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March 2016 The Remarkable Markham: Contra Costa’s Only Arboretum By Jody Morgan

Serving Danville Japanese Americans in the San Ramon Valley: The Ajaris By Beverly Lane

In May of 1942, Japanese Americans in the valley met at the Danville Depot and left their homes here for good. The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II focused government suspicion on 120,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans, all of whom were sent to internment camps, surrounded by barbed wire and towers with armed guards. In hindsight, we see the wartime hysteria which created these camps and realize the injustice represented by them. There were about 15 Japanese American farm families in the San Ramon Valley, many of whom had lived here for decades. They were cooks and farmers, leasing land and cultivating pears, walnuts, tomatoes, and other crops. Immigrant parents were restricted from becoming citizens or owning property, but their American citizen children were not. The Ajari family farmed over 100 acres Phil Ajari next to the Danville Highway just north of Danville. Their five children attended local school five days a week, and then they went to Japanese language school in a room next to Fukuchi’s store (east of HartzAve. on School St. in Danville). Two of them, Jun and Phil, learned Japanese fluently. Jun was an excellent student who graduated from SRV High in 1934 and UC Berkeley and became a pharmacist. Their father, Eddie Ajari, had just been nominated president of the local Japanese-American Club. Not long after Pearl Harbor, Eddie was picked up by the FBI and removed to a camp in Bismarck, North Dakota. His family didn’t know where he was for months. Neighbors and some fellow students thought A few MRAS Board members pose beside the International Garden sign installed as Nick Lambert’s the worst and made life uncomfortable for the family. The Ajaris worried they Eagle Project. L to R: Ron Harryman, Treasurer; Judy Sherwood, President: Elaine Groen, Secretary; would be further condemned if they kept any Japanese items in their house and Stan Stansbury, new member; Arti Kirch (foreground), VP Fundraising. threw precious records and photographs into San Ramon Creek. Karen Mahshi, Founding Member and Past President of MRAS, met Ira Markham Long story short, the family ended up in the Gila River Reservation Inwhile serving on the City of Concord Street Tree Committee. The Markham ArboreSee Ajari continued on page 24 tum Society (“Regional” was added subsequently) gained non-profit status in 1981, as Karen and like-minded individuals joined forces to ensure ongoing upkeep and Grateful Gatherings Grateful Gatherings ( is a local non-profit continued enhancement of the Markham land. “When MRAS was founded,” she explains, “we were very involved with trees. The space was simply called ‘the Nature organization whose mission is to provide furniture and household items Park.’ We insisted that ‘arboretum’ should be included in the title to emphasize the to those transitioning out of homelessness or poverty. They also help struggling schools with items they may need for education or even assist unique resources of the property.” Mahshi, a landscape architect, drew plans for the International Garden in 1989. a family who may be in need from that school community. On March 5th, local resident Jacque Preble is collecting books for Following city approval, planting began in 1996. Today the site showcases plants from seven global areas with indigenous species adapted to East Bay’s hot dry sum- Grateful Gatherings to assist their efforts to help Allendale Elementary mers and cool wet winters. Each space is scaled to present a miniature landscape School in Oakland. Allendale is opening their library doors for the very first time and are in great need of early readeasily replicated in home gardens. Five acres added to the property contain 26 community gardens, an education/ ers, Accelerated Reading books, and reading/ Volume VII - Number 5 office building, and a nursery. After Ira remarried and moved in 1983, the city kept picture books for the learning-to-read grades. 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, A volunteer at the school said, “This will be the original house as a rental, demolishing it when deemed structurally unsound in Alamo, CA 94507 2001. That same year MRAS tagged and mapped 600 trees including 84 genera and the first year the library won’t be used as a (925) 405-6397 133 species. MRAS selected 45 native and exotic species to highlight on the Tree storage area! It’s wonderful to see all of these Fax (925) 406-0547 K-5 kids sit and listen to stories with 100% See MRAS continued on page 21 attention!” Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher editor@ Grateful Gatherings is a 501 (c)(3) PRSRT STD profit organization serving the greater San U.S. Postage Francisco Bay Area. Driven by volunteers The opinions expressed herein belong PAID Local the writers, and do not necessarily and donations of furniture and household toreflect Permit 263 that of Danville Today News. Postal Customer Danville Today News is not goods they have furnished, delivered, and Alamo CA responsible for the content of any of set up over 60 homes and served over 400 the advertising herein, nor does ECRWSS Visitors to the remarkable Markham rarely fail to return repeatedly, whether they initially arrive to stroll the trail, attend workshops, admire the gardens, or purchase plants. Celebrating its 35th year of partnership with the City of Concord as steward of the Markham Nature Park and Arboretum, Markham Regional Arboretum Society (MRAS) continually presents timely programs, installs purposeful plantings, and propagates for sale unusual plants appropriate to the local climate. Winner of Sustainable Contra Costa’s 2015 Award for Sustainable Resource Management, MRAS preserves the natural environment of Galindo Creek and the 17 acres comprising the park. Recognizing the educational potential of their property, Ira and Bee Markham sold 12 acres including their house to the City of Concord in 1966 with the stipulation that they retain the right to remain in residence as long as they wished. They continued to plant trees supporting their vision for the nature preserve, but after Bee’s death in 1979, Ira worried about future maintenance of their legacy.

See Gatherings continued on page 27

publication imply endorsement.

Page 2 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

Boulevard View

Ten Foot Good By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

For a Type A person such as myself, I am constantly striving for perfect results. I know my skillset, I know my potential for what I can do, and I am not settled until I have accomplished my given task with the precision and aesthetic I envisioned. For many projects, perfection is a great attribute. Attention to detail and hard work is not something that I have ever heard someone being faulted for in a job interview. At times, however, this obsessive nature can become enslaving and unnecessary for the task at hand. When buying a new kitchen brush, is it really necessary to do in-depth research to find the best scrubber that has an ergonomic handle and fancy bristles? Or is your time better spent grabbing one that looks like it’ll be good enough? Psychologist Barry Schwartz published a book on this topic ten years ago that is still incredibly relevant today. It is titled The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. Barry argues that the more options we have for any given decision, the less happy we will be. We constantly deliberate the options, and once we have decided upon a choice we are still unsure about the ‘what ifs’ of the others we left behind. It turns into an “analysis paralysis” that can truly waste hours of our precious lives. Have you been to a popular deli and been overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of sandwiches they offer? It can be an unexpected stress trying to decide on a lunch offering. However, if you accept that you may choose a sandwich that is good, but not the “best (and realize ‘best’ is all relative anyway),” you will end up being much happier (and probably healthier, too) later on. The same feeling creeps up when I’m in the condiments aisle at the grocery store. Do we really need seven different brands and six different styles of mayonnaise? Reduced calorie, olive oil, garlic flavored, low cholesterol, chipotle, squeeze bottle, glass bottle, plastic bottle?! Last weekend my husband and I were doing home projects and sprucing up.


www.fa z re st a u ra n t s .co m

There was a window screen that had a big mark on it that had bugged me for a couple years. I had thought it was the result of some paint work we had done, but when I mentioned it to my husband he fessed-up to being the origin of the issue which stemmed from a time he was doing some pressure washing. While I had initially thought I needed to have the screen replaced, what I found upon closer inspection was that the area I thought had been painted white was just shiny aluminum from the black color of the screen being blasted with highpressure water in one spot. One quick trip to my Sharpie drawer and less than five minutes of “coloring,” and my screen was at least “ten foot good” (and probably even three to five foot good!) and no longer bugged me. Leaders and managers can feel a similar anxiety of choice when delegating a task to another colleague. Yes, you know that you could do a great job on the project or task at hand and would be happy with the results, but is it important enough for you to take it on? Or can you just accept that that person’s interpretations of the task may be different than yours, and accept that you benefitted from the absence of the project on your plate, and that it still got finished? Jonah Lehrer has a message similar to this in his article The Eureka Hunt. As a whole, the article speaks of the frustrating process of trying to force an insight into a particular topic, and how it can actually prevent those insights from occurring. In the hunt to create a ‘zero foot good’ situation, you may not realize the answer until you let yourself accept the ten foot good situation. Then, later on, with the problem in the back of your mind, the true answer may come to you. However, trying to force these things just creates anxiety and frustration. My daughter is almost done with her undergraduate degree, and I have tried to help her with these lessons. While I do not encourage mediocrity or laziness, it is sometimes important to remind her that if she does not do well on a test, it is not the end of the world. How large of an impact on your life has one test been in your adult life, after all? While all of these examples vary slightly, they still maintain the same message: Let go. Loosen up a bit. Accept that perfection will not always be attained. Allow yourself to delegate. Ten foot good can, more often than not, be absolutely good enough.



ListLP Price $1,199,900 $2,150,000 $959,950 $980,000 $1,079,900 $999,000 $1,399,950 $598,000 $1,050,000 $799,000 $1,499,900 $710,000 $1,199,000 $1,574,888 $889,000 $839,900 $1,298,000 $1,399,000 $1,349,000 $1,099,754 $1,050,000 $687,000 $749,000 $928,000 $649,000 $1,115,000

SPPrice Sales $1,187,000 $2,080,000 $959,950 $980,000 $1,025,000 $1,050,000 $1,360,000 $610,000 $1,050,000 $810,000 $1,495,000 $710,000 $1,149,000 $1,566,000 $880,000 $842,000 $1,200,000 $1,391,500 $1,329,000 $1,065,000 $1,100,000 $690,000 $775,000 $940,000 $640,000 $1,115,000

SqFtFt.Bed/Bath DOM Sq. Bed/BathSale $/SqF $/SqFt DOM 2423 4490 2173 2308 3237 1860 3488 1357 2813 1551 3749 1884 2402 3674 1948 1206 1382 2729 3611 2387 1979 1440 1364 2045 1542 2568

4/3 5/3.5 3/2.5 4/2.5 4/3 4/2 4/3 3/2.5 4/2.5 3/2 4/3.5 3/2.5 5/3 5/3.5 4/2 3/1 2/2 4/2.5 5/5.5 4/3 4/3 2/2 2/2 4/2.5 3/2.5 4/3

$490 $463 $442 $425 $317 $565 $390 $450 $373 $522 $399 $377 $478 $426 $452 $698 $868 $510 $368 $446 $556 $479 $568 $460 $415 $434

25 3 9 0 18 7 120 2 3 4 1 13 73 70 8 67 42 0 39 70 5 3 10 3 19 10

Danville home sales per MLS 1/26/16 – 2/22/16. DOM=Days on Market.

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 3

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Xenophon Gala

Friends of the Blackhawk Museums

The Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center will be holding “A James Bond Extravaganza” gala on March 19th at 6PM at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo. The Friends of the Blackhawk Museums Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center offers life-changing experiences for children present April Rovero as their March speaker Friends of the Blackhawk Museums with a wide range of disabilities. Through equine-assisted activities provided in a lackhawk Museums Presents our Marchth Speaker am at their program which will be held on Wednesday, March 9 2016 from 10 safe and secure environment, children achieve goals that they never before dreamed March 2016 Speaker April Rovero to noon. April is the founder of the National Coalition Against Prescription possible. With a horse as their guide, there is no limit to what they can achieve. April Rovero Founder of the National DrugApril Abuse (NCAPDA). Xenophon is a non-profit 501(c)3 registered charity, offering both TherapeuCoalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse Rovero Abuse tic Riding and Hippotherapy. In Therapeutic Riding, basic horsemanship skills April’s son, Joey, died of an overdose of prescribed are integrated into therapy goals tailored to each individual’s specific needs. drugs while a student at Arizona State University. FollowTo reserve your ticket, costing $125 per person, or to sponsor the event, visit ing this tragedy April founded NCAPDA, and she leads or contact Mari Parino at and oversees all aspects of the organization. April speaks Return of Eggstravaganza out whenever she can to prevent prescribed drug related Hop on down to the Danville Community Center for a fun-filled morning overdose deaths and addiction. Wednesday, March 9, 2016 10:00 am to 12:00 Noon of egg hunts, arts and crafts, face painting and more! It’s time again for the Founder of NCAPDA You are invited to hearInthis dynamic speaker and learn the Auto Dining Room April Rovero Founder of NCAPDA very popular Danville tradition, Eggstravaganza. how she turned a personal tragedy into a national orga“Spread the Word…One Pill Can Kill!” Eggstravaganza is set for Saturday, March 26th at the Town Green and “Spread the Word…One Pill Can Kill!” nization that is helping many people suffering from similar circumstances. National Coalition Against Danville Community Center, 420 Front Street. Two sessions are scheduled, the Prescription Drug Abuse National Coalition Against The talk will be held in the Auto Dining Room at The Blackhawk Museums Prescription Drug Abuse first session runs from 9am - 11am and the second session from 11:30am - 1:30pm. Speaking Event at: located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville. The program is free to BlackThe Blackhawk MuseumsThe hunts are organized by age so every child has equal opportunity to find eight Speaking Event at: The Blackhawk Museums 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle hawk Museums members and their guest. There is a $15 charge for non-members treasure-filled eggs -- don’t forget your Easter basket! Parents need to sign up their 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle Danville, CA 94506 CA seniors. 94506 andDanville, $10 for For answers to questions, email Dee at child for a specific time slot for the egg hunt, but beyond that they are welcome to enjoy all the other activities during their session. Remember to bring a camera to take Valley Teen Idol 2016 your little one’s picture with the Spring Bunny and the Spring Duck! The event will The 2016 Valley Teen Idol top five vote getters and 15 other “Judges’ take place rain or shine. Choice” participants will be in the Valley Teen Idol 2016 finale to be held This is a popular on March 13th at 2PM at the San Ramon Performing Arts Center. Tickets can event and it sells out be obtained at A8end  our  Gardening  Workshops  (10  AM  –  12  PM)   each year. Pre-registraMarch   5  Building  an  Herb  Spiral   Proceeds from this event allow the San Ramon Valley Rotary Club to tion is required. RegMarch   1 9      Rainwater  HarvesMng     fund various projects and charities throughout the year. For further informaister online at www. April   2   P a8erns   o f   N ature tion, contact Debora at 925-260-4565 or April  16  Plant  PropagaMon   For more informa+  April  17:    Earth  Day  Celebra4on  &  Family  Dinner   tion, call the Danville For  more  informa+on  &  to  register,  please  call  or  visit  our  website.       Community Center at 710  Highland  Dr.;  Danville,  CA    925-­‐837-­‐9141   (925) 314-3400. Visit  us:    &  Facebook  

rescribed University. PDA and anization. prevent ths and dynamic dy into a y people


For Questions email Dee at:

April’s son, Joey, died of an overdose of prescribed drugs while a student at Arizona State University. Following this tragedy she founded NCAPDA and leads and oversees all aspects of the organization. April speaks out whenever she can to prevent prescribed drug related overdose deaths and addiction. You are invited to hear this dynamic speaker and how she turned a personal tragedy into a national organization that is helping many people suffering from similar circumstances.

