Page 1


December 2015 The Shabbateers

By Linda Summers Pirkle

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully everyone is blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou As 2015 winds down, holiday parties are in full swing. At one local home, sixteen people will be enjoying each other’s company, sharing good food, and enjoying fine wine. At some point during their merry making they will discuss what organizations they will be contributing to in 2016. For the past ten years this dinner group has donated thousands of dollars to charities and spent many hours giving their time and expertise to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Glide Memorial, and San Francisco Food Bank. Their first get together was held in 2005. “It was a memorable evening,” recalls Mark Belotz, long time Danville resident. “Seventeen bottles of wine were consumed by sixteen people, the food was delicious, and the party didn’t end until

Serving Danville Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley: Actively Serving Every Day By Jody Morgan

Although most visible to the general public on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley (VNVDV) actively contributes to the community 365 days a year. Originally conceived

Jerry Yahiro left and Ron Lowe right hold the banner announcing the 2016 VNVDV sponsored Wheelchair Foundation distribution in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of VNVDV.

Seated left to right: Barb Goldsmith, Silvia Belotz, Leila Friedenberg, and Renee “Spud” Wright. Standing left to right: Howard Gerber, Diane McClarty Miller, Lynn Bloch, Andy Stein, Nancy Orgel, Betty Lou Moglen, Linda Gerber, Tony Slimick, Ian Friedenberg, Les Bloch, Mark Belotz, and Dean Chapman. Not pictured: Karen Stein and Andy Orgel.

See Shabbateers continued on page 20

A Super Bowl! By Linda Summers Pirkle

Charming and robust, John Zorich can be found at Danville Bowl every Thursday afternoon doing what he loves: visiting friends and bowling. Not a wrinkle on his handsome face and a full head of white hair, this Lafayette resident recently celebrated his 99th birthday. Always a strong man, he continues to exercise with his weights every day. A story he shared with his children when they were growing up described a time when he was at his grade school graduation. During the ceremony the principal gave a little comment about each graduate. In John’s case the principal said, “John, as we all know, you’re a tough guy, an John Zorich bowls on his 99th birthday. iron man, but we want you to keep in mind that iron eventually rusts.” Not showing any evidence of rust, 99 year old Zorich has been bowling for the past 80 years. He was 19 years old when he bowled his

See Bowl continued on page 22

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as a primarily social organization, VNVDV quickly became involved in a variety of outreach projects. The all-volunteer non-profit offers support to veterans and actively serving members of all branches of the United States Armed Forces as well as their families and provides speakers presenting authentic, apolitical accounts of the Vietnam War. Describing how the group first came together, Past-President and now Treasurer, Michael Slattengren relates, “We began the organization in 1991 to promote camaraderie and networking and then moved into community service. A lot of Viet Nam veterans walked away from the service and wanted nothing to do with the military or veterans’ organizations.” Monthly meetings include good-humored teasing (reflecting what Slattengren refers to as the “sibling rivalry” between service branches) and informative, entertaining programs. The 160-170 members come from the entire East Bay and Tri-Valley area. The majority saw action in Vietnam, but a few are actually non-veterans. County Service officers are available at the monthly Chris Behring (center) receives meetings to discuss benefits veterans have congratulations on his Eagle Project earned through their honorable service. supporting East Bay Stand Down from December is a busy month for VNJerry Yahiro (left) and Maureen Morley (right). Photo courtesy of VNVDV. VDV. Members and guests will bring unwrapped toys to the Annual Holiday Appreciation and Recognition Dinner on December 3rd for Operation Santa Claus. Primary sponsor Tesora Martinez partners with Volume VII - Number 2 VNVDV to make this a memorable event for the 3000F Danville Blvd. #117, specially invited military families. The 2014 guest Alamo, CA 94507 list included 110 families of active duty, wounded, (925) 405-6397 and killed-in-action American military personnel Fax (925) 406-0547 all treated to a catered holiday meal. Typically 225-250 children of all ages are on hand to receive Alisa Corstorphine ~ Publisher editor@ stockings stuffed with gifts and a special present yourmonthlypaper.com from Santa’s Workshop as well as a visit and photo with the bearded gift-giver. Up to ten tons of The opinions expressed herein belong the writers, and do not necessarily manufactured snow are used to create a sledding toreflect that of Danville Today News. Danville Today News is not hill. The closing raffle features prizes from fully for the content of any of decorated trees to vacation get-aways and hand- responsible the advertising herein, nor does

See VNVDV continued on page 24

publication imply endorsement.


Page 2 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News


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The Danville Community Band, under the direction of Robert Calonico and founding director Lawrence Anderson, presents its 2015 Christmas Concert “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The band offers a broad range of tunes, including Clare Grundman’s “Quiet Christmas,” John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” David Lovrien’s mashup “Minor Alterations II,” and the narrated “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Also programmed are a sing along, vocal solos with Nancy Groeneveld from Community Presbyterian Church, the Danville Band Brass Ensemble, a visitor from way up North, and more! Join the Band on Sunday, December 13 at 3:30PM at East Bay Foursquare Church, 2615 Camino Tassajara in Danville. Admission is free.

Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club

Sun., Dec. 13 Alamo/Danville 11 am - 4 pm

Danville Community Band


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11th Annual AAUW Holiday Home Tour

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) DanvilleAlamo-Walnut Creek Branch will be holding its 11th annual Holiday Home Tour on Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12. Bring your friends and join us for our fabulous Holiday Home Tour. AAUW will showcase five beautiful, festively decorated homes in Danville and San Ramon. Tickets are $35 each. A senior discount of $5 will be offered through Saturday, December 5th. To purchase tickets visit http://daw-ca.aauw.net/hht2015, or for purchase by mail send a check postmarked by December 5th payable to DanvilleAlamo-Walnut Creek AAUW with a self-addressed stamped #10 size envelope to: AAUW Holiday Home Tour, P.O. Box 996, Alamo, CA 94507. To purchase in person, visit East Bay Flower Company, 206 Sycamore Valley Road W, Monday - Saturday from 9-5 (cash or check only). Your ticket purchase will help send 12 middle school girls in the Danville, Alamo, and Walnut Creek communities to a one-week Tech Trek mathscience camp for girls in a university setting and help local women receive their college education. Please, no children under 12 or pets. Tour tickets are not tax deductible. Email questions to aauwhht@gmail.com.

Assistance League of Diablo Valley Prospective Member Coffee

Since 1967, Assistance League® of Diablo Valley, a nonprofit member volunteer organization, has improved lives in our community through hands-on programs. You might have heard of its primary fundraiser, the Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, a well-known landmark located at 3521 Golden Gate Way in Lafayette. We are looking for prospective members who would enjoy preparing new clothing for elementary schoolchildren, screening schoolchildren for vision issues, performing educational puppet shows for schoolchildren, reading to second grade students, or helping in supplying emergency clothing, food, and supplies to those in crisis. Other philanthropic initiatives implement art in the classroom, staff the Listen Program which helps students with reading skills, and lead programs which address the needs of seniors. A Prospective Member Coffee will be held Wednesday, January 6, at 9:30AM. To learn more call (925) 934-0901 or visit diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.

Are you new to the area, a long time resident, newly retired, or an emptynester interested in making new friends and participating in various social activities? The Alamo-Danville Newcomers Club is a women’s organization whose purpose is to enrich the lives of all its members and their families in a social manner. Check out all the club has to offer by visiting www.alamodanvillenewcomers.com. Our next new member coffee will be held January 26th from 10am to noon. RSVP to alamodanvillenewcomers@gmail.com.

Blackhawk “First Sunday” Cars & Coffee

Blackhawk Automotive Museum hosts a monthly Cars & Coffee event year round for all car enthusiasts. Held on the “First Sunday” of each month, starting at 8AM and going to 10AM, the Museum welcomes all classic, collector, and special interest car owners and enthusiasts. On Cars & Coffee Sundays the Museum opens an hour earlier, at 9AM, and participating car owners will receive complimentary Museum admission tickets. The Museum is located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville. For more information, visit www.blackhawkmuseum.org/carsncoffee.html, call (925) 736-2280, or email museum@blackhawkmuseum.org.

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Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 3


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Boulevard View

By Alisa Corstorphine, Editor

As neighbors have driven by our house recently, they have noticed a big void in our front yard. Due to damage and disease we had to remove three birch and four maple trees from our property. As painful as the decision was, we were unwilling to risk potential damage from any upcoming winter weather or a storm unleashing El Niño’s fury. The possibility that a falling branch could crush through our roof, land on a car (already had that happen once), or hurt someone walking by sealed the decision. Knowing that woodpeckers and other birds often made their homes in the trees’ cavities, we wanted to take care of this during a time when animals weren’t taking up residence. The trees held many fond memories. When our children were younger and I was leading their Cub Scout troop, the Scouts would come over and be eager to rake our plethora of leaves so they could build a great mound to fall into. I think the kids always thought the piles of leaves would provide a little more “cush” to their landings than they actually ever did, but the thrill of jumping into the leaves couldn’t be matched, and I loved the extra help getting all of the leaves into one pile - a win-win! The trees also provided an irresistible spot for late night “decorating” antics. However, with my kids no longer in school and perhaps the higher cost of TP, those late night escapades were held to a minimum lately. One of the trees held a climbing rope. About 20 years ago when we lived in Portland, Oregon I went down to the shipyards in search of a soft, stout rope that could be used by the kids for climbing. I found a nylon rope that fit the bill and someone in the shipyards wove a metal eyelet into the rope so we could hang it more securely. The rope moved with us from our home in Portland, to our home in Seattle, and to our cur-

rent spot where it was tied on to one of the branches of the maple tree. Many kids learned to climb a free standing rope. There were also climbing contests and hours of swing time. Over time the attachment point of the rope swing grew into the tree limb. When we had the trees cut we again saved the rope with a section of the wood attached. Perhaps we can invert the structure so the wood from the tree limb will now be the base of a swing hanging from the same rope. While we know we made the right decision (which was further confirmed when we found the center of a couple of the trees completely mushy and sponge-like), it still wasn’t a project we wanted or needed right now. However, now is the time to turn the negative into a positive. We have been left with a blank canvas. We can turn our lawns from under the trees and those that surrounded the other portion of the front yard into something completely new and more “water-wise.” It’s time to think outside the box. Our property is located on a street where many people walk by. Perhaps we will make a gathering spot for welcoming neighbors and giving passersby a place to connect, maybe barbecue, or have a potluck. Gatherings don’t have to all be hidden in the backyard. Our yard may allow us to foster a sense of community and get to know our neighbors a little better. Maybe some of my gardens will expand, and more herbs and artichokes will be planted. We will be working with Landscape Architect John Montgomery whose monthly columns have been a part of this paper for years. Ironically, his article this month discusses the design process. I am excited for where this journey will take us. As we end 2015, I want to thank you for your readership and patronage of the businesses who help bring this paper to your homes each month. I look forward to seeing what the blank canvas of a new year brings for all of us.

