Page 1

February 2014 Museum of the San Ramon Valley: Preserving and Promoting Our Heritage By Jody Morgan

In 1983, when the San Ramon Valley Historical Society created a committee to analyze the logistics of establishing a local museum, the problem being confronted was enormous. The entire San Ramon Valley (the Valley) had only 2,120 residents in 1940. By 1980, Danville alone had more than 12 times that number and the census indicated that 82 percent of those individuals had moved into town since 1970. How do you motivate people without multigenerational ties to the locale to preserve the area’s historic heritage and protect the cultural character of the community for future generations? Following the committee’s recommendation, a separate nonprofit organization was formed. On February 27, 1985, the Museum of the San Ramon Valley (MusSRV) held its first meeting. Although the goal was to collect and preserve documents and artifacts, provide a research library, mount exhibits and deBeverly Lane and Jerry Warren discuss one of the albums velop educational programs, in the Museum of San Ramon Valley archives. MusSRV initially had no building of its own to house the archives and displays. The first phase of the Board’s five-year plan called for visiting local history museums throughout the East Bay to learn from their strengths and weaknesses.

Serving Alamo and Diablo Alamo MAC Tackling Downtown Traffic, Pedestrian Safety Issues By Sharon Burke

The Alamo Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) has formed a subcommittee on downtown traffic and pedestrian safety issues which has met twice recently to review possible solutions to improve pedestrian safety in the downtown area. Pedestrian safety both downtown and at the three Alamo schools emerged as the top issue for Alamo residents in a series of community meetings conducted by County Public Works last summer. The input process was required by state law to revise the projects funded by the Alamo Area of Benefit Fund (Alamo AOB), monies generated by developer fees for new Alamo homes built since 1997.

A pedestrian navigates the intersection at Orchard Court.

At its January 21st meeting, Downtown AOB Subcommittee members David Bowlby (chair), David Barclay and Susan Rock reviewed presentations and maps from Public Works presenting a variety of solutions to downtown issues. Four alternatives were presented by Chris Lau of County Public Works. Alternative 1: Interim Median alternative - Would add striping to the Jackson Way intersection with Danville Boulevard to eliminate one lane of traffic at Jackson Way, preventing the “speed up” of cars approaching downtown from the north, where cars tend to speed up as the Boulevard changes from one lane to two lanes at Jackson Way. This speeding has proven a problem for residents living off Jackson Way to safely traverse the crosswalk. (Cost: $8,000) Alternative 2: Median Islands and Curb Extensions - This proposal would extend the curbs at Alamo Plaza and Stone Valley Center and add concrete medians in the Boulevard to narrow the Boulevard and eliminate what is commonly known as the “suicide lane,” The Museum of the San Ramon Valley also serves as a visitor information center for the valley. the two way turn lane in the middle of The MusSRV Board of Trustees elected Beverly Lane as their first President. the Boulevard. (Cost: $1.2 million) Lane, who served on Danville’s original town council in 1982, had just completed Volume XIV - Number 2 Alternative 3: Signalization of 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, the first of her three terms as Mayor. Writing about her work in Vintage Danville, Orchard Court and Main Entrance to Alamo, CA 94507 Lane recalls: “For me, promoting a sense of community and preserving Danville’s Alamo Plaza - This alternative would Telephone (925) 405-NEWS, 405-6397 historic buildings was a major goal. The first town council shared this vision, which provide a full traffic signal light with Fax (925) 406-0547 See Museum continued on page 24 left turn lanes both northbound and Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher PRSRT STD southbound. This alternative would U.S. Postage require moving the entrance of Alamo Sharon Burke ~ Writer PAID Local Plaza several feet to the north to align Permit 263 opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do Postal Customer the entrance to the Plaza with Orchard The Alamo CA not necessarily reflect that of Alamo Today. Alamo Today is not responsible for the content of any of the advertising Court. (Cost: $1.1 million) ECRWSS herein, nor does publication imply endorsement.

See Traffic continued on page 23

Page 2 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Boulevard View

By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

“Happy Birthday Ken,” I posted on his Facebook wall along with a picture of Ken and his sixth grade elementary school class. After scanning and tagging faces of my 60,000+ photos, I have many old photos to share with my friends. While I am not a huge Facebook fan or contributor, I try and recognize friends birthdays with a message and often an old photo of themselves. I had gone to several years of elementary school with Ken, and we also attended the same junior high and high school. The last few years of Ken’s elementary school education had been spent at the same school as my husband attended and hence the class picture I had saved, shared, and tagged him in. The birthday wish to Ken received a few, “Like’s” and multiple mentions of the 70’s fashions -- paisley and plaid prints, preppy and Amish/Little House on the Prairie attire dotted the outfits. Ken, commenting on his own pair of pants, noted, “I think the pants came from a tablecloth or picnic blanket.” As other friends (and former classmates) joined in on the thread of conversation, someone recalled a crush they had on one of their classmates, and another wrote, “Remember ‘Squish’ and [also] ‘Bananas Burton’?” recalling childhood nicknames. Most of the classmates were remembered and “tagged,” and many joined in the conversation, memory reflection, and birthday wishes. The young teacher was mentioned in comments like,“Did that teacher just step off the set of Dukes of Hazard?” Students in the class then started remembering more about the teacher and how he had taken a bronze medal in diving at one of the Olympic games. Beth recalled, “Remember him [the teacher] bringing in the trampoline for us? Yes it was a great year.” A follow-up comment said, “I still remember bringing in the 45s (the vinyl kind) into the classroom, and the teacher would let us play them during recess. I still have Philadelphia Freedom [by Elton John] in my record collection. He’s still the all-time coolest teacher.” The former student went on to say,“Forget high school or college - this was the best year of school I ever had.” The comment inspired me to do a little sleuthing. I think it is important to let

people know what they mean to others - especially teachers. And this teacher had obviously struck a chord with his students. Within several minutes I had found the teacher on LinkedIn and told the group responding to my picture post that someone should contact him and share the thread of emails. Later on in the evening, Ken and the teacher became Facebook friends. Ken posted, “Welcome to your class of ‘75,” and the teacher responded how fun it was to see all the kids again. The teacher then posted the picture on his Facebook wall to share with his friends and family, some who didn’t know of his past role as a teacher. Some of the students also responded directly to him and let him personally know how much he meant to them. One told him, “Rick – you were part teacher/part big brother. You introduced yourself to me the day before the school year started with, ‘Hi, I’m Rick E.’ (Huh? Teachers have first names – and mustaches?)... I remember the record player in the classroom that you let us use during recess, a decision you probably regretted after too many hearings of ‘Convoy’and ‘Kung Fu Fighting.’But then one day you brought in one of your favorites from your vinyl collection and many of us heard John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ for the first time. Know we were a tough bunch, but even when you got mad, it was a cool mad. Thanks for making it the most fun and memorable year ever.” Photographs and memories--take time to share them with those people who have been a part of your life.

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 3

Serving Alamo’s real estate needs for 100 years! Alamo Home Sales – January 2014 Bed/Bath List Price Sale Price 245 Dorchester Lane 5/5½½ $1,800,000 $1,500,000 2400 Lunada Lane 4/2½ $999,000 $999,000 3173 Miranda Avenue 5/3½ $1,349,000 $1,340,000 622 Oakshire Place 5/4½ $1,950,000 $1,900,000 1930 Parkmont Drive 4/2 $1,100,000 $1,088,000 320 South Avenue 4/3 $1,748,000 $1,700,000 204 Stone Valley Way 4/2½ $1,475,000 $1,475,000 87 Via Aspero 5/5½ $1,500,000 $1,500,000 100 Volz Court 3/3 $1,195,000 $1,070,000 516 Wild Flower Place 6/5 $1,575,000 $1,475,000 60 Zand Lane 4/3 $1,225,000 $1,200,000 All single family homes sold in Alamo 12/26/13 thru 01/26/14

Two important points to remember when choosing a real estate agent: #1 simplicity trumps complexity and #2 track records speak volumes over talk records.

Chris 925.858.5700 | BRE #01345618

Dea 925.640.1727 | BRE #01734124

Free Tax Preparation

Free tax preparation for the 2014 tax season is available starting February 2014 from AARP’s Tax-Aide and United Way’s Earn It, Keep It, Save It (EKS) programs. All tax preparers are trained and certified by the IRS. While both programs serve taxpayers of any age, Tax-Aide does not have an income limit in whom they can serve, but EKS can only serve individuals whose incomes do not exceed $50,000. Beginning January 6, for information or to make an appointment for the Tax-Aide sites serving the San Ramon and Danville areas, please call (925) 973-3250 for the San Ramon Senior Center site or (925) 480-7202 for the St. Isidore Ministry Center in Danville site. For general information and other site locations, call (925) 7263199. For information on EKS sites, call 2-1-1 or visit To complete your tax return, Tax-Aide will need you to bring to the appointment your • Social Security Card or ITIN letter for all individuals to be listed on the return • Photo ID for yourself and spouse • Copies of all W-2s • 1098s and 1099s • Other income and deductions • Your 2012 Tax Return

San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club

San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club will hold its monthly luncheon on Thursday, February 20th at Giuseppes Pasta and Grill in San Ramon. For further information or reservations, call Dee Bradshaw at (925) 837-9600.

Ruth Bancroft Garden’s Lover’s Day Event

The Ruth Bancroft Garden’s annual Lover’s Day event will be held Saturday, February 8th from 10AM - 3PM. Docent-led tours will be held at 11:30AM and 1PM and a members only tour at 10AM. The Garden has an unparalleled collection of aloes, including hybrids not found anywhere else in the world. These winter bloomers put on a stunning show with colorful, dramatic flower stalks. During Lovers’ Day, visitors can experience the Garden’s dramatic aloe collection like at no other time of the year. There will be two docent-led tours offered, highlighting the most spectacular blooms and describing the plants’ history and native habitats. Self-guided tours of the featured aloes will be available all day. Regular admission rates apply. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek.

Farewell to Scott. All the best on your new adventure!

Get Yours At

ALAMO BIKES 1483 Danville Blvd Alamo


Page 4 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Host Families Sought for Visiting French Students

For the ninth consecutive year, students from a large high school in the South of France are coming to Danville. Every visit by the students has been better than the last. The students will arrive on April 27th and depart May 9th . The teens stay with local families and have a full itinerary of activities during the days and only require your attention in the evenings and one weekend. The visit is an ideal opportunity to experience another culture and hopefully consider visiting France in return. Anyone interested in hosting a student (or students!) is welcome to participate. For more information or to find out about past year’s programs, please contact Martine Causse (teacher in charge of the group), at or There are many happy local host families ready to discuss any questions with you (including the editor of this paper!). The local contact is Danville parent Kevin Dimler, who can be reached at or 925-718-5052.

Alamo Resident Deputy Reassigned By Sharon Burke

At its January 6th monthly meeting, the Alamo residents on the Alamo Police Services Committee were stunned to learn from Valley Station Lt. Skip Warren that Alamo resident deputy Mike Carson was being reassigned to service as a jail deputy. Deputy Carson had • served as Alamo's resident deputy since December 2011. The reassignment was a routine matter, Lt. Warren explained, since Deputy Carson had • not had a jail rotation for several years, and the Sheriff's memorandum of understanding with the Deputy Sheriffs Association union requires each deputy to complete a rotation in • jail service on a regular interval. Committee members were upset since there was general agreement that Deputy Carson had been an excellent resident deputy for Alamo, and with two years of service under his belt, he could only get better. It takes a while for a new deputy to grow in the job and learn • the community, the schools, and the residents. Moreover, Deputy Carson had been trained in policing by bicycle and using of radar and LIDAR speed detection systems, and it is difficult • to find a deputy with that training. Deputy Carson had also spent a lot of time developing relationships with the principals at Alamo’s three schools, and serving as a frequent visitor • and role model to the schools. The Committee felt it was disruptive to Alamo for the deputy to be transferred after only two years on the job. In his two years in Alamo, Deputy Carson had had several notable crime prevention and suppression successes. For example, in June 2013, Deputy Carson apprehended Blackhawk Republican Women Blackhawk Republican Women present John Yoo, Professor of Law, U.C. Berkea suspect in the Miranda Avenue area who gave a false identification and was in posley, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, recipient, Paul M. Bator Award session of burglary tools. Deputy Carson correctly identified the suspect as wanted on several outstanding burglary warrants, and the suspect was arrested and booked. for Excellence in Legal Scholarship and Teaching from the Federalist Society for In another incident, Deputy Carson apprehended a suspect who was driving slowly Law and Public Policy, speaking on “The Obama Presidency's Threat to Liberty” through Westside neighborhoods, “casing” front porches for visible packages to steal. on Wednesday, March 12th at the Blackhawk Country Club. Social hour and hors Deputy Carson had also prepared a comprehensive report of police activities d’oeuvres with no-host bar begins at 5:30pm and the speaker at 6PM. The cost is $25. John was the subject of media controversy and protests on campus over his and crimes in Alamo each month which appeared in Alamo Today. Since Alamo service as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel of See Deputy continued on page 27 the U.S. Dept. of Justice while working on national security and terrorism after the Upcoming Meetings and Events September 11th attacks. He also served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary AIA - Alamo Improvement Association - Please visit Committee and law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. for upcoming meetings - Creekside Community Church -1350 Danville Blvd. John is the author of over 75 published scholarly articles and half a dozen Alamo MAC (Municipal Advisory Committee) - First Tuesday of each books on foreign affairs, national security, and constitutional law. He will tell us month 6pm - Alamo Chamber of Commerce Office 120-B, Alamo Plaza about his new book being published in April, Point of Attack: Preventive War, pm P2B - Police Services Advisory Committee - First Monday of each month, 5 International Law, and Global Welfare! - Meets at Alamo Chamber of Commerce Office located at 120 -B, Alamo Plaza Please make reservations or cancellations by noon on Monday, March 10th P5 - Round Hill Police Services Advisory Committee - Second Wednesday of by contacting Marianne Lyons, 856 Turrini Dr., Danville, 94526, rlyons1009@ each month, 7pm - Meets at Round Hill Country Club - Lower Level Meeting Room, or 925-820-6452. CERT classes - Community Emergency Response Team - Visit www.


Lost Dog!


If you find her and your name is drawn!

Alamo Zoe is Missing

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

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

Carol Saltzman is our winner

Veterans of Foreign Wars

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

Delta Nu Psi

Please come by CVS in Alamo and Lunardi’s in Danville, and grab our shopping list and shop for our Afghanistan servicemen. With your help we just mailed our 1,147th box of “gourmet junk food” shipped to the Troops. Your help is needed at CVS in Alamo on February 7th and February 14th at Lunardi’s in Danville from 11am-2pm each day. Please come by, grab our shopping list and shop for our servicemen. They appreciate all that you do. For more information visit

Castro Valley ~ Gorgeous 22.78 acre ranch w/2 parcels & access to 100’s of miles of trails. This custom, resort hm has too many upgrades to mention. Enjoy the rural atmosphere minutes from Fremont, Sunol and Castro Valley. 3/3 1/2 w/ possible in-law quarters. Pool & spa!

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 5

Coming Soon in Livermore ~ Listed below $1,500,000. Approx. 5,007 sq ft on over 16,000 sf lot. 6 bdrms, 4.5 baths w/ darling separate Guest house over the 3 car garage, fabulous pebble stone pool w/swim up bar and sunken gazebo w/bar-b-que pit. First time on the market!

