our lives as well as the need to be secure and safe when using social media. Our social studies students had the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of veterans ranging from World War II to our current vets. It was an inspiring morning for our students as they honored our veterans. One of the most impactful assemblies for our students was It’s Up 2 U. The program is dedicated to increasing the awareness of the negative impact of drugs and alcohol and encouraging students to make safe and responsible decisions. Up 2 U is produced by Monte Vista and 20/20 Productions. This presentation included video footage and guest speakers from our local police and fire departments; a counselor from the community, a recovering addict, and the parents of a Monte Vista student who experienced the tragedy of having their son die shortly after graduation from the use of inhalants. Our goal was to remind all students that their choices affect their family, friends, and community. To wrap up the Up 2 U week, the Leadership class hosted a Healthy Alternatives Fair at lunch where local businesses and the City of San Ramon promoted healthy options for the summer. We so often hear from our students, “There is nothing to do around here,” so we decided, “Why not bring the community here and help get our students involved!” Thank you to the local businesses, our Leadership class, and our Monte Vista staff that helped make this an impactful week for our students. As you make your summer plans, the following dates may be helpful: Senior Inspirational Ceremony: Sunday, June 5 at 5pm at the Al Gentile Theater Graduation June 10th at 6pm Registration Packet Pick-up August 14 3pm– 7pm, August 15 Noon – 2pm Registration: August 19 and 20 1pm – 7pm Freshmen Orientation: August 21 Freshmen Dance: August 21 First Day of School: August 27 (minimum day) If you want to know more about Monte Vista and our activities, please visit our website at

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Association for the Preservation of Danville Blvd. By David Holmgren

The Association for the Preservation of Danville Blvd. (APDB) was formed in the 1970’s by a volunteer group of community-minded citizens in and around Alamo. As our name states, we are interested in preserving the semi-rustic qualities of Danville Blvd. from Rudgear Road at the Walnut Creek border, to Del Amigo at the Danville border. The Boulevard is a defining element of Alamo’s character, so our mission is larger, encompassing the community along this corridor, not just the roadway. Decades ago, large elm trees graced the roadway, forming a picturesque canopy along much of its length. Unfortunately, they fell victim to Dutch Elm disease. The Boulevard of Trees, an Alamo-based volunteer effort headed by Andrew Young, who is memorialized by a park of his name in downtown Alamo, organized and funded the replanting of those trees (with appropriate species) in the 1980’s and 90’s. APDB was proud to support that effort. Today we see that many of those trees have grown impressively and are beginning to re-create the ambiance of the 1970’s. We work with other local community groups, Contra Costa County, and other agencies on transportation issues, zoning, signage, and planning. Currently we are focused on the Stone Valley Road/Danville Blvd. intersection, which is a potential candidate for upgrading through the use of Alamo Area of Benefit funds from local development for capital improvements to roadways. Our group feels that this intersection is currently acceptable for the needs it serves. Instead, we should use these funds to improve Danville Blvd. and other local infrastructure features in ways that benefit those who live, work, and attend school in Alamo, such as walking and bike paths or crosswalks. APDB’s board of directors meets quarterly. These meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be held August 10th. We have about 140 households on our roster and periodically publish a newsletter. Please contact us at or via US mail at P.O. Box 1143, Alamo 94507. David Holmgren and Gayle Christensen serve as President and Secretary.

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 13

Page 14 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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Solar Currents

By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar Maximize Your Returns

In a recent article in Solar Today, the CEO of a large box solar installation company provided advice to solar installers on how to “move into the mainstream.” However, the assumption that all installers want to be in the mainstream is a false premise on which to base advice. In my opinion, an entirely different business model should be pursued to achieve the highest customer satisfaction and greatest long-term financial return from a solar energy system. That being said, this following bit of advice was excellent: installers should “emphasize the economic advantages of solar electric installations.” “Quality of life improvements” can also be achieved by the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. From personal experience, both talking points ring true and essentially work in unison. I’ve had solar panels installed on my home for some years now and recently added more panels as the result of purchasing an electric car. I’m now able to even better leverage the excellent credits available to me because of the PGE Electric Car Charge Utility Rate. I’m being credited upwards of $.55 per kilowatt-hour in the summer afternoons for my excess solar production, and recharging my car in the evenings starts at less than $.04 per kilowatt-hour. With solar photovoltaic, one can live in increased comfort while saving money. This is because in PGE territory all kilowatts are not charged or credited at equal value. Customer service: The CEO made a case for how a larger company’s call centers can “better connect” with customers. From my experience, a client would prefer to speak to a business owner, followed by a salesperson, and lastly, a call center. By their nature, I don’t believe adequate customer service can be provided by call centers. Concerning products: The big box advice is to “put the product components and specifications on the back of the brochure” because consumers have “shown little preference” towards brands. Conversely, my belief is that when it comes to a 25+ year investment and warranty, consumers need to be educated about brands! Final product choice has an effect on long term financial return. Warranties are only as good as the paper they are printed on. The world’s former largest manufacturer of solar panels, China’s Suntech, is in bankruptcy and on the verge of liquidation. Choosing a product from a manufacturer that has a long performance history and no product recalls is the best warranty one can buy. “Quite simply, it’s not about the panels anymore.” From a consumer’s standpoint, it’s all about the panels and the individuals installing them. Finding excellent and reliable products takes research and effort. Down playing product and technical details is doing the consumer a disservice. It allows for the least expensive installation, but at what long-term cost? Achieving lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the goal. Lowest TCO is achieved by choosing quality proven products and qualified installation teams. This combination will generate maximum financial return over the 25+ year life of the system. Products and people do matter. Customer experience: “The drive for a better customer experience will be aided by ongoing consolidation among installation providers.” I highly doubt that “bigger is better” when it comes to individual customer experience. Consolidation typically means less competition, less creativity amongst the remaining players, and fewer choices of product, installer, or service. Innovation: It is indeed critical to focus on innovation, manufacturing efficiencies, and installation cost reductions. There are many new and innovative products becoming available. However, for individual customers, innovative products don’t necessarily translate into best value products. What is most important for a customer is selection of compatible and reliable products; innovation comes second to reliability and performance in the field. Wide adoption of new technology products should only occur after proven reliability is achieved. Differing business models exist because differing customer bases exist. As for any construction project, do your research to find the best fit for you. 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 Mark@ Advertorial

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 15

Perils and Passions on the Farm Offers Family Fun at Forest Home Farms By Jody Morgan

Teaming up for their second annual joint theatrical fun-filled fundraiser, Role Players Ensemble (RPE) and the San Ramon Historic Foundation (SRHF) present three short plays in different venues around the 16-acre Forest Home Farms property at 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon. Showcasing the various types of melodrama that would have been enjoyed by San Ramon Valley residents during the 19th and early 20th centuries, performances on June 22nd and 23rd are geared to entertain the whole family. RPE and SRHF have broadened the appeal for this year’s event. The classic good triumphing over evil melodramatic material chosen has been popular with generations of summer audiences all across the country since the time the original circa 1850 barn was first raised at Forest Home Farms. Children especially appreciate the invitation to boo and hiss at the villain and shout encouragement to the hero during the action. The three pieces selected by RPE Artistic Director Eric Fraisher Hayes represent the vast variety of the genre: one from Victorian England, one from the Wild West, and one from 1930’s Crime Fiction. Hayes explains: “Normally, in theatre you try to stay ahead of the audience and avoid being predictable, but with melodrama the idea is to invite the audience to feel they know the story from the start and to encourage them to be part of the storytelling.” Stock characters in melodrama are the fearless hero, the virtuous heroine, and the despicable villain. The storyline entails a dramatic rescue by the hero of his beloved heroine from the devious designs of the villain. Hayes notes: “Bad guys like to be bad, good guys know they are the good guy, and audiences cheer and jeer accordingly.” Attendees are invited to come at 5PM on Saturday, June 22nd to enjoy a picnic on the farm prior to the 6PM performance. Wine, sodas, and dessert will be available for purchase. On Sunday, June 23rd, pre-performance picnicking begins at 1PM with show time at 2PM. Intermission will feature an old-fashioned ice cream social. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Reserve tickets by sending a check to “RPE on the Farm” at PO Box 304, Danville, CA 94526 or online by PayPal at








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Page 16 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Quick Trips

By Linda Summers Pirkle Elkhorn Slough

Moss Landing, which is an hour and three-quarters drive from the Bay Area, is on my favorites list for the people, the food, and the activities in a tiny town by the sea. A few months ago I did some research on whale watching in Moss Landing ( All those I met in the town, from the antique store proprietor, to café and restaurant owners, were so very kind and interested in telling me about other great shopkeepers and businesses in town. I felt like I was in “Mayberry” by the sea. I was given a tour of the town, and while doing so I met the Gideons, owners of Captain’s Inn and Elkhorn Slough Safari, the subject of this article. Captain Yohn Gideon and our naturalist guide, along with and our group of 22 passengers, set out at 11AM on a Wednesday on the Elkhorn Slough Safari. The information on the website (www.elkhornslough. com) describes the boat trip as a “way to visit this natural habitat, providing excellent opportunities to view and photograph wildlife close at hand.” Our trip exploring one of California’s largest wetlands exceeded our expectations. The Safari is a 27 foot pontoon boat, and Captain Gideon has been guiding tours onboard this vessel since 1991. “I was an officer in the Navy, stationed in California, and fell in love with the place. There wasn’t a way for people to be able to see all the sea otters and birds, so I created the Elkhorn Slough Safari and designed the pontoon boat that I use for people to have a relaxing trip,” he said. We ventured out about four miles and saw all kinds of wildlife. “Everyone seems to love the stable platform, and I made it up high so you can really see all the playful animals,” Captain Gideon explained. We were able to see all kinds of birds, sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions while our naturalist and the Captain offered Elkhorn Slough history and information about all aspects of slough ecology. Our naturalist guide, zoology major, Danielle, started our tour with some facts about Elkhorn Slough. She explained, “The Elkhorn Slough is one of the few relatively undisturbed coastal wetlands remaining in California. The main channel of the slough winds inland nearly seven miles and encompasses over 3,000 acres of marsh and tidal flats. The channels and tidal creeks of the slough are nurseries for many species of fish, some of which are important commercially. The slough is on the Pacific flyway, providing an important feeding and resting ground for many kinds of migrating water foul and shorebirds.” The slough is home to more than 400 different species of invertebrates, 100 different species of fish, and 300 different species of birds. According to Captain Gideon there are at least six rare, threatened, or endangered species utilizing the slough and environs, including peregrine falcons, Santa Cruz long-toed salamander, clapper rails, brown pelicans, least terns, and sea otters. We had a memorable day on the slough, and we took lots of photos. One of my favorite sights was a sea otter floating on her back in the water. Captain Gideon pulled our boat around a bit closer and asked us to look closely. Using binoculars, we were delighted to see a tiny otter cub cuddled up on the mama sea otter’s belly. *The Elkhorn Slough Safari operates year round. June, July and August are good times to go when you need a reprieve from the Bay Area heat. The climate can be a lot cooler out on the slough. The phone number for Elkhorn Slough Safari is 831-633-5555. Linda Summers Pirkle, travel consultant and long term Danville resident, has been arranging and leading tours for the Town of Danville for several years. Inspired by the many wonderful places to visit in the Bay Area, she organizes day trips, either for groups or for friends and family. “If it’s a trip for my husband and me, my husband drives and I talk (he’s a captive audience) – the perfect combination! What a great place to live, so much to see, so much to do.” To share your “Quick Trips” ideas, email