Page 4 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

GFWC Danville Women’s Club


7 Things You Must Know Before Putting Your Home Up for Sale

On November 12 th the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Danville Women’s Club Danville - A new report has just been released deadly mistakes that cost them literally thousands of hosted several women’s clubs from which reveals 7 costly mistakes that most dollars. The good news is that each and every one of the Northern California District. In these mistakes is entirely preventable. In answer to homeowners make when selling their home, and a 9 Step System that can help you sell your home fast this issue, industry insiders have prepared a free addition to breakfast and lunch, the and for the most amount of money. special report entitled "The 9 Step System to Get district meeting and a guest speaker, This industry report shows clearly how the Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar". many of the club’s members sold traditional ways of selling homes have become To hear a brief recorded message about how to homemade crafts and baked goods increasingly less and less effective in today's market. order your FREE copy of this report call toll-free 1as a fundraiser for charity. The fact of the matter is that fully three quarters of 866-265-1682 and enter 2000. You can call any time, th On November 13 the club sponhomesellers don't get what they want for their homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. sored Hospice of the East Bay’s and become disillusioned and - worse - financially Get your free special report NOW to find out how “Tree of Lights” ceremony. The disadvantaged when they put their homes on the you can get the most money for your home. event’s focus is to honor someone market. who is loved, while directly supAs this report uncovers, most homesellers make 7 porting patient care by purchasing a light for $25. Songs were sung, This report is courtesy of J. Rockcliff Realtors CalBRE 01763819. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2015 poetry was read, Town of Danville Danville Girls Chorus Presents ‘Twas the Council members took part, and the Town Hall tree was lit. It was a wonderful evening to be cherished by all who attended. Night Before Christmas The club’s business meeting on Thursday, November 19th The Danville Girls Chorus (DGC) will perform their Winter Concert, included a wonderful presentation by Byron Stenmore, store “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” on December 5th at 11AM. The performanager for Alamo’s Richard’s Arts & Crafts who demonmance will take place at East Bay Four Square Church, 2615 Camino Tassastrated wreath-making and flower arranging. Who knew you jara Road in Danville. Book tickets in advance at www.DanvilleGirlsChorus. could create so much beauty with your own hands? com at $15 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets at the door will be $20 for December will bring a Christmas party on the 3rd for memadults and $5 for children. bers and their guests at the Round Hill Country Club which will include a raffle Come join the Chorus in welcoming the holiday season with this festive of gifts members made, donation of unwrapped Toys for Tots, and a great lunch! winter concert. The club’s next business meeting will be held on January 21st, with guest The Danville Girls Chorus is made up of 170 girls from 3rd to 8th grades speaker Nancy Labelle (Executive Director from the Down Syndrome Confrom schools across the Tri-Valley area. The primary goal of DGC is music nection of the East Bay). If you think you might be interested in attending education. Under the direction of Ken Abrams, award-winning Choral Direca meeting, please contact Linda Perazzo at (925) 642-2097 or e-mail her at tor for San Ramon Valley High School, girls are taught the basics of vocal dwc-member@yahoo.com. Please also visit www.danvillewomensclub.org. production and learn the fundamentals of musicianship and note reading. The GFWC Danville Women’s Club was organized in 1911. We are members They are also introduced to a variety of musical styles, ranging from classiof the GFWC California Federation of Women’s Clubs (CFWC) and the General cal to contemporary, folk tunes, and pop music. Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), one of the world’s largest women’s nondeThis is the first concert of the 2015/2016 season. Visit www.DanvilleGirlsChonominational, nonpartisan, international service organizations of volunteer women. rus.com for more information on this event and upcoming performances.

Want to Become a Better Speaker?

Be a part of Toastmasters, and practice your speaking and presentation skills in a supportive environment. There are several local clubs in our area. The Danville AM Toastmasters meets every Tuesday from 7 to 8:30AM at the Danville Chamber of Commerce office, located in the Town and Country shopping center (just north of the Livery). For more information, contact Hans Thoma at danvilletoastmasters@outlook.com. A faith-based Toastmasters group meets Thursdays from 7-8:15PM at East Bay Four Square Church Conference Room, located at 2615 Camino Tassajara, Danville. For information, email Tod at wthenry@sbcglobal.net.

Lost Dog!


If you find him and your name is drawn!

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

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

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

Kailee Bobele is our winner!

Diablo Choral Artists Christmas Concerts and Sing-Along

Diablo Choral Artists invites you to “Once Upon A Starry Night,” in two performances: December 4, 8PM, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Ave., Walnut Creek, and December 6, 3PM, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 66 St. Stephen’s Drive, Orinda. Under the direction of Mark Tuning, the Artists will be performing a variety of beautiful songs of the season, and a few fun ones, as well as an audience sing-along. There will be harp accompaniment, and John R.S. Walko will accompany the chorus on piano and organ. Tickets are $25 adults, $18 seniors 60+, $5 students, and free for children 5-12. Tickets are available at the door, through www.brownpapertickets.com, or by calling (800) 838-2006. But that’s not all! Come and join Diablo Choral Artists for a Christmas Music Sing-Along on December 11, 7:30PM at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. There will be live piano accompaniment and the words of favorite songs and carols projected on a large screen. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 children under 12. Refreshments will be provided. Diablo Choral Artists (DCA) has been entertaining audiences with significant works of sacred and secular choral music since 1993, when it began as Voices of Musica Sacra. Chorus members come from many areas of the East Bay Area for their love of singing and their goal of “sharing the harmony” with the community. The forty member chorus performs a variety of significant works of choral music from all over the world and from many musical eras. DCA is open to new members (especially tenors) and presents two to four concerts a year. Visit www.dcachorus.org for more information.


Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 5


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Treats for the Troops

Delta Nu Psi is collecting “gourmet junk food” to send to our servicemen and women in Afghanistan. The group will continue sending packages as long as American military members are in the War Zone. Much of the food sent is not normally available to the troops. Especially desired are hot cocoa and hot cider mixes in individual packets, microwaveable popcorn, and hand warmers. On December 4th Delta Nu Psi members will be at CVS Pharmacy in Alamo, and on December 11th they will be at Lunardi’s in Danville. Collections will be held from 11am to 2pm both days, rain or shine. If you or your child would like to create a greeting card for one of the troops with perhaps a drawing and message, we will be glad to accept them and forward them. Money for postage is also always appreciated. Please help us provide our men and women in the War Zone a touch of home. For more information, visit www.deltanupsi.org.

Solo Opera Presents Hansel & Gretel

Solo Opera presents Hansel and Gretel, the first production in its 2015 Storybook Opera series for children and families. For this delightful holiday presentation, Solo Opera will collaborate with three community organizations. The Contra Costa Children’s Chorus will perform as the Gingerbread Children Chorus. In addition, dancers from Lori Buffalow’s The Next Step Dance Studio will appear as the Fourteen Angel Ballet. The third collaborator is the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Throughout Hansel and Gretel, there is a running theme of hunger and poverty. Solo Opera is asking the audience to bring a nonperishable food item to the shows to donate to the Food Bank. The story of Hansel and Gretel originates from the beloved German fairytale concerning two poor hungry children sent into the forest by their mother. Lost, they encounter a wicked witch who lives in a house made of gingerbread. She tries to capture the children, but they outwit her and end up bringing back to life all the other lost youth of the village whom the witch had turned into gingerbread children. The show runs at the Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek. The December 18 show will begin at 7:30PM, and the December 19 and 20 shows will begin at 2PM. For tickets call (925) 943-7469, visit the Lesher Center box office, or go online to https://lesherartscenter.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=411. For more information, visit www.SoloOpera.org.

Page 6 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Keeping Your Neighborhood Safe This Holiday Season By Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 2

Ah, Christmas time, when criminals view the holiday season as their time of opportunity. Cash, credit cards, mail with gift cards, and packages left unattended on a doorstep are all so appealing. Safety and security are an important concern for many homeowners. Around the holidays, it can be easy to overlook those concerns due to the increasingly busy schedule many people have between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, putting home security on the backburner during the holiday season can prove to be a grievous error. From shopping, to gift delivery, to home protection, there are several important safety practices our local law enforcement recommends. • If you display a Christmas tree in a front window, do not put gifts where they are visible from the street. • Don’t advertise that you’re away from home – thieves look for clues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising fliers

Wreaths Across America Ceremony

San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated (SRVRWF) is sponsoring the Wreaths Across America project at the Alamo Cemetery on El Portal in Danville. On Saturday, December 12th at noon, the community is invited to join in placing holiday wreaths on the graves of all veterans buried in the Alamo Cemetery. This year with the help of partner organizations Alamo Women’s Club, Alamo Rotary Club, Alamo Municipal Advisory Council, Danville Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Rossmoor Republicans, SRV Historical Society, Mt. Diablo Chapter DAR, and Veterans Organization’s in Danville, SRVRWF has 100% sponsorship of wreaths to be placed on 105 veterans graves at the Alamo Cemetery. The funding was completed in 45 days. “Each and every wreath is a gift from an appreciative person or family who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “We are so humbled that the community of Danville is participating in our mission to remember, honor, and teach.” Linda King, President of San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated, said, “Our organization is participating in this endeavor as one of our ‘Caring for America’ projects. We invite all local residents to join us in this event honoring our fallen heroes. If you cannot be there, please take a moment at noon on December 12th to remember those who have sacrificed so much so that we can be free.” If you know of any veteran buried in the Alamo Cemetery or would like to contribute to the success of this event, please contact Claudia Nemir at (925) 939-1566 or email her at srvrwf.president@ gmail.com.

