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December 2013

Serving Danville Horses with he Heart to Heal By Jody Morgan

Adopt a Family Bikes

Where did they go? Remember that pop-up bike shop last year that was open during the holidays in the old Blockbuster place in Alamo? They are located in Danville this year at 500 La Gonda Way at the corner of El Cerro. Adopt a Family Bikes is a local non-profit organization that collects donated used bikes during the holiday season. The bikes are cleaned, repaired, and safety checked before being distributed to local non-profits serving the homeless, foster children, unemployed, underemployed, persons in recovery, and Richmond school children identified by their teachers as unlikely to receive a holiday gift. Used bikes and volunteers are urgently needed to fill the huge need for bikes. The program got a late start this year as staff struggled to find an available work space, so the need for donations and help is especially great. No experience is needed to volunteer. Bikes can be dropped off Saturdays am pm 10 -4 and Sundays noon-4pm through December 8th but are needed as soon as possible. Volunteers are needed during those hours through December 22nd. Hours will be expanded as more volunteers become available. Check the website for the most current volunteer hours at What was once an effort funded and manned by members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church ( in Danville has since become a community program with the support of individuals, local businesses, philanthropic organizations, schools, and scouting groups. The core volunteers remain year after year to take on the lion’s share of the work and ensure the integrity of the program. For questions and more information email

Christmas Memories on Exhibit thru January 4

Christmas Memories at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley will be on exhibit through January 4, 2014. On Friday, November 29th, following the Danville Oak Tree lighting, stop by the Museum Open House from 6:30-8:30pm. Features on display include tree model trains, an antique sleigh, Christmas trees, toys, a flying Santa, a merry-goround, a Ferris wheel, a dancing cake, favorite Christmas story books, Pooh Corner, and lots more. The Museum is located at 205 Railroad Ave., Danville and is open Tu e s d a y - F r i d a y 1-4pm, Saturday 10am 1pm, and Sunday noon - 3pm. For more information, visit www.

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Horses need more than even temperament, sound physique, and special training to successfully handle the arduous demands of therapeutic riding. They need the stamina to sustain long periods of carrying an unbalanced body or standing absolutely still. They have to be approachable from every angle and fearless in the face of flying objects and strange sounds. They need the heart to pass along their own well-being to humans struggling with a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional problems. Inspired by polio-impaired equestrian Lis Hartel’s silver medal triumph in Grand Prix dressage in the 1952 Olympics, Europeans developed the first therapeutic riding programs. Americans soon learned of the benefits. Founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, the organization now known as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) currently embraces a variety of protocols aimed at enriching lives and promoting excellence

Dave West and Peggy James show off Summer’s excellent manners.

in equine-assisted therapies. Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, ADHD/ADD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Brain Injury, and Autism are a few of the human disorders the healing powers of horses can relieve. Therapy horses remain calm no matter what is asked of them. In sessions for physically disabled clients, the instructor orchestrates the lesson with a handler leading the horse and side walkers steadying the rider on either side. The horse may need to stand still while balls or rings are tossed through the air. Some exercises involve vaulting maneuvers and riding backwards. Physically able riders coping with emotional or cognitive Volume V - Number 2 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, issues may make sudden gestures or sounds. Alamo, CA 94507 The horse that works well in therapeutic rid(925) 405-6397 ing is not necessarily the lovey-dovey backyard Fax (925) 406-0547 horse,” Peggy James, co-founder of Reins in Motion in Livermore, explains. Summer has Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher editor@ been Peggy’s endurance horse for many years. “I can hardly hold her back on the trail because she wants to take the lead and is very competi- The opinions expressed herein belong to the writers, and do not necessarily tive. She’s a totally different horse in the arena reflect that of Danville Today News. Danville Today News is not with kids. When working with clients who are responsible for the content of any of busy with their bodies (inside and out), she the advertising herein, nor does

See Heal continued on page 20

publication imply endorsement.

Page 2 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Boulevard View

By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

I have been combing through my massive (58,000+) picture collection again. It’s great to relive fun times, important events, and holidays. Last month I declared to my nieces and nephews that it was “Family History Month.” My husband has a very large family, and over the years I’ve become the keeper of the majority of the family photos, both past and present. Even before my husband lost his parents, we had scooped up all the boxes of loose pictures, taken since the 1950’s, and began labeling/tagging, scanning, and organizing them. As I look through these photos, I have come to realize that the majority of the younger extended family members have never seen pictures of their ancestors. There are images of their grandparents, great grandparents, and sometimes great-great, and great-great-great grandparents as well as aunts and uncles. Without those people in their past, they wouldn’t be here today! And yet, I find that most of them know very little about these people who are part of their foundation. How many families just like ours have their treasures locked away in a box in a spare bedroom that one day someone will “get around to sorting”? Part of “Family History Month” uses Facebook to post weekly pictures for everyone to enjoy. It has been a lot of fun to display family photos and hear comments of how certain individuals share characteristics of those who are alive today. Everyone loves to see pictures of old homes they may have visited in their youth for family celebrations, or that some had only heard of. And of course, the young-adult nieces and nephews love seeing photos of their aunts and uncles from their younger years, and much fun is had poking the older generation in the ribs! Mostly, seeing the old photos starts conversations and brings us together. Last week I shared a group photo of 40 students who went on an 8th grade field trip to Yosemite Institute in 1976. We were all 13/14 years old, freezing cold, and hamming it up for the camera. My 20-year old children quickly remarked how half of the group were wearing their big, puffy, North Face down jackets; the similar style, brand, and jackets they pine for today. Our high school Facebook friends loved the photo and the opportunity to rekindle old friendships and memories. Stories of freezing in the cabins and snowball fights came back to life, and for a moment we were all back in junior high, re-living those activities and emotions.

I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with a distant in-law relative whose young husband passed away, leaving two small children behind. Now, a decade later, I was able to give them all a gift of a dozen or so photos of the children’s father as a young boy and young man. It was a great feeling to be able to share the images with their family. This is something I love doing. It puts a smile on everyone’s face and brings people together. What if everyone saw something special each day that made them forget their worries and harken back to a great time of life? Could it make a difference? Can you make a difference? Do you have boxes of photos waiting for action? Photos are for sharing. They don’t fulfill their purpose or promise when they’re kept in the camera or in a shoebox. Let them live! You need to do two things to get started. First, I use a local service to scan all my paper photos (regardless of size or condition). They provide me with a DVD full of the pictures. Next, I load them into my computer, and I use the free Google Picassa program to sort them using the Facial Recognition feature. While it takes a time commitment to train it to recognize everyone you know, it works very well and is worth the initial time investment. Once you’ve started this process, make sure you have excellent, verifiable backups of your computer. You don’t want to lose this library! As the family collector of historical memorabilia, I recently became the keeper of a silk/watercolor family tree dating back to the mid-1700’s. It has been in my husband’s family for as long as I remember, and it is something I’ve always loved, even though it has obviously had a rough road in the last 200+ years. It has suffered through water damage and other age-related maladies, but it still retains the original image. I had it reframed to help preserve it, and I have used information from it to do further family tree research. We’re lucky to live in an area where experts know exactly how to handle and care for historical documents like these. As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, it is the perfect opportunity to pull out your old photo books for everyone to enjoy. I encourage you to start conversations about those photos, and especially, label those photos while the older generation are still available to help identify faces. When we lose our older generation, we lose their memories and they may be the only people who can identify the subjects of our photos. Both young and old will find something of interest, and it will help strengthen the family by remembering its past. Otherwise the opportunity may be lost with those images never connecting our past and future generations. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.




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Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 3

JARED HIGGINS TEAM We are thankful for the selfless service by members of the U.S. Military, Police Officers, and Firefighters.

Danville’s Real Estate Danville Today News ~ August 2013 - Page 3 Expert

During this season, I want to say thank you to my community that continues to support me. May your holidays be joyful and relaxing!

Happy Thanksgiving! Jared Higgins (925) 487-2907 DRE# 01781054

22 Donna Lane Danville - Pending

Meals on Wheels

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

Danville Girls Chorus Winter Concert

The Danville Girls Chorus (DGC) will perform their Winter Concert, with seasonal music from around the world, on Saturday, December 7 at 11AM. The performance will take place at East Bay Four Square Church, located at 2615 Camino Tassajara Road in Danville. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 14 and under, and can be purchased at the door. DGC invites all to come and enjoy our holiday music from around the world to ring in this festive season. The Danville Girls Chorus is made up of 125 girls from 3rd to 8th grades from schools across the Tri-Valley area. The primary goal of DGC is music education. Under the direction of Ken Abrams, award-winning Choral Director for the San Ramon Valley High School, girls are taught the basics of vocal production and learn the fundamentals of musicianship and note reading. They are also introduced to a variety of musical styles, ranging from classical to contemporary, folk tunes, and pop music. This year the chorus will perform three major concerts, with our Winter Concert being the first performance of the 2013/2014 season. They will follow this performance with a spring concert in March, a tour and performances in May in San Diego, and a Pops concert in June. Please see our website for more information on this event and other upcoming performances.

SRV Newcomers Club Holiday Luncheon

The San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club is holding its Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, December 12 at the Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon with a 11:30 social and noon luncheon. The event is open to current and prospective members in the San Ramon Valley. For further information or a reservation, please contact Dee Bradshaw at (925) 837-9600.

Model Trains are Back at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum

For the 13th year, the European Train Enthusiasts (ETE) will bring their HO scale European Model Trains and Modular layout to the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville. ETE's Module Group has created remarkably detailed scale versions of European landscapes including mountains, villages, bridges, farms, lakes and industries, which come alive when they operate their trains through the countryside. Running now through January 5 you will enjoy seeing a wide selection of locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars representing various countries in Europe, as different members of ETE operate the layout on each day of the exhibit. This year the exhibit will also feature two special theme days: European Steam Engines - Saturday, December 14 and European High Speed Rail - Saturday, December 28. For more information, call 925-736-2280 or visit

Blood Drive

The need for blood is constant, and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every two to three seconds, and most of us will need blood in our lifetime. Please sign up for the Friday, December 6th blood collection which will be held at the Danville Grange Hall located at 743 Diablo Road, Danville from noon until 5PM. Visit and enter your zip code under “Your Local Region” at the righ hand side of the page to locate and sign up for the event. Or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), and when prompted, choose menu option #2 to connect to Blood Donation support staff. Please join the American Red Cross in their lifesaving mission, and schedule an appointment today!

Page 4 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Holiday Vigil

The Christmas Holiday is supposed to be a time of celebration and joy. Yet for many families or individuals who have lost someone they dearly love, the holidays can be a very difficult time to endure. The chaplains of the San Ramon Fire Protection District are sponsoring the third annual Holiday Vigil on December 8th at 7PM in front of the Danville Library. The chaplains wish to extend to the community an opportunity to acknowledge a loved one as they enter into the holidays. In the past, the vigil has been very well received and meaningful to community members as a way to express grief, remember a loved one, and join with others who are walking the same path. People who have attended have remarked how helpful it was to have a time such as this as they enter the holidays. “The chaplains of the San Ramon Valley, including law enforcement and the fire district, know too well the hardship people face at this time of year having worked intimately with many of those who have lost someone they love. This simple vigil is just one meaningful way to remember, honor, and include a dear one as the holidays come upon us,” notes Chaplain Nick Vleisides (San Ramon Valley Fire District, Danville PD, San Ramon PD). Attendees are encouraged to bring a photo to place on a remembrance wall if they wish. Songs will be sung. Names will be mentioned. Encouragement and hope for the future will be offered. Invite or bring someone...anyone who may benefit from this meaningful way to cope with loss during the holidays.

Sip & Shop Holiday Soiree

Please come to a festive event to kick-off to the holiday season at the St. Isidore School on Tuesday, December 3 from 6PM to 9PM. Enjoy wines from Hall Wines and hors d’oeuvres from Peasant and the Pear while shopping for unique gifts from dozens of vendors, including Bittersweet Lemonade, Boisset Wines, Beauty Counter, Dandelion, Danville Cigar, Games Unlimited, Garden Affair, Giagari Foods, Green with Envy, Hall Wines, Hairindipity, It’s a la Mode, Lather with Love, Le Jardinet, Origami Owl, Parade Horse Designs, Pelican Rock, Rodan & Fields, Silpada, Snail Mail Forever, Stella and Dot, Tart, The Nest, Whitley Designs, and Vici. Pre-purchased tickets are $30 and tickets at the door are $35. Space is limited. The event will be held at St. Isidore School’s Benson Center, located at 435 La Gonda Way. To buy tickets or find out more information, please visit A portion of the proceeds will benefit St. Isidore School.

Holidays on the Farm

Breakfast with Santa

On Saturday, December 14th Bethel 247 of Job’s Daughters International will be hosting their 20th annual Breakfast with Santa. This pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held at the Grange Hall, located at 743 Diablo Rd, Danville, from 8am to 12pm. Tickets are $8 per person (Children 3 and under are free). Price includes breakfast and a photo with Santa! There will also be crafts for kids, a craft boutique, a bake sale, and live entertainment from the Monte Vista Barbershop and Beautyshop! Contact Yvonne Reynolds at or (925) 683-3685 for more information.

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club Welcome Coffee

The Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club (not just for newcomers!) is holding a Welcome Coffee for anyone who is thinking of joining the club. This casual get together is the perfect opportunity to learn about the many facets of Newcomers while chatting with Club Members. The free coffee will be held on Tuesday, December 17, from 10AM to noon. For more information, visit, call (925) 2811307, or email

Relive an old-fashioned holiday by visiting Forest Home Farms Historic Park for Holidays on the Farm, December 7 and 14. Admission is free. The park will be open 10AM to 2PM both Saturdays in December. Two of Santa’s reindeer will be making a special stop-over in San Ramon to visit with the children at Holidays on the Farm on both Saturdays from 10:30AM to 1:30PM. Don’t miss this special chance to see these beautiful animals up close. Children will also get to visit with a Victorian Santa. On both Saturdays, there will also be sheep dog demonstrations, dance performances, holiday entertainment, tractor rides, old fashioned games, and Victorian ornament making. Delicious food will be available for purchase. The Welcome Center, Tractor Museum, and Gift Shoppe will be open. The Victorian Glass House Museum will be specially decorated just for the holidays. Glass House Museum Tours will be held at 10AM, 11AM, 12 noon, and 1PM. Farm tours are at 11AM and 1PM. Tours are $5 per person or $8 for both. On Saturday, December 7 bring the family to see A Nutcracker Puppet Show by the Puppet Company at 11:30AM. On Saturday, December 14 shop for unique gifts from over a dozen vendors at our Holiday Market. Vendors include Stuff-a-Bear booth, quilts, hand crafts, glass beads, paper crafts, mistletoe, and more. Forest Home Farms Historic Park is located at 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in San Ramon. For more information, call (925) 973-3284.

AAUW Presents their 9 Annual Holiday Home Tour th

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 5

The Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW) presents their 9th Annual Holiday Home Tour on Friday, December 13th and Saturday, December 14th from 10AM to 4PM. Five festive homes in Alamo will be showcased on this tour. Proceeds from the tour benefit local women scholars and Tech Trek. Prices are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors 65+. Prices go up $5 each after December 6th, so plan ahead. Tickets can be purchased in one of three ways. • US Mail: Send a check postmarked by December 6th, payable to Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek AAUW with a self-addressed #10 envelope to AAUW Holiday Home Tour, PO Box 996, Alamo, CA 94507. • In Person: Tickets are available at East Bay Flower Company, located at 206 Sycamore Valley Road West (Danville Livery). Payment must be made by cash and checks only. The Flower Company is open from Monday - Friday from 9-6 and Saturday from 9-5. • Online: Pay through Paypal on our website at A $2 processing fee will be added for each ticket. The tour and quilt drawing tickets are not tax deductible. No children under 12 years or pets are allowed to attend. E-mail any questions to, or go to our website at

Candlelight at Gatetree Christmas Eve Service 5-6 PM

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” A Danville Community Band Christmas Concert

The Danville Community Band returns to the wonderful venue of the East Bay Foursquare Church for its annual Christmas performance on Sunday, December 1, starting at 3PM. Led by Director Robert Calonico and Founding Director Lawrence Anderson, the band presents a selection of memorable and exciting holiday music including “A Canadian Brass Christmas Suite,” Robert W. Smith’s “Christmas Declaration,” and Pola & Wyle’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Accompanying the band will be guest vocalist Nancy Groeneveld, and there will be a visitor from the North Pole as well. Come be a part of our annual family event as the band celebrates the holidays. Concert admission and parking are free! Join us at East Bay Foursquare Church, located at 2615 Camino Tassajara Rd. in Danville. For more information about the band, visit

Gatetree Baptist Church 101 Gatetree Drive Danville, CA 94526 925.820.9477 |

Celebrate Hospice Tree of Lights

Hospice of the East Bay invites the public to participate in its 27th Annual Tree of Lights Ceremonies. The tree lightings offer community members a way to honor the lives of their friends and loved ones. Funds raised allow Hospice of the East Bay to provide essential programs and services such as the Vigil Program which ensures no one has to die alone. Each light on every tree is symbolic of a life and will shine in honor or memory of a beloved friend or family member. By dedicating a Memorial Light for a minimum gift of $25, you can honor someone you love while directly supporting end-of-life patient care. Memorial donors of $100 and higher will have the option to have their names listed in the lighting ceremony program of their choice. For light dedications, donations, sponsorships, and event questions, call (925) 887-5678 or visit Please join a commemorative ceremony to enjoy music, poetry, remembrances by family members and Hospice staff, and the special moment when the tree lights up: Alamo & Bruns House: Alamo Women’s Club, 1401 Danville Blvd, Alamo, Wednesday, December 11, 12:15PM Blackhawk: Blackhawk Road at Blackhawk Drive, Friday, December 13, 5PM.