Summer Party Planning at Richards Supporting Local Family Business

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Page 18 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Life in the Alamo Garden

By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect Water-Wise Design

Over the years I have implemented into my practice water-wise landscape design. I am a 5th generation native Californian and have been designing landscapes for over 35 years here. Over the years, living in and out of drought conditions, I have learned to stay the course of good water-wise landscape design. As residents of Alamo, it is vital to conserve water as a habit. It seems we should know better by now, but we get fooled from season to season when we experience many years of El Niño. With global warming concerns, it is time to get smart and stay smart. Here are seven practices I always implement into my designs, and these are some of the same practices you can take to implement into your new or existing landscape no matter what the forecast might be. One: Start with your soil; thriving soil with good organics is the foundation of a water conserving landscape. How much water you need to keep your landscape alive is directly equivalent to the amount of compost in your soil. Compost increases permeability and capacity to hold water, thus reducing the amount needed for irrigation and thus lowering your watering bills. Two: Use Plants and Landscapes for Summer-dry Climates of the SF Bay Region, an EBMUD book. The types of plants described in the book have adapted to summer dry conditions and once established can survive dry summers with little or no water. There is an old gardener’s adage: “right plant – right place.” Appropriately designed planting requires less watering, pruning, fertilizing and spraying, thus lowering operating costs and use of resources. Minimize your lawn area. 1,000 sq. ft. of turf can save about 10,000 gallons of water per dry season. If you absolutely need a lawn, minimize the size and place grass where it will be used for relaxation and play. Three: Cluster your plantings by water needs. This method is known as hydro-zoning. In a hot sunny location, group sun-loving, low water-use plants and then design the irrigation system to water that cluster of plants. Same goes for shade areas. Hydro-zoning can more easily match plant requirements, thus saving water. Hydro-zoning allows you to separate your irrigation valves so each zone can be managed more accurately. This method can save you an unbelievable amount of water! Four: Design and install high efficiency irrigation systems. Use bubbler and drip irrigation where possible so that water can be applied directly to the root zone. Minimize spray irrigation where possible. Use the newest irrigation technology; MPR (matched precipitation rates) sprinkler heads, bubbler, drip, micro-sprays, soaker lines and an upgraded new controller. There are many choices that offer high technology that uses historical weather data and solar, moisture, and rain sensors. Some systems can detect problems like a broken sprinkler head. I was able to adjust my controller last summer to save 15% on my water bill. With new technology I believe you could easily save 25-50% of the water you use for your landscape now! Five: Manage your landscape water use. Know your landscape watering needs and how much water is being applied. Adjust your controller often as weather conditions change. Install a new “Water Smart” controller. Set your controller to water early in the morning when evaporation rates are low and wind is calm. Water deep and less often. This will allow water to get into the root zones. Avoid overwatering and run-off. Good water management saves thousands of gallons! Six: Mulch! Mulch reduces water loss and prevents weed growth. Mulch often! Regularly mulch around your trees, shrubs, and ground covers and cultivate your soil regularly to allow water to penetrate more easily. Seven: Make saving water important to you! Every drip counts! Get involved in your garden. Use licensed landscape professionals to assist you in water-wise design and implementation of your garden. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Investing in a water-wise planting and irrigation design for your new or existing garden can save you thousands of $$ over time! The savings can well exceed the cost of the design itself! Gardening Quote of the Month: “The frog does not drink up the pond in which 19th Annual Sculpture in the Garden Exhibit he lives.” ~ Native American Saying For one month every year, The Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG) transforms If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to into an outdoor art gallery. The Garden’s world-class collection of succulent or for design ideas, visit Advertorial and drought-tolerant plants provides a spectacular backdrop for artists to display their works. Follow the meandering pathways to discover art that ranges from classical to irreverent, spiritual to functional. All works are for sale. This is the perfect place to find art for the home garden. • Preview Party: Friday, June 14, 5:30 - 8PM Celebrate the unveiling of the exhibition, and mingle with the artists while sipping champagne in the Garden at sunset. Advance ticket purchase is required - $65/person; $60/RBG Members. • Opening Weekend: Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, 10AM - 3PM Bring a picnic, take a tour, and meet the artists. Docent tours throughout the day. Live music on Father’s Day. Free admission for dads on Father’s Day. • The Sculptures will be in the Garden through July 13. General admission: Adults/$10; seniors and students/$7; children and RBG members free during regular hours. Free parking! The RBG is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek. For a list of featured artists, please visit For more information, contact Phoebe Berke at (925) 944-9352 or The Art Of Screening By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb

Trees and shrubs provide many valuable services in the urban ecosystem. One of the most important, from the perspective of homeowners, is screening for privacy and to hide undesired objects. Well-placed foliage can keep out prying eyes and enhance personal safety, and a view of beautiful leaves and branches gives more pleasure than the view of a neighbor’s garage. Over the long run, preserving a living screen requires planning and judicious pruning. Plants grow toward the sun; they maximize foliage where there is most light. As trees mature, the density of the canopy can act as an umbrella and shade out the interior lower branches, which causes them to die. To see a clear example of this, look at a mature oak in the forest. The majority of foliage is in the outer shell; the interior is bare. This natural phenomenon works well for plants in the wild, but it may not succeed well for your screening needs. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this loss of valuable screening. All strategies for maintaining screen involve keeping sunlight flowing to interior branches. Sufficient light on the leaves reduces dieback. It is best to act before the screen is compromised (an ounce of pruning is better than a ton of replanting). In plants with latent buds, English laurels for example, trunks can re-sprout even after interior branches have withered. However, many species lack latent buds and are incapable of re-sprouting, and for those species preventative medicine is the only medicine. Even for species with latent buds, keeping branches healthy is much easier, and more effective, than reinvigorating them. • Eliminate light competition from surrounding plants. Evaluate the plants growing near your screen plants to see if they are casting a shadow on branches critical to screening. Plants shading out important screen plants can be removed, or they can be thinned and shaped to increase illumination of screening branches. • Thin the screen plants themselves. This may seem counterintuitive, but the exterior of the screen plant may be shading its interior. It is not uncommon to see 40-foot pittosporums that look like balloons, with the only green occurring in the canopy. To revitalize, it is generally best to remove all dead wood, thin the top heavily, and even thin the screen area. The goal is to maintain layers of green from the edge of the canopy through the interior. A thick, multi-layered screen is less prone to failure. If it is not acceptable to lose any bottom screen, even temporarily, a good compromise is to thin those portions above the screen area. Thinning only one portion of the tree is an aesthetic challenge, but it can be done. • Shape the tops of screen plants. It is sometimes possible to shape back the tops of screen plants to allow more light to reach the lower branches. Our philosophy of pruning requires that the overall beauty of the plants be considered in all pruning cuts. Because health and beauty are often synonymous, we have found that bringing light into the interior usually enhances tree aesthetics. What do you do if you have already lost the screen? It is difficult to get branches to grow back once they have died, but radically thinning or lowering the plant may induce growth in lower foliage. Unfortunately, this is hard to achieve without sacrificing the aesthetics of your trees and shrubs. Sometimes it is possible to fill the gap with shade-loving plants. Other times the only solution might be to remove the plant and start over. Each case is different. If you need help, do not hesitate to give us a call, for advice or to do the 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 your trees need a little TLC, please call 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 19

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Page 20 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

Location, location, location! Selling an ill-situated house is difficult, but getting an improperly sited plant to thrive is nearly impossible. Reading all the references on a particular species is often insufficient for identifying the proper place to plant it in your own garden. When I first moved to Danville, I ordered several specimens of bearded iris. The spot I chose for them seemed ideal. Supposedly re-bloomers, they offered a few dispirited blossoms once a year. Gardens never cease to yield unexpected results. Fortunately, at least in my experience, every unwelcome discovery that thwarts my intentions is balanced by a serendipitous surprise that rewards my diligence. Divided and moved to another area, the iris continued to sulk. Then suddenly last summer I needed just the sort of elongated spikes of foliage these iris produce to fill a bare spot where nothing seemed to grow. Shaded by a cherry tree all summer, missed entirely by the drip line, but offering good drainage, the site suited the iris so well that despite the tendency of their kind to take a year off after division, they put on an overwhelming show this spring. Even if they never bloom again, they have more than repaid my efforts on their behalf. The color and definition of the flowers was much improved by their new location. Huge peach blossoms etched with chocolate kept opening. Even though each flower only lasted a few days, the performance ran more than a month. Dangling before the iris, like an opening chorus, bells of flowering maple (Abutilon) in rich melon tones accompanied the ballet. As a counterpart, several varieties of bugleweed (Ajuga) played the blues. How did I orchestrate this delightful display? I did so with one part expertise combined with nine parts gardener’s luck. One of the most difficult horticultural events to control is bloom time. In another year, the bugleweed might well have finished its set before the iris took center stage. The flowering maple does bloom sporadically throughout the year, but the sudden prolific production of flowers just as the iris buds burst into blossom was an unexpected crescendo. Weather certainly played the leading role, but my introduction of MaxSea (an organic seaweed fertilizer available at Sloat’s) undoubtedly encouraged the performers. Developed by centuries of breeding, bearded iris (Iris germanica) is a European hybrid rather than a true species. The iris family includes some 260300 species. Some, like Japanese iris and flag iris, are water-lovers. Others,

