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August 2012 Dick Gorthy’s Scale Models Preserve Valley History

Serving Danville

By Jody Morgan Historical preservation was not part of Dick Gorthy’s plan for his retirement until a Sunday Contra Costa Times article featuring a birdhouse replicating an English garden shed inspired him to take up his own woodworking tools. One project led to another, eventually culminating in nine scale models of buildings erected prior to 1900 in Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. Intrigued by the challenge and wondering whether he could build a birdhouse as cleverly constructed as the item in the Times article, Gorthy went to the workspace in his San Ramon garage and took stock of the materials at hand. Once satisfied with his version of the potting shed, he began researching information at the library for more creations. His birdhouse lighthouse drew inspiration from photographs of at least four historical structures. Dick chose to blend their parts into one generic Dick and Heidi Gorthy with David and Eliza Glass House Model design. Barn and church birdhouses followed a similar plan. Do birds sing those spaces’ praises? Sorry, they have never been invited to investigate. Patience was not an attribute Gorthy thought he possessed when he began copying the potting shed. “If you truly like doing the work,” Gorthy explains, “you find the patience.” Ready to tackle a more difficult task, he decided to do a birdhouse based on a recognizable local historical structure. The recently renovated Danville Depot was readily accessible. Aided by his wife, Heidi, he paced off the exterior measurements. Unsure of his ability to faithfully reproduce the depot, Dick reassured himself by thinking: “If it doesn’t come out, I’ll say ‘Well, it’s only a birdhouse.’” The model, completed in 2000, offers an open door peek into the interior. Open doors remain a signature in all Gorthy historical replicas. The one-room Tassajara Schoolhouse on Finley Road serving local students from 1889-1946 was Dick’s next project. He decided to finish the inside and join two windows to provide access to the interior view. He completed the model in 2001 and vowed never again to put in the long hours necessary to reconstruct an interior. Each project needed to be a bit different to keep his creative enthusiasm engaged. The concept of doing a church intrigued him. Built in 1859, Old St. Raymond’s in Dublin caught his attention. Counting the slats and calculating the spire height, Gorthy came up with a squat model that was clearly incorrect. He hadn’t added in the ½ inch space between slats. Making the correction, he finished his third miniature reproduction in 2002. The David and Eliza Glass House was the first and only project permitting Gor-

An Afghan refugee family poses with their solar oven, a gift from Budd MacKenzie's Trust in Education program.

Trust in Education Brings Solar Ovens to Afghanistan By Fran Miller Solar power aficionado Jack Howell was enjoying his morning coffee at Peet’s Coffee & Tea about a year ago, when he made a serendipitous discovery which subsequently resulted in a cooperative arrangement which has served to increase the quality of many lives, half a world away. Howell took notice of the mylar bags in which Peet’s packs its whole beans. Mylar, an expensive material, is the key ingredient in the making of solar ovens. Howell had joined forces with Budd MacKenzie and his Trust in Education program (TIE) in introducing the use of solar ovens to the citizens of Afghanistan. A quick conversation with the local Peets’ manager, in which Howell explained the Solar Oven Project, has since led to a cooperative mylar donation arrangement between TIE and several Peet’s locations, enabling TIE to send 950 solar ovens to Kabul. Most will be distributed to families living in refugee camps in and around Kabul. Budd MacKenzie initiated his Trust in Education program in 2003 as a pro-active effort to help the victims of wars waged in Afghanistan. He felt that his friends and neighbors could rally around the ideology that all children deserve an education and a building in which to be educated. They raised $60,000, and a school was built in the village of Lalander.

See Ovens continued on page 14

Volume III - Number 10 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, Alamo, CA 94507 (925) 405-6397 Fax (925) 406-0547 Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher

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Delta Nu Psi’s Fantastic Helper Recently Alex Engberg (pictured above in the middle), of Danville Boy Scout Troop 803, contacted Delta Nu Psi wanting to perform his Eagle Scout Project for the service sorority. He did an outstanding job to support our service men and women by collecting hundreds of items and getting them packed and shipped overseas. Because of the work Alex did, Delta Nu Psi will not need to collect in August. For more info visit

editor@ The opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do not necessarily reflect that of Danville Today News. Danville Today News is not responsible for the content of any of the advertising herein, nor does publication imply endorsement.

Page 2 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

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Boulevard View By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor In some aspects of my life I am trying to slow down, simplify, and go back the basics. I am not giving up my iPhone, digital camera, or internet connectivity but sometimes find it is more peaceful to lay down my electronics and work with my hands, tend to my garden, cook my food from scratch, and read my book, magazine, or newspaper in their paper form. Maybe it’s a part of getting older, or maybe I’m just maturing and realizing what’s important in life. I’m incorporating more of an “attitude of gratitude,” trying to keep the line starting at the doorway a “no drama zone” and trying to be the “glass half full” kind of gal keeping the “Eeyore’s” out of my life. Research shows that adopting an attitude of appreciation towards the things in your life makes an enormous difference to your level of happiness. People who consciously attempt to be thankful and appreciative tend to feel happier and at peace to a greater extent than others. According to a research project from the University of Miami, people who practice some form of conscious gratitude exercised more regularly, were healthier, slept better, felt more optimistic, made more progress towards personal goals, were more alert and enthusiastic, and could handle stress more effectively. People value authenticity and know when it’s missing. I think many of our local businesses feel the same way, and I treasure the relationships I’ve developed over the years. Some businesses “get it,” while some certainly don’t. I have definitely steered my patronage to those businesses who take the long view and who exude a natural friendliness, not a forced familiarity as if it’s a script they must read at every encounter. Just like the old sitcom Cheers, I love to go where everyone (genuinely) knows my name or is always happy to see me even if we aren’t on a first or last name basis. The Golden Rule is a maxim that essentially states “One should treat others as one would like others to treat onself.” I have been making a concerted effort lately to praise and recognize those who I interact with in my daily rounds and routine who go the extra mile to make me feel that my visit to their place of business is welcomed and appreciated. I have tried to reciprocate their “positive energy” and use the multi-media tools at hand by giving positive reviews on Yelp or other sites and/or “Liking” them

on their Facebook page. A compliment or “attaboy” to a supervisor or a manager goes a long way in “making” someone’s day.

Sometimes people are quick to react, threaten, or shout out to the world about how they’ve been wronged due to a negative situation, but it seems these people are often less likely to do the reverse when they are treated well. When I feel deceived or cheated, I head out the door; vote with my feet. Life is too short to feel unappreciated, bullied, or duped. The recent wedding of a friend found me in a Reno casino. Slot machines have changed to where they no longer take coins. Everything is artificial done to the electronic clank of faux coins landing in the tray. I was intrigued by the “new” one-cent slot machines. It looked like entertainment could be had for mere pennies. However, once the dollar bills enter the slot machines, the pennies magically morph and become “credits.” The one-cent slots then have minimums - like you must play 30 credits per “spin” (another artificial experience as the pull handles have been mostly replaced by the much quicker push of a button). Less than $10 later I felt cheated and not entertained. I think I’d rather spend my money or time watching a good show, reading a good book, or sending a handwritten note or an “I’m thinking about you” text at random. A dripping faucet soon fills a bucket until it is overflowing. The same is true of anything in life, and developing Specializing in appreciation is no Interior & Exterior different.Appreciat• Power Washing Prep ing the many small • Painting things in your day • Spray-Enamel Finish will lead to greater • Restaining Decks and greater levels of Since 1970 gratitude and happiness, and the world Free Estimates can alway use a little Tim O’Halloran • 925.743.9535 more of that.

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 3



Inventory June 2012 versus June 2011 Danville: Down 54% Blackhawk: Down 23% Alamo: Down 46%


Danville Real Estate Activity

Median Price


June 2012

UP 6.5% in Danville

Average Closed Sales Price: $938,040 Median Closed Sales Price: $905,000 Average Days on Market: 43 Total Closed Sales YTD: 290

Carolyn Gwynn Realtor

Multiple offers are common with well-priced homes. And timing is everything, so before rates

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increase, call me for an honest opinion of your home’s valuation and to discuss a plan for you to gain the highest price

(925) 336-7525

point possible.

The Realtor You List Your Home With DOES Make a Difference:

Call me today at (925) 336-7525 to discuss how professional photography, global marketing, work ethic and tenacity will make the difference for you. Stay informed with my monthly newsletter. Sign up at Based on information from the CCAR MLS. This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed by MLS or Empire Realty.

Music in the Park The Town of Danville’s 27th annual Music in the Park concert series continues with two more easy listening, fist bumping, happy dancing feet concerts which will be held at Oak Hill Park from 6pm to 8pm. Don’t forget to bring a blanket and lawn chairs to this family friendly entertainment. For more information, call (925) 314- 3400 or visit

Discover Danville Association presents Street closure event in Downtown Danville

Hartz & Prospect Avenues

The Rave-Ups • Saturday, August 11th

~ Family-fun booths hosted by local businesses & community groups ~ Entertainment & demonstrations ~Bistro dining in the street ~ Kids Zone with bounce house, Museum of San Ramon Valley train face painting, balloons & much more!

The Rave-Ups, a Yardbirds tribute band, re-creates the sound and feel of The Yardbirds in the most detail they can. Playing accurate renditions of the recorded songs is how this tribute performs.

Live music featuring Alma Desnuda

Sista Monica • Saturday, August 25th

Media sponsors:

Nominated for “Best Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year” in 2012 by the National Blues Foundation.

9-11 Remembrance Ceremony The Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley along with local veterans’ organizations is hosting the Annual 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony on Tuesday, September 11th. The Remembrance begins at 5:50PM and concludes at 6:40PM at the All Wars Memorial in Oak Hill Park located at 3005 Stone Valley Rd in Danville. This event will feature prominent guest speakers, hundreds of Scouts with an array of American Flags, joint Police and Fire Department Honor Guard, a bagpiper, a flight of doves, and many other patriotic contributions. Immediately following the ceremony there will be free ice cream, Crackerjacks, and bottled water.

9th Annual



Tickets available at these locations: ‡Consignit Couture - 278 Hartz Ave. ‡The Nest - 806 Sycamore Valley Road W. ‡ The Studio - 730 Camino Ramon, Suite 200 & online at

Heartland Danville

Antiques& Art Faire

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club

Live Music Unique Boutiques Great Food


Please join us at a free Welcome Coffee on Thursday, August 23 from 10AM to noon. Both those new to the area or long time residents will be able to learn about the Club and the many facets of club membership. We hope you'll join us at this casual get-together where you can meet current members, find new friends, and discover the many activities offered through Newcomers. For further information, call us at (925) 281-1307, email us, or visit our website


Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 9am-3pm downtown Danville along Railroad Ave. & Prospect Ave.


iscover the timeless treasures offered by 80 antiques merchants, vintage vendors and folk artists while you stroll thru historic Downtown Danville.