Natalie Kruger 925. 580.5963

Alamo ~ Attractive Whitegate 6 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, 2,743 Square Feet with an Open Floor Plan, Hardwood Floors, an Abundance of Windows and Natural Light. Family room with raised ceiling and fireplace, formal living room and dining room, Large .35 acre landscaped corner lot, 3 car garage, court location. Asking $1,199,000 Russ Darby • 925.943.3333 • Tim Palumbo 925.943.3332

BRE# 01491373

Westside Alamo ~ Built in 1998 under $1 million!! 4 bdrms, 3 baths, 2460 sq. ft. w/9 foot ceilings thru-out. Lots of windows & natural light. New carpeting & designer colors. Low maintenance & PRIVATE backyard. Across from Alamo Plaza w/easy access to 680 & Alamo's best schools. Hurry...won't last! $989,900 Tony Cristiani 925.785.8948

Alamo ~ Breath taking views of Mt Diablo and the Valley from the expansive deck and backyard. Wonderful orchard with almost year round fruit. This 4 bedrooms 3 baths single story home with large family room, walls of glass & views of the hills, is all open to the updated kitchen. Located on a cul-de-sac close to 12 years of top ranked schools and only minutes to downtown Alamo. A must see. Listed at $1,475,000 Gretchen Bryce ~ 925.683.2477

Page 6 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Entire Stock of

All Olga & Warner’s Bras 25% OFF

Warner’s 2009 Daisy Lace Bra

Olga 35982 Minimizer

Karen Neuburger

Selected Sleepwear

Junior’s Underwear

Bras & Panties

75% OFF

25%-50% OFF


Selected Styles

25%-50% OFF

Sleepwear & Robes

25% OFF

Priced as Marked

Priced as Marked

AUBURN 10 Bay Area Stores Elm Street next to CVS & SaveMart to serve you! ( 530) 885-0500 LAFAYETTE DANVILLE Plaza Center (925) 283-3380

Town and Country (925) 837-0261

25% OFF

Warner’s 1298 Wire Free Lift


Miss Elaine


Up To

Great Selection!

Priced as Marked

MORAGA WALNUT CREEK Moraga Center (925) 376-7252


Countrywood Center (925) 935-9300


Vineyard Center (925) 827-0330

Marketplace Center (707) 996-4465

(925) 827-0330

707 996


Napa Town Center (707) 255-9375

Alamo Women’s Club

The Alamo Women’s Club (AWC) was established in 1916 and is the longest standing service organization in the valley. We invite you to get to know us by joining us at one of our upcoming programs. Members come from many locations, and all are welcome. For more information, contact Jeri Strong,

Proudly Presents Linda Turnbull Discussing “The Secret World of our Local Teenagers”

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

Priced as Marked


San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society


Village Square (925) 254-3448

6211 Medau Pl. Oakland (510) 339-2210

Dinner with Tim Donnelly, candidate for governor, will be held Tuesday, March 25th at 6:30pm at Crow Canyon Country Club. For more information about either program or the SRVRWF organization, visit


Priced as Marked


Upcoming Event - Save the Date!


Selected Styles

Selection varies by store

As founder and executive director of Teen Esteem, Linda has created a dynamic and successful program for area schools which promotes a healthy lifestyle for youth, especially in the area of high risk adolescent behavior. Her desire is to bring a message of truth to teenagers and to encourage them to think about the choices they are making so that they will consider what is best for them today, as well as in their future. Linda sits on numerous committees and consults to boards such as San Ramon Valley School District’s Community Resource Network, San Ramon Valley Community Against Substance Abuse, and the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. Please come, get educated, and find out what kids wish adults knew about their world! The luncheon will be held at the Crow Canyon Country Club, located at 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville, on Tuesday, February 25th. Social time begins at 11:30am and lunch is at noon. The cost is $25. For reservations, call Mary at 925-837-5465 or e-mail Reservations are due by Friday, February 21st. To assure yourself a place at the table, make your reservation early!

Bali, Miracle Suit and Naomi & Nicole

Speaker Series Luncheon

The Speaker Series luncheon on February 26th will feature Nona Mock Wyman and her book Chopstick Childhood (In a Town of Silver Spoons). Nona grew up in the famous Ming Quong Los Gatos orphanage for Chinese girls beginning at age 2 in 1935. The sequel to that first book was completed in 2012 and she titled it Bamboo Women. It is about the sisterhood of friendship that was fostered at the orphanage and continues to this day, 70 plus years later. Her shop ‘Ming Quong’ on North Main Street in Walnut Creek, was established in 1969 and is well known locally. It was named after the orphanage and means radiant light. We look forward to her speaking about this aspect of Bay Area history and her own personal journey. Non-members are invited to attend for the speaker and luncheon for $25. Please RSVP to The event begins at 11:30AM at the clubhouse.


February is also the time that the Alamo Women’s Club begins reviewing and planning of our annual scholarship program and contacting both area high schools’ counselors as well as counselors at Diablo Valley College for qualified recipients. Our program was initially awarded to a nursing student in the late 1940’s. Over time, as the student landscape changed, our program adapted. Now the high school scholarship focus is on art students, both performance and visual. For the past five years a returning woman scholarship has also been awarded to a Diablo Valley College student. Beginning last year, AWC expanded the program once again, and we now additionally include foster emancipated students from Youth Homes, Inc. We are proud that we can continue these awards, which are made possible through our fund-raising and generous donors. Many of those donors were present on January 25th at the Club for our annual delicious crab feed. The crab feed committee was headed this year by Kris Deaton, Ways and Means Chair, who capably followed the prior two-year lead of Claudia Waldron.

better connected to the services available to us here in Contra Costa County, District 2. One of the benefits of smartphone is that it keeps us safe, informed, and Your Smartphone bringstechnology Local Government Services to You onfor time. Below are some my favorite apps and technology that I use to stay By County Supervisor Candace Andersen See health inspection even results local restaurants on ofyour iPhone or better connected to the services available us here in Contra Costa County, District 2. Android using the California Food Inspector app from ContratoCosta Health Services (CCHS). The HealthofDepartment thisis that it keeps us safe, informed, and One of County the benefits smartphonedeveloped technology SeeBelow health results local and restaurants on that yourI use iPhone or free app which allows users inspection results formy thefavorite pastfor fiveapps even to onsearch time. areinspection some of technology to stay years for 4,200 food facilities in Contra County. Itservices includes everything from Android using the California Inspector from Contra Costa better Costa connected to the available toFood us here in Contra app Costa County, District 2. restaurants to coffee shops to ice cream vendors. The inspection histories show what, Health Department developed this Health Services (CCHS). The County if any, violations these food facilities have been required toinspection correct. this app, free app which allows With users to search inspection results the iPhone past fiveor See health results for local restaurants on for your routine inspections are being uploaded weekly. Any closure information will be updated years for 4,200 foodusing facilities Contra Costa It includes everything from Android the inCalifornia FoodCounty. Inspector app from Contra Costa each evening. restaurants to coffeeServices shops to(CCHS). ice cream vendors. inspection histories show what, Health The CountyThe Health Department developed this if any, violations these foodallows facilities have been required to correct. With free app which users to search inspection results for thethis pastapp, five Register your cell phoneroutine with theinspections Contra Costa County CWS Community are facilities being uploaded weekly. closure Itinformation will be updated years for 4,200 food in Contra CostaAny County. includes everything from Warning System so you can be informed about emergencies and disasters each evening. restaurants to coffee shops to ice cream vendors. The inspection histories show what, that could impact your neighborhood such as wildfires, gas line ruptures, any,Contra violations foodCommunity facilities have been required to correct. With this app, earthquakes or floods. ifThe Costathese County Warning Register your cell phone withweekly. the Contra Costa County CWS Community routine uploaded System (CWS) is operated by inspections the office ofare thebeing Sheriff and issues alertsAny closure information will be updated Warning System so you can be informed about emergencies and disasters each an evening. about situations in the County that pose imminent threat to life or health. Visit their that could impact your neighborhood such as wildfires, gas line ruptures, website at and enroll your cell phone number in the service. If you are earthquakes or floods. The Contra Costa County Community Warning Register cell phone with the Contra Costa County CWS Community social media savvy, you can receive alerts in your Twitteryour feed and get text messages System is so operated bybethe the emergencies Sheriff and issues alerts Warning(CWS) System youcell canphone informed about and disasters on your phone. Go to Twitter and follow @CoCoCWS, and set your tooffice of about situations in the impact County your that pose an imminent to life or gas health. their receive a text alert. that could neighborhood suchthreat as wildfires, lineVisit ruptures, website at enroll yourContra cell phone number in the service. If you are earthquakes or and floods. The Costa County Community Warning social savvy, you to canis receive alerts your Twitter feedSheriff and get textissues messages The PulsePoint mobile app,media firstSystem introduced communities byinthe San (CWS) operated by office of the and alerts County on Connection (officially known as the Central Contra your phone. Gothe to Twitter and follow andto set cell phone to Ramon Valley Fire, allows CPR-trained individuals to be notified if about situations County that pose an@CoCoCWS, imminent threat life your or health. Visit their Costa Transit Authority, in “CCCTA”) offers Bus Tracker, a receive aattext alert. someone nearby is potentially in need of CPR. The app also pinpoints thephone number in the service. If you are website and enroll your cell system that provides real time information about where the location of all publicly social available AEDs in the area. The notificationsinare media savvy, canbus receive your Twitter feed and get text messages bus is and when it will arriveyou at the stop.alerts Riders can made simultaneously with the dispatch of local paramedics so that mobile citizens app, can begin The Go PulsePoint first introducedand to set communities by Santo on your phone. to Twitter and follow @CoCoCWS, your cell phone view the upcoming bus arrival times by selecting any bus CPR and deploy an AED whileConnection the professional toallows the scene. If County (officiallyrescuers known asare thetraveling Central Ramon Valley Fire,Contra CPR-trained individuals to be notified if receive a text alert. stop in the system. Visit, and then click the Bus Tracker button to get Authority, “CCCTA”) Bus Tracker, you're not yet trained inCosta CPR,Transit or need a refresher, nowoffers isnearby the perfect timea to take a of CPR. The app also pinpoints the someone is potentially in need started or to set up a personalized accountreal for time arrival alerts. Also download the Transit thattechnique provides information about where the class. With Hands-Only system CPR the is easier than ever to publicly learn andavailable perform. AEDs To location of all in the area. The notifications are PulsePoint mobile Stop: CCCTA App for your smartphone. free app you quick and first easy introduced to communities by San is; and when it will This arriveThe at the bus gives stop. can app, locate a class near you,bus visit orthe in Riders San Ramon made simultaneously with dispatch of Valley, local paramedics so that citizens beginif access to bus arrival time for your favorite County Connection stops utilizing viewestimates the upcoming bus arrival times by selecting any allows bus Ramon Valley Fire, CPR-trained to be can notified visit, outreach. Toandownload or learn more about rescuers individuals Countycommunity Connection (officially known as thewhile Central Contra CPR and deploy AED the professional are traveling to the scene. If stop in the system. Visit, and then click the Bus Tracker button to get the Bus Tracker information. For assistance withsomeone Bus Tracker or tois get information on of CPR. The app also pinpoints the nearby potentially in need the PulsePoint app visit Please join friends andaneighbors Costa Transit Authority, “CCCTA”) offers Bus Tracker, you're not yet trained inyour CPR, need a refresher, now is the perfect time to take a started or to set up Customer a personalized account for call arrival alerts. Also download theorTransit bus routes from Service staff, (925) 676-7500. location of all publicly available AEDs in the area. The notifications are system survival that provides real time information about where the in increasing rateWith in Contra Costayou County. Stop: CCCTA the Appcardiac for yourarrest smartphone. This free app gives quickthe and easy class. Hands-Only CPR technique is easier than ever to learn and perform. To made simultaneously with the dispatch bus is and when it will arrive at the bus stop. Riders can of local paramedics so that citizens can begin access to bus arrival time estimates for your favorite County Connection stops utilizing locate a class near you, visit; in San Ramon Valley, Several local public safetyand agencies, including Lafayette, use Nixle torescuers areortraveling view the upcoming bus arrival times by selecting any professional bus CPR deploy an AED while the to the scene. If the Bus Tracker information. For assistance with Bus Tracker or to get information on visit, community outreach. To download or learn more about stop in the system. Visit, and then click the Bus Tracker button to get connect via text, web, and email to effectively reach their citizens for you're yet trained in CPR, or need a refresher, now is the perfect time to take a bus routes from Customer Service staff, call (925) not 676-7500. started or to set up a personalized arrival alerts. Also download the Transit thefor PulsePoint app Please join your friends and neighbors everything from account community outreach tovisit public relations to emergency class. With Hands-Only CPR the technique is easier than ever to learn and perform. To Stop: CCCTA App for yourSimply smartphone. This freemessage app youarrest quickzip andcode easyrate inagencies, increasing the gives cardiac survival in Contra Costa County. mitigation. send a text with your to 888777, Several local public safety including Lafayette, use Nixle to a class near you, visitstops; or in San Ramon Valley, access to bus arrival time estimates for locate your favorite County Connection utilizing connect via text, web, and email to effectively reach their for from local and you will be instantly registered to receive text citizens messages visit with, community the Bus Tracker information. For assistance Bus Tracker or to get information on outreach. To download or learn more about everything from community outreach to public relations to emergency public safety agencies in your area. If(925) you 676-7500. want more control, you can create a Nixle bus routes from Customer Service staff, call PulsePoint app visit Please join your friends and neighbors mitigation. Simplyand send a the text message your code 888777, account at tailor exactly whatwith information you to receive and how you in increasing the cardiac arrestfrom survival and you will be instantly registered to receive text messages local rate in Contra Costa County. want to receive it – via text message, email, mobile application, or web browser. Several local public safety agencies, including Lafayette, use Nixle to

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 7

Your Smartphone Brings Local Government Services to You By County Supervisor Candace Andersen