Tip of the Month

Ditch the Car – Ride Instead of Drive By Cynthia Ruzzi

Let’s face it, I’m not qualifying for theAmgen Tour of California anytime soon, but as the elite professional cyclists effortlessly rode past me on their way to Mt. Diablo, I felt proud of striving for my own bike challenge. I may not be ready for the Mount Diablo Challenge in October (billed as the East Bay’s best uphill bike ride), but I am working on my pledge to ‘Ride instead of Drive’ for trips less than four miles. According to sponsors of the ‘2 Mile Challenge,’40% of all trips within the United States are two miles or less, and 90% of those trips are completed by car. With 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions coming from cars, it behooves us to be mindful when we need to drive and when we can walk or ride our bikes instead. In fact, driving releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution into the air for each gallon of gas we burn. The EPA states the average car in the US gets 22MPG – obviously they don’t realize how many SUVs we’re still driving around here. Even using a conservative estimate of the number of adults in our community of 35,000, ditching the car for just one two mile trip per week would save us 3,309,090 pounds or 1,654 tons of local CO2 pollution per year. Talk about breathing easier. Did you know that the US has more bicycle owners per capita than other countries, but it ranks near the bottom of the list for using them? In fact, the cost of operating a car per year is over $5,000 – 43% more per than a bike – and it takes the same energy and resources to make 100 bikes as it does one medium car. Even a Toyota Prius, getting 50 mpg, loaded with four adults, consumes six times the energy per person as the bicyclist, for the same trip (comparing calories of energy burned). And if these aren’t enough reasons to consider using your bike when your trip is four miles or less – running an errand in town, meeting a friend for coffee, going to the library, stopping by your kids’ school, etc. – then remember how much fun it was to

like bearded (aka German) iris, are drought tolerant and adaptable to many soils. One Bob Shalon, EA source claims that in Master Tax Advisor • Enrolled Agent 1479 BC King Thutmose III was so smit925.820.9570 ten by plants he saw 714 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite B, Danville in Syria that he had Sycamore Square (next to Lucky’s) the first domesticated iris installed in his Egyptian palace plot. The name “iris” from the Greek for “rainbow” refers to the many colors and combinations that iris flowers exhibit. In German iris, the fuzzy yellow “beard” leads pollinators to nectar the way runway lights guide incoming aircraft. Iris plants were used in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome for fragrance and flavoring. Many conflicting tales explain the origin of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, long associated with French royalty. Some credit Louis VII with choosing the iris as his symbol during the Crusades. Hence, as in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, the term is “Fleur-de-luce” or Flower of Louis. Others note usage of the device that predates the Crusades and suggest because the Franks first lived in the Netherlands near a river called “Luts” and also “Lits” before settling in Gaul (now France) that the golden flag iris, which still lines the river’s banks, gave rise to the symbol. A third theory suggests the flower intended is not an iris at all, but rather it is the baptismal lily presented to Clovis I in 496 AD. The flowering maple in question has a much shorter and more local history. Abutilon ‘Bartley Schwartz’ is named for a nurseryman from Concord, California. Orchids were among his specialties. In the June 2001 issue of the Diablo Orchid Society’s newsletter, Kathy Barrett writes: “I am also hoping Bartley Schwartz will have his business open. Bartley is known for his many hybrids and his mandevillas. And his birds! He has a couple of parrots that perch on his shoulders as he works.” The common name of flowering maple refers to the leaf shape in several species. Native to Brazil, tropical Asia and India, the genus Abutilon includes many shade-tolerant, drought-tolerant species. Other non-botanical monikers for these butterfly hosts are: parlor maple, Chinese bellflower, Chinese lantern and Chinese hemp. ride your bike when you were a kid, and think of the health benefits. Benefits for your health include: • Cycling can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. • A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories in an hour. The average person loses 13 pounds their first year of commuting to work by bike. • In 1964, 50% of kids rode to school, and the obesity rate was 12%. In 2004, 3% rode to school, and the obesity rate was 45%. And you know which way the statistic has been going since then – right? Traffic and parking may be the two top complaints of people living in the local area. Every time you or your kids bike or walk it takes a car off the road and reduces parking congestion. This year the Town of Danville started adding bicycle parking downtown for the convenience of residents and visitors who are hopping off the Iron Horse Trail and stopping by our restaurants and shops. Visit our Facebook page ( and guess the correct number of bike racks in downtown Danville, and you could win a prize! To make sure there’s enough parking for downtown summer festivals and fairs, Sustainable Danville Area is partnering with other non-profits to host temporary bicycle parking at these events. Monte Vista High School Mountain Biking Club will host the bicycle parking for the upcoming 2013 Danville Fine Arts Faire on June 22nd and June 23rd from 10am – 5pm. Bike on over to the parking lot shared by Starbucks, Consignit Couture, and Pegasus Bikes on Hartz and Prospect Avenue on Saturday or Sunday for a VIP parking spot to the faire. If your non-profit group would like to host a bike corral for the 2013 Town of Danville July 4th parade, please contact us at or visit us at In Copenhagen, Denmark, two thirds of residents use a bicycle on a daily basis! There is no limit to the level of biking that’s possible in ideal terrain and temperate weather of our area! Imagine how much impact that would have on our health, the environment, and traffic!

Tax Talk with Bob

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 21

Tax Planning Now for 2013 By Bob Shalon, IRS Enrolled Agent

We all got through the tax season for 2012 and lived to talk about it. Now it’s onto 2013 while there is time to do something about your next tax return. Here are a few areas that may apply to you and affected many returns this past year. • Refinanced mortgages are great. With today’s low rates hovering around 4%, many taxpayers will refinance. Remember your lower payment means less of a deduction. If your payment goes down considerably, you may need to adjust your withholdings. • If you can, utilizing an equity line or line of credit against your home or property is preferred to early withdrawals from your IRA or pension. • If you have savings in both an IRA and a pension, you may be eligible for an exception to the early withdrawal fees on an IRA. A pension has virtually no exceptions to the rule. • If you are an employee, make sure your payroll department is withholding the proper amounts on your California withholdings as well as Federal. I saw many cases of under withholding on California tax forms, even when Federal withholding was done correctly. • If you are selling stocks that you held for very long periods of time, there may be large capital gains to account for. The market has recovered nicely, which is great, but it will affect your gross income. The IRS requires backup documentation to establish the original cost of all stock transactions this year, so there is no wiggle room. • Exercising stock options this year can affect or throw you into the ugly Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). This occurs whether you sell the stock or not! It is important to know that if this did happen to you in previous years, you are entitled to an AMT credit when you do sell those stocks. I hope this helps, although this is only a random sample of ideas. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my clients and all the clients of the Danville office of H&R Block for your loyalty and support. As a result of our continued growth, we will probably be moving next door to larger offices. I will be working the rest of the year in San Ramon beginning in July as the new Danville office gets furnished. Thanks everyone and have a wonderful summer. Please call me at anytime at 925-820-9570 or email bob.shalon@tax. with questions. Advertorial

Our Chamber Members are looking forward to honoring students at San Ramon and Monte Vista high schools with a $1,000 scholarship. These scholarships are funded with raffles held at each monthly mixer. The raffles are supported by the many generous prizes/gifts provided by members who are committed to continuing our scholarship program. Join us at The Stone Valley Center for our June 26th Mixer: Hosted by The New Forli Ristorante’ & Co-hosted by The Hospice of the East Bay Thrift Shop. Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. ALAMOCHAMBEROFCOMMERCE.COM

The Bounty Garden at Hap Magee

Check out the new Bounty Garden at Hap Magee Ranch Park, located at 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville, on the Danville/Alamo border. Join in on one of the educational programs that teach local volunteers how to grow organic vegetables. Everything that is grown is then donated to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. For more information, visit or email

Alamo Roads

The County will start drafting an Alamo AOB (Area of Benefit) project list at its third update meeting on Wednesday, June 19th, 6PM, at Alamo School, 100 Wilson Road. Of concern to Alamo on the County’s project list since 1998 is “Stone Valley Road/Danville Boulevard Intersection Improvements,” a companion project to the Stone Valley ramp project funded by the County, Danville, and San Ramon since 1996 (Southern Contra Costa Regional Fee Fund). The AOB project would widen Alamo’s downtown intersection to accommodate the new freeway traffic that would result from the “improved” Stone Valley freeway ramps. Please bring your families and neighbors to let your wishes for Alamo’s roadway plans be known, and come hear the latest updates.