April and her son, Joey

This Program is Free to Blackhawk Museums Members and their guest. Non Members: $15.00, Seniors: $10.00.



Page 4 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

GFWC Danville Women’s Club

By Doral Allen

The speaker for our February lunch and business meeting was Cliff Buxton from the San Ramon Valley Fire Department. He gave an interesting and informative talk on personal emergency procedures. He went over the essentials everyone needs in the event of a major earthquake. These include, water (one gallon per person per day), low-salt canned foods and a manual can opener, a first aid kit, two weeks’ worth of medications, cash, and toilet paper, copies of important documents (driver’s license and credit cards---fronts and backs), and a small AM battery-operated radio. Gopher/Mole Removal Club members have been involved in the final stages of planning our 20th annual lunch and fashion show to benefit HosNo Poison pice of the East Bay. The event is scheduled for May 5th at the Blackhawk Country Club. Our theme this year is “A Palette of Color,” with clothing for our models provided by Chicos. The cost is $48 per person. To make a reservation for yourself 925-765-4209 and your friends, please call Barbara Chavez at (925) 838-0347. Your seating location will be determined by the date of payment, so act fast because tables really fill up for this event. For more information visit On Thursday, February 25th our club hosted “An Afternoon of Bridge.” There were 14 tables of players who enjoyed a delicious lunch and bridge playing. This event was a fundraiser to benefit our Patty Hart Memorial Scholarship Fund and was very well attended. Thank you to all of our guests for supporting this important cause. Our luncheon and business meeting in March will be held on Thursday, March 17th. The program will be presented by Carol Carrillo, Executive Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County. If you would be interested in attending our lunch and learning more about the GFWC Danville Women’s Club, please contact Linda Perazzo at (925) 642-2097 or e-mail her at Mark your calendars as the Club will host a shredding event on Saturday, April 23rd from 9AM - 12:30PM. Bring any boxes of paper you want shredded for the low fee of $5 a box! This is a service project to assist our community residents and businesses with preventing identity theft. Any net proceeds will be added to our scholarship fund. The shredding will be held at our Clubhouse located at 242 Linda Mesa in Danville. We look forward to meeting you and encourage you to also visit our website at The GFWC Danville Women’s Club was organized in 1911. We are members of the GFWC California Federation of Women’s Clubs (CFWC) and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC)--one of the world’s largest women’s nondenominational, nonpartisan, international service organizations of volunteer women.

Health Care in Contra Costa County Panel

The public is invited to join members of The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley and Health Care for All - Contra Costa County in discussion about health care in Contra Costa County. How are health care providers meeting current needs? What are some systemic changes we might consider? ACA offered much-needed improvements to the health care system. Yet problems remain: • Many residents are still uninsured • Family medical bankruptcies continue • Patient costs continue to rise dramatically • Networks are narrowing • Mental health, dental, and long term care needs aren’t sufficiently covered Hear from local health care experts and join the discussion at the Mc Hale Room, Pleasant Hill Community Center 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. The event will be held on Saturday, March 19, 3–4:30PM. Panelists are Dr. William Walker, MD, Director and Health Officer, CCC Health Services; Brenda Goldstein, MPH, Psychosocial Services Director, Lifelong Medical Care; Dr. Ariane Terlet, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, La Clinica de la Raza; and Dr. Pat Snyder, PhD, Leadership Team Member, All Care Alliance. For more information, visit or

Books for the Homebound

If you or someone you know has a passion for reading and can no longer visit the library, find out more about the Danville Library’s Books for the Homebound program, a free and unique library service. Trained library volunteers check out and deliver books to homebound individuals residing in their own homes or residential care facilities. Contact Sandra Paiva, Volunteer Coordinator, at the Danville Library at (925) 837-4889 for more information.

Lost Dog!


If you find him and your name is drawn!

Danville Dog is Missing He has become lost in this paper!

He is very small, so you will have to look hard if you want to find him.

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

Rose Mary Morelli is our winner!

15 Host Families Needed for One Week Stay by Visiting French Students

For the eleventh consecutive year, students from a large high school in the South of France are coming to Danville. The students will arrive on April 22 nd and depart April 29 th . 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 years’ 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. The local contact is Danville parent Kevin Dimler, who can be reached at or (925)997-7226.

She’s All That

Conference Positively Transforms Young Girls’ Lives

On Saturday, March 19th 9AM - 3PM at California High School in San Ramon, young girls will be treated to an exciting and distinctive conference. Past participants have stated they feel these seminars should be mandatory for all middle school girls. Young girls and their parents came away from past conferences saying, “It was everything they could have hoped for.” She’s All That includes inspirational keynote presentations and a selection of workshops. Some of the workshops offered this year are Straight Scoop on Boys, Mean Girls, Cyber Safe and Sane Online, Discover the Writer Inside You, #dramamama, Hoop Dance, Yoga, Find Your Passion, Don’t be Stressed Out, and how to Get Your Parents Off Your Back and on Your Side. Also included in the conference are workshops designed to help parents best cope with the changing teenage years. There will be Live Your Dream expo booths and engaging speakers designed to inspire young girls. Refreshments and lunch will be served during the day along with raffle prizes at the conclusion of the conference. This is the 12th annual conference that the Soroptimists of San Ramon Valley has produced. Due to overwhelming enthusiasm for the event from past participants, the Soroptimists work hard to produce an exceptional event every year. For more information or to register for the event, go to or call (925) 355-2442. The cost of a ticket for the daylong conference is only $35 before March 6th and $40 after. There are also scholarships available for the event.

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 5

Is now a good time to sell? The data points to YES!

Carolyn Gwynn Realtor® | CalBRE #01888136


MSI = the number of months it would take to sell the existing inventory of homes for sale at current rates of market activity: The lower MSI, the hotter the market.

Homes under $1.5M have less than 2 months of inventory across Contra Costa County – a very strong seller’s market. Luxury homes also have low supply. Danville in particular had 46% less inventory in January 2016 than it did in January 2015. PARAGON-RE.COM

Don’t hesitate; contact Carolyn for a market valuation of your home, before

the competition jumps into the market.

SRVRWF Presents Republican Senate Candidate Forum

The San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated (SRVRWF) will present a forum featuring three Republican Senate candidates on Tuesday, March 22nd

at 11:30AM. The following candidates are: Thomas Del Beccaro, is a proponent of a flat tax and a comprehensive water plan for California. He is the former Chairman of the California Republican Party and previously served as Chairman of the Republican Party in his home county of Contra Costa. A noted author and media commentator, including for, Tom also serves as an attorney for the small business community and has, himself, been a small business owner for over 20 years. Learn more at Duf Sundheim is a reformer who knows how to reach across the aisle to get things done. He played a key role in the only successful recall of a sitting Governor in the history of California. He brought important election reforms to California and pension and education reforms to San Jose. Duf’s Co-Chairs include George Shultz, Secretary of State under President Reagan, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Cisco Systems Executive Chairman John Chambers. Andy Barkett, former RNC CTO, is the campaign’s CTO. Paul Dukes is the national fundraiser, and Rob Collins is the national consultant. Both previously worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Thomas Palzar is a conservative Republican running for the United States Senate from California. He has over 32 years of experience in leadership roles in government that he wants to take to Washington for the benefit of California and our nation. Learn more at The Crow Canyon Country Club is located at 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Social time begins at 11:30AM with lunch and meeting starting at noon. The cost for SRVRWF members is $27 and non-members $35. Please RSVP by Friday, March 18th to For more information, visit

Cleaning and Sorting?

When you’re finished, donate your treasures and support community

Sponsored by the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church in Alamo

Donations accepted: This k e e Tuesday, March 1, 8am-1pm W ! ! y l Wednesday, March 2, 9am-8pm on “Big Event” Sale:

Friday, March 4 9am-7pm & Saturday, March 5 9am-Noon San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church 902 Danville Blvd, Alamo, CA 94507

A Community of Changed Lives Changing Our World

Page 6 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

All in Good Taste

8” & 10” Pan Set 45.00 “Whistle While You Work” 2.5 qt. Tea Kettle 50.00

6 qt. Casserole 65.00

Danville, The Livery

Walnut Creek, Broadway Plaza

$50 OFF 1st month’s service for new customers & $50 OFF any repair or

installation for new & existing customers

Call (925)820-8950 Promo ends March 30, 2016. Additional discount available for referred customers.

BRW Present Kevin Krick

The Blackhawk Republican Women (BRW) invite you to an evening with Kevin Krick, Bay Area Regional Vice Chair of the California Republican Party, speaking on Bay Area Republican Strategies & Sea Stories on Thursday, March 10. The event will take place at the Blackhawk Country Club Grille. Everyone is welcome. Check-in and serving of hors d’oeuvres will begin at 5:30PM, and the meeting and speaker will begin at 6:15PM. The cost is $25. Captain Kevin Krick has lived a life built on family and service to his country. He began his career in the U.S. Navy with service in the first Gulf War in 1991. Krick has been active in Republican politics since he could first vote. Krick works professionally in the private sector at APL, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, as Senior Director – Security/Environment. He has served in the George Bush administration and the Department of Homeland Security. He also holds a commission as a Captain in the Navy. As the father of two sons, Kevin is very active in Boy Scouts of America, assisting in a leadership role alongside his wife, as well as being Scoutmaster. Please make your reservations with a check for $25 made payable to “Blackhawk Republican Women,” by noon on Tuesday, March 8th, with Jane Parish, 366 Jacaranda Dr. Danville 94506-2125,, or (925) 216-6663.

AAUW Announces 2016 Scholarships

The Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek AAUW (American Association of University Women) branch is accepting applications from eligible candidates for our Local Scholarship Awards. Applicants must have either resided in the Walnut Creek city limits or its unincorporated area boundaries, or in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District area boundaries while attending a public or private high school, or currently reside within these boundaries. Undergraduate candidates must have at least junior standing at a four-year college or university no later than the fall of 2016, and candidates pursuing an advanced degree must be accepted at an accredited four-year college or university no later than the fall of 2016. Scholarships Information and Application packets are now available. The application deadline is April 1, 2016. For more information, visit http://daw-ca.aauw. net/programs/scholarships/.

Treats for the Troops

Thank you to CVS in Alamo and Lunardi’s in Danville and all of the fabulous customers who make it easier for Delta Nu Psi to collect “gourmet junk food” to send to our servicemen and women in Afghanistan. The group will continue sending packages as long as American military members are in the War Zone. Much of the food sent is not normally available to the troops. On March 4th Delta Nu Psi members will be at CVS Pharmacy in Alamo, and on March 10th they will be at Lunardi’s in Danville. Collections will be held from 11am to 2pm both days, rain or shine. Money for postage is also always appreciated. Please help us provide our men and women in the War Zone a touch of home. For more information, visit

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 7

DANA We lli ngton YOUR LOCAL # 1 TOP PRODUCING REAL ESTATE CONNECTION Gain a Professional Partner Team to buy or sell your home

LET REAL ESTATE BE YOUR GPS TO YOUR HOME EQUITY • Knowledgeable resource for answers about the process • Innovative direct and web marketing strategies • Expertise of neighborhood areas • Multi-dimensional analysis of current market values • Strong negotiation skills for a successful close • Team support throughout the the steps to close

Sustainable Danville Area Inside Cosmetics By Cynthia Ruzzi

Have you seen the short video, ‘The Story of Cosmetics’ by Annie Leonard? I was floored by the facts presented so simply. Even though I am someone who spends a lot of time reading food labels and trying to stay away from processed foods, I rarely stop to consider what my latest skin care regimen (read wrinkle reducer) might be doing to my health and that of the environment. Keeping your family healthy should include more than focusing on what they put into their bellies. Have you considered what skincare products might do to them? At home, look at the labels of your favorite products – while you might have fun trying to pronounce words like METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, you might be shocked to find this chemical is linked to immunotoxicity. Hopefully, that will be enough for you to ‘wash that shampoo right out of your hair’ and look more closely at the other products you’re using. Honestly, if you can’t say it, should you spray it, slather it, or even dab it? Other parents have come to similar conclusions. Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental and labor policy at the UC Berkeley, was prompted to start the company GoodGuide after realizing he didn’t know what was in the sunscreen he had applied on his young daughter’s face. After checking analysis that most consumers don’t have easy access to, Dara found the lotion contained an endocrine disrupter, two skin irritants, and a carcinogen activated by sunlight. Now GoodGuide helps consumers make purchasing decisions by providing online and mobile information on the health, environmental, and social performance of products and companies. While shopping, I can use my iPhone to scan bar codes on the items I’m considering purchasing, and the GoodGuide application gives me a score on the product’s safety. And to help teens understand the importance of non-toxic sunscreen, here’s an easy to read guide from the Environmental Working Group reports/2014/teensunscreen/pdf/EWG_teensunscreen_guide_2014.pdf. The average adult woman uses 12 different products daily, and for the average teen girl that number is closer to 20. When you figure that each product averages 20 chemicals (some not required to be listed), that’s approximately 400 potential toxins our teens are exposed to daily. This means that when our teenage girls are most susceptible to chemical damage to their maturing bodies, they are exposing