Informal Antiques Appraisals at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 10am-2pm for $10/item donation

Discover Danville Association is a 501c(6) Nonprofit Business and Community Benefit California Corporation EIN: 20-2846642

Page 4 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Museum of the SRV Presents Before BART Train bells ring and whistles blow at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley when it celebrates those wonderful old railroads that crisscrossed the county. The Museum’s newest exhibit Before BART showcases the electric railroad versions that linked cities and farms around here until 1957. The exhibit runs through August 18th. Seldom seen artifacts will be on display. Along with the electric railroad exhibit, various model train layouts will transfix kids of all ages. The model railroads on display include the large Garden trains of the Diablo Pacific Short Line club, Bob Burke’s ever popular large “O” scale (remember Lionel trains) from August 9th-11th, and finally from August 14th-18th Danville resident Jim Wolton’s little “N” scale layout secured to the back of a door is on display. A scale model of the Sacramento Northern electric railroad will accompany the “N” scale exhibit. The Museum is located in the former Southern Pacific depot at 205 Railroad Avenue in downtown Danville. Hours are 10AM to 1PM Tuesday – Saturday and on Sentinels of Freedom Dinner and Golf Gala Sunday from noon to 3PM. A modest admission fee of $3 per person is charged. Diablo County Club welcomes Sentinels of Freedom on Sunday, September 16th th th and Monday, September 17 for their 5 annual dinner and golf tournament benefit- Please call (925) 837-3750 or go to for more information. ing the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Supporters may choose from a range of options including Sunday’s dinner/auction only for non-golfers, Monday’s golf tournament with lunch only, and various donation levels for individuals and groups attending both functions. Sentinels of Freedom provides life-changing opportunities for men and women of the US Armed Forces who have suffered severe injuries and need the support of grateful communities to realize their dreams and goals. Sunday’s festivities begin with cocktails at 4pm and continue with dinner and auction. Speaker Col. Danny McKnight, whose combat duty included the 1993 incident 2012-13 Membership Directory Rates in Somalia that was the basis for the book and movie “Blackhawk Down,”has recently released his own book: Streets of Mogadishu. McKnight says of his work: “UnderBasic Listing (website, address, phone, fax, email, contact name) Free stand this, I am quite possibly the most ‘politically incorrect’ person in America … Enhanced Listing Additional 240 character description & color enhancement $40 the book projects this through my honesty, truthfulness, opinions, and beliefs.” Each Business Card Scan $150 dinner guest will receive a copy of the book and the opportunity to have it signed. 1/3 page Display Ad $250 Golf on Monday starts with registration at 9am followed by a shotgun start at 1/2 Page Display Ad $350 11am. For more information and registration, visit Full Page Display Ad $695 or contact Carla Goulart by phone at 925-380-6342 ext. 2 or email carlagoulart@ Camera ready ads are due by August 18th All ads must be prepaid. Contact Sharon Schuyler 925.708.8546 Veterans of Foreign Wars Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 75, San Ramon Valley meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Veterans Memorial Building located at 400 Hartz Avenue in Danville, located on the corner at East Ruth Bancroft Garden Fun in the Sun Adventures Bring the whole family out for Fun in the Sun Adventures at The Ruth Bancroft Prospect Avenue and Hartz Avenue. The next meeting will be held on August Garden on Saturday, August 4th at 10am. This is a new event for the Garden filled th PM PM 15 . Doors open at 7 , and the meeting begins at 7:30 . For more information, contact Post Commander Nathan Greene at (925) 875-1747. Mail to: VFW Post with fun educational activities and a great way for kids to get active. Families will have the opportunity to experience the Garden in a unique setting 75 San Ramon Valley, P.O. Box 1092, Danville, CA 94526. Find out more about for this special occasion. Sections of the garden will be divided up into three themes the VFW and our Post on the internet at that include a lake voyage, a desert exploration, and a fun camping experience. Cyclists Will Ride for Veterans Each section will have interactive games and learning opportunities focused on Serious cyclists and recreational riders are invited to help severely wounded water conservation, survival skills, and learning all about nature. veterans by joining V3, the first Veterans Victory Velo set for Saturday, SepRun through a water relay race where children will find out about the use of tember 22nd in San Ramon. water in the home, and venture on to a smelly hike. Stop by our craft tables, make Riders can choose routes from 15 to 100 miles to raise funds for the Sentinels your own bird feeder, and go on an adventure with your handcrafted telescope. of Freedom Scholarship Foundation which helps wounded veterans regain their Come learn in a beautiful and natural learning environment. This will be an self-sufficiency and independence. exciting day for families to get out and get active, and it will also be a great way Registration begins at 6AM on ride day in the parking lot of the Foundation, 2678 to get children’s minds in motion again for learning. Bishop Drive in San Ramon. Riders can choose from four routes, from the novice The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a unique example of the art of garden design with to the experienced: • 100-mile Century Ride begins at 7AM • 60-mile ride begins drought-tolerant plants, and it is known as one of the finest dry gardens in the world. at 9AM • 30-mile ride begins at 10AM • 15-mile Family Fun Ride begins at 11AM. The Garden displays an expansive collection of plants from the world’s desert and The Family Ride will take cyclists up and down San Ramon Valley Blvd., while Mediterranean climates, collected by Ruth Bancroft for over 60 years. When you the 100-mile Century Ride takes riders to the ranger station on Mt. Diablo, around step into the garden, you step into an exotic world that could only have been created Morgan Territory, into Livermore, and back to the Foundation headquarters. by an individual with Ruth Bancroft’s background, interests and enthusiasm. This There will also be live music, a barbecue, and other fun events scheduled be- visionary feat of garden design combines elements of a mid-century modernist design tween 1 and 3PM on the day of the ride. sensibility with the exuberance of a Victorian-era plant collection, woven together In addition, a custom bike jersey is available to commemorate this ride. The using a striking palette of succulent plants. Ruth Bancroft is considered to be a pioneer Club Cut bike jersey, $65, is a little longer and looser than a Race Cut jersey. in the field of gardening. She designed, planted, and maintained the garden along, For information on the race, to order a jersey, or to register, go to the race website with the help of two gardeners, until her retirement at age 97. She celebrated her 103rd at birthday in 2011, a fitting tribute to the lifestyle of an avid gardener.

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.

The Magic of Timothy James Come to the Children’s Reading Room at the Danville Library on Tuesday, August 7th at 4PM for clean comedy, friendly audience participation, and astonishing sleight of hand as bowling balls appear from nowhere, drawings come to life, and audience members predict the future. Timothy James will tickle you with his humor as he presents a wonderfully entertaining program sponsored by the Friends of the Danville Library.

Danville Today News ~August 2012 - Page 5

Mow No More By Cynthia Ruzzi, President Sustainable Danville Area

OB-GYN Specialists and Ryan Anderson, MD

My family has always been grateful for the ‘dog day afternoons’ of August sure to be filled with hot, sunny skies. It’s time to leave lawn chores behind and head to the beach. For years, we made sure to lighten our burden by following prudent grass growing techniques to make our escape easier and less guilt ridden. are pleased to announce the addition of Long ago we stopped using synthetic fertilizers because they are a threat to the Bay as they wash down storm drains. Of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem. Others are toxic to birds, bees, and humans. See factsheets/30health.pdf for more information. Additionally, these chemicals are formulated to stimulate a lot of quick grass growth which demands more water and even more mowing! Using organic products and grass clippings that work with the soil and feed the lawn slowly over the season makes for less work. Every spring until after Labor Day, we’d set our lawnmower blade higher to leave our grass at least three inches long after each ‘haircut.’ The taller grass shaded the surface of the soil preventing crabgrass and other weed seeds from taking root, helped conserve water, and encouraged deep-root growth to allow our lawn to become more drought-tolerant. When my son shared with us EPA statistics learned in his AP Environmental Science class about gas powered lawnmowers representing 5% of the US air pollution before 1997, we had our excuse to look for alternatives. Unregulated for emissions until the late 1990’s, gas powered garden equipment still emits high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxide – in other words pollution in your backyard. In fact, the EPA states that a new gas powered lawn mower produces enough air pollution in one hour as 11 new cars each being driven for one Madhavi Vemulapalli, MD (Dr. V) hour ( The solution to our pollution producing lawnmower seemed apparent after a trip to the local to their Danville office at hardware store where my husband ‘oohed’ over the latest ‘push’ mowers that definitely are not your father’s lawnmower. Touting high-grade plastics, lightweight metals, precision blades that rarely 909 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #214 need sharpening and the promise of cutting the grass cleanly and evenly, we were almost ready to Danville, CA 94526 buy and then, the water emergency of 2009 hit us. EBMUD penalized any resident that didn’t cut their water usage by 20%. Given that we were already using an on-demand water heater, a high efficiency washer and dryer, and a foot peddle that controls the water faucet at the kitchen sink to Please call 925-552-7069 to make turn off the water when not needed, it was up to our lawn to give up ‘its drink.’ This only made sense since more than 30% of all urban fresh water is used for watering the yard. Imagine an appointment. how much is wasted because of inappropriate timing, dosage, or misdirected sprinklers. I went outside and explained the situation to the grass and plants, “Look guys it’s been lovely, but you either flourish on once a week watering or be composted,” I said. More than half the garden made it, including my favorite 32 year OB-GYN Specialists old rose bush. However, I needed replacement for the other half of my plants and my beautiful Californian Judith Hartman, MD Janine Senior, MD lawn. Luckily I came across an EBMUD program to convert my garden grass to a native plant landscape. Janette Walker, MD Sari Kasper, DO The EBMUD rebate program (extended to December 31, 2012) provides up to $500 dollars to Heather West, NP Linda Wight, NP help transform your lawn into water permeable and drought-resistant landscape. Converting our front and back lawns through the EBMUD program was very simple. The first step is to measure 2121 Ygnacio Valley Rd, E101, Walnut Creek, the lawn area you want to convert and then complete the application form found online at https:// 94598 • (925) 945-6600 lawn-conversion. The best time to start the physical work of the project is mid-to-late September since new plants will benefit from the approaching winter dormancy and rains. However,August is the perfect time to start the design process by familiarizing yourself with drought tolerant plants that will thrive in your microclimate. A wonderful resource is EBMUD publication Plant and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region. EBMUD also has a resource list of Bay Area nurseries, demonstration gardens, classes, and books where you can learn about and view native plants. As part of the lawn conversion program, an EBMUD representative will meet with you both pre and post-conversion. The representative shared great resources and explained that using the process of sheet mulching would spare us the hard work of tearing out the lawn. Sheet mulching is a layered mulching system that suppresses weeds, and in the case of a lawn conversion, grass. This process also made it possible to plant over 60 small plants in the front yard in one afternoon – alone. If you’re interested in learning more, read the Death of My Lawnmower: One Homeowners’Journey to Replacing Our Lawn, by visiting If you’re not quite ready for mow-free weekends, then consider this watering guide for water smart tips for landscape Remember to visit us at and on Facebook for more tips, information, and upcoming events. 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Page 6 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Quick Trips

Charlotte Wood Middle School

By Linda Summers Pirkle

By Christopher George, Principal

Any trip that allows me to drive through the Redwoods in Marin is a plus. Just one hour and forty-five minutes away, the destination is Hog Island Oyster Farm - ten minutes past Point Reyes Station on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay. Hog Island Oyster Farm, serving and shucking oysters since 1984, has a new shack for oysters to go with various sizes of Sweetwaters, Kumamotos, and Atlantics. They also sell mussels and clams, and if you go Friday thru Monday, you can order the most delicious BBQ’d oysters, along with beer, wine, or soft drinks. All is served on one of the rustic community tables - steps from the where the harvest was made. Matt Huffstutter, assistant manager at Hog Island, explains the BBQ process. “It’s actually more like poaching on a grill. Using our house-made garlic chipotle butter, we put a dollop on the opened oyster and cook for about five minutes - it’s pretty good!” Customers agree wholeheartedly. Our group arrived at 12:30 on a Sunday - usually a very busy time - but we found spots at an open community table which can seat up to twelve. We placed our order at “The Boat,” the walkup stand which is about fifteen steps from the water. The process from menu to table took about ten minutes. The BBQ oysters’ plate and fresh oysters paired with locally brewed Lagunitas beer was the perfect match. Huffstutter said they are usually booked three months out for the six tables that can be reserved. Hog Island supplies the BBQ and coal. You can bring your own fare or purchase oysters there and do your own grilling. Sitting just steps from the bay with misty overcast weather, fresh air, and convivial neighbors at our table, along with delicious oysters, was nice. I appreciated the free valet service at the farm, and when we left, the valet accompanied us across the street to our car. The busy shoreline highway can be tricky. On the way back, you can stop at Point Reyes Station. Bovine Bakery (open daily) in downtown Pt. Reyes has a nice range of baked goods, and their bear claws are glorious. A nice lunch spot is CowGirl Creamery (open WednesdaySunday) where the menu changes every few weeks. The staples on the menu, Rosie’s Organic Rotisserie Chicken and the Ham and Cowgirl Mt. Tam with lettuce and Dijon, are delicious. *Cell coverage is spotty on the coast except for areas in Point Reyes Station. It’s best to bring a map or print directions before you leave home. *Bicyclists abound on the highway, no bike path, so take the curves very cautiously. *Temperature can be 30 degrees cooler than the Bay Area, so bring layers. *If you plan on purchasing oysters to go, bring a cooler. Hog Island supplies ice for the small cooler size for no charge, larger orders there’s a fee for ice. Hog Island Farm is located at 20215 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, California, and the phone number is (415) 663-9218. Visit their website at hogislandoysters. com. Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Linda Summers Pirkle, travel consultant and long term Danville resident, has been arranging and leading tours for the Town of Danville for several years. Inspired by the many wonderful places to visit in the Bay Area, she organizes day trips, either for groups or for friends and family. “If it's a trip for my husband and me, my husband drives and I talk (he’s a captive audience) - the perfect combination! What a great place to live, so much to see, so much to do.” To share your “Quick Trips” ideas, email

We hope you have had a great, safe, and relaxing summer so far. Hopefully, you and your families have been able to travel, or just spend quality time together. We at Charlotte Wood have had a busy summer, as we are preparing for the 2012- 2013 school year by hiring new staff, getting registration ready, reviewing safety procedures, and engaging in professional development. We have a lot of exciting things happening both at Charlotte Wood and throughout the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. This will be a year of great change and great progress throughout the SRVUSD. We are privileged to welcome our new Superintendent, Mary Shelton to the district. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Ms. Shelton brings a wealth of experience and skill, and we highly anticipate working with her. One of the biggest developments in education throughout California and the nation is the coming implementation of the National Common Core Standards. These Common Core standards are national standards that will drive our curriculum and kids’ learning in coming years. This year, we begin the process of implementing those standards in earnest by studying, ‘unpacking,’and translating those standards to language that all students can understand and internalize. We will be discussing this throughout the year, both as a staff and with our community. Meanwhile, we continue down the path of creating 21st century classrooms and lessons that reflects the needs and engagement of our students. Thanks to your continual financial support, we work to provide our classrooms with the tools that students need to learn the skills that are reflected both in the Common Core Standards and in today’s educational and workplace environment. As important as any of that, however, is that we are looking forward with great excitement to having our students back in our building and at school for those first, exciting weeks of school. We look forward to meeting our new 6th graders and seeing our 7th and 8th graders take on new challenges and new accomplishments. Please make sure that those of you who have students at Charlotte Wood are checking our website regularly for important dates and time for registration, Back to School Night, and other beginning of the year activities. As always, please contact us with concerns, comments, or questions as we enter another exciting year.