Diablo Singles Dance Club

The Diablo Dance Club meets on the last Wednesday of each month. Enjoy live music and refreshments from 7:30 - 10:30PM at 111 North Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek. Members pay $8, guests pay $12, and parking is free. All are welcome.


hanging on door knobs. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away, and either put “on hold” or ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and newspapers. • If you go out for the day or evening, turn on a radio, television, or lights so the house or apartment appears to be occupied. • Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. DO NOT hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, under doormats, or above door ledges. Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbor. • Lock valuables and packages in the trunk of your car; mini-van or SUV owners should do their best to keep items left inside the vehicle out of sight. • At night, park under streetlights. • Look around. Be aware of your surroundings when you are out. • Keep track of purses and wallets. Thieves often prey on distracted shoppers in crowded stores or while dining in restaurants. • Try to remove mail from the box soon after it is delivered so thieves don’t have an opportunity to steal the items inside. • Have packages sent to your work address if possible so they are not sitting all day on your porch unattended. • Consider purchasing a locking mailbox. These devices protect packages and make it more difficult for thieves to steal mail that may contain personally identifiable information and account numbers. • Do not place outgoing mail in your mailbox. Criminals may steal it. Consider dropping your mail at the local post office. • Keep your garage door closed, even in the middle of the day. This will decrease the chances of a thief stealing items from inside your garage. • Don’t post holiday travel plans or photos from your fabulous vacation on social media until you get home as this may alert more than just your friends to your extended absence. • Install motion and dawn-to-dusk lighting around your home. • Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your house while you are away, and arrange for someone to check your residence to ensure there are no problems. Many local law enforcement agencies provide vacation checks while residents are away. Below are is the contact in formation to schedule a vacation well-check: * Alamo – Call 24-hour dispatch at (925) 646-2441 * Danville – submit request on-line or call (925) 314-3700 Finally, watch out for your neighbors when they’re not home. It is important to report any suspicious activities. Our local police and sheriff deputies would much rather follow up on an incident that turns out to be harmless than respond after a crime has been committed. My office is here to serve the residents of Contra Costa County District 2, which includes San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Saranap, Parkmead, Lafayette, Moraga, Canyon and Orinda. Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can provide you with additional information on this topic or on other County issues. I can be reached at SupervisorAndersen@bos.cccounty.us or 925-957-8860.

Stop by our new office in the Alamo Courtyard 3195 Danville Blvd #4, Alamo


Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 7

Toy Hall of Fame and More!

The Museum of the San Ramon Valley has an enticing Christmas Memories exhibit in place this year. It features the Toy Hall of Fame, with every toy in the Hall on display from a classic Schwinn bike, to the Slinky, to an Erector set. All ages are invited to explore, remember, and find all 59 toys which have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Puppet, the Super Soaker water gun, and the Twister game. Two famous bears are also on display. The cuddly stuffed Teddy Bear was first created in 1902. It was named after President Teddy Roosevelt because the President had spared a bear on one of his famous hunting trips. Winnie the Pooh is famous as well. The original “Winnie” baby bear grew up in the London Zoo where children were allowed to play with her. At the museum there is a charming Bear Picnic in which the original stuffed Winnie has invited bears of all sorts, colors, and nationalities for tea. In the Museum Waiting Room, original Pooh books and animals are displayed, courtesy of a collection from Alice Reynolds, longtime Montair school teacher. A 2014 book is especially interesting, entitled Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. It tells the story of the original baby bear rescued in Winnipeg, Canada and the little boy, Christopher Robin Milne, who doted on the bear. Black and white pictures of the real Winnie and the real Christopher appear in this book. Bring the whole family to this exhibit. There are several model trains to see, toys all over, unique gifts in the shop (including local history books), and a display of the original Father Christmas outfit worn by Carmine DeVivi to light the Old Danville Oak Tree. The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is located at 205 RailroadAvenue in Danville and is open 1-4 on Tuesday-Friday, 10-1 on Saturday, and 12-3 on Sunday. For more information, visit museumsrv.org.







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Leslie Steller Named Rotary Club of Danville President

Leslie Steller of Alamo was recently sworn in as Rotary Club of Danville President for 20152016 by Judge Richard Calhoun. Steller, a former marketing executive, joined the 60-year old club in 2012 and will now lead community service activities. Rotary Club of Danville provides sweat equity and financial support to local and international service projects. She SERVING & LUNCH succeeds SteveBREAKFAST Simpkins as president of the Valley’s oldest Rotary Club.







Super Holiday Boutiques

The sixth annual Super Holiday Boutique will provide shoppers a one-stop venue featuring a potpourri of gift items along with free photos with Santa and Olaf. The free holiday indoor events allow shoppers to find special one-of-akind holiday gifts and stocking stuffers from a variety of arts and crafts vendors, home-based businesses and commercial exhibitors. There will also be holiday decorations galore along with self-help and home improvement exhibitors. Bring a can of food to donate to the Food Bank and earn a raffle ticket for each can! The Boutiques will be held Friday, December 11 from 3-8pm at Heather Farm Community Center, N. San Carlos Dr. off Ygnacio Valley Rd. in Walnut Creek, SERVING LUNCH Center, 320 Civic Dr. on Saturday, December 12 at BREAKFAST the Pleasant Hill&Community (Dine In Out) am & Take pm off Taylor Blvd. from 10 – 3 , and on Sunday, December 13, from 11am – 4pm at San Ramon Valley High School, 501INDanville Blvd. in Danville. HANDCRAFTED DANVILLE Visit www.superholidayboutique.com for more information.






Page 8 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Charlotte Wood Middle School

www.yourmonthlypaper.com By Christopher George, Principal

This being our last article of 2015, this is our opportunity to wish you all a great holiday season. We are lucky to be able to take this time and thank our incredible community of parents, students, staff, and neighbors for all of their support. We are well aware that we would not be able to focus on learning or doing the things we can for kids without all aspects of the support we receive from of our community. We certainly hope that you and your families have an excellent holiday season and most importantly enjoy the time with your children, who we are so honored to serve daily. Sadly, amongst all the good of the holiday season this year, Charlotte Wood dealt with a very difficult transition. Our longtime Resource Specialist/Special Education teacher, Thea Scioscia, passed away on November 10th after a lengthy health battle. Ms. Scioscia was an incredible member of our teaching staff who was loving and devoted to not only her own family, but to her family of students here. She was dedicated and fought to keep coming to work through battles with health To because she continually said she wanted to be here with our kids. The loss of Ms. Scioscia is a stark reminder of how lucky we are to have teachers so devoted to our kids and just how important those kids are to our teachers throughout our site, our district, and our country. Ms. Scioscia’s loss is an incredible reminder that those in the education profession never leave their kids when they leave the campus and of the devotion all of our teachers have for our kids. We are exceptionally sorry and heavy-hearted for her family, and we will miss her greatly. Ad Idea for At school, we continue on with our curricular initiatives of trying to improve our grading and assessment Danville, Alamo and Soap Dish systems. This year, with many of our teachers trying hard to assess our kids only for learning and towards Lafayette Today 26.00 a learning target or standard, we have worked very hard to examine learning and assessment. It has been incredible to see the learning in our students that results from those things as well. We have also seen great improvements in our discipline numbers thanks in large part to Mr. Corral and 3” X 5”justice techniques. our counselors, Ms. Garrison and Ms. Dalrymple’s, efforts in implementing restorative Tea Kettle Bottle Brush Danville Today 190.00 130.00 Through these techniques, which stress a restoration between parties in conflict so that learning can continue Christmas Tree w discount 142.50 48.00 uninterrupted, we have seen a dramatic decline in suspension rates without negative effects on either the safety Tissue Box nor climate of our campus. We will continue to update you on these efforts. 52.00 Today Again, we wish our community a great holiday season and a fantastic Alamo New Year. We155.00 will see you and w discount 116.25 your students in 2016!


Los Cerros Middle School

By Evan Powell,180.00 Principal Lafayette

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Cork Back Los Cerros Middle School is forging ahead bothwacademically and with a giving discount 135.00 38.00 Place Mats (set of 4) spirit! In the month of November, we hosted our 21st annual Basket Brigade. Our 68.00 students, parents, community, and staff came together to enhance 300 families in Contra Costa County this Thanksgiving. We are also working with One Warm Coat Walnut Creek, Broadway Plaza to help bring awareness to our students and coats to those in need this month. Danville, The Livery Academically we have our Teachers participating in several arenas to enhance student learning and success. Our Science, Math, Core, English, and Electives departments continue to participate in collaborative activities to prepare our students not just for high school but to embrace the concept of becoming a lifelong learner. We are exploring Response to Intervention Strategies, currently focusing in math, to supplement our students’ math classes and set them up for success for STEM opportunities that are developing at the high school level and beyond. We have so many exciting student events coming up this month. There is a Winter Concert, Geography Bee, and a school dance. There will also be another Evening with Evan on December 17. At the Evening with Evan, we will showcase current student work, review our goals for student achievement, and participate in a fun activity. Le Creuset I would like to thank the community for coming together and supporting Los CerFrench Oven All-Clad Precision ros throughout November, and we are looking forward to a wonderful winter season. 31/2,5,7.,and9quartsizes

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Del Amigo students and staff are actively involved in community service. We have hosted a canned food drive for Contra Costa and Solano counties, and students helped pack food donation boxes alongside community volunteers. Our culinary art students baked pies for veterans, and overall we embraced the spirit of giving. Recently I attended a neighborhood meeting to build a partnership between our school and the community. In an effort to showcase the positive changes going on at Del Amigo, we are hosting site visits for organizations to familiarize them with our program and what we do for students. We are also hosting various speakers from colleges, the work force, and the military over the next two months, so interested student can ask questions, explore options, and solidify post high school plans. Our leadership students completed Site Council training and have learned about the Brown’s Act and Robert’s Rules of Order. Students were elected to serve on our Site Council and are excited to participate in the governance of the school. Del Amigo is grateful for the continued support of the SRVUSD and community.

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Merry Christmas from St. Isidore School By Maria Ward, Principal

We love the Christmas season at St. Isidore. Not only do we celebrate the birth of our Lord, but we also take time to celebrate Mass together each Friday during Advent. This year, our Advent theme is “Christ is the Heart of Christmas.” He is at the center of everything we do—He is the reason we are here. This month, our Student Leadership students will give back by selling candy canes to support the American Wheelchair foundation. They hope to raise funds to provide wheelchairs for those who need mobility in other countries. We will be partnering with the Knights of Columbus to donate toys for children in need in our community. We will also be having a Christmas boutique sale, and the proceeds will go to a family in need. This is something we do every Christmas, and our students look forward to these school-wide traditions. Our month ends with the Christmas concert on Thursday, December 10th. There will be two performances—one at 1pm and the other at 6pm. Please join us if you can, as it is a wonderful way to get in the Christmas spirit. Another beloved St. Isidore tradition will be held on Friday, December 18th, when our adorable firstgrade students reenact the birth of Christ at our 8:10 liturgy. It is the perfect way to wrap up our month before we leave for Christmas break. If you haven’t had a chance to be with us, it is something you won’t forget. St. Isidore School is blessed with fabulous teachers who continually differentiate instruction. We do this through the effective use of guided reading. Teachers individually assess each child and then place students in flexible, dynamic groups. The teacher then determines a few specific strategies best suited for each group to move them along the reading continuum. After the groups are formed and the strategies are identified, the teacher then selects a set of “just-right” texts for each group. The groups stay together for two to six weeks, and then they are redistributed based on the teacher’s assessment. This type of strategy-based dynamic group is NOT the same as the “bluebird” leveled reading groups of the past. Our students have shown dramatic growth in reading achievement since we implemented Guided Reading almost seven years ago. This is one of the ways we are able to meet the needs of individual students. We are proud that our K-5 science program outperforms the nationwide standard and the Diocese of Oakland in all sub-skills. Our students are learning how to read, write, think, and act like scientists, which is what will be demanded of the

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 9

workforce in the future. They are reading real science texts and doing real science tasks rather than relying on the traditional textbook and lecture method. Students engage in science data using charts, tables, and graphs to make hypotheses and draw scientific conclusions. Our students write their findings in real science journals used to document scientific understanding. Because our test scores validate the moves we have made away from textbook teaching, you will notice that our students, regardless of grade, will increasingly read, write, and think like scientists. Support this at home by encouraging your children to ask lots of questions and be inquisitive about the world around them. St. Isidore School is currently accepting applications for Kindergarten–8th grade. If you are interested in a Catholic education for your child, please contact us for a private tour. St. Isidore School is a home away from home where children are loved, nurtured, and educated through a strong moral foundation steeped in the Catholic faith. We would love to share our school with you. We hope this Christmas season brings you blessings, love, and joy with your family and friends.