Page 22 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

When Family and Business Don’t Mix

By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

Family members often become “involuntary” co-owners of real estate and/or a business by inheriting a fractional interest in an asset co-owned by other family members. Proper planning and related documentation should be completed by the first generation of (voluntary) coowners, ideally at the time an asset is purchased. Otherwise, this co-ownership can become very problematic - even if such problems don’t arise until the death of a first generation co-owner. This article features an interesting case on point that I’m handling now. I’ll summarize the background, illustrate the core legal issues, and outline a lesser known legal remedy. Basic facts (names changed): My clients are siblings, John, Jane, and Judy, whose mother, Carol, died 17 years ago. For decades, Carol owned 50% of a commercial building with her brother, Sam. The family operated a retail business at the property, of which Sam long ago became 90% owner and Carol 10% owner. It’s unknown what amounts Carol received from Sam for her 10% of the business and for rent that should have been paid by the business to Carol and Sam, as equal owners of the property. When Carol died, my clients inherited her 50% of the property and her 10% of the business. My clients’ uncle, Sam, continued to run the business, and it seemed to be pretty successful. But Sam never provided any significant information to his nephew and nieces. He simply sent them each a small monthly check, without identifying whether these distributions were for rent and/or for business profits. My clients are of modest means and could certainly have used more funds from their inheritance. But they loved their uncle Sam and trusted that he was being fair. As the years went by, the value of the property increased substantially and presumably so did the business profits. Yet, while purchasing a large home for himself and buying a nice home for his daughter, Sam did not increase distributions to my clients. My clients began to suspect they were not being treated equitably. In recent years, my clients made numerous requests for a business accounting

Travelling Connected

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

Recently I was fortunate enough to travel abroad. My destinations included Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. I could write several articles about these interesting and vibrant destinations, but today I’m going to give you some advice on how to stay connected while away from home. Staying connected means different things to different people. Since I was in a very unfamiliar environment, I erred on the side of wanting a working telephone and internet connectivity. I’m a lousy navigator, and I like to rely on Google Maps! I have found it is definitely not a winning strategy to simply hope you’ll find good Wi-Fi along the way. Free Wi-Fi is very hard to find, even at coffee shops. When you find it, it’s usually pretty wimpy or over-subscribed. Even paid-Wi-Fi can be hard to find, so do your homework. We in the US are very spoiled with fast internet access. Important note: If you are going to use free or paid public Wi-Fi, make sure to have your laptop’s firewall turned on, and do not conduct any financial transactions where your credit card or banking information would be transmitted through that connection. Public networks are often targeted by hackers ‘listening’ for unsuspecting travellers trying to perform a last-minute transaction. When we landed in Bangkok, I tried to access the “Free” Wi-Fi network at the airport so we could find our people. No go. I could connect to it, but I couldn’t get any access. The same thing happened in San Francisco and also Narita airport in Japan. If you do find one that works, congratulations! If I relied on it, I would have been sunk. Since the free Wi-Fi didn’t work, I tried the “Boingo Wi-Fi HotSpot” I had signed up for before leaving. This is a paid service that has hot-spots all over the world’s airports and other public places. They boast over 600,000 hotspots, so chances are there will be one near where you’re going. Check their website ( to see if the airports or locations you’re visiting have their service. This service does work, although it’s not strong enough to do much more than get a message out, which in my case was enough for that moment. A month of service only costs $11.95, so it’s a decent fall-back. You need to plan ahead. As I mentioned above, I’d already signed up for Boingo before my trip, but when you’re out on some country road and need a

and other relevant information, but Sam gave excuses and failed to honor these requests. My clients became frustrated and finally asked Sam if he would buy their 50% of the property. Sam said he was unwilling to do so, and my clients felt as though they had no options. John was referred to me, and after doing some due diligence for John and his sisters, I informed them that: a) they were not at the mercy of Sam to continue to be co-owners of the property; b) Sam could be compelled to produce an accounting for the business and the property; and c) Sam had breached the fiduciary duty he owed to my clients as co-owners of both the property and the business, unjustly enriching himself as to his 90% interest in the business at the expense of my clients who were receiving far less than market value rent for their 50% interest in the property. I informed my clients that they could file a lawsuit, in which they could seek a Partition of the property. In a Partition action, if one (or more) co-owner of a property is not getting along with another co-owner or one wants to sell and the other does not, the judge will, except in rare circumstances, order the sale of the property. In addition, my clients had a right to demand an accounting and had various claims for damages. I wrote a demand letter to Sam, giving him an opportunity to buy out my clients and settle as to damages sustained by my clients. Sam’s lawyer responded, acknowledging that my client would ultimately be able to force the sale of the property in the Partition action, but rejected my clients’ valuation of the property and denied liability for damages. So, I filed suit for my clients. The parties have engaged in early settlement discussions, and reaching a pre-trial settlement is likely. Unfortunately, however, the lack of any written agreements between the parties – either between Sam and Carol of the first generation or between Sam and my clients of the second generation – helped enable a conflict to spin out of control and ruin a previously close family relationship. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 1333 N. California Street, Suite 350, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 944-9700; rsilverman@ His practice emphasizes Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate, Real Estate, and Business. Mr. Silverman offers a free introductory consultation. This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein. Advertorial

map, that’s not much help. When you’re out in country you need 3G data for your smart-phone. But your cell phone is not going to be compatible with the network in the country you’re visiting without some preparation. I use an iPhone, but the process is basically the same for all phones. You may have heard about the practice of “unlocking” your cell phone. Unlocking is the process of removing artificial barriers your carrier has put on your phone that prevent you from connecting to other carriers, here at home or abroad. I use AT&T, who will unlock your phone if you own your phone and can provide specific documentation. I own my iPhone outright, which means it’s past the original contract date. You’re not supposed to unlock your phone unless you own the phone. As I ‘own’ my phone but don’t have every scrap of documentation AT&T wanted, I unlocked it through a 3rd party website that charges $35. When I arrived in Thailand, I was able to take my unlocked iPhone to one of the several local telephone company booths in the Bangkok airport and purchase a local SIM-card. I purchased a plan which gave me 1GB of internet and unlimited calling for six weeks, which for me was perfect. The package for the SIM-card had the website info, and later on I was able to visit the website and recharge the card when I got low. Once I had the local SIM-card, my phone worked just like at home, with a local Thai telephone number. I could send text messages, make calls, and, most important of all, use the apps and local internet which were totally functional. It’s important to note that you can also purchase a simple “throw-away” cell phone at those same airport booths, which would allow T9 texting and phone calls without the 3G internet. They run about $40 and come with prepaid service plans. These are another great alternative when you want to have local access. We were very fortunate that I had planned ahead to have a working smartphone. As it turns out, our ride never got the message we were arriving. Eventually we took a cab for the hour and a half ride to the city of our destination and navigated close enough to our destination that we were in the neighborhood. We didn’t have an accurate address for our final destination, but we made ourselves at home in a local bar until daylight, when I used my phone to call our friend and navigate in the rest of the way. If I hadn’t had my phone, it would have been extremely sketchy to get to the right area and get in touch with our friend. Are you travelling soon? If you have questions about international access, email, or call 925-552-7953 to check with the connectivity experts at Portable CIO. Advertorial

Key-Person Insurance: Small Business Life Line

Brought to you By Peter, Jim, Paul, and Bob

In conjunction with Spectrum Wealth Partners, a division of Lincoln FinancialAdvisors, a registered investment advisor.

Would you hesitate to buy fire insurance for your lab or office building? Of course not. What about liability insurance in case someone slips on your steps? Same answer. But have you insured what could be your most valuable asset -- your top employees? If not, you should consider “key-person” insurance. Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset. The know-how, judgment, and experience that build a business are found in people, not equipment or machinery. The company president, its key scientist, or other essential employee helps develop new products, attract investors, and generate profits. Those people could be your most important asset. But what happens if a company’s chief researcher or other key worker dies? The firm might fall into disarray, and investor capital could dry up. By insuring its top employees with “key-person” insurance, however, the business may be more likely to survive the loss. Key-person insurance (previously known as “key-man”) offers a financial safety net. It can provide the cash needed to hire a replacement and keep the business running. That’s why savvy firms looking to keep their businesses running smoothly can benefit from key-person policies. How it Works. Key-person insurance can be structured in several ways. Typically, the business buys a life insurance policy on the life of the keyperson. The company is the owner, premium payer, and beneficiary of the policy. The covered person could be the company’s founder, its patentgenerating scientist or anyone else critical to the business. The policy may be term insurance or cash value life insurance. The premiums paid by the company are not tax deductible. And while life insurance benefits are normally not subject to income tax, the death benefit received by a corporation from a key-person policy may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Key-person insurance can also be set up to fund buyout arrangements or deferred compensation plans for a retired top employee. Additional Benefits. Besides helping to stabilize a company’s financial position following an essential employee’s death, key-person insurance can: • Serve as collateral for bank loans • Pay off company debt or hold off creditors seeking to collect following the key person’s death • Instill loyalty and enthusiasm in the insured employee • Provide funds needed to purchase a deceased owner’s stock Ask yourself how much it will cost to replace a key employee in the event of death, and where the cash will come from. Check with a reputable insurance professional to find out how key-person insurance can help provide some answers. Please contact Peter Waldron to schedule a complimentary review of your financial situation, call 925-659-0383 or email Peter T. Waldron, James R. Westermeyer, Paul Solorzano & Robert J. Waldron Jr. are registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory service through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, 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. Valid Through 6/13. CRN201006-2043638 Advertorial

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Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 23

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SRV Kiwanis Award $35,000 in Grants

The San Ramon Valley Kiwanis Foundation has awarded over $35,000 in grants to 41 area non-profit agencies. The grants were presented at the club’s annual grants breakfast ceremony. Representatives of the recipient organizations made brief presentations on the programs the Kiwanis grants support. Kiwanis of San Ramon Valley has awarded more than $600,000 through their grants program since 1998. This year, grant amounts ranged from $300 to $2,500, including a grant to the San Ramon Valley Educational Foundation of $2,500 for distribution to worthy school projects that the Foundation identifies. Top grants were awarded to Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Cancer Support Community, CASA, Down Syndrome Connection, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Loaves & Fishes, Monument Crisis Center, Senior Helpline Services, Shelter Inc. of CCC, STAND! For Families Free of Violence, and The Taylor Family Foundation. Other recipients include Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Assistance League of Amador Valley, Assistance League of Diablo Valley, Camp Camelot, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa, Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, Diablo Valley Flag Brigade, Inc., Discovery Counseling Center of SRV, Friends of the Danville Library, Gardens at Heather Farms, Hope Hospice, Inc., Hospice of the East Bay, Moment by Moment, Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Nayeli Faith Foundation, Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa, St. Vincent de Paul of CCC, San Ramon Library Foundation, SonRise Equestrian Foundation, The Lucille Glass Mauzy Foundation, Tri-Valley Haven for Women, We Care Services for Children, and Kiwanis Family House. Funds for the annual grants program are raised by the San Ramon Valley Kiwanis Foundation through several fundraising projects, including organizing and conducting the annual Kiwanis 4th of July Parade in Danville. Grant applications are solicited in February of each year and awarded in May with an additional several thousand dollars held in reserve to provide emergency grants and fund Kiwanis community projects throughout the year. Additional information about the Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley may be obtained at The club holds weekly luncheon meetings at noon on Thursdays at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo. Please join the club for lunch, and find out more about the organization.