One of the benefits of smartphone technology is that it keeps us safe, informed, and even on time. Below are some of my favorite apps and technology that I use to stay better connected to the services available to us here in Contra Costa County, District 2. See health inspection results for local restaurants on your iPhone or Android using the California Food Inspector app from Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). The County Health Department developed this free app which allows users to search inspection results for the past five years for 4,200 food facilities in Contra Costa County. It includes everything from restaurants to coffee shops to ice cream vendors. The inspection histories show what, if any, violations these food facilities have been required to correct. With this app, routine inspections are being uploaded weekly. Any closure information will be updated each evening. Register your cell phone with the Contra Costa County CWS Community Warning System so you can be informed about emergencies and disasters that could impact your neighborhood, such as wildfires, gas line ruptures, earthquakes, or floods. The Contra Costa County Community Warning System (CWS) is operated by the office of the Sheriff and issues alerts about situations in the County that pose an imminent threat to life or health. Visit their website at, and enroll your cell phone number in the service. If you are social media savvy, you can receive alerts in your Twitter feed and get text messages on your phone. Go to Twitter and follow @CoCoCWS, and set your cell phone to receive a text alert. The PulsePoint mobile app, first introduced to communities by San Ramon Valley Fire, allows CPR-trained individuals to be notified if someone nearby is potentially in need of CPR. The app also pinpoints the location of all publicly available AEDs in the area. The notifications are made simultaneously with the dispatch of local paramedics so that citizens can begin CPR and deploy an AED while the professional rescuers are traveling to the scene. If you’re not yet trained in CPR or need a refresher, now is the perfect time to take a class. With Hands-Only CPR the technique is easier than ever to learn and perform. To locate a class near you, visit, or in San Ramon Valley, visit, and click on Community Outreach. To download or learn more about the PulsePoint app, visit Please join your friends and neighbors in increasing the cardiac arrest survival rate in Contra Costa County. County Connection (officially known as the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority, [CCCTA]) offers Bus Tracker, a system that provides real time information about where the bus is and when it will arrive at the bus stop. Riders can view the upcoming bus arrival times by selecting any bus stop in the system. Visit, and then click the Bus Tracker button to get started or to set up a personalized account for arrival alerts. Also download the Transit Stop: CCCTA App for your smartphone. This free app gives you quick and easy access to bus arrival time estimates for your favorite County Connection stops utilizing the Bus Tracker information. For assistance with Bus Tracker or to get information on bus routes from Customer Service staff, call (925) 676-7500. Several local public safety agencies, including Lafayette, use Nixle to connect via text, web, and email to effectively reach their citizens for everything from community outreach to public relations to emergency mitigation. Simply send a text message with your zip code to 888777, and you will be instantly registered to receive text messages from local public safety agencies in your area. If you want more control, you can create a Nixle account at and tailor public safetywhat agencies in your area. If you want more control, can create awant Nixle to receive it – via text message, email, mobile application, or web browser. exactly information you receive andyou how you connect via text, web, and email to effectively reach their citizens for account at and tailor exactly what information you receive and how you everything from community outreach to public relations to emergency Danville Connect is a fast and convenient way of getting in touchway with the is a fast convenient of getting in touch with the Town of Danville. Request information or report a concern, all at the touch want to receive it – viaDanville text message,Connect email, mobile application, orand web browser. mitigation. Simply send a text information message withoryour zip acode to 888777, Town of Danville. Request report concern, all at the touch and you will be instantly registered to receive text messages from local of a button from your mobile device. Danville Connect allows users to report an area of concern, add photos to the report, and even use their smartphone’s of a button your mobile device. Danville Connect allows Danville Connectfrom is a fast and convenient way of getting in touch with the users to public safety agencies in your area. If you want more control, you can create a Nixle Town of Danville. Request information or report a concern, all at the touch report an area of concern, add photos to the report, and even use their internaland GPS pinpoint the exact location. Inquiries received through the app are automatically directed to a specific individual for resolution. There is also account at tailor to exactly what information you receive and how you of smartphone’s a button from your mobileGPS Danville Connect allows users to Inquiries internal pinpoint the location. to receive it – via text message, email, mobile application, or web exact browser. awant Track Issue button to get an update on your submission. Danville Connect also provides fast and easy access to not only the Town's official website, but also to the report an area of concern, add photos to the report, and even use their received through the app are automatically directed to a specific individual for smartphone’s internal GPS to pinpoint the exact location. Inquiries Danville Today online newsletter and the Town Council. The mobile app can be found in the Apple App Store and Android Market by searching for “Danville Connect.” resolution. Danville There isConnect also a isTrack Issue button to get an update on your submission. a fast and convenient way of getting in touch with the received through the app are automatically directed to a specific individual for Town of also Danville. Request information or report a concern, all at the touch Danville Connect provides fast and easy access to not only the Town's official resolution. There is also a Track Issue button to get an update on submission. I hope you find this technology useful. If your my office can beTheof assistance to you on any County issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to serve you of also a button from your mobile device. Danville Connect allows users Council. to website, but the Danville Today the Town Danville Connect alsotoprovides fast and easy online access newsletter to not only and the Town's official report an area of concern, add photos to the report, and even use their and can be reached at mobile but appalso cantobe in the Apple App Store and searchingor for 925-957-8860. website, thefound Danville Today online newsletter and Android the TownMarket Council.byThe smartphone’s internal GPS to pinpoint the exact location. Inquiries mobile app Connect.” can be found in the Apple App Store and Android Market by searching for “Danville received through the app are automatically directed to a specific individual for “Danville Connect.” resolution. There is also a Track Issue button to get an update on your submission. I hope you find also this provides technology If my office be oftheassistance to you on any Danville Connect fast useful. and easy access to can not only Town's official I hope you find this technology useful. If my office can be of assistance to you on any County but issues, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re to Council. serve you website, also please to the Danville Today online newsletter and thehere Town Theand can be County issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to serve you and can be reached or 925.957.8860. mobile appatcan be found in the Apple App Store and Android Market by searching for reached at or 925.957.8860. “Danville Connect.”

#1 Agents  in  Alamo!      


Cumulative sales  per  MLS   January  2009-­‐January  2014  

I hope you find this technology useful. If my office can be of assistance to you on any County issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to serve you and can be reached at or 925.957.8860.

SOLD by  the   COPLAND’s  


CalBRE #  00519020  &  00888473     CalBRE  #  01376412  

Top 1%  Worldwide   925-­‐362-­‐2282  


When it  comes  to  selling  a  home  you  only  get  one  chance  at  a  first  impression.   With  over  $32,000,000  in  sales  for  2013  we  know  how  to  get  you  TOP  dollar   for  your  home!  Call  us  to  learn  about  our  “prior  to  market”  home  preparation.  


Page 8 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Rancho Romero Elementary School By Skye Larsh-Faraghan, Principal

“We aim to develop physique, mentality and character in our students; but because the first two are menaces without the third, the greatest of these is character.” ~ Joseph Dana Allen Character development is considered an important pillar in elementary education. It is usually an expectation that a program be adopted, implemented, and included in the school plans. Character education is the teaching of children, using various techniques that will help them develop as moral, civic, and good people. There are many different types of character education programs with a list of traits that are universally recognized. Our school has adopted several character education programs over the years. We have always focused on helping students develop strong social and emotional skills in a proactive and intentional approach. Toward the end of the 2011-2012 school year School Site Council, noon supervisors, and I started to explore the concept of older students working with younger students on the playground. In the fall of 2012 students in 4th and 5th grade were invited to participate in a new leadership program to curtail issues on the playground. We named it Recess Assistants. The principal and behavior intervention para educators provided information to students and posted a sign-up sheet. To our delight, over 60 students demonstrated interest. Using ideas from the group Beyond Differences and a program called No One Eats Alone, we established the purpose of Recess Assistants as students taking the lead in building an inclusive noontime experience for classmates. All students who signed up were welcome to participate if they attended two trainings and followed the agreements. The four key components included safety, friendship, setting good examples, and conflict resolution. Training included playground rules, rules of games, safety protocol, and basic strategies identified in program Steps to Respect. Recess Assistants started their assignments and demonstrated dedication and commitment throughout the year. The following year three boys on student council stepped up by proposing a program where students could participate in a school-wide challenge to promote healthy lifestyles and fitness. The boys took the concept to our PE teacher, and the idea of a run club started to form. This would be a way for our kids to participate in an ongoing, weekly fitness activity where students could set and achieve personal fitness goals. This student-initiated idea led to our Roadrunner Run Club. With guidance, direction, and support from the PE teacher and PTA, the three students selected the name, t-shirt design and color, token system to commemorate mileage goals, and Run Club times, dates, and goals. “It was my last year at Rancho Romero, and I wanted to do something not only for myself, but for the school and the kids,” Alex, one of the co-founders explains. Holden, another Run Club co-founder, claimed, “We wanted to have a goal as a school... so we decided to go all the way to Washington, DC, our country’s capital.” By the fall of 2013 the two initiatives, Recess Assistants and Roadrunner Run Club, merged. It had become evident that these opportunities for leadership were having a profound impact school wide on physical fitness, attitude, school pride, community building, and academics. Physical activity before school was helping students focus and prepare for learning, and students felt empowered to make a difference at the school. More students wanted to participate, parents asked to volunteer, and excitement resonated across the school. Our PE teacher renamed the program Greatness Kids, as a reminder that all kids have greatness inside. Over 120 4th and 5th grade students signed on for training and have committed to serve as leaders with the Roadrunner Running Club and/or as Recess Assistants for the entire year. All have been assigned one to two days during the week. They show up reliably for duty wearing their pink Greatness Kids t-shirts. Two to three meetings occur per trimester to review progress and organization, and to clarify expectations and share new ideas. In 2013-2014 more students than ever are participating in relevant, engaging, and interest-based activities with opportunities for responsibility and contribution. We have seen an increase in positive student interactions, morale, and respect, and a decrease in office referrals for behavior. This year we have 271 students registered for Run Club with an expanded goal of each student running 100 miles between September and June. Run Club has also expanded from one morning a week to four times a week. Students can now participate two mornings and two noontimes each week. We have 127 Greatness Kids in 4th and 5th grade; 47 consistently help with Run Club, 14 of those students also serve as noontime Recess Assistants, and 80 additional students help just with the Recess Assistant program. Thank you to the students, parents, and teachers for creating and endeavoring to support character development, leadership, and meaningful participation at Rancho Romero.

Need A Tutor?

Club Z! 1-On-1 Tutoring In Your Home! San Ramon, Danville, Alamo • All Subjects • PreK-Adult • Reading • Writing • Math • LD/ADD/ADHD • SAT/ACT Prep • Study Skills Program • Affordable Rates • Degreed Professionals • Flexible Schedules


Alamo Elementary School

By Stan Hitomi, Principal, Alamo Elementary School

The big news last month was that I got my first haircut since cutting off all my hair (to inspire sign ups) in October for the Run for Education. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is nice to have hair to comb again! But seriously, most of our veteran families know that we take a break, literally, following the holidays and things have been pretty calm the past few weeks. That is all about to change as we gear up for our spring schedule. The Auction Gala kicks-off the spring schedule on March 1, followed by the Spring Book Fair – March 24-28, Talent Show - March 28, Camp Alamo - April 25, and the Hoedown - May 4. We also have a long-time favorite Family Reading Night on February th 4 , as well as one of our newest PTA programs, the Birthday Breakfast Club with the Principal – April 23 (for Feb-April birthdays) and June 4 (for May-June birthdays). I encourage our students and their families to participate in as many of these long-time Alamo School traditions as you can. Although January was a pretty quiet month, there was one exception… the return of Family Science Night! Our last Family Science Night was in 2010, but with the help of Maria Romo and Monica Inocencio it returned on January 16th bigger and better than ever! Maria and Monica coordinated the PTA event that attracted nearly half of our families. Over 150 attendees and volunteers enjoyed an evening that included everything from Pet Therapy to 3-D Printing. The evening was capped-off by a spectacular Mentos Geyser! Guests explored 12 locations on campus that were staffed Shown: Jessica Simpson “Ellister” Orig.189.99 NOW 142.50 and supported by parent and community volunteers, as well as student volunteers from Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley, and Northgate High Schools. The evening was also supported by volunteers from our local Boy Scouts. A big thank you Priced as Marked to everyone who helped to Located across the Parking Lot make the evening a success! from McCaulou’s Main Store


Women’s Boot Clearance Sale




Stone Valley Middle School By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal Common Core By-products

The introduction and implementation of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has led to a restructuring of the traditional teacher centered classroom to a student-centered classroom. We are still using standards to guide the content by subject area, however there are standards that cut across all disciplines like speaking and listening, reading and writing. This multidisciplinary approach to education creates a system-wide focus where the skill requirement is the same in every classroom. Listening and speaking standards have provided our students with essential communication skills necessary to work in groups and solve problems and create a deeper understanding of complex material. These are essential skills that prepare our children to be college and career ready. At this mid-point in the school year, our administrative team has made over 400 classroom visits. Our purpose is to coach/advise teachers’ classroom practices and to catalogue the CCSS implementation process. Beyond acquiring the skill sets mentioned above we have noticed a high level of student engagement. What we noticed routinely in classrooms is students’ body language. Students are leaning forward, making eye contact, responding with questions versus providing answers, rotating leadership roles from teacher to student, guiding discussions, presenting group outcomes, all of which are workplace skills. As unbelievable as it sounds, discipline problems have dropped to very low levels, which is almost unheard of in middle school. Although we are only 18 months into the CCSS implementation process, we are seeing great benefits of this nationwide movement. Want to learn more about Common Core? SRVUSD Common Core resources are available at

Measure D Update

Measure D is a facilities bond that was passed by voters in the November

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 9

2012 election. Stone Valley Middle Schools modernization project is a high priority construction project. The construction is scheduled to begin in July 2015. The architectural services contract will be brought to the Board for approval in the near future. Design and drawings would need to start no later than this May 2014. Once an architect is selected, Facilities staff and the Facilities Oversight and Advisory Committee’s* Design Sub-Committee will begin its work to study options, costs, schedules, etc. As the project options and rough design elements begin to come into focus, the site/staff/ community team will become involved and help bring the design standards and specifications to completion…then the architects can really begin their work so we can get the drawings to the State for approval. *The role of the FOAC can be found on the SRVUSD homepage at www. Local members of the FOAC are Alamo residents Steve Mick – Chair and Margie Hart - Vice Chair. Assistant Superintendent, Facilities Gary Black is in charge of all projects under Measure D (

SRVUSD Hosting Community Forums for new Funding Plan

Join us in setting our district’s goals for next year and beyond. Please participate in one of our four upcoming Community Forums related to the new Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP): • Tuesday, February 4 - California High (Performing Arts Center) • Thursday, February 6 - San Ramon Valley High Commons) • Thursday, February 13 - Monte Vista High (Performing Arts Center) • Thursday, February 27 - Dougherty Valley High (Commons) *All forums begin at 6:30PM and refreshments and childcare will be provided! At the forums, you will: • Learn about this new State education funding system and how it stands to benefit our schools, students and community; • Provide us with valuable input into what SRVUSD’s plan should look like, and; • Help us improve student achievement and engagement at your school! For questions or comments, email

Page 10 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Fine Mexican Dining

743-8997 In Stone Valley Shopping Center

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

Monte Vista High School By Janet Terranova, Principal

Second semester has begun. As most of our classes at Monte Vista are yearlong classes, most students schedules are not changed. It is interesting to see the differences in our students as they begin the second semester. Freshmen have settled in, they understand high school, and their confidence is growing. It is fun to see them develop into teenagers. It is also amazing to see how much they have grown – literally in just five months. Sophomores are in their stride. They are beginning to take on leadership roles in their classes, clubs, and activities. Sophomore year is also the year many of them get their drivers licenses, so we often see an increase in cars on campus. Juniors are in a whirlwind of activity. While every year is important, juniors have been told that this is the most important year academically, and most have made academics their focal point. However, juniors learn to multitask and they are able to juggle a schedule that includes extracurricular activities, community service, and sometimes a job in a week. They are probably the most sleep deprived grade; if you have a junior in your life, encourage moderation. Seniors who were so focused on the academics for 3½ years are now focused on the future. They are both anxious and excited about the future. Whether their plans for next year keep them close to home or halfway around the world, our seniors are beginning to realize that life will change. For eighteen years they have had the safety of their family, school, and community. Expectations were clear and there were many familiar people to help them meet those expectations. While they will always have that support they are realizing that the safety net is stretching, and they will be responsible for reaching out. This is a little scary for them, but we know they are well prepared. As usual we have many activities scheduled for the month of February – winter sports, drama productions, and club projects. During the week of February 3rd we will be participating in a No Name Calling Awareness week sponsored by the San Ramon Council of PTA, and the week of February 10th is Wheelchair Awareness Week sponsored by the Behring Wheelchair Foundation. If you want to know more about Monte Vista and our activities, please visit our website

Serving the Bay Area with honesty and integrity since 1973

Since 1973

3191-M Crow Canyon Pl San Ramon Carpets, Hardwood, Laminate & Stone (925) 866-2200 •

In Loehmann’s Shopping Center (next to Lucky’s)

2395 Monument Blvd., Suite J Concord (925) 680-4433 (Across from Costco Gas Station, next to Harvest House)

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 11

300 Kimberwicke Court, Alamo

The Cox Team








Kevin, Pat, Wendy & Shiloh Pat Cox 925.963.6404

BRE# 00635222

Kevin Cox 925.989.8028 BRE# 01257809 Shiloh Hagen 925.997.3285 BRE# 01358726 Wendy Cox-Hagen 925.997.0923


300 Kimberwicke Court, Alamo 5BR +office/3.5BA/~1-acre lot. Remodeled kitchen, hardwood floors, French doors, updated baths ... fine finishes throughout! Landscape by Peter Koenig! Pool, spa, built-in bbq, spacious patios, lush lawns and gardens. ~.91 acre lot! $2,540,000

San Ramon Valley High School

What is it that Defines a Community?