Danville Girl, Miss California Teen, to Represent at National American Miss

In July, Jane Kennedy of Danville was crowned National American Miss California Teen 2013. Jane returned to the pageant after placing in the top five last summer. There were ALL ITS OWN 70 girls aged sixteen to nineteen competing for the title. As Miss California Teen, Jane will represent National American Miss for one year before passing the crown in July 2014. At the end of November, Jane will attend the National 589 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville (925) 837-0261 Pageant in Anaheim representing California. National American Miss is dedicated to developing the success of young women across our nation with a program that is designed to be age-appropriate and family oriented. Pageants are held in each state for girls ages four to twenty in six different age groups. The National American Miss Pageants are for “Today’s Girl” and “Tomorrow’s Leaders.” The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation, and offers an “All American Spirit” of fun for family and friends. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self confidence, learning new skills, encouraging sportsmanship, 3518 B Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette (925) and299-1024 setting and achieving personal goals. While at the state pageant, Jane won first place in the Talent competition, with her vocal performance of “Never Alone” while playing piano. She also placed 4th runner-up in the Spokesmodel competition for her speech, “Empowering Youth Through Literacy.” As NAM Miss California Teen, Jane has been actively working to make a difference in her community. She worked at Diablo Day Camp in Lafayette as an Elf, delivered school supplies to Super Stars Literacy in Oakland, and is heading the LEAP into Literacy book drive, collecting books for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. Jane is a recent graduate of Carondelet High School and is currently an honors student at University of California, Santa Barbara.



Winter has a style

Page 6 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Sustainable Danville Area Tip of the Month By Cynthia Ruzzi

Believe it or not, it’s already that time of year. If you’ve taken your lead from the many retailers around town, you set up your holiday lights at Halloween, changed colors subtlety to match the Thanksgiving season, and now you’re ready for the big finale. While I’d rather save energy and the hours of untangling and hanging thousands of bulbs outside my home to spend with friends, I don’t want to be known as the ‘Environmental Scrooge.’ So instead, may I suggest you trade-in your outdated incandescent holiday lights and ‘deck the halls’ with LED holiday lights? Switching to LED lights used to mean a large initial investment, but checking the holiday aisles of the local home supply stores, I was thrilled to find that there’s a bigger selection than ever, and the price is near parity with old energyhog technology. Of course the real savings comes from reducing your holiday energy costs. As this year’s holiday advertisements rolled in, I noticed many stores offering trade-in opportunities and discounts on LED holiday lights. Do a little legwork, comparison shop wisely, and you’ll save yourself some green for your pocket. Also, don’t forget to look for sales after the holiday – it’s a great way to gain additional savings for your holiday wonderland. Our friend Bob O., retired Director of Finance and Facilities, The Athenian School, graciously shared the following quick dollar savings calculation with us to demonstrate what can be realized by switching from incandescent bulbs to LED lights. Say you put up 5 strands of 25, C9, 6.6 watt holiday lights. That’s 825 watts. Let’s say you turn them on for 5 hours each day for 30 days. At a total of 150 hours, that’s 124kWh. Now look at your last PG&E bill. Do you see an average cost of 15 cents per kWh? Let’s use that tier price for our calculations. That would make the cost of the power for the traditional lights $18.50. The 125, C9, .08 watt LED lights will cost you about $25 to purchase and will cost $.26 cents for the comparable season. A true carbon footprint calculation would include that the new lights have been

manufactured and shipped using fossil fuels. The price of the LED lights is a good indicator of the CO2 generated, so we can assume that half of it is for energy used in some form. Bottom line is that the carbon footprint of the new lights may be covered in just one season of use by energy reduction at PG&E. That means the payback of your new lights is less than two seasons. If saving green for your pocket or ‘doing good’ for the planet isn’t your thing, then consider that LED lights are more durable and safer to run than incandescent lights. LED bulbs generate less heat, improving the life span of your holiday twinkle. You can expect LED light strings to last up to 100,000 hours, so using our assumption above at 150 hours a season, your LED lights will outlast Santa! The limited heat output of LED bulbs that contribute to their lifespan also provide safer illumination. It is definitely worth considering as you trim your family Christmas tree this year. Of course, there are advantages of LED lighting over traditional bulbs and CFLs beyond the holiday season. While incandescent 100-watt bulbs have been phased out throughout the US, the cost savings of replacing these inefficient bulbs in your home with LED or CFL is over 75% energy savings. And the cost of LED bulbs have come down tremendously since last year. You can now purchase a CREE or HALO LED replacement bulb for $7 and even replacement bulbs and trim for recessed cans for just $35. PG&E has a simple efficiency chart online that shows the watts for different bulbs at various lumens (brightness) which can be found at In an honest disclosure, I am not a big fan of CFL bulbs. Each of these bulbs contains a small amount of mercury which means used bulbs must be treated as hazardous waste. That means it is against the law to put these bulbs in your waste or recycling bins. Instead, please bring them to your local Ace Hardware or Home Depot, which as a courtesy to their customers, will properly dispose of your residential CFL bulbs. Also, PG&E has a fact sheet, Recycling CFLs: What You Need to Know, rebates/factsheet_recyclingcfls.pdf, which includes important information about proper clean-up procedures for broken CFL lights. Please keep your family safe, and follow these valuable instructions. Sustainable Danville Area hopes the joy of connecting with your family, friends, and neighbors over simple meals and activities will light your holiday season and all the days of the New Year. Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/ or visit us at

Seeing Blue and Red By Nick Vleisides, Community Chaplain Resources

Red, white, and blue.Those colors remind us of our flag. How about blue and red? Those colors remind me of our men and women who serve us locally in law enforcement and the fire service. As a chaplain in the community serving law enforcement and the fire service I get to see what lies underneath the surface as I get to know our peace officers and firefighters. I can tell you, a career in these fields is no walk in the park. Some might think, “Oh, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon...what an easy assignment!” It is anything but easy! Our firefighters put their lives on the line every time they park a rig on the freeway. We know too well what kind of danger lurks for our law enforcement officers a year now after we lost an officer on OUR freeway. No matter where these public servants work, shift work is shift work. Officers and firefighters have a very high divorce rate partly due to the nature of shift work and being gone from home long stretches at a time. It is not easy to raise a family and they sacrifice family time in order to keep us safe. I tell our officers they should have received a degree in psychology or a least be awarded one after four years on the job. Even though they are highly trained to deal with the criminal element and crime, they spend as much, or more time, responding to your calls to settle disputes between spouses, parents and children, and neighbors. They enter into some of the most dysfunctional settings in relationships you can imagine and they are expected to “do something.” I am amazed at how our local officers have such patience with people while witnessing such troubled lives. Of course, they deal with troubled people or the criminal element who constantly lie to them, disdain them, and will take advantage of any kindness. We all know too well that there is nothing routine about their work as we recall the murder of two Santa Cruz officers not long ago and the shooting a few weeks ago in San Ramon where a bullet narrowly missed two officers and hit a civilian on what we might call a routine call. They must always be on guard. Always. Our firefighters and officers, over the span of a career, see the most tragic and gut wrenching sites and incidents imaginable. It is no less impactful than the trauma our soldiers see on the battlefield. Our men and women have to keep going and they can’t allow themselves to be overcome with emotion or sympathy. But they their own way... in their own time. Somewhere deep down the hard calls lodge themselves into the mind If you find him and your name is drawn! and heart. You cannot do this line of work without it taking a toll and it does. I can tell you firsthand, you don’t need to see too many gruesome incidents or go on many calls where a child has died. One is enough, let alone the dozens and perhaps hundreds over a career. He has become lost in this paper! I watch our firefighters and law enforcement officers show extreme tenderness and care He is very small, so you will have to look hard if you want to find him. with dealing with those who experience tragedy and loss. They are awesome! But it is To be eligible send a letter telling us where you found him, costly work on the mind and heart. We work as chaplains to come alongside them and along with your name and address, to: offer support and care. Please honor these servants and acknowledge the high cost of Lost Dog! ~ Danville Today News their work in their lives. They earn every penny they make! Thank them when you come 3000F Danville Blvd #117 • Alamo, CA 94507 in contact with them, and thank God we have the finest here in the San Ramon Valley! To contact me email or visit my website

Lost Dog!


Danville Dog is Missing

Elisa O’Hara is our winner!

Tax Talk with Bob

IRS Updates and an Interesting Case By Bob Shalon, IRS Enrolled Agent, H&R Block

Hello everyone. I hope you are all set for the holiday season and year end. Let me update you on the latest news from our friends at the IRS. Due to last month’s government “shut down,” the IRS is behind on printing 2013 tax forms and other set-up functions. The IRS has said that although they will not be processing returns at the very beginning of January, electronic returns should still be transmitted as they will be placed in a queue and processed in order once they are ready, which will probably be by the third week of January. Since most of us do not receive tax documents until late January and into February, this should not change your normal filing timing. At H&R Block we will be completing returns by the second week of January in order to get our clients with refunds the earliest returns possible.

Interesting Case

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 7

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

away altogether. In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you're looking for, and knowing what you're looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones. To help home sellers deal with this issue before their homes are listed, a free report entitled "11Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection" has been compiled which explains the issues involved. To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report, call toll-free 1-866-265-1682 and enter 1003. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how to ensure a home inspection doesn't cost you the sale of your home.

As part of staying up-to-date, I review IRS rulings regularly. As a preparer who has lived in Danville for 24 years and works loThis report is courtesy of J. Rockcliff Realtors #01763819. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2013 cally, I found this decision against a tax preparer rather humorous: The taxpayer in this case was in the business of preparing tax returns for her clients. She testified that she ran Joyce’s Tax Service from her home and that clients would come to her property to have their tax returns prepared. She testified that living in her neighborhood was stressful and that she felt harassed by her clients who would call her at home at any hour. For these reasons she contends that it was necessary for her to travel just to get rest so that she could Bob Shalon, EA function. She provided invoices to the court from a Holiday Inn, a car rental service, and a casino. Master Tax Advisor • Enrolled Agent The court said the taxpayer failed to show that her travel expenses were related to her business. A taxpayer’s choice about where to live is personal. The taxpayer’s travel for a good night’s rest was a 925.820.9570 personal expense, not a deductible business expense. 714 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite B, Danville While this tactic was very creative on Joyce’s part, the IRS denied her deduction, and rightfully so! Sycamore Square (next to Lucky’s) Warmest regards and happy holidays. Please call me at any time at 925-820-9570, email, or stop by my office located at 714 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville with any questions. Advertorial 2013 “County Cares Holiday Food Fight.” This is the tenth anniversary Spreading the Holiday Spirit of the challenge between Contra Costa and Solano counties. CalFresh (the By Supervisor Candace Andersen, Contra State’s food stamp program) will see a 5% decline in funding this year. Costa County, District 2 This monthly reduction of $36 per family began on November 1, 2013. The month of December can be joyful for many Many of the people receiving help are working families who simply do but stressful for others. For some it is a month of not have the ability to make ends meet each month. religious importance; a time to share and create Although canned goods are appreciated and accepted, the Food Bank memories with family and friends. Parties, gift- asks County employees and their friends and families to donate money exchanges, and special holiday related events are in order to assist the Food Bank’s purchase of fresh produce, which now celebrated by most of us. Regrettably, there are accounts for nearly half of the food distributed. Also, because they buy many individuals and families in Contra Costa in bulk, for every $1 donated the food bank is able to provide two meals County who are not so fortunate. They would like to share in the holiday to an individual. spirit but do not have the means to do so. If you would like to make a Please join this Food Fight by visiting and difference in their lives, here are two simple ways you can help. clicking on the link to the Counties Care Holiday Food Fight. The link Holiday Helpers Warehouse is a wonderful support to some of the will be available for donations to the “Food Fight” through the end of the neediest neighbors in Contra Costa County. The Holiday Helpers Ware- year. Be sure to note where appropriate that you are giving as a “friend house has been a program of VESTIA (Volunteers and Emergency Ser- of CC County employees” and indicate Board of Supervisors, District 2, vices Team in Action) in Contra Costa County for the past 25 years. It Candace Andersen as the department designee. It’s a big anniversary, so provides a wide array of help to families in need including donations of let the challenge begin! Lastly, please join me and my District 2 Staff for some holiday food, new blankets, warm new clothing, new toys, books, board games, and shoe gift cards. The program is possible only with donations from treats. I will be hosting two open houses in December: Lamorinda Open House San Ramon Valley Open House local donors and groups, like you. The Holiday Helpers Warehouse will th Wednesday, December 4 Wednesday, December 11th start taking donations in person on December 13th at 500 Ellinwood Way 5pm to 7pm 4pm to 6pm in Pleasant Hill, or you can drop off a donation of unwrapped new toys, 3338 Mt. Diablo Blvd. 309 Diablo Road blankets, or clothing at Supervisor Andersen’s office at 309 Diablo Road Lafayette Danville in Danville. Registered families will be picking up their gifts on December This is an informal opportunity for me to personally thank so many of 16th and 17th in Pleasant Hill and on December 19th in Richmond. you who make a difference throughout Contra Costa County. Another wonderful way to help those less fortunate is to donate to The

Page 8 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

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Charlotte Wood Middle School

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

By Christopher George, Principal

11/16/12 9:28 AM

As we approach the hectic holiday season, we want to wish you all the best as we end 2013 and get ready to start 2014. We have had a great fall here at Charlotte Wood, again thanks to the hard work of our teachers, the consistent excellence of our students, and the continued support of our parent community. Recently, for Veterans’ Day, Charlotte Wood held its first all-school assembly in recent years in our gymnasium (usually our student body is split in two for those). For this assembly, we were able to bring in local Veterans, some of whom shared their history and stories with our students. This was extraordinarily well received by our student body and staff. This assembly was a part of our Advisory program, which is new to us this year. This Advisory pilot year has been a great success thanks to Kathleen Martins, Jacqueline Fanellie, Brandi Brown, Tara Roenbeck and Jennifer Torres for spending countless hours creating that curriculum. This curriculum has incorporated all the areas critical to middle school success that don’t fall within a specific subject. Additionally, we recently received a $9,800 grant from the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation in order to acquire a class set of Chromebooks specifically prioritized for the assessments necessary under the Common Core State Standards. This acquisition should allow us to implement a full Common and Formative Assessment system. In the short term, we should be able to acquire useable, consistent data in Reading, and later we may be able to add Math to that program. We are extraordinarily grateful to the full range of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation for helping us with that grant- including the board members and the parents who contribute their time and energy to that fund. Quickly, I also wanted to congratulate our long term counselor tech, Beth Robertson, who was recently named the Office Manager at Bollinger Canyon Elementary School. Beth has helped countless families enroll at Charlotte Wood throughout her 10 years here and will be missed. We hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Our kids and staff have certainly earned a break.

SRV Christian Academy By Jan Brunkal, Principal

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year. I am so thankful for this beautiful place in which we live and our wonderful school, with great families and precious children. Recently, I returned from a mission trip to Sintaro, Ethiopia. This was a life changing experience for me and a great opportunity for our school to help those less fortunate. That trip made me so very aware of all that we have, and that even on our worst days, we are so blessed. I traveled with an assessment team from Community Presbyterian Church. Our purpose was to assess the needs of these beautiful people. This village is amongst the poorest of the poor. The village is very remote, with no electricity, unclean water, and overall living conditions that are beyond belief. CPC has made a commitment to sponsor this village and to build a school and well. SRVCA and our families are partnering with CPC in this endeavor by helping to sponsor school children. Sponsoring a child means that children receive uniforms, shoes, school supplies, and two meals a day. When asked what they loved about school, the children said, “We get to eat.” That put things in perspective for me. Our students are also raising money through our monthly change drive to help purchase shoes, socks, and sleeping mats. These items will be purchased in Ethiopia to help the local economy. Very few children have shoes, socks, or a place off a dirt floor to sleep. Education and clean water will help change their world. So many other exciting things are happening around the Academy. Our very involved, generous Parent/Teacher fellowship sponsored a giving tree for our teachers, and many parents helped purchase wonderful items for the classrooms. Christmas came early this year as teachers received wonderful things off their wish lists: Smart Boards, classroom supplies and curriculum supplies all arrived making for some very happy students and teachers. Our families are so generous! Our PTF is also getting ready for our Annual Crab Feed. This year we have had a generous donation of a beautiful 2014 bright red Camaro. It was parked in our parking lot for a few days for all to see. What a beautiful car! The drawing will take place in February, but tickets are available now for $10. Please stop by the SRVCA office for an opportunity to have this beautiful sporty car pull up in your driveway. This opportunity is open to Academy families and anyone in the community who would like to buy a ticket. As we move into the Christmas season, our students are preparing for our Christmas musicals. These musicals (kindergarten-2nd grade and 3rd thru 5th grade) are highlights of our school year. It is so wonderful to start the Christmas season with children singing old and new songs to celebrate our Savior’s birth. The dates are Tuesday, December 10 (3-5th) and Friday, December 20 (K-2). These performances are free and open to all. Blessings to all.