Page 24 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

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

The next Alamo “Area of Benefit” Town Hall Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 19th at 6 PM at Alamo School on Wilson Road (off Livorna Road). Please attend and also bring your neighbors to this important meeting. Projects for the Alamo area can be funded in large part by the Southern Contra Costa (SCC) Regional Fee Fund (which the County established in 1996 with Danville and San Ramon) and the County’s Alamo “Area of Benefit” (AOB) fee fund. A major project of concern, the “Ultimate Configuration,” is a project that impacts the Stone Valley Road/Danville Blvd intersection and also includes a companion project for expansion of the I-680/Stone Valley interchange. Although the interchange and intersection projects are referenced under different names, County staff has indicated that they consider them to be all the same project. The proposed changes to both Stone Valley Road and Danville Blvd. include: • Adding lanes and signals on the Stone Valley Road freeway ramps • Widening the bridge over San Ramon Creek • Widening the Danville Blvd./Stone Valley Rd. intersection by adding new turn lanes • Adding one new lane on Stone Valley Road (north side) and one new lane on Danville Blvd. (west side), both for indeterminate distances However, the I-680 interchange is already working well and has few conflicting movements because currently all exits onto Stone Valley Road are right turns, which avoids having to cross lanes when joining traffic on Stone Valley Road. This would change if these projects are approved. The AIA and many Alamo residents have been opposed to the “Ultimate Configuration” project for a number of years because its primary effect would be to increase non-local, pass-through traffic in our downtown area. Virtually all of the increased traffic accommodated by expanding the interchange or Alamo’s downtown intersection would be from drivers choosing to divert onto Alamo’s surface streets because of traffic delays encountered on I-680. While there may be no calls presently to widen Danville Boulevard, any pressure to widen Danville Boulevard in the future will almost certainly be to accommodate exactly the kind of increased regional bypass traffic that would result from this project.

Alamo Summit Development Project

Have you been noticing the removal of trees on one of our prominent ridgelines in West Alamo, located between Ridgewood Road and Castle Crest? The Alamo Summit project was originally approved in 1992 after a lengthy and contentious review process. The project will ultimately have 37 homes. The project’s lots known as #7, #8 and #9 have already had a large number of trees removed, which then resulted in a significant increase in truck traffic to and from the site using Ridgewood Road, a winding private road. The wording of the development conditions appear to suggest that any tree not in the scenic easements can be subject to removal at the discretion of the developer. This wording is apparently being interpreted by the developer to include those trees at and on ridgelines, negating another important condition for the development approval that rooflines at or on ridgelines be no higher that the trees located there. However, if all trees are removed on the ridgelines, what good is this very important condition to protect ridgelines? A recent meeting at the Contra Costa County Planning Department which was attended by representatives of the AIA, Alamo MAC, Castle Crest Neighborhood, Planning Dept., Public Works, Ridgewood HOA and the Supervisor’s office, resulted in the developer’s representative attempting to address the concerns of impacted neighbors and the Alamo Community. However, those attending the meeting left without having received clear agreement on how to resolve the various issues. The issues and concerns are all inter-related and include the following: • Does the County’s Tree Preservation ordinance apply or not? • Does the definition of “construction for development” include site clearance of trees or not? • Does the Ridgewood Road maintenance repair/maintenance conditions apply now that trees are being removed and truck traffic has increased on Ridgewood Road or not? • Does the Vested Tentative Map filing for the development include all conditions for development approval or not? It is AIA’s belief that road improvements for safety must be completed on both

Castle Crest and Ridgewood Road before other work on the site is performed, such as further grading and further tree removal. If you have an interest in or concern about this project, please contact AIA by using the contact memo feature on our website

680 Work

The project for a southern extension to the exiting HOV lane on 680 appears to include changes along the west side of 680, such as: • The addition of two lanes to the Rudgear Road entrance • Additional retaining walls along the west side of the freeway and close to Stone Castle • Removal of sections of the current sound wall and the construction of new sections An environmental review document is scheduled to be released in June for review by the public. 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.

Alamo Police Services District P-2, Zone B

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

Deputy Carson Completed:

117 Calls for service • 5 Moving citations • 1 Non-moving citation • 4 Reports • 18 School security checks • 2 FI cards

Deputy Carson Responded to or Conducted

16 Patrol requests/Vacation house checks • 5 Alarm calls • 2 Disturbance of the peace • 3 Found property • 2 Lost property • 1 Suspicious circumstances • 11 Service to citizens • 3 Vandalism • 1 Identity theft • 10 Petty thefts • 3 Auto burglary • 1 Residential burglaries • 1 Battery • 1 Warrant arrest • 2 Stolen vehicles • 2 Civil issues • 4 Outside Assists

If I Were a Thief Program

389 Streets covered • 149 Flyers distributed

Reported Incident

• Sugarloaf Dr. - Petty Theft - Valley Station Deputies responded to a report of Petty Theft from a vehicle. The victim reported personal items had been stolen from his unlocked vehicle. There are no known suspects or independent witnesses. • Forest Ln. - Drunk in Public - Valley Station Deputies responded to a suspicious circumstance on Forest Ln. While there, Deputies contacted a subject who appeared intoxicated. Based on the subject’s objective signs of intoxication and unable to care for himself, he was arrested for being Drunk in Public. The subject was transported to jail, where he was booked. • Danville Blvd./Las Trampas Rd. - Receiving Stolen Property - Valley Station Deputies contacted a subject pending their investigation. The suspect was found to be in possession of stolen property. The suspect also provided Deputies with a false name. She was arrested, transported to jail, and booked on the charges. • Daniel Dr. - Burglary, Residential - Valley Station Deputies responded to a reported Residential Burglary. Three suspects were seen leaving the residence and were known to the homeowner. The suspects were later located in Danville and positively identified by the victim. The suspects were arrested and transported to jail, where they were booked. 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.

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.

Get Five “Second Opinions” at One Time

By Judson Brandeis, MD

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 25

11 Critical Home Inspection Traps to be Aware of Weeks Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Alamo - According to industry experts, away altogether. In most cases, you can Do you know anyone whose life was touched by prostate, bladder, there are over 33 physical problems that make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself or kidney cancer? Have you ever will come under scrutiny during a home if you know what you're looking for, and wished you could get all of your inspection when your home is for sale. knowing what you're looking for can help doctors together in one room with A new report has been prepared which you prevent little problems from growing identifies the 11 most common of these into costly and unmanageable ones. you at the same time? Now you can! problems, and what you should know about To help home sellers deal with this issue HIPAA laws, incompatible electronic medical records, and them before you list your home for sale. before their homes are listed, a free report busy schedules sometimes make it difficult for physicians Whether you own an old home or a brand entitled "11Things You Need to Know to to work as a team on patient care. Despite cell phones, text new one, there are a number of things Pass Your Home Inspection" has been paging, e-mail, and other modes of modern communication, that can fall short of requirements during a compiled which explains the issues involved. collaboration in health care seems to be getting more and home inspection. If not identified and dealt To hear a brief recorded message about more challenging. However, I believe coordinated medical with, any of these 11 items could cost you how to order your FREE copy of this report, communication is precisely what is required to successfully dearly in terms of repair. That's why it's call toll-free 1-866-265-1682 and enter manage patients with a cancer diagnosis. critical that you read this report before 2001. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, Caring for cancer patients requires treatment and diagnos- you list your home. If you wait until the 7 days a week. tics from doctors of different specialties. Surgeons perform building inspector flags these issues for Get your free special report NOW to learn biopsies and surgical removal of cancer. Pathologists look at you, you will almost certainly experience how to ensure a home inspection doesn't tissue samples to determine if there is cancer, what type of costly delays in the close of your home cost you the sale of your home. cancer there is, and how aggressive the cancer is. Radiologist sale or, worse, turn prospective buyers read imaging studies like CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans This report is courtesy of J. Rockcliff Realtors #01763819. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2013 to look for abnormalities that might be cancerous. Medical oncologists determine the type of cancer and how far it has spread, create a treatment plan, and if necessary, infuse chemotherapy. Radiation oncologists administer radiation to shrink or kill the cancer cells. It is challenging for all of these specialists to simultaneously communicate about a patient, and it is next to impossible to have the patient present and participate during this communication. However, this collaborative team approach is essential for proper diagnosis, treatment, and optimal patient care. I am pleased to announce that Pacific Urology and Diablo Valley Oncology have developed a multispecialty treatment planning approach for urologic cancers, like prostate, bladder, and kidney. We bring cancer specialists from different disciplines (including medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology) together to review and discuss individual patient medical conditions. Our integrated group allows access to high-level, collaborative cancer care including clinical trials and cutting edge technology. After reviewing the patient’s medical history, we consider all possible treatment options and develop a recommended treatment plan. The patient is then invited to join the conference and ask questions about their treatment options. As a team, we work with the patient to develop the most appropriate treatment plan at no additional cost. This is the only multispecialty Urology Tumor Board in the Bay Area that includes the patient in the conversation. If you have bladder, prostate, or kidney cancer and are interested in being considered for our monthly Multispecialty Cancer Consultation, please contact the program coordinator, Leslie Wolfe at (925) 771-2622. Dr. Brandeis is a Board Certified Urologist with Pacific Urology, with offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon Brentwood, Livermore and Antioch. To contact Pacific Urology, call 925-609-7220 or visit Advertorial


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Pints for Prostates at Pyramid Alehouse

The “Pints for Prostates” event will be held at Pyramid Alehouse, located at 1410 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, on June 13, from 6-8PM. “Pints for Prostates” is a grassroots campaign that uses the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message about their prostate health. Founded by a prostate cancer survivor who was diagnosed at the age of 48, this non-profit campaign raises awareness among men about the need for regular health screenings and PSA testing. With a $25 donation, you will receive the “Pints Package” which includes a custom beer glass, beer, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and raffle tickets. Space is limited. Please RSVP at (925) 677-5041 or