Lost Dog! $50 REWARD

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

Mary Roberts is our winner!

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Stone Valley Middle School By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal Welcome New Presidents Janet Nunan and Gary Zilk have taken over the reins of the PTA and Ed Funds respectively for the 2012-13 school year. Janet and Gary have wasted no time in getting started. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Janet at or Gary at

Back to School Time School starts August 28th. The best preparation for the new school year for all students is to incorporate learning skills into part of each day. I suggest that you enlist your children in the learning process by having them create a personal calendar that includes the following components: reading, math, writing, and exercise. Post the calendar where parents can see and monitor progress. The anxiety that typically precedes the start of every new school year will be significantly diminished when students feel confident in their skills. Summer school work provides the necessary backdrop for skill development and retention. There are several suggestions for summer activities on the Stone Valley homepage – www.stonevalley.schoolloop. com. In addition to the academic preparation, sleep patterns should gradually move toward the school hours to avoid alarm clock shock in late August.

New Classes Music in Exploratory Wheel – The 6th grade exploratory wheel is composed of four spokes - technology, music, home economics, and health. We are trying to build our music program by offering 6th graders three opportunities to take a music class via the wheel, chorus, and cadet band. Contact Ben Loomer, bloomer@ for more information. AVID – Advancement Via Individual Determination - Elective class for 7th and 8th graders. AVID takes the place of an elective and is based on a national curriculum designed for better preparing students to be on track for college - www. For questions, contact Devrah Lawver - Leadership/Philanthropy – Our leadership class will become the collecting point for all campus driven philanthropy efforts - local, regional, and abroad. The students will work cooperatively with the local charity Pledge to Humanity - www., and the Environmental Marine Science class. The con-

Electric Railroads in Contra Costa County Gone but Not Forgotten By Beverly Lane Just a century ago Contra Costans began to use a new and exciting mode of transportation, the electric railroad. These railroads provided fast trips for people and freight and served as a transition between steam railroads and motor vehicles. In 1913, Central County welcomed the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Railway when it opened electric service from Oakland to Sacramento for 85 miles. Beginning at the Oakland pier, it traveled through the Redwood Peak Tunnel with stops at Moraga, Walnut Creek, and Concord (among others) and branches to Danville, Pittsburg, and Walwood. The trains used a ferry and drawbridge to reach Solano County and a two-mile trestle over the Yolo Basin to connect with the Northern Electric Railway at the capitol. Richmond’s East Shore & Suburban Railway began in 1904 and was absorbed into the East Bay’s Key System in 1922. Two branches went to Point Richmond and Alvarado Park. During World War II, the Richmond Shipyard (electric) Railway delivered workers from all over the East Bay to Kaiser's shipyards from 1942 to 1945.

Special Electric Trains Served the County Soon after it opened, OA&E Railway passengers came to Mount Diablo via the Danville Branch for day-long excursions, promoted by Robert N. Burgess who was constructing a snazzy new country club at the southern base of the mountain. Locals called these promotional trains “Millionaires’ Specials.” Visitors came to see the mountain and hear about the new Mount Diablo Park Club which opened in 1916 with a club house, lake, tennis courts, and golf course.

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 7 tact person is Monique Metzcus - mmetzcus@

Registration and Important Dates

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$300 off We have made a few changes for the fall that consist of three easy steps: 1. Pick up your Insured & Bonded - License #945081 student’s pre-registration materials at the Stone Valley office starting Monday, August 13th between 8am – 4pm. 2. Go online any time starting August 13th to complete all other registration materials and print at home. 3. Bring printed materials to the Stone Valley gym to finish the registration process on August 20th (3pm-6pm) or August 21st (10am-1pm). Volunteers Needed! The more volunteers we have, the shorter wait times will be. Please volunteer to help out at registration. This is a great opportunity for new parents to meet other Stone Valley parents and for friends to reconnect after the summer. We need volunteers for both Monday, August 20th and Tuesday, August 21st. Go to http://www.signupgenius. com/go/30E084BAEAE2DA64-registration to sign up now. If you can’t volunteer for the whole time-slot, just indicate on the site when you would be available. If you have questions about registration, please contact Nina Fishman at or Shelby Fautt at If you have questions about volunteering during registration, please contact Nicole Shay at

More Important Dates to Remember • Friday, August 24th - WEB Day (Where Everybody Belongs) orientation for all new students. Contact Wendy Nacamu or Eric Rasch • Tuesday, August 28th – School Begins – 12:10PM dismissal • Thursday, September 6th – Back To School Night

Danville Branch Train was Nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley For several years, trains called “The Produce Cannonballs” brought fresh vegetables, fruit, and nuts to the Oakland Produce Market from the county’s farms, arriving at 4AM in the summer season. During the Pan-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, which celebrated the Panama Canal’s opening, special OA&E electric trains brought visitors to the Oakland pier for the ferry ride across the Bay to San Francisco. Contra Costa Day was April 3, 1915.

The Sacramento Northern In 1929 two rail companies (the successor to OA&E was one) merged to become the Sacramento Northern Railroad. At its peak in the 1930s, the Sacramento Northern became the longest electric interurban railway in the country, providing main line service from Oakland to Chico for 177 miles.

Trains Traveled East and West For trips beyond Oakland to San Francisco, electric riders from Contra Costa took the ferry at the Key System’s Oakland pier from 1913-1939. Trains went directly to San Francisco when the lower deck of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to rail service in 1939. Trains traveled east crossed Suisun Bay on a ferry from today’s Bay Point through Chipp’s Island, then over a bridge to Solano County. The ferry Ramon provided service from 1915 to 1954 and was the only interurban railway ferry in the entire United States. Eventually versatile new automobiles and trucking services rendered electric railroads obsolete. Sacramento Northern passenger service ended in 1941 and freight service phased out beginning in 1957. Today the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) and the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail travel on part of the Sacramento Northern’s original right of way. Electric trains live on as BART trains link communities throughout Contra Costa County and beyond. They are gone, but not forgotten. Sources: Harre W. Demoro, Irma M. Dotson, Garth G. Groff, Ira L. Swett.

Page 8 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Monte Vista High School

San Ramon Valley High School

By Janet Terranova, Principal

By Ruth Steele, Principal Dear Community Members,

We bid goodbye to the Senior Class of 2012. What an incredible class! As a class they redefined spirit on our campus. At every event from drama to sports to music to club activities, this senior class left their mark. They were role models for student involvement, cheering their classmates on at student activities and being involved in clubs. They excelled academically and this fall we will find them starting the next phase of their life. Most of our students will continue their education, but some have opted to work, join the military or take a “bridge” year. Some will travel far away to attend school, but most will stay close to home with the majority of our students attending UC, CSU, or a number of community colleges on the west coast. Welcome to the class of 2016! We are so excited to have you begin your high school experience as a Mustang. High school is an amazing adventure with so many opportunities to learn and grow. As a beginning high school student, I urge you to work hard and do your best in all your classes. It is important that you and your family choose the best academic path to prepare you for your future. Academics should always come first, but becoming involved in your school and community are part of being a well-rounded high school student. Summer is a great time to rest and rejuvenate. Whether you have students in school or not, summer means a time to relax a little, enjoy that after dinner ice cream cone, stay up a little later, take a dip in the ocean or pool, and enjoy BBQ feasts. Please take the time to enjoy your family and friends. Registration Packet Pick-up: August 15 • 3 – 7PM ~ Drama Room August 16 • 12 – 2PM ~ Drama Room Registration: August 21 • 12 – 6PM ~ Gym August 22 • 12 – 6PM ~ Gym Freshmen Orientation: August 23 • 10 – 1PM ~ Gym Freshmen Dance: August 23 • 7:30 – 9:30PM ~ Gym First Day of School: August 28 • Minimum Day For more information about Monte Vista and our activities, please visit our website at

It is my pleasure to be able to write this article to introduce myself as the new Principal of San Ramon Valley High School. I am fortunate to be inheriting SRVHS from Principal Joe Ianora who has built an impressive legacy during his eight years at the Home of Champions. I have spent the last six years working in the Acalanes Union High School District which serves Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek, but prior to that my journey to San Ramon spanned continents rather than grade levels... I was born in Reading, England, in 1974. It’s a town of about 140,000 which was originally settled in 871 AD and became a town around 1086 - about 20 years after the Norman Invasion of 1066! I am actually writing this article while sitting in the house that I grew up in as I am home this summer spending time with family and friends. Reading is about forty miles west of London, so my husband and I have been visiting museums, galleries, and castles and brushing up on our history. This has been quite a year for England. The Queens’ Diamond Jubilee celebrations marked her 60th year on the throne, and the Olympics are in London this summer. The Olympic Torch was carried through my hometown on July 14th, and we were lucky enough to witness that historic moment. My son was also there, but he is almost three and was much more interested in the fire-trucks that were there in case of an emergency! I haven’t been home for several years, and a lot has happened since I moved to the USA in 2001, so this summer has really given me an opportunity to reflect on the journey that brought me to this point in my career. I had originally gone to University in Birmingham, England to study Applied Biology and had been working in the field of Pharmaceutical research when I realized that was not how I wanted to spend my time. I worked for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for a year and then enrolled in a teacher credential program in Warwick, England. The following year I started working in Coventry, England as a biology, science, and art teacher. High School in England encompasses 7th-13th grade, and you teach all grade levels within your subject area. It was a challenge, but I loved it, especially as I was also able to teach within the Art Department. However, I was looking for a change, and in 2001, after waiting several months for my visa, I began working at John Swett High School in Crockett, California. Getting a visa to come here and work was a challenge, but it was worth every minute. I spent five years teaching biology at John Swett High School, and during that time, I completed my Do you have a story idea or sporting news? Administrative Credential and Masters Degree at Sonoma State. I began my AdminisCall us at 925.405.6397, or email us at trative career at Miramonte High School and spent the last four years as an Associate Principal at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek. That’s the short version of my story so far, and my appointment to the San Ramon Valley High School Principalship marks the beginning of the next chapter. What I have realized over the last few weeks in England is that as SERVING ALAMO & DANVILLE SINCE 1979! far as you may move from your home, your closest ties are always with the community in which you are raised. The memories from childhood, family and the school years are the experiences that define us as we become adults, and it is absolutely critical that those experiences are positive. I know that the San Ramon Valley community is proud, involved, and committed to the success of the young Call us and ask about people that come through our schools, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been appointed to serve Pentair’s IntelliFlo pump at SRVHS as Principal. I am looking forward to working which qualifies for a $100 with students, staff, parents, and community members to PG&E rebate! maintain the traditions of excellence already established at SRVHS whilst continuing to move the school forward. School will start before we know it. Go Wolves!