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themselves to higher levels of potentially harmful cosmetic ingredients. A few years ago, the Environmental Working Group did a very readable and relevant study about the burden of hormone altering chemicals on teen girls www.ewg. org/book/export/html/26953. Hmm, if we aren’t moved to free ourselves from the beauty industry’s hold on our teens’ fragile psyches, how about protecting their physical health from unknown and hidden chemicals? Remember, if a chemical is not ingested, then they are not reviewed rigorously by the FDA. Skincare products can use terms like ‘Herbal, Natural, and Organic’ without the legal restrictions applied to food. If you use a body lotion every day on your largest organ, your skin, you can expose yourself through absorption to a significant amount of toxins. We can start by cutting down our exposure to toxins with our water and food, but don’t forget about what we apply to our skin. Look in your cabinets and check that the products you use aren’t harmful to you and your family. Don’t forget to check infant care products as many leading baby shampoos have formaldehyde and dioxane. And while you’re ‘cleaning house,’ please consider replacing antibacterial soaps which often contain triclosan, a carcinogen linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity. Visit GoodGuide at or use the cosmetic safety database provided by the Environmental Working Group for guidance and to check what’s in your products. Once you’ve cleaned those cabinets for your health, go one step further and make sure aren’t ‘eating’ your exfoliate. Popular cosmetic manufacturers use microbeads in facial scrubs, soaps – even toothpaste – to add an abrasive cleaning quality to their product. Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic that are designed to wash down your sink and shower drain as you use the cleaning product. Unfortunately, these tiny bits of plastic also make it past our water treatment facilities and flow by billions of particles into our local waterways. Microbeads sponge toxic chemical pollutants along their travels and become snacks for fish that are caught for human consumption. So, if you like to eat fresh water fish or seafood, there’s a pretty good chance those microbeads and their pollutants wind up in your stomach. Check whether you’re skin products contain microbeads by using EWG’s iphone app Skindeep or visit their website, Have a favorite natural, home-made skincare routine? Share it with us at and remember to visit us at

Page 8 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

Danville Community Band

You know about the Danville Community Band, right? Did you know that for the past decade and a half the Danville Community Band has met weekly to prepare music for their regularly scheduled concerts that are held in Danville and nearby venues? This non-profit, all-volunteer band meets and rehearses September through June so they can share their music with audiences like you. The 85+ band members come from all walks of life. They are teachers, students and retirees, as well as professionals from many differing fields of interest. They are musicians of a wide reach of ability, and their age ranges from teens to 80+ years. Being a “true” community band, it includes members from Danville and the greater tri-valley region, but also from as far as Modesto, Davis, and Vallejo. A primary goal for any music group is the enjoyment and chalStop by lenge of learning new, fun, and interesting music and our new office in the performing it to the best of its ability, and the band Alamo Courtyard members want audiences to share in that enjoyment but also learn some things too. So, in addition to the 3195 Danville Blvd #4, variety of music that the band plays, music notes are Alamo printed in the programs, and the band performances typically include a host announcer who shares music trivia about the composers and the music they have created. Who knew that the original idea for Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” came during a heat wave in July 1946? The band continues to flourish under the baton of Robert Calonico (Director of Bands at UC Berkeley) since his appointment to the podium in 2009 by founding director, Dr. Lawrence Anderson. In addition to its regular performance schedule, the band plays at the Memorial Day observance at Oakhill Park with the Viet Nam veterans of the San Ramon Valley, and the Kiwanis Independence Day parade on the 4th of July. This season has had audiences in Rossmoor enjoying a Halloween-themed performance, and the band’s annual Christmas performance was enjoyed by more than 600 holiday revelers. The band’s final two scheduled sit-down performances include their annual concert at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum at 2PM on Sunday, April 10th, entitled “Museums Around the World,” and their season finale at 3PM on Sunday, June 5th at Community Presbyterian Church, featuring “A Salute to John Williams.” Nothing warms a performer’s heart more than seeing a full house! For more information about the Danville Community Band or future performances, please visit

Charlotte Wood Middle School By Christopher George, Principal

We have been hard at work this year, moving into second semester and continuing our good work at Charlotte Wood. We are well into second semester and into continuing the efforts we have begun earlier this year, most importantly our work on assessment and on school climate. On the climate front, thanks to the joint efforts of our GSA, Leadership class and PTA, we were able to celebrate a fantastic Words Matter week at the beginning of February. This year, our campus focused on the power of positive words through Advisory activities, buttons provided by PTA and leadership, banners created by the art program, and videos created by GSA. It was a great way to showcase so many of our student leaders and to have a positive effect on our climate. We also continue with our Restorative Justice program, which has been led by Mr. Corral, Ms. Garrison, and Ms. Dalrymple. Through these efforts, which we’ve spoken of earlier in these articles, we have been able to reduce our days of suspension this year by well over 75%. We have also been able to use Restorative Justice techniques at many levels, and are beginning to work with those techniques with whole classrooms as well. We look forward to the future of this program. Furthermore, we continue to work on curriculum with our departments. We have looked at many aspects of assessment this year, with many teachers piloting Standards Based Assessments and using those principles quite well. This semester, we will continue to look at that, as well as focus on the design of clear and appropriate learning targets for students. Additionally, it is also the time of year when we begin to look towards next year, believe it or not. We will see a dip in our enrollment, which we will begin scheduling for shortly. We will continue to be in contact as we look forward to next year. As always, we are so grateful to the community for your support and help, and please continue to let us know your feedback as well. Have a great March!

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 9

Los Cerros Middle School By Evan Powell, Principal

Los Cerros had a great turn out for the Northern California Special Olympics Polar Plunge in February. Our team consisted of over 60 members, and we raised over $8,000. It was a wonderful event, and we are so thrilled to be part of such a caring and supportive community. At the end of January, our large oak tree in the center of campus was removed due to a safety concern of it falling. Two years ago, a large limb broke off during the school day with students present which initiated this process. The arborists have determined there is obvious decay, which has hollowed the trunk, making it difficult to make the tree completely safe without completely disfiguring the tree, which has led to a safety concern. The inspections also showed that removal would be the safest option given the current condition. We are working with our district maintenance department to beautify the area where the tree was removed. One of our goals is to bring more technology into our school by increasing the number of devices, using a variety of digital applications for student learning and supporting student interest with a variety of elective offerings. I would like to thank our parents and community members who have supported our technology goal by donating to specific programs through Donors Choose. Now that the second semester is under way, students continue to engage in a variety of learning experiences. Most recently, students were using iMovie to discuss current weather patterns and portray themselves as a meteorologist. Also, the use of Google Docs has been crucial to parts of student collaborative work in research, writing, and presenting. We look forward to a successful second semester and engaging our students with rigorous curriculum and activities that support student learning.

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club

Are you new to the area or a long time resident, newly retired or emptynester interested in making new friends and participating in various social activities? We are a women's organization whose purpose is to enrich the lives of all its members and their families in a social manner. Check out all we have to offer by visiting www.alamodanvillenewcomers. com. RSVP to

Page 10 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

San Ramon Valley High School By Ruth Steele, Principal

As we get closer to spring, AP testing, college acceptances and life changing decision for seniors alongside the day to day struggles that all teens experience, stress levels can begin to rise. As every parent knows, it can be hard to help your child (which includes anyone ages 0-18) especially if their stress causes you anxiety! As a high school, we are trying to find ways to lower stress on campus, but this is a team endeavor, with all adults in every child’s life having a role to play. From March 14th-18th SRVHS is running a low stress week, however there are things that we can all do, all the time to help lower stress for everyone. See below for some ways that we can help our children and ourselves to cope with the constant pressures that seem to be present in every aspect of raising our children. Encourage your child to face his/her fears, not run away from them. When we are afraid of situations we avoid them. However, avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations maintains the anxiety. Instead, if a child faces his or her fears, the child will learn that the anxiety reduces naturally in its own over time. Avoidance behavior also causes the most stress in parents – and is often misinterpreted as defiance. Try to understand why your child is avoiding something so that you can help them with strategies to overcome their fears. Tell your child that it is okay to be imperfect. Often parents feel it is necessary for our children to succeed in sports, school, and performance situations. But sometimes we forget that kids need to be kids. School becomes driven by grades, not by enjoyment of learning. Students may feel that if a test score of 85/100 is good, but not good enough. This is not to say that striving is not important. It is important to encourage your child to work hard but equally important to accept and embrace your child’s mistakes and imperfections. Focus on the positives. Many times anxious and stressed children can get lost in negative thoughts and self-criticism. They may focus on how the glass is half empty instead of half-full and worry about future events. The more that you are able to focus on your child’s positive attributes and the good aspects of a situation, the more that it will remind your child to focus on the positives. Just trying to think about the positives and things that we are grateful for can improve mood and make one feel better. Schedule relaxing activities. Children need time to relax and be kids. Unfortunately, sometimes even fun activities, like sports, can become more about success than they are about fun. Instead, it is important to ensure that your child engages in play purely for the sake of fun. This may include scheduling time each day for your child to play with toys, play a game, play a sport (without it being competitive), do yoga, paint, or just be silly. Model approach behavior, self-care, and positive thinking. Your child will do what you do. So if you avoid anxiety-provoking situations, so will your child. If you face your fears, so will your child. If you take care of yourself and schedule time for your own needs, your child will learn that self-care is an important part of life. If you look for the positive in situations, so will your child. Children learn behaviors from watching their parents. Encourage good sleep habits. Set a bedtime for your child, and stick to that bed time even on weekends. Also have a 30-45 minute bedtime routine that is done every night. This helps your child to transition from the activities of the day to the relaxed state necessary to fall asleep. Do not let them keep their cell phone or other devices in their bedroom at night time. Kids need at least nine hours sleep a night, and they often cannot create routines to ensure that this happens themselves. Tired kids are more likely to experience stress and anxiety around things that would normally not be triggers. Encourage your child to express his/her anxiety. If your child says that he or she is worried or scared, don’t say, “No you’re not!” or “You’re fine.”That doesn’t help your child. Instead, it is likely to make your child believe that you do not listen or do not understand him/ her. Instead, validate your child’s experience by saying things like, “Yes, you seem scared. What are you worried about?”Then have a discussion about your child’s emotions and fears. Help your child to problem solve. Once you have validated your child’s emotions and demonstrated that you understand your child’s experience and are listening to what your child has to say, help your child to problem solve. This does not mean solving the problem for your child. It means helping your child to identify possible solutions. If your child can generate solutions, that is great. If not, generate some potential solutions for your child, and ask your child to pick the solution that he or she thinks would work best. Stay calm. Children look to their parents to determine how to react in situations. We’ve all seenayoungchildtripandfallandthenlooktotheirparenttoseehowtoreact.Iftheparentseems concerned, the child cries. This is because the child is looking to their parent for a signal of how to react to the situation. Children of all ages pick up on their parent’s emotions and resonate with them. If you are anxious, your child will pick up on that anxiety and experience an increase in his/her own anxiety. So when you want to reduce your child’s anxiety, you must manage your own anxiety. This may mean deliberately slowing down your own speech, taking a few deep breaths to relax, and working to ensure that your facial expression conveys that you are calm. Do not give up! Anxiety and stress can be a chronic struggle, and often the source of a child’s anxiety changes over time so it can feel as though you are always putting out fires. At each grade level there are different triggers. Even our seniors need us to be there for them for support and guidance.

Stone Valley Middle School By Jon Campopiano, principal

What a month it has been! We have successfully moved into our classroom portables, and demolition of our campus will begin soon. Since 1951 there have been high levels of teaching and learning in our original classrooms. We are sad to say goodbye to them, but we are also excited for our adventure in the “Portable Village.” Students and staff have had amazing attitudes during the transition, and we are thankful for district and community support as learning has gone on without a hitch. This past week we met with the architects and builders to review the new building, and we will be thrilled to open the school in the fall of 2017. We will post pictures of the designs in mid-March on our school website at Also on our website, you will find dozens of pictures of the transition to portables, students working in our new garden, and other highlights. Stone Valley Middle School is blessed with incredibly hard working and diligent students. Over 400 students earned a 3.5 or higher, and we had 141 students with a cumulative 4.0! This couldn’t have happened without supportive parents, dynamic teachers, and school support systems that have allowed our motivated students to thrive. We continue to develop strategies, courses, and 21st Century Learning environments so all of our students can succeed to their full potential. On top of their studies, over 50 band students went with our talented teacher, Mr. Loomer, to Disneyland and performed with passion and enthusiasm, and represented Stone Valley with great pride. Finally, we are launching our PRIDE Walk Campaign. Please join us in raising funds to support the integration of technology into all classes and the reduction of class sizes in Math and English.