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

Page 26 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

Healing with Minimal Scarring

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

As summer approaches, I find that my practice is busier than ever. Most people would think that plastic surgeons become busy in the summer because that’s the time of year when people want to look better in a bathing suit. While it’s true that summer does bring people into my office looking to enhance their appearance through cosmetic surgery, summer is also the time of year when I see more patients after being involved in an accident. Local emergency rooms are packed in the summertime with people who have been involved in accidents while participating in warm weather activities such as swimming, hiking, and biking. I have spent years during my training in trauma centers and emergency rooms, working in high-pressure situations and focusing my attention on saving lives, and ensuring that patients are not at risk of serious illness or infection. My advanced training in aesthetics is an added benefit my patients receive. For example, repairs to facial lacerations from a biking accident can be done in a way that leaves minimal scarring. Please use me as a resource and give me a call, especially when kids are involved. I would be happy to help. This past week, my patient’s sister was involved in a car accident. She was taken by ambulance to the emergency room where they made sure she had no major injuries and evaluated for a number of horrible lacerations on her forearm. My staff and I told our patient to call us if there was anything we could do for her sister. Two days later we were asked to take a look at

Beacon continued from front page

By 1939 when work commenced on the summit building, the Eye of Diablo surveyed surrounding valleys from within State Park territory. Standard Oil financed the cost of steel and concrete needed to support the new tower constructed of locally quarried sandstone, while the Diablo Civilian Conservation Corps provided labor. The Beacon was moved to its present location before the order came to turn it off. A note in the ranger’s logbook dated December 8, 1941 reads: “trip to shut off Beacon as to Black Out.” Radar developed during the war rendered the string of transcontinental lights obsolete as navigational aids. Wanting to honor their fallen comrades, the Oakland chapter of Pearl Harbor Survivors asked retired Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to arrange a re-lighting of the Beacon on December 7, 1964. Following the success of that original ceremony, the Beacon has shone through the night on December 7th each year. Whether bulb replacement was required for that first commemoration is unknown. However, ironically, Japanese manufacturer Ushio produces the bulb now used in the Beacon. Retired Ranger Burt Bogardus has been keeping the Beacon working since he transferred to Mount Diablo State Park in 1975. He often accepted the task assigned to the “closing” ranger on December 7th: greeting the Pearl

The Beacon settles atop the new summit building c. 1939. Photo courtesy of Save Mount Diablo

her sister’s arm because it was painful and oozing. The woman had baseball type stitches in the largest laceration and 17 centimeters of cuts in a star-like pattern on her forearm. During my fellowship in hand and microsurgery, and other advanced training in cosmetic and maxillofacial surgery, I repaired countless traumatic injuries very similar to this woman’s. I consulted with her, and we agreed on a course of treatment that involved replacing the baseball stitches with 100 finer carefully placed sutures that will result in a more aesthetically pleasing and less painful repair. The result for this began with a consultation that allowed me to improve her situation and offer her a more aesthetically pleasing result in my office … away from the long lines and crowds of the typical ER. As a mother I know first hand that the emotions involved when your child is injured are amplified on an exponential scale. The injury (especially facial laceration) itself is traumatic enough, but add to that a lengthy wait time in an unfamiliar environment and what is already a scary experience can become almost unbearable. I treasure my involvement in this community, and I want to be used as a primary resource for these types of injuries. Please call me and I will ensure that it will be a calm and comfortable experience for your child. Most importantly, the injury will be optimally repaired the first time, avoiding the need for future scar revision. An additional note - It is a common misconception that lacerations must be repaired immediately. In some cases, if the laceration is cleaned well and kept moist, excellent results can be achieved days after the initial injury. Common sense must prevail with all bites, cuts, scrapes, or burns. Elevate and apply pressure for bleeding, ensure safety of the environment, and call 911 if there is a life-threatening emergency. The paramedics in our area are fantastic! Keep in mind that our office accepts most insurance plans and even on a cash payment basis treatment at our office is likely to be a less expensive option. As always, it is my pleasure to offer my expertise and I look forward to consulting with you soon. Wishing everyone a 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 Harbor Survivors and turning on the light. “Several times,” he writes, “the light did not work. The wiring was very unreliable, the sockets were corroded, the drive belts and pulleys slipped, and even though I had it checked out beforehand, several times it didn’t turn on (either light up or revolve) at the appropriate time.” In keeping with Lindbergh’s initial lighting of the Beacon by remote control, Bogardus created a device to permit Pearl Harbor Survivors to switch on the historic symbol themselves rather than shout up to the ranger on duty to perform the task. “In the early 1980’s, I happened to be at a garage sale and saw a large electric relay. I immediately thought, ‘That would make a good remote control for the beacon’ and bought it for, I think, a dollar.” Although his fellow Beacon Restoration volunteers are concerned that Burt’s homemade product is not a licensed electrician’s handy work, his invention has functioned reliably for over thirty years, firmly establishing its place in Beacon folklore. Save Mount Diablo stepped in to co-sponsor the annual lighting of the Beacon in 2006 when the issue of liability insurance threatened to cancel the ceremony. Neither the State Park nor the Pearl Harbor Survivors were able to provide the necessary coverage, but SMD had an event policy in place that solved the problem. As a new volunteer at the time, Dick Heron was asked to help some of the veterans up the steps. His role soon expanded to running shuttle service by van to the summit from the lower parking lot. A retired project engineer for Del Monte Foods, Herron readily accepted Bogardus’s invitation to join him in keeping the Beacon functional. For the past six years he has helped replace parts. He comments in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Diablo Watch: “One year I had to push the Beacon manually for 45 minutes to get it loosened so the drive could keep it going.”

See Beacon continued on page 28

Your Personal Nutritionist

By Linda Michaelis, RD. MS. Meal Planning Made Simple for Families

In my practice I frequently educate families on good meal planning. Let me tell you about my recent work with a local family of four that was referred by their physician. Both kids are involved in sports, and since no one is consistently home, everyone helps themselves to convenient frozen items. Only when mom is not traveling for business are veggies made. As a result, everyone is overweight, and mom and dad have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I asked dad if the kids were eating things like artichokes and asparagus, and he said, “no” because the kids did not like them. The kids said they would be willing to try them since they forgot how they tasted. I frequently see parents never buy healthy items because their kids rejected them years earlier, not taking into account how everything changes in our kids’ lives. I immediately saw that no one had any idea how to read a food label for proper nutrition. I explained to them that the food label shows measurements in grams, and to this day I do not understand why we have to constantly translate grams into more easily recognized quantities. For example, we have to learn that one ounce of protein is equal to seven grams where we take the grams of protein and divide by seven to find the ounces. I also showed them that four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. They were shocked to learn that even healthy Greek yogurt can have 30 grams of sugar or almost eight teaspoons of sugar. We also discussed the need to eat 25 grams of fiber per day and the fact that we should keep our intake of fat down to 20%. After our meeting we all jumped in the car and went to Trader Joe’s where I showed them a new way of planning and shopping for fresh, healthy foods. Here are some decisions we came up with.


For breakfast they were eating Honey Nut Cheerios or bagels with cream cheese. I explained to them that this was like eating “paste and glue” that goes right to the hips. There is absolutely no protein and fiber in these choices. We talked about buying oatmeal packets, Kashi Go Lean Cereal, 100% whole wheat bread with peanut butter or with a few tablespoons of cottage cheese with sliced strawberries, or even a low sugar Greek yogurt.

Mid AM/PM Snacks

I explained the importance of having a source of protein during the day to keep blood sugar stable and in the afternoon to prevent excess hunger resulting in evening overeating. We all agreed to snacks of hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky, an ounce of nuts with a sprinkle of raisins, a stick of string cheese, peanut butter on celery or apple, or a piece of fruit. When returning from school they agreed to substitute their former choices of chips and crackers for bean soups, cottage cheese and veggies, hummus with veggies, beans with salsa and a sprinkle of cheese, or even oatmeal.

Lunch and Dinner

I told the family that their major problem was that their refrigerator contained no foods that provide protein and fiber. I was thrilled to show the family fresh Just Chicken, Seasoned Chicken Strips, Teriyaki Chicken, as well as 97% Hebrew National Hot Dogs that are only 45 calories each. I went on to show examples of precooked items such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, a variety of beans that would be great with salsa, and shredded lite cheese on a whole wheat tortilla. In addition we focused on the veggies they were doing without, and I showed them fresh broccoli florettes and string beans that kids like which can be steamed in the bag and available in minutes. All you need is a great sauce such as curry, satay sauce, or even a fresh salsa. I always tell my clients that if you are out of staples, there is always a tasty omelet option that can be made with an egg yolk and multiple egg whites which is best with mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes with a sprinkle of lite cheese on top for taste. This can be enjoyed with 100% whole wheat English muffins. There is always baked potato night where everyone can add a topping of their choice of chili and cheese, sour cream and chives, or even broccoli and cheese along with an interesting arugula salad.


Interestingly, mom was strict with not allowing the family to purchase desserts because everyone is overweight. I explained to her that if they cut down on the starch at night and eat more veggies they could easily enjoy a dessert such as fudgicles, creamsicles, two Oreo cookies, or a cup of non-fat frozen yogurt. I am glad to inform you that nutritional counseling was covered by the family’s Aetna PPO insurance for two months. Please feel free to call me at (925) 855-0150 and tell me about your nutritional concerns. Refer to my website www. for past articles, recipes and nutrition tips. Advertorial

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 27

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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.

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.