By Ruth Steele, Principal

This is a hard question to answer, but it is quite clear to me that there is something very special about the community that has supported San Ramon Valley High School for the last century. There is something uniquely powerful about the approach that students, parents, teachers, and community members bring forth when everyone is focused on providing our children with the best possible resources that our efforts can harness. For example, our PTSA has just awarded over $13,000 worth of teacher grants to teachers across different curriculum areas, and our baseball program is committing almost $50,000 towards facility improvements in partnership with the district office. Our pool is now 11 Critical Home Inspection Traps to be complete, following an approach that involved fund raising on the Aware of Weeks Before Listing Your part of both parent groups and the school district, and we are Home for Sale moving forward with Common Core, utilizing a spending plan for Common Core money from the state that involved Alamo - According to industry experts, away altogether. In most cases, you can all community stakeholders. there are over 33 physical problems that make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself In February, the district will be running parent workshops will come under scrutiny during a home if you know what you're looking for, and to explain how the LCAP (Local Control Accountability inspection when your home is for sale. knowing what you're looking for can help Plan) has been developed in order to determine how money A new report has been prepared which you prevent little problems from growing from the new LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) will identifies the 11 most common of these into costly and unmanageable ones. be spent within SRVUSD. The basis of the LCAP is feedback problems, and what you should know about To help home sellers deal with this issue before their homes are listed, a free report from forums involving parents, students, staff, and commu- them before you list your home for sale. Whether you own an old home or a brand entitled "11Things You Need to Know to nity stakeholders. All of these groups have been instrumental new one, there are a number of things Pass Your Home Inspection" has been in determining the direction for the future of SRVUSD. But in closing, the true measure of a community must be that can fall short of requirements during a compiled which explains the issues involved. the care and concern shown when our families go through home inspection. If not identified and dealt To hear a brief recorded message about times of loss. Over this last month, one of our teachers has with, any of these 11 items could cost you how to order your FREE copy of this report, lost a husband and father, and one of our senior students is dearly in terms of repair. That's why it's call toll-free 1-866-265-1682 and enter critical that you read this report before 2001. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, battling cancer (See the class of 2014 link on our website you list your home. If you wait until the 7 days a week. The outpouring of support and kindness building inspector flags these issues for Get your free special report NOW to learn has been overwhelming in both instances. The SRVHS com- you, you will almost certainly experience how to ensure a home inspection doesn't munity is especially strong during times of need, and this costly delays in the close of your home cost you the sale of your home. seems to be the true measure of community. Thank you to sale or, worse, turn prospective buyers everyone that works so tirelessly to support SRVHS. This report is courtesy of J. Rockcliff Realtors #01763819. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright Š 2013

Page 12 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Traveling Accessories

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

All you need is LOVE...

AND PINOT’S PALETTE What could be better than visiting somewhere warm in the CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY WITH middle of winter? That’s the question I was asking myself as I YOUR SPECIAL SOMEONE AT PINOT’S PALETTE purchased tickets to Baja, where I was fortunate enough to spend Pinot’s Palette will feature special Valentine’s themed paintings all month long! Looking for the perfect date last week. I want to share with you some of the things I learned night for your Valentine? Look no further! We’ve got along the way. My wife and I have several packing lists which you covered. Our Valentine’s weekend classes will have help us get ready to travel. With all the new electronics and special date paintings, festivities, and more! Just bring your date, open your favorite bottle of bubbly and enjoy accessories in our lives, we’ve had to build a new packing list an unforgettable Valentine’s night out at Pinot’s Palette. for staying connected and charged up while we’re on the road. The first thing to decide is which device/s you’re going to take with you. I wanted to travel light and only needed WiFi since I wouldn’t be ‘Roaming’ (too expensive). Thus the iPad became the central device for my trip. My laptop would be too clunky. Every computer has its share of cables, and the iPad is no different. For charging I use high-current power adapters to give my iPad (and iPhone) as rapid of a charge as possible. Search for ‘Anker USB Charger’ on Amazon, and you’ll see the kind of chargers Pinot's Palette I’m talking about. You want to get one with a high current and wattage rating, such as DANVILLE (925) 743-9900 Sycamore Valley Rd W 3.6a and 25w. This indicates how much juice it can provide your device while charging. 410 Danville, CA, 94526 When you’re away from wall power, it’s great to have a portable power-pack like the one from “Jackery.” I use the ‘Giant’ which will give my iPad three full charges before having to be recharged itself. It’s a life-saver when you’ve had a busy day and your battery is dying. The next cables I needed were for transferring photos. Since I’m in the computer business, everyone expects me to take care of consolidating the trip photos. I needed a USB mini cable for my wife’s camera, a USB to SD Card adapter for my friend’s camera, a USB to Lightning connector to get photos from the newer iPhones in the group, and a USB to old-style iPhone connector to get photos from the old ones. In all, four cables and adapters did the trick, and I gathered photos from everyone’s devices and put them on my iPad before we parted ways. Now that all the photos were on my iPad, you would think things would get easier. Not true. If it were a perfect world and I only used iTunes, and I only took photos with my iPhone and iPad, it would probably be easy. I would use iTunes to manage the process, and all would work out. But that was not the case. I don’t want iTunes to manage my photos. In fact, there is no way it could, and I find the whole application annoying. It’s easier for me to get my photos out of iTunes so they’re accessible with other programs. My work-around is to have Dropbox and SkyDrive loaded on my iPad. I’ve written about these before. They are both internet-based hardisk storage services, and they let you store your data in a secure ‘cloud’ based environment. The iPhone and iPad versions of the App have a feature which automatically backs up your photos to their service in the background, which is an easy and effective way to get the photos out of the closed Apple world and into the real world where photos can be easily managed, manipulated, copied, and otherwise enjoyed. Let me take a moment to express that I’m not bashing Apple, and I really don’t want a bunch of emails telling me how much superior it is to the PC, blah, blah, A Kentucky Derby Gala blah. iTunes a great system if you’re willing and able to live completely inside of it. But if you need to straddle several systems and don’t have a perfect environbenefitting ment, the ‘Apple Way’ of syncing photos through iTunes is a pain, and services AAKentucky KentuckyDerby DerbyGala Gala like Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive are indeed a blessing. A Kentucky Derby Gala Now that I’m home, my iPad is busy uploading the 1,100 photos from our group benefitting benefitting up into my Dropbox account. From there, I’ll send a simple ‘sharing’ link to my benefitting friends, and they’ll be able to view, download, and enjoy the trip photographs at Date: March 22, 2014 their leisure. Alternatively, I could upload them from there into Shutterfly or use a similar service which puts more of a ‘wrapper’ around the photos. I could annotate Time: 6:00 PM—10:00 PM the photos, put them in small album groups, etc. However, I need to get back to Date: Date:March March22, 22,2014 2014 Location: Round Hill Country Club, Alamo work, so I’ll leave the photos in Dropbox, and someone else can take it from there! Date: March 22, 2014 PM Time: Time:6:00 6:00PM—10:00 PM—10:00 PM What we do with systems is often just a case of connecting and integrating. Tickets: $100.00 per person, reservation required. Time: 6:00Round PM—10:00 Location: Country The methods I described here are simply my way, this time, of working with, Location: RoundHill HillPM CountryClub, Club,Alamo Alamo Attire: Location: Dress in your Derby and Club, don your finest hat. Prize will be given for best hat!and around, our technology. Your situation is probably a little different, but not Round Hill best, Country Alamo Tickets: Tickets:$100.00 $100.00per perperson, person,reservation reservationrequired. required. so much so that these suggestions won’t work. If you need help putting it all Tickets: $100.00 per person, reservation required. Attire: Attire:Dress Dressininyour yourDerby Derbybest, best,and anddon donyour yourfinest finesthat. hat. Prize Prizewill willbebegiven givenfor forbest besthat! hat! together, you should call the friendly staff at Portable CIO at 925-552-7953, or Attire: Dress your Derby best,and and don your finest Prize will be given for best hat! For ininformation tickets visit hat. email us at with your questions. There’s always a Contact: Mari Parino - Office: 925-377-0871 way! Advertorial For Forinformation informationand andtickets ticketsvisit

to book your seats visit

“Run For The Roses” “Run “Run For For The The Roses” Roses” “Run For The Roses”

Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center Xenophon Xenophon Therapeutic Therapeutic Riding Riding Center Center Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center

For information and tickets visit Office: Office:925-377-0871 925-377-0871

Contact: Contact:Mari MariParino Parino- Contact: Mari Parino -

Office: 925-377-0871

Solar Currents, Safe and Secure Financial Return

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 13

By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar

Industry News: In a recent acquisition, Google has purchased Nest Labs, well known for their internet based thermostats. For those in the energy efficiency industry, this came as no surprise. A couple of years ago, Google became a third party financier of residential solar PV (electric) systems by supplying $75 million in loans to homeowners through a company called Clean Power Finance. Now, Google will profit not only as an energy financier but by helping home and business owners manage their energy usage. Their future product line is going to change the way we manage our energy use at home. An investor like Google, with deep pockets, has the money to spend on research and development. A “smart home” will result, and Google will make billions of dollars in the process. Google became a power supplier through their investments, and now they are pining to be your energy manager. Most thermostats can be programmed to pre-cool the house during the summer before the daily “peak” period costs kick in, and Nest Labs has taken this technology one step further. Managing energy at a home from a distance allows greater efficiency gains (read savings). Electric cars are “smart” and are able to be programmed to charge during periods of low cost “off peak” electricity rates. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Combined with a solar PV system, this type of smart energy management allows solar systems to generate maximum credits during peak and part-peak electric hours, reducing annual bills even further (read making money). Why should my son or daughter’s lava lamp run continuously when their room or the home is unoccupied? Someone at Google put two and two together. If you are the owner of a swimming pool, you’re the owner of a piece of equipment that must have its energy use managed properly. If your pool pump is old, or programmed improperly, or both, you’re throwing money away every day by buying more than twice the amount of electricity you need to manage your pool’s cleanliness and circulation. Today’s technology allows you to send me photos of your pool pumps and their data plates via text or email almost instantaneously. A virtual assessment results and a determination can be quickly made whether you’re spending your retirement savings on unnecessary electric use. As a solar, roofing, and energy efficiency company, our goals are to ensure that a properly sized solar system is designed and installed on a leak free roof. Leveraging energy efficiency management at home has an impact on solar system design and installation. During the design phase of a solar PV system, it is absolutely necessary to find the items in the home or business that consume excess electricity. Ignoring these culprits will increase the likelihood of a sale of a larger solar PV system, but it is an approach, in my opinion, that is contrary to what should be encouraged: all around efficiency which benefits the customer, and integrity in the business process which ultimately benefits the business. Adherence to this approach ensures that the potential customer is informed about the efficiency measures that will result in a solar PV system of smaller size and thereby lesser initial cost. This approach will create best value and lowest long-term cost of ownership. When coupled with an installation approach which utilizes appropriately trained install teams and products which have historically performed reliably in the field, the result will be a no or low maintenance solar PV system with maximized financial returns: profits, not just savings. Saving money with energy efficiency improvements and solar PV is a bit of a misnomer; making money is really what results. An 11-13% return on investment is about average. The average residential solar system will pay for itself eight to ten times over and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in monies not paid to PGE. With above average energy management efforts, the returns will be even higher. Many of the finance professionals that make up our clientele ask about how ROI is calculated. Historic electric usage, a discount rate of 3.5%, the average annualized historical PGE rate increase of 6.7% per year and a solar PV system design based ONLY on the National Renewable Energy Labs calculators determine annual solar kWh production. The old adage “You have to spend money to make money” is particularly true with an investment in a solar energy system and energy efficiency. Someone is going to make money as your energy provider, be it PGE, Google, or yourself. Like Google, you’ll make the greatest profit if you produce and manage your own energy. 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 NEW and larger showroom at 100 Railroad Avenue, Suite B, Danville (behind Pete’s Brass Rail) or, or email Advertorial

Sweet Savings for Valentine’s Day From the Kitchen at Alamo Hardware

Bring this Ad in to receive $10.00 off next kitchen purchase of $50.00* or more Good thru February 15th ALAMO HARDWARE & GARDEN CENTER 3211 DANVILLE BLVD ALAMO CA (925)837-2420 VISIT US AT ALAMOHARDWARE.COM/KITCHEN

Text the Kitchen (925)279-9220 USA Pan * Le Creuset *Emile Henry *Evaco Cast * Mauviel * Bodum * Bo’s Best * Cuisipro * Chantal * Global Amici * Lodge * Microplane * Nespresso * Pillivuyt * Rösle * Swiss Diamond * Wüsthof * and many more

*Coupon valid only at the Kitchen Department, not valid on electronics, gift cards or discounted items

The Only Brick and Mortar Brokerage in Alamo!

See our latest listing 1557 Grand View Dr., Berkeley $1,649,000

• Top of the World Views • New Construction • Mediterranean Style Home • 5BR/3.5BA

For information contact Stuart McAfee 925-899-2554 Since 1999, The Reiser Group has helped home buyers, home sellers and homebuilders participate in the American Dream of homeownership with its in-depth knowledge of the housing market, housing product, real estate locations and financing. Our expertise has assisted thousands of buyers and sellers with their real estate needs and we would like to help you.

925.314.9800 |

Page 14 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville By Linda Summers Pirkle

Francis Ford Coppola Winery; located in Geyserville, an hour and a half from the Bay Area; is home to movie memorabilia, a great store, bocce courts, a pool, and a fine restaurant. “Disneyland for adults” is how Ernie Zabalijauregui, guest services assistant, describes the winery. “People explore the place with big smiles on their faces. There is so much to see, and it’s a fun place.” My husband, no big fan of Disneyland, did, however, really enjoy our afternoon at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Like many wineries, it is beautiful. The working winery is home to a rare collection of movie memorabilia including the Tucker car, used in the movie Tucker, The Man and his Dream,1988, two small ships used as props in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette, award winning costumes from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as the actual Oscars won by the director and producer Francis Ford Coppola. Photos and facts from behind the scenes of the filming of Apocalypse Now are especially interesting. Tucker car at Francis Ford Coppola Winery The extensive gift shop on site is full of unique items from all over the world. Mr. Coppola says he’s always searching for something “unusual and desirable.” According to Erin, visual merchandiser, the Coppolas hand-select many of the merchandise items available at the winery. They frequently send the merchandising team pictures and examples of unique products they find compelling and intriguing while on their travels. Among the items you will find are Francis’s favorite films, kid-friendly toys such as “Tim,” the famous flying mechanical bird, hand crafted jewelry, dinnerware, and Eleanor Coppola’s family recipe chocolate sauces and marmalades. The Sofia Coppola designed t-shirt was selling fast. My husband spent most of his time looking at the extensive movie memorabilia, which includes Don Corleone’s desk in The Godfather (1972). Francis Ford Coppola says the winery is meant to be “a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things life- food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming, and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.” Just up the road from the winery is a nice little cafe, Geyserville Mud. The owner, Valerie, has a wealth of information about the history of the town. Local author Joe Pelanconi says, “This piece of Geyserville real estate is the soul of the town, a local hangout that begs one to gossip, laugh, and reminisce. Every small town needs a place like Geyserville Mud.” And their cranberry scones are so tasty! Francis Ford Coppola winery is located at 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville. Their website is, and the phone is (707) 857-1471. • Walk out near the pool to see the “Pavilion.” It was inspired by the band shell featured in The Godfather: Part II. It’s a presentation platform for a variety of events including Dancing Under the Stars, which starts up in April 2014. • The winery hosts some family friendly events such as the popular annual Easter egg hunt. A fun winter event is a hot chocolate tasting offered on select Saturdays and Sundays in February. Reservations are required. 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

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 15


Page 16 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Topping Trees?