Delta Nu Psi - Donations for the Troops

Thanks to the excellent shoppers of Alamo and Danville we will not need to collect donations until January. We appreciate all of the wonderful donations and look forward to seeing everyone after the first of the year. At last count we have sent 27,466 pounds of “gourmet junk food” in 1,118 boxes. Please visit our website to read emails and see photos of our servicemen.

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Stone Valley Middle School By Shaun K. McElroy, Principal Stone Valley is Full of Good Cheer

Our philanthropy based leadership class began performing community service in August. Since the start of the new school year, our leadership students have completed the following acts of service: • Weekly small group visits to local nursing homes • Candy Drive for Troops (Blue Star Moms) • Coins for a Cure – Juvenile Diabetes Foundation • Classroom aides at Mauzy School for the severely handicapped • Canned Food Drive for Contra Costa/Solano Food Banks • Visits to our “sister school,” Coronado Elementary in Richmond Our philanthropy based leadership class is supported by the local charity Pledge to Humanity and teacher Kathleen Arbulu.

Common Core Community Forum Feedback

As a follow up to the three Common Core events held this fall, the most frequently asked questions were about “math path.” The link below takes you to the slide show from the community forums. The graphic details the math paths for students in grades 6-12 - net/file/d/0B13xD-RrHkdnOTBNb0Q5dk1LRkk/edit?usp=sharing.

Parent Volunteers Descend on Stone Valley

Stone Valley PTA organized a group of 50 “teachers angels” who descended on our campus on Wednesday, November 6th. Parents did everything from organizing bookshelves and creating bulletin boards to cleaning out rat cages and windowsills. Feedback from staff has been amazing as things that they just couldn’t get to finally got done. Thank you, teacher angels, for making a BIG impact at SV! Thanks to PTA President Janet Nunan for making this happen.

Socrates Visits Stone Valley

In late October, five Stone Valley staff members participated in a day-long workshop on Socratic Seminars. As part of good teaching practice, students participate in a Socratic Seminar to deepen their understanding of any given topic and to look at the information from a different point of view. Our 8th Core team is performing Socratic Seminars weekly with their students. Students in

Merry Christmas from St. Isidore

By Maria Ward, PrincipalSt. Isidore School

is about community and a sense of belonging. When you walk through our campus during the Christmas season, it is evident that Christ is at the heart of who we are. We strive to implement His actions as we celebrate His birth. We joyfully say, “Merry Christmas” and enhance our school with everything that symbolizes this Christmas Season. There is no greater witness to this than Advent and Christmas. The four weeks prior to Christmas, called Advent, traditionally represents hope, joy, peace, and love. This is felt the moment you enter our school. Our Advent theme this year is, “May the gentle light of Christmas brighten your new year.” As a school, we try to brighten the lives of those who are not as fortunate as we are. We support our sister schools in Oakland, St. Anthony, St. Elizabeth, and St. Jarlath with our annual Christmas Boutique. Each of our school families are asked to donate 22 of the same gifts, wrapped individually in clear wrapper and brought to school. Our students have a shopping day, and all the proceeds from this goes directly to these schools. We also support The Knights of Columbus with their annual toy drive on Friday, December 20th. Our students bring a wrapped new toy to our All School Mass that day, and our Leadership Students help the Knights make Christmas baskets in our gym. This is an amazing event to witness, feeling the love that goes into each and every basket that is made is truly a blessing. During December, our students and staff also participate in activities outside our community to help others in need as well. Our faculty will participate in the “Adopt-a-Family” program, and as a staff we buy gifts for a family in need. This is something our staff looks forward to each year. Our school will be participating again in the Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign. Students will make as many cards as they can to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Our Leadership Students will be selling candy canes during the month, and the proceeds will

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 9 our Environmental Marine science elective participated in a Socratic Seminar to examine the research on a world without bees. Learn more at

Next Generation Science Standards

On September 4, 2013 the California State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). NGSS follows that pattern established by the CCSS with common curricular threads that extend throughout K-12. Additionally, there is significant “cross cutting” with the CCSS language arts and math standards. A quote from the National Science Teachers Association reveals the greater goal of NGSS. “The Next Generation Science Standards establish learning goals in science that will give all students the skills and knowledge they need to be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for careers.” Similar to math and language arts standards, the NGSS defines the major shifts from the current structures to the future of science standards. • K-12 science education should reflect the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world. • NGSS are student performance expectations – NOT curriculum. • The science concepts in the NGSS build coherently from K–12. • The NGSS focus on deeper understanding of content as well as application of content. • Science and engineering are integrated in the NGSS from K–12. • The NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship. • The NGSS and CCSS (English Language Arts and Mathematics) are aligned. Learn more at As a science teacher, I am excited about these new standards for science education. We are currently working on a way to create a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) 5-12 path from our feeder elementary schools through our two local high schools.

Symphonic and Concert Bands to play at Disneyland!

The 7th and 8th grade band students will be traveling to Southern California in March 2014 to perform at Disneyland and attend a Disney Recording Studio Workshop! We are currently accepting donations to help defray the cost for travel expenses. Please contact our Music Director Ben Loomer at bloomer@srvusd. net if you would like to make a donation. The actual cost per student is $549. be going to the Free Wheelchair Mission that transforms the lives of those who need wheelchairs around the world. We look forward to some of our most favorite events in December. On Thursday and Friday, December 5th and 6th, our theatre students will be performing in a play. On Thursday, December 12th we will be having our all school Christmas Concert at 1pm and again at 7pm. This is always a packed venue. Parents, relatives, and neighbors come to hear our students sing Christmas carols. On Wednesday, December 18th our Saint Isidore Bulldog Band performs their annual Christmas concert. Before we take off for our Christmas break, our 1st grade students relive the story of Christ at our All School Liturgy on Friday, December 20th. The students wear traditional costumes, and everyone has a special part. We welcome you to celebrate all these special events with us and hope you feel the presence of Christ as we do here at St. Isidore. All of these enriching opportunities, which benefit so many, help us continue our mission to develop the whole child and see that life is bigger than just them. We are so blessed. As you go through this Christmas season, please take some time to give thanks for your many blessings, your family, and the truly important things in your life. On behalf of the St. Isidore School community, we wish you many blessings this Christmas season!

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Page 10 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Deck the Halls

By Devyn Holliday, San Ramon Valley High School Senior

It’s true. Nat King Cole said it best, “to kids from 1 to 92,” you’re never too old to enjoy the season’s splendor. The Holiday season, in all its frosted, gilded, and chaotic glory, brings a tiding that is unparalleled: magic. The day after Thanksgiving, the world undergoes an extreme transformation, and boom, you wake up and there are snowflakes flocking your morning Starbucks’ cup and Santa Clauses in every store window. You’re still digesting your five-pound food baby from the night before as you walk sluggishly through the mall. Sure, it’s obscenely crowded and you’re annoyed with the lack of parking, but you can’t help but admire the transformation. The perfectly frosted garland that hangs around the staircase banisters, the trendy mannequins dressed in winter-wonderland chic, and all the pristine presents under department store trees make you forget that there was ever such a time in the year without this holiday fever. The only defense against the “fever” is to never go out in public, so of course it’s no wonder all of us become enthralled in the season’s spirit. Whether you’re a toddler, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin, you always know when the holiday season has arrived; it’s when your family does. Holiday cards arrive one by one in the mail, each giving you a little snapshot of the sender’s life in 2013. Family calls one by one to confirm this year’s holiday plans, each one giving you a bit more stress. Before the family arrives you, too, must deck the halls. Sadly, you don’t have quite the manpower that Macy’s or Nordstrom has, so you must enlist the help of your less than willing children. As you dole out the tasks they sigh, and when you tell them that the grandparents get their room they roll their eyes and walk away. “Why are they even annoyed? This happens every year,” you think to yourself, as you try to understand your kids. But before you can even so much as take a sigh of relaxation, you have to get back on track. Hello, you have halls to be decking! You have to get the perfect tree and coordinate your ornaments with a complimentary wrapping paper. You have to have some fake snow on your mantle like Pottery Barn does or else it just doesn’t feel right. The bottom line is: you’ve got to make your home feel like a winter wonderland and mask the perpetual 60 degree and sunny winter days. If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with teenagers, you know the trials of the Sisyphean task ahead of you: buying presents for the unappeasable. Long gone are the days of Lego and Barbies that would make any kid happy. You now must navigate through the land mine field to find the perfect gift that your kid won’t scoff at. But don’t you worry; you somehow always get it right, maybe because you really do know us the best even when we pretend not to know you. Getting the house so decked out for the holidays that you forget how it looked before? Twenty-four hours of heavy lifting and complaining. Getting your teenager to wonder how you “knew” what they wanted? Some amazing holiday magic.


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Del Amigo High School By Joseph A. Ianora, Principal

November and December just seem to fly by because of the variety of breaks and activities scheduled at the High School. We just finished our Thanksgiving celebration which was catered by Ruggies. We had special guests such as Denise Jennison (board member) and Mary Shelton (superintendent) present at this fun filled event. Students and teachers contributed to the meal and the preparation, which made the event a wonderful success. We just finished our first career day of the year. We had eight professionals come to speak on topics such as Photography, Culinary Arts, Construction, Fraud Investigating, Fire fighting, Police, Nursing, and BMW mechanic. Our students were very engaged with the presentation, and we are looking forward to our second career day in the late spring. Del Amigo has been part of the school district since 1968, and its primary goal has been unchanged – Credit Recovery. While Del Amigo provides an opportunity for students to either earn a diploma or return to their home school to graduate, we also attempt to provide an environment that is a safe and structured learning environment. Through the years DelAmigo has earned a reputation that may not be consistent with our district vision. This year we have focused on changing the structure and reputation of Del Amigo. Trying to rebuild the image and structure of Del Amigo is no small task, and we are looking to the community for help. As we move into the second half of the year, our students will be greeted with the same opportunity to gain credits but with a much more consistent and structured environment. Some of the changes include: • Common Core curriculum integrated into the classrooms • More co-taught classes including English/Art, Science/English, and Mathematics • Expanded opportunity for Digital learning via Cyber High School • Consistent enforcement of dress code and appropriate language • Use of an electronic grade book to help us track student progress more efficiently • Additional support resources for behavior and addiction issues Attention to these details, coupled with shifting to focus on the Common Core, I feel will help rebuild the image of Del Amigo high school. Thank you for your support. Best wishes for a safe and wonderful winter break!

Monte Vista High School By Janet Terranova, Principal

October 29 marked the grand opening of our Workday Student Center. The student center is an amazing building which will truly transform the way students learn, work, and collaborate. When this project started, Workday funded a Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA) who was challenged with helping infuse technology into the curriculum – not, “oh, let me think of a lesson using technology,” but rather organic lessons using technology that simulate the workplace. In the past two years our students and staff have gained not only knowledge but the confidence to use technology as a true learning tool. In addition to our TSA, Workday also funds a computer instructional assistant who works in classrooms, helping ensure our technology works, and now in the student center at lunch, brunch, and after school to help students as needed. This work has made the Workday Student Center even more valuable for our students. This is truly a student center. All of the art work is student work, including the Dance and Drama posters that were student designed. We are fortunate to have such amazing and talented students. Many thanks to National Art Honor Society Club and Diana Govnik, their advisor, for gathering the art work and staging the artists work. The first day the students used the building I was eavesdropping on their conversations. As two girls were walking out of the building, one girl turned to her friend and said, “We are really lucky.” We are very lucky. Again, thank you to Workday and the Duffield family for providing opportunities for our students that are far beyond what can be found on any high school campus. Our students continue to be very busy. During the months of October and November students entertained the community with the Bach-to-School Concert, Dance Show, and a theater production of Harvey. Fall sports are coming to a close, and winter sports are beginning. November finds students collecting canned food, visiting our sister school Verde, and beginning to collect for our Adopt-a-Family campaign. If you would like more information about Monte Vista and events at the school, please visit our website at

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 11

San Ramon Valley High School

Give the Perfect Gift this Season

By Ruth Steele, Principal

Winter break will be here shortly, and it hardly seems possible that we are almost halfway through the school year. In reviewing the 2013 fall semester, we have had both highs and lows, but one thing has remained constant-- our community’s unwavering commitment to maintain all the elements that make SRVHS such an outstanding high school. We have a teaching staff that is uniquely dedicated to providing the best possible education for our students. Cindy Egan won the title of Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year, and her contribution at SRVHS extends far beyond the classroom in her work with our students as advisor for the E2 environmental club and her leadership as part of “Sustainable Danville.” Our Athletic programs continue to shine, and this fall we had the girls tennis, boys and girls waterpolo, football, and volleyball teams make it to NCS playoffs. We have exceptional coaches and students who are dedicated to playing at the highest possible level. At the “National letter of intent” signing in November, we had student athletes committing to scholarships at Stanford, Cal, and many other top schools in a wide variety of sports. Parents have had a busy fall culminating in the ski swap event which is the PTSA’s main fundraiser in November. Our seven Booster groups (Academic Boosters, PTSA, 21st Century Learning Foundation, Athletic Boosters, Wolf Tones, San Ramon Voices, and Theater Boosters) are responsible for single-handedly providing support for the SRVHS programs as a whole, and it is incredible to see the amount of time and commitment that parents give in their work with these programs. The 2013 Homecoming was the greatest ever! The class themes included The Great Barrier Reef, Great Britain, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The Great Gatsby. We have created a commemorative SRVHS Spirit DVD that is now on sale as a Christmas gift or graduation present. This DVD includes footage from our Welcome Back Rally (featuring Hans Delannoy’s last spirit speech), our unique homecoming rally and parade (featuring Ken Mintz as the Grand Marshall), and our football team’s scintillating victory over our cross-town rival (featuring great support from our student 12th man section!) As we move through December, I am looking forward to wearing my 6th man jersey as our basketball season gets underway and spending time with family and friends as we all enjoy some well deserved downtime during winter break. Go Wolves!

By Monica Chappell


Vinegar is vinegar is vinegar . . . or is it? Storebought vinegars are often muted. If you love to cook, then you know that it’s next to impossible to find quality red wine vinegar. It is usually made in bulk from poor-quality wine, and it rarely adds anything but sharp acidity to a dish. Luckily, making your own red wine vinegar is easy and cheap, if not quick. All you need are a few simple ingredients and some patience to make red wine vinegar.

1 bottle of red wine (Choose a bottle that you enjoy drinking yourself. Lower alcohol, fruitier wines tend to be more successful.)
 1-gallon container (Earthenware is best, but a glass container will work too.) Cheesecloth
 A “mother” (a live starter to get the fermentation process going. The bacteria eat the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid. A “mother” can be found at a wine and beer making store, online, or from a friend who makes red wine vinegar.)


1. Pour the wine and two cups water into the container 
 2. Add the “mother” and cover container tightly with cheesecloth 
 3. Store in a warm (70-80oF), dark place 
 4. Add a glass or two of wine (it doesn’t have to be the same wine that started the batch) to the jar every week. Move aside the “mother” when you pour in the wine so as not to disturb the fermentation process. 
 5. Store for about two and a half months, or until it tastes like vinegar. 
 6. Pasteurize the vinegar to keep it from continuing to ferment - dilute with water by 25%, heat to 155oF on the stove, and keep it at this temperature for 30 minutes. 7. Strain mixture through clean cheesecloth or a coffee filter into bottles or jars.
 Herb vinegar can also be made with finely-chopped fresh chives, celery leaves, or cloves of garlic (remove the garlic after 24 hours). Monica Chappell is a wine writer and educator. To see a list of wine appreciation classes, visit

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Page 12 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

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Oakland Strokes Wins Gold at Boston’s Head of the Charles Regatta

The Oakland Strokes youth rowing club won the gold medal at the Head of the Charles rowing classic in Boston, October 19-20. The competition included 85 top high school teams. The Womens Varsity 8+ finished the 4800m course in a winning time of 17.23 minutes, 17 seconds ahead of 2nd place OKC Riversport and 3rd place Marin Rowing. The boat was crewed by Elizabeth Elmgren (Oakland Tech), Tara Bozzini (Acalanes HS), Marie Johnson (Miramonte HS), Abby Vare (St. Marys HS), Katie Hubert (Piedmont HS), Jennifer Mundelius (San Ramon Valley HS), Lindy Clute (Carondelet HS), Amy Tarczynski (St. Marys HS), and coxswain Margaret Ross (Miramonte HS). To learn more about the program visit


The Athenian men's soccer team, based in Danville, won their second consecutive BCL East league title

with a league record of 9-1. First row (l-r) Ethan Gross, Mark Dominguez, Abraham Saikley, Arman Afifi; 2nd row Miguel Rodriguez, Tom Notcovich, Alex Ball, Christian Torru, Garrett Furlong, Trevor Grauman; 3 rd row Coach Matt Zahner, Alex Kim, Zach Virgillio, Aaron Weinmann, Jack Ramos, Redden Thompson, Brendan Suh, Anthony Aguilar, and Ryan Ball

The U-12 Girls Mustang Blast

went undefeated at the recent Las Vegas Mayor's Cup International Showcase, capped with a 2-0 victory over Real Colorado in the championship game. Pictured L to R: Maggie Schmidt, Kinsey Brillheart, Kendall Madsen, Caroline, Vogeley, Tatum Geist, Danielle Sheats, Mia Lang, Tatiana Berestka, Hannah Sprinkle, Sierra Ransweiler, Julia Patterson, Julia Freeman, Malia Groth, and Grace Watson. Kneeling: Reagan Campbell. Not pictured: Coach Doug Norvelle and Paige Winters. Photo by John Ransweiler.