Diablo Singles Dance Club

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

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 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today Our mission is to provide personalized care, help maintain independence and enhance our client’s quality of life on a daily basis. Beacon continued from page 26

As Beacon Restoration Project Leader, Herron is proud of the group of 16 volunteers currently committed to the task. “Talents include: safety • Free in-home assessments • Regular home visits coordination, historical preservation, contracting, ensure the right care plan • Hourly care Heartfelt & electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, for you • Live-in care Supportive • Fully bonded and insured • Geriatric care mgmt. machining, sheet metal work, welding, optics, • Elder referral and placement HazMat work.” For example, Scott Miner, At All Times... 3645 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite D Los Positas College Welding Instructor, has his Lafayette, CA 94549 (beside Trader Joe’s) 925-284-1213 students constructing a special frame to safely transport the Beacon to Concord for repair. John Gallagher volunteered to help coordinate the effort as soon as SMD Tinea Versicolor Executive Director Ron Brown began talking about tackling the Beacon’s long By Dr. Jerome Potozkin This time of year we see many patients complaining overdue rehabilitation. Asked how an organization dedicated to environmental of whitish spots on the skin. The areas usually affected conservation was prepared to push for a solution to keeping the Beacon alive, Gallagher responded: “Part of SMD’s mission refers to preservation of our are the neck, chest, and back. Sometimes these whitish patches have some fine scale. If you have anything that agricultural and historic heritage.” A major step forward was taken when Assemblymember Joan Buchanan sounds like this you most likely have a skin condition known as tinea versicolor. sponsored AB 1916, a bill authorizing the state Department of Parks and Tinea versicolor is an extremely common skin conRecreation to enter into an operating agreement with Save Mount Diablo, dition. We all have yeast growing on our skin. When permitting the engagement of volunteers as well as licensed professionals the weather gets hot or moist the yeast will grow more in the effort to preserve the Eye of Diablo. Gallagher, Herron and Brown all quickly. An overgrowth of yeast leads to tinea versicolor. The first sign usually worked with Buchanan on fine-tuning the bill. Signed into law by Governor is small whitish spots on the skin although sometimes the spots can be darker or Brown on July 17, 2012, the legislation makes possible for the first time tan to pink in color. Oftentimes the patches are scaly and might itch. The yeast the involvement of a private non-profit organization in a significant capital that causes tinea versicolor prevents the skin from tanning so most people notice project under the auspices of the public Department of Parks and Recreation. this in the summertime when they go out in the sun and they have patches on their skin that do not tan. The yeast that causes tinea versicolor lives on everyone’s skin. We don’t know why it overgrows in some people to cause a noticeable skin condition. It is most commonly seen in young adults and is rare in children or older adults. It can usually be diagnosed by a dermatologist simply looking at the skin. Sometimes a biopsy or scraping is required. Tinea versicolor can be treated effectively with medicated soaps, creams, shampoos, and lotions. The most commonly prescribed medicines include ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and pyrithione zinc. These ingredients are found in some over the counter products but in concentrations too low to be effective. In order to effectively treat tinea versicolor, prescription strength formulations are typically required. Some patients elect to be treated with an oral antifungal medication. The yeast is easy to treat, but it takes weeks to months for the pigment to normalize. If you think you have tinea versicolor, feel free to call our office at 925-8384900 to schedule an appointment. Of course, there are other things that can cause whitish scaly patches. A form of eczema common in children will form whitish patches on the face and body. This typically will not respond to treatment for Celebrating the unprecedented agreement allowing SMD to restore the Beacon in cooperation tinea versicolor. If you have any skin concerns, we are happy to help you. Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the local with the state DPR (L to R) State Parks Director Major General Anthony Jackson, community since 1993. His office is located at 600 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ron Brown, Mt. Diablo State Park Superintendent Roland Gaebert and California State Parks Diablo Vista 102 in Danville. He is accepting new patients. Please call 925-838-4900 or visit District Superintendent Danita Rodriguez. Photo by David Ogden. for more information. Advertorial “Once we got past the legislation,” Gallagher says, “the state historians have been quite cooperative and supportive of the project.” Herron adds, “We also understand that the DPR Historians are the preservation experts, so we look to them for guidance as well as our hired Conservator. We do not want to lose any feature of historical significance.” A complete record of every step of the process is being added to a tome already running to 144 pages that details all documentable aspects of the Beacon’s original configuration, maintenance, and 85-year history. Herron explains the importance of SMD’s role pioneering position: “If we perform well on the Beacon Rehabilitation project, then it will be easier for other organizations to step forward with assistance for the Department of Parks and Recreation, and to be approved for such work; it will be easier for these organizations to begin their work if there is a structure in place.” During the month of June, following a 35-day environmental impact comment period, the 1,500-pound Beacon will be hoisted from its post by crane

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See Beacon continued on page 30

Sports Medicine

By Dr. Jeffrey G. Riopelle, MD

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 29

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We are introducing a new column on Sports Medicine. My wife and I practice in San Ramon on the campus of the San Ramon Regional Medical Center. Future topics will include discussion on knee pain in the over-40 athlete, shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, experimental use of one’s own stem cells in treatment of CCCuuussstttooommm EEExxxeeerrrccciiissseee +++ CCCuuussstttooommm NNNuuutttrrriiitttiiiooonnn joints and other areas, and the use of the hyperbaric oxygen chamber in athletes. !AAAmmmaaazzziiinnnggg RRReeesssuuullltttsss We have a long standing interest in sports and sports medicine both personally   


and professionally. We both participated in high school and college sports and have tttrrraaaiiinnniiinnnggg,,, cccaaarrrdddiiiooo eeexxxeeerrrccciiissseee aaannnddd nnnuuutttrrriiitttiiiooonnn ppplllaaannnnnniiinnnggg tttooogggeeettthhheeerrr,,, cccuuussstttooommmiiizzziiinnnggg iiittt ppprrreeeccciiissseeelllyyy tttooo yyyooouuurrr bbbooodddyyy remained physically active ever since. aaannnddd yyyooouuurrr gggoooaaalllsss... IIIttt ’’’sss fffaaasssttt,,, mmmoootttiiivvvaaatttiiinnnggg aaannnddd sssooo At age 57, I still play basketball and volleyball as well as uses the treadmill, weight, bicycle, and pilates maeeeffffffeeeccctttiiivvveee,,, iiittt ’’’sss pppaaattteeennnttteeeddd... chines. My wife, Donna Riopelle, APRN, NP, jogs, lifts weights, and use the treadmill. I have personal experience !uuummmmmmeeerrr !pppeeeccciiiaaalll OOOnnnlllyyy $$$333444999 with several sports injuries, having herniated a cervical disc playing basketball, herniated a lumbar disc playing GGGeeettt FFFiiittt iiinnn 111000 WWWeeeeeekkksss -­-­- NNNooo CCCooonnntttrrraaacccttt golf, and fractured my sacrum (back) falling off a horse. I have made a complete recovery from each injury. fffooorrr AAAlllaaammmooo TTTooodddaaayyy RRReeeaaadddeeerrrsss!!! I have coached CYO basketball and was the head coach of a Little League team. Our four children have all HHHuuurrrrrryyy!!! OOOffffffeeerrr eeexxxpppiiirrreeesss 666///333000///111333... excelled in sports and have also had their share of injuries to come back from. Our son David was MVP of the freshman football team at De La Salle, playing running back and line backer. He had almost 800 yards as a varsity running back before his season was shortened by a torn thumb ligament in 2011. He suffered a torn ACL in rugby in 2012, but he returned just six months later to play and contribute to De La Salle’s National Championship football team. Our daughter Lexi was an elite gymnast, just one level below Olympic level, at age 11, when she suffered a back fracture that ended her gymnastics career. Both Lexi and her younger sister Natalie competed at the highest level cheer competition in high school going to the World Championships in Orlando, Florida on !999999BBB SSSaaannn RRRaaammmooonnn VVVaaalllllleeeyyy BBBlllvvvddd... DDDaaannnvvviiilllllleee,,, CCCAAA 999!555222666 two separate occasions. All three daughters - Brittany, Lexi, and Natalie have cheered for Monte Vista with Lexi 999222555-­-­-777!333-­-­-000888000222    and Natalie serving as captains. Natalie, currently a junior at Monte Vista also coaches lower level cheer squads. I authored a health and fitness book titled My Personal Trainer which is a comprehensive guide to health and fitness. I received my medical school training at UC Irvine, was freshman class co-president and finished medical school in the top 15% of my class. My residency training was done in Ventura at UCLA’s residency program. I stay on the cutting edge of medicine through training with The Ageless Regenerative Institute in Florida and with the Mastermind group, a group of doctors in the US and Canada whose purpose is advancement of high-quality, cutting-edge, ethical medicine. I have preformed free treatments for residents of Shepherd’s Gate and the Shelter for Battered Women, and I also started an annual Halloween candy buyback program to promote health in children, sponsored an annual Good Deed contest for children, as well as helped the Blue Star Moms send care packages for the holidays to overseas military personnel. I have been featured on CBS and NBC news multiple times reporting on medical advancements, have been featured on the CBS TV show Fabulous U Magazine, and have been interviewed on the radio by the famous DJ, Don Blue. Donna received her nursing degree from Cal State Long Beach and her Nurse Practitioner degree from UCLA in 1988. Her primary interest is anti-aging. She has completed and received her board certification from the Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. She is also completing the final stages of the master’s program in Anti-Aging. Together we have practiced in San Ramon on the campus of San Ramon Regional Medical Center for almost 25 years. We share the passion of bringing the latest scientific advances to our patients, including those less known advances not sponsored by major pharmaceutical companies. Our goal is to create a better quality of life for our patients as each decade arrives. I am 57 years old, but I feel I’ve worked preventively over the years to keep myself in shape so that I feel 37 years old. I want the same for my patients. We can help you especially when it comes to your joints, muscles, tendons, back, and neck. Our next column will shed light on the field of sports medicine and on cutting edge of medical procedures available to benefit those searching for relief from pain and injury. For information on any of our programs please call our office San Ramon Valley Medical Group, Inc., at 925-275-9333. We are located at 5401 Norris Canyon Road Ste., 312, in San Ramon. Advertorial

Hospice Volunteers Needed

Lic# 1100014354; Bay Area Entertainment

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 www.