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Dates to Remember Monday, 8/13 - Packet Pick up - 9-3PM Tuesday, 8/14 - Packet Pick up 1-7PM Wednesday, 8/15 - Wolf Pack Day 1PM-7PM Commons Tuesday, 8/21 - Wolf Pack Day 1PM-7PM in the Commons Friday, 8/24 - Freshmen Orientation 9:30 - 2:10PM Main GYM Tuesday, 8/28 - First Day of School (Minimum Day)

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 9

Solar Currents By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar “Bankability” is strictly defined as a project or proposal that has sufficient collateral, future cash flow, and high probability of success. In reality, it’s a practice that we Purveyors of classic, exotic, and should exercise in the decihigh-performance cars for more than 30 years. sion making process in many California’s #1 Classic Car Dealer aspects of our life. Decisions are often based on emotion, Over 200 vehicles in inventory! money, or haste. Bankable decisions are decisions that are well thought out whilst considering other pertinent factors. Oftentimes a decision based solely on emotion or money can be a very poor decision. The construction industry in California is a multibillion dollar industry. As a group, contractors suffer from a lack of credibility as a result of poor communication and business management skills and poor business practices. Since our economic downturn, the industry has been especially subject to the negative economic forces Showrooms in Pleasanton, Benicia, and Fairfield. in action. According to the California Contractor’s State | 800.600.2262 License Board, many contractors still in business have tried to survive by “further alteration of their business methods,” otherwise known as “cheat to compete.” In each issue of the Licensed Contractor’s News- Free Tango Lessons letter, which we receive quarterly, there is a list of hundreds of contractors whose licenses have been Enjoy a relaxed Sunday afternoon of tango at the Blackrevoked in the past three months for a variety of illegal activities. The offenses that subject a contrachawk Plaza Rotunda located at 3499 Blackhawk Plaza Circle tor to license revocation are too numerous to mention. I’ll bet that at least 20% of people who read in Danville. This free event will take place Sunday, August this article have contractor horror stories of their own. Illegal change orders, project price increase, th lesson from 2PM -3PM and a milonga dance greater than $1,000 maximum down payment are all license revocable offenses. When consider- 5 withPMa beginner’s PM -7:30 . from 3 ing competing contractors for your project, re-read the definition of bankability, then consider how This event is hosted by the Blackhawk Milonga and the Bay bankability may relate to the contractor you ultimately select. Do a thorough background check via the “instant license check” link at the California Contractors State License Board website at www. Area Tango Association. For more information, contact Carlin Here you’ll find the license and insurance status of contractors. You’ll also find if there Ghahraman at or call (510) 406-4583. is any litigation in progress against the contractor, the contractors employee declaration and required workman’s compensation status. Did you know that if your contractor has employees and does not Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley The Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley meets for lunch pay for workman’s compensation insurance you can be subject to suit from an injured employee of the second Wednesday of every month at Faz Restaurant in this contractor if they are injured at your home or business? Danville. The Club’s sign-in and social time begins at After gathering this information, make a determination if your contractors profile fits the definition downtown AM 11:30 . The meeting starts promptly at noon and ends promptly of bankability, and if your investment of time and money in that contractor will result in long-term PM advantage for you. Statistically it is safe to say that in many cases the lowest initial bid cost will actually at 1 . The one-hour program features guest speakers and a result in greater long-term costs because the means by which the low bid cost was reached, oftentimes business networking speaker. Guests are welcome. Price is $16 by cutting corners. Illegal change orders are an unscrupulous tactic used by low bidders to increase the for members and first time guests and $20 for returning guests. For more information, call Karen Stepper, President, at project cost. The “underground economy” operating in the construction sector is rampant, and consumers suffer every day as a result of it. Next month I’ll further touch on how to further vet contractors (925) 275-2312, email, or visit competing for your project. There are many good contractors; “trust but verify” is the best approach. Energy Milestone: Germany is not a nation known for it’s sunny climate. On the 21st of July, Danville/Sycamore Rotary 30% of all power needs for Germany were supplied by solar energy. On Saturday, 50% of the nations If you are interested in visiting the Danville/Sycamore power needs were supplied by solar energy. Germany has almost as much solar power generation Valley Rotary Club, contact club president Jim Coleman at capacity as the rest of the world combined. It is a nation that is 20 years ahead of us in deployment Meetings are held on Tuesdays of renewable energy. It’s slowly being generally accepted in the USA that renewable energy is safer at 7AM at Crow Canyon Country Club. than nuclear energy, cleaner than coal and natural gas, and better for the long-term health of our nation’s people. In locations where the price of electricity is high, such as in California, it is also a Danville Rotary better long-term economic choice. The Danville Rotary Club meets every Monday at noon During the product selection phase of any construction project, balancing quality and price is an at Faz restaurant in Danville. For more information, conideal goal to achieve. Specifically for solar projects, find and utilize products that will have the lowest tact membership chairperson Jim Crocker at jimcrocker@ long-term cost of ownership. Achieve this by balancing price, compatibility, warranty, manufacturer or by phone at 925-577-6159. viability, and technology. Quality made solar products are very reliable, but in the next 30 years you Danville Lions Club may need someone to answer the tech support line. The Danville Lions Club invites you to join us for dinner Pricing is very important these days. Very few contractors can succeed on “value add” higher cost projects alone. Conversely, it’s common for the consumer to confuse low bids as best value. and to learn more about how our club serves the community. Construction projects are investment decisions like any other investment decision. They require the Meetings are held at the Brass Door, 2154 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month careful thought and planning so that long-term cost of ownership is kept to a minimum. Mark Becker is the President of GoSimpleSolar, by Semper Fidelis Construction, a Danville based at 7PM. For more information, please call Dr. Brent Waterman Solar Installation Firm. Mark can be reached at 925.915.9252. Come visit GoSimpleSolar’s new show- at (925) 275-1990. room at 114 West Prospect Ave. in Danville to see, touch, and discuss solar and energy efficiency products. For more details, see or email Advertorial

Page 10 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

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Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 2 My New Role as County Supervisor By Candace Andersen On the evening of Monday, June 25, 2012, I received a phone call from Governor Jerry Brown’s office informing me that the next morning I would be appointed to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. I had won the seat in the June 5th election but my term did not officially begin until January 2013. With the passing of my friend and colleague, former Supervisor Gayle Uilkema in May, the seat now sat vacant. The Governor had the discretion to appoint someone to fill the remainder of her term. Receiving the news that I would soon become Supervisor was an exciting but bittersweet moment. I had truly enjoyed my tenure on the Danville Town Council for the previous nine years. I was halfway through my second term as Mayor, and I knew I would miss my association with my fellow Council members Newell Arnerich, Mike Doyle, Karen Stepper, and Robert Storer, along with the Town Staff which does an excellent job of maintaining Danville's small town atmosphere and outstanding quality of life. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to the challenges and opportunity to serve our County of close to one million residents. I’m often asked what a County Supervisor does. Being a County Supervisor is much like being on a City Council for the entire County. For those who live in unincorporated areas such as Alamo, Canyon, and Saranap, the Supervisor is their elected representative. The Board has five elected supervisors from specific districts. I preside over District 2 which covers the communities of Orinda, Moraga, Canyon, Lafayette, Rossmoor, Parkmead, Saranap, and additional parts of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon. Supervisors make land use decisions for unincorporated areas. They set policies and allocate funds for many different services provided to all of the County including law enforcement, fire protection, jails, libraries, health services, social services, transportation, and transit. County Supervisors can be very helpful to our cities. They sit on boards with City Council members and advocate on behalf of the cities. They also appoint most County department heads, provide compensation for County officials and employees, award contracts for public works, and adopt an

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annual budget of approximately $1.2 billion. There are close to 8,000 employees. Supervisor Uilkema had three offices to cover the district, and we are consolidating down to two. Over the past month we have been transitioning the main office from Martinez to Danville, utilizing the same space that has been used by previous supervisors at 309 Diablo Road, near Danville's big Oak Tree. Starting in August, the Danville office will be open daily from 8AM-5PM. We are also keeping the Lamorinda Office in the Fire District Headquarters located at 3338 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette. That office will be open Mondays from 10AM-2PM and Thursdays 11AM-4PM, and by appointment. I am fortunate to have a dedicated staff helping serve the needs of the communities in District 2. Four of the five served under Supervisor Uilkema. Chief of Staff Steve Dexter,, oversees the office and is the liaison to Orinda. He also served as Supervisor Uilkema's Chief of Staff. Deputy Chief of Staff Gayle Israel,, is new to the office. She is the liaison to San Ramon, and oversees communications and transportation issues. Field Representative Jill Ray,, oversees planning and zoning issues, and is also the liaison to Moraga and Canyon. Field Representative Lauri Byers,, handles scheduling and is the liaison to Lafayette. Field Representative Donna Maxwell, donna.maxwell@bos.cccounty. us, works with Alamo, Danville, and Walnut Creek. As you have questions about the County, please don't hesitate to contact me. I’m elected to be your representative and want to hear from you. I can be reached at, or call my office at 925.957.8860.

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Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 11

The Best Wine Blogs By Monica Chappell At any time of the day or night, someone somewhere is pouring out his or her thoughts about wine on a blog. Blogs offer an unfiltered, conversational, and passionate point of view. From last count there were over 700 wine blogs. Although many of these sites are recitations of “wines I’ve tasted,” a few stand out for their quality. The ones mentioned here are some of my favorites and offer a variety of perspectives. Vinography - - Alder Yarrow is a San Francisco hightech consultant and wine lover who runs Vinography, perhaps the Web’s most popular and comprehensive wine blog. Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog - - Dr. Vino, a.k.a. Tyler Colman, really is a doctor. After teaching political science for two years, he settled into full-time wine writing and education. Fermentation - - While most wine bloggers focus on specific bottles, this site looks at wine PR, interstate wine shipping laws and labeling restrictions. Included are also interviews of other wine bloggers. Good Wine Under $20 - - Budget wines might be the most-blogged subject in the wine web, and this site searches out great everyday wines. Bitten by the blog bug myself, I launched my own wine blog and use it as an educational tool as well as an archive for my wine articles. My blog also provides a means of communicating about upcoming wine classes, dates and locations. My site,, may not have the following of Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame, but it’s a fun way to stay in touch with students who have taken my wine classes. Monica Chappell, Wine Writer and Educator, offers wine appreciation classes. For a list visit

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Page 12 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Creating a Website for Your Company By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

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In the past 15 years our awareness of the world has been dramatically influenced by the emergence of the worldwide web. The internet is a massive distributed database of every sort of information one could ever hope to learn. Most of it is good information, or at least it’s sincere, but some of it is junk. When you own a business, having a website is as important as listing a telephone number for your customers to call. At the minimum, it’s expected that you’re going to have a basic, informative website that gives others the ability to learn about you. If you’re trying to sell things over the internet, it’s expected that you will have up-to-date information, excellent pictures, and that this electronic $100 Off on All Gas Fire Pits storefront works flawlessly every time someone buys something. This is a whole new concept for a major part of our population, and it’s daunting to figure out where to start. If you want to build a website, my advice is to start simple. Before I get too far here, please realize this is an abbreviated 750 word essay on a rather involved process. So, if you’re going to start this journey, it would be a good idea to sit down with an expert and go over the process before you dive in. Website development isn’t difficult for the people who do it all the time. If you’re new to it, you’re going to need help. How much this costs is directly related to how +HU]PSSL   much responsibility you are willing to take to *HTPUV;HZZHQHYH do things yourself, and how well you choose the website developer who will ultimately transcribe your wishes into web code. (SHTV   Nobody works for free, and a good website Open Tues thru Sat 10 to 6  +HU]PSSL)V\SL]HYK requires plenty of thought and planning :\UKH`[V‹*SVZLK4VUKH` to work well. Good sites don’t occur by accident. If you do your homework and take responsibility for your website, you With websites, the hard part is not fonts, colors, or page design. The should end up with a result you really like at a cost that doesn’t bankrupt you. hard part is figuring out what to say. We’ve all seen great sites, and what You’re going to want a nice fresh website, maybe with an e-commerce makes them great is that they have interesting content (words and pictures) cart hooked into either PayPal’s or perhaps Amazon’s payment engine so that inform us and help us make decisions. Your challenge is to figure out you can sell your goods online. Both shopping carts are familiar to most what to say. I like to “story-boardâ€? my ideas before we code them into a people. For example, if you’re a flower shop you are going to want your website. Use butcher paper or binder paper, and let each sheet represent a website to be searchable, in that you want people to find you when they web page. On each sheet, place every picture, every word, every link and think ‘flowers online,’ or some such combination of terms regarding florists. every graphic so that you can conceptualize how it will look. This approach Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a discipline unto itself. You’re going will help you clarify what the site should look like, and it will save hundreds to want whoever helps you to have at least a basic understanding of how (thousands) of dollars in web developer time, preventing them from having SEO works, and how to create your website so it is found by the search- to re-create pages over and over again until you like them. engine-web-crawlers and ranked onto the first page. The number one way There is so much more to write, but I’m out of space. If you go to our to make your site attractive to the search engines is to have original content Facebook page (and “likeâ€? us!), I have the extended article and many useful that is interesting and unique to the web. Content is king. All the little things links for templates, web developers, shopping carts, and a good software like labeling your pictures (the ‘alt’ tags on them) make a big difference, development method for making websites. There’s always more to things because every word on your site is considered searchable content. The than meets the eye, and you need expert insight and guidance, so give us a search engines are rating you on how useful your website is to the greater call or email at Portable CIO. By phone, 925-552-7953, or email helpdesk@ web community, and ranking you based on that finding. Advertorial