Any Cookwear Item Void After Dec. 15th Must be presented at time of purchase. Not valid in conjunction with other coupon promotions. Not valid on previous purchases. No cash substitutes. May not be used for payment on account.

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Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 13

Page 14 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Above and Below the Bay-Oakland Museum Exhibit By Linda Summers Pirkle

Over seventy-five years ago my dad, a San Franciscan, decided to hike on the newly opened Trans Bay Bridge connecting the East Bay to San Francisco. “When I was parallel to the Ferry Building, a policeman coming from the other direction (from Oakland) pulled over on the bridge and motioned to me. In those days the top level was for cars going in both directions, the bottom level was for trucks. I jogged across the lanes towards the officer who said walking on the bridge was not allowed; he gave me a ride to 7th Street, and I walked the rest of the way home,” explained Joe Summers, age 93. The Oakland Museum exhibit Above and Below: Stories from our Changing Bay shares quirky stories (like my dad’s) and shows dramatic footage of the building of “the most expensive, longest bridge ever built.” Two rooms are devoted to the exhibit; the first is about what is under the water and the second room is about what is above the water. The eerie audio heard throughout the “below” room is the “sonification” of the wave data recorded by deep water ocean buoys. It is mesmerizing. The second room, my favorite, focuses on above the Bay, celebrating the original Bay Bridge, the “Worlds largest bridge” at the time which opened November 9-11, 1936. You can see the “brother” bridge troll in this exhibit; the original troll is in the California History section of the museum. A short film, Bridging, S.F., captivated me. The 10 minute film plays continuously. Grab one of the four seats to watch the footage and listen to the soundtrack. The announcer explains how this “modern dangerous job” requires “skilled hands” and how every precaution has been made to make this bridge the “safest in the world.” We see “rugged men of steel run to their noon time dinner.” The film, shot in black and white, depicts the workers running and jumping on the narrow cat walks, hundreds of feet above the Bay. Watching the film it is easy to see how precarious it was for these workers, these “Men of Steel.” A few blocks from the Oakland Museum is the beautiful Cathedral of Christ the Light. No matter your religious leanOW Lee’s most comfortable collection. Made in the USA. ing, the building is worth a visit. Frank Wnuk, who signed up for a two year tour of duty as docent, is still giving tours five years later, along with 15 other dedicated volunteers. Wnuk says, “People from all over the world take the tours at the Cathedral. It won 32 architectural awards since it was dedicated in 2008.” An impressive sight as you enter the Cathedral is a huge depiction of Christ in Majesty. According to Wnuk, a photograph from a 12th century sculpture from Chartres Cathedral in France was the inspiration for the 90 foot anodized aluminum panels that dominate the center of the interior of the Cathedral of Light. Over 94,000 laser perforations allow light to shine through creating this extraordinary image. Free docent led tours are available every day, Monday thru Friday at 1PM. Ask to see the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament; it’s a lovely spot for meditation. *Cathedral of Christ the Light is located at 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland. Their phone number is 510-893-4711, and their website is The San Francisco Boys Choir performs their Winter Concert at the Custom Made Glass Doors To Fit Any Fireplace Cathedral on December 21 at 8PM. *Oakland Museum is located at 1000 Oak Street Oakland. Their phone number is 510-318-8400, and their website is Entrance is free every first Sunday of the month. Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 11AM-5PM and until 9PM on Fridays. The exhibit Above and Below is at the museum until February 23, 2014. Linda Summers Pirkle, travel tant 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


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6’ Pre-Lit 6 function with lights solar Multi colored 11/26/13 cell 17:00:00 Santas, Nutcrackers $11.88 16” Potted % off & timer. Clear & Holiday Any One Regular 23” 24” $22.88 11.88 Deluxe 50 reg.Count $24.99 LED 23” $22.88 Multi colored lights g. $29.99 Priced Item Angels & Snowmen Light Set Pre-Lit Battery Noble Pine Poinsettia Plant Wreaths BA-0004991877-03.INDD (80.1%) 23” $22.88 reg. $49.99 BA-0004991877-03.INDD (80.1%) 50 LED $11.88 withCount same features Yo Your Choic Choice of 6 6’ Pre-Lit DT Also available in white. Operated LED CLIP ‘N SAVE! Garland Styles. ADVERTISER: RICHARDS CRAFTS INC PROOF CREATED AT: 11/20/2013 3:04 PM Yo Your Choic Choice of 6 6’ Pre-Lit Light Set $9.99 ADVERTISER: RICHARDS CRAFTS INC PROOF CREATED AT: Matching Garland Deluxe Styles. $49.99 26” Pine Wreath SALES PERSON: Marlene Vizcainoavailable for NEXT RUN DATE: 11/28/13 with same features Matching Garland Deluxe $11.88 reg.Alamo $24.99 Store 820-4731 te. Livermore Store 447-0471 Your Choic Yo Choice Marlene of 6 6’ Pre-Lit Pre-Lit $11.88 Noble PineSIZE: 5 X 18 reg. $24.99 Train Set or 30” Tree SALES PERSON: Vizcaino NEXT RUN DATE: 11/2 available for DUE: PROOF 11/26/13 17:00:00 Battery OUPONAlamo Plaza Shopping $11.88 Plaza 580 Shopping Center Battery Center Styles. $9.99 reg. $19.99 Pre-Lit Noble Pine Operated LED reg. $29.99 CLIP ‘N SAVE! $11.88 Garland PUBLICATION: BA-EastSIZE: Bay Publications 4502 Las Positas 1st St. Exit DUE: off Stone Valley Rd. Exit West off Hwy 680 Matching PROOF O.K. BY: ____________________________ O.K.Garland WITH CORRECTIONS BY: Rd., ________________________ Deluxe 5 reg. X 18 PROOF 11/26/13 $19.99 $39.99 for Regular to Danville Blvd.,Yo Your Choice Choic of 6 $29.99 Operated LED Hwy 580, 1 Pine BlockWreath Right 1 Block. available Garland 26” 4 ft. Prelit reg. $59.99 $11.88Pine Styles. PLEASE Battery OUPON Noble PUBLICATION: READ CAREFULLY • SUBMIT CORRECTIONS ONLINE Set BA-East Bay Publications 26” Pine Wreath Train or Pre-Lit 30” Tree Item $11.88 Matching Garland Bring nostalgia back with our $11.88 Train Set Ad Prices effective through 12/24/13 or 30” Entryway Tree Operated Tree LED available20 forpiece trainPROOF O.K. BY: ____________________________ O.K. WITH CORRECTIONS BY: _________________________ Garland Indoor/Outdoor, $29.99 set and tracks gular $19.99 BA-0004991877-03.INDD (80.1%) Pre-Lit Battery 4 ft. Prelit reg. $59.99 Pine Wreath 6 function with solar $29.99 23” $22.88 reg. $49.99 $11.88 $19.99 PLEASE READ CAREFULLY • SUBMIT CORRECTIONS ONLINE em $11.88 reg. $24.99 Thank You For Supporting Local Family Business26” Sign up for our e-mail list and enter a monthly drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate! E-Mail Address

reg. $19.99


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Page 16 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

The Care of Mature Trees By Blaine Brende & Joe Lamb

Entering my sixth decade, the gathering stiffness in my joints deepens my appreciation that living systems change as they age. Trees also change as they grow older, but, for trees and humans alike, how gracefully we flower in later life is not determined by genetics alone. Long life for humans is a relatively new phenomenon. Our Paleolithic ancestors seldom lived beyond 35 years of age, and they would, I imagine, marvel that the average American now lives to be 78. However, long life for trees is nothing new. Methuselah, a bristlecone pine growing in the Sierras, has attained the astounding age of 4,838 and is the oldest documented living organism on our planet. It lifts my heart to acknowledge that the pine nut, which grew to become Methuselah, sprouted its first needles 2,268 years before the birth of Buddha, 2,832 years before the birth of Jesus, and 3,402 years before the birth of Muhammad. To promote long life, reduce the stresses on your trees. The densely packed clay soils common to the East Bay produce many stresses. Compacted soils lack air spaces and inhibit the movement of oxygen. Clay soils are soggy when wet (which promotes root rot), but they are hard when dry (which promotes drought stress). Improving the porosity of the soil by mulching, aerating, and, sometimes, by radial trenching reduces the stress on your tree. Mulching is the easiest and cheapest of these techniques. Two or three inches of quality mulch under the canopy of the tree, but not piled against the trunk, helps to keep the soil soft, moist, and cooler in the summer. Aerating aids soil porosity and reduces stress. To aerate the tree, use a deep root irrigator to drill many one-inch diameter holes to a depth of around 30 inches throughout the zone under the tree’s canopy. Pruning to remove dead and diseased branches reduces the stresses on the tree. Many fruit trees suffer from diseases, both fungal and bacte-

rial, carried from flower to flower by pollinating insects. After entering through the flower, the infection spreads, usually slowly, down into the woody tissue. Pruning to a point below the spread of the disease increases the lifespan of the tree. As with humans, stresses can have cumulative effects. When pines are drought stressed, they are unable to make the sap they use to drown burrowing insects. Oaks suffering from oak root fungus have trouble taking up water and often suffer from drought stress. When planning elder care for your trees, several factors beg consideration: What is your emotional attachment to the tree? Is the tree a hazard? Will it become a hazard in the future, and, if so, when? What will it cost to maintain the tree? Will it attain ‘sabi,’ the beauty of aging, if given the correct care? I hope that as I grow older I accept Roethke’s challenge and ‘dare to blaze like a tree.’ If you wish to extend your tree’s lifespan please call 510-486-TREE (8733) or email us at for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial

Life in the Danville Garden

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 17

By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect Inviting Entries

It’s that time of the year when family and friends celebrate, and our Danville homes are open and inviting. Inviting entries are an essential element in the creation of a successful landscape design. An inviting entry or portal is your first impression of your home and garden. It creates the mood! The portal gives your garden drama, definition, direction, structure, and interest. It leads you through the garden, frames the views, defines the “rooms,” and adds structural interest. A garden portal generally is an architectural element that is built e.g. an arbor, arch, gateway, fence, pergola, colonnade, or landscaped focal point. Most typically seen is an arbor, either arched or squaredoff. It creates the portal framework that makes a distinction that you, the participant within the garden, are entering into something. Think about how you might want someone to feel as they approach your garden and your front door. First, you want your guests to know where to find the entry to your home. Then, you wish to create a welcoming feeling that sets the tone for entry into your living space. Once you pass through the door into your home, you egress from one space to another and in doing so have gone from one environment to another. The garden portal essentially performs the same function in your garden. Gates beckon to be opened. The drama unfolds as you pass through from one space to another. What’s on the other side? Gates advance the opportunity to create the drama by how they are designed and where they are positioned. Fences provide an opportunity to frame an area of the garden as well as offer a portal to the next “garden” room. Fences give us security. They supply privacy so we can be ourselves. Fences add drama to expansive spaces that need to be brought into perspective. They create new rooms and therefore create new dramatic entries.

Pergolas and colonnades offer a dramatic portal to view from while enjoying protection from a hot Danville summer day. Sit in the shade and view the garden and relax. Pergolas and colonnades are the structural frameworks that creates a room and a portal simultaneously. We want to enter. Pergolas and colonnades can be built in many architectural styles that suit the theme of your home and garden style. Landscaped focal points are an easy way to create a portal. Certain plants such as

Buxus microphylla japonica ‘Winter Gem’ (Boxwood) and Ligustrum japonicum ‘Rotundifolium’ (Privet) provide a more formal structural plant that can be used to form a dramatic entry. Looser plant forms such as Alyogyne huegelii (Blue Hibiscus), Hibiscus syriacus ‘Collie Mullins’ (deciduous Hibiscus) or tree roses placed at either side of an opening through a hedge of Boxwood or Pittosporum tenuifolium “Varigata” (Variegated Pittosporum) give the effect of an entry to another room. Garden portals lead the garden wanderer to the next surprise. Interest and curiosity lead them to the next portal that might be the vegetable garden where they can pause to pick the strawberries or cherry tomatoes. The next one may lead them down a colorfully planted “alley” or path where they can “stop and smell the roses.” Remember to have fun and be creative! A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: New entries added to an existing home can give your home a completely new look and feeling without redoing your entire landscape. Gardening Quote of the Month: “One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.” ~W.E. Johns If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to or for design ideas, visit Advertorial

Page 18 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Solar Currents

Postponing Your Solar Investment Delays Savings By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar

In the United States, the commercial and residential solar business is growing at a 30% pace this year. Growth is expected to continue to rise worldwide. Today there are 191,404 California solar projects in operation. Recognition of the financial benefits that a solar PV system can offer a home or business owner is leading this growth. Of course, green bragging rights come hand-in-hand with the financial savings, but they play a distant second. Financial return is by far the most compelling reason for most to “go solar.” The American Solar Energy Society recently published their annual “State of the Industry” analysis. I’m going to provide some quotes from the analysis and play “Peanut Gallery” to chime in with my observations or commentary. Here it goes. “Silicon modules are likely to remain stable at 80 to 85 cents per watt for the foreseeable future.” Due to the Chinese Government losing the International Trade Commission and US Department of Commerce trade cases, Chinese solar panel manufacturers are no longer dumping (that’s indeed a legal term) their illegally subsidized solar modules into the US market. Solar product prices have indeed stabilized. A commonly posed question is whether one should wait for prices to continue to come down to take advantage of a lower cost of product. It seems the jury is out. Waiting simply puts potential savings generated by a solar system into the future; a future where the savings can be applied to college tuition, a 401K, charity, retirement vacation travels, or other pursuits or passions. “The wealthy oil emirates are installing PV factories and solar farms on an accelerating scale because it makes no sense to burn oil for electricity when it can be sold for more than $100 a barrel.” I read this and I cringed. The Middle East oil Emirates are installing solar energy systems so they can sell America and the rest of the world more of their oil. Perhaps it’s a great business decision for them, but the sooner we’re completely weaned away from Middle Eastern oil for political and financial