Page 30 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Polarized Lenses

I think by now most people that wear sunglasses are familiar with polarized lenses. However, I find it odd that there are many people who are not aware of the benefits of polarized lenses and the availability of these specialized lenses in all types of prescriptions and lens styles including single vision, bifocals, and progressives. First, we should discuss the definition of a polarized lens. When light bounces off a surface (water, road, dashboard, etc.), it is mostly reflected horizontally. That means that reflected sunlight does not bounce off a surface equally in all directions; it comes at the eyes in a horizontal plane causing glare and distortion. Since reflected sunlight comes at the eyes in this predictable manner, we can combat this annoying glare with a polarized lens. This lens contains a properly oriented filter that specifically eliminates this harmful glare. This filter does not impact the appearance of the lenses, but it selectively eliminates glare. People with polarized lenses now see the world more clearly and with more vibrant colors because glare is not present to compromise your vision. Polarized lenses have many everyday applications that make them the lens of choice for your next pair of prescription or non-prescription sunglasses. While driving, those annoying reflections from your hood and dashboard would be eliminated. While walking or biking, the glare off the road on a sunny day is removed. For those who enjoy being on the water fishing or boating, like to go to the beach or like to ski, the glare off of the water or slopes can be debilitating. Assuming the water is clear, you will be able to see through the water to the life beneath the surface. While skiing, the vision will be a lot easier with the glare from the snow removed. Polarized lenses come in gray and brown and are available in several materials including plastic, polycarbonate, and high-index and in single vision, bifocal, and progressives. However, there are now multiple color options in single vision lenses. These include colors in the yellow, green, and orange ranges. These are mainly used for specialized activities such as fishing, boating, and golfing. As an additional benefit, all polarized lenses come with a UV coating, so all harmful ultraviolet radiation is blocked from getting to the eyes. Keep in mind that the most important thing about sunglasses is the ul-

traviolet protection. A pair of sunglasses without a UV block is relatively useless. If you choose to not have the lenses polarized, please ensure that ultraviolet protection is added to your lenses. However, all polarized lenses come with a UV filter, so all of your sun wear needs are addressed with one lens. All items in our sunglass collection, including Maui Jim with their new collection of Maui Jim Readers, come with clear optical quality polarized lenses. We look forward to seeing you in the office this summer. 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

Beacon continued from page 28

Hospice Offers Support

Hospice of the East Bay has announced a new Spring/Summer schedule for their support groups and workshops for adults, children, and teens experiencing grief after the death of a loved one. Classes will be provided at Hospice’s Administrative Offices located at 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill; Hospice’s Brentwood location at 80 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite A, Brentwood; and at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation at 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek.

Support Groups for Adults

Widow and Widowers' Support Pleasant Hill Afternoons: Thursdays, 1:30 - 3:30PM, August 1 - September 19 Pleasant Hill Evenings: Wednesdays, 6- 8PM, July 31 - September 18 Drop-In Bereavement Support Group Pleasant Hill: 4:30 - 6PM, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month

Support Group for Children and Teens

The Bridge Pleasant Hill: Bi-monthly support program for grieving children and teens. Support is also available for parents/guardians. New participants can start at any time! Pre-registration is required. Hospice of the East Bay provides compassionate end-of-life care to terminally ill patients, while offering emotional, spiritual, and grief support for the entire family. As a not-for-profit organization, we accept all medically qualified patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Hospice of the East Bay has served over 20,000 patients and their families since 1977.

The 1928 Standard Oil tower had neon letters flashing S for Standard and D for Diablo in Morse Code. Photo courtesy of Save Mount Diablo

to undergo restoration at a state-approved facility. Existing lead paint and asbestos require remediation, the cracked lens replacement. Electrical connections and wiring need attention as do the bearings at the Beacon’s base. When the final rust has been removed and a coat of fresh weather resistant paint applied, the Eye of Diablo will once again be hoisted in place to keep watch over communities in the foothills and valleys below. Even with many businesses and individuals donating time and materials, the additional cost of the project is estimated at $100,000. The Pearl Harbor Survivors and their families have made major contributions. Thanks to the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, a matching grant of up to $50,000 will double the impact of every dollar donated to the cause. Donations to the Beacon Restoration Fund can be mailed to Save Mount Diablo, 1901 Olympic Boulevard Suite 320, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 or made online at

Alamo Today ~ June 2013 - Page 31

Cyclists Will Ride for Wounded Veterans

Serious cyclists and recreational riders alike are invited to help severely wounded veterans by joining “V3,” the second annual Veterans Victory Velo bike ride set for Saturday, October 12th in San Ramon. Novice to experienced riders can choose from three routes: 30 miles, 60 miles, or the more challenging 100 mile Devil Mountain Century to raise funds for the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation (www.sentinelsoffreedom. org), a San Ramon based non-profit which has been helping wounded veterans regain their self-sufficiency and independence since its inception in 2003. Early-bird registration is now open at







McCaulou’s Expanding Departments & Hiring! McCaulou’s is currently hiring for new Departments - Pandora Jewelry, McCaulou’s Home Store, McCaulou’s Shoe Boutique, McCaulou’s Cards & Gifts. Part Time and Full Time. Apply in person between 10AM and 5:30PM at 589 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville.


CONDO VACATION RENTAL Mauna Lani Resort, Big Island. New luxury 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo on 4th fairway. Minimum 3 night stay. Contact Alamo owners for discounted rate. (925)381-7042

Participants who register by June 27th will receive a free comprehensive safety clinic and four free training rides included in their registration. All registrants may join the training rides regardless of registration date. Following the bike rides, there will be a family-friendly celebration including a barbecue lunch, live music, food tents, wine and beer tastings, free massages for riders, static displays from local military organizations, and other fun events. The festival is scheduled for 1 - 5PM and is open to the public. For more information about race details and registration, jersey purchase, or the Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) organization, visit or email SOF staff can be reached at (925) 380-6342.







SERVICES - CNA and HHA available. If you need help for your loved ones assisting them in their daily living - bathing, grooming, feeding, dressing, etc. as well as positioning/transferring, providing in-home personal care services, pet care, housesitting or just companionship. I am just one call away. I am a very reliable and fun person to be with. Ten years experience and good references. Please call Luisa at 925-968-1773. COLLEGE STUDENTS - Available for housecare, pet sitting, errands, and French tutoring (by native French student). Please email or call 925-216-1089.

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 - June 2013 ~ Alamo Today

The Combs Team

Professionals You Can Count On



Call the Combs Team


92 5 -9 8 9 -6 0 8 6

Alamo Real Estate Market: Prices Advance Briskly, Reach 2004 Levels

Average Sales Price

A number of people have asked recently if the market has really turned around, and to that I say a hearty, “Yes it has!” Since the majority of Alamo properties are 4 bedroom 2-3 bath homes, it makes sense to take a look at this grouping of Alamo homes in isolation as I believe it provides the clearest view of the Alamo Real Estate Market, free from the distortion of Luxury Homes and Condos. If you look at the attached chart, you can readily see that the market bottom for Alamo was calendar year 2011 when average home prices dipped to $1,083,000 and square foot prices dove to $360 per square foot. That was indeed the true bottom for the Alamo Real Estate Market. Between 2011 and 2012 the picture brightened as the decline was halted, and average price Alamo Family Home advanced from $1,083,000 to $1,300,000 $1,108,000 for a $1,250,000 2% increase in $1,200,000 price. Doesn’t $1,150,000 Avg. Price sound like much $1,100,000 but in the face of $1,050,000 the 30% decline $1,000,000 we experienced $950,000 1 3 from 2007 until Years 2010-2013 2011, it was highly significant. That number was bested by a square foot price increase greater than 5%. It’s not surprising that with such a small increase in price that many missed that the market had stopped declining and was again advancing. Looking at 2013 year to date, the rate of improvement is definitely accelerating.

Average price paid for a 4 bedroom home in Alamo has moved from $1,108,000 in 2012 to a $1,252,000 average price in 2013. This represents an 11.5% increase so far this year. A corresponding 12% increase in square foot price is seen as well, moving from $379 per 4 bed 2-3 bath homes Sales Alamo square foot in 2012 to Year $ Sq. Foot Avg. Price Size Sq. Ft. $425 per square foot 2010 $ 380 $ 1,126,000 2964 price in 2013. This is 2011 $ 360 $ 1,083,000 2980 roughly a 15% jump 2012 $ 379 $ 1,108,000 2923 from the bottom in 2013 $ 425 $ 1,252,000 2945 terms of average price and an 18% leap in dollars paid per square foot for an Alamo home since the bottom. I am often asked the question regarding when is the best time to buy or sell a home. My usual answer to both questions is that the best time is when the prices are moving up. If you asked me that question today, my answer would be to buy or sell right now because prices are moving up. Alamo prices have crossed over the value line where they were in 2004, and they are trending upward. In 2004 the average price paid for an Alamo home was $1,244,000 which is slightly less than 2013 prices. The average price paid per square foot in 2004 was $415 or about $10 less than today’s price per square foot. At that time in 2004 most people thought the Alamo Real Estate market was crazy, and it was, but it continued to climb, and it probably would have continued its climb had it not been for the financial crisis. Given the current lower interest rates, an investment in Alamo Real Estate today is a better value proposition than it was in 2004. Even if you are not thinking about putting your home on the market, you should know what your home is worth. It’s probably worth more than you think. Nancy and I will be happy to provide you with a free market analysis. Just call 925-9896086 or send me an email It will be our pleasure to provide you with the information.

Diablo Single Story



Alamo Luxury Home

Build Your Dream Home



Incredible Diablo single story home. We represented the buyers. Price $2,600,000

This home is perfection in every dimension indoors and out. We represented the buyers. We have other buyers. Price $2,000,000

Beautiful oak studded lots for sale one is 7 acres, one is 11 acres. $500k each

West Side Alamo Charmer

Blackhawk Beauty

Wendt Ranch Danville


DI N E P Single Story custom 4 bedroom on flat half acre. Please call for details.

Updated 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath. Backs to golf course. Pool. 2 bedrooms downstairs. Call for details.

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.



Luxurious 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath on premium lot backing open space. Highly upgraded. Call for details. J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Alamo Today, June 2013  

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