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 13

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Page 14 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Ovens continued from front page His grass-roots organization is now providing educational, economic, and health care assistance to ten villages in Afghanistan. TIE informs and enlists Americans to become directly involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and it serves as a tie between Afghan villages and American communities. Projects over the past nine years have included building two schools and two community learning centers, working with villagers to prioritize needs, funding economic development projects, sponsorships of street children, and micro credit financing. TIE supports improved health care, various sports programs, and the installation of playground equipment at several schools. And, they provide solar ovens. MacKenzie states that the case for solar ovens is compelling, not only for Afghanistan but for the entire planet. Two million people die each year due to smoke inhalation injuries from wood fires; wood is prohibitively so do we! expensive for many families, and deforestation is a major problem in several countries, including Afghanistan. Half of Afghanistan’s drinking water is contaminated, but the simple use of a solar oven to heat water kills all Danville Today harmful bacteria. And, Afghanistan has 300 sunny days per year – the perfect environment for solar cooking. The program was initiated with five Howell-made solar cookers being sent to Afghanistan in August 2010. readers call NOW for MacKenzie remembers the reaction, “They were welcomed not unlike the coke bottle in the 1981 film The God’s Must special offer! Be Crazy, he says. “In other words, they thought, ‘What in the world is this crazy thing?’” A year later, 100 more ovens, assembled by a small group of TIE volunteers, were sent to Kabul along with 850 cookits, another type of solar oven. Watch a short video In order to face the educational challenges in converting to solar cooking, MacKenzie joined forces with Grace Magney, an American living in Kabul. “I was told, according to several sources, that Grace knows everything there is to know about solar, and my sources were correct,” says MacKenzie. Magney, along with TIE’s three Kabul-based Afghan program managers, provide training seminars at TIE’s office in Kabul. Those who receive training are then asked to pass along their expertise to other families, creating a self-sustaining program. MacKenzie, who travels to Afghanistan twice each year (14 times in all), was present for a training day which included a satisfying solar cooked meal of rice, kidney beans, okra, onions, tomatoes, and chicken 499B San Ramon Valley Blvd. • Danville, CA 94526 legs. Nearly 25 Afghan children were present for the demonstration and subsequent feast. “It was a great day 925-743-0802 • for science, the children, education, and for TIE,” says MacKenzie. “As our government devises an exit strategy for our military, we should not abandon the Afghan people, as our government did in 1993,” says MacKenzie. “Our role in Afghanistan is clear: Join in the reconstruction and humanitarian aid effort. History has favored Americans with an opportunity to join with Afghans in remedying the consequences of over thirty years of war. We must recognize that we either financed or directly waged war in Afghanistan for more than twenty of those years. It’s not enough to be anti-war. We must also be pro-victim and proactive in helping Afghans rebuild their lives and country. Afghans are asking for our help. We cannot reverse history, but we can certainly embrace the role we have been invited to play. Under the circumstances, the least that we can to do is try.” For more information on TIE and the solar oven project, visit www.

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Trust In Education volunteer Grace Magney, a resident of Kabul, Afghanistan, shares her solar cooking expertise with villagers.

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Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 15

Life in the Danville Garden Personal Path By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect To view a beautiful garden from a distance is to bring joy to the eyes, but to walk through and experience a beautiful garden touches all the human senses. The pathway is an essential structure to any successful landscape design. A pathway brings you into the garden and brings the garden to you. The goal of any garden path is to allow egress in and out of your landscape. It can lead you to that hidden secret sitting area where you love to sit in the warm sun and read a good book or enjoy quiet meditation away from the fray of life, or it can provide functional access to high-use areas in your yard such as swimming pools, patios and decks, and sports amenities. Depending on the purpose, the path can either be formal or informal. A formal path generally is more structured, permanent, and more direct. For instance, the path to your front door, pool, or patio should be more formal. Design it with the idea of transporting people more directly. A path to your door should be proportionate to the size of your home. If you have a large two-story façade, you don’t want a three-foot wide meandering path to your front door. Generally, a path for a larger proportioned home should be a minimum of five feet wide. It should be constructed of a permanent surface like concrete, stone, or brick mortared onto concrete for stability. Pick a ma-




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terial that is solid and easy to walk on. A formal path should be more direct. It doesn’t need to be straight, but it does need to be direct. A formal path can have curves, angles, or straight edges. In other words, it shouldn’t take you from the entry at the street around the side of your house, curve back around to the front through a grove of trees, and across to the other side before arriving at your front door. Just being funny! An informal path can be an added design feature to any Danville landscape. Most Danville lots tend to be quite spacious which allows for informal paths to get you out into your garden. An informal path generally is less structured, less permanent, and less direct. The purpose of an informal path is to provide access to the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes of your garden. It is a less direct way of getting someplace or nowhere. It gives you access to a hillside with views, a quiet corner for meditation, or a place for gathering an assortment of fruits, herbs, and flowers. It should be constructed of a less permanent material such as loose-set flagstone with ground cover in between, concrete steppers, or gravel. I particularly like gravel because of the “crunching” sound it makes when you walk on it. A garden path is one of the most important hardscape elements in your landscape design. It is a core element of your landscape. One of the first elements that I work out in my design process is the pathways. The path system defines the softscape areas and provides access for use. A path system can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. Remember that every element in your garden has purpose. Define the purpose of your path system before you design it. The garden path is most likely the most used hardscape element of any landscape design. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: A primary path should always be wide enough (4-5 ft at minimum) for two people to walk side-byside comfortably.

Gardening Quote of the Month: “It is a great art to saunter.” - Henry David Thoreau, 1841 If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas visit Advertorial

Page 16 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Tree of the Season: The Monterey Pine By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb The imposing Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata, perhaps the most common large landscape tree in the Bay Area, is one of the most widely-planted trees on the planet. It covers millions of acres in places as far-flung as England, Chile, and Australia. However, its native range covers just a few square miles of the California coastline, which explains why it prefers a cool, moist coastal climate with well-draining soils. With their dense, towering canopies, dark, glossy green needles, refreshing scent, and magnificent sweep of boughs, Monterey Pines give the feeling of being in a forest. They provide habitat for many species of birds and butterflies. The beauty of these trees, combined with their immense vigor and rapid growth, appeals to landscapers who want a quick, tall screen between houses, a cool shady hillside behind their home, or an instantly woodsy subdivision. Unfortunately, the quick hedge or woodland effect you enjoy in the first year of the tree’s life can become a major safety hazard and a source of conflict with uphill neighbors when, two decades later, the tree reaches 50-70 feet in height. The Monterey Pine’s soft, brittle wood and its shallow root system combine to make it a serious hazard during winter storms on the hilly slopes. Away from its native habitat, it is vulnerable to root-rot diseases and, stressed by lack of water during our dry summers, it becomes prey to often fatal beetle infestations. The species is relatively short-lived, around 75 years, and its proclivity for toppling, or for shedding large branches, increases with age.

Coping with Pines So what are we to do with these beautiful but bothersome pines that define so much of the Bay Area landscape? First of all, don’t plant any more of them unless you are willing and able to offer them ideal conditions. These include a large, level, adequately moist planting site, with porous soil, far from both houses and power lines, and with no uphill neighbors whose views your growing tree will obstruct. Monterey Pines also require regular care, including safety thinning every few years,

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

Planning to pop around to your local nursery for a pot of Pig’s Ears? Probably not, unless you’ve seen this fascinating South African import in bloom or been treated to the drama of a floral arrangement featuring the long-lasting bells of coral dangling on delicate silver stems. I’d be even less likely to look for this plant by its other common name, Round-leafed Navel Wort. Although the proper scientific designation Cotyledon orbiculata is a mouthful, loosely translated it yields the less offensive moniker: Round Cups. Growing naturally on stony outcrops, this succulent is no more stressed by drought than it seems to be by nasty nicknames. The five varieties of Cotyledon orbiculata are so diverse that ordinary gardeners are inclined to question the powers of perception of the botanists responsible for lumping them in a single species. One variety has foliage that more closely resembles the elongated fingers of a concert pianist than the rounded auditory appurtenances of a prize pig. All do raise parasols of fringed florets above their leaves. The most common floral shade is orange sherbet, but some varieties offer deeper tones of raspberry sorbet or paler presentations of lemon ice. The variety I cultivate has silver leaves edged in garnet and blooms, like most varieties, throughout the summer. Cut flowers conditioned with floral food last a month or more in the vase. Macrantha, a green-leafed variety (or some experts say species) blooms in winter. A substance in the leaves which is poisonous to goats and sheep makes Cotyledons deer and rabbit resistant. Unfortunately the digestive tracts of slugs and snails are insensitive to it. Rather than turning the fleshy foliage into lace doilies as they do with other plants, snails etch maps of their progress across the surface. The damage is unsightly, but it is not life threatening. Bees and hummingbirds find the tubular blossoms delectable. Another group of South African succulents with unattractive common names is the Gasteria genus. Wouldn’t you feel a trifle awkward asking a nursery manager: “Where do you keep your Mother-in-law’s Tongue?” Cowtongue Cactus and Lawyer’s Tongue are slightly less offensive, but unlikely

as well as periodic watering, aerating, and fertilizing. If you are already living with Monterey Pines, reduce the safety risks through preventative maintenance before it’s too late. To improve drainage, invigorate your pine’s root system, and strengthen its resistance, we suggest aerating, then filling the holes with rich, porous organic matter (we use American Soil’s “Clodbuster” mix). Check your pine for infestations by looking for areas where whole branches are turning brown, as well as for small holes, tubes or splotches of pitch, or red “sawdust” droppings around the trunk and major branches.

Pruning Pines The best time to prune any type of pine trees, and the only recommended time to prune Monterey pines, is between October 1st and February 15th. Sap from pruning cuts attracts beetles destructive to pines. These beetles are dormant during the fall and winter months. Given that the beetles can smell sap from long distances, it is important to prune your pine when they are inactive. Not only are the beetles themselves harmful, but some species can carry pine pitch canker, a fungal disease that disfigures pine trees and sometimes kills them. If your tree has dead tips scattered throughout the canopy it probably has pine pitch canker. If you want to prolong the life of the tree, as well as its appearance, now is the best time to prune out the diseased tips. Even healthy pines require occasional pruning to keep them safe and beautiful. To reduce the fire hazard associated with pines, fire departments recommend removing deadwood and taking branches back from buildings. Pines are sometimes subject to branch and column failure. Judicious thinning of the crown reduces the wind-sail effect of the canopy and thereby reduces the risk of the tree falling in a windstorm. Removing weight from the ends of heavy branches reduces the likelihood that those branches will break. The safety pruning of trees is an art as well as a science. A well-pruned tree should not only be safer, it should look beautiful. At Brende and Lamb, we take great pride in both the science and the art of pruning. Now is the best time to make your pines as safe, healthy, and beautiful as possible. 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 to generate high-volume sales. The botanical label comes from the shape of the flowers. Suspended along slender wands, each multi-colored floret looks like a miniature stomach. Green tipping edges cream tubes that widen into coral receptacles. While Cotyledons can tolerate a bit of shade, Gasterias actually require some relief from afternoon sun. In their native habitat they shelter beside rocks or embrace the companionship of taller plants. As their nicknames indicate, Gasterias have tongue-shaped leaves that start out two-ranked. In some species they spiral. Others keep the shape that caused one youthful visitor to the Ruth Bancroft Garden to insist that he wanted to get “that boat-shaped plant” for his mother. Leaves have a keel reminiscent of a canoe. Known as horticultural chameleons, Gasterias vary so greatly in response to their environs that botanists once classified them into over 200 species only to radically reduce that number about 20 years ago to a mere 16. They also freely mate with their cousins forming interesting intergeneric hybrids with Aloes and Haworthias. Gasterias are well behaved in containers. Cotyledons grow leggy like many of their close relatives, which include Jade plants. As a docent at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, I have fielded so many questions about growing succulents amongst perennials that I began experimenting with the concept. No matter how good your drip or sprinkler system is, you probably have a few tough spots in your yard that stay dry in the summer. I certainly do. Another issue is how damp the same areas become in winter. Both Cotyledons and Gasterias are somewhat more tolerant of our winter weather – cold, wet, and variable – than many other collectible succulents. Temperatures down to 20o F are not an issue. Cotyledon cuttings root so easily that you can try them in any area once you have an established parent plant and expect a 90% success rate. Gasterias will root from a leaf cutting, but it takes several weeks to six months, so patience is essential. What about drainage in our clay soil? Cotyledons will keep weeds down on a step slope, but won’t survive in a spot that remains waterlogged for days on end. Gasterias are a bit more forgiving of damp, but vastly prefer to dry out between soakings. These unusual plants are available in local garden centers as well as at the Ruth Bancroft Garden nursery, but supplies are limited.