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

Mistletoe has never been my favorite holiday green. Bearing toxic berries, the sprigs suspended overhead permitting anyone beneath to steal a kiss from the next unwary passerby are plucked from a parasitic plant. But legends concerning mistletoe’s magic properties abound in ancient cultures, and its medicinal applications are the subject of ongoing modern studies. Mistletoe grows on many types of trees throughout Europe. Celts, holding oaks to be most sacred, considered oak-borne mistletoe to have supernatural powers warding off evil, ensuring fertility, and healing a variety of ailments. In 77 AD Roman author Pliny the Elder described the way Druids, the Celtic priestly and professional class, gathered mistletoe on the “sixth day of the moon,” at the time of both the summer and winter solstice. They laid a white robe upon the ground to receive their harvest because they believed mistletoe lost its powers if it touched the earth. Garbed in white, Druids ascended the tree, severing mistletoe from the boughs with a golden sickle. The bunch of mistletoe Celts hung over doorways to keep out witches eventually evolved into a seasonal decoration sanctioning amorous encounters. Another explanation for the custom of kissing under mistletoe comes from Norse mythology. The goddess Frigg, alarmed by a dream that her son Baldur would die, made every animate species and every inanimate substance on earth swear not to harm him. But Frigg forgot to get mistletoe to take the pledge. Loki, a mischievous shape-changer, made a mistletoe arrow and convinced the blind god Hoder to aim it at Baldur, causing the latter’s demise. In one version of the myth, grateful for Baldur’s resurrection, Frigg makes mistletoe serve as a potent promoter of peace and love. Warriors chancing to encounter their enemies in the presence of mistletoe were thenceforth obliged to lay down their weapons, while ordinary folks had to kiss. In other versions, the immediate cessation of hostilities caused by the sighting of mistletoe is executed as a perpetual memorial to Baldur. Similar in form and habit to the mistletoe festooning Old World trees, the North American variety sold throughout the holiday season comes from a different branch

reasons, the better. Fortunately, what appears to be on the horizon is American energy independence, which at our current rate of adoption of natural gas and renewable sources can come as early as 2025, if we stay the course we’re on. “In the United States, utility companies are now aware that distributed generation (solar on rooftops) is poised to kill their business model.” Cry me a river! Although working with PG&E has been for the most part a very positive experience, the fact that PG&E indeed may have to adapt and compete as every other business has had to adapt and compete in this market will be welcome news. As you may have realized your choice of energy providers is extremely limited. Option One: PG&E. Receive no return on monies paid, recurring for life. Option Two: Buy your own solar system, and own your own power plant. Typically, a 10% return on investment is easily achieved. One thing is for certain: PG&E rates keep going up which makes the investment virtually no risk assuming the proper products and installers are utilized. Option Three: Enter into a Solar Power Purchase Agreement and switch energy providers; a financial institution buys and installs a solar system for your home and you pay for the electricity it produces. You’ll end up paying less than you’re currently paying PG&E. Consumer’s Corner: This time of year generates sales pitch falsehoods coming from solar contractors about the tax credits available for solar energy systems for residential and business customers. The Federal Tax Credit of 30% is NOT expiring, simply a customer’s ability to capture the Federal Tax Credit for tax year 2013 expires at the end of the year. The Federal Tax Credit will not expire until January 1st, 2017. Monetary savings generated by a solar system are very compelling, but equally compelling (to me anyway) are the obvious environmental advantages that come with generating your own power. Solar can also make your life more stress free; my family lives a very efficient lifestyle at home, but we no longer stress about living just a bit more comfortably in a more temperate and well lit home. Next Month: California Assembly Bill 327, the solar bill of the decade. Mark Becker is the President of GoSimpleSolar, by Semper Fidelis Construction Inc, a Danville based Solar Installation Firm (License 948715). Mark can be reached at 925.915.9252. Visit GoSimpleSolar’s NEW and larger showroom at 100 Railroad Avenue, Suite B, Danville (behind Pete’s Brass Rail) or, or email Advertorial of the same plant family. Both are seeded on their host trees by birds that have feasted on their berries. Although poisonous to humans, the berries provide high protein food for birds, butterflies, and insects. The great purple hairstreak butterfly lays its eggs exclusively on the mistletoe berries that sustain its emerging larvae. The green dangling tangles of mature mistletoe are favored as nests by spotted owls and Cooper’s hawks. Once mistletoe germinates, it sends roots into the vascular system of its host to suck water and nutrients. Phorodendron, the generic name of the American species used to sanction holiday smooching, means “thief of the tree.” One explanation of the origin of the common name suggests that mistletoe, derived from the Anglo-Saxon “misteltan,” translates into modern English as “other twig” because mistletoe grows on the wood of other plants. Another interpretation using a different word root renders “mistel”as “dung” so that mistletoe, whose provenance is bird droppings, means “dung twig.” Although the two species of mistletoe referenced above do have the ability to photosynthesize and are technically hemi-parasites, in times of drought, they take full advantage of their hosts. Even though mistletoe has co-existed with its hosts for thousands of years as an important part of the ecosystem, judicious harvesting of mistletoe to protect endangered trees may be advisable. In Oregon, Misteltoe. com collects holiday product in areas designated for oak savannah preservation so that their commercial venture benefits local conservation projects. Native Americans found many of the same medicinal uses for New World mistletoe as their counterparts did for the Old World species. On both sides of the Atlantic mistletoe was used as a kind of “morning-after” pill as well as for producing the opposite effect of enhancing fertility. The Creek used mistletoe to treat pulmonary disorders. The Cherokee brewed remedies for headaches, high blood pressure, and epilepsy. In 1720, Sir John Colbatch published The Treatment of Epilepsy by Mistletoe based on his own research using mistletoe taken from trees at London’s Hampton Court. Is mistletoe effective in curing cancer? In 50 AD in Materia Medica, the Greek physician Dioscorides described his successful use of mistletoe in treating external tumors. Today researchers are studying the use of mistletoe in the treatment of certain cancers as well as in reducing the side-effects chemotherapy. So far their data is promising, but insufficient.

My Clean PC

By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 19

Portable CIO Computer Service

As I’m relaxing in my living room watching sports on TV, a commercial for PC cleaning software comes on. They are promoting this website that they want you to Serving Bay Area businesses and residents since 2002 visit in order to download their magical software. These How Can We Help You? commercials drive me nuts. If it were really that simple to fix computer performance issues, I’d be their biggest fan and focus on other problems in my industry. But it’s not. These guys are grossly over-simplifying the situation, and in my opinion are not 100% honest because of the expectations they’re setting. First, I’m going to tell you how to get the exact same functionality that these guys are hawking, but for free. The functions this software performs are nothing new, not unique, and not worth spending $19.95. We use a free product called “CCleaner,” which you can find on It cleans all the temp files, junk files, and profile files and will remove junk from your registry. When you finish running that scan, reboot your computer then update your AVG and Malwarebytes software and run a scan in each of those, too. You’ve just done more than they can, for free. And, if your system was running slowly before this, I’ll bet it still is running slowly now. Usually these actions don’t make much of a difference at all unless the system has been grossly neglected. The truth is that there are many, many reasons why your system may run slowly. Clean-up software, whether paid or free, covers only a small part of the spectrum PC / Mac/ Laptops/ Desktops/ Tablets/ Smartphones/ iPads|Repairs of possible maladies that slow down computers. And, slowness is a relative term. A Upgrades| Maintenance|Office Moves and Networking | Data Recovery computer that is running perfectly without any junk to clean up, can nonetheless feel Virus/Spyware/Adware Removal|Back-up Solutions|Internet/ Cloud Computing like it’s crawling if it is connected to a network that is having issues or has an incorEmail Solutions|Remote Phone Support |Free Recycling rect network setting. You can run clean-up software all day long, but it won’t help. When we approach a computer, we look at it holistically, and we ask a lot of questions. As an aside, I have to say that sometimes people get impatient with us when our telephone people ask them a lot of questions about what is going on. These questions are what help us determine the nature of the problem and are a critical part of our holistic diagnostic process. Our least favorite client is one that calls up, is too busy to give us the actual details of what is going on, and expects us to fix Join Portable CIO, Inc. on Facebook! their system quickly and cheaply. Sometimes their assumption is that they’re just experiencing a “quick problem that will take five minutes to fix,” when the reality is that there is much more to the issue that needs resolving. So if you’re on the phone with us, Hospice Volunteers Needed don’t get mad with us when we ask you questions! Hospice of the East Bay is seeking volunteers to assist HosIn my opinion, the single area around which most computer slowness occurs is the hardisk. There pice patients and their caregivers. are so many things that can go wrong. Start with the speed of the disk. Some spin at 5400 RPM’s, Opportunities include: and some spin at 7200 RPM’s. There is a noticeable difference in speed between them. Next, look • Licensed Hair Stylists to offer hair cuts and styling how much space is being used on the disk. If it’s over 50%, the performance is adversely affected. • Certified Massage Therapists to provide massage therapy When I see a disk with over 60-70% consumed, I recommend cloning the contents to a larger disk. • Mobile Notaries to witness the signing of important documents If I can lower the percentage used to 30% by putting them into a larger disk, I’ll improve performance. Finally, if the disk is having any issues, they will definitely affect performance, but they • Bereavement Support Volunteers to provide support to fammay not show up in the diagnostics. Please understand; just because a disk doesn’t have obvious ily members after their loved one has died diagnostic errors, it does not mean it’s healthy. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count, • Patient Support Volunteers to provide companionship and and the problems go away when I swap out the hardisk. In laptops, I’ve made miraculous changes practical assistance when swapping out failing or over-full hardisks with newer Solid State hardisks (SSD)’s. They’re To apply for free training, call Hospice of the East Bay at more expensive, but they’re twice as fast and make a huge difference in system performance. (925) 887-5678, and ask for the Volunteer Department, or email Another area to check out is hardisk fragmentation. Fragmentation is caused when parts of your data get sprinkled around the platter of a hardisk, instead of being in a contiguous Established in 1977, Hospice of the East Bay is a not-forstreak the system can read in one rotation. It’s like playing a song on a record player, but profit agency that helps people cope with end of life by providing parts of the song are all over the record instead of being contained in just one of the circu- medical, emotional, spiritual, and practical support for patients lar ‘tracks.’ You can imagine how much that would slow down playing a song. It can slow and families, regardless of their ability to pay. down a system quite a bit. We use a program called “Auslogics Defrag” to deal with disk Museum Volunteers Needed fragmentation. It’s free and available at Looking to get involved in your community? The Museum of the The amount of RAM a system has will affect performance, too. If you’re in Windows 7 or 8, you should have a bare minimum of 4GB RAM. You really should have 6-12GB. The system San Ramon Valley needs your help. Volunteer positions are available processor also makes a big difference. I have never recommended an i3 processor for any reason. in the following areas: • Greeters • Docents If you get a system, an i5 processer is the minimum I recommend, and an i7 processor should • Walking Tour Docents • Events Committee be strongly considered. The better you ‘buy’ a system, the longer it will last, and the better it will • Educational Programs (One Room School/Indian Life) perform. Period. Call Eve or Donna at 552-9693 or send an email to srvmuThe point of this is that there are many factors which affect system performance. Very few of for additional information. them can be affected in any meaningful way by running a piece of software from the internet. Save your money and don’t patronize these snake-oil salesmen! If you’d rather have a professional technician look at your system to analyze what’s going on, give my friendly staff a call at 925-552-7953, or email us at I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your family and look forward to seeing you in the new year. Advertorial

Great People. Great Service.


Page 20 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Meadow Wood at Alamo Creek - Celebrating the Season of Giving By Meadow Wood Staff

Happy Holidays from Meadow Wood at Alamo Creek! Our brand new and recently completed luxury apartment homes are now open in Danville. In keeping with our commitment to make a positive impact on our community and celebrating the spirit of the holidays, we are sponsoring the following service programs that are open to the public for donations and will benefit individuals and families in our local area.

Toys for Tots

We are currently accepting new, unwrapped boys and girls toys for participation in the US Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program. Please bring your donations no later than Tuesday, December 17 to help brighten a local child’s holiday season!

Food Bank Drive

We are also accepting packaged, non-perishable food items for donations to the Contra Costa Food Bank. Please bring your donations no later than Tuesday, December 17 to join the Food Bank in their mission to end hunger and increase access to nutritious food for less fortunate families in Contra Costa County. All donations may be dropped off at our Leasing Office at 3000 Damani Court, Danville. We are located next to Fire Station 36, near the corner of Camino Tassajara and Lusitano Street in the Alamo Creek neighborhood of Danville. Our office hours are open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, and closed from 12pm – 1pm daily. Contact us by phone at (925) 309-4670, or by email at Meadow Wood Apartments is Shapell Homes’ newest rental community for active adults ages 55+. We are pleased to provide luxury living at affordable prices. Apartment models are now available for touring! We are currently offering move-in specials for our 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes, and we also have flexible lease terms. Our amenities include a clubhouse with kitchen, library, activity room, fitness center, multi-purpose room, scheduled transportation, elevators, granite countertops, and energy-efficient appliances in each home. Please contact the Meadow Wood Leasing Office for details or to schedule a time to tour our facilities. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful new community. Warm wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday season! Meadow Wood at Alamo Creek, 3000 Damani Court , Danville, CA 94506 | 925) 309-4670 | Advertorial

Heal continued from front page

tends to shut down and go slow.” Similarly, Chance, impatient to take charge under saddle, shifts gears when the driving harness appears. “He’s a challenge on the trail,” James relates, “but he will drive for three or four hours straight at Camp Arroyo on the hottest day of the year.” Reins in Motion horses delight special needs campers with regular visits to Camp Arroyo. Horses successful in therapeutic activities have an innate sense of what each client needs. Cocoa served faithfully at Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center in Orinda for 11 years, earning the PATH Horse of the Year award in 2008. Instructor Jan Bindas worked with Cocoa for a decade. “The beauty of Cocoa was that she would do anything for her kids.” When one of them was having a bad day, she was infinitely patient. When they got cocky, she challenged them to the limit of their ability, but never beyond. Cocoa insisted on working even after developing severe arthritis. Bindas recalls that one great gift Cocoa gave her students was the ability to help the horse they loved. They learned to ride her in larger circles and finally to work with her in ground exercises when she could no longer be ridden. Following her passing in 2012 at the age of 28, Cocoa was inducted into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame. SonRise Equestrian Foundation, dedicated to providing programs free of charge, originally thought adopting rescue horses would be a win-win proposi-

Sarah Dowlearn with Windy and Alana Koski with Blackie demonstrate that SonRise Traveling Tails minis are perfectly scaled to comfort children.

tion. Charles Wilhelm, provider of space and support for SonRise at his Castro Valley stables, suggests why this solution seldom succeeds. “I can normally evaluate the personality of a horse in five minutes or less. With a rescue horse, the process takes longer. Many times it’s the human baggage that comes with the horse that’s the problem. He may seem docile at first, but once you get some groceries in him, he might be a whole different animal.” Gift horses, however, sometimes have miraculous attributes. Blackie, a miniature horse donated to SonRise in 2006, inspired the introduction of an entirely new program: Traveling Tails. SonRise volunteer Claire Vesely was working at George Mark Children’s House at the time. Her idea of sending Blackie into the rooms of terminally ill children proved so helpful that Traveling Tails soon expanded to include home visits to patients, trips to Camp Arroyo, and visits to special needs classrooms. Blackie and his partner Windy, donated by a different owner, take everything in stride, calmly clopping past loud oxygen concentrators, feeding pumps on poles, ventilators, and suction pumps to reach the children who need them. “The minis have an amazing ability to go in, lay their heads on the bed, stand motionless, and just be present,” Vesely relates. “They take on a lot of the heaviness and emotion of the situation. When they get home, they are so exhausted they go into the corner of their stalls and face the wall as if they need to debrief for awhile.” Several times their warm breath has wakened a child from a coma, giving families a chance to share a moment of unexpected joy. Shelley Guthrie, Xenophon Barn Manager, confirms the stress issues. “These horses need some fun in their downtime in order to stay mentally healthy and happy doing their job. According to our veterinarian, they need to go for rides on the trails or have someone ride them in the arena that is different from the way they move in lessons.” Mari Parino, Xenophon Executive Director, concurs. “Our biggest challenge is maintaining the mental health of these horses.” Turning horses out to pasture isn’t enough. They need to enjoy the freedom to challenge an expert equestrian. Regular chiropractic care is essential to their physical health. Centers give careful consideration to horses offered as donations before accepting one for a 30-day trial period. Horses suitable for therapy work may not fit the needs of a particular program. Parino notes, “We need a diverse herd because every child’s needs are different. Some children need a narrow-based horse with smooth movement, or some might need a wide-based horse with big movement. Because the movement of the horse is so fundamental to the therapeutic value of the session, our horses need to be sound at the walk, trot, and canter.”