St. Isidore’s Veterans’ Day Celebration

By Melissa Jacobs - St. Isidore School Board Communications

Recently St. Isidore School, students, faculty, and parents welcomed veterans to their annual Veteran’s Day celebration. Over 50 guests shared stories from their military years bringing history to light to the 640 students who attended. Each Veteran introduced themselves and gave a brief history of their rank and where they were stationed. The common themes were courage, duty, survival, and brotherhood. They shared their stories to give the students a deeper understanding of what it means to be a war veteran and to serve our country. Veterans are invited each year to be honored by our students. Many are grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and a few are fathers of current students. They represent World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Iraq wars. Though they are from many walks of life they all share one very strong Weekly Service and Repairs virtue in common, their love for the U.S.A.


Page 10 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Find the Joy Amidst the Chaos During the Holiday Season By Joree Rosenblatt

Last year I saw a very poignant quote posted on Facebook regarding Black Friday. It said, “Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” The irony of this quote struck me. With of all the craziness we invite into our lives during the holidays, it is easy to lose sight of the meaning behind the holiday we are celebrating. What’s ideally supposed to be a season of focusing on family, gratitude, giving, creating memories, and (for many families) faith, often becomes a time of rushing around, stressful family gatherings, and excess of everything including food, alcohol, parties, gatherings, and stuff we don’t really need. The truth is, often times (and not only pertaining to the holidays), we don’t end up with the experience that we imagined in our minds. Sometimes we are able to have stress-free, calm, peaceful, relaxing, and fulfilling occasions, but this isn’t always the case. It’s normal to run around for last minute shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and more cleaning, so that by the time we sit down at the beautifully decorated table with delicious smelling food, we are so tired that we secretly can’t wait until the evening is over so we can relax! It’s almost as if we just want to get through it, and therefore we are not even enjoying the process. And then we end up repeating the same patterns year after year with the optimism that “this year will be different,” yet we don’t do anything differently that will lead to that change. I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone; some people are very organized and don’t feel stressed by all the holiday to-do’s. But, if you are stuck in a Ground-Hog-Day-like-experience with the same story playing out year after year, don’t judge yourself; you are human and habits are hard to break, even when you have really good intentions to do so. The holiday season is inherently frenzied, and we are fighting an uphill battle in how to find the joy amidst all the chaos. But it’s there; you just have to be more

San Ramon Valley Christian Academy By Jamie Westgate, Principal

This time of year, adults enjoy asking children what gifts they want for Christmas. Usually we hear answers like a new bike, a special doll, or the latest video game. I think part of the reason we love to hear their wishes is because we reflect back to our own childhood and the simple things that made us happy. As children we were typically sheltered from financial burdens, family strife, and health issues. Our parents cared about those things for us, allowing us to focus on our creativity, imaginative play, and fun. Wouldn’t it be great if we could revisit our childhoods and experience the peace we knew back then? As adults today, we have a much different wish list at Christmas. In light of the global tragedies experienced in our world this past November, most of us would place love, kindness, and peace at the top of our wish lists. Recently, I have been reminded of Jesus’s words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) It is hard to deny our world is experiencing trouble, but what great news that Jesus has already overcome any hardship we could imagine. As we prepare our hearts for the reminder of Christ’s birth, I am grateful our students at SRVCA are being taught the foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. Our children need to be prepared for the difficulties of this world since history proves our kids will not be free of the hardships we experience. This past month after Veteran’s Day, I was blessed by a sweet encounter between one of our students and a local veteran; it demonstrates a 4th grader’s understanding that true joy is found in gifts unseen. Dear Faithful Veteran, Thank you for fighting for our freedom. I love being able to go to school and to worship freely. Because of you we have a free country. Ephesians 6:11 reminds me that you can do anything through Christ who gives you strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. I hope you feel blessed and honored on this very special day. Love, Ally. In response the veteran replied: Dear Ally,


aware and present to notice and appreciate it. The solution starts with cultivating the tools to help get you get centered when you begin to feel unbalanced. When you find that your busyness is taking away from what is really important, then it is time to slow down, take a few deep breaths and reconnect with yourself and your intentions. Mindfulness is the practice of living with greater awareness, attention, and intention, and connecting to your breath, which continually draws you into the present moment. We often get stuck on autopilot and go through the motions of life, and thus miss a lot of what is happening around us. Practicing mindfulness helps break free from those habits and patterns that no longer serve you and create more a more present way of being.

Mindful tips for surviving the holiday season

~ Take a minute and just breathe ~ Let go of what you can’t control ~ Increase your presence ~ Look for the joy amidst the chaos ~ Focus on gratitude ~ Increase compassion, for yourself and others ~ Be in the moment, rather than focusing on the past or the future ~ Let go of the attachment of how you thought it was supposed to be and accept what is ~ Practice responding and not reacting to what is arising in the moment If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and how to bring the practice into your life, you can find out more at www.joreerose.com. I work individually with clients and families, lead workshops, and bring mindfulness into the workplace. I am leading a Mindful Parenting Workshop on Sunday, January 24 in which parents can gain tools to be more present, create deeper connections with their children, and discipline more effectively, all the while cultivating a place of centering and calm. I also recently had a mindfulness book for kids published, Squirmy Learns to be Mindful, which teaches young kids the tools of how to appreciate being in the moment, find gratitude, and connect with their breath to calm their brains and their bodies. You can find all this info and more resources on my website. I wish all of you a joyful holiday season – chaos and all! Advertorial What a beautiful surprise for me on Veteran’s Day, your beautiful tribute to someone unknown to you! I have framed your wonderful letter with its Biblical references and the sparkling Flag (hand-drawn picture) and will keep it within eyesight for all to see. Yes, freedom is a special gift that all Americans share. It was a great moment for me to be able to join with other World War II veterans to roll back the terrible affliction of that time. With God’s ever presence, we prevailed. For my own daughter, and two grandchildren, and your grand letter, it can be said we did our duty for the beautiful children that follow us. Our reward resides with you! Please allow me to thank you again for your beautiful prose and artwork. You have made me feel very special today. This Christmas, it is my prayer that our students, as well as the Danville community would cherish the freedom afforded us in this country, allowing us to celebrate the gift God gave to this world in the person of Jesus, coming to us as a baby. We wish for you peace, love, and joy during this Christmas Season. If interested, please join many of our SRVCA families on Christmas Eve on our school campus at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville. Merry Christmas!

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Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 11

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San Ramon Valley High School By Ruth Steele, Principal

We have been working on a 1:1 technology roll out that should mean that by the start of next school year, every student will have a laptop or Chromebook with them all day, every day, in every classroom. This level of technology access provides incredible learning opportunities and flexibility in the classroom. Using the Google Docs platform means that students can collaborate on assignments remotely, and having web access means that at any time students can look far beyond the limitations of the textbook in their exploration of content. Along with this unprecedented access to online learning, staff are also focused on teaching students life-long technology skills and digital citizenship. We are in the process of developing a technology skills ladder that will define what skills and aptitudes students will be acquiring along with their academic learning. There will be a progression in these skills as students move from 9th to 12th grade, and the goal is to make sure that students can use technology effectively and responsibly. However, as we navigate the expanding technological world, both inside and outside the classroom, it is worth remembering that Common Core focuses on speaking and listening skills as much as it does on reading and writing skills. Those skills require face-to-face interactions without a computer. Students have to be able to talk to each other and listen to each other without relying on the written word for communication. Oral communication of course, requires that all those blue screens are shut down. When phones are off and Chromebooks closed, then the discussion can begin. We have to unplug completely for meaningful conversation to actually occur. No distractions. As part of this work, is it really important to remember that our relationships with our devices cannot, and must not, replace our relationships with other people. Sherri Turkle’s Ted Talk on youtube.com “Connected, but Alone” talks about the increasing “relationship-like” dependency/attachment that both children and adults have to their devices. An article on today.com (www.today.com/parents/how-cellphones-are-affecting-families-what-do-about-it-t37111) discusses the fact that when families eat out in restaurants, 70% of adults use their phones during the meal. 54% of children think that their parents check their phones too much, and 32% said that they felt unimportant when their parents get distracted by their phones. One of our school goals is to provide education for both students and parents around the positive and negative aspects of technology in our lives. My next article will focus on some practical ways to create a balance between our technological and our personal worlds.

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Monte Vista High School By Dr. Kevin Ahern, Principal

The days are finally starting to feel like autumn and Monte Vista’s students are busy balancing academics with the arts and athletics programs. Our seniors, in particular, are swamped with college applications, their lastACT / SAT tests, and their current classes and activities. Some seniors are already beginning to see the fruit of their labors. On November 12th, the Monte Vista Athletics Department hosted our annual Early Signing Ceremony to recognize studentathletes as they signed National Letters of Intent with their respective colleges and universities. Thirteen Monte Vista student-athletes in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, swimming, track, and volleyball signed Letter of Intent to Bryant, BYU, Colorado-Mesa, CSU Chico, CSU, San Marcos, Harvard, Loyola, UC Davis, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and UMass-Amherst. The Monte Vista community is proud of the accomplishments of these student- athletes, and we look forward to sharing more positive news about our seniors as the year moves on. Monte Vista’s Visual and Performing Arts Departments put forth several amazing performances in November. Our Dance program performed to sold-out audiences over three nights to kick off the month, and our visual art and photography students were well represented among other SRVUSD artists at the recent opening of the From Expressionism to Abstraction Exhibit held at the Village Theater Art Gallery in Danville. This exhibit will run through December - don’t miss it. Shifting to the stage, Monte Vista’s Drama Department’s three night run of A Flea in her Ear played to packed houses with this comedic and classically French farce. In addition, Monte Vista’s band was awarded 3rd place in Division 3A at the Vintage Reserve (Napa) Band Review and recently attended the Lincoln Band Review. Monte Vista’s Choir is competing for an opportunity to perform on National Public Radio. Please check the Monte Vista Website to see a performance video and cast your vote. Monte Vista Athletics continued to excel last month earning EBAL Championships in Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Tennis and Women’s Volleyball. In addition, Women’s Golf, Men’s Football, Men’s Water Polo, and Women’s Water Polo all qualified for the North Coast Section Playoffs. To cap off the regular season, our Monte Vista Football team came from behind to defeat our rivals at San Ramon Valley to bring the Gellerman Trophy back to Monte Vista for the first time in four years. The fall season has brought many well-earned accolades to our community. We look forward to more academic, artistic, and athletic successes as the rest of the year unfolds.