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 17

Case Study on Estate Planning “Short-Cuts” By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law Last month, I wrote about a gentleman who died without an attorney-drafted Will or Living Trust and the very unfortunate result for his beloved sister when his neighbor produced a purported hand-written Will. Of course, results are not always positive when people do plan, especially when they attempt any “short-cuts.” Below, I’ll tell you about an estate administration I’m handling now that’s an excellent example of just how myopic such attempted short-cuts can be. The case involves the estate of the grandmother (I’ll call “Camelia”) of my client (I’ll call Jake). Camelia owned a home and a modest amount of other assets. When she was in her mid 70’s, Camelia went to an attorney and had a Living Trust drafted. Over the next 4-5 years, she had a different attorney draft several amendments to the Trust. While these documents were not terribly drafted, neither the Trust nor amendments stated who would be successor trustee (trust “manager”) or how one would be chosen, if the designated successor trustee couldn’t serve. Worse yet, a year after Camelia executed the second Trust amendment, she sat down with her friend and neighbor, Nellie, telling Nellie she wanted to make substantial changes. Several of Camelia’s children had deceased, and another child had been imprisoned. Camelia had several grandchildren and some nieces and nephews she cared about, whom she wanted to name as new beneficiaries. For reasons that are not clear, but likely included convenience and a desire to avoid legal fees, this time Camelia did not go to an attorney. Instead, when she and Nellie discussed Camelia’s then current estate planning wishes, Nellie made notes, typed up a Will for Camelia, and Camelia (and two witnesses) signed it. Some of the provisions in this new Will were unclear, and many were radically different than those in the prior Trust and Trust Amendment. Even more problematic was the fact that the Will contained language in which it purported to also serve as another Trust amendment. After Camelia died, Jake was referred to me by a lawyer friend who does not handle “messy” estate administration matters. Jake shared that a number of the members of his dysfunctional family who were listed as beneficiaries in the Will and/or Trust documents are financially needy. As such, they were pestering Jake to administer the Trust/estate quickly so that they could receive their respective inheritance shares right away. When I completed my thorough examination of the documents, and conducted appropriate due diligence about the background and related facts, I had to be the bearer of bad news to Jake. First, since the successor trustee nominated in the Trust was deceased, and neither an alternate trustee nor a mechanism to appoint an alternate were set forth in the documents, I would need to file a petition, asking the court to designate my client as trustee. This court proceeding would take several months, and fees and costs would run several thousand dollars. Further, there was no guarantee that my client would be so appointed (particularly if any objections were filed). Next, I explained that only upon a ruling from the court could Jake be clear about to whom he should distribute his grandmother’s assets. So, Jake had to protect himself by having me also petition the court to ask for help interpreting the ambiguous testamentary documents. My client and Nellie believe that the Will, which was prepared last, contained Camelia’s true intentions. Thus, we would ask the court to deem the Will to be a Trust amendment so that Jake could administer the estate as he believed his grandmother would want. When a court order is obtained and assets are finally distributed, at least four things will be certain: 1) a number of relatives will be upset; 2) nobody will be absolutely sure that the court’s order is consistent with Camelia’s final wishes; 3) it will take much longer than it should to administer this estate; and 4) significantly more money will be spent in attorney’s fees and court costs (and less available for loved ones) than if Camelia had hired and continued to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make changes, as appropriate. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, 1333 N. California Street, Suite 350, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 944-9700; rsilverman@ His practice emphasizes Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate, Real Estate, and Business. Mr. Silverman offers a free introductory consultation. This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein. Advertorial

Page 18 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Health Reform for Cancer Patients

By Matthew Sirott, MD

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, is constitutional. This landmark legislation, though controversial, has several undeniable beneficial aspects, specifically for cancer patients. In 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny health care coverage to 13 million Americans because of preexisting medical conditions. Cancer survivors often state that this is their biggest concern with their health care, after completing their therapy. Often, they cannot change jobs or move because of the potential loss of coverage, and so they are prevented from moving on with life. Another benefit is that young adults will be allowed to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they are 26 years old, if they so choose. Many children are still in school at this point in their career, or they have taken internships without benefits. Although cancer in this age group is uncommon, it can have catastrophic outcomes if that child is uninsured. Further, routine cancer prevention, including checkups, mammograms, and colonoscopies will be covered benefits. Insurance coverage will be affordable and subsidized when necessary, so patients will be able to obtain their preventive care. Hopefully we will stop seeing patients in emergency rooms with cancer at advanced stages. Finally, the Affordable Health Care Act will remove lifetime coverage limits. As any cancer survivor knows, treatment can be lengthy and expensive. Though this law is currently controversial (just as Medicare was in the 1960’s), it is clear to me that patients and the physicians who care for them should see these aspects as beneficial in our fight to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. No matter who wins the upcoming elections, I foresee improvements in the overall care of cancer patients in America. Matthew Sirott, MD is a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist with Diablo Valley Oncology, a comprehensive cancer center located at the California Cancer and Research Institute in Pleasant Hill. For more information, call (925) 677-5041 Advertorial or visit

Free Full Body Skin Screening The California Skin & Melanoma Center is sponsoring a free community health screening event on August 8th from 10AM -4PM. The event, which will be held in the RiteAid parking lot at the Palos Verdes Mall in Walnut Creek, will feature skin cancer screenings performed by licensed Dermatologists in a van equipped with a small waiting room and two exam rooms. For more information, contact (925) 677-7287.

Models continued from front page thy to work from architectural plans. While restoration of the 1877 house was in progress, he made contact with Kim Giuliano, Program Manager for the City of San Ramon, and obtained copies of the plans being used. The ornate brackets, one of the features defining the San Ramon structure as an Italianate Victorian, were not easy to reproduce in minute scale. Finally, a piece of molding provided the answer. Turning it sideways, Dick suddenly grasped how he could cut it to mimic the Glass House detail. Invited to a function for the Glass family descendents prior to the opening of their ancestral home to the public, Dick brought along his 2003 model, which was much appreciated by all. “I was completely amazed when I first laid eyes on Dick’s models of historic buildings in the area,” Kim Giuiano reports. “His attention to detail is incredible as is the fact that they are all done to scale. But then Dick goes a step beyond just making the model. He conducts laborious research about the history of the homes and buildings he duplicates.” “Each model is a different scale,” Gorthy notes. The standard dollhouse scale is 1” to the foot. Most of the pieces he has created are calculated to a ½ inch to the foot or smaller scale so they can be encased and moved for display. Although Dick gets ideas for details from miniature enthusiasts shows, all the pieces sold there are too big to fit his structures. Tap Plastics, the company that makes the cases for his models, offered the requisite insight for Gorthy to recreate the ornate trim for Livermore’s 1891 Ravenswood House and 1885 Cottage. Tiny tubular plastic pieces provide the arches in the porch railings. Confident in his skill at last, Gorthy decided his models no longer needed to be birdhouses. He also realized he could save many hours of labor by eliminating the rear view. Even so, each model requires six months to a year to complete. For the Pleasanton Hotel, Gorthy consulted period photographs. He reproduced the original paint colors. Careful examination of the existing building revealed traces of the location of windows and doors that had been moved and a porch with one less pillar than the original late 19th century hotel. The scale model is a faithful replica of the building as it was reconstructed following destruction by fire on March 18, 1898. Heidi Gorthy, proprietress of a successful crafts business for many years, helps her husband by creating appropriate pieces to complete the exterior surroundings of the models. A period photograph of the Harlan House, ‘El Nido,’ includes a croquet set, so the Gorthy replica also displays one. As Gorthy’s skill in miniaturizing architectural details progressed, so too did his ability to research the historical accuracy of hearsay evidence about the properties. He dates the Wiedemann house, still occupied by descendents of the pioneer family, as 1868. Library books suggest an 1865 date clearly not supported by the 1867 purchase of the land Gorthy’s tireless quest for knowledge uncovered. Built in 1891 for the new Southern Pacific line, the Danville Depot at the corner of Prospect and Railroad Avenues in Danville now houses the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. The current exhibit, Before Bart: Electric Railroads Link Contra Costa County, runs through August 18th with model trains to get

Dick Gorthy’s Harlan House model

youthful visitors up to speed. Baskets: Basic, Bold, Beautiful opens on August 21st. Find more details about the events at The Tassajara Schoolhouse on Finley Road, technically Pleasanton, welcomes third-graders from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District to travel back to the 19th century as they experience a day in the life of the oneroom schoolhouse’s first students. Old St. Raymond’s Church is part of Dublin Heritage Park at 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin, which also contains the 1856 Murray Schoolhouse and the craftsman style Kolb House as well as the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery. Information on tours and events is available at Visit the David and Eliza Glass House at Forest Home Farms, 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard the second Saturday of every month. Private tours can also be scheduled. Learn more at and Ravenswood Historic Site at 2647 Arroyo Road, Livermore, is open for tours the second and fourth Sundays each month. On August 12th, you can enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social on site from noon-4 pm. Information can be found at The Pleasanton Hotel at 855 Main Street, Pleasanton, serves as a restaurant. The Harlan House facing a side street from 19251 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon, awaits a decision on preservation by the City of San Ramon slated to involve moving the building to city property. Funding for the move and restoration is still to be secured. First constructed in 1852, the Gothic house was moved and rebuilt in 1858. The Wiedemann Ranch is privately held.

High Functioning Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome By William Shryer, LCSW, DCSW Clinical Director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Asperger’s disorder or “syndrome” is not a new diagnosis. In fact it was described in the 1940’s. Asperger’s Syndrome was first identified in 1944, but it was only officially recognized as a diagnostic category in the Fourth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994. As a result, many children were misdiagnosed over the years as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Obsessivecompulsive Disorder (OCD), or even Schizophrenia. While Hans Asperger was describing this disorder in Austria, Leo Kanner was describing something else a half a world away. Kanner described Autism at almost the same time. The two disorders share some symptoms, but the degree of disability can vary widely.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder that is classified as one of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). It is characterized by impairment in social interaction, as well as the development of repetitive and restricted fields of interest and activities. Those with Asperger’s can often look like children with OCD, however they really have more of a type of stuck thinking and don’t seem as anxious about their special thoughts. The difference is really very simple. OCD children are anxious about their thoughts while those with Asperger’s are having a good time inside their head and just become angry when you ask them to stop. The complete immersion into video games, anime, bugs, and vacuum cleaners are but a few of the fascinations that have been seen in these children and teens. While there are some similarities with Autism, people with Asperger’s usually

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 19 have average to above average IQ, and they do not demonstrate clinically significant delays in language or self-help skills. Their use of eye contact is frequently impaired, and they often seem to look to the right or left of the person or down at the floor. While they may have an extremely good command of language and have a very rich vocabulary, those with Asperger’s are unable to use language appropriately in a social context and often speak in a monotone with little nuance and inflection in their voice. They also frequently fly into rages if they feel misunderstood or at times seem to believe that if they understand something, you should understand it exactly the same way. This is called “Mind Blindness.” Children with Asperger’s may or may not seek out social interaction, but they always have difficulty in interpreting and learning the skills of social and emotional interaction with others, leading to significant impairment in relationships and peer interaction. They are often bullied at school and sometimes don’t even realize it, believing that the other children like them. They often have few friends and are not asked to attend parties and so forth. Although parents often notice problems at an early age, diagnosis is usually made during preschool age or later. While both boys and girls can have Asperger’s, the syndrome is more common in boys. The likelihood of proper diagnosis, even in this area, is rare. For more information on Asperger’s or any other developmental concern, simply call our office at (925) 648-4800, and we will take the time to talk with you. To learn more about behavioral disorders, visit Advertorial