By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb

At Brende & Lamb we get the occasional request to remove some or all of a tree’s crown, a process called topping. There are many reasons why people ask to have a tree topped: increased light, better view, safer tree, or reduced leaf litter. Though it seems counter-intuitive, topping almost always produces the opposite of the desired effect. Topping can decrease available light, mar the view, make a safe tree unsafe, and even increase leaf litter. Take, for example, topping to decrease the shadow cast by a tree. This may work in the very short term, but topping stimulates rapid growth, causing the tree’s crown to thicken, thereby cutting out light after just a few growing seasons. Over time, you get more light for your pruning dollar if instead of topping you give the crown a judicious thinning. When done correctly, thinning doesn’t over stimulate the tree, and it enhances the tree’s aesthetics instead of seriously, sometimes irredeemably, damaging it. Another common misperception is that topping will make the tree safer; it almost always does just the opposite. Most topped trees decay at the point at which they were topped. Topping also stimulates production of long lanky shoots. Given that these shoots grow out of decaying wood, topping often turns a safe tree into a hazard that increases over time. Some of the more dangerous trees we’ve seen were topped years ago with no follow-up pruning. If you have a previously topped tree growing close to your home, it is a good idea to have a competent arborist give it a safety evaluation. Previously topped trees can be made safer by pruning to reduce wind-sail and by reducing weight on leggy branches.

Spare the Air

By Debbie Weiss, Sustainable Danville Area

On Christmas Eve, I wanted a wood-burning fire in my living room fireplace. The Yule Log on TV just wasn’t going to cut it. But it was a winter “Spare the Air” day, so Bay Area residents were barred from burning wood or other solid fuels in their fireplaces. If I were found violating this regulation, I’d be fined $100 for a first time offense or required to take a wood smoke awareness class. A second violation holds a fine of $500, so the penalty for a crackling fire on a Spare the Air day is painful. Any wood burning fire adds to the local air pollution, releasing soot into the air. Much as I missed the holiday flames, I took satisfaction in knowing that I wouldn’t be contributing to the sore throats and lung irritation of folks who went outside, particularly those with vulnerable health due to respiratory ailments. I sighed and revved up Netflix with its streaming online fireplace. The website lists when there’s an alert in effect, and you can sign up to receive e-mail or text message warnings the day before the alert goes into effect. Other ways to check for an alert include calling (877) 4-NOBURN, visiting, or using Spare the Air phone apps. The Bay Area Quality Management District has called for 29 Winter Spare the Air Days this season. There are usually 15 to 20 winter Spare the Air days, so as of January 19th there have been more than usual. The District can issue a winter Spare the Air alert from November 1st through February 28th. Winter weather consisting of cold, still days with stagnant air traps wood smoke close to the ground, concentrating the air pollution from the smoke to unhealthy levels. Wood smoke is the largest source of winter particulate pollution. Particulate matter, generally soot, consists of microscopically small solid or liquid particles suspended in the air. On winter Spare the Air days, wood-burning fires are banned. The ban includes EPA-certified wood stoves, fireplace inserts, and pellet stoves. Though these devices burn more cleanly than regular fireplaces, they still emit fine particulate air pollution. Similarly, outside fires like bonfires and fires in outdoor fire pits, are banned as are fires using manufactured logs. So, my cache of Duraflame logs in the garage isn’t going to help when an alert is in effect. The Air Quality Index categorizes air pollution on a scale of zero to 500. The index is based on federal air quality standards for six major pollutants; ozone, carbon, monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and two sizes of particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 refers to a particle less than or equal to 10 microns

People sometimes top trees to reduce leaf litter, but most trees respond to topping by putting out a profusion of leaves to help repair the damage. In short order, the owner of a topped maple will spend more time with rake in hand than before the topping. Topping to increase view is often done without realizing that the new view will include an ugly tree. If the tree in the view is a bay, a eucalyptus, or any number of other fast-growing species, the topping will fail to provide view for long because the topped tree will soon produce sprouts that shoot up into the view. Well-planned pruning can often capture view, and it is often possible to enhance the beauty of the tree in the process. A beautiful view framed by a beautiful tree is far lovelier than a view over the top of an ugly and scarred tree. Another frequent request for topping comes from people about to sell their homes who think that topping their trees will increase the sale price. Real estate professionals know that beautiful trees can raise property values by as much as 20%, whereas a topped tree can be a liability . . . something the bidder on your house might ask you to deduct from the sales price so that they can have the tree removed. For further information about the perils of tree topping, go to the website of the International Society of Arboriculture, and read the article at www. If you are thinking about topping, please reconsider. It is possible to enhance view, increase light, and make trees safer without topping. Doing so does, however, require competent pruning by tree professionals. 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 www. to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial in size and PM 2.5 to those smaller or equal to 2.5 microns. Of the two sizes, the smaller, PM2.5, is the more serious health concern because the smaller particles can travel more deeply into people’s lungs than the larger ones. In the wintertime, wood smoke contributes about one-third of the overall particulate matter pollution. Motor vehicles also contribute a significant amount of air pollution. Spare the Air days are important because increased, trapped concentrations of pollution can impact people’s health. Breathing pollution can cause people to suffer from throat irritation, congestion, and chest pain. Air pollution can inflame the lining of the lungs, cause shortness of breath, trigger asthma, and aggravate conditions like bronchitis and emphysema. Long term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. High levels of ozone are particularly harmful to young children, seniors, and those with respiratory or heart conditions. During a summer Spare the Air alert, the main way to help is to drive less. We can walk, bike, telecommute (if possible), carpool, link errands together, use public transit, and generally avoid driving unnecessarily. We shouldn’t use gas-powered gardening equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers. If we want to barbecue, we should use a gas grill instead of charcoal. We should also avoid using aerosol spray cans, like those containing paint or hair spray. And, as always, we can reduce our use of household energy. So “Spare the Air” spares the environment, helping to reduce air pollution when it’s needed the most and, in doing so, sparing our health, especially for those who are most vulnerable to poor air quality. On Christmas Eve, I revved up the TV fireplace, but wanting to enjoy more fires – even during Spare the Air days – I visited a local business and invested in ceramic logs that quickly turned my gas starter into a gas-burning fireplace. Sitting in front of the fire with friends, I relished the fact that we were sharing good wine and good times – and not PM2.5 particle matter. Share with us ways that you Spare the Air – visit us on Facebook or www., or email us at

Walnut Creek Garden Club

The Walnut Creek Garden Club will hold its meeting on Monday, February 10 at 9:30AM at The Gardens at Heather Farm, located at 1540 Marchbanks Road in Walnut Creek. It will include a business meeting, social time, and a talk entitled “Learn the Art of Container Gardening” by Laura Hogan, owner of Arid Accents and prior Ruth Bancroft Garden Nursery Manager. Guests and prospective members are welcome. For more information, contact

Life in the Alamo Garden

By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect California Casual!

Over the past 20 years, the introduction of drought tolerant, Mediterranean-based plant material has infiltrated the mainstream landscape design styles. The days of junipers, oleanders, Monterrey pines, ivy, and oh yes, agapanthus are long gone. When I interview my clients, one of the questions I ask is, “What plants do you absolutely hate?” The above list always contains the unmentionable plants of the 60’s drought genre. With this winter’s lack of rain and the word “drought” being discussed, California’s sensitive water issues are forever present in our minds. Our firm has always integrated water conserving measures into our design styles as a general practice. As a result of this approach, our landscapes are being planted with a much more diverse plant palette. Nursery growers are cultivating a broader spectrum of plant species as

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 17

Great service. even better value. convenient shuttle service to home, the office, bart and bacK.

FactoRy SchEdulEd MaintEnancE Improve mileage and extend the life of your vehicle - follow recommended service schedules

% off 20 RegulaR PRices


lubE, oil & FiltER Multi-Point Performance Inspection Drain and Replace All Engine Oil Install Genuine Factory Oil Filter

diaGnoSiS/ chEck EnGinE liGht inSPEction Let our trained experts perform an initial inspection and diagnosis. We’ll also provide you with the exact cost to perform the repair. No obligation, nothing to buy.

TaX 2995 FREE



Synthetic oil extra.

For Acura, Honda, Lexus, and Toyota vehicles only. Valid only at THE SERVICE OUTLET on the day of service. Please present coupon when service order is written. Not valid in conjunction with other coupons, offers or discounts. Synthetic oil extra.



lafayette 3360 Mt. Diablo Blvd.


san ramon

2151 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

925.837.3000 well as sub-species and cultivars. What that means in common terms is that we have a better selection of plants to be creative with that have lower water requirements. These new selections are not only showing up in boutique nurseries like Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, but they are also showing up at warehouse stores. The result is a landscape style that I call “California Casual” which enhances the home environment with color, texture, and fragrance. The overall look is a mix of mildly manicured plants and structure in the background, an open sprawling look in the foreground and interesting focal points for directed interest. Background planting is so important because it is what shows off the color, texture, and focal interest. Some good water conserving examples of background plantings are Abelia x grandiflora ‘Sherwoodii’, Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Beauty’ – Mexican Orange, and Rhamnus californica ‘Mound San Bruno’- Coffeeberry, to name a few. Creating a focal point of interest is very important to creating landscape style. You’ve seen those landscapes that you can’t quite put your finger on it why you don’t like it. Well, it’s because what you are seeing is a mix of one of these, and one of those, and two of these, and three of those. Everything is homogeneous! Boring! Create a focal point by bringing your attention to a beautiful multi-trunk tree like Olea europa ‘Swan Hill’ – fruitless olive, Vitex agnus-castus – Chaste Tree, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ – Ninebark, a gloriously blooming shrub, or a change of texture. And you don’t need just one focal point. Turn a corner and there is another surprise! Make it fun! Now, for what really brings the “California Casual” style together is color, texture, and fragrance. Use lots of perennials for color, grasses for texture, and shrubs and vines for smelly stuff. Lavender, catmint, germander, hardy geraniums, hellebores, and day lilies add vivid color in an open-sprawling manner when set off by that structured background. Ornamental grasses can add the dramatic texture that will set any landscape apart from the homogeneous one. With a wide selection of phormiums – New Zealand flax, Carex - sedge, Festuca - fescues, iris and sub-tropical grasses like Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum Dwarf’ – red fountain grass, a planting design can have drama from spring to late winter with arching blades in various color schemes to whimsical movement of the seed heads. Bring on the fragrance! Daphne, lilac, gardenia, Mexican orange, citrus, lavender, and jasmine can delight your senses from winter to fall. Fragrance adds pleasure to your landscape experience. “California Casual” is a much more relaxed landscape style in comparison to the landscapes of the East Coast, Europe, and landscapes of the 50’s and 60’s. While looking beautiful, they conserve our precious water resources.

1211138-TSO-ALToday-5x6.25.indd 1

11/16/12 9:28 AM

A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Deadhead (clip off the dying flowers) as the blooms begin to fade to encourage plants to produce more flowers. Also, tell your gardener to leave the power hedge trimmers at home. A “California Casual” landscape requires less watering, pruning, fertilizing, and spraying, thus lowering operating costs and use of resources. Gardening Quote of the Month: “If a person cannot love a plant after he has pruned it, then he has either done a poor job or is devoid of emotion.” - Liberty Hyde Bailey If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas, visit Advertorial

Page 18 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

Flags flying on President’s Day summon stories about the original banners of American independence. Like many early flags, the one hoisted at Fort Schuyler, possibly the first official Continental flag raised in battle, was pieced together from fabric at hand. On August 2, 1777, as British troops surrounded the fort, Colonel Peter Gansevoort ordered his company to start sewing. Their flag flew the following morning. Writing 25 years later, Lieutenant Colonel Marinus Willet related: “The Flag was sufficiently large, and a general Exhilaration of Spirits appeared on beholding it Wave the morning after the arrival of the enemy.” Red and white material was collected from “sundry persons.” The blue Willet states came “out of a cloak.” A bill submitted by Captain Abraham Swoutwart for eight shillings to replace his cloak used “for the colors” corroborates the story. The patriots held their position for twenty days until the siege was lifted. The cloth for Swoutwart’s blue cloak might have been dyed with either woad or indigo. However, a curious connection between our first president and the lady who made indigo a successful cash crop in South Carolina suggests indigo should be the focus of this month’s musings. Although many plants in the same genus are capable of turning cloth blue, Indigofera tinctoria was preferred for that purpose in the Old World from the time it was first cultivated in India in the fourth millennium BC. Ancient Greeks called the dyestuff extracted from the leaves “indikon,” substance of India. Natives of Central and South America made blue pigment from an indigenous species, Indigofera suffruticosa, As the British textile industry burgeoned during the 18th century, the demand for the reliable blue dyestuff increased. Because these shrubby perennials require a warm climate with adequate moisture, Europeans cultivated indigo in their Caribbean colonies. Attempts to grow indigo crops on the North American mainland failed until Eliza Lucas Pinckney developed a variety that thrived in South Carolina. Born in Antigua in 1722, Eliza Lucas was educated in England. She moved with her parents and younger sister to a family property near Charleston in 1738. Her mother’s health failed just as her father, a British officer, was recalled to his post in Antigua. Left in charge of the 600-acre plantation, sixteen year-old Eliza experimented with various potentially profitable enterprises including raising silkworms. Undaunted by several unsuccessful trials, Eliza finally discovered the secret to getting the indigo seeds sent to her by her father to yield a respectable crop. In order to produce a premium dye product, the plant stems were cut just prior to blooming. A second (and sometimes a third) harvest was possible annually. The leaves were soaked, beaten, and decayed successively in five vats. The sludge, drip-dried in linen bags, yielded a powdery pigment that could be molded into cakes. If you have ever gotten a whiff of foliage decomposing in a vase, you can imagine the intensely disagreeable odor associated with the time-consuming, labor-intensive chore of processing indigo. Skilled “indigo makers” could produce 60 pounds of indigo per acre, utilizing about twelve tons of fresh plants. Married at twenty-two to Charles Pinckney, Eliza continued her work with the support of her husband. In 1744, after shipping six pounds of high-quality dye to London, she let enough of her plants go to seed to supply her neighbors with the new indigo strain. Recognizing the superior quality of Pinckney’s product, the British government offered a bonus of six pence per pound for the colony’s exports. By 1755, South Carolina was exporting in excess of 200,000 pounds of pigment each year. By 1775, other southern colonies were also producing indigo. Their combined exports totaled 1,122,200 pounds. War brought an end to British enthusiasm for American indigo. While Eliza’s sons Charles and Thomas, both officers in Washington’s army, were fighting for American independence, the family plantation lost its major source of income. By the time the Revolutionary War ended, England had established cheaper indigo suppliers in India. Turning first to politics, Charles signed the Constitution as a delegate from South Carolina. He ran twice for President of the United States, losing to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. But Charles also revisited

one of his mother’s earlier agricultural experiments. Along with a few other planters, Charles helped to replace indigo with a new cash crop: cotton. Eliza Pinckney’s contribution to the American economy was not forgotten. When she died in 1793, President George Washington honored her achievements by serving as one of her pallbearers.

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.

Financial Planning Issues for Women

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

In conjunction with Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor

Women face a number of challenges when it comes to money. On average, they earn less than men but live longer. Women are also more likely to leave the work place for a period of time, forfeiting wages and benefits. The result? Many women have to make ends meet with limited financial resources. It’s no surprise, then, that a recent survey found that many women are not doing enough to plan for the future.

Time for a Reality Check

Developing good financial management skills is a matter of taking time to learn the fundamentals and establish a working financial plan. For women who are juggling a variety of responsibilities, however, finding that time can be a challenge. If you’d like to have better control of your finances, here are some suggestions.

Adopt a Budget

Coming up with a budget is a key factor in taking control of your finances, especially if you’re usually out of money by the time payday rolls around. A budget doesn’t have to be about depriving yourself; it’s about seeing how you’re spending your money and deciding where to cut back. Start by keeping a list of everything you spend for a month or two. Then, divide the list into categories, add the numbers up, and go over the results carefully. You may be shocked at how quickly “little” expenses — a gourmet coffee on the way to work every morning, a movie every Friday night — add up. And you may be pleasantly surprised at how easily you can cut back on spending and boost your savings.