Page 12 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Alamo’s 1st & Only Pediatric Dentist! Alamo Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics Welcomes Dr. Allan Pang Dr. Pang completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. After Tufts he completed a General Practice Residency at University of California, Los Angeles. Thereafter, Dr. Pang practiced general dentistry in the community of Los Gatos, California for two years. It was during this time that he realized how much he enjoyed working with his pediatric patients and returned to school to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. His residency in Pediatric Dentistry at New York University-Bellevue Hospital in New York City allowed for him to have extensive training in treating the well child and those with special healthcare needs such as children with craniofacial disorders and developmental disabilities. Dr. Pang has been in private practice since 2008. He is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, a Diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

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Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 13

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Exotic Southeast Asia River Cruise By Joyce McConnaughey

Being a lover of river cruises, I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the wonderful AmaWaterways River Cruises’ exploration of Southeast Asia called “Vietnam, Cambodia and the Riches of the Mekong.” Our adventure began in Siem Reap, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor with its many temples. The best-preserved temple is Angkor Wat which was built between the 10th and 13th century, protected by a moat only reachable by a long causeway. It is the masterpiece of Khmer architecture which was used by Buddhist Monks and then abandoned in the 15th century. After a pampered night at the luxurious Sofitel Hotel, we were driven to Preak Kdam, a small village on the Tonle River where our ship was docked. On the brandnew, 124-passenger AmaDara, every luxurious stateroom features twin balconies, a lovely way to watch the world slip by. As we boarded, we were greeted warmly by the crew, mingled with other excited passengers, and then enjoyed a Welcome Dinner prepared by our expert chefs. Western dishes as well as exquisite Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine were served during this and every meal onboard ship. Every AmaWaterways river cruise includes daily complimentary shore excursions so that guests can venture into and experience each fascinating destination. On our first morning, we climbed aboard local boats to visit one of the famous floating villages in Kampong Chhnang, then cruised to our next stop, Koh Chen, where artisans produce silver and copper treasures —the perfect gifts to bring home! AmaWaterways helps to support local schools, and one of the highlights of our visit included sharing the school supplies that we had brought from home. The children were darling and loved every pencil, crayon, or book they were given. The following day we visited Oudong’s beautiful monastery where we joined a blessing ceremony chanted by Buddhist Monks, continuing on to Kampong Tralach and enjoying an oxcart ride in this small village. In Phnom Penh, we toured the city by tuk tuk, a lively way to travel, and returned that evening to the ship for

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an onboard Khmer folk performance by local children before dinner. After dinner many guests enjoyed the chance to visit the famous Night Market. The following day in Phnom Penh we visited two emotionally charged sites of the dark days of Pol Pot’s regime--the Killing Fields and the S21 Detention Center. We could hardly believe what we were seeing, and this was truly an emotional morning for us all. In the afternoon we visited the Royal Palace with its iconic Silver Pagoda. While we had been exploring the Palace, it had started to pour and in a short time the entire Palace grounds were flooded. The AmaDara supplied ponchos, and we walked in mid-calf deep water to our bus, but the wind was so strong that we were soon drenched up to mid-thigh. It was actually rather fun, and we played like kids in the rain. Fortunately, it was the only rain we had the entire cruise. The next day was a delightful day of cruising toward Vietnam. We enjoyed the time to fully experience the wonderful ship and all its amenities and to visit with our new friends from Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and the US. The following morning our excursion started with a rickshaw ride in Tan Chau, to visit two family-run factories making rattan and silk. The next day we explored Xeo Quyt, a former military base where the Vietcong found shelter in the trenches. This place underwent a number of bombardments and has changed little since the war. Our afternoon excursion departed by local boats for Cai Be. We visited the famous floating markets and a local family’s candy factory on our way to see a beautiful French Gothic Cathedral. It was a Sunday and we enjoyed listening in as a priest was teaching a class of children in the front rows of the Cathedral. We departed the next morning for a bus ride to Ho Chi Minh City that the locals still prefer to call Saigon. Our remarkable journey had come to an end, but we will always be grateful to AmaWaterways for the opportunity to meet the beautiful people and explore the many treasures of a oncegreat empire. Joyce has been a Travel Consultant for 31 years, specializing in luxury travel across the globe. For assistance with your next adventure, please call Alamo World Travel at (925) 837-8742. Advertorial

Page 14 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News


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Page 16 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Quick Trips

The Care of Mature Trees

East Brother Island By Linda Summers Pirkle

Visitors to the Bay Area are familiar with Alcatraz, Treasure, and Angel Islands, but tiny East Brother Island, although less known than her “big island” sisters, is a historical landmark with important American maritime history. The island is visible from the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, and ferry riders see it on their daily commute. East Brother Light Station Bed and Breakfast is located in the strait that separates the San Francisco and San Pablo Bay. My husband, who loves everything having to do with water, was happy to accompany me on a visit to the island. The current inn keepers on East Brother Island, Bryan and Stephanie Wesolek, are ideal for their unique jobs. Bryan is a retired chemist with degrees in mathematics and music (his passion in off hours is listening to jazz at Yoshi’s), and Stephanie has a degree in legal studies. She is a trained chef, and her cooking is renowned. They both spent a year sailing in the United Kingdom where they earned their Commercially endorsed Ocean Yacht master tickets. Topping off their credentials, they both hold a 50 ton Masters license with the United States Coast Guard as well as PADI Certified Open Water Diver licenses. Needless to say, when Bryan picked up our group at the Pt. San Pablo harbor on a Saturday morning for a short speed boat ride to East Brother, we knew we were in good hands. In the late 1800’s East Brother Island was chosen as a site for a lighthouse to guide ships through San Pablo Strait. The federal government blasted the top off the tiny island and began construction in 1873. Besides a six-room dwelling with an attached tower for the beacon, the little base includes a fog signal building, workshop, boathouse, water tanks, water cistern (the only source of water for the island), and a rain catchment basin. At one point in the early 1900’s there were two families living on East Brother, and one building was used as a schoolhouse for the children of the lighthouse keepers. The entire island is only three quarters of an acre. Technology brought about an automated rotating beacon, and in the late 1960’s there was no need for live-in lighthouse keepers. Thankfully, concerned citizens formed a non- profit group and saved the charming Victorian home along with all the outer buildings as a California Historical Landmark. “It’s like living in a page from National Geographic,” says Bryan. “The animal life varies from western gulls, brown and white pelicans, oyster catchers, geese, hummingbirds, black phoebes, Canadian geese, cormorants, herons, egrets, harbor seals, mallards and porpoises.” Besides interesting conversations with the hosts and other guests, our memorable moment was enjoying the spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay from the “eagles nest” of the lighthouse. There are five cozy bedrooms available to rent; a gourmet dinner with champagne, wine, and a full breakfast are included. Some guests rent the entire Victorian house for private parties, and it is a very popular auction item for schools and fund raising organizations. • Pick-up location is Pt. San Pablo Yacht Harbor, 1900 Stenmark Drive (former Western Drive), Richmond.Their website is ebls.org and phone number is (510) 233-2385. • Day tours are generally only available during the summer months (April to October), but since the weather has been mild they have kept it open for the public to enjoy. Cost is $20 per person. Linda Summers Pirkle, travel consultant and long term Danville resident, has arranged and led tours for the Town of Danville for several years. Inspired by the many wonderful places to visit in the Bay Area, she organizes day trips, either for groups or for friends and family. “What a great place to live, so much to see, so much to do.” To share your “Quick Trips” ideas email Coverthemap@gmail.com.

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 bacterial, 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 bl@brendelamb.com for a free estimate. Additionally, go to our website www.brendelamb.com to see before and after pictures, client testimonials, and work in your neighborhood. Advertorial



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Life in the Danville Garden

Process for a Successful Design By John Montgomery, ASLA, Landscape Architect #4059

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 17

What does it take to create a successful landscape design? Some might say that success is measured by critics and experts, but I believe it is measured by the end user, you. A successful landscape design has to meet the expectations of the owner. What I love the most is getting a call a few years after my client has been living in their yard, and they say, “John, I’m sitting here in my backyard and I was thinking of how much I enjoy the peacefulness and beauty, and I wanted to call you to say thank you!” For me, that is my measure of success. Here are the three phases I use in creating a successful landscape design. The first phase of the design process is a “Conceptual” design. Our first task, along with you, the owner, is to develop design goals and a design program to fit your needs. Some of these design goals are practical and functional, while some are your dreams and desires. After we develop the goals and design program, we will analyze the site and off-site conditions so we are familiar with the existing conditions and parameters with which we are working. Once we receive the necessary information, we draft an accurate scaled base plan (site Call for details plan) from which your conceptual design will be created. When we complete your conceptual design, you will have an accurately 925.939.8300 scaled, illustrative, and schematic landscape plan that will represent your design solartechnologies.com goals, existing conditions, and your dreams and desires. The “Conceptual” Lic. #932914 design is visual communication so you can “see” the possibilities. Every idea, even a conceptual one, has an associated cost. From the concept design we develop a budget, a line-item spreadsheet detailing the cost of the project. At this point you have the necessary information to make an educated decision based on what you want and how much it costs. Phase two is the “nuts and bolts” of the design. We will need to communicate to the contractor your design details and specifications in order for you to acquire bids, navigate planning and permits, accept a contract, and build your project. During the Construction Documents phase we provide services that will complete the Landscape design so you may enter into the Construction Phase to bring your outdoor environment to reality. The Construction Documents will be the “building” set of drawings necessary for your contractor to acquire permits and build the project to the design and specifications. Construction documents include a detailed Planting Plan with planting specifications, botanical and common plant sizes and quantities, a Hardscape Plan, and plans that detail lighting, grading and drainage, irrigation, material selections, notes, and specifications. Working drawings (how to build) are included for built site elements like arbors, trellises, pergolas, swimming pools, cabanas, retaining walls, etc. After the completion of the Construction Documents you are ready to build your project. The Construction Documents are the vehicle to communicate the parameters of your Landscape project to the necessary contractors so they may provide you with “apples to apples” bid proposals. This will assist you in selecting your contractor(s) to build your project. You will also need the plans to acquire permits. Phase three is the Construction Phase. It is very important that the design intent and vision is brought to reality during construction. Our Construction Phase Services become a very important part of completing the design. The design process actually continues into construction. During construction, design decisions and interpretation are necessary in order to lay the design onto the land and bring the design vision to reality. Typically, this is when the design can be misinterpreted or contractors can make subtle changes to cut corners. This part of the design process ultimately guarantees the success of your design because it puts the control of the outcome in the hands of the owner and landscape architect. My clients have said that the design process saved them time and money during construction by not having to make decisions under pressure, paying for changes, and not having to take time off work to manage the contractors. A hot tip from your local Landscape Architect: Built landscape structures must be executed with proper construction techniques which are ensured through proper design, construction details and specifications, and on-site observations during the construction process. Landscape architects are licensed and qualified to draw construction documents. Gardening Quote of the Month: “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” ~Author Unknown If you would like me to write on any particular subject, email your ideas to jmontgomery@jm-la.com or for design ideas visit www.jm-la.com or www.houzz. com/pro/jmla/john-montgomery-landscapeAdvertorial architects.