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Your Personal Nutritionist By Linda Michaelis, RD. MS. Simply Lowering Blood Sugar My friend Frank called me telling me his blood sugar had jumped from 120 the previous few weeks to the mid 160’s and asked me to recommend a good endocrinologist to prescribe diabetes medicine. I told him, if possible, he should avoid commonly prescribed drugs such as Glucophage since many people report difficult side effects. I often have great success with clients and recommended he work with me before taking any medication. I told Frank that when he wakes up in the morning and has a high blood sugar count, he should go for a brisk 30 minute walk and he will most likely see his blood sugar count drop 50 points. If he does get the blood sugar in the normal range after a walk, he can have one serving of starch such as a slice of Milton’s 100% whole wheat bread, an Orowheat 100% whole wheat english muffin, or a cup of cooked oatmeal with a sprinkle of sweetener such as brown sugar and cinnamon or a veggie omelet sprinkled with a little shredded cheese for taste. I stressed the importance of eating protein and fiber with all meals and snacks as a way to prevent the rise of blood sugar. I told him to have no fruit at breakfast and only one serving with either lunch, mid-afternoon snack (an apple and peanut butter are a favorite), or after dinner. Coffee and tea would be fine with low fat milk and but no sugar or Splenda. Frank often goes without a mid-morning snack and then is very hungry for lunch. I said he must eat again at least three hours after breakfast, suggesting a serving of protein and fiber such as peanut butter on celery or an apple, turkey or beef jerky with veggies, sliced meats wrapped around pickles or veggies, cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes, or leftover meat with cucumbers. After discussing his likes and dislikes we decided that for lunch he should enjoy a sandwich on two slices of whole wheat bread or even a whole wheat tortilla with at least 4-6 oz. of meat topped with veggies galore or even drained coleslaw. He can have condiments such as lite mayo, mustard, tapenade, or salsa, but he should stay away from ketchup. Since Frank loves chips, I said he could have a bag of Baked Lays or Sun Chips if he leaves off one slice of bread and eats the sandwich opened face. I also recommended a soup to create fullness without noodles, rice, or potatoes such as gazpacho, tomato basil, or veggie soup. Frank reports he is enjoying Trident Wild Salmon Burgers on Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins with pickles, coleslaw, and a tomato soup. For a mid-afternoon snack he can have his serving of fruit, but he should reduce his four small peaches to two. Good mid-afternoon snacks to avoid being famished at dinner include cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs, hummus or hard boiled eggs and red peppers, jicama, and radishes. I told him this is another example of having a protein along with fiber which is so important to keeping the blood sugar stable. Since he eats mid-afternoon snacks now, he is not so famished for dinner and can now have a lighter meal. Frank is now making his lunch the largest meal of the day. I suggested he have a small serving of meat at night and a cup of whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta or couscous, barley, bulgar, legumes, or even a six ounce baked potato and large serving of sauteed veggies in olive oil and herbs, or a wonderful salad and an artichoke. Fish is a great selection for dinner, preferably sole, cod, scallops, or shrimp and not the oily fishes like salmon. Frank is enjoying tuna and white bean salad, vegetarian chili, and many entrees with lentils, black beans, and kidney beans. He is even now enjoying 100 calorie frozen desserts after lunch and dinner like fat free Fudgsicles, Creamsicles, and Dreyers fruit juice bars. He is still enjoying his alcohol but keeping to sugarfree mixers. He has cut out sodas and juices and says he doesn’t miss them and has substituted them for Crystal Light, Sugar Free Snapples, and flavored waters. I am glad to inform you that Frank’s blood sugars have stabilized in the 120’s. I know if he adopts a consistent exercise program we will do even better. There is certainly a smile on Frank’s face, especially knowing that he can avoid medication. The good news is that Frank’s visits were covered by his Sutter Select insurance with a small copay. Please feel free to call me at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail me at, and tell me about your nutrition concerns. Refer to my website for past articles, recipes, and Advertorial nutrition tips in the blog section.

Page 20 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

It’s Hard to Stay Healthy By Dr. Jerome Potozkin I had quite a surprise this morning as I entered the outpatient clinic at a major San Francisco Hospital where I teach UCSF Dermatology residents skin surgery. Just as one enters the building, there are two vending machines. One might think that at a hospital, where they take care of sick people, there would be reasonably healthy options. Oh, how wrong you would be. One vending machine was chock full of “healthy” options such as potato chips, Cheetos, Baken-Ets, and a variety of candy. The other machine was filled with sugary sodas. Down the hall from the dermatology clinic there is a lipid clinic helping people with high cholesterol at risk for heart disease. There are also weight management clinics. I wondered if the vending machines were there so that patients would continue their unhealthy habits and thus feed the clinics. This morning’s experience reminded me of another recent episode when I was at a major pharmacy in Alamo purchasing some Orange Tic Tacs (my weakness). As I stepped up to the cashier, she asked me if I had a “Wellness Card” (a loyalty card) at their pharmacy. As she asked me about my “Wellness Card,” I couldn’t help but look past her only to see an entire wall of cigarettes. I thought to myself, is this pharmacy interested in their customers’ “wellness” or in selling cancer-promoting cigarettes? Reflecting on these incidents I realize how difficult it is to “stay healthy” with the daily assaults such as above in settings where you would reasonably expect the promotion of healthy habits. I am going to try and make it simple and share my top tips for wellness. You know the saying “you are what you eat.” That is the first key to health. Eat more fruits and vegetables than you think you need. Eat everything else in moderation. Go organic! My sister who lives in Berkeley always promoted organic food to me, and I always dismissed that idea. I never cared if the chickens I ate had a better lifestyle than me living on a “Free Range.” My thoughts changed completely after viewing the movie Food Inc. on Netflix. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. Prepare to be appalled. I also recommend Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. That book taught me that most of what they sell in grocery stores isn’t actual food but rather processed food products. The second most important thing is stay active and keep moving. Find an activity that you enjoy that keeps you moving. Regular exercise will help your cardiovascular system and bone density. Exercising and eating a healthy balanced diet will help you to maintain a healthy weight. It can also dramatically enhance your mood. Lastly, don’t smoke and don’t go to tanning beds. If you have any health concerns, see your doctor. Bad things don’t get better on their own, and most medical problems are best treated if they can be diagnosed and treated sooner rather than later. As a board-certified dermatologist, I would also recommend an annual full-body skin examination as well as a monthly self-exam for any changing moles. If you see anything of concern, don’t wait to get it checked out. Do what you love but avoid the peak sun hours. I also recommend daily sunscreen. Good Luck and Stay Healthy! Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the Danville community since 1993. He is accepting new patients at 925-838-4900. You Advertorial may also visit his website at for more information.

What is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

Make Your Health Insurance a True Benefit

FSAs are very similar to HSAs except that an FSA is only provided through your employer, and the funds must be used by the end of the year.

By Jeffrey Johnson, D.C.

Key Difference between HSAs and FSAs

Here’s a common health care problem: you are paying more, getting less, and growing frustrated as your options dwindle. The solution is simple: you must know your options (i.e. HSA or FSA?) and know how to leverage them for your benefit. Spend 10 minutes at Johnson Chiropractic Group, and you will understand your options – including which services are covered by your plan, and which are not – and be better prepared to make them work for you. As many families look for ways to put money aside to cover health care expenses, you may not know about two great options to get you the care you desire and deserve: a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flex Spending Account (FSA). These accounts are pre-taxed, cover many kinds of care you need, and can save your family lots of money!

Therapies Covered Therapies covered by an HSA and FSA at Johnson Chiropractic Group include Chiropractic Care, Neuromuscular Re-education, Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression, Massage Therapy, Exercise Therapy, and 28 Days to Health™. HSA plans also include Therapy Packages (including chiropractic, massage and exercise therapy).

What is a Health Savings Account (HSA)? HSAs enable you to put away tax-deferred money to pay for qualified health care costs. You can find an HSA plan on your own (contact the bank where you have a checking/savings account and ask about an HSA account) or through your employer. All contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible. Any earnings in the account are tax deferred, and distributions are tax-free as long as they are used to pay qualified medical expenses. To get the most out of an HSA account, it is best to contribute the maximum each year. In 2012 an individual can contribute as much as $3,100. The family contribution limit is $6,250. In addition, the employer’s contribution is not treated as additional income. HSAs continue to grow for the life of the owner and rollover from year to year. These funds can accumulate and compound until they are needed, providing a tax benefit and the potential for long-term growth.

The primary difference between the two accounts is how long you can hold onto the money inside the account. HSA funds can be kept until retirement, if you choose. FSAs are “use it or lose it” accounts. That means you have to use the funds inside the FSA before the end of the plan coverage period (usually the end of the year). The FSA is a spending account. That indicates that you are expected to spend the money you have in the account within the year it is invested. The HSA is a savings account, meaning you may save that money until you need it, even if you don’t need it until many years later.

What medical expenses are covered by HSA and FSA? When you incur a medical or health related expense that is not covered by your insurance, there is a good chance that you can pay for it out of your HSA or FSA. The IRS defines qualified expenses as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, and the costs for the treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” Traditional health insurance has gatekeepers and top-down controls. Even when chiropractic care is covered (not typical on individual plans), your request for treatment may require an expensive office visit or referral from a family physician. Using a HSA to pay for chiropractic care gives you more choices! You can choose what type of treatment to get, where you will get that treatment, and how many treatments you will receive. You can also spend HSA dollars on preventive care and the government will give you a tax deduction for keeping your family well. So, if you are looking to recover from an injury or maximize your health by utilizing our proven clinical approach to wellness, remember: you don’t need to have health insurance to cover it! You now have the freedom to receive excellent care, as well as the education and therapy needed, to sustain your health. You cannot ignore the fact that health insurance is changing, but you can (and should) know your options, know how to make those options work FOR you, and know how save and spend your money wisely. For more info, go to, visit us on Facebook, or contact Dr. Johnson at Johnson Chiropractic Group, 115 Town & Country Dr., Suite E in Danville. 925.743.8210. Advertorial

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 21

The Eye Opener By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry School and Vision

Portable CIO Computer Service

It is hard to believe that July is over, and the crazy month of August is upon us. As parents, this is the month with the Serving Bay Area businesses and residents since 2002 end of summer vacations, start of practices for fall sports, and How Can We Help You? back to school. As we all know, this means visits for our kids to the pediatrician, dentist, and hopefully, the optometrist. Good and comfortable vision gives your child the first tool in learning and doing well in school. Since a large amount of learning is done through the eyes, if your child has difficulty seeing the board or their up-close work, they will not start off the school year right. In a pediatric exam, I determine the child’s prescription, eye health, peripheral vision, and eye teaming and movement skill. At a first visit, I also test depth perception and color vision. Here are some common refractive and binocular vision disorders that can hinder vision, and therefore the ability to learn. Myopia is commonly referred to as near-sightedness. That means that, without any correction, a person has difficulty seeing in the distance. This is very common among students, and it tends to progress as the child gets older. Blurry distance vision will hinder things such as taking notes in class, sports, and driving. Myopia can easily be addressed with contacts or glasses. Hyperopia, or far-sightedness, is the opposite of myopia. If you are far-sighted, PC / Mac/ Laptops/ Desktops/ Tablets/ Smartphones/ iPads|Repairs it is easier for you to see distance than up close. Since you need to focus more up Upgrades| Maintenance|Office Moves and Networking | Data Recovery close than you do far away, a far-sighted person usually has near-vision problems. Virus/Spyware/Adware Removal|Back-up Solutions|Internet/ Cloud Computing Being in a constant state of “focusing” can lead to headaches, eyestrain, and early Email Solutions|Remote Phone Support |Free Recycling fatigue. Sometimes the problem is more complicated, but most of the time reading glasses for homework can make a huge improvement. Astigmatism, unlike the prior conditions, typically affects distance and near vision equally. Astigmatism means that the cornea, the clear front part of your eye, is shaped more oblong or like an egg. Because it is steeper in one direction, when light comes into the eye, it doesn’t come to one single point of focus. It can Join Portable CIO, Inc. on Facebook! cause distorted and uncomfortable vision; however, astigmatism is not a disease, and when it is corrected with glasses or contacts, good vision is not a problem. Binocular vision disorders are those that involve the muscles and movements of the eyes, and how well they work together. In addition to having a prescription, all patients including children should have their binocular vision status evaluated. It is quite possible to not have any of the above-mentioned prescription issues, but have poor eye teaming skills. If the eyes are not aligned properly and do not work well as a team, there will be learning and reading issues. These tend to present themselves more for reading than distance, but can definitely affect both. When the eyes do not work as a unit, a child might experience double vision, “stretching” or “ghost images” of letters, skipping of letters or lines of text, eyestrain, headaches, near avoidance, or any combination of these. Depending on the exact diagnosis, the condition can be treated with glasses or vision therapy. I recommend having your child’s vision checked by an eye care professional instead of just relying on a school or pediatrician screening. Most children that need to be evaluated are generally picked up by these screenings, but the comprehensive evaluation I give at the office not only encompasses vision and binocular vision, but it also includes neurological testing, color vision, peripheral vision, and an ocular health examination of both the front and back portions of the eye. We look forward to seeing your students in the office soon. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our newly updated website at, and become a fan on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page. Advertorial Grief Support Group Helps People Cope

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With the Death of a Pet When you lose your pet you often feel like a part of you is lost. The death of your beloved animal companion is one of the most difficult losses you may ever feel. This loss is sometimes made more painful by society’s seeming lack of support for pet grief. Hospice of the East Bay and the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation is offering a support group where participants can share memories and feelings and talk to others who truly understand and care. The group will begin Tuesday, September 4th from noon - 1:30PM and be offered at the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek. Meetings will be held the first Tuesday of each month. For further information and/or to register, please call Bereavement Services at Hospice of the East Bay (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration is required. Hospice of the East Bay Bereavement Services are provided free of charge to all in need. Donations are greatly appreciated.