Make Saving a Habit

It’s very likely that you have several financial goals you’d like to accom-

Giving to Children - Is Equal Always Fair? By Robert J. Silverman

Parents usually try their best to treat their children equally, and children tend to expect that. But is equal always fair? And how does this work in the context of estate planning? While giving to children equally is a common parental goal, it is impossible. Children have different needs, intellects, hobbies, educational goals, aspirations, etc. Accordingly, I have never encountered a parent with multiple children who keeps a ledger for each from birth and insists upon strict equality in giving. If one child plays baseball and another lacrosse, and the cost to participate differs, should the parents make an equalizing distribution to the child whose sport costs less? Most parents would answer, “Of course not.” Is the answer tougher if the parent pays tuition for one child who chooses to go to an expensive private college and pays tuition for another child who chooses to go to a community college? What if one child has extensive medical expenses or disabilities or needs more support in launching into adulthood? In the estate planning realm, these kinds of questions, and even more difficult ones, are frequently raised. The interesting and challenging part is that there are no universally right and wrong answers – just right and wrong ones (or better and worse ones) in the judgment of any given parent. Below, I describe a few common situations that raise questions of equality and fairness, and I identify some of the associated estate planning implications. Loans to children - Suppose you make a loan to one but not all of your children or make loans to multiple children but in different amounts. How should such loans be treated upon the death of the parent? Again, no set answer, but in all cases such loans should be documented. First, a promissory note should be prepared by an attorney and signed by the child borrower. Second, good records should be kept so that if the parent dies, the parent’s successor trustee or executor can easily identify the loan balance. Third, the parent’s Living Trust or Will should state what is to happen with that loan receivable upon the parent’s death. Without adequate documentation, ambiguities arise and frequently

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 19 plish. So you’ll want to put money away regularly. Arranging for a direct deposit from your paycheck into your savings account is an ideal way to make your goals a top priority. One important goal you should add to your list is to build up an “emergency fund.” Ideally, you want to have a savings account with enough money to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses. Other goals might be saving for new furniture, a car, or the down payment on a house. If you have children, you may want to save so you can help them with their education expenses.

Protect Your Income

Make sure you have adequate life insurance coverage, especially if your family relies on your income or you stay home to provide care for children or relatives. You may also want to consider disability income insurance to provide needed income in case you’re unable to work.

Invest for Your Future

Investing your money wisely can help you reach your goals. You’ll want to keep some savings in low-risk investments (such as money market accounts) where the money is easily accessible. For long-term goals, consider investments that have more earning potential, such as stocks and bonds, and funds that invest in these securities. Another smart investment move: Join a tax-deferred retirement plan if you can. It’s a smart and convenient way to invest for the future — especially if your employer matches a portion of your contributions. Investing doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a few basic strategies, and build up your knowledge as you go. Choosing a portfolio of investments, and following your progress will be a learning experience. For help, talk with a professional financial planner. He or she can work with you to develop a plan that helps meet your needs. Please contact Peter Waldron at 925-659-0383 to schedule a complimentary review of your financial situation, or email CRN201202-2064361 Paul Solorzano: California Insurance License #0A46330, Peter T. Waldron: California Insurance License #0E47827, Robert J. Waldron, Jr.: California Insurance License #0686859, James R. Westermeyer: California Insurance License #0C17637. Peter T. Waldron, James R. Westermeyer, Paul Solorzano, & Robert J. Waldron Jr. are registered representatives of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory service through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln FinancialAdvisors 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 FinancialAdvisors Corp. for its representatives and their clients. Advertorial

lead to conflict, if not seriously damaged relationships, between the children. A Living Trust or Will should specify whether such loans are to be repaid in full or whether they are to be fully or partially forgiven. Moreover, it’s critical to clarify whether or not the amount of such loan forgiveness is to be charged against the borrower child’s share of the trust/estate. Child Caretaker - Not infrequently, a child becomes a part-time or full-time caretaker for aging parents. In doing so, the child may make substantial personal and/or financial (e.g. employment/career) sacrifices. An estate planning attorney can help parents evaluate the circumstances and navigate reasonable solutions. Again, documentation is critical. Parents should consider working with their estate planning attorney (and accountant) to draft an appropriate contract under which the child is paid a reasonable wage for the caretaking. If a parent has insufficient liquid assets to pay the child or if the child refuses to take any pay, the parent may wish to include in his or her Living Trust or Will a cash gift to be made (and/or a slightly higher percentage of the assets) to such child upon the parent’s death. Such parent would also be well advised to articulate in the document the reason the children are being provided for unequally. The other children may not like or agree with the stated reason, but they will understand why the parent believed the unequal treatment to be appropriate and fair. Other critical estate planning decisions that could be perceived as “unequal” may be necessary or desirable. These may include: i) holding funds in trust after a parent dies until an older age for some children than others; ii) choosing one or several children, but not all, to serve as successor trustee of the parent’s Living Trust or executor of the parent’s Will; iii) designating one particular child rather than another as agent under the parent’s Power of Attorney and/or Advance Health Care Directive. Attorneys don’t have all the answers, but one of their most valuable functions is to know what questions to ask and how to guide their clients to answers that work best for the clients and their loved ones. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 240, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474, rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw. com, * Estate Planning * Trust Administration & Probate * Real Estate * Business This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and is not intended nor should it be relied upon as legal, tax 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

Page 20 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Meeting Notice

Tax Talk with Bob

Tax Updates and IRS Audits and Reviews By Bob Shalon, IRS Enrolled Agent, H&R Block

It is time to think about your tax return for 2013. Here are the highlights that you need to know which will affect your return.

By Roger Smith, President

AIA, along with other interested members of the Alamo community, are participating in the Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) Area of Benefit (AOB) Downtown Subcommittee’s discussions in February regarding possible pedestrian safety projects for the Alamo downtown. These projects could be funded in whole or part by the Alamo AOB Fund. Ideas that have been discussed include: • Narrowing the southbound lane of Danville Blvd between St. Alphonsus and Jackson to eliminate the flaring width and maintain it at one lane wide until south of Jackson • Constructing a roundabout at the Orchard/Alamo Plaza entry intersection • Further enhancing the pedestrian crossing at Jackson • Signalizing at Jackson Further discussions will undoubtedly occur over the next few months. Many Alamo residents may be unfamiliar with what a “Roundabout” really is and the comparison of features with “Signalized Intersections” - so here are several important links for information on both “Roundabouts” and “Signalized Intersections”: Roundabouts: An Informational Guide -, Signalized Intersections: An Informational Guide -, “Roundabout” video - fhwasa10023/wmv_cc_final/10-2124_Roundabouts.wmv.

Tri-Valley Transportation Council

The new, five-year action plan for “Routes of Regional Significance,” like Danville Boulevard, will be discussed by the Tri-Valley Transportation Council on Thursday, February 13. Go to the AIA website,, for information.

Building Neighborhoods in Alamo was created based upon the idea that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life. NextDoor’s mission is to use technology to help neighbors build stronger and safer neighborhoods. Mike Parness, the City Manager of Napa, in discussing, notes, “NextDoor provides an innovative, practical, and cost effective way for cities to deliver on their mission. While we spend millions on infrastructure, cities can also improve quality of life by supporting online neighborhood networks.” Ask anyone in Alamo’s Cervato Circle neighborhood about For several years, the Cervato Circle neighborhood has been using this secure, private social network to schedule their neighborhood events, to build relationships between neighbors, and to communicate online to make their neighborhood safer. NextDoor allows neighbors to create a secure, private website for their neighborhood. On, neighbors can find their neighbors in the directory, view a neighborhood map, ask for advice, exchange local recommendations and share neighborhood information. Neighbors have the option to see and respond to neighborhood updates either via email or through use of the website. NextDoor makes it safe to share online the kind of things you’d be okay in sharing with your neighbors in person. Here’s how: 1) Every Neighbor must verify their address. 2) Each Neighbor signs in with their real name. Just as they would in person 3) Only Neighbors can see the information shared on your neighborhood site. 4) Information will never show up in Google or other search engines. 5) Your Neighborhood website is securely encrypted using the HTTPS Internet protocol. 6) NextDoor never shares your personal information with third-party advertisers. As Board President, I want to thank all of our many volunteers, both past and present, for their efforts over the last 58 years in making Alamo into the wonderful community that it is today. Please watch for the AIA membership letter and form, complete it and return it to AIA to P.O.Box 156, Alamo, CA. 94507 or visit Don’t be left out. Now is the time to renew or become a new member of AIA.

High Income Taxpayers

The highest tax bracket this year is 39.6%. This effects married couples with taxable income above $450,000 and single taxpayers above $400,000. A higher Medicare rate kicks in if your income is above $250,000 for married couples and $200,000 if you are single. Higher income phase-outs are also affected this year.

Medical Expenses

All qualified medical expenses are deductible; this includes premiums, copays, and medications as well as any assisted living expenses. Congress says that although everyone has some medical expenses, only those taxpayers with higher than normal expenses can take this deduction. Previously these were taxpayers whose medical expenses exceeded 7.5% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). This year that amount is 10% of AGI. Taxpayers above age 65 remain at the old rate for two more years.

Home Office Deduction

If you use a space in your home regularly and EXCLUSIVELY for your work AND your employer does not provide you with a space to work, then you may take this deduction. If your employer allows you to work from home so you do not have to fight traffic, that does not qualify. This is not new. What is new is a more simple way to compute the deduction.


Good news, all the benefits from last year still apply!

H&R Block Advertising

The H&R Block theme this year is targeted at taxpayers who prepared their own returns. I spent the summer reviewing IRS letters sent to taxpayers. In addition to answering their specific issues addressed in the letters, I found there were many taxpayers who either did not know about deductions or chose the wrong ones and cheated themselves. Just because you have never gotten a notice doesn’t mean you got every benefit the tax code offers, thus the reason behind our ads this year. It is totally true! Please call me at any time at 925820-9570, email bob. Bob Shalon, EA shalon@tax.hrblock. Master Tax Advisor • Enrolled Agent com, or stop by my office located at 718 925.820.9570 San Ramon Valley 718 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Danville Blvd., Danville with Sycamore Square (next to Lucky’s) any questions. Advertorial

Solicitor Heads Up!

The Sheriff’s department provided information about solicitors to our homes after neighbors addressed this issue with them. Any solicitor, at ALL times, must have a valid permit from the County and it must be prominently displayed around their neck. A DO NOT Solicit sign does work, and in fact it is a crime to not obey the sign unless the solicitation is for a non-profit with a permit. A permitted solicitor is trained to look for the signs. If you have a sign prominently posted and somebody comes to the door, that is a red flag to be wary. Residents are encouraged to not give any money to people that come to our homes as the solicitors and their organizations keep track of neighborhoods that give, and then they send more groups to solicit. If you feel the need to contribute to a soliciting group, you can get their information and call the organization directly. Many of these solicitors are quite charming but very little of the money they collect goes directly to the organization they say they represent. If you see anything that seems suspicious in your neighborhood call the sheriff’s office at 925-646-2441 .

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 21

Happy Valentine’s Day!

FREE In-office Professional Whitening for New Patients! (must be accompanied by a teeth cleaning, x-rays, exam, and be caries free) Expires March 01, 2014

Page 22 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Cattle on a Thousand Hills By Beverly Lane

The San Ramon Valley’s undulating gold and green hills reflect over 200 years of ranching history. When the Spanish first settled Alta California, they brought livestock with them and transformed the landscape. In 1769 about 200 cattle were moved from Baja to Alta, California with the first Spanish invasion led by Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra. Juan Bautista de Anza’s 1775-1776 epoch expedition from New Spain brought the initial colonists and about 1000 livestock -- 695 horses and mules and 355 cattle. As the 21 California missions were established, each one was allotted 18 cattle and four swine in addition to horses, sheep, goats, and mules. Descended from animals brought to the Americas by the Spanish two hundred years earlier, the cattle were primarily Longhorn and Corriente breeds. They flourished mightily on the region’s congenial landscape. Great herds of cattle and horses covered the California countryside, beginning the hide and tallow economy of the Hispanic era. These grazing animals changed the environment, replacing the native perennial grasses and herbaceous flowering plants nurtured by the Indians to the annual Mediterranean grasses we know today. Beginning with wild oats, these grasses include annual foxtails, Italian ryegrass, rat-tail fescue, soft chess, cheatgrass, medusa-head, and goatgrass. “The seed stuck to the hides and wool of the livestock and from imported feed and ballast accompanying the new livestock in ships’ holds,” according to botanist David Amme. The San Ramon Valley was part of Mission San Jose’s land, which grazed cattle and sheep from Fremont north to Concord. In 1832 the Mission reported that they grazed 12,000 cattle, 13,000 sheep, and 13,000 horses. Mission San Jose was the most productive of all the northern California missions, in terms of Indians recruited and agricultural production. With no fences in place, the free-ranging cattle or, in Spanish vacas, evolved into fierce feral animals. Historian Robert Cleland wrote: “The breeding of cattle being the chief occupation of the Californians…it determined their mode of life, the structure of their society, and the size of their ranchos.” Indian and Spanish vaqueros tended the livestock and were famous for their riding and roping skills. They were the precursors of our American cowboy. After the Mexican Revolution and closure of the Spanish-led missions, more than 800 Mexican ranchos were granted throughout the state. In the San Ramon Valley, Jose Maria Amador’s Rancho San Ramon covered over 20,000 acres of the San Ramon, Dougherty, and Tassajara Valleys with a large headquarters in Dublin. This

Museum Volunteers Needed

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

rancho, which was formally granted to Amador in 1835, was stocked with at least 300 horses, 3,000 sheep, and 13,000 head of cattle. Mariano Castro and Bartolome Pacheco received the Rancho San Ramon Valle north of Amador in 1834, and it covered two leagues (about 8,000 acres) in today’s Danville and Al- Restored Mission San Jose in Fremont amo. They came to the valley only for periodic round-ups and cattle slaughters. Cattle hides and tallow were the main trade items, and beef was the principal food. Amador’s 150 workers used the leather hides to produce harnesses, saddles, shoes, as well as manufacturing furniture. He had regular sales contracts for cattle hides (called “California banknotes”) and transported them by ox cart over today’s Dublin grade to the Bay. Hispanic Californians were experienced cattle raisers. Dry years were the only threat to production. Rodeos, or round-ups, were held twice yearly so that stock could be branded by each owner. Brands were registered and changed only with permission of the governor. A juez de campo, or field judge, settled disputes over the ownership of animals at their rodeos. William Heath Davis listed the largest land and cattle owners of California’s pastoral era and estimated that there were 1,220,000 head of cattle on the ranchos. Throughout Alta California, cattle and horses doubled their numbers roughly every two years. Before the Gold Rush, Alta California indeed had cattle on a thousand hills. Next month: Ranching in California’s early American years. Be sure to visit the exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave. in Danville. It is called “Cowboys and Cattlemen, Ranching in the San Ramon Valley.” For more information, see

Portable CIO Computer Service

Serving Bay Area businesses and residents since 2002

How Can We Help You?

PC / Mac/ Laptops/ Desktops/ Tablets/ Smartphones/ iPads|Repairs Upgrades| Maintenance|Office Moves and Networking | Data Recovery Virus/Spyware/Adware Removal|Back-up Solutions|Internet/ Cloud Computing Email Solutions|Remote Phone Support |Free Recycling

Great People. Great Service.


Lic# 1100014354; Bay Area Entertainment

Join Portable CIO, Inc. on Facebook!