Page 18 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Clip Notes

By Jody Morgan

The custom of greening the home for the winter solstice has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used palm fronds to summon back the sun. Roman, Norse, and Celtic people employed evergreen boughs in their seasonal celebrations. The oldest extant description of decorated trees comes from Riga, Latvia in 1510. Germany boasts the earliest printed reference – 1531. The first Christmas tree in the American colonies (erected in 1747 by Moravians in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) was a wooden frame into which evergreen branches were inserted. Legend suggests Hessian mercenaries introduced families billeting them during the American Revolution to the German tree tradition, but the practice of festively festooning firs and pines with candles, ornaments, and gifts did not gain widespread acceptance in the United States until the mid-nineteenth century, coinciding with the time when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularized the custom in England. Victoria’s grandmother, Queen Charlotte, actually deserves the distinction of displaying the first royal Christmas tree in England. Married in 1761 at the age of 17 to George III, the princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz brought to her new country the practice of adorning a yew bough with tapers and treats. In 1800, she decided to go one step further and pot up an entire yew to enchant the children of Windsor’s elite families. Each child received from the tree a portion of sweets and a toy. As the concept spread across the country, most Americans cut holiday trees from local forests. But city dwellers lacked access to a free supply. In 1851, Michael Carr hauled firs and spruces cut in the Catskills to New York City and set up Manhattan’s first tree lot in space he rented in Washington Market. His family retained the business until 1898. Back in Europe, Germany was facing an issue with deforestation, because the popular practice of chopping off treetops for seasonal display caused fir trees to stop growing, making them useless for lumber. In response, the first artificial trees were crafted from feathers. Often dyed green, goose, ostrich, swan, or turkey

Have a Very, Merry Green Holiday

By Kathleen Kull Urban, Sustainable Danville Area

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and be overwhelmed with decorating, shopping for the perfect gift, and planning festive dinners and activities. However, having an environmentally friendly holiday season doesn’t have to be hard. Even a few small changes can have a big impact. Artificial trees provide enjoyment year after year, but the plastic components are toxic to produce. Consider a live tree that you cut down at a local, organic tree farm. It saves on shipping, pollution, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Potted trees are also a good alternative. They can live outside throughout the year, be brought inside at Christmas time to decorate, and then donated to a school for planting. Whether you’re driving through a neighborhood or shopping at a mall, festive holidays lights are everywhere. With the high cost of electricity, LED lights can save up to 90% on your electric bill, don’t have bulbs and filaments that break, don’t get hot, and last a long time. Put the lights on only at night, and use a timer to save even more money. Do you still send out holiday cards each year? There are eco-friendly alternatives such as emailing cards, sending postcards (no envelopes), or using smaller cards. Choose pastel colors if possible. Bright red and green paper is hard to recycle. After the holidays, recycle cards by sending them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. Call 877-977-7572 for details because they do not accept all cards. When it’s time to shop for gifts, look for ones with minimal packaging or recyclable materials such as cardboard. If the gift requires batteries, buy rechargeable ones. For information about recycling batteries and other hazardous waste, contact the Contra Costa County Household Hazardous Waste Program at 800-750-4096. Did you know that Americans produce an additional 25% trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve? We’re sending an extra five million tons of garbage to the landfills during that time. There are many earth-friendly al-


feathers covered sticks of metal wire to form branches, which were then affixed to a “trunk.” Usually tabletop size, the feather trees followed a new wave of German immigration into the US where they found favor in the 1920s and 1930s. Theodore Roosevelt may have refused to have a Christmas tree in the White House as an expression of his concern for preservation of the nation’s forests or he may simply have favored the more traditional treeless celebration. He did, however, write a letter in 1902 describing his eight-year-old son Archie’s actions. After cutting a small specimen from the White House grounds, Archie enlisted the aid of a staff member to adorn his tree and hide it in a large closet. Decked with a present for each family member, Archie’s surprise was revealed on Christmas morning. Did the conversation on conservation Teddy Roosevelt considered necessary to Archie’s education actually take place? Supposedly TR enlisted Gifford Pinchot (first head of the United States Forest Service) to lecture the lad on preserving the nation’s wilderness by refraining from cutting trees and unexpectedly found Pinchot explaining the virtues of forest management and controlled harvesting. The previous year, 1901, W. V. McGalliard established America’s first Christmas tree farm by planting 25,000 Norway spruce seedlings near Trenton, New Jersey. By 1908, the trees were large enough to market and sell at $1.00 each. Today there are more than 15,000 Christmas tree farms across the country covering approximately 350,000 acres. With about 350 million trees in production, 98% of holiday specimens come from farms and only 2% from the wild. An acre of Christmas trees generates enough oxygen to serve the daily needs of 18 humans. National Christmas Tree Association figures for 2014 put the retail value of real trees purchased at $1.04 billion, exceeded by artificial ones at $1.19 billion. Raising Christmas trees is labor-intensive. Most types require shearing two to four years after planting to sustain saleable shape. Popularity pushes species into areas outside their normal range making them more susceptible to pests and disease. Rarely sold beyond its native habitat in the Cascade Mountains and Coastal Ranges of Washington and Oregon until the early 1960s, Noble Fir (Abies procera) represented only 5% of the market share in the Pacific Northwest in 1969. Now it tops the charts in the western US. Twelve years of cultivation are needed for a Noble Fir to reach a market size of seven feet. ternatives to the plastic toys and gadgets that end up in the trash. A memorable experience can be a lasting treasure: a zoo membership, a cooking class, a massage, dance lessons, performance tickets, or a museum pass. Homemade gifts for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas are especially thoughtful: baked cookies, a story or poem written for the recipient, a knitted scarf, a booklet with your favorite recipes, or a photograph of your family. What do you give to someone who has “everything?” A socially conscious gift can have a lasting, positive impact. Donating a dairy goat through Heifer International (www.heifer.org) provides milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter for a needy family. Help prevent disease in impoverished countries by donating to Project Concern (www.ProjectConcern.org). A loan to Kiva (www.kiva.org) can alleviate poverty by enabling entrepreneurs in poor countries to start a small business. There are many local options too, including honoring the gift recipient with a donation to the Discovery Counseling Center of the San Ramon Valley (www.discoveryctr.net) or the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. When it’s time to wrap a gift, choose paper that doesn’t have metal foil or fibers that are not recyclable. Sunday comics, kids’ art, magazine pages, old maps, and fabric remnants make interesting conversation pieces. This is also true of boxes you decorate to reuse next year. Most practical are holiday towels or scarves that serve double duty as a wrapping and a gift. When adding a gift tag, make one out of a recycled holiday card. Everyone enjoys a delicious holiday meal, but are you guilty of making too much food? Try to be earth friendly and buy local, organic, and fair trade foods, and only buy what your family will consume. With a the variety of composting options available, food scraps don’t need to visit the landfill. Recycle beverage containers such as plastic jugs, paper milk cartons, soda cans, and wine bottles. Wrap leftovers in recyclable aluminum foil rather than plastic wrap. Sustainable Danville Area wishes our friends and supporters a happy and peaceful holiday season. Visit us at www.facebook.com/sustainabledanvillearea.


Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 19

Preparing Your Pool for Winter By Mike Hennigan, Pure Pool Solutions

The rain is finally here! This is both good news and bad news for your pool. First the good news: the water in our pools is usually replaced by one half to one third of the total pool volume every year. This means that the accumulation of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is not an issue. TDS comes from an accumulation of dissolved solids that are added to the water. Everything we add to the water;chlorine, acid, conditioner, dirt, dust, leaves, etc.; Gopher/Mole Removal adds dissolved solids to the water. Evaporation removes only pure water and leaves everything No Poison else. Pools with water with high TDS are referred to as having “tired water.” These pools are less responsive to sanitizers that control bacteria, oxidize contaminants, and controls algae. 925-765-4209 The bad news is that our pools are going to need some help from you, the homeowner. It is always important to keep your pools’ water level at mid-skimmer so the water circulates properly and the skimmer can remove debris before it sinks to the bottom. It is imperative that the water level not rise above the top of the tile line as there is a space between the top of the tile line and the deck that can allow water to flow under the coping and deck. Moisture under the coping and deck can cause the pool to lift or sink. If you do not know how to remove water from your pool, please contact us and we would be happy to walk you through the process. Pool maintenance also includes emptying the skimmer basket and the pump basket, and cleaning the sweep bag once or twice a week. This will keep your pool looking good. If this winter lives up to the hype, you will be adding a significant amount of chemicals to maintain balanced water. Balancing includes not just chlorine and pH levels, but the alkalinity, calcium hardness, and conditioner. The pool plaster can etch and stain if these chemicals are not balanced. If leaves are allowed to remain in your pool, the chlorine will be consumed and phosphates will accumulate in the water. You cannot see phosphates in the water, but it is literally “algae food.” When pool water warms up in the spring, the pool will quickly support an algae bloom that will be hard to control. It is important to clean your pool filter if you haven’t cleaned it within the last six months. Also, check the electrical conduit that runs from the controller to the pumps for exposed electrical wires, and check the connection points as well. Turn the filter pump on, remove the skimmer cover to make sure the pump is moving water, and verify that the weir (the little trap door at the mouth of the skimmer) moves freely. The weir is an important part of your pool. When the pump runs, the weir is pulled down and accelerates the flow of water from the surface into the skimmer. When the pump shuts off, the door closes and contains the debris within the skimmer. Run each pump individually. If the pump is noisy, the bearings are probably worn and the pump should be replaced. Are there leaks at the inlet or discharge side? Please note any areas of concern before the rains come! Repair technicians don’t like working on electrical appliances in the rain! Turn the pool sweep/cleaner on, and watch for proper operation. Are the wheels turning, is the bag torn, are the feet moving, is the backup valve activating every 3 to 3 ½ minutes, and is the in-line filter clean? Make sure you shutdown your solar panels. The valves need to be closed Wines for Your Christmas and the water drained from the panels to prevent problems during a freeze. Dinner Menu Your pool needs every bit as much attention in the fall and winter as it does These wine picks pair with holiday recipes in the summer. If everything is working properly and you are willing to spend some time on your pool each week, it will continue to be an attractive part of By Monica Chappell your landscape. Carols. Tree-trimming. Cookie decorating. ChristIf you have questions or mas is full of time-honored traditions, and chief would like help with any of among them is Christmas dinner. your poolcare needs please Large gatherings call for making one or two main call me at 925-820-8950 or visit dishes with no time for precious plating or individuour website at www.pure-poolsolutions.com. ally sautéed fillets. Think rib roasts and glazed hams. When it comes to picking wines for the family table, you’ll want to find Advertorial bottles that can play supporting roles to the star dishes of the night and work with the whole meal at the same time. Here are some options for the main course:

Glazed Ham

For the centerpiece of the meal, consider going retro with a glazed ham. Choose a fruit-forward red with moderate tannin for a solid match. Try something new like a nero d’Avola, a leading red grape in Sicily.