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

Page 22 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

Breast Surgery - The Importance of Experience By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc.


With Them

my story Continues.

As women, we know ourselves and our bodies better than anyone else. As we mature, our appearance and our expectations grow with us. Through the processes of motherhood, weight gain, and aging, our breasts will undergo many changes. It is not surprising that breast surgery procedures consistently rank as the most requested procedures by women. Whether you are choosing to have a breast augmentation, breast reduction, mastopexy (breast lift), mastopexy augmentation (lift and augmentation), or breast reconstruction, there are essentials steps and choices that will ensure that you get the result you desire. An important first question is why you want to have the procedure; this type of surgery should be about your wants and needs, not someone else’s. Yes, it’s okay to be selfish in this case! I consult with female patients almost every day for a variety of breast procedures. Their reasons for wanting surgery range from need for greater self-confidence and improved self-image to correcting breasts that are asymmetrical to reconstruction after breast cancer. Our breasts are both physically and emotionally important to our image as women. Making the right choice in a partnership with a plastic surgeon can make all the difference. I strongly believe that you should accept nothing less than a surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Note: It is not the same to claim that one is “Board Certified” in a different medical specialty, or by a board that is AT CONTRA COSTA ONCOLOGY, we are committed to providing WALNUT CREEK not endorsed by the American Board of Medical the highest quality care. Specializing in comprehensive cutting-edge treatment SAN RAMON Specialties. Any procedure involving the breasts programs for all forms of cancer and blood disorders, our nationally recognized demands the highest levels of experience, knowlCONCORD oncology experts and specialized oncology nurses are dedicated to providing edge, care, and understanding. ROSSMOOR the best possible care experience. We understand the wide array of concerns Breast surgeries have always been an imand challenges faced by you and your family, so we ensure the most sophisticated DANVILLE portant focus in my practice, and I am proud of levels of medical oncology and hematology care, while providing you with the the extensive amount of time that I have spent utmost support, compassion, and respect. training and researching breast procedures. After 925.939.9610 my plastic surgery residency, I completed an additional fellowship focused solely on aesthetic and breast surgery. I have presented papers and written chapters in published (sagging) and elasticity of the skin determines the best procedure and affects the textbooks on the topic. I have placed over one hundred pairs of breast implants decision to include augmentation or reduction as part of the surgical plan. So what should you expect when you come into my office for a consultation? in the past year (That is an average of one breast procedure every three days!) Practice does make perfect and breast surgery requires an artist’s touch. I have After taking the time necessary getting to know one another and an examination, had a passion for sculpting the human form for over twenty years. In order to create my goal is to understand your vision and to explain what we can realistically a stunning and life-like sculpture, one must intimately know how the body works achieve before you commit to your procedure. I will review your implant options and how to create natural shapes and curves. My study of sculpting contributes and expertly advise on the best style and size to achieve your goals. As a patient, know that you have options. To get the quality care you deserve, to my ability to place implants aesthetically and use the most appropriate implant there are steps you must take to ensure safety and ultimate happiness. Find a Board style and size for a woman’s body. Of all the breast procedures I perform, breast augmentation is the most popular. Certified Plastic Surgeon who listens to you, who believes they can help you achieve your goals, and who presents you with all the information. Any procedure involving There are several implant options to consider concerning augmentation. Salinefilled implants are silicone shells filled with sterile salt water. Silicone-filled im- the breasts demands the highest levels of experience, care, and understanding. As plants are silicone shells filled with a plastic gel. Several styles of “Gummy bear” always, it would be my pleasure to discuss breast surgery with you in my Lafayette implants, or implants with a form stable silicone gel, are on the market which give office and surgery center. Barbara L. Persons, MD is a Board Certified women another option to consider. Although silicone implants are more expensive, Plastic Surgeon and owns Persons Plastic Surgery, many women believe they feel more natural, as they are lighter and can last longer. Another popular procedure is mastopexy (breast lift). Mastopexy is a proce- Inc. located at 911 Moraga Rd, Suite 205 in Lafaydure to lift the breast and re-position the nipple in order to obtain a more youthful ette. She may be reached at 925.283.4012 or drbarb@ Advertorial appearance. Often, an implant is placed to contour the breast. The amount of ptosis

Danville Today News ~ August 2012 - Page 23

Counseling Services at Senior Center Danville-area seniors will have another venue for their health and well-being, as the Town has begun a partnership with Discovery Counseling Center to provide mental health services at the Danville Senior Center located at 115 E. Prospect Avenue. Thanks to a generous donation from Chevron, the Town and the Discovery Center will provide Counseling, Intervention, and Support for Seniors (CISS) at the downtown location, where seniors gather on a regular basis. “The Town of Danville is always looking for ways to enhance programs and services for seniors,” said Assistant Town Manager Greg Gilbert. “This is a good example of how local partnerships are able to meet community needs.” Discovery Counseling Center therapist, Dr. Fran Rapoport is now available by appointment at the Senior Center. Dr. Rapoport will have office hours at the center, making therapy readily available and non-threatening. Plans are also underway for group counseling sessions on such issues as grief, loss, transi-







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tions, and maintaining good mental health. For more information, contact Discovery Counseling Center Executive Director Kathy Chiverton at (925) 837-0505 or visit

Back Pain Seminar San Ramon Regional Medical Center invites the community to a free educational seminar, Innovations in Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain on Wednesday, August 8th from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. The talk will be held at the San Ramon hospital campus at 7777 Norris Canyon Road. Spine Surgeon, Hieu Ball, M.D., will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and sacroiliac joint disease. He will explain that a dull or aching back may cause numbness or “pins and needles” in the legs, calves, or buttocks. Space is limited and reservations are required. Please call (800) 284-2878 or register at www.OurSanRamonHospital. com on “Find an Event” under Orthopedics.







Danville Today News Classifieds R e a c h ove r 1 4 , 5 0 0 h o m e s a n d b u s i n e s s e s i n D a nv i l l e 9 4 5 2 6 - H e l p Wa n te d, Fo r S a l e, S e r v i ce s, Le s s o n s, Pe t s, R e n t a l s, Wa n te d, Fre e b i e s. . . $ 3 5 fo r u p to 4 5 wo rd s. $ 5 fo r e a c h a d d i t i o n a l 1 5 wo rd s. R u n t h e s a m e c l a s s i f i e d a d i n o u r s i s t e r s p a p e r “ L a f a y e t t e To d a y ” a n d / o r “A l a m o To d a y ” a n d p a y h a l f o f f for your second and/or third ads! Send or email submissions to: 3000F Danville Blvd #117, Alamo 94507 or editor@yourmonthlyp a p e r. c o m . Pa y m e n t b y c h e c k m a d e o u t t o “ T h e E d i t o r s” m u s t b e r e c e i v e d b e f o r e a d w i l l p r i n t . Your cancelled check is your receipt. We reserve the right to reject any ad. Name_________________________________________ Address__________________________________________ # of Words_______________ Phone________________________________________ Email ____________________________________________________________________ nthlyp ypap yp ap per er.c .com om

Page 24 - August 2012 ~ Danville Today News

The Combs Team Professionals You Can Count On



Call the Combs Team


925- 9 8 9 - 6 0 8 6 Inventory Low, Distressed Property Inventory Declining, Medicare Tax Coming

Alamo Blackhawk Diablo Danville

Active Pending 49 42 33 6 7 2 93 108

Sold 137 61 8 330

DOM 73 72 72 49

$ $ $ $

List Price 1,296,320 1,104,151 1,556,308 924,538

Sold Price Sq. Foot $ 1,247,737 3,390 $ 1,072,780 3,331 $ 1,500,333 4,214 $ 908,339 2,727

$ Sq. Foot $ 368 $ 322 $ 356 $ 333

With a bit more than half of 2012 behind us, I wanted to review the local Real Estate market in segments and as the sum of its parts. I’ve included a chart for comparison. In our local market, which includes Alamo, Danville, Diablo, and Blackhawk, homes are selling at a rate of about 76 *Single Family Home Sales Excluding Condos. homes per month through July 20th. This is really good news when you consider we still have a Court. This predatory tax will be particularly onerous on those who have owned their homes for difficult employment market, and the government stimulus programs are apparently winding down. a long time and have significant equity stored. Like many retirees in our local neighborhoods, Approximately 35% of pending sales are distressed sales, either bank owned or short sales. No these folks are sitting like targets squarely in the crosshairs of a loaded gun. doubt, they continue to impact local pricing, but this impact may be moderating. Only 17 distressed If you think of the new Medicare tax as a retirement tax, some of the people (homeowners properties are currently active on the market at this time compared to the 56 distressed pending sales and with significant equity) who receive some of the benefit will pay the tax out of the proceeds of 113 distressed sales that have already closed this year. Active distressed properties represent only 10% their home sales. The greater the proceeds, the more they will pay. Nasty, clever and progressive, of the total distressed property market at this time, and I can’t help but see this in a positive light. When this tax is. It is unfortunate, but budget failure of my generation’s government has handed my compared to the total market of sold properties this year, active distressed properties are only 3% of the parents, the long-term home owner, yet another personal financial crisis. It’s simple math, 3.8% total. That is very near a normal number. If it holds, this may help set the stage for higher home prices. of $1 million is a whopping $38,000. There goes my inheritance…and I was counting on that I wrote a few months ago that the market cannot go up until it hits the bottom, and during the money to pay off my student loans. (Just kidding.) first two quarters of this year we have seen stable to rising prices in our local market, particularly in If this is news to you, I recommend calling your accountant to figure out how it might affect Alamo which has climbed 3% over the previous year. Distressed sale prices seem to be rising as well. you and strategize on mitigating its impact. You may yet have time to move out of its way. If you are Properties sold in distress in Alamo have climbed to $310 per square foot, with Danville lagging underwater or treading water, it probably doesn’t matter, since only the gain above the current capital slightly but up by more than 1% over the previous year. There are no distressed properties for sale gains exclusion is taxable…so far. As the market improves, younger folks should be able to time in Diablo or Blackhawk at this time. Distressed or not, demand drives price, and demand has been their real estate moves to minimize its future negative impact. Once in place, that avenue won’t be very brisk this year. Inventory also impacts price, and our inventory levels are about half of what open for current long term home owners with serious equity. They are simply stuck with a great big they were last year. That’s good news for potential sellers, not so good for buyers on the sidelines. bill they had no idea was coming. To heck with political correctness! I think it is dreadfully unfair. Nancy and I just closed a lovely home on Lunada Glen (west side) this week, and we received calls In all seriousness, the market is as strong as we have seen it in a long time. It feels a bit like from three agents while it was pending asking if we are listing any new properties on the west side any time 2004. Interest rates are great, inventory is low, and buyers are out in droves. If you happen by one soon. To me that sounds like there are at least three buyers out there who can’t find the home they want. of our open house signs, please stop by and see us. We would love to meet you. There are probably many more since not every agent would have thought to call and ask. Nancy and I are It’s important to remember that there really is no “average” home, and no two homes are working with two sets of buyers right now in the same fix...ready to buy, but the right home isn’t available. exactly alike. If you would like an honest no strings attached opinion of your home’s current It’s a bit surprising to me that more people aren’t listing their homes given that the 3.8 % Medi- market value and suggestions for getting it ready for market, please give me a call 925-989care Tax on Real Estate Sales appears to be alive through the resuscitative efforts of the Supreme 6086 or send me an email

Custom Luxury Contemporary

West Side Alamo Single Story



Blackhawk 5 Bedroom




Dramatic, one-of-a-kind luxury home with amazing views. $1,499,000

Perfect throughout. 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath. Huge outdoor entertainment area and pool. $1,370,000.

Blackhawk five bedroom 2 story. $1,279,000. We represented the buyer. We have more buyers.

Danville 4 Bedroom

Blackhawk Single Story

The Perfect Downsize




Lovely home in beautiful Danville neighborhood $985,000. We represented the buyer. We have other buyers.


Completely renovated single story on Golf Course. $1,399,000

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



Two Bed 2 Bath Condo in the Blackhawk Area. $450,000. Multiple Offers. We represented the buyer. We have more buyers. J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Danville Today News, August 2012  
Danville Today News, August 2012  

Danville Today News, August 2012. The city of Danville, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.