See Heal continued on page 27

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 21

Warm Wishes for the Happiest of Holidays from all of us at Stone Valley Dental

Page 22 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Is DIY Estate Planning Wise? By Robert J. Silverman

A regular reader emailed me recently, stating that she enjoyed reading my articles and was eager for me to comment about a particular, well-advertised legal software program. She wondered, as she thought many other readers would, about the “legalities of the ... [software company’s] documents,” specifically Wills. She shared that she was single, with her primary asset being her home, and wanted to know if a Will generated by this software, notarized, would be “enough to prevent problems and probate after I pass?” I thanked her for writing to me and agreed that it would be a good idea to write an article on the subject. First, as most of you know who read my articles regularly, a valid Will (which, in itself, has a number of specific statutory requirements) is not enough to prevent probate. Without a revocable living trust, whether or not the above-referenced reader has a valid Will, a probate will be required on her passing. Most people are aware that avoiding a probate is generally desirable, and I often write about the many advantages of a living trust. Let’s next address the more general question: is “do it yourself” (DIY) estate planning wise? My opinion is that in most cases, it is not. The inquiring reader I described, who evidently has some familiarity with this popular estate planning software, might well have purchased it, self-drafted and signed her Will, and figured all would be fine. Yet, on her death, the required probate would diminish her estate by $10,000 - $20,000 or more in attorneys’ fees and costs, and therefore reduce by that amount what her loved ones and/or favorite charities would receive. I could literally write an article every month for the next several years just on trust and estate administration cases I’ve handled during the last 20 years in which problems, disputes, and lawsuits were caused by DIY estate planning. People who engage in DIY estate planning frequently think: “I can do this myself; my situation is very simple.” The number and types of drafting “traps” is countless, but I’ll give one example below of how easy it is to create a serious potential problem out of what is perceived as a simple estate planning drafting task. John Doe has a home worth $900,000, with a loan against it in the amount of $200,000. He also has cash accounts totaling $400,000. Without consulting or talking to anyone, John takes it upon himself to type up a testamentary document - Will or Living Trust - that states, in pertinent part: “on my death, my home is to go 100% outright to Betty Doe, my sister; and the rest of my assets go to Bill Doe, my brother.” How can the document be any more clear, right? Wrong! John dies and his estate is being administered. Betty claims that John’s intention is clear from his testamentary document - Betty is to receive the $900,000 home “100% outright,” meaning mortgage-free. In other words, Betty demands that the $200,000 mortgage be paid off from John’s $400,000 cash accounts. This would result in Betty receiving the $900,000 home with no mortgage, and Bill receiving $200,000 in cash ($400,000 in the cash accounts minus the $200,000 used to pay off the mortgage). I’ll bet you already know what Bill argues. Of course, he is adamant that John intended that Betty be distributed the house as John owned it; she would take over John’s obligation to pay the mortgage. So, Bill’s position is that he should receive the full $400,000 in cash. Although it might be interesting intellectually to discuss whether Betty or Bill has a better legal position, the “take aways” should be 1) Regardless of who will ultimately prevail, Bill and Betty could easily spend $50,000 - $100,000 or more on legal fees to resolve the dispute, not to mention the aggravation and damage to their sibling relationship, 2) Sadly, because John never communicated about this to anyone before he died, neither of his siblings know for sure what John intended, and 3) if John had hired an experienced estate planning attorney, the attorney would have discussed John’s intentions and drafted appropriate language to clarify those intentions (e.g. Betty shall receive the home “subject to liens and encumbrances,” or “free of liens and encumbrances”). Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 240, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474, rsilverman@, * Estate Planning * Trust Administration & Probate * Real Estate * Business This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and is not intended nor should it be relied upon as legal, tax and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein. Advertorial

Time to Check Your Progress toward Your Retirement Goals By Sima Alefi

Now that another year is ending, it’s a good time to take stock of where you are on your journey toward financial security. Of course, you could find many different “measuring sticks” to assess your progress, but you can certainly gain considerable information just by asking yourself some basic questions. Here are a few to consider: • How close am I to my retirement goals? Your comprehensive investment strategy should include a reasonably good estimate of how much money you will eventually need to sustain the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. At least once a year, you should evaluate how much closer you’ve gotten to your goals than the year before. • Am I making sufficient progress toward my goals? When assessing your progress, try to determine if your portfolio is properly allocated between stocks, stock-based vehicles, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit and other investments. If you’re “overweighted” in a particular asset class, such as cash, you may be impeding your ability to move toward your goals. • Am I adhering to my investment strategy? To stick with your investment strategy, you need to invest at regular intervals and meet regularly with your financial professional to review your progress and make adjustments — such as rebalancing your portfolio — when necessary. Of course, even with regular progress reviews and portfolio rebalancing, it can be challenging, psychologically and emotionally, to stick with a strategy. For example, during any given year the financial markets could be down, and your results might be disappointing. Nonetheless, if you have built a diversified portfolio containing quality investments, and your portfolio is well suited to your own risk tolerance and time horizon, you don’t necessarily need to make changes following a down year in the markets. • What aspects of my life have changed in the past year? Your investment strategy should be based entirely on your individual needs and circumstances — so if these have changed during the past year, you may also have to adjust the way you invest. Consider any and all changes in your life — marriage, new children, divorce, remarriage, new job, new home, etc. — and then try to determine what impact these changes might have on your long-term financial strategy and if you need to adjust that strategy in response. • Have I changed my thinking on my retirement goals? Over time, you might undergo some changes in your thinking about retirement. For example, perhaps you’ve decided that you no longer want to retire early and travel the world; instead, you’ve discovered a growing desire to open a small business or do some consulting. Any significant changes you make to your retirement plans will likely have a big effect on your savings and investment strategies, so you’ll want to incorporate these changes into your planning as soon as possible. By asking, and answering, these questions at the end of each year, you should always have a good sense of where you are in pursuit of your longterm goals — and what you need to do to bring the realization of those goals closer to reality. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. To contact Sima for a free consultation, call her at Edward Jones (925) 648-2590. Her office is located at 3472 Camino Tassajara, Danville in the Blackhawk Safeway Shopping Center. For more information, visit www. Advertorial

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

Controversy over PSA Screening By Stephen Taylor, MD

Urologists have been advocating Prostrate Specific Angigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer for over 20 years. Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men second only to lung cancer. In its earliest stages (curable stages), prostate cancer is usually completely without symptoms, and it can only be detected by PSA and occasionally by digital

rectal exam. PSA is a simple non-fasting blood test. PSA is made by both benign and malignant prostate cells, so all by itself, it does not signal prostate cancer. An elevated PSA blood test can be indicative of prostate cancer, an enlarged benign prostate gland, a prostate infection, or other causes. An elevated PSA will usually result in a referral to a urologist, who will determine the cause of the abnormal test. A digital rectal exam, prostate ultrasound xxam, prostate MRI, and a prostate biopsy are often necessary to establish the cause, and determine if there is prostate cancer present, or one of the benign causes for the elevated test. The U.S. Preventative Health Services Task Force has given PSA screening a “D” recommendation, based on a single very flawed study. In that study conducted for 10 years, they compared men who were assigned to a screening group (of which only 80% participated in screening) versus a group assigned to non-screening (of which 60 % voluntarily went for screening) and found that after 10 years there was very little decrease in the death rate from “organized” screening. Most prostate cancers grow very slowly and do not cause death for 10 to 20 years. So the 10 year “cut off” was far too short to show a significant decrease in prostate cancer mortality. Moreover, many men who were detected “late” (because of a delay in diagnosis if they were not screened) were caught at incurable stages: They are still alive at 10 years but suffering the effects of advanced prostate cancer or its treatment. In the Pre-PSA era, 90% of prostate cancers were detected at incurable stages. In the PSA era, 90% of prostate cancers are detected at curable stages. We know that some prostate cancers grow so slowly, that they do not require treatment in men with less than a 10 year life expectancy. These men are usually placed on active surveillance, where they are monitored for life threatening progression. Young men with over 20 years of life expectancy are offered treatment with curative intent: Either total removal of the cancerous gland (Robotic Radical Prostatectomy) or radiation therapy (Image Guided Radiation Therapy). These new ultramodern treatments both offer very high success rates and very few side effects. The American Urologic Association’s recommendation is that men should discuss with their urologist whether or not each individual patient is a good candidate for PSA screening based on their life expectancy, family history, co-morbidities (diabetes, kidney failure, severe coronary artery disease, previous stroke, etc.). We believe healthy men should have a baseline PSA when they turn 40, then at intervals ranging from 1-10 years based on the initial value. Dr. Stephen Taylor is a Urologist at Pacific Urology. He specializes in robotic urologic surgeries and prostate, kidney and bladder cancers. To reach Dr. Taylor, call 925-937-7740. Advertorial

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Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley

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

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 23

Issues with the Newer Oral Anticoagulants By Robert Robles, MD

Treatment for a deep venous thrombosis (blood clot typically in the leg) and/or pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lungs) has followed a standard treatment regimen for many years. Originally, intravenous heparin (requiring hospitalization) followed by warfarin pills was the standard of care. More recently, the use of low molecular weight heparins or fondaparinux (Arixtra) which can be given as injections under the skin followed by warfarin has become a more convenient and equally effective treatment protocol. The recent approval of newer oral anticoagulants deserves some review and discussion. Dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), and apixaban (Eliquis) are oral anticoagulants approved for the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) is also approved for the treatment of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolus and for blood clot prevention following knee or hip joint replacement surgery. These oral drugs have made long-term anticoagulation much simpler. There is no need for routine monitoring, and there are few interactions with food or other medications. However, each of these drugs has elimination through the kidney, and safe dosing requires accurate assessment of the kidney function. Overall, the risk of bleeding associated with these new medications is equivalent to warfarin. A commonly asked question is how to manage bleeding for patients on one of the newer oral anticoagulants. There are no approved reversal agents for these medications. Vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma (used to reverse the effect of warfarin) are ineffective in reversing the blood thinner effect of the newer oral anticoagulants. Special kidney dialysis techniques may remove some dabigatran (Pradaxa), while rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixaban (Eliquis) cannot be removed effectively by standard kidney dialysis. Orally administered activated charcoal given within 2-6 hours of the last dose of apixaban (Eliquis) may help reduce further absorption of this drug and can also be considered for rivaroxaban (Xarelto). Standard coagulation studies such as aPTT and PT/INR are not helpful in monitoring the anticoagulation effect of these drugs. However, these tests can be used to determine whether or not the blood thinning drugs are still present. Non-approved therapies for acute bleeding have utilized activated prothrombin complex concentrates (APCC) and factor VIIa. These drugs need to be used very carefully as they can provoke excessive clotting. These medications do not provide full reversal of the anticoagulant effects of the new oral anticoagulants. In summary, the new anticoagulants provide equal benefit and no extra risk for individuals requiring blood thinners. However, like all new medications, they pose unique challenges to safe use. Robert Robles, MD is Board Certified in Medical Oncology and Hematology. He practices with Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group, located at the California Cancer and Research Institute in Pleasant Hill and also sees patients in San Ramon. Dr.Robles can be reached at 925-677-5041. Advertorial

Danville Rotary Clubs

The Danville Rotary Club meets every Monday at noon at Faz restaurant in Danville. For information, contact Jim Crocker at jimcrocker@ or by phone at 925-577-6159. If you are interested in visiting the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club, contact Jim Coleman at Meetings are held on Tuesdays at 7AM at Crow Canyon Country Club.

Danville Lions Club

The Danville Lions Club invites you to join us for dinner and to learn more about how our club serves the community. Meetings are held at the Brass Door, 2154 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 7PM. For more information, call Dr. Brent Waterman at (925) 275-1990.

Page 24 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Your Personal Nutritionist

How to Survive the Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight By Linda Michaelis RD,MS

What I hear from my clients this time of year is, “How can I enjoy the holidays without overeating and gaining weight?,” “Oh! I will just start again on January 1st,” or “How can I say no to all the goodies offered?” Here are a few tips that have proven successful. The key to success during the holidays madness is being mindful of your eating. What does this mean? It means developing a moment-to-moment awareness of what you are eating without judging yourself. It means deliberately paying attention to your thoughts about the food, taste, aroma, and sensation in your mouth. It means becoming aware of how you eat and then what you eat. For example, when you are eating quickly without savoring the food and then taking another serving, you are not eating mindfully. Think first when you arrive at a party and prepare a plate. Do you really like this food? Is it on my list of favorites, and then is it as good as I thought it would be? This again is mindful eating. Practice moderation, not deprivation, because this will only cause a backlash of bingeing and overeating. Some of my clients are chronic dieters who are so focused on the role that food plays in losing weight that they do not allow themselves to enjoy food. I teach all of my clients to enjoy the holiday parties that come around this time of year. They learn to realize that occasional overeating does not equate to instant weight gain. The next day after a party if you return to eating mindfully, you will be eating less. I see too many clients throw in the towel when they overeat at a party. They get very upset with themselves and end up doing it again. One effective tool is to observe what you do with your silverware when you are eating. Do you keep it in your hand the entire meal, or do you put it down between bites? Do you prepare another bite while you are still chewing? You are not eating mindfully when your attention is on your next bite instead of focusing on what is in your mouth.

A Facelift without Surgery? Too Good to be True? By Dr. Jerome Potozkin

Many people would like to have a more youthful appearance yet would never consider a facelift or any other invasive procedure. A variety of technologies have been promoted as being able to produce non-surgical facelifts. The first device promoted for non-surgical skin tightening utilized radio frequency energy to bulk heat the skin. For some people there would be some degree of skin tightening but many saw marginal results. Skin tightening has taken a recent leap forward with technology that utilizes micro-focused ultrasound to heat and tighten tissue. While none of these devices can substitute for a facelift, they certainly can be of benefit to some people. Ultherapy has been in the news quite a bit these days and featured on 20/20, The View, The Doctors, and many other media outlets. This device is the only non-invasive procedure FDA cleared to lift the brow, chin, and neck. The device uses micro-focused ultrasound to stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin deep in the skin which can non-surgically lift and tighten skin tissue with no downtime. The procedure takes about an hour and does not require anesthesia. The ultrasound heats multiple layers just beneath and within the skin. These are the layers a surgeon would be operating on during a facelift. This results in skin tightening and lifting that occurs over about 3-6 months. The most common areas treated include the brow, face, and neck. A recently published study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed Ultherapy to be effective in lifting, tightening, and reducing wrinkles of the décolletage. Is Ultherapy a replacement for a facelift? I don’t believe any of the noninvasive treatments to be a true replacement for a facelift. If you have a turkey neck with a lot of excess skin, you would probably be better served seeing one of the many highly trained plastic surgeons in the area for a facelift. However, if

Put your fork down when you are chewing. You can also take finger foods and put them down in between bites. I always tell my clients to sit down and eat at a party instead of standing up because they will not be mindful when standing. Please become aware of your hunger signals. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. There is no need to eat until you are uncomfortable to truly enjoy the party. It is okay to say “no, thank you” to your host when offered an appetizer that you do not like. Do not overeat from pressure at a party, and do all you can to be true to yourself and not give in. The number one rule is don’t arrive at your party too hungry. If you do, you are setting yourself up to fail because you will inevitably overeat. Have a substantial lunch the day of the party. Don’t just have a bowl of soup or salad; you should add at least 4-6 oz. of protein and a cup of veggies to make it a meal. Skip the breads which you will certainly have at the party. Perhaps make for yourself tuna stuffed in a tomato or an egg white omelet with diced ham and veggies. If you are asked to bring a dish, bring one that will help you through this event. Bring a shrimp cocktail, skewered shrimp, roasted veggies, grilled asparagus with balsamic glaze, or even fruit salad. These items will definitely balance your meal, especially when the offerings are mostly starch and fat laden. Please make time for your exercise program. You can burn off 300-500 calories with an intense hour of exercise. Also, arrive fashionably late if possible. Just think what that will allow you at your next party - definitely a few appetizers and a couple of holiday cookies. I counsel my clients during the holiday season by phone or e-mail. We speak often where I try to “hold their hand” through holiday parties. My clients give me an idea of what will be served, and we role play the event starting from the beginning of the day through the feast. It gives them a sense of confidence to attend the party with a plan in mind. It is a constant thrill for me to hear how, compared to past years, they have been able to sail through parties with even more enjoyment without overeating. Feel free to call me to discuss your upcoming party so we can put together a plan. I offer holiday gift certificates for nutritional counseling, please contact me to purchase. I am also glad to inform you that insurance companies will cover nutritional counseling. Please visit for the list of companies that cover counseling, past articles, and more information about nutritional concerns. Call Linda at (925) 855-0150 or e-mail her at Advertorial you are not ready for such an invasive procedure and just want a smaller amount of lift and firming, Ultherapy might be for you. If you don’t want to undergo the risks of surgery or are not medically able to, then Ultherapy might be for you. The best results are typically seen in people ages 30-65 and are seen over the course of several months. This procedure does turn back the clock, but the clock does continue to tick. If you are interested in looking your best without undergoing the knife, please call us at 925-838-4900 to schedule an appointment. We are offering complimentary Ultherapy consultations between now and the end of the year with the mention of this article. We look forward to seeing you. Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the local community since 1993. His fully accredited dermatological and laser facility is located at 600 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 102 in Danville. He is accepting new patients. Please call 925-838-4900 or visit for more information. Advertorial

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Your Presence is Your Present By Joree Rosenblatt

Regardless of your religious background or which family traditions flank your household, there tends to be a lot of gift giving this time of year. We all experience that mad rush of crazed, last minute shopping, dealing with long lines of generally frustrated cashiers and customers, over-crowded department stores blaring holiday music, and of course, spending too much money. This is only after you’ve agonized over which perfect gift to buy that you hope will be loved, used, and valued. So, we give the present, most often in the midst of a hectic family get-together, with way too much food, where wrapping paper is flying, and where the actual gift that was exchanged has been overlooked. “Thank yous” are muttered, and then… it’s on to the next gift. The entire process has flown by in a second, without so much of a pause, a moment of gratitude, or an intentional acknowledgment. Now, I know this scenario may not be true for all of you--and if it’s not, that’s fantastic--but for many of us, this accurately describes the days of family get-togethers during the season of gift-giving. How do you think your holiday experience could be different if you slowed down? Practicing mindfulness is about being present, being intentional, and giving pause to the moments in our lives. All too often our daily life parallels those moments of wrapping paper flying and indulging in too much food; it all happens so fast that we aren’t present enough to even remember it. The next thing you know is that the day is over, and you were so stressed leading up to it and so distracted during it, that you can’t recall the details to know if you even enjoyed it. The tools of mindfulness allow an antidote to this craziness. It’s about cultivating presence, starting with slowing down, breathing, and acknowledging your current moment experience, allowing you to actually find joy and peace amidst the chaos of daily life. The pace of our society does not support slowing down and being present. We are so accustomed to moving at an accelerated speed that we are often mentally onto our next task before even completing what we are currently doing. This failure