Your Personal Nutritionist

How Much Protein do I Really Need Each Day? By Linda Michaelis RD,MS

Already this new year I have evaluated many food diaries that clients bring in, and often I see they are not consuming enough protein. As I tell them, this easily explains why they are feeling hungry all the time and having endless cravings for sweets. The question I often get is, “How much protein do I really need to reach my weight loss goal, as well as build muscle and feel my best.” First of all, I tell my client the food label is upside down. Protein is the last item listed on the label, when in fact it should be the first. It is the most important food group and is thus very easily overlooked. Protein is expressed in grams, as if we are on the metric system, rather than in ounces or pounds which typically is how we purchase protein in our markets. So we need to know how many grams of protein is equal to an ounce. Let me use my favorite example which I use with clients: the gold standard cereal Kashi Go Lean. Kashi Go Lean has 13 grams of protein for a 1 cup serving. If you learn that 1 oz. of protein is equal to 7 grams, then you will see that you are getting almost 2 oz. of protein from the cereal. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is established by The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. It is based on your body weight. It is suggested that individuals consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for a healthy adult, or roughly 54 grams daily for a 150 pound female or 71 grams daily for a 195 pound male. This calculation does not factor in exercise, and I find it overestimates protein needs for overweight or obese people. For my active clients and those who workout often, this amount of protein is far too low. Then the board has also presented a distribution range for protein based on actual calorie intake, saying that protein should make up 10-35% of daily calories for the healthy adult. That comes to about 38-131 grams of protein daily for someone eating 1,500 calories or 45-158 grams daily when eating 1,800 calories per day. I will always suggest that my client veer on the higher side of protein intake. I create personalized protein recommendations for my clients based on their lifestyle, age, exercise, and health concerns. I suggest that protein should be distributed mostly during the day as opposed to eating the large traditional protein meal for dinner. This eating style keeps you more satisfied, and prevents blood sugar fluctuations and cravings for sweets. I educate my clients about the fact that protein takes several hours to digest and creates a fullness that you will not get from a carbohydrate based meal. When I work with a new client, I first set up a meal plan for them with specific amounts of protein at each meal and snack. I teach them how to make sure they are getting at least 2 ounces of protein at breakfast, such as by eating the favorite Kashi Go Lean, 1 whole egg and egg whites with veggies, and 100% whole wheat toast or even oatmeal and Greek yogurt. I make it a point to create a list of 2oz. protein snacks that are portable and tasty such as beef jerky, portion sized almonds, 1 cup of cottage cheese, bean soup, or peanut butter with celery or apple. We talk about making sure that lunch contains at least 4-6 oz. of protein along with a healthy grain and a cup of veggies. I take a lot of time to put together a yummy list of lunches that can be taken to work or eaten at clients’ favorite lunch spots. I encourage parents to make sure that their kids are eating protein based lunches that prevent them from coming home from school famished and wanting to snack all afternoon. Clients are always surprised that I tell them for dinner we do not need protein if we have had the amounts that I suggest in prior meals and snacks. The feedback I get is that when dinner comes around they are not as hungry as they use to be,

Heartfelt & Supportive At All Times...

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 23

and they are good with having less protein at night. I do want to mention that many of my clients say that trainers tell them that they need more protein and recommend protein shakes galore. I think protein shakes are great for pre or post workouts but often are not filling enough to last for several hours. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that consuming more protein than recommended does not lead to increase in muscle size or strength. There is a limit to the rate at which protein can be synthesized into muscle, and muscle size is determined by genetic makeup and training program- not by how much protein one eats. I am glad to inform you that insurance companies will cover nutritional counseling. Please visit for the list of companies that cover counseling, past articles, and more information about nutritional concerns. Call me at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail me at Advertorial

Traffic continued from front page

Alternative 4a and 4b: Roundabout at Orchard Court and Alamo Plaza Entrance - This alternative would provide a one-lane roundabout at the Orchard Court intersection with splitter islands to direct traffic around the center. This would not require the repositioning of the entrance to Alamo Plaza since a roundabout can accommodate the misalignment between Orchard Court and the Alamo Plaza entrance. Alternative 4a is for a hardscape roundabout while 4b is for a landscaped roundabout. (Cost: $2.8 million, not including landscaping) Around 25 Alamo residents attended the January 21st subcommittee meeting. A large contingent of Jackson Way residents was present. Resident after resident from Jackson Way described near misses with cars and drivers who don't stop for them in the crosswalk. Some residents expressed disappointment with the fact that none of the alternatives included a safety improvement at Jackson Way, such as a full traffic signal or improved pedestrian signal such as a HAWK beacon, a type of traffic signal used to stop car traffic when activated by a pedestrian. Also present were several Alamo Improvement Association Board members. AIA Transportation Committee Chair Mike Gibson presented the official AIA recommendation to support the installation of a roundabout at the Orchard Court intersection, preferably a landscaped roundabout. AIA representatives cited the “clear advantages” of a roundabout and the additional bonus of adding some landscaped beauty downtown in keeping with Alamo's character. AIA prepared a detailed analysis of downtown traffic alternatives in 2006. A link to this report can be found on the front page of AIA’s website, Public Works engineer Chris Lau reported that the Alamo AOB fund currently stands at $2.2 million; however, the County Board of Supervisors has approved two projects, not yet built, that will be funded from the AOB. One project is the Miranda Avenue Sidewalk Improvements, a full sidewalk and curb which would span the entire length of Stone Valley Middle School frontage, with $457,000 allocated from the AOB. The second project is the Stone Valley Bike Lane Gap Closure to complete the installation of a bike lane the entire length of Stone Valley Road, with $402,000 allocated from the AOB. This leaves a balance of $1.3 million to be spent on downtown and school safety improvements, which can be augmented by state and federal grants and by local transportation funds from Measure C. The Alamo MAC is considering the subcommittee report at its Tuesday, February 4th regular Our mission is to provide personalized care, help meeting, to be held in The Cottage at Hap Magee maintain independence and enhance our Park in Danville, beginning at 6pm. Residents client’s quality of life on a daily basis. interested in the proposals for downtown Alamo • Free in-home assessments • Regular home visits traffic solutions are encouraged to attend the MAC ensure the right care plan • Hourly care meeting to hear the discussion and give input. for you • Live-in care • Fully bonded and insured • Geriatric care mgmt. To be added to the email distribution list to • Elder referral and placement receive notices and agendas for Alamo MAC 3645 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite D and subcommittee meetings, please contact Lafayette, CA 94549 Maxwell in Supervisor Andersen's office (beside Trader Joe’s) 925-284-1213 Donna at 957-8860.

Page 24 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

A Day to do Something Special By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc.

Saint Valentine was a third century Roman saint who has long been associated with the tradition of courtly love. Every February 14th gifts and letters (an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards each year) are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of Saint Valentine. The oldest known valentine was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans (Go forth, my heart, with my lady…with grace and mercy.) By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for both friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection. I like to think of Valentine’s Day as a day to do something special. Some of my fondest memories are of writing cards for elementary school classmates. In some years, however, it was the preparation for Valentine’s Day that was special. Valentine’s Day is a time to feel and look your best. Whether you are preparing for a romantic evening, warming up the winter blues, or want to give a gift to someone, here are eight ideas that might help you on your way. 1. A consultation - I find this to be one of the most important interactions I have with my patients. I enjoy answering questions and offering both personal and professional advice. I’m often surprised at how many people ask if surgery is right for them. 2. Botox or Dysport injection - Most commonly used around the eyes and forehead, it can be used both to prevent and treat wrinkles. 3. Volumizing filler injection - This is an excellent way to refresh your appearance, address moderate to severe facial wrinkles, and give youthful

Museum continued from front page

has become part of our legacy.” Today, as Curator of MusSRV, Lane emphasizes: “It is important to point out that the museum focuses on the entire San Ramon Valley – Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Diablo, Blackhawk, Dougherty Valley.” Walking tours through old town Danville had already been initiated by long-term residents Millie Freitas, Rose Ferreira, and Betty Dunlap. Museum volunteers followed along as they led scout and school groups through the town. The photographs and information gathered helped MusSRV design and launch its own tours. In addition to regularly scheduled tours through Danville, MusSRV offers special programs and visits to the Alamo Cemetery with costumed interpreters introducing the Valley pioneers interred there. School programs came next. Two teachers from the San Ramon Valley United School District (SRVUSD), Gail Faber and Michele Lasagna, had developed a curriculum certified by the state entitled “Whispers from the First Californians.” Lane provided additional research and Oakland Museum docents helped to shape the Indian Life Program for fourth graders. The program, initiated in 1991, now acquaints all fourth graders in the SRVUSD with the lifestyle of the Valley’s first families who arrived 5,000 years ago.

The Indian Life exhibit is part of the Museum’s permanent exhibits.

contour to the skin. 4. Fraxel laser treatment - Certainly not what King Henry V had in mind when he hired a writer to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois we’ve come a long way since then. For Valentine’s Day preparation, I recommend a first treatment one week before the big day. A series of treatments (generally 3-4) address texture problems, fine lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation issues such as brown spots, but results are noticeable after just one treatment. 5. Laser genesis is a great no-downtime, painless procedure for acne prone skin. While there’s never a simple cure-all for problem skin issues, laser genesis is a good place to start as the laser has enough heat to kill the bacteria in the active breakouts. 6. While not exactly the vestige of Christian and ancient Roman Valentine’s tradition, laser hair removal is a real windfall of living in the 21st century. Several treatments are generally needed, and it works best for darker hair types. 7. Longer lashes! - Latisse is a treatment used to grow lashes, making them longer, thicker, and darker. More voluptuous lashes in just six weeks, are “romantique”! 8. Skin care products - There’s a pleasure in taking time to care for your own skin, and a cream or lotion can also make a nice gift - something to be wrapped up and enjoyed. Sometimes just the process of sharing wisdom (and taking away some of the mystery of youth and beauty) is the most rewarding part of my day. Happy Valentine’s Day! Dr. Barbara Persons is a 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 drbarb@ Advertorial Students hear creation stories of the California Indians, learn about how they used nature’s bounty, and see the tools they employed in their daily life. In 1995, MusSRV ran a trial at the Tassajara One-Room Schoolhouse of the living history experience developed by Joan Kurtz. Now every thirdgrader in SRVUSD has the opportunity to discover what school was like in 1888. Asked about his most memorable moment as a docent, Jerry Warren, President of the Board of Directors of MusSRV recalls, “We invited San Ramon High School students to an exhibit entitled We the People. Several of them talked about how much they enjoyed spending a day at the Tassajara One-Room Schoolhouse as third-graders. We touched their lives and made history more for them than something from a dusty old book.” Even if you don’t have children in the SRVUSD, you may want to check out the passport program provided by MusSRV to all third grade teachers. The booklet, refined since its 2004 debut, lists historical sites in the Valley to visit that surprise many parents. Children are encouraged to sketch, be photographed, do rubbings and add comments. Some teachers offer extra credit, while others incorporate the suggestions into their curriculum. In 1991, MusSRV began mounting annual exhibits at the Danville Fine Arts Gallery, then housed on the second floor of the Village Theatre. These continued through 1997. Fundraising positioned the non-profit to acquire the 1891 Danville Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. On June 6, 1996, the depot was moved 600 feet north to its present location at 205 Railroad Avenue. On June 26, 1999, the restored structure opened as a museum. Built as one of four identical facilities along the Central Contra Costa branch line, the Danville depot is the only one still retaining its original form. The two-story buildings had a waiting room, a baggage room, a freight room, and a ticket office on the ground level. The second floor was a two-bedroom apartment for the station agent’s family. Danville’s depot survived as a feed store beginning in the 1940’s under Helen Benn’s management. In 1951 Joseph Ramos and his son Joe, Jr. took over the lease and set up the Danville Feed and Garden Supply Store. They catered to the increasingly suburban community by stocking pool supplies along with hay. Soon after Joe, Jr. died, MusSRV began plans for acquisition of the building, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. While that designation protects the building for posterity, it also prevents any modification of the structure. The second floor that serves as the museum’s archives is much too small to contain all the items being donated. A search for additional space is in progress.

See Museum continued on page 26

Is There Really a Proper Way To Wash Your Face? By Dr. Jerome Potozkin

This may seem like an incredibly simple question, but the answer is yes. I have seen many patients who have had problems that we were able to solve simply by changing how and when they washed their face. Most people tend to over-wash and irritate their skin. Here are my tips for washing your face. 1. Don’t overdo it. Use a mild cleanser and avoid those containing abrasives. Most bar soaps are too drying and irritating. 2. Don’t burn. Wash your face with lukewarm water, not burning hot water. 3. Don’t scrub. We all have the tendency to scrub in an attempt to “get clean.” This will only serve to irritate your skin. 4. Consider a Clarisonic. Clarisonic is a vibrating cleansing device that can get your skin cleaner in a gentle fashion. It works great to remove make up. 5. Moisturize after washing. If you suffer from dry skin, apply a moisturizer after you wash. 6. Limit face washing to twice daily (morning and night). You may also wash after intense perspiration. That’s all you need! One of the most common myths is that acne is a problem of being dirty or not washing enough. Usually, the opposite is true as acne can be made worse by over-washing and irritating your skin. Acne is an inherited skin disease. Fortunately, we have many treatment options to help those suffering with acne. If you or anyone you know is suffering from acne or needs the expertise of a board certified dermatologist, we are currently accepting new patients for 2014. Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the local community since 1993. His fully accredited dermatological and laser facility is located at 600 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 102 in Danville. He is accepting new patients. Please call (925) 838-4900 or visit for more information. Advertorial

Vasectomy is Forever By Judson Brandeis, MD

Why worry? If you want to take the worry out of what should be a fully pleasant experience, consider vasectomy as a method of permanent birth control. I can remember more than a few couples with children in college who walked into my office pushing a stroller requesting a vasectomy. It really does happen. The cost of raising a child these days is over a half a million dollars, not to mention the sleepless nights and countless hours of worrying. If you feel like your family is complete, it may be time to consider a vasectomy. I am often asked “How it is performed?” The procedure is done in the office under local anesthesia.There is no incision, only two small skin punctures, and no stitches. The whole procedure takes only about 15 to 20 minutes to perform. Most of my patients who have it done on Friday are back to work on Monday. You might be wondering how it feels to have vasectomy. After I apply a local anesthetic to maximize comfort and it takes effect, you will not feel much except some pulling. After the procedure, you will be sore for a few days and back to normal activity within 2-3 days. You might be wondering if anything will be different after a vasectomy. Nothing should be different. Vasectomy is not castration, it only interrupts the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the semen making a man sterile. All hormonal and sexual functions are unaffected. Ejaculation occurs normally, except that the ejaculate no longer contains sperm. Vasectomy does not pose any long term health risks. What about those billboards in Las Vegas advertising Vasectomy Reversal. Vasectomy can potentially be reversed, but reversing a vasectomy is expensive and does not guarantee returned fertility. Vasectomy should therefore be considered a permanent procedure, it is not recommended as short-term form of birth control. So, if you feel like your family is complete and you want to be able to retire at an age where you can still enjoy life, consider a no scalpel vasectomy. It is quick, easy, and effective. Dr. Brandeis is a Board Certified Urologist with Pacific Urology, with offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon, Livermore, Brentwood and Antioch. To contact Pacific Urology, call 925-609-7220 or visit Advertorial

Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 25

Quality Cancer Care: Recognizing Excellence By Sarah Buenviaje, NP

Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group has received reaccreditation by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The QOPI® Certification Program provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest standards for quality cancer care. Our goal is to provide the highest level of care to every patient, every day - this recertification from ASCO and QOPI recognizes our commitment to delivering excellent cancer care. Our practice was the first practice in Contra Costa County to achieved QOPI certification in February 2011, recertifying for another three years is very gratifying. “Practices that choose to apply for recertification through QOPI demonstrate their continued commitment to the pursuit of clinical care excellence,” said ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP. “The QOPI Certification Program helps such practices assess the level of care they provide to their patients and demonstrates their commitment to maintaining quality and lifelong learning.” QOPI is a voluntary, self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. The QOPI Certification Program (QCP) was launched in January 2010, with more than 190 practices already certified nationwide. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by demonstrating practice consistent with the highest standards of care. The QCP seal designates those practices that not only scored high on the key QOPI quality measures, but meet rigorous safety measures established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). Diablo Valley Oncology / Hematology Medical Group, located at the California Cancer and Research Institute in Pleasant Hill, provides comprehensive cancer care to patients by bringing together medical oncology, hematology, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, diagnostic imaging, clinical trials, oncology rehabilitation and supportive care all in one convenient location. For more information call 925-677-5041. Advertorial


Serving Alamo & Danville Since 1979!