Rib Roast

A standing rib roast with aioli makes an impressive presentation. Serve it with an approachable cabernet-based wine that has some backbone but won’t overpower the rest of the meal. For a twist on the familiar, try sausage-stuffed turkey breasts with chestnuts. The combination of spice and fat in the sausage calls for a simple, fruity red, such as gamay.

Goose or Duck

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Match the weight with red wines, balance the oiliness of the meat with high acid/tannic wines, and complement the flavors with wines that taste of raspberries and cherries. Red Burgundy is perfect, or for a white wine, it needs to be medium-sweet and high in acid, such as ripe, aromatic Alsace Pinot Gris and Riesling. What are your favorite Christmas dinner pairings? Let me know. Monica Chappell writes and teaches about wine. For wine class information, please email wineappreciation101@gmail.com.

Page 20 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Energy Matters

Protectors and Defectors By Mark Becker, GoSimpleSolar

Due to the current rate of market adoption of solar PV, solar panel manufacturers are reaching production capacity. Predictions are that at some point the industry will not be able to supply the market demand for solar panels. Ultimately, some solar projects will have to wait for supply to catch up to demand. Some larger scale commercial and utility PV projects may not make it “under the wire” for the expiring tax credit as these projects require significant design and planning approvals. There are many market forces that are contributing to the phenomenon of high demand. These forces include recognition among the public and government sector that solar PV is excellent alternative to paying PGE for electricity, the December 31, 2016 expiration of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, the expiration of current “net metering” laws, and lastly, consumer perceptions to “get while the getting is good” so as to not miss out on the above benefits and returns. “Grid Defection” is a term and a practice that will become increasingly popular amongst utility ratepayers. Electric customers who generate their own power and back it up with energy storage, such as a battery bank, will be able to “defect” from the grid and say “adios” to PGE or their electric utility. Due to current utility rate structure, there is not a strong financial incentive to “defect” at this time, but customers with energy storage currently monetize their batteries by reducing monthly PGE demand charges, or shaving power use during peak cost hours. Some ratepayers simply want the security of back-up power when the grid is down. New net metering laws (how solar interacts with the grid) are being written which will incentivize energy storage to smooth the grid and shift renewable penetration to reduce customer demand profiles. If compatibility with the future electric grid is desired, the average home or business owner considering solar should ensure that the solar system being proposed requires only additional equipment, not major modification if energy storage, advanced grid interactivity or complete energy independence.

Shabbateers continued from front page

1AM.” It was the first of many epic dinners for the group. Now, ten years later, the same families continue to meet once a month, though now the evenings usually end by 10PM. Alcohol consumption has tapered off a bit, but the core group still meets regularly at each other’s homes to enjoy good food, fine wine, and great discussions as well as keeping their focus on giving back and volunteering. What is the formula that works so well for this enduring dinner philanthropy group? Belotz thinks it’s the like-mindedness of fellow members. Also he says, “We try to be inclusive; everyone feels like they belong.” Group member Dean Chapman also agrees. He notes, “We are not just a bunch of middle-agers enjoying tasty food and great wine in someone’s backyard or dining room; its how we think of each other and those in need of healing, whether spiritual or financial. We try in our own small way to say we care.” Les Bloch added, “Gathering one Friday a month is an opportunity to talk about our families, our work, politics, and the evolving events of the world. We enjoy the other people in the group who are special, friendly, and intelligent and let’s face it, love wine! The added plus to the evening with stimulating people is the aspect of contributing to the common good via our annual party to discuss which charity or cause we are going to contribute to and as in Tzedakah, which means to do what is right and just, to do justice in our lives and to do it with humility.” Shabbat is the Jewish joyful day of rest; Silvia Belotz dubbed the members of the dinner group the “Shabbateers.” The “Shabbateers” rotate their dinner meeting locations throughout the year. The host family chooses the menu theme, and emails are sent to the other families for potluck additions. One culinary treat always enjoyed at the dinner party is challah, braided egg bread eaten on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. Mark Belotz says, “Our master baker at our dinners is Barb Goldsmith. She brings the challah for every get together and seldom makes a regular one. She will surprise us with a sundried tomato and feta version, a special Mexican jalapeno challah, a caramelized onion and gruyere loaf, a chocolate and marshmallow one or a blueberry and cream cheese version to sweeten things up.” And, he says, “Challah makes great French toast in the morning!” Throughout the years many organizations have been recipients of the Shabbateers philanthropy. Les Block mentioned, “One of our members’ daughter has a unique disease called Lafora, and one year we decided to fund a weekend for some of the families to connect with others whose children had the disease. Hearing how we gave them a moment of happiness was a good feeling.” Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through

www.yourmonthlypaper.com As a reminder: The California Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) is the state agency responsible to protect consumers and enforce construction industry law when problems arise between consumers and contractors. It’s ILLEGAL for a contractor to change pricing for a project after entering into a home improvement contract UNLESS there were factors that would affect pricing that were not discoverable during the estimation process, such as mold damage discovered after removal of a wall during execution of the project. A price change should only occur with a scope of work change and be handled via a “Change Order” process, which is clearly outlined on the www.CSLB.ca.gov website. A contract price change for any other reason other than as noted or per homeowner request can be cause for revocation of a contractor’s license by the CSLB. If your general contractor is employing subcontractors and you receive a “Preliminary Notice” from said subcontractors, you must ensure that the general contractor pays the subcontractors. If you pay the general contractor, but he or she doesn’t pay the subcontractors, YOU can still be legally liable to pay the subcontractors if they’ve provided you a Preliminary Notice. Indeed, you may have to pay TWICE for the same work if your general contractor did not pay them. Otherwise a lien on your home may result. Takeaway: If you receive a “Preliminary Notice” from a subcontractor, protect yourself by ensuring that the subcontractors get paid by writing joint checks, or getting Conditional or Unconditional Waiver and Release forms from the sub-contractors after they have been paid. As a result of the increasing demand for solar PV, there are many new products coming to market. As you decide on products for your solar PV system, to ensure lowest risk, lowest long-term cost, and best value, ensure that you choose products that are not proprietary and have proven long-term (25+ years) field performance. Don’t succumb to “wow” factors or unfounded claims of “greater electric production” over products with long-term field performance. Solar PV, done right, is a 25+ year investment and can be the safest investment one can make. Mark Becker is the President and business owner of GoSimpleSolar, by Semper Fidelis Construction Inc, CSLB 948715. GoSimpleSolar is one of the very few solar PV installers utilizing both licensed roofers and licensed electricians for installation work, project managed by a solar PV NABCEP professional. For more information visit www.GoSimpleSolar.com. Advertorial lending to alleviate poverty (Kiva.org) is another group favorite. “Ian Freidenberg introduced us to the website for Kiva” says Les Bloch. “I enjoy hearing updates and reports on the Kiva micro-loans to see how they help lives around the world by doing something as simple as buying a villager a goat or a cow to make a big difference in their lives. As a group we decided that these loans would go exclusively to women.” Andy Stein added, “It’s rewarding to hear how many micro-loans we’ve made and how many times they have been repaid and re-loaned, over and over. To know that we are affecting people’s lives through philanthropy in small amounts in countries across the world is pretty cool.” The December meeting is important because the charities and causes will be chosen for the upcoming year. “I enjoy seeing how different people in our group passionately care about a truly wide range of charities, some as local as ARF and others as global as Kiva,” says Andy Stein. Les Bloch commented, “This year with the Syrian crises and many other world issues, it will be challenging to see where the money will be best spent.” Lynn Bloch summed up her thoughts about the dinner meetings: “I love this special group. It’s an honor to be included. I am part of a body of people who really care about each other and the world around them. The monthly dinners are something I really look forward to. It’s a bonding time and a nourishing evening in so many ways.” Mark Belotz shares tips for starting your own dinner/philanthropy group: *Be consistent with your start time. We begin at 6:30PM with prayers over our bread, wine, and candles. *At each dinner we place a box in an out of the way place for donations. Donation amounts are kept confidential. We set the amount at $20 per person, but often times more is donated. *Bring your calendars to the end of the year dinner to sign up for your night to host next year. *Enjoy!