Monte Vista High School By Dr. Kevin Ahern, Principal

It is amazing how fast the year is going by. Over the past month, Monte Vista’s students and faculty have successfully transitioned into spring semester with the end of the school year slowly coming into focus. As an educator, February is a great time to take a deep breath and take a quick accounting of what is happening around school. We have quite a bit on the horizon – which is normal for this time in a school year – but it is nevertheless important to take in a little perspective before moving forward. In March, Monte Vista’s students will be participating in the Every15 Minutes program. This two-day campus-wide experience is designed to educate students about the dangers of alcohol and driving. On the first day, students attend an assembly where they witness a staged accident involving student actors who take on the roles of a drunk driver or accident victims. When students return to their classes, every 15 minutes a pre-selected student is removed from class as a reminder that every 15 minutes someone in America dies from an alcohol related traffic collision. The 40 Monte Vista students involved in this part of the program will then attend an overnight retreat facilitated by a staff of counselors, emergency responders, and police officers. Parents involved in the program will also attend an evening retreat which includes a speaker as well as support counselors. The most powerful part of the program comes when each student writes a letter to their parents starting out with: “Dear Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died. I never had the chance to tell you. . .” Parents are also asked to write similar letters to their children which are shared after the second day assembly. This second school-wide assembly involves a speaker who has lost a child to an alcohol-related accident as well as reading two or three of the student / parent letters. Having been personally involved in the Every 15 Minutes program as a teacher, a principal, a parent, and a victim; I can truly attest to the impact of this program. None of this would be possible without the efforts of a whole team of parents and community members. I would like to thank Gia Woodruff, Kevin Lovell, Kim Bruce, Matt Roderick (Monte Vista’s SRO), and the entire E15M parent team who have placed their energies and passions into this program. I would also like to thank Monte Vista’s PTSA, Monte Vista’s Academic Boosters, SRVUSD, Danville Police, San Ramon Valley Fire, CHP, and Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office / Coroner Division for their support of and participation in our E15M Program. Monte Vista’s winter athletic teams have mostly finished out their regular seasons. Men’s and Women’s Soccer had their NCS Playoff run, Men’s and Women’s

See Monte Vista continued on page 11

San Ramon Valley Christian Academy

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 11

By Jamie Westgate, Principal

In February our eighth grade class returned from a week long field trip to Washington D.C., Gettysburg, and New York City. This special time together produced memories that will last a lifetime! Many students reported that visiting the Tomb of the Unknowns was a highlight to their visit. While at Arlington National Cemetery, we visited the grave of a grandfather to one of our students, bringing a personal connection to this hallowed ground where none could deny that our American freedom has been bought with a price. We also had a tear-filled visit to the Marine Corps Memorial where our social studies teacher, Pam Winaker and I shared reflections on former student, Lance Corporal Joshua “Chachi” Corral, whose life was sacrificed serving our country in Afghanistan. We reminded our students that Josh expressed an interest in serving our country when he was attending his Washington D.C. trip as a SRVCA student. Our hearts were filled with pride and sadness reflecting on this young soldier of deep faith and tremendous character. A special memory unique to this year’s trip was a spontaneous visit to “David’s Tent” on the National Mall next to the Washington Monument. We learned this organization is hosting a Christian worship service 24 hours a day until Election Day in November in an effort to praise God and seek His will for our nation. We recognized the songs we often sing at chapel, so we decided to spend a few minutes joining their group to sing worship music and pray for our country. It was humbling to stop and pray in the same place where our founding fathers spent time worshiping the same God and sought His guidance for our country. In addition to visits to many museums, memorials, and historical landmarks, we also enjoyed a visit to the Broadway show Alladin. New York City was a fun place to end this special time together as we had a chance to see this busy city in action. We came home physically tired, but we were excited for all we had learned and experienced! This month I am particularly grateful for our Parent Teacher Fellowship (PTF). This hard working group of parents works tirelessly to provide meaningful activities to strengthen the relationships of our community as well as support the school. We had a fantastic auction event at Blackhawk Country Club on February 20. The theme “A Taste of Italy” proved to be “molto piacevole” as we enjoyed dinner and fellowship while raising money for new computers. We’re also looking forward to the next PTF event, Grandparents’ Day on March 18. No grandparent gets away without a damp tissue; the heartwarming chapel performances and classroom visits are sure to create a spirit of love and appreciation for this treasured generation. As always, we never have a dull moment on campus! What a blessing SRVCA has been in my life, both professionally and personally. If you are interested in learning more about the way we integrate faith into our academic program, please don’t hesitate to visit our website or school office. Happy spring to our Danville community!

Monte Vista continued from page 10

Basketball closed their regular seasons against rival San Ramon Valley, and Wrestling participated in the recent NCS Tournament. In addition, spring athletics began with over 900 athletes participating in 10 sports. Monte Vista’s arts programs are also active this month. The Monte Vista Choir recently completed their recording for National Public Radio at the San Jose State Concert Hall. Monte Vista’s Theater Department presented their winter play - Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and Monte Vista’s Music program will be performing their Spring Pops Concerts on the 24th and 25th of March. In addition, Monte Vista’s annual Mr. Mustang Contest will be held in the theater on Thursday, March 3rd. March is also a big month for reaching out to our incoming freshman from our middle schools as well as some of our ongoing students. Monte Vista’s Counseling Department will be hosting an AP Night for parents and students interested in taking Advanced Placement courses on Tuesday, March 8th and two Incoming 9th Grade Parent Nights on March 14th and 15th. Things are moving quickly at Monte Vista. I encourage you to come out to these events and support Monte Vista’s students as they continue to do amazing things in our community.

St. Isidore School

Happy Lent! By Maria Ward, Principal

“Let us Renew Our Hearts.” This is our school Lenten message for this year. During Lent, we try to do something extra for another person as well giving something up for God. Our entire school community attends liturgy together every Friday during Lent. We ask our students to bring a can of food, which supports St. Vincent de Paul. Our wonderful eighth grade students are writing daily Lenten reflections again this year. They have worked diligently with their writing teacher, Mrs. Torretta, to come up with reflections that are meaningful and heartfelt. Many of our teachers use these reflections to start their classes during Lent. If you wish to receive a daily email of these reflections, please visit this site to sign up: Did you know that St. Isidore Middle School history students engage in Socratic discussions to deepen their understanding of key historical events? In groups, our students discuss such questions as “Why do you think Thomas Jefferson chose to own slaves, even though he was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which says ‘all men are created equal’?” The students prepare for their discussions by doing research, reading, and referring to class notes as they think through their arguments. During a discussion, students practice giving everybody the opportunity to speak, rather than allowing one person to dominate the discussion. They back up their opinions with facts. Students listen actively, speak confidently, and add or update information thoughtfully into their notes. They engage deeply, listening intently, critiquing the ideas of others, and politely arguing their points or their differences in opinion. Socratic discussions help students to deepen their understanding of events that happened long ago, as well as to articulate opinions and arguments. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are thrilled that our St. Isidore School auction, “The Rhythm of New Orleans,” was a HUGE success. This year, our auction committee, spearheaded by Andrea Thiers and Melani Rivera, was truly spectacular. We are truly grateful for the endless hours of hard work, love, and dedication that these women gave to our school. We felt like they were an extension of our staff, here day after day. Our auction, held once a year, is our biggest fundraiser. It assists with keeping our tuition costs down and is a huge community builder that we look forward to each year. Our teachers and staff attend, making this event even more special. However, it is our generous parents who make our auction a big success. We would like to thank each and every person who had a hand in this event. If you are considering a Catholic school education for your children, please contact us for a private tour. We provide a home away from home where children are loved, nurtured, and educated through a strong moral foundation steeped in the Catholic faith. We would love to share our school with you. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us directly at (925) 837-2977. Our students are 21st century learners who are service based. Most importantly our students excel academically while they learn how to live out our Catholic faith. We feel blessed to be a part of this community.

Page 12 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

A Danube River Cruise Through Eastern Europe

By Mike Mullery, Alamo World Travel

My wife, Ilene, and I thoroughly enjoy river cruises. We have cruised the Danube from Budapest to Nuremburg, traveled down rivers and seen castles on the Rhine and Mosel, and sailed the Volga, the Mekong, the Napa, and our own mighty Mississippi. Although we have traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, we had not seen much of Eastern Europe. So Ilene, my father-in- law, and I decided to book a river cruise with AmaWaterways on the Eastern Danube. The three of us boarded the AmaPrima in Rousse, Bulgaria. Since this was Ilene’s and my fifth AmaWaterways cruise, and Len’s second, we knew what to expect—all-inclusive luxury, a spacious stateroom with French balcony (some staterooms have full balconies), excellent food, wine with meals, daily shore excursions, lecturers, free wi-fi, free use of bicycles, and more. Our first stop was Bucharest, the capital and cultural center of Romania with a population of nearly two million. The most notable sightseeing attraction is the 1,100-room Parliament building built by Chauchescu as a tribute to himself (I recommend not paying the $10 charge to take pictures). Bucharest was also the home of Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With river cruises, the boat docks right in the heart of each village or town. From there we set off each day for our excursion. Electronic receivers with earplugs are given out so you can always hear the guide, and different walking speeds are accommodated. We usually walk with the brisk walk group, but traveling with my father-in-law on this trip we went with the “gentle walkers.” One group bicycled for their tours. Our next stop was Vidin, Bulgaria, home to the Baba Vida fortress built in the 10th-14th centuries, and home also to the Beogradchik rock formations. The next day we passed through the Iron Gates, a gorge on the Danube between Romania and Serbia with steep cliffs and dramatic rock formations. To enjoy this most spectacular scenery, we enjoyed presentations by guest speakers and spent most of the time on the upper deck or in the front of the ship where we had perfect views. Belgrade, the capital and largest city in Serbia, was our next stop. Occupied since prehistoric times, it was conquered by the Romans, Attila the Hun, and others in past times. Ancient walls and fortresses provide fascinating sights. Next we were off to Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. It is another fascinating city with the picturesque Petrovaradin Fortress. This stop was followed by Croatia’s largest port, Vukovar, home of archeological sites dating to the Bronze Age. We then visited Pecs, another ancient city in Hungary. Every day was spent in a fascinating city and every day we took a fascinating tour. At the end of our seven-night cruise, we disembarked in Budapest, a beautiful city of bridges, hills, and castles. Ilene and I had visited Budapest in the past, and we were eager to see it again. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and knowledgeable guide. After Budapest, we took an optional tour to Vienna. Vienna is the elegant hub of art, music, and history and home to the Schönbrunn palace and Mozart. The perfect ending to our Danube adventure was an evening at the palatial Kursalon concert hall listening to Vienna’s greats, Mozart and Strauss. We hated to end our trip, but as usual, when one trip ends, we immediately started planning additional trips. A word of warning, if you have not travelled--it is addictive! Mike Mullery has 10 years’ experience as a travel agent and many more years travelling. He has cruised on 15 different cruise lines mainly on the ocean, but he has also taken nine river cruises and many land tours. He has been in 50+ countries and 48 states. He can be reached at 925-837-8742 x 14. Mike’s wife, Ilene, has owned Alamo World Travel and Tours for 35 years. Alamo World Travel provides professional travel service on cruises, tours, river cruises, and resorts for individuals and groups. The office is located at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 255, in Alamo Commons between Ace Hardware and the Peasant’s Courtyard restaurant. Please stop by, call, or email Or visit which has extensive destination information and hundreds of cruises and tours to explore. Advertorial

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Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 15

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Spring Pruning

By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb

Once again, it’s that time of year when the landscape grows lush, beautiful... and out of control. At Brende & Lamb, we prune to balance the practical with the aesthetic. When our clients ask us to restore their views, bring more light into their gardens, and reduce fire hazards, we do our best to keep their screening intact and to protect their privacy. At the same time, we work hard to enhance the natural beauty of their trees. Balancing your tree care needs are skills we’ve developed over decades of caring for trees.

Aesthetic Pruning

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

Pruning and Size Reduction

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

Harley Farms By Linda Summers Pirkle

Brilliant yellow mustard fields, tulips and daffodils popping up, and baby animals are some my favorite signs of the coming spring. I had the luck to grow up in the Bay Area in the 60’s, and our family home located on the east side of Danville backed up to hills and a pasture for cows. What fun it was seeing springtime calves from my own backyard. Probably the cutest animal in my limited exposure in the farm category is a baby goat. On a recent trip to Pescadero my husband and I happened to be at the right place at the right time. As we walked up to the entrance of Harley Farms Goat Farm and Cheese Shop, a chalk board sign welcomed us with the exciting news that a showing of the first baby goats born this spring was to take place at noon. As scheduled, a tall young man dressed in jeans and flannel shirt walked by carrying two adorable little kids, just two days old. He placed them in a small fenced area with the mama goat. What a show those little guys put on for our group of excited onlookers. Up and down they went with their little wobbly legs. Every so often they took time out from their adventures to rest and nuzzle each other. It was so adorable. The mama goat provided sustenance after their many attempts at standing and walking. Harley Farms, a restored 1910 dairy farm, is located in Pescadero, an hour and half drive from the Bay Area where Alpine American goats are raised on the 12 acre farm. The goats are milked each day at 5AM and 5PM, and each goat produces a gallon of milk per day. That gallon is made into one pound of delicious cheese. You can purchase fromage blanc, ricotta, and feta made with edible flowers, basil, sunflower seeds, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and pistachios. Harley Farms cheeses have won over thirty national ribbons from the American Cheese Society and two world medals. I spoke to Meryl, part-time Harley Farms employee, while she was assembling delicious samples of crusty French bread slices with award winning cheese. “It’s always a good day at Harley Farms. We rarely get the cranky customer. Who can be that way with all these goats?” She mentioned that the recipes for Harley Farms products including Lavender honey, Habanera jelly and my favorite, Harissa hot sauce (North African spicy sauce) are the recipes from Harley Farms’ Chef Joe. The owner of Harley Farms, Dee Harley, was at the register on our visit. She

A healthier tree, and more subtly beautiful look, is achieved by thinning to highlight the spaces or “layers” in a tree’s natural patterns. Removing diseased wood, and removing or reducing crossing branches that interrupt the natural flow, lets in more light and air, encouraging interior growth and overall health. Careful pruning can increase desired screening over time by encouraging interior growth.