Ask the Doctor

By Evelyn Peinado for Dr. Jeffrey G. Riopelle, MD

Hi. I’m Evelyn and I work for Dr. Jeffrey G. Riopelle. I asked him if I could write the article this month and share two special things that recently happened in the office. The first thing is we just completed a very successful Halloween candy drive. The idea was to have kids in local schools donate their Halloween candy and earn money for their schools. We feel it teaches the students the value of giving and sharing. The money was donated from Dr. Jeffrey Riopelle and his wife Donna Riopelle, Riopelle Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center, and a number of doctors from San Ramon Regional Medical Center, including Michele Riopelle MD, Shoha Kankipati MD, William N. Hamstra DO, Sanford L. Severin MD, Marshall Lee Chiropractor, Claudia S. Pinilla MD, John R. Krouse MD, Renee Hilliard MD, David T. Wong MD, Gloria Soto Reyes PT, Michael P. Sherman MD, PhD, Michael L. Wynn MD, Kenneth Passeri Podiatry, Judson Brandeis MD, Narendra Malani MD, and Craig and Dana Amack PT. The money was then donated to winning schools through Pledge to Humanity. Pledge to Humanity is comprised of the best group of volunteers and supporters. It is a group of children, young adults, mature adults, educators, professionals, and families all dedicated to a common mission - the desire to reach out to people of all ages in our local community and beyond to provide aid for their needs, to confront global issues of poverty, education, medical care, lack of access to clean water, and to provide the help and support needed. Through working together to achieve this common goal, we are finding that it truly is much better to give than to receive. Each winning school is to use the money for a special project of their choice such as providing Christmas toys for foster kids, Thanksgiving dinners for foster kids, or blankets for the homeless. Each school votes on which project to do. Meanwhile, all of the candy was given to Blue Star Mom’s who arranged to have it delivered to

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 25 to be present is not benefitting anything; it does not help our productivity or our ability to focus and actually decreases our optimal brain functioning. I truly believe the biggest consequence is to that of our relationships. When we are so crazed, busy, distracted, and multitasking, our ability to connect diminishes greatly, which negatively affects the people and relationships in our lives. So, do you want to become more mindful, more present? Follow these tips: • Slow down – Take a minute and just breathe. • Be present – Be here now; look around, take it in, and breathe into the present moment. • Communicate with intention: Make eye contact and listen with an open heart. • Increase your awareness: Notice what is going on around you as well as what is going on inside of you. • Stop multitasking: Practice giving your attention to what is in front of you, especially when it is close family and friends. • Put away your digital device: That email, text, or status update will still be there, even if you don’t check it every two minutes. If you could incorporate these tools into your daily life, coupled with utilizing your breath as an anchor to the present moment, your life would feel more centered and fulfilled. Especially during the hectic holiday season there are so many moments you can use as an opportunity to be here now, and that quite possibly may be the best gift you could give someone. So, forget about stressing about that perfect tie, sweater, or picture frame. Allow your presence to be your present. Your friends and family will thank you for it. If you’d like more information on mindfulness or would be interested in doing individual work with me, want my current schedule for group classes, or are interested in bringing mindfulness into your workplace, I would love to hear from you at 925-212-2996,, or visit my webpage at In the meantime, I’d like you to always remember: take a minute and Just Breathe. Advertorial active military service personnel. We weighed all the candy in Dr. Riopelle’s office. First place went to Rancho Romero with over 282 pounds. Second place went to Montair with 222 pounds, and third place went to Stone Valley with 125 pounds. Congratulations also to The Creative Learning Center with over 75 pounds. Thanks goes to the schools and all of the kids for a successful Halloween candy collection contest for 2013. Natalie, who is doctor Riopelle’s daughter and a senior at Monte Vista High, and Dr. Riopelle have done this drive for several years now. This was one of the best contests ever. Everyone is looking forward to Halloween 2014. The second exciting thing that took place in the office was Dr. and Donna Riopelle’s anniversary party. They have been in practice for 25 years and had a party to celebrate. All of their clients and patients were invited to show their appreciation. There was music, great food, and beverages for all. Each guest received a special treat. It was a night of fun and excitement. In addition, they honored the three winners of their “Do a good deed contest,” where kids and teens wrote essays about good deeds they had done for others. The three finalists all received awards for their efforts. The winner received a brand new iPad. It is such a pleasure to work for someone who does these types of things. For information on any of our programs, please call our office, San Ramon Valley Medical Group, Inc., at (925) 275-9333 or visit our website at www. We are located at 5401 Norris Canyon Rd, Ste. 312 in Rachel Gai, Cybille Scott, Dr Riopelle, Alanah Scott, Grace Kennedy, Ellie Kennedy, Gaby Ghorbani, Katina San Ramon. Advertorial Kennedy (in front).

Page 26 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Happy Holidays

Now that 2013 is almost done, I think it is always good to review the past year and at the same time look forward to the coming year. First and foremost we need to thank our patients and community for supporting the office. Without family and friend referrals, our office would not be what it is. We strive to provide the best care, services and products, and we are extremely grateful that our efforts are appreciated by the community. Our staff commitment is to continue our superior service and hospitality for all of our patients and family members. We are constantly being asked during this time of year about flexible spending accounts (FSA) and how to use them at the office. The government has a wide range of specified expenses that qualify as a medical expense. These include any office co-pays, any necessary or elective surgical procedures (including LASIK), and many medical devices. Included in that list is any vision correction device (glasses, computer glasses, contact lenses, sports goggles, etc.) and sunglasses. As long as your purchase is made by the end of the year, it will count on your 2013 account balance. It is also recommended to fully utilize any vision benefits you have either through your medical or vision insurance. We are happy to look up your benefits for you. We just need to know which insurance you have and some information about the primary member on the account. Vision insurance benefits can be found online, and it takes only a few minutes. This past year brought about two new daily disposable contact lenses to the market. Vistakon’s Tru-Eye and Alcon’s Total Vision1 are adding more options to the popular daily disposable modality. Both of these lenses add a new dimension in health profile, comfort, and vision. We have found that patients are adapting and appreciating the benefits of daily disposable contacts, and these additions make the transition from monthly lenses very easy. Looking forward to 2014, there are insurance changes that are going to affect us all. We definitely don’t have all of the answers, but we are working towards complying with the new requirements. Regarding using insurance at the office, most if not all group vision insurance is not going to change. For those who have VSP, Eyemed, and Medical Eye Services through your employer, those plans will remain the same as in 2013. Assuming your employer decided to keep the same plan for 2014, it will be the status quo. Most individual medical plans will also have benefits, but that will vary from plan to plan. Through these individual plans, the big change will be pediatric benefits. Qualified plans will cover the exam and basic materials for dependents under 19. Again, the allowances will be different depending on the plan, but kids will have frames to choose from to have their prescription filled at no cost to the patient. Finally, in this holiday season and all year round, it is important to think about those who could use our help. We always collect old frames and sun-

Coping with Grief During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to give thanks and celebrate. However, for many the holidays are an unhappy time. Hospice of the East Bay offers a Coping with the Holidays workshop for people who have experienced the death of a loved one and find the holiday season to be a sad and stressful time of the year. The class will offer participants ways to manage holiday grief. It will be offered on Thursday, December 12, 6 - 8PM at the Pleasant Hill site located at 3470 Buskirk Avenue. “This time of year we are expected to gather with family and friends and be joyful. We are expected to be thankful, generous, and in a mood to celebrate,” says Joe Lumello, Bereavement Program Director for Hospice of the East Bay. “These expectations can place tremendous pressure on us, especially if we are grieving the death of a loved one and trying to make sense of our new lives without those we love in it.” For further information and/or to register, please call Bereavement Services at Hospice of the East Bay at (925) 887-5681. Pre-registration is required.

glasses and donate them to a local charity in January. They are distributed to people who cannot afford quality glasses. As long as the glasses are wearable, the condition does not matter. Regardless of appearance, they will definitely assist a person in need to help them see well. We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the years to come. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our newly updated website at, and like us on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page. Advertorial

Wear Your Pink Shoes Proudly By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc.

On days that I am scheduled to operate (3 or 4 days a week), my attire is comfortably predictable - scrubs and my favorite pair of clogs. The clogs happen to be pink, and I am often asked, “Why the pink shoes?” I usually respond by simply tugging up my pant leg a bit to reveal the familiar pink ribbon logo used by so many worthy causes that support Breast Cancer research and education. I don’t think about breast cancer for one month out of the year -- I think about it every day. Reconstructive surgery makes up a good portion of my practice. I feel so fortunate that my practice allows me to actively participate in the care and treatment of many breast cancer patients. As a staff member at John Muir Hospital, I participate in weekly Tumor Board meetings, often as a panelist. The cases presented at these meetings help us coordinate excellent treatment plans for our patients, and they demonstrate that breast cancer does not spare any particular demographic. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer including the elderly, the 28 year old newlywed, the healthiest fitness guru, the couch potato, the vibrant career woman, and the mother, pregnant with her first child. Like most cancers, early detection is key to a successful outcome in breast cancer patients. All too often breast cancer is discovered in advanced stages, requiring surgery and breast reconstruction along with radiation and chemotherapy. The physical toll of breast cancer is costly enough, but the emotional toll of losing our breasts can be devastating. I am fortunate to be part of the team of people who make a positive impact in breast cancer patients’ lives by giving back to them something they thought was lost. Through advances and innovations in technique as well as new surgical materials, artful reconstruction of the breast has become a reality. Reconstructive breast surgery is now routinely performed at the same time as the mastectomy in close coordination with the general surgeon, enabling women to wake up from surgery with breasts. In some cases the nipples and surrounding areolas can be saved as well. The emotional testimonials and thanks I receive from my breast cancer patients feed my soul. I am continually amazed by the strength and courage these women possess through such tragic circumstances. I recently had the pleasure of seeing a 60 year old woman who was told she could not have her breast reconstructed after mastectomy 10 years ago because of thin skin. Now, with new techniques and materials, she will soon have breasts again. She will feel whole. The theme behind the breast cancer campaign is education and awareness. Realize that breast cancer affects us all. Please take the time to educate yourself, perform self breast exams every month, and please don’t delay your routine mammogram screening. To find instructions on how to perform a breast self-examination, please visit our website at Support the efforts of wonderful organizations like Susan G. Komen or the Avon Foundation. Join me in wearing your pink shoes proudly every day. Dr. Barbara Persons is a Plastic Surgeon and owns Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc. located at 911 Moraga Rd, Suite 205 in Lafayette. She may be reached at 925.283.4012 or drbarb@ Advertorial

Stress-Relief Strategies with Chiropractic Care

By Kimberly Liotta, DC and Melissa Ko, DC, Sycamore Valley Chiropractic

There’s no question that everybody Doctors of Sycamore Valley Chiropractic experiences daily stress. Humans have stress responses to deal with threatening situations such as injuries, disasters, animal attack, etc. However, high levels of chronic stress are known to reduce health and have been associated with a plethora of illnesses and conditions. Seventy to 80% of all visits to the doctor are due to stress-related illness or problems. People with high levels of anxiety and stress are 4-5 times more likely to experience a fatal heart attack or stroke. And during the past 10 years, stress-related on-the-job injuries have increased from 5% to 15%. Different types of stress range from “too wound up” to “constant worrier” to “burnt out.” Common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, pain/tension in the neck and back, irritability and mood swings, sleeping problems, digestive disturbance, poor memory and concentration, and poor judgment and decision making. We see many patients at our office with chronic stress, particularly those with headaches and neck/back pain. What we have found in our practice is that the most effective strategy in helping patients overcome their health challenges due to chronic stress is to take a comprehensive and integrative approach. We address our patient’s physical, mental, and chemical stresses: Physical: Chiropractic care and massage naturally relieves pain, increases range-of-motion, and reduces tension in the body and spine. We choose fitness, exercises, and activities that are appropriate for the patient. Mental: We help our patients develop stress-relieving strategies like meditation, yoga, etc. and ensure that our patients are receiving adequate sleep. Chemical: We reduce our patient’s internal toxicity and inflammation through eating healthier and finding individualized diets that are customized to promote optimal health. General tips include: 1) eating meals rich in vegetables and clean sources of protein; 2) eating organic, natural foods while avoiding processed foods to reduce toxins; 3) drinking at least half of one’s body weight in ounces of water; and 4) reducing sugar, starchy, and refined foods to prevent inflammation and hormone imbalance.

Case Study:

Rebecca is a 54-year-old divorcee working at a high-stress job for a large tech company. She came to our office with complaints of headaches, midback pain, and low back pain for the past seven years, varying in intensity from 5-8/10. She has high blood pressure and is peri-menopausal. Rebecca recently relocated to the Bay Area by herself to start this new job. She was often working 12+ hours a day, not sleeping well, not exercising, and eating a lot of junk and fast food. After taking X-Rays of her spine, we found moderate arthritis in her neck, midback, and low back. We started chiropractic care along with physiotherapy 2-3 times a month and massage therapy once a month. We introduced an anti-inflammatory diet and helped her develop meal-plans for her busy schedule. We also helped Rebecca set limits on when she was to “unplug” from work and set hard goals for sleep and waking times. Within three months, Rebecca’s pain had reduced all-around from 5-8/10 to 0-2/10. She lost about five pounds after one month in which she decreased her body fat percentage and increased her muscle mass. She is getting better sleep, having higher energy levels, and over the summer, had started attending weekend art and music festivals with dates. She is feeling great and is a happier, healthier woman. Rebecca’s story is inspiring in that a woman under large amounts of stress and feeling alone, unwell, and in pain could turn her life around by making simple changes in a matter of a few months. Her story illustrates an important truth about our health: You have two choices. You can do the same things you’re currently doing and get the same results, or you can try something different and get a different result. The choice is yours. And we’re here to help. Happy Holidays from Sycamore Valley Chiropractic! Sycamore Valley Chiropractic is located at 565 Sycamore Valley Rd. West in Danville. Please visit their website at or call 925-837-5595 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Advertorial

Danville Today News ~ December 2013 - Page 27

Heal cont. from page 20

On the process of evaluating horses capable of being healers, Dave West, cofounder of Reins in Motion, remarks, “We look for the horse with the right type of temperament. If they have that, we can train them to do the rest.” But he adds, “They have to have the right heart and mind for this kind of work. It is taxing on them physically and mentally.” During training, horses are subjected to experiences most equines find unnerving. Xenophon’s sensory trail invites the rider to clutch at pool noodles, clang chains and grab stuffed birds that twitter and caw. BeXenophon’s sensory trail requires the horse to remain fore a horse is cleared to work unflappable. King David and his handlers demonstrate with clients, able-bodied staff in Xenophon’s arena that therapy horses have to be sound and volunteers work with the at walk, trot, and canter. Left to right: Kyle Hendricks, horse for hours, often over the Shelly Guthrie, Diane Morabito. Leslie de Boer riding. course of several months, simulating all the situations encountered during lessons. SonRise Program Manager Sarah Dowlearn notes, “We have a 2-page list of items we go through and test the horses on before they are used in the program. We are always adding to that list, and we also revisit de-spooking training weekly.” SonRise Executive Director Alana Koski is grateful to have Charles Wilhelm’s expertise available. “It’s always good to have a horse professional to work with the horses and be there to help work through any training issues that may arise.” Some horses burn out after a year. Others like Cocoa want to work forever, but they may have a bad day and need time off. For more information on these non-profit organizations and the horses that make their programs possible, visit,, or

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Danville Today Classifieds

Reach over 15,000 homes and businesses in Danville - Help Wanted, For Sale, Services, Lessons, Pets, Rentals, Wanted, Freebies... $35 for up to 45 words. $5 for each additional 15 words. Send or email submissions to: 3000F Danville Blvd #117, Alamo, CA 94507 or Run the same classified ad in our sister papers “Alamo Today” or “Lafayette Today” and pay half off for your second and/or third ad! Payment by check made out to “The Editors” must be received before ad will print. Your cancelled check is your receipt. We reserve the right to reject any ad.