There is No Better Time to Remodel Your Pool Than Now! Call and Find Out Why. Plaster • Tile • Coping Featuring WetEdge Technologies

Ask us about the IntelliFlo pump by Pentair. Proven to save $100 or more each month. In addition, as certified PGE installers we can offer a $100 PGE rebate on the pump! Visit our website at Contractor Lic# 978033-C53

Page 26 - February 2014 ~ Alamo Today

Museum continued from page 24

“The Museum of the San Ramon Valley has become the Valley’s attic,” Lane notes. “The artifacts we collect and archives we tend help us tell our shared stories.” Concerning the current exhibit, Cowboys and Cattlemen, Beverly comments, “Some of the stories of cattle drives, of cowboys at Elliott’s, and of brandings and barbecues provide priceless memories.” Following a nationwide search for an Executive Director, the Board discovered the best candidate was already amongst them. Daniel Dunn, former Executive Director of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, has extensive experience networking with other museums, including the Smithsonian. Utilizing the latest applications of technology to enhance exhibits is one of the Board’s immediate goals. As Dunn explains, “The museum wants to grow. They want to have a greater presence and impact with residents and visitors of the San Ramon Valley. The level of excitement around the museum and its future is impressive. Also impressive is the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteer corps of the museum.”

Jerry Warren points out the Danville Depot on the Museum’s Southern Pacific Railroad display.

Dunn feels the presence of a trained professional not only gives the museum greater access to materials and expertise available through connections with other museums, but it also provides the museum’s volunteer community with additional resources. Warren notes, “We are looking to present a wider perspective by bringing in traveling exhibits and creating exhibits that showcase the involvement of the San Ramon Valley in national events.” The lower floor of the museum serves as exhibit gallery, gift shop, and Information Center for Valley visitors. Racks of brochures on sites of interest and helpful information supplied by volunteer greeters are available for free. MusSRV collaborates on exhibits and programs with other local organizations including the Eugene O’Neill Foundation Tao House, Role Players Ensemble, and the libraries of Danville and San Ramon. “When cultural groups work together,” Warren remarks, “the town becomes a richer place.” As MusSRV approaches its 30th anniversary, the organization continues to expand its outreach programs, educational offerings, and ability to tell the personal stories of the people who have shaped the Valley’s history. For information on current exhibits, Valley history, school programs, volunteer opportunities and museum hours, visit or call 925-837-3750.

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.

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

The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry The Macula

The macula is probably the most talked about and questioned structure in the eye. Patients are constantly asking about the macula and macular degeneration because they either have someone in their family or a friend who is battling this disease. I will discuss the macula, some new treatments for macular degeneration, and what you can do to help decrease your chances of getting the disease. The macula is located in the central part of the retina (the back surface of the eye). As light enters the eye, it is focused directly onto the macula, which is centrally located and is 5-6 millimeters in diameter. It is comprised of cones, which are the photoreceptors that allow sharp vision and color vision; there are no cones elsewhere in the retina. These cells then transmit the image through ganglion cells that form the fibers of the optic nerve. The images travel via the optic nerve to the brain. The macula has a yellowish color, which is different from the normal red color of the retina. The retina is red from all of the blood traveling through it. The macula has certain pigmented materials such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are derived from diet alone as these are not made by the body. These components are vital to the health and maintenance of the macula, and they act as an ultraviolet filter for the macula and are also believed to help protect the macula from macular degeneration. Even though the treatments for macular degeneration are getting better, there is still no cure. Injections into the eye of either Lucentis or Avastin have shown the ability to slow down and, in a lot of cases, halt the progression of macular degeneration. Getting a direct injection into the eye is not necessarily fun; however, the likelihood of having vision preservation far outweighs the injections. Older treatments including laser are not current options because the side-effects are sometimes worse, and the possibility of vision improvement is minimal. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, there is no cure for macular degeneration. There are no drops, pills, etc. that can prevent it. Your likelihood for the disease does increase as you age; therefore it is very important to maintain your overall health. It has been shown that smokers, diabetics, and those with poor diets are more likely to suffer from the disease. That being said, there is a genetic component to the disease that cannot be altered at this point. For the most part, if it is genetically programmed, there is very little that can be done. The things that can be done are lifestyle modification and maintaining your overall health; this includes smoking cessation, properly managing your diabetes and high blood pressure, and having a well-balanced diet. If your intake of green vegetables, which is the main way to maintain lutein and zeaxanthin levels in the macula, then vitamin supplementation is a wise thing to do. There have been several studies that have conclusively shown that adding these along with other minerals have slowed down the progression of macular degeneration. As with most conditions of the eye, annual comprehensive eye exams are the best for early detection. In the early stages of the disease, your vision might not be affected, but there are some macular clinical signs that are evident. Early diagnosis and treatment is still one of the best ways to stretch out the course of the disease which will allow for good vision for a longer period of time. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our newly updated website at, and like us on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page. Advertorial

925.934.3743 • 925.934.1515 • 1271 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek Monday-Friday, 8-5 • Saturday 9-1, Sunday, closed

Turning Injuries into Victories

By Michelle Brown, Gumsaba Boot Camp

Back in 2007 I broke my right arm snowboarding. It was a bad break involving the distal ulna just above my wrist. It is one of many bones that I’ve broken while living a wonderfully active life. All of the sports I love, martial arts and yoga particularly, rely on wrist mobility and strength. After a few days of pity partying (and serious pain management, as I refused the pain medication) I began to stop feeling sorry for myself and start moving. I couldn’t hit with my right arm, so I’d hit with my left. My left hand soon became faster and stronger than my right! I started to really focus on my kicking, and it became more explosive than ever. I began to love kicks I didn’t even like before. I was the queen of squats and lunges! I could not do a headstand or handstand, which was a daily yoga practice for me, so shoulder and posterior chain mobility became my new yoga practice. I was jogging daily as soon as the pulsing pain of my broken arm was bearable. The hand and wrist specialist at Mt. Sinai told me I would never be able to supinate my wrist again if I didn’t have surgery. At every appointment he would try to convince me that I would never have “normal” wrist function without the insertion of a metal bar and pins. He was right. Normal was never my thing. I began rehab on my wrist the day my cast came off. I stuck with my very painful rehabilitation twice a week for two months and never had surgery.

Deputy continued from page 4

is unincorporated and does not have a police department, this report was the only complete crime report available for Alamo to keep residents informed. Despite lobbying the Sheriff behind the scenes throughout January, the Committee was not successful in persuading Sheriff Livingston to exempt Deputy Carson from jail duty, and the deputy’s last day in Alamo was Thursday, January 23. Long time Alamo Police Committee member Bill Nelson feels strongly that the deputy should have remained in Alamo. “I feel that he was an asset for our community and that transferring him to jail duty essentially wasted his and our investment in his knowledge and training for our needs.” Mr. Nelson further noted that Sheriff Rupf exempted all the P-District deputies like Alamo's from jail duty in 2009 for precisely the reasons put forward by the Alamo Police Committee: that it is disruptive to the community to lose a well trained deputy familiar with the community, and it reflects a loss of the training that has gone into that deputy. However, with a new administration in place, evidently this policy has been overlooked. In the course of contacting the Sheriff for more information for this article, I learned that the Blackhawk Police Services Committee has an agreement in place with the Sheriff for a four year exemption for its deputies from jail duty, while Alamo only has an 18 month exemption in place for its deputies. The Blackhawk police district is P-2 Zone A, while Alamo’s police district is P-2 Zone B; both are remnants of the very large P-2 police district formed by the voters in 1969 which at one point included most of Danville, most of Alamo and all of Blackhawk Country Club. After Danville incorporated in 1982, the two non-contiguous zones of Alamo and Blackhawk remained. Alamo’s Round Hill Police District, P-5, also does not enjoy a four year exemption for its deputy from jail service. When queried how the Sheriff could put preferential policies in place for one police district but not the others, Assistant Sheriff Mark Williams responded that the situation was under review by the executive team at the Sheriff’s office, and the Sheriff would strive to establish procedures in the future so that TM all the Valley police districts which Cars • Trucks • Vans • Boats • Real Estate fund additional Live Operators on hand 7 days a week deputies (Alamo, Tax deduction • All transfer documents handled Round Hill, Diablo Free pick-up • Running or not in most cases and Blackhawk) would be treated 888-694-5250 equitably.


Alamo Today ~ February 2014 - Page 27 Two years later I won the TWKSF full contact kung fu World Championships in Germany and delivered a KO with my right hand. Today my handstand is better than it has ever been. Oh, and I can supinate my wrist nearly 100 percent. It is common to think that an injury means you should stop moving. Whether conscious or subconscious, injuries are often used as an excuse to basque in self pity and be lazy. There is a time to rest and possibly back off from a sport or movement that constantly aggravates an injury. However, most injuries happen because our bodies are not conditioned to take on the load we are asking them to take. Those who workout regularly are more prepared, both physically and mentally, to better manage injuries. The severity and location of an injury are important factors in knowing how to manage it. Some injuries, like bone breaks, will require visits to your doctor and in some cases surgery. Many non-life-threatening injuries can be managed with rehabilitation with mobility and strength exercises. Studies show injuries heal faster and better through an exercise routine that maintains mobility of the ligaments, muscles, fascia, and joints that surround the area. With too much rest, lack of mobility will cause stiffness in both the mind and body, and it will eventually create more problems to manage. Most injuries need 1-3 days rest before beginning rehabilitation movements. If the injury has not improved after three days, seek guidance from a health care professional. Rehabilitative yoga, swimming, biking, and walking among other gentle exercises can, and should, be employed sooner than later. With injured athletes whose sports often define who they are, maximized movement is key to recovery. The psychology of the injured athlete is complex, and depression is common in these cases. Activity must occur as soon as possible to avoid feelings of hopelessness. Depending on the severity of injury, this group may need some mental rehab to compliment the physical rehabilitation. We can not always control what happens to us. Life is a big beautiful mystery that’s full of surprises and curve balls. All we can do is prepare our minds and bodies to rise to the occasion, whatever it is. Don’t let one thing you can’t do cast a shadow over all of the possibilities in your life. Treat your body like the amazing gift it is, and MOVE! Michelle Brown is an ACE certified fitness professional, Kung Fu Black Belt, blogger, public speaker and owner of Gumsaba Outdoor Fitness. Michelle has been helping clients surpass their goals since 1998. Gumsaba has been voted best Boot Camp in the East Bay by Diablo Magazine readers for two years running and offers Co-ed, Women-Only, and Men-Only, and Teen programs year round. Join Gumsaba for a FREE WEEK of Outdoor Fitness. Visit our website at to get started. Use promo code BALANCE to redeem your free week. (925) 683-5630 Advertorial


HOUSEKEEPER/COOK POSITION WANTED Thorough and careful cleaning, laundry, ironing, cooking, baking, marketing, pet care, gardening and the like. No vices, very fit 55 year old, clean driving record, references. Dependable and domestically inclined. (925)768-9475,


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,

Alamo Today Classifieds

Reach over 6,500 homes and businesses in Alamo & Diablo - Help Wanted, For Sale, Services, Lessons, Pets, Rentals, Wanted, Freebies... $35 for up to 45 words. $5 for each additional 15 words. Send or email submissions to: 3000F Danville Blvd #117, Alamo, CA 94507 or editor@yourmonthlypaper. com. Run the same classified ad in our sister papers “Lafayette Today” or “Danville Today News” and pay half off for your second and/or third ad! 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.

Page 28 -February 2014 ~ 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: Area Home Prices Have Recovered

est percentage of remaining distressed sales and as these fade into the The Alamo Real Estate market has shown dramatic improvement of background one would expect that higher average prices are still to come. While not many homes have sold in Diablo during the past six months, late. So much that I thought it would be good to take a look at the last the prices and the dollars paid per square foot are extremely encouragsix months of data and review our local market which includes Alamo, Danville, Diablo and Blackhawk. During this time period homes have ing. At an average of $591 per square foot, Diablo stands well above the been selling at a rate of about 32 homes per month through January 27th. other three areas. Diablo boasts an average selling price of nearly $2.4 Only 7% of sales are distressed sales, either bank owned or short sales million. Diablo is without peer in the Danville Area. While trailing the and these special sales are becoming a much smaller drag on our market. other segments of the Danville Real Estate Market, Blackhawk prices Non-distressed, desirable homes continue to sell fast. The Town of Dan- continue to strengthen and at $394 per square foot and at $1,309,464 averville leads the way with a mere 28 days-on-market followed by Blackhawk age selling price, Blackhawk is doing well and will continue to advance. Due to sunny weather, the selling season is off to an early start this year and with 49 and Alamo with 60. Diablo has performed significantly worse it seems like every agent I know, including myself has at least one prospecon this measure at 188 days on market, but when you consider the prices paid for the Diablo homes the time difference can’t be considered bad. tive buyer in tow looking for a nicely updated home in our area. Inventory Of note is that the average size of homes sold in each of the areas has increased levels remain at a critically low level with less than three months supply and significantly since the market bottom in 2011. The average for Alamo is up nearly there are so few properties available that the really good homes are attracting 500 sq. ft. since then. This is an indication that larger homes are now selling rou- multiple offers. I had more than 20 buyers through an open house this weektinely. Also important to note is with an average price of $1,461,294 Alamo home end and it looks like I am about to receive an offer on another of our listings. It’s important to remember that there really is no “average” home and no two sales have surpassed their 2005 level. With only two distressed sales in the past six months, I think an argument can be made that Alamo Real Estate has recovered. homes are exactly alike. If you would like an honest no strings attached opinion of your In 2006 Danville crossed the million dollar average line and held on to home’s current market value and suggestions for getting it ready for market, please give me a call 925-989-6086 or send me an email it for the next two years. Since 2009 Danville fell well below this Home Sales Alamo, Blackhawk Danville, Diablo (Oct.1-Jan 27) level dropping as low as $784,000 on average. During the past six Active Pending Sold DOM List Price Sold Price Sq. Foot $ Sq. Foot months, Danville Real Estate sales have soared and at this writAlamo 31 19 45 60 $ 1,491,845 $ 1,461,294 3,336 $ 438 ing are higher by about $10,000 more than they were at the peak in Blackhawk 17 5 36 49 $ 1,345,833 $ 1,309,464 3,323 $ 394 2006. At $414 per square foot, Danville prices are gaining ground Diablo 5 1 3 188 $ 2,564,333 $ 2,391,333 4,046 $ 591 Danville 39 47 146 28 $ 1,115,603 $ 1,124,735 2,716 $ 414 on Alamo prices. It’s important to note that Danville has the high-

Build Your Dream Home

Alamo Estate

ng! i n i ema r e y on l n O Join us February 7th from 5-7pm for Wine and Cheese 1181 Danville Blvd., Alamo

Alamo Oaks

Danville Single Story





Charming 3 bedroom Single Story with large master suite and flat lot. Call for details.






Updated 4 bedroom 3595 sq. foot home with 1.13 acre lot. Perfect for horses or a vineyard. 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.

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

Just Listed Danville Charmer



3 bedroom, 2 bath home on flat lot backing a creek. Walk to 12 years of SRVUSD schools! Call for details. J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Alamo Today, February 2014  
Alamo Today, February 2014  

Alamo Today, February 2014. The town of Alamo, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.