Aesthetic View Work

In view work, the beauty of the view and the beauty of the tree often seem to be in conflict. Some tree-workers will sacrifice the tree for the view by “topping” the tree. Topping is almost always a bad idea. “Topping” creates a dense re-growth in “water-sprouts” that is unsightly. But more than the tree’s beauty is at stake here. Topping wounds the tree and promotes disease, including heart rot, and can make the tree dangerous. The water-sprouts on a topped tree are not deeply anchored in the trunk and are subject to failure in high winds. Add in the fact that these sprouts may be anchored onto a rotting trunk, and you have a safety problem that gets worse over time. Responsible arborists do not top trees. Removing a tree, perhaps replacing it with a smaller variety that can be kept out of the view, is usually preferable to beheading it. Looking at tree and view as two elements that complement each other can often solve view problems. Sometimes, lightly bringing the tree back without cutting into major branches can prevent further encroachment on the view. To open even more of the view, we create windows by selectively removing branches not essential for the tree’s natural form. We can enlarge these windows by removing branchlets that rise or drop into the view. Thinning above and below the window creates a feeling of openness, rather than a gaping hole. The image formed by Mt. Diablo framed by the trembling leafs of a well-windowed tree proves that nature and civilization can complement each other. If your trees need a little TLC, please call 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website www. to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial said they expect over 300 babies to be born during kid season which lasts from mid-February to late May. With her delightful British accent (she is from Northern England in Yorkshire) she welcomed visitors all morning and answered questions about goats and the many products in the country store. Lines were long, but no one seemed to mind since everyone was sampling the various delicious cheeses, truffles, honey, and delicious cheesecake (chocolate and lemon). Harley Farms is located at 205 North Street, Pescadero. Their website is and phone number is (650) 879-0480. Spring time hours are Thursday thru Monday, 10AM - 4PM. Tours which last an hour sell out quickly; check their website for availability. You may visit Harley Farms and see the goats in the pasture (along with llamas) without taking a tour. Their online calendar lists the various events throughout the year including Solstice tours, May Day events, and Equinox tours. Their Farmstead lunches and dinners are very popular. Harley Farms is available for private events and weddings. An added bonus when visiting Harley Farms in the springtime is the 12 mile stretch of incredible views along Cabrillo Highway with field after field of gorgeous bright yellow mustard and the ocean beyond. Linda Summers Pirkle, travel consultant and long term Danville resident, has arranged and led 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. “What a great place to live, so much to see, so much to do.” To share your “Quick Trips” ideas email Two day old baby kids at Harley Farms

Life in the Danville Garden

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 17

Design and Budget By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect #4059

If you browse through my website or Houzz portfolio, you will see projects that are quite distinctively different. People have commented on how different each garden is. I find it intriguing that many questions I am asked are about Design and Budget, so it inspired me to write about it. I want to dispel the myth that good creative design is expensive! First, expensive is relative to each family’s budget. Every project and client is different. Therefore, everybody’s design goals and budget are different. Budgets are purely client driven by their wants and scope of the project. Everyone has a list of what they want and desire. Some clients have BIG want lists and are willing to “invest” in the budget to HAVE what they want, while others only want some simple advice to do the work themselves. I work with my clientele hand-in-hand with Design and Budget. I am well aware that while design options are limitless, most budgets are not. Good creative design need not be expensive; good creative design needs to be executed within the budget parameters. I require my clients to make tough decisions about their wants and budget so as to meet their expectations. The last thing I want is to create a beautiful garden on paper that isn’t within reach financially; I am committed to having my clients living in them! When a client interviews our firm to do their project, they basically want to know two things: “How much are your fees going to be,” and “How much is my project going to cost?” To answer the first question, which is easier to answer, my fee for every project; whether or not it is a landscape renovation, small project or a big one, is based on the scope of services I provide. I love working on all aspects of a garden. We have three basic services: consulting, design, and construction assistance. My landscape design team has a two hour minimum for consulting on items like garden spruce ups, drought renovations, flower pots, and annual color borders, etc. Our design services include garden make-overs, conceptual master plans, construction documents, and planting plans. Construction assistance includes helping you with contractor selection, bids, on-site decisions, and project observation. In response to the second question, project costs are driven by a client’s wants. People know what they want, but often times they don’t know what it costs. In general, client’s wants exceed what they think it’s going to cost! The way I work gives you choice over what you invest. I am interested in identifying how much you are willing to “invest” into your home and what’s appropriate to the home and your family budget. Before I design anything I evaluate your wants and desires, and I weigh those items against your budget. Once these parameters are understood, I begin the design, and at every step of the process I provide a lineitem cost analysis so choices and decisions can be made regarding the design and budget concurrently. I love what I do! With more than 35 years in the garden, my clients’ and my own, I understand the enjoyment we receive from our gardens, whether small or large. Not only am I a licensed landscape architect, but I am also a passionate gardener! I am dedicated to designing garden environments that produce the feelings you wish to have when you are in them: inspiration, rejuvenation, relaxation, playful, peaceful… Good creative design doesn’t have to be expensive; it has to be good creative design within your budget! A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Over the years I have observed that good design can save you money in the long run by doing it right the first time! Gardening Quote of the month: How much the making of a garden, no

matter how small, adds to the joy of living, only those who practice the arts and the science can know. ~ E. H. Wilson If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas visit or www. Advertorial

Page 18 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

Focusing on the pressures of daily living causes most folks to suffer from bouts of “Plant Blindness.” James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler, both botanists and educators, introduced the term in 1998 to emphasize the critical role plants play in supporting life on earth. Their broad definition includes “the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment, leading to the inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs.” The term also applies to the general populace’s failure to notice any horticultural specimen not currently putting on an eye-catching display of flowers or fruit. Taking time to appreciate the subtler aesthetic qualities and sophisticated adaptations of plants is a sure cure for this type of visual impairment. A leisurely stroll through Markham Nature Park and Arboretum affords an easy means of connecting with remarkably diverse plants. The relatively flat Tree Walk highlights 45 species from around the globe including those described below. Ancestors of the evergreen colloquially called Catalina Ironwood or Santa Cruz Island Ironwood avoided extinction by clinging to rocky slopes on the Channel Islands off California’s coast. Thought to be the rarest type of tree in America when found by William Scrugham Lyon in 1884, the single-species genus is named Lyonothamnus floribundus for the discoverer. Fossil evidence, however, suggests several related species once populated the southwestern US. Late in the nineteenth century, a single specimen was re-introduced to the mainland by a bit of botanical piracy. Having failed repeatedly to grow Catalina Ironwood from seed, Dr. Francesco Franceschi took a boat trip with his sons to fetch a full-grown tree. At the time, digging up an endangered species was not illegal, but the Coast Guard suspected the craft was piloted by smugglers and fired upon it until the vessel began to leak. Furiously bailing all the way back to Santa Barbara Harbor, the Franceschi crew reached port safely. Franceschi’s granddaughter supplied the version of this adventure published by Pacific Horticulture in July 1976. Her grandfather, born Emanuel Orazio Fenzi in 1843, grew up in the family palace in Florence. An 1891 reversal of fortunes brought him to California, where he changed his name. Returning to Italy in 1913, he adopted the Fenzi surname again. Wherever he went, Franceschi/Fenzi added note-worthy plants to the landscape. By 1897, Franceschi had propagated sufficient stock to list Lyonthamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius in his nursery catalogue. The trunk sheds gray strips of mature bark revealing colorful cinnabar bark beneath. Fragrant feathery foliage accounts for a third common name: Fern-leaved Ironwood. Pollinating insects and birds relish the huge clusters of white flowers produced in spring and summer. Melaleuca linariifolia, a deciduous tree hailing from Australia, also has attractive exfoliating bark. A poetic description likening the look to a Georgia O’Keefe painting is posted on in an October 2005 Regional Report. The close-up photograph included substantiates the comparison. Parchment-like sheets of bark interleaved with spongy layers generate a remarkable gnarled texture. To the degree that plant blindness permits motorists to avoid braking unexpectedly to admire the row of specimens planted along Palo Alto’s Foothill Expressway, the condition possibly has some beneficial side effects. Mature members of this species have an umbrella-like silhouette. An audible buzz warns of bees busying themselves in the fragrant bottlebrush blossoms. The floral display frequently turns the entire canopy white. Common names are completely appropriate: Flaxleaf Paperbark and Snow-in-Summer. Unlike most drought tolerant plants, this species is also able to grow in boggy places. Loquats, probably native to China, have grown in Japan for more

than 1,000 years. Their broad evergreen leaves are ornamental enough to be favored for floral arrangements. Luther Burbank identified the fruit as worthy of experimentation. Although he had an Eriobotrya japonica imported from Japan in his Santa Rosa orchard that bore large delicious fruit, he wrote: “It is quite commonly grown in California and similar climates for the decoration of parks and home grounds, but most varieties grown for the purpose bear little or no fruit.” Mature trees are quite hardy, but because they blossom in winter the season’s fruit set can be sacrificed to temperatures below 26ºF during flowering. Not a good keeper, loquats are not commercially produced in the US in substantial quantities. Japan, however, harvests 17,000 tons annually. The Chinese use loquat syrup for sore throats and as an ingredient in cough drops. While their common names come from the same Chinese root, loquats and kumquats are not botanically related.

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 19

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Guarding Against Will and Trust Contests By Robert J. Silverman, Esq.

In the course of drafting a Will, Will amendment (Codicil), Revocable Living Trust, or a Trust amendment (collectively referred to as “estate planning documents,”) some clients ask about the best way to prevent someone from challenging the applicable documents in the future. This is a fair question but not necessarily a simple one to answer. Generally, there is no legal inheritance assumption or expectation. If someone is not designated as a beneficiary under an estate planning document, she will typically only prevail in a Will or Trust contest if compelling evidence proves that the decedent nevertheless intended her to be a beneficiary. An exception applies for a spouse or child who has been “omitted” or “pretermitted.” This law gives relief to a spouse or child when a person (hereafter referred to as a “testator”): a) establishes a Will or Trust; b) later marries and/or has a child; and c) dies without amending her documents to provide for the spouse or child. Essentially, the law presumes that the spouse or child was inadvertently omitted by the testator. The scope of this law and associated planning is beyond the scope of this article; however, careful drafting of estate planning documents - before and after a testator marries (or remarries) or has children (or additional children) - is critical to prevent unintended consequences. Aside from the above exception, anyone can generally file a contest of a Will or a Trust on any number of grounds. Common grounds are: lack of capacity, undue influence, forgery, lack of due execution, duress, fraud, revocation, or that a beneficiary is a “disqualified” person (a relevant statute presumptively voids gifts to certain people). Of course, a contestant may or may not have valid or strong legal grounds and thus may or may not prevail in the litigation. What reasonable steps can a testator take to try to prevent the filing of a Will or Trust contest? First and foremost, the testator should obtain expert legal advice from an experienced trust/estates attorney. The attorney should make a threshold determination about: whether the testator has legal “capacity” - basically the ability to understand who her close relatives are, what her assets consist of, and to whom she wishes to receive those assets upon her death. The attorney should also assess whether there are signs that the testator is being unduly influenced by anyone about the terms of the Will or Trust being created or amended. Next, a “no contest” provision - commonly included in estate planning documents - should be considered. The objective of such a clause is to help prevent a Will or Trust contest when a contestant has no probable cause to support the filing of the lawsuit. If included, such a clause should be comprehensive, clearly drafted and consistent with current applicable law (which changed materially in 2010). As the examples below suggest, a testator needs sound legal advice about a prospective “no contest” provision and related estate planning document terms. Under a properly drafted “no contest” clause, if any beneficiary files a contest or challenges the validity of applicable estate planning documents and is found by a judge to have done so without probable cause (i.e. grounds), then the contestant loses the right to receive whatever beneficial interest she would otherwise have received under the documents. Suppose that a testator has an estate of $2 million and she wants to execute estate planning documents that: a) completely disinherit her son, and b) contain a “no contest” clause. While this is fine conceptually, an important practical problem exists. Regardless of how weak or non-existent the son’s grounds may be to contest his mother’s estate planning documents, the clause doesn’t provide a useful “stick” if he still chooses to do so. If the son files and loses the Will or Trust contest litigation, he hasn’t lost or risked anything (except attorneys’ fees) - he would have received nothing under the documents anyway. Alternatively, if her documents include a relatively modest cash gift (say, $50,000 or $100,000) to her son, then the “stick” may be effective in pre-empting a potential Will or Trust contest by him. In that event, if he files a contest without probable cause and loses, he would forfeit the $50,000 or $100,000 that he would have otherwise received. I offer a complimentary Estate Planning Primer and/or a free, introductory meeting. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group specializing in estate planning, trust administration and probate, real estate, and business taxes. They are located at 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; 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 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News


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Contra Costa’s County Animal Services Department is Serving You

Nearly every community in Contra Costa utilizes the County’s Animal Services Department. Antioch is the only city that has its own program. Contra Costa’s Animal Services Department is committed to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all people and animals in our community through enforcing state and local laws, providing compassionate care for every animal regardless of its temperament or condition, and reducing the number of animals that enter our County shelters. To help the County achieve its mission, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recently appointed Beth Ward to be the new animal services director. She replaced retired director Glenn Howell, who had served the department for over a decade. Ms. Ward brings a wealth of experience in animal service and welfare. She came to the County after serving as the vice president of the Silicon Valley Humane Society and previously as the director of animal care for the Peninsula Humane Society. Ms. Ward plans to place an increased emphasis on lifesaving, with a goal of significantly reducing the number of euthanized animals, and animal surrenders, increasing the department’s live-release rates. Contra Costa Animal Services is the largest animal welfare organization in Contra Costa County. The department operates two shelters, in Martinez and Pinole, where it provides high-quality animal care services: shelters homeless, abandoned and lost animals; places animals in safe, caring homes; and provides education and services to enhance the lives of people and their animal companions. Since most cities rely on the County’s Animal Services, our officers are kept quite busy. The job duties and responsibilities of our Animal Services Officers range far and wide. Below are just some of the services our Officers, Sergeants, and Lieutenants perform on a daily basis. • Animal cruelty investigations • Nuisance investigations • Loose and/or injured livestock response • Animal rescue • Stray dog patrols • Response to rattlesnake calls • Illegal animal fighting investigations (dog fighting and cockfighting) • Sick and injured animal pick-up (domestic animals and wildlife) • Response to dead or live animal impound requests • Public education regarding the safe handling and humane care of animals Are you interested in helping? Our Animal Services team is always in need of volunteers. The only requirement is that you must be at least 18 years of age. Some areas that need volunteers include Martinez Lost and Found, Canine Companion, Feline Friend, Bunny Buddy, Humane Education, MobileAdoption Team, and Foster Program, to name but a few. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Noell Crosse, Manager, Volunteer Program at (925) 335-8335 or via email at For more information, to file a complaint, or to request assistance on any of the above, please call (925) 335-8300 Tuesday through Friday, 8AM to 9PM, and Saturday 8:30AM to 5PM. After regular business hours or on Sunday, Monday, and major holidays, please call the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at (925) 646-2441. My office is here to serve the residents of Contra Costa County District 2, which includes San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Saranap, Parkmead, Lafayette, Moraga, Canyon, and Orinda. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can provide you with additional information on this topic or on other County issues. I can be reached at or (925) 957-8860.