Page 28 - December 2013 ~ Danville Today News

Address 610 Sycamore Cir 3061 Fostoria Cir 90 Laurel Dr 536 Sycamore Circle 551 Sycamore Circle 437 Garden Creek Place 2071 Fostoria Cir 430 Old Orchard Ct 1101 San Ramon Vly Blvd 6014 Condor Street 265 W El Pintado 7110 Pelican St 6021 Condor St 205 Sutton Circle 49 Danville Oak Place 524 Cambrian Way 45 Channi Ct 43 Danville Oaks Pl 2007 Swan St 3408 Fostoria Way 109 Lawnview Circle 403 Sutton Cir 2001 Swan St 412 Skylark Ct 1165 Sunshine Cir 950 Falcon Ct 31 Rainbow Cir 462 Sycamore Hill Dr 510 Old Orchard Dr 47 Haskins Ranch Cir 705 Ynez 1346 Fountain Springs Cir 38 Rainbow Cir 115 Kingswood Cir 356 S Eagle Nest Ln 4975 Camino Tassajara SqFt Price/SqFt 742 Pagosa Ct 1148 $304.01 125 Saint Patricks Dr 1026 $341.13 200 Scotts Mill Ct 800 $443.13 35 Mountain Valley Pl 1344 $286.46 134 Tivoli Ln 1358 $293.45 1140 River Rock Ln 1090 $366.93 835 Bali Ct 1199 $346.12 10 New Boston Ct 1166 $385.93 1191 River Rock Ln 1301 $360.49 328 Montoya Way 1155 $419.05 503 Nugget Ct 1242 $390.50 67 Haskins Ranch Cir 1155 $424.24 640 Glasgow Cir 1404 $359.69 60 Haskins Ranch Cir 1461 $350.44 67 Alegre Ct 1392 $369.97 1030 Lehigh Valley Cir 1364 $379.40 48 Summer Hill Court 2104 $246.94 523 Cambrian Way 1678 $312.87 182 Elworthy Ranch Dr 1404 $377.46 1603 Harlan Dr 1375 $389.09 349 Love Ln 1542 $347.92 376 Borica Drive 1461 $369.61 31 Saint Maurice Ct 1404 $387.46 1096 Lehigh Valley Cir 1404 $391.74 3205 Griffon St W 1351 $414.51 319 Fontaine Dr 1599 $362.10 1508 Green Valley Rd 1001 $579.42 114 Center Court 1673 $355.65 40 Windsor Ct 1508 $401.19 126 Freesia Ct 1212 $513.20 336 Camaritas Way 1374 $465.79 185 Monte Carlo Way 1520 $421.68 111 Silver Cloud Pl 1586 $409.84 305 Sunset Dr 1752 $382.36 57 Saint Luke Ct 2274 $296.83 105 Gerbera Street 1344 $502.23 273 Jasmine Way 1598 $431.79 683 Park Hill Road 1655 $419.94 30 Normandy Ct 1629 $429.71 731 Saint George Rd 2315 $304.02 300 Glasgow Cir 2195 $323.46 21 Lodgehill Ct 1544 $469.56 655 Sun Tree Ct 1624 $450.12 134 Wilshire Ct 1966 $381.36 4231 Knollview Dr 1544 $485.75 150 Belgian Dr 2908 $258.39 60 Stanton Court 3429 Claridge Dr 679 Contada Circle 169 Plaza Circle 5152 Bengali Street 110 Blackstone Dr. 4478 Fleetwood Rd 18 Ashland Way 705 Mistral Court 201 Stanbridge Ct 739 Contada Cir

Sales Price SqFt $349,000 1148 $350,000 1026 $354,500 800 $385,000 1344 $398,500 1358 $399,950 1090 $415,000 1199 $450,000 1166 $469,000 1301 $484,000 1155 $485,000 1242 $490,000 1155 $505,000 1404 $512,000 1461 $515,000 1392 $517,500 1364 $519,556 2104 $525,000 1678 $529,950 1404 $535,000 1375 $536,500 1542 $540,000 1461 $544,000 1404 $550,000 1404 $560,000 1351 $579,000 1599 $580,000 1001 $595,000 1673 $605,000 1508 $622,000 1212 $640,000 1374 $640,950 1520 $650,000 1586 $669,900 1752 $675,000 2274 $675,000 1344 $690,000 1598 $695,000 1655 $700,000 1629 $703,800 2315 $710,000 2195 $725,000 1544 $731,000 1624 $749,750 1966 $750,000 1544 $751,400 2908 $755,000 2065 $758,000 1524 $765,000 1679 $771,500 1896 $790,000 2169 $790,000 1691 $797,000 2080 $801,190 2137 $808,721 1805 $815,000 1969 $817,000 2287 $824,500 2660 $825,000 1786 $825,000 1770 $825,000 1575 $835,000 2183 $835,000 2061 $836,000 2183 $840,000 3088 $848,000 2111 $850,000 1984 $855,000 2407 $857,500 2847 $865,000 2568 $870,000 2389 $875,888 2311 $885,000 1974 $889,000 2475 $889,900 2407 $890,000 1865 $900,000 2813 $905,000 2436 $915,000 3281 $920,000 2663 $934,900 3278 $949,000 2027 $949,000 3102 $950,000 2107 $950,000 2779 $957,700 2186 $960,000 2523 $960,000 2693 $960,000 3488 $970,000 3102 $975,000 2685 $975,000 2263 $998,000 2696

Price/SqFt $304.01 $341.13 $443.13 $286.46 $293.45 $366.93 $346.12 $385.93 $360.49 $419.05 $390.50 $424.24 $359.69 $350.44 $369.97 $379.40 $246.94 $312.87 $377.46 $389.09 $347.92 $369.61 $387.46 $391.74 $414.51 $362.10 $579.42 $355.65 $401.19 $513.20 $465.79 $421.68 $409.84 $382.36 $296.83 $502.23 $431.79 $419.94 $429.71 $304.02 $323.46 $469.56 $450.12 $381.36 $485.75 $258.39 $365.62 $497.38 $455.63 $406.91 $364.22 $467.18 $383.17 $374.91 $448.04 $413.92 $357.24 $309.96 $461.93 $466.10 $523.81 $382.50 $405.14 $382.96 $272.02 $401.71 $428.43 $355.21 $301.19 $336.84 $364.17 $379.01 $448.33 $359.19 $369.71 $477.21 $319.94 $371.51 $278.88 $345.48 $285.20 $468.18 $305.93 $450.88 $341.85 $438.11 $380.50 $356.48 $275.23 $312.70 $363.13 $430.84 $370.18

The Combs Team Professionals You Can Count On


503 Nugget Ct 67 Haskins Ranch Cir 640 Glasgow Cir 60 Haskins Ranch Cir 67 Alegre Ct 1030 Lehigh Valley Cir 48 Summer Hill Court 523 Cambrian Way 182 Elworthy Ranch Dr 1603 Harlan Dr 349 Love Ln 376 Borica Drive 31 Saint Maurice Ct 1096 Lehigh Valley Cir 3205 Griffon St W 319 Fontaine Dr 1508 Green Valley Rd 114 Center Court 40 Windsor Ct 126 Freesia Ct 336 Camaritas Way 185 Monte Carlo Way 111 Silver Cloud Pl 305 Sunset Dr 57 Saint Luke Ct 105 Gerbera Street 273 Jasmine Way 683 Park Hill Road 30 Normandy Ct 731 Saint George Rd 300 Glasgow Cir 21 Lodgehill Ct 655 Sun Tree Ct 134 Wilshire Ct 4231 Knollview Dr 150 Belgian Dr 60 Stanton Court 3429 Claridge Dr 679 Contada Circle 169 Plaza Circle 5152 Bengali Street 110 Blackstone Dr. 4478 Fleetwood Rd 18 Ashland Way 705 Mistral Court 201 Stanbridge Ct 739 Contada Cir 238 Jasmine Way 12 Corte Nogal 66 Saint Ann 44 Pulido Ct 1212 Cheshire Cir. 1530 Colchester Street 76 Alta Loma Court 518 Messian Pl 285 Remington Loop 105 Tuscany Way 724 Danville Blvd 324 Sunset Dr 222 La Pera Cir 101 Parkhaven Dr 220 Viewpoint Dr 51 Willowview Ct 876 Richard Ln 131 Briar Pl 4 Countryside Ct 111 Tuscany Way 1139 Blue Spur Circle 14 Stirling Dr 151 Arends Dr. 60 Country Hills Ct 68 Larkstone Court 350 Cordell Dr 364 Borica Dr 155 Remington Dr 33 Green Gables Ct 229 Still Creek Rd 143 Provence Road 26 Pescadero Court 26 Campbell Pl 45 Kendall Lane 100 Oak View Ter 78 Monza 100 Cimarron Ct 3742 Old Blackhawk Rd 1027 Mccauley Rd 677 Glen Rd 396 Cordell Dr 43 Weber Place 24 Diamond Dr 805 La Gonda Way 8 Diamond Ct 3 Hillside Dr

Call the Combs Team

$755,000 $758,000 $765,000 $771,500 $790,000 $790,000 $797,000 $801,190 $808,721 $815,000 $817,000 $824,500 $825,000 $825,000 $825,000 $835,000 $835,000 $836,000 $840,000 $848,000 $850,000 $855,000 $857,500 $865,000 $870,000 $875,888 $885,000 $889,000 $889,900 $890,000 $900,000 $905,000 $915,000 $920,000 $934,900 $949,000 $949,000 $950,000 $950,000 $957,700 $960,000 $960,000 $960,000 $970,000 $975,000 $975,000 $998,000 $1,000,000 $1,010,000 $1,038,500 $1,040,000 $1,045,000 $1,075,000 $1,085,000 $1,095,000 $1,099,170 $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,105,500 $1,128,000 $1,135,000 $1,165,000 $1,168,000 $1,170,000 $1,180,000 $1,180,000 $1,189,999 $1,190,000 $1,198,500 $1,200,000 $1,200,000 $1,200,000 $1,225,000 $1,225,000 $1,230,000 $1,230,000 $1,244,000 $1,275,000 $1,279,000 $1,300,000 $1,375,000 $1,388,000 $1,425,000 $1,450,000 $1,488,000 $1,495,000 $1,525,000 $1,644,915 $1,650,000 $1,820,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000

9 2 5 -9 8 9 -6 0 86

139 Danville Homes Sell in Broad Price Band

2065 1524 1679 1896 2169 1691 2080 2137 1805 1969 2287 2660 1786 1770 1575 2183 2061 2183 3088 2111 1984 2407 2847 2568 2389 2311 1974 2475 2407 1865 2813 2436 3281 2663 3278 2027 3102 2107 2779 2186 2523 2693 3488 3102 2685 2263 2696 2401 1807 3923 3113 3401 3252

$365.62 $497.38 $455.63 $406.91 $364.22 $467.18 $383.17 $374.91 $448.04 $413.92 $357.24 $309.96 $461.93 $466.10 $523.81 $382.50 $405.14 $382.96 $272.02 $401.71 $428.43 $355.21 $301.19 $336.84 $364.17 $379.01 $448.33 $359.19 $369.71 $477.21 $319.94 $371.51 $278.88 $345.48 $285.20 $468.18 $305.93 $450.88 $341.85 $438.11 $380.50 $356.48 $275.23 $312.70 $363.13 $430.84 $370.18 $416.49 $558.94 $264.72 $334.08 $307.26 $330.57

3158 2734 3016 4384 3020 3100 2795 2542 2009 2912 2030 3263 2560 3464 3188 3501 3059 3628 3725 2822 3463 3725 2325 3529 3906 2615 4234 3765 3961

$370.49 $431.60 $391.25 $271.44 $394.04 $386.61 $429.34 $472.07 $597.31 $420.67 $603.45 $376.95 $480.47 $359.12 $399.94 $365.32 $424.98 $379.00 $372.62 $504.96 $418.71 $399.46 $643.01 $432.13 $421.13 $630.98 $429.85 $504.65 $555.42

Joe 238 Jasmine Way 12 Corte Nogal 66 Saint Ann 44 Pulido Ct 1212 Cheshire Cir. 1530 Colchester Street 76 Alta Loma Court 518 Messian Pl 285 Remington Loop 105 Tuscany Way 724 Danville Blvd 324 Sunset Dr 222 La Pera Cir 101 Parkhaven Dr 220 Viewpoint Dr 51 Willowview Ct 876 Richard Ln 131 Briar Pl 4 Countryside Ct 111 Tuscany Way 1139 Blue Spur Circle 14 Stirling Dr 151 Arends Dr. 60 Country Hills Ct 68 Larkstone Court 350 Cordell Dr 364 Borica Dr 155 Remington Dr 33 Green Gables Ct 229 Still Creek Rd 143 Provence Road 26 Pescadero Court 26 Campbell Pl 45 Kendall Lane 100 Oak View Ter 78 Monza 100 Cimarron Ct 3742 Old Blackhawk Rd 1027 Mccauley Rd 677 Glen Rd 396 Cordell Dr 43 Weber Place 24 Diamond Dr 805 La Gonda Way 8 Diamond Ct 3 Hillside Dr

$1,000,000 $1,010,000 $1,038,500 $1,040,000 $1,045,000 $1,075,000 $1,085,000 $1,095,000 $1,099,170 $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,105,500 $1,128,000 $1,135,000 $1,165,000 $1,168,000 $1,170,000 $1,180,000 $1,180,000 $1,189,999 $1,190,000 $1,198,500 $1,200,000 $1,200,000 $1,200,000 $1,225,000 $1,225,000 $1,230,000 $1,230,000 $1,244,000 $1,275,000 $1,279,000 $1,300,000 $1,375,000 $1,388,000 $1,425,000 $1,450,000 $1,488,000 $1,495,000 $1,525,000 $1,644,915 $1,650,000 $1,820,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000

2401 1807 3923 3113 3401 3252

$416.49 ® $558.94 $264.72 $334.08 $307.26 $330.57

2814 1909 2540 3200 3491 2638 3491 3491 2586 2583 3158 2734 3016 4384 3020 3100 2795 2542 2009 2912 2030 3263 2560 3464 3188 3501 3059 3628 3725 2822 3463 3725 2325 3529 3906 2615 4234 3765 3961

$389.13 $575.78 $433.07 $343.75 $315.10 $419.07 $323.12 $325.12 $450.50 $452.19 $370.49 $431.60 $391.25 $271.44 $394.04 $386.61 $429.34 $472.07 $597.31 $420.67 $603.45 $376.95 $480.47 $359.12 $399.94 $365.32 $424.98 $379.00 $372.62 $504.96 $418.71 $399.46 $643.01 $432.13 $421.13 $630.98 $429.85 $504.65 $555.42

Just to be a little different this month, I thought I would list the homes that have sold in Danville as reported on for the last three months (September 1- November 9). The first thing that jumps out is the wide variation in sold price and dollars paid per square foot. The statistical average for sold price in Danville is $903,896. The average square foot price is $392. The price swath ranges from roughly $349,000 to $2,200,000 for a Address Sales Price $349,000 single family detached home. 610 Sycamore Cir $350,000 Prices per square foot range 3061 Fostoria Cir $354,500 90 Laurel Dr from $304 to $643. Not one 536 Sycamore Circle $385,000 $398,500 Danville home sold for the 551 Sycamore Circle $399,950 437 Garden Creek Place exact statistical mean. The 2071 Fostoria Cir $415,000 take away message is simply 430 Old Orchard Ct $450,000 this homes are being judged 1101 San Ramon Vly Blvd $469,000 $484,000 6014 Condor Street on their individual merits 265 W El Pintado $485,000 $490,000 now more so than in the past 7110 Pelican St $505,000 and pricing correctly is more 6021 Condor St $512,000 205 Sutton Circle important than ever. $515,000 49 Danville Oak Place $517,500 It’s important to remember 524 Cambrian Way $519,556 that there really is no “aver- 45 Channi Ct $525,000 43 Danville Oaks Pl age” home and no two homes 2007 Swan St $529,950 $535,000 are exactly alike. If you would 3408 Fostoria Way $536,500 109 Lawnview Circle like an honest opinion of your 403 Sutton Cir $540,000 home’s current market value, 2001 Swan St $544,000 $550,000 please give me a call 925-989- 412 Skylark Ct $560,000 1165 Sunshine Cir 6086 or send me an email jo- 950 Falcon Ct $579,000 2814 $389.13 31 Rainbow Cir $580,000 1909 $575.78 $595,000 For more Alamo and Dan- 462 Sycamore Hill Dr 2540 $433.07 $605,000 510 Old Orchard Dr ville Real Estate articles, 47 Haskins Ranch Cir 3200 $343.75 $622,000 3491 $315.10 $640,000 please visit our website at 705 Ynez 2638 $419.07 $640,950 1346 Fountain Springs Cir 3491 $323.12 $650,000 38 Rainbow Cir 3491 $325.12 May you and your family 115 Kingswood Cir $669,900 2586 $450.50 $675,000 have Joyous Holiday Season. 356 S Eagle Nest Ln 2583 $452.19 4975 Camino Tassajara 742 Pagosa Ct 125 Saint Patricks Dr 200 Scotts Mill Ct 35 Mountain Valley Pl 134 Tivoli Ln 1140 River Rock Ln 835 Bali Ct 10 New Boston Ct 1191 River Rock Ln 328 Montoya Way

$675,000 $690,000 $695,000 $700,000 $703,800 $710,000 $725,000 $731,000 $749,750 $750,000 $751,400

Just Listed Danville Charmer


3 bedroom, 2 bath home on flat lot backing a creek. Walk to 12 years of SRVUSD schools! Call for details.

West Side Alamo Charmer

fers f o tiple l u ith m w d Sol Single Story custom 4 bedroom on flat half acre. Please call for details.

Country Estate 7 Acres

Amazing Country Estate featuring a large executive home on 7 wooded and private acres. Full view of Mt. Diablo. Call for details.

Just Listed Alamo Estate

Amazing estate property on approx. ¾ of an acre. Large Luxury home. Flat lot, backs Iron Horse Trail. Guest house, second cottage and workshop.

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

Build Your Dream Home

left! e n yo Onl

Beautiful oak studded lots for sale, one is 7 acres one is 11 acres. $500k each J. Rockcliff Realtors 15 Railroad Ave., Danville CA. 94526

Danville Today News  

Danville Today News, December 2013. The city of Danville, California's monthly advertiser-supported community newspaper.

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