How to Gift $25M to Heirs without Estate Taxes

By Robert Cucchiaro, Certified Financial Planner

Effective wealth management is about much more than picking the right stocks and bonds for your portfolio. In fact, one of the biggest concerns our clients face has to do with the potential estate taxes that their heirs will owe when they die. As a reminder on how estate and gift taxes work, there are two main concepts to remember. 1. Each person can gift up to $14K per year to as many people as you want to and owe no gift tax. So a married couple with three kids and six grandkids can give away $252K per year and owe no gift taxes. To break that down, it’s $14K x 2 spouses x 9 beneficiaries = $252K per year without any gift tax. If you employed this strategy for the next 10 years, you would have gifted away $2.5M without any gift taxes due 2. Each person can leave up to $5.45M to their heirs, either at death or during their lifetime, and owe no estate or gift tax. This means a married couple could gift almost $11M to their heirs and owe no estate or gift taxes. While these concepts are important enough, they gain even more meaning when you factor in something called “discounted gifts.” The IRS also allows a thing called discounting, wherein a dollar may be worth less than a dollar when it comes to gifting. Allow me to illustrate this with an example. • Joe and Mary own 50% of ABC Manufacturing Co, an S corporation worth $50M. They own their shares inside of their revocable living trust and want to gift some of their shares to their kids for two reasons: first, so that their kids can eventually take over the family business, and second, so that their kids can start to receive some of the profits from the business now as they are in a lower tax bracket than Joe and Mary. • Let’s assume their shares are worth $25M (50% of $50M), and they want to gift 40% to their kids. That gift should be valued at $10M (40% of $25M) which means of their combined lifetime gift limit of $10.9M, they would have used $10M. However, this is where discounting comes in. The IRS allows Joe and Mary to discount the value of those shares by as much as 40% for things like lack of control, lack of marketability, etc. Let’s assume their CPA and estate tax attorney agree that in this case, a 30% discount is appropriate. That means their $10M gift only “costs” them $7M as far as their lifetime gifting limit is concerned. Now here’s the fun part. Let’s assume that the $10M gift (40% of the shares of ABC Manufacturing) went into an irrevocable trust that Joe & Mary set up for their kids and grandkids (nine beneficiaries in total). Once inside the trust, assume that the shares of ABC Manufacturing stock grew by 10% per year. Let’s also assume that the Joe and Mary used their annual gifts of $14K per person to fund this same trust, and that those gifts amounted to $252K per year, and that once invested inside of the trust, that money grew at 6% per year. In 10 years this irrevocable trust would be worth over $26,000,000, and that money would be estate tax free when Joe and Mary die. The best part is that Joe and Mary would have only used $7M of their lifetime gifting credit which means they still have almost $4M left. Given that the estate tax is 40%, this strategy saved Joe and Mary’s kids and grandkids over $10M in estate taxes! The falling stock market is on everyone’s mind, as are fears of a recession in 2016. Just remember, while falling asset prices may not present a good time to sell assets, they do present a great time to gift them. Robert Cucchiaro is a Certified Financial Planner and a registered tax preparer. He is a Partner and owner of Summit Wealth & Retirement, a financial planning firm that has been serving business owners in Danville for almost 30 years. Rob specializes in retirement, investment, tax, and estate planning. To learn more or read more articles like this one, visit www. Advertorial

Technology Matters

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

Your privacy is very important. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you are aware of how little of your pubic-data privacy still exists, in particular because of the arrival of so many online databases. There are still things that are not publicly available, however, and if you wish to keep them to yourself, read on. In my experience there are three primary methods by which your personal data gets exposed. The first is when your computer becomes infected and information is electronically gleaned by the “bad guys,” such as by a keystroke logger. The second is when we voluntarily give our information away, such as when we’re tricked by a “phishing” expedition into divulging personal information, perhaps over the phone. The third is when our computing gear is stolen, such as when your laptop, tablet, or smartphone is stolen out of your bag. It’s this third scenario I’m going to focus on, because it has unfortunately become so prevalent. Luckily, there are ways to protect against someone taking advantage of your information if they steal your device. In the financial and medical sectors, it’s now common practice to apply disk encryption to laptops and desktops containing client financial or patient medical information. You may have heard of a recent case where the San Bernardino terrorists used an iPhone’s protection capability, and the FBI was asking for Apple’s help to open the system. How that plays out is anyone’s guess, but suffice it to say, the protection certainly did its job and is impeding the FBI’s ability to get at the information they need to break open the details of the attack. Disk encryption is a process by which the data on the hardisk is scrambled in a predetermined manner according to a specific “key” usually 128, 256 or more

MRAS continued from front page

Walk, a relatively flat trail through 2.4 acres. MRAS Past-President and current Vice-President, Fundraising, Arti Kirch has gotten involved in almost every aspect of the organization. Often volunteering more hours weekly than any paid position would demand, she is totally enthused about her commitment. “I don’t think there’s a better thing to do,” she says. “Ask anyone who has visited, and they will tell you that the Markham offers such solace – a refuge for all living things from the many challenges of our lives – that caring for it is caring for our community. It is also a place to make a stand for what sustainability looks like as we confront climate change.” Kirch is proud of Markham’s leadership in demonstrating the bounty and beauty of plants naturally adapted to supporting Contra Costa life. “Plants are thrilling. The drama that goes on with them – their lust for life, survival and reproduction – is heightened for me by a basic fact: life as we know it – like oxygen in the atmosphere – is simply not possible without them.” As an almost all-volunteer organization (part-time paid positions are Nursery Manager and Administration), MRAS is able to offer trail-walks and classes at remarkably affordable prices (frequently free to members) and sometimes, like the March 12th presentation, free to all. During that Saturday’s 9-1 plant sale, Diane Goldsmith will enlighten attendees from 10-11:30AM on “Adding Succulents to an Existing Garden.“ Diane has gardened in Orinda for 30 years and is a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, a Qualified Water Efficiency Landscaper, and also a Markham member. She will use selections from the Markham Nursery to illustrate plants that work well with succulents. Long before joining the MRAS Board, Patrice Hanlon brought Kids & Creeks groups to the site. Her Markham projects combine her passion for teaching and expertise as long-time Heather Farm Garden Director. “Galindo Creek is a wonderful resource for teaching about wildlife since it is accessible and still natural. It makes you forget you are in an urban area. Exploration of creek critters and the plants living there is an activity that everyone seems to enjoy. Even if they don’t get their feet wet, they love observing what we find.” Hanlon enjoys engaging folks of all ages in investigating the intricate details of flora and fauna. “It’s all about slowing down. It works with all types of groups. Taking a hand lens to look at the shape of a bud or spores on the underside of a fern surprises and delights adults as well as children.” Hanlon welcomes individuals from RES SUCCESS (a program serving adults with developmental disabilities and Autism spectrum disorders) to Markham twice a month. Tasks they enjoy encompass a full range of volunteer activities. “Propagating plants is a great learning tool for adults on the Autism spectrum; they see first hand their accomplishments when their plants grow,” Hanlon notes. “For instance, we divided succulents and repotted them for a fundraiser, and for them it was a chance to see their contribution as volunteers is important.”

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Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 21 characters in length, which is safely held by the owner of the computer. If someone unauthorized attempts to read that hardisk information without the decryption key, the data on the disk appears scrambled, unreadable. We are told that even a certain government agency with a football-field-sized computer facility under their building in Maryland does not have enough computing power necessary to “break” a basic 256 byte encryption key. There currently isn’t enough computing power assembled in one place to break one of these keys in anything resembling a timely manner. What we are attempting to do with encryption is to drive the cost of the theft up so high that nobody would have the resources required to get at the information. When it becomes clear there is no way to access this data within their lifetime, it becomes apparent that it would be more worthwhile for the criminal to find another way to steal the data. In some cases, such as the protected iPhone I mentioned above, there are also built-in mechanisms to fry the device if someone tries to get into it too many times. When that happens, the whole device is scrambled and wiped forever, and the data is lost. In cases like that, you wouldn’t even start trying to decrypt the device because you only get 10 chances before it goes “poof.” If you travel with a smartphone, tablet, or a laptop, I would definitely take steps to protect or encrypt it. As a company owner, I would encrypt every single mobile computer and every computer that contained sensitive compliance-related information. Encryption is a great way to ensure business-to-business confidentiality agreements are enforceable and to be able to prove your information is being kept safe. There are right ways and wrong ways to do this, so it’s important to have a very good implementation plan before diving into this project. As I mentioned above, if you accidentally lock yourself out of a system, you will not get back in, so an implementation using the right products and methods is crucial. Also, not all encryption systems are created equal, so its best to evaluate which type of system would be best suited for your environment. The most prevalent complaint regarding encryption is that because it involves so much CPU and disk overhead, it can slow down your computer. Encryption definitely works better on a newer, well-configured computer, and I would never recommend it on a computer more than a year or two old, or on one with less than an Intel i5 processor. These are some of the things you should consider before installing encryption. Talk to a professional before you take the plunge so you have a great experience. You may always reach us at, or 925-552-7953. Advertorial COMPUTER SERVICES: PCs/Macs/Tablets/Smartphones • Upgrades • Maintenance • Networking • Data Recovery • Virus/Malware Removal • Back-up Solutions • Email/ Hosted Exchange IT DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION: IT Strategy Development • IT Infrastructure Assessment • Cloud Services IT INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT: Desktop, Server, & Network Monitoring and Management • Office Move Management • Disaster Preparedness

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Page 22 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News


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Menopause Matters

Factual information about changes in health and wellness after a woman’s final menstrual period By Timothy Leach, MD, FACOG, CNMP

I want to share evidenced based scientific information endorsed by the North American Menopause Society-NAMS (, the professional medical society devoted exclusively to menopausal health in North American women. To understand why menopause matters … some overview of menopause definitions, demographics, and quality of life are in order. Menopause represents the permanent cessation of menses resulting from the loss of ovarian function. Menopause is a normal, physiologic event, defined as 12 months following a woman’s final menstrual period (FMP). There is no blood test that can tell you when your menopause will occur. Menopause has different stages (pre/transition/post), to be defined in future columns) and is most often a naturally occurring event (spontaneously) such that by 52-years-old, about 50% of women have not had a period for 12 months. Menopause can also be induced through medical intervention (surgery, chemotherapy, and pelvic radiation therapy). Accurate information about physiologic changes, management of meno-

Aspirin and Colorectal Cancer By Jewel Johl, MD

Colorectal cancer ranks among the most common malignancies in the United States and other economically developed countries. Approximately six percent of individuals will be diagnosed with this malignancy during their lifetime. The risk of colorectal cancer can be reduced by screening with colonoscopy. Besides screening, prevention of this cancer through use of certain diets, change in lifestyle factors, and use of medications has been an area of active research in recent years. In the late 1980’s, aspirin use was coincidentally found to lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Since then, various clinical studies have been conducted that have shown that aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the risk of adenomas in the colon (which are precursors of colon cancer in most cases) and colorectal cancer in the range of 20-40%. Some studies have shown an even greater benefit. While most of the studies were conducted in patients at high risk of developing colorectal cancer such as those with a history of colon cancer or adenomas, other studies have also found benefit of aspirin and NSAIDS in people without any risk of colorectal cancer. The way aspirin and NSAIDS reduce the risk of development of adenomas, polyps, and colorectal cancer has also been studied extensively. These medications have been shown to reduce formation of cancer through inhibition of certain enzymes in the cells that promote cancer growth. While we do know the beneficial effects of aspirin and NSAIDS for reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, the question still remains in terms of optimal dose and duration of use of these medications. Some studies have shown benefit of using 81 mg of aspirin, while others used 325 mg dose of aspirin. Duration of aspirin use also varied between two years to more than five years. While the dose and duration of aspirin has varied considerably in various clinical studies, most of them have shown a consistent benefit in terms of reducing the risk of developing colon cancer. One must also be aware of risks of taking aspirin include bleeding from the stomach and other parts of intestine and risk of kidney injury, and therefore you should always consult with your physician to see if aspirin or NSAIDs are right for you. Regular screening colonoscopies and healthy diet have proven benefits without major risks and should always be a priority. Dr. Johl is a Medical Oncologist with Diablo Valley Oncology & Hematology Medical Group. He sees patients in Pleasant Hill and Brentwood. Join Dr. Johl and other medical experts at an educational event focusing on the unique issues of patients with colon cancer on March 24 at 6:30PM at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center. For more information, call (925) 677-5041. Advertorial

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 23 pause symptoms, and reducing disease risk is essential to midlife. Today most women live far beyond their FMP, which was not always the case. Approximately 6,000 U.S. women reach menopause every day, and by 2020 there will be well over 50 million women who are no longer menstruating. Women can expect to spend approximately a third of their lives living after their FMP. My goal is to help you live this third of your life while maintaining a high quality of life (QOL). All women experience menopause, but each one does so in a unique way. Some may view the end of fertility as liberation from needing to use birth control, while others may grieve for the children they never had. The level of menopausal symptoms will also have an influence on how a woman perceives her “unique” menopause. Diverse social and cultural differences can affect a woman’s experience of menopause and her view of menopause treatments, all contributing to her overall health and well being. In one study 80% of women experiencing menopause reported no decrease in quality of life (QOL); 75% of women denied experiencing any loss in their attractiveness. Most (62%) women reported positive attitudes toward menopause itself. Only about 10% of postmenopausal women participating in community-based studies reported feelings of despair, irritability, or fatigue during the menopause transition. Fortunately, today menopause is better understood and more openly discussed then ever before. Collaboration between a woman and her healthcare professional (family practice, internal medicine, ob/gyn), characterized by mutual respect and trust, is the goal of menopausal counseling. Menopause counseling can facilitate informed decision-making and validate a woman’s confidence in her decisions and in her ability to carry them out or modify them over time. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is a trusted resource that can help patients around the country find a doctor who is a certified menopausal practitioner. On the NAMS website (www.menopause. org) click on the “For Women” title and then you will find a link under the Menopause FAQs to “Find a Menopause Practitioner.” I hope that you find this monthly column scientifically factual and informative in maximizing your health and wellness for this time in your life, that is why menopause matters. Future columns will explore timing of important health screens, midlife body changes, clinical issues such as hot flashes/night sweats (which can happen during the day), and changes in vaginal and urinary health. I plan to share NAMS opinions about complimentary and alternative medicines, and non-prescription and prescription therapies for the various clinical diagnoses that can affect women in menopause. Visit my website at for links to resources and our Facebook page: Timothy Leach MD for more information. My office is located at 110 Tampico, Suite 210 in Walnut Creek. Please call us at 925935-6952. Advertorial

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Page 24 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

Your Personal Nutritionist

Consulting with Companies on In-House Meals and Snacks By Linda Michaelis RD, MS

I see many clients that work in offices from Bishop Ranch to Silicon Valley to San Francisco. Their employers frequently offer generous lunches and snacks galore. Yes, this certainly keeps people at work and allows for bonding and the social connections necessary to create a successful business.Such a benefit, however, is offset by the fact that one of my new clients has gained 20 pounds and is prediabetic in the two years he has worked at his job. Unfortunately, the person who orders the food at most companies is usually an administrative assistant who makes orders according to a preset budget from a local catering company or restaurant and makes their food decisions based on what they think is popular. The owners or executives of these companies are usually too busy to put time into deciding what is the most nutritious for their staff and do not realize that the choices are causing weight gain and health problems. I frequently provide lunch presentations at many local companies. At one of my “Lunch and Learn” presentations on Food and Mood, I was discussing how food affects one’s mood, and there I was surrounded by the normal vending machines and baskets of Cokes, juices, candy, and chips. I was struck by the contrast of my audience learning about healthy food choices in their daily lives but never giving a thought about their junky food supply at work. As usual, I was honest in my talk and said if they wanted to feel most efficient on the job, the selection of snacks and drinks had to change. At another recent engagement at a high tech firm in Oakland I saw spaghetti and meatballs for lunch with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. I call this sleepy food. It is high in fat and carbs with very little protein and fiber. Most of the people were surprised with what I said because they love their free lunches. But, how can anyone be successful at eating well if they are eating these unhealthy lunches? I told the lunch presentation attendee to ask his boss about having me

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Tiven Racioppo, MRAS Vice-President, Volunteers & Plant Sales, learned to propagate plants as a Tuesday morning volunteer, never imagining she would become lead volunteer coordinator for MRAS. She explains why Markham volunteers love their work. “Spending three hours in the sunshine, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow volunteers, and getting your hands in the dirt solves a lot of life’s issues.” Tiven is endlessly amazed at how tasks are accomplished. “Each volunteer brings a special gift. It’s rewarding and inspiring to see what they do, and Markham couldn’t do anything without them.” Preparing plants and informative signage for Markham’s major Saturday plant sales is part of Tiven’s role. Danville resident Migget Weber regularly devotes hours to helping. Many enthusiasts, including current MRAS President Judith Sherwood, discover Markham through the sales. Sherwood notes, “I buy mostly natives and some edibles, feeling that yards should provide food and shelter for our wildlife, or food for us.” Her Concord garden has been featured on the Bringing Back the Natives Tour, and Markham will once again be selling plants during the 2016 BBN event on May 2nd and 3rd. “I’ve always found my success rate to be excellent with Markham plants,” she adds. Alamo resident Linda Holmes comments, “I first visited the Markham for a plant sale that featured unusual tomatoes grown from seed by local people. Markham provided an excellent plant list with detailed descriptions of taste and appearance.” Holmes found Markham when elected President of Diablo Women’s Garden Club. “I felt that part of leading a garden club should be paying attention to and honoring the jewels in our area, so I focused on exploring local parks to share the special treats right here.” Danville resident Nancy Jan served on the MRAS Board during the 25th anniversary year. Vicki Brown, another Danville Markham supporter has brought groups for workshops and plant sales. She recalls Chris Christensen, Markham workshops like this one in irrigation educate Board Member Emeri- participants in sustainable practices.

come to consult with the company to change their vendor selections and catering menu while sticking to the company budget. My initial consultation there has grown to where now I work with numerous companies in the Bay Area. Luckily, many of these companies I work with are located close to a Trader Joe’s which carry items included on a list I wrote of snacks for the company to have on hand at the office. In addition, I have met with their vending machine suppliers to arrange having beverages containing no sugar such as Propel, iced tea, and sparkling flavored waters. I worked with the managers of several catering companies who were providing meals to the companies and was able to create menus that consisted of the food items available in their kitchen that still could be provided within their budget. The employees were thrilled about the change in seeing more interesting entrees such as chicken piccata with spinach and whole wheat pasta, a spring mixed salad, pork tenderloin with couscous and mixed veggies, and a spinach salad. Every meal presented is now high in protein and always accompanied by a cooked vegetable, salad, and whole wheat grain. I consulted with another company in San Francisco, and I was able to get a listing of the favorite restaurants in the area that commonly cater business meeting lunches. I worked with the restaurant menus and each chef was very amenable to my suggestions such as serving more protein and more veggies in their entrees offered to the companies. Most restaurants indicated they would be happy to provide the menus we created as long as there were at least ten meals which were easily met. We set up a schedule that worked for the company, and the feedback has been amazing. The lesson to be learned is please do not eat food each day that you know is not healthy and does not help with efficiency on the job. Talk to other coworkers along with those people that do the ordering, and understand that making changes in the menu can be still be cost effective. I am available to guide you through the process to help your office have better nutrition and prevent weight gain and other health problems. Good news! Health Insurance will pay for nutritional counseling - Aetna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Health Net, Hill Physicians, Sutter Health, and other major companies. Please refer to my website for past articles and information about services. Feel free to call me at (925)855-0150 or email Advertorial tus, digging plants from his own yard for her when Markham stock was depleted. Holmes relates, “When I called about adding a few guests to an already full class, Markham made room for them. It’s the kind of organization that cares about helping everyone.” Sherwood believes Markham’s commitment to promoting sustainable practice helps us all. “I feel that we can do a whole lot to make this world a better place just by what we do at home – our talks and classes are a great resource for that.” Scout projects are much appreciated. Recently, Eagle candidate Nick Lambert orchestrated the building and installation of the International Garden entrance sign. Julian Rike earned his Eagle rank organizing the removal of invasive species from Galindo Creek. Markham is tucked into a residential Concord neighborhood at 1202 La Vista Avenue. The park is open dawn till dusk, 365 days a year. Almost every Tuesday plants are sold from 9AM-noon. For special Saturday sale dates, class schedules and more information, visit

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ternment Camp in Arizona. Phil had already been drafted and became a Japanese translator in the Philippines, always with a Caucasian soldier as bodyguard. Jun had received a fellowship to study in Japan and was on a ship returning home on December 7; he ended up stuck in a camp for Nisei in Japan for the war’s duration. Charlie graduated from high school in 1941 and was conscripted into the military in late 1944. The oldest boy, Hideo, was farming in Colorado and stayed there because of this essential work. Two boys, Katsumi Hikido and Isao (Ace) Handa, from the valley served in the all-Japanese American 100/442nd Regimental Combat Team. Hikido was gravely injured and spent several years in hospitals after the war. Handa, one of the youngest in the 442nd, carried the regimental flag after the war when President Harry Truman presented them with a Presidential Unit Citation on July 15, 1946. Called the “Purple Heart Batallion,” Japanese American casualties were 28.5%, compared to total American casualties of 5.8%. Despite the injustice of knowing their families were in concentration camps, these young men were willing to fight for their country. None of the Ajaris or other families returned to Danville. The Steinmetz family had guarded their belongings, but the War Relocation Authority collected most of the items which were then lost to the Ajaris. The new Museum of the San Ramon Valley exhibit relates how many of the internees made the best of their

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A Physician First

By Dr. Barbara Persons, MD, FACS

Recently, I had a discussion with someone who was considering career choices. They confided in me and asked if they should pursue being an investment banker or a plastic surgeon. To many, these aspirations might seem similar: two careers, each offering the hope of success and prosperity. Shouldn’t we all pursue such dreams? I offered the best advice I could. “I know very little about investment banking,” I said, “but from my perspective as a plastic surgeon, I believe there is another choice you must make first.” I explained that long before mastering the field of surgery, a person must first choose to become a physician. I explained that this path means caring for people and finding joy in it. In the field of medicine--increasingly so as the taxonomy of healthcare broadens--we are given many options. We may choose to be a dermatologist or an obstetrician. Some choose radiology, and others, like me, are drawn to surgery. In the end, however, being a physician comes first. No matter what specialty we choose, we become, and should always remain, doctors. Any medical student will tell you that the moment they entered training, family and friends began asking for counsel. I am sure that most of my colleagues will remember those first years of medical school: everyone asked us for advice, and we probably gave it, thinking we already knew so much. That kind of enthusiasm shouldn’t change over the years, but unfortunately it sometimes does. So when I was asked for career advice, I found myself answering a bigger question. Is it possible to dedicate oneself to something truly loved? And does that choice include a commitment to service and compassion? The answer is yes. For me, going into medicine was a calling. I became a physician for two reasons. The first was simple: a sense of duty. The second is one I hold dear: the wonder of forming relationships with people in their time of need. Some might describe it as a sacrifice; holidays, weekends, and nights are dedicated to helping patients. But it has never felt like a sacrifice to me. Being a physician is honorable, and it offers me purpose. It gives me great pleasure, and I go home feeling good about what I do. Sometimes my job is challenging, but the most difficult moments pale in comparison to what patients feel when they are in pain or chronically ill. In my experience, many doctors forget the idea of what it feels like to be a patient. Separating ourselves can be a way to keep an even keel, but this risks alienating the very people we are trying to help. It is tempting to believe that work is better left at the office. “Don’t take your patients home with you,” I have been told. And although it is important to maintain a good balance between my personal and professional life, I do, ultimately, take my patients home with me. I think about patients in my car as I drive home, and I look forward to seeing them when I wake up in the morning. Medicine is part of who I am, and I don’t think of it as a job or occupation. Rather, it is something I have chosen because I believe in it. This perspective has actually helped me be a more energetic surgeon and a more complete person. It is thus that I think those of us with a stronger sense of calling are more resilient to the challenges of our profession. We enjoy what we do. It informs us, shapes us, and makes us better people. Becoming a board certified plastic surgeon took more than a decade of training. But along the way, I was a doctor to my patients. I find comfort in the fact that simply caring for people is something I still do on a daily basis. Over the years, I have watched our healthcare system transform and policies evolve. Many of us feel swept up in the changes; we are not sure what to predict and how it will affect us. I hope that whatever system emerges will allow doctors to follow their calling, as I have done. I hope that if we have been called to serve, we will be able to do it. How will that happen? Who among us should choose this path? These are difficult questions. In the end, however, I have begun to recognize that even the most complex questions have a simple answer. For me, the answer is taking care of my patients and finding joy in it. I am so grateful to have found my calling, for it is one that inspires and rewards me in equal measures. I am a surgeon, but I am also a physician; both are roles I am honored to fulfill. I look forward to meeting you at my practice soon. 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

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 25

The Eye Opener

Eye Hemorrhage By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry

When patients call into the office with a concern of a lot of blood in the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage), most are pretty concerned about what is happening to their eye. Since this happened to me recently, I thought it would be a good reason to write about this condition. In a very high percentage of cases, this is a completely benign condition; it just looks a lot worse than it actually is. A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when a very small blood vessel (capillary) bursts within the layers of the front part of the eye. This bleeding will usually obscure the eye, so you can’t see through to the white part of the eye, and it can happen anywhere on the surface of the eye. These small bleeds generally get larger after the initial incident because the outermost layer of the eye has a cellophane look and feel to it; this tends to push down and spread out the blood. I will tell patients that the eye will look a little worse in the initial 24-48 hours before the blood starts to get reabsorbed. With a hemorrhage of this kind, the patient should have no other symptoms besides the red eye. There should be no pain, discomfort, vision loss, or discharge. Patients often do not even notice it until they look in the mirror or are asked by someone else, “What is wrong with your eye?” It is at this point that a call is then made for an office visit. The most common causes of this condition are trauma to the eye, heavy lifting, coughing, high blood pressure, and secondary to some medications. Sometimes there is no cause, and “it just happens.” Most of the time, a patient will go to bed fine and wake up with the hemorrhage. My hemorrhage either occurred after lifting some boxes at home and/or exercising (which just proves that I should probably not do those again…I am not as young as I used to be). It did not hurt or affect my vision at all; it just felt like I had something in my eye, and I didn’t realize it until I looked in the mirror. The blood started to subside within a few days without any issues. Even though some hemorrhages are more prominent than mine, most follow the same course and go away within 1-2 weeks. Some medications including aspirin, prescription blood thinners, and some OTC medications such as ginkgo biloba in some people can cause the blood to thin too much and be a reason for the hemorrhage. However, these medications are usually prescribed for a heart condition and some blood disorders and are therefore necessary for the health of the patient. I will always instruct the patient to not change their current medications, as it might lengthen the time for full recovery. Once the diagnosis is made, there is no treatment necessary. The blood will reabsorb within 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the initial hemorrhage. As the blood breaks down on the surface of the eye, it might start to change colors, similar to a “black and blue bruise.” If the cause of the hemorrhage was a foreign body to the eye, then I will prescribe a mild antibiotic to cover against an infection. Cool compresses will not hasten recovery, but I would avoid warm compresses as heat dilates your blood vessels, thus bringing more blood to the area. I find most patients just need to understand what happened, have reassurance that it is nothing to worry about, and know that it is not contagious. Even though this condition is completely benign, it can be confused with other issues that require treatment. You should have your eyes checked at the office to ensure that the eyes are healthy and that there is no need for treatment or referral. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at (925) 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our website at, and join us on Facebook, Advertorial Instagram, and Twitter @Alamo Optometry.

Ajari continued from page 24

situation by creating art and poetry. From the Gila River Haiku Group, 1943 My husband’s interned / And my son is a soldier / Oh, all so hard to bear; / I lament / Encaged behind wire. The new exhibit at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley opens on March 12th. It is titled Art of Survival. On March 31st at the Museum, Mas Hashimoto will present “The Japanese American Experience: The Incarceration.” Mas was held along with his family first at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds and then at Poston Arizona.” Visit or call 925-837-3750 for more information.

Page 26 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

Robotic Surgery Opens New Frontiers for Surgeons and their Patients By Eugenia Kang, M.D., West Coast Surgical Associates

Colon Cancer Awareness Month arrives in March, and it reminds me of a recent interaction I had with a patient whose colon polyp was suspicious for cancer – and he needed an operation to remove it. He wanted to know why I wanted to take his colon out using the robot to help me perform the operation. It’s a question I answer fairly frequently, since there are many ways to remove a colon polyp or cancer -- so why do I prefer to operate with a robot? A major paradigm shift in surgery came at the end of last century with the advent of laparoscopy, or minimally invasive surgery. Using small incisions, surgeons can fix things internally without open surgery (using an incision big enough to insert a surgeon’s hand), avoiding the associated pain, longer hospitalization, and slower recovery for the patient who has a bigger open incision. The minimally invasive technology has significantly advanced with better instruments and cameras. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery are well known -- less pain, easier recovery, and faster return to work. Robotics is the next step in the world of minimally invasive surgery, and it enhances the surgeon’s view, provides better ergonomics in handling the instruments, and allows for more precision. The technology of the robotic surgery system allows for me as your surgeon to operate through just a few small incisions, operating inside the patient’s body while my surgeon hands remain on the outside. Via these small incisions, I control the instruments in all three dimensions, while the advanced 3D high definition vision system and optics improve my view for better tissue handling and control. The robot features wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand and let me dissect millimeter by millimeter to accomplish fine, precise, and meticulous tissue handling while I see a magnified 3D view right on the screen in front of me – all while I sit at the patient’s side. This translates into more accurate surgery, less tissue trauma during surgery, and less pain for the patient. The robotic platform can be used in specific cases to conduct your procedure via a single incision that hides in the belly button. Patients like that the surgery is minimally invasive, the problem has been fixed, and it is hard to see that they had an operation. The robot has opened an entire new approach to surgery, taking minimally

Pacific Urology Physicians Named America’s Top Doctors

Pacific Urology is pleased to announce that Castle Connolly has published its newest edition of America’s Top Doctors and has selected Dr. Judson Brandeis and Dr. Parminder Sethi for this exclusive honor. The San Francisco Magazine listed both physicians in their ‘Top Doctors of the Bay Area’ January 2016 edition. This award is given to physicians who are nominated by their peers and meet Castle Connolly’s rigorous criteria including board certification, medical education, training, hospital appointments, disciplinary histories, and much more. Only the top 1% of physicians in their specialty are included in America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Brandeis attended medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, performed transplantation research at Harvard Medical Center, and completed his Urology residency at UCLA. He has served as the Chief of Urology at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for the past six years and Chief of Urology for the Hill Physicians Medical Group for the past five years. Recently he introduced MRI fusion guided 3D prostate biopsies to the East Bay. Dr. Brandeis has an expertise in prostate cancer

invasive procedures to a higher level of quality and accuracy. Each procedure done with surgery in the operating room has a variety of techniques and approaches which the surgeon will select based on the patient’s health, the surgical problem to be dealt with, and any medical issues that might complicate recovery. The use of the robot has allowed expansion of the surgeon’s capability on selected patients while improving the speed of recovery. I can remove the colon polyp or cancer so the patient can get additional treatment sooner with the robot. I can also use the robot for other procedures such as removing troublesome gallbladders, treating GERD, or fixing abdominal wall hernias. I am happy that I can accomplish those tasks in the most accurate and least disruptive manner for my patient. For my patient with the colon polyp, fortunately he didn’t end up having any cancer, and after the surgery he didn’t have much pain either. My ultimate goal is to help patients quickly get back to their lives. The most fulfilling part of my job is fixing a health problem, eliminating symptoms, and helping patients get back to their activities with the least disruption to their lives. “Happy patient, happy surgeon.” Dr. Kang is a board certified general surgeon with special training in robotic and minimally invasive surgery. She practices with West Coast Surgical Associates (formerly Walnut Creek Surgical Associates) with offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, and San Ramon. For more information call 925-933-0984 or view the surgical team at Advertorial

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diagnosis and treatment, as well as the treatment of benign prostate enlargement. He is an expert at kidney stone treatment, female urology, and reconstructive surgery and has performed over 2,000 vasectomies. Dr. Sethi is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and completed his Urology residency at Ohio State University and trained at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Dr. Sethi is one of a few urologists who specializes in the use of advanced technology to treat incontinence and overactive bladder and was instrumental in developing Pacific Urology’s Continence Center. His special interests include treatment for incontinence, erectile dysfunction and enlarged prostate, as well as bladder reconstructive surgery and minimally invasive kidney stone surgeries. Dr. Brandeis and Dr. Sethi are physicians with Pacific Urology, the surgical division of Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group. Together these groups have developed the first Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence in the East Bay. Their team of highly experienced prostate cancer specialists, including daVinci trainedrobotic surgeons, provide patients with a level of care equal to top-tier academic centers. For more information please call (925) 937-7740 Advertorial or visit

Better Posture, Better You

By Jesse Call, DC, Sycamore Valley Chiropractic

You know, your mother was right when she told you to stand up straight as a kid. When posture is improved, other aspects of your life improve as well including decreased musculoskeletal aches and pains, increased mood, improved brain function, boosted confidence, and promoted digestion. From this, a couple of questions arise: “Do I have good posture?” and, “How do I improve my posture?”

Do I have good posture?

Doing a self-posture analysis is easy. All you need is a friend who is willing to take pictures of you and a camera. You will want a standing side profile and a standing front view. When taking the picture, try to capture your natural posture; this can be achieved by closing your eyes and marching in place for a few steps and then coming to a rest. On the side view we look for what is called a “plumb line.” The plumb line helps determine that certain landmarks on our body are aligned. When these landmarks are stacked on top of one another, it provides for the best distribution of weight through the body. For the front view we are simply looking for certain structures to be level, showing balance between the two sides of the body. The plumb line should travel from top to bottom through these structures: • Through the ear lobe • Through the tip of the shoulder • Midway between the front and back of the chest • Through the greater trochanter (The knob like projection on the top of the thigh bone; rotate your leg in and out to find it) • Through the middle of the knee • Through the ankle bone On the front view we are looking for symmetry: • Body is symmetrical • Eyes level • Shoulders level • Hips level • Knees level and facing forward • Feet facing forward


By Dr. Jerome Potozkin

Last month I saw Sam (not his real name), an executive at a major company. Sam is used to being in the public eye, and he takes most things in stride. He was somewhat embarrassed to see me for his problem. He noticed that over the past three years he has had worsening of the amount he sweats almost all the time. It has caused him social embarrassment, has ruined thousands of dollar’s worth of dress shirts, and now is causing irritation of his skin. He wanted to know what he could do for this as over-the-counter antiperspirants were not doing the trick. He had a great life, but this issue was becoming a major nuisance. Sam is suffering from what is known medically as hyperhidrosis. It has been estimated that almost 3% of the U.S. population suffer from this condition in which the body secretes too much sweat. Usually one or two body areas are impacted. The armpit is the most common area. Without treatment this can be incredibly annoying. The good news is that there is hope. The simplest solution is a prescription strength antiperspirant. This works for many people and is relatively inexpensive. The challenge for some people is that it can sting or burn when applied, and it can also be irritating to the skin. Drionics is another option. This electronic device, which sells for about $200 and can be ordered online, can work to suppress sweating. I have not found many people willing to stick with this treatment because it requires 30 minutes of daily treatment. Most people I see simply don’t have the time. The most popular treatment in my practice is Botox for hyperhidrosis. Botox is injected into the skin and blocks the communication between the nerve telling the sweat gland to work overtime. It works great for most people. The only inconvenience can be cost and the fact that it does require 2-3 treatments per year. It is quick and effective. There are treatments that have the potential to permanently destroy sweat glands. Devices that use radio frequency or micro-focused high intensity ultrasound to destroy sweat glands can give lasting results. These are effective for many people. Liposuction of the armpit is another treatment that can give long lasting results and can be performed in the office with local anesthesia.

Danville Today News ~ March 2016 - Page 27

How do I improve my posture?

If you don’t have perfect posture in your photo, all is not lost. While improving posture permanently is a process that takes time, making simple changes every day can make noticeable improvements. Here are three quick tips to improving your posture. 1. Palms Forward: An old acupuncture trick for improving posture is to stand with your palms facing forward. Due to our modern lifestyle of computers, cars, cell phones, and comfy couches our shoulders get rolled forward. To roll those shoulders back, simply keep palms forward. 2. Brugger Exercise: To perform a Brugger exercise, follow these simple steps. Sit or stand nice and tall (simply drawing your bellybutton to your spine should accomplish this), roll your hands so that the palm is facing out, and squeeze your shoulder blades together (pretend you are trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades). Perform 4-5 when you feel your posture starting to fail. *Bonus: add an elastic band to the exercise. 3. Thumb Tracers: Thumb tracers are designed to help you strengthen the muscles in the back of your neck which will help you to stand up nice and tall. Stand with both arms extended in front of you giving the thumbs up. Take one thumb and move it up and out, following it with your eyes and until you are looking back and over your shoulder. Follow the thumb back to the neutral position, and repeat on the other side. Do 5-7 on each side 2-3 times a day. These simple activities performed everyday can help to improve your function and decrease your aches and pains. Many times misalignment of the spine is a culprit in poor posture. Having a chiropractor help remove misalignments in the spine and monitor your progress can hasten the process. If you would like help improving your posture and would like to learn more, give us a call. We are here to help. Sycamore Valley Chiropractic is located at 565 Sycamore Valley Rd. West in Danville. Please visit www.sycamorevalleychiropractic. com or call 925-837-5595 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Advertorial In this procedure the sweat glands are targeted as opposed to fat cells. For the most severe cases, a neurosurgeon can destroy the nerve causing the problem. This is permanent but patients who undergo this have the risk of developing compensatory increased sweating in other areas. Sam came back two weeks after his Botox treatment. He was delighted that he no longer had the social phobia he had developed and was no longer ruining his dress shirts. His sweating was dramatically reduced. He calculated that the money he saved by no longer ruining his clothes more than covered the cost of his Botox treatment. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, call us today so that we can find a solution that works for you. 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. Dr. Potozkin is a fellow member of the ASDS. He is accepting new patients. Please call (925) 838-4900 or visit for more information. Advertorial

Gatherings continued from front page

individuals since 2013, and last year they started collecting and fulfilling wish lists for schools in need. Each list, since it’s inception, has been 100% filled by their generous community and delivered by volunteers. Grateful Gatherings co-founder (and Monte Vista High School graduate) Chris Flitter said, “We are always amazed by the immediate response and generosity of our community. People are looking for ways to volunteer with their families. It’s a gift to be able to see the direct impact your donation can provide to a neighbor in-need. When a volunteer personally delivers their own family’s dining table to a new family, it’s a tearful moment and impactful experience for both.” Co-Founder Donna Somerville said, “Collecting for schools was such a natural fit for us. There is so much need in these inner cities for extra support. One local school contacted us for some jackets and uniforms for kindergarten children. We asked our amazing donors, and in one day we had personalized bags and sizes for each of the children in need. We are connecting people to provide support to those in need.” To donate gently used books for Allendale school, please contact Jacque Preble at or sign up at

Page 28 - March 2016 ~ Danville Today News

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Danville Area Real Estate: 2016 Looking Good!

Although the early season in real estate is not a great predictor for the entire year, I thought I would look at the first two months of 2016 and see if there is anything useful to be gained by an analysis of this same time period last year. I’ve used red and green in the chart to indicate the direction of change, green for the positive and red for the negative. Days on market are red if the days increased indicating a negative move. The majority of indicators on the chart are green which is suggestive of another really good year for Danville Area Real Estate. A significant issue in Alamo is lack of inventory of homes for sale. At this time only 24 homes (six less than last year) are active listings and this is less than 1/4 of what might be considered normal. Average price is up 21% over last year on a home that is 512 sq. ft. larger than at this time last year. Dollars paid per square foot are down 3% in the first two months of 2016 compared to 2015. An increasing number of larger homes selling in Alamo is causing a bit of decline in average dollars paid per square foot, however this is a sign of market strength, not weakness, as evidenced in the average sales price increase. Blackhawk sales stand at 17 which is three more than during the same time last year. Like Alamo, price paid for the average home is significantly more this year than last year and it increased by 29%. The average size of the home sold is nearly 1,100 feet larger than homes sold during this time period last year. Dollars paid per square foot declined from $441 to $421. Again, this should not be considered as a negative in light of the average price of the home moving from $1,547,823 all the way up to $2,001,559. Danville sales declined from 76 to 59 units for a decline of 32%. This decline is likely caused by very low inventory numbers. As of this writing, only 54 homes are currently for listed for sale. Contrast this number to 59 properties that have sold since the first of the year and we can see that Danville has less than two months inventory on hand. Average selling price in Danville is up 7.2 %. Unlike Alamo and Blackhawk, the average

All Home Sales Alamo, Blackhawk Danville, Diablo (Jan1-Feb 21) size of the Sold DOM List Price Sold Price Sq. Foot $ Sq. Foot homes in Alamo 2015 8 43 $ 1,445,750 $ 1,419,333 3,010 $ 506 Danville 2016 15 51 $ 1,763,199 $ 1,718,933 3,522 $ 491 14 56 $ 1,541,828 $ 1,547,823 3,526 $ 441 h a s r e - Blackhawk 2015 17 63 $ 2,345,047 $ 2,001,559 4,607 $ 421 2016 mained Danville 2015 76 32 $ 998,092 $ 992,471 2,333 $ 435 constant 2016 59 36 $ 1,079,132 $ 1,063,588 2,333 $ 484 Diablo 2015 5 120 $ 1,817,790 $ 1,706,000 3,330 $ 522 at 2,333 2016 1 162 $ 2,595,000 $ 2,480,000 4,195 $ 591 square feet and the price per square foot increased significantly, up 11%. Diablo is interesting in that it is a very small market and only one home has sold this year compared to last year when a total of five homes sold. Given the lack of sales data for 2016 it’s not as useful to compare the two time periods. That said, the current comparison looks pretty similar to Alamo and Blackhawk except that dollars paid per square foot actually increased. Of note in Diablo is that there are two pending sales and five properties currently listed for sale. Their dollar per square foot price ranges from a low of $406 to a high of $876 with an average of $631. If the average price is obtained, this will be strongly positive for Diablo. While the numbers presented here are mixed, both positive and negative, I don’t see anything in these early data to suggest anything other than a very good year in the Danville Area Real Estate Market. Days on market increased throughout and that may be simply explained by weather. As I have said in more than one of these articles, “It isn’t likely that we will be enjoying these incredible rates of growth forever.” Eventually supply and demand will come into balance and price appreciation will slow down. When? We can only guess. It’s important to remember there really is no “average” home and no two homes are exactly alike. If you would like an honest no strings attached opinion of your home’s current market value and suggestions for getting it ready for market, please give me a call 925-989-6086 or send me an email

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

4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home on flat half acre. Updated and ready to go. Priced to sell $1,275,000. J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526


Danville Today News, March 2016. The city of Danville, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.


Danville Today News, March 2016. The city of Danville, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.