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Technology Matters

When is the Cloud the Right Choice? By Evan Corstorphine, Portable CIO

We get asked about “cloud computing” a lot. We hear the question from businesses and individuals who want to know when the time is right for them to “head to the cloud” with their data. At issue is the fundamental misunderstandings of what cloud computing really is. The term ‘cloud’ is really just a euphemism for “internet” or “web based.” I use these terms interchangeably. The offerings out there are maturing and some may be right for your situation. Every business is different. Here is your one sentence definition of what the “cloud” is: Any computer resource outside your own network is in “the cloud.” Think about it. If your next door neighbor started a service offering “cloud backups” from a server in his garage, he is your “cloud,” and you are his customer. Voila. Luckily, cloud services are typically not provided out of people’s garages. They’re primarily offered from data centers sprinkled throughout major cities across the US and other countries. My point is, the cloud is wherever you aren’t. It’s just another way of saying, “a computer somewhere out there on the internet that we hope is secure and well maintained.” With that established, let’s discuss when it’s time to use cloud resources. There are three typical scenarios for ‘cloud computing.’ The first is for cloud-based backups, the second is for cloud-based applications, and the third is for cloud data storage. We have been proponents of internet-based backups for years. They are secure, effective, and more reliable than any other backup system we have worked with. We’ve saved many clients from disaster by having these in place. For example, we saved a recruiting business who lost their entire database due to hardware failure. Because they had internet backups we had set up, they were able to restore their data and get back to work. And we recently saved a client who had his Mac computer encrypted by an unscrupulous caller who posed as someone from “Apple.” The bad guy tricked our customer into letting them onto his computer where they encrypted his hard drive and signed off. Our client was left completely without access to his computer unless he paid a ransom (even paying the ransom can provide no success in getting your data back). Luckily several years ago we had installed a four year Crashplan backup subscription on his system, and we simply wiped the computer and restored his backed-up data. Internet-based applications have crept into our lifestyle in many ways. Does your business use SalesForce? How about Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, or Google Docs? Do you check your credit card balance online? Do you research your family heritage at Ancestry.com? When was the last time you picked up a Yellow Pages instead of ‘Googling’ or ‘Bing’ing’ a local business? These are common examples of ways that ‘cloud computing’ has entered our lives. For the most part, the offerings have become sophisticated enough that people are beginning to feel comfortable abandoning locally-based applications in lieu of exclusively using these web-based apps. A few of our larger clients use cloudbased apps exclusively. They don’t own any in-house servers, and all their IP (intellectual property) is contained within these web-based systems. The third area is data storage. This is where I want you to be cautious. Yes, web-based storage is and can be convenient. I use it all the time. But would I trust an outside company with 100% of my data without ME having a backup of that data as well? NO WAY, and neither should you. We only recommend cloud-based storage when the situation allows us to setup a backup of whatever is being stored on the internet-based resource. Services such as Box, Dropbox, Copy.com, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc., are useful, but limited. These are not backup services. If you delete a file, it’s gone. If you delete the local copy and it gets synchronized, it’s gone. Unless you are syncing their data to a local computer which is then being actively backed up by something like Crashplan or a local device, you are exposed. Don’t get zapped, and don’t fall for the “trust us” sales pitch of these services. When you put all of your data in the cloud without local backups, you’re breaking a fundamental rule. IT best-practices demand we keep a minimum of two, preferably three separate, available copies of our data to ensure it’s viable and available. Bad things happen, and it’s our job to help keep you safe. Every situation is different, and that is why we consult with you to achieve your objectives. Our staff is experienced and can help you safely begin leveraging “the cloud.” Please reach us at 925-552-7953, or you may always reach us through email at, info@theportablecio.com. Advertorial

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 21


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Page 22 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

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Things to Consider When Hiring a Financial Advisor

By Robert Cucchiaro, Certified Financial Planner

When a potential client decides to interview me, they are often surprised when I end the interview by suggesting they also meet with some of my competiMake sure your pool/spa is Drain Cover Safe (Virginia Graeme Baker - VGB compliant). In-house diver can replace your drain covers. Best prices year-round. tors before coming back in to see me again. It’s not because I don’t want them to hire me, but rather I believe that knowing the benefit of how I do certain things will only come Install a Pentair Intelliflo pump and save $100 monthly on your enerto light when compared to others in the industry. So here are three simple gy bill and get a $100 rebate from rules to consider as you interview financial advisors. PG&E. Most folks are unclear as to how financial advisors get paid. I met with a potential client last week and quoted them a flat fee for my work. The husband said that my fee seemed higher than what he was expecting. I explained that www.actionpoolrepair.com my fee was all encompassing, and that there were no hidden fees or comContractor Lic# 978033-C53 missions that I would be receiving on top of that flat fee. I then showed him a fee-study that my office updates each year showing what other top rated Bowl continued from front page first game. He recalls, “I picked it up (bowling) and never really stopped playing.” firms charge for similar work. He was shocked to see that my “high fee” was Father of nine and grandfather of two, Zorich spent his working years as a Teamster, actually 30%-50% lower than what other firms charge! Rule #1: If you are considering hiring a financial advisor, ask them driving delivery trucks and his favorite pastime was bowling. His daughter Denise Eyton-Lloyd says, “Dad was always busy. He played golf sometimes, but bowling how they get paid, and ask them to be as specific as possible. The second thing most potential clients seem to overlook is - who does the was really his thing. He was very good at it, and he still enjoys his weekly game.” advisor actually work for? While advisors that are part of a big bank or an insurIn a July 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek article written by Patrick Clark titled “America’s Vanishing Bowling Alleys,” Marciel Fournier, who owned a ance company will use the size of their parent company as a reason you should string of bowling centers in the 1960’s noted, “The bowling alley was the blue- hire them, one must also consider the inherit conflict of interest associated with collar country club.” Most of Zorich’s business came from people competing in that type of arrangement. Big banks and big insurance companies make profits weekly leagues. Zorich and his buddies were league players in those days and his by selling products. They don’t get paid for their advice or expertise. This means daughter reflected, “Dad played with all the companies he worked for, including if your advisor is associated with a big bank or a big insurance company, he or Oscar Mayer, Capri, and Alhambra. They all had leagues and Dad played every she gets paid to sell a product, not to help you make better financial decisions. Tuesday and Thursday night. Those were his nights to bowl.” Rule #2: If you are considering hiring a financial advisor, pick someThere were plenty of bowling alleys in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Zorich mentioned one who is independent and works for their clients, not for a bank or he played at most of the Bay Area alleys. “I know there were at least seven alleys in an insurance company. Oakland, one in Rheem, some in Alameda, and some in San Leandro.” Now, many The third and final area most people miss during the interview process is the of those alleys are closed. According to the Bloomberg Businessweek article, “As scope of work involved. Investments are a means to an end, as is insurance. A the workforce changed and access to other recreational activities expanded, interest financial advisor’s job is not simply to find the best product in these areas and in bowling leagues waned.” But that then sell it to you. A true financial advisor should offer comprehensive advice interest did not wane for Zorich and on all areas of your financial life, and do so while acting in a fiduciary capacmany of his friends who continued ity. A fiduciary is someone who is legally obligated to put your needs ahead of bowling. Zorich remembers fondly their own and is the standard all of us should expect when hiring an advisor. Big his best friend for over thirty years, financial decisions can have an impact on multiple areas of one’s financial life to Bill Wheeler, who along with some include taxes, estate planning, and investments. A financial advisor needs to be other buddies bowled as long as they knowledgeable in all of these areas and more in order to best serve their clients. physically could. Zorich is still going Rule #3: If you are considering hiring a financial advisor, pick somestrong at age 99. In fact, he mentioned one who is a Certified Financial Planner and thus has demonstrated he had his best game ever when he was superior knowledge in all areas of personal financial advice, not just aged 80. “I bowled 279, a good game!” picking stocks and bonds. The Danville Bowl hosts a senior If you are considering hiring a financial advisor and want to add us to the league on Thursday afternoons. list of firms you interview, please give us a call at (925) 927-1900 or send General Manager at Danville Bowl, us a note at rob@swrpteam.com. Kim Glushenko says, “We have Robert Cucchiaro is a Certified Financial Planner and a registered tax 57 bowlers on the senior league preparer. He is a Partner and owner of Summit Wealth & who are aged 50 and up. Most of Retirement, a financial planning firm that has been servthe seniors bring their own bagged ing business owners in Danville for almost 30 years. Rob lunch. We offer a senior discount and th John Zorich receives a cake on his 99 birthday. specializes in retirement, investment, tax, and estate planprovide shoes and free coffee.” She laughingly added, “They (the seniors) do like their coffee, and the group goes ning. To learn more visit www.summitwealthandretirement.com. Advertorial through a minimum of 12 pots of coffee (the big pots) during their league time, and that’s twelve decaf and twelve regular pots of coffee. They let us know right away when we are running low!” Zorich has been with the senior league in Danville for the past 15 years. He arrives at 11:15AM to practice. At noon the league players start the first of three games and they finish around 3PM. Steve Overby, long time Danville Bowl employee says, “John is an amazing guy. He is well liked and he knows bowling. He can still read the lanes. His power is not as strong as it once was, but he’s definitely got it. He scored a 150 at his birthday party, he was pumped.” Kim, the General Manager added, “John is such a great guy. He knows everyone’s names and usually has a good supply of delicious chocolate candies that he readily hands out. Everyone likes John.” Zorich is not sure what has contributed to his long and healthy life. His daughter Denise said, “He grew his own organic vegetables, he does not believe in taking prescription drugs unless necessary, and he has good genes. Our Dad has a great sense of humor, and with nine kids he needed that.” John mentioned a day after his birthday, “I’m sure I’ll make it to age 100; it’s less than a year away!” To find out more about the senior league at Danville Bowl, call 925-837-7272 or visit www.DanvilleBowl.com. FREE ESTIMATES



New Real Estate Law – Probate Avoidance Tool?

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 23

By Robert J. Silverman, Attorney at Law

After many attempts during recent years, the California legislature passed, and the governor signed, an interesting new bill - AB139. Effective January 1, 2016, the law makes available a new kind of deed, called a “revocable transfer on death deed,” that enables an individual real property owner to designate a grantee who will, on the owner’s death, become the legal owner of the property. Furthermore, no court probate proceeding will be required. I’ve often written about the many disadvantages of probate, which include significant attorneys’ fees, costs, and inconvenience. This legislation was an attempt to create a consumer-friendly way for individuals (not couples) to transfer real estate to a loved one simply, without needing to hire an attorney to draft a Will and/or a Revocable Living Trust. Until enactment of this new law, no methods have been available to enable a non-probate transfer on death of real estate owned by an individual. While one has always been able to deed/transfer a “joint tenancy” interest in a property to a loved one, this can cause serious problems, including that: a) the owner exposes her equity in the property to the creditors of the added joint tenant (co-owner); b) the joint tenant loved one could force the sale of the property and take half of the sale proceeds; and c) the future sale by the loved one can potentially result in substantial income tax liability that would not have been triggered if the loved one had instead received the property on the owner’s death by Will or Trust. The appealing part of this new law is that since the property transfer is effective only upon the owner’s death, the above disadvantages do not exist. So, does the new law mean that Wills and Trusts are no longer necessary or desirable or, furthermore, that the need to engage in estate planning has gone away? Definitively, “no!” Is this new method of transferring real estate on death by deed a magic bullet? Again, a resounding “no.” While it can be useful in certain, limited circumstances, the revocable transfer on death deed has important limitations and potential problems. First, it creates a relatively easy way for a predator to take advantage of an elderly property owner by persuading the elder to sign such a deed. The law contains some protections against such abuse, but the protections are certainly not foolproof. This type of fraud could cause a huge problem and be difficult and expensive to try to remedy. If an elderly owner instead engages in more conventional estate planning such as working with an attorney to establish a comprehensive estate plan, including a Revocable Living Trust – this potential fraud damage is avoided. Another critical limitation is that, unlike a Trust, this simple deed is not suitable if an owner wishes to add appropriate or necessary conditions. If the desired grantee is a minor or young adult, or the owner might prefer that the distribution be delayed or controlled rather than given to the grantee outright (i.e. with no “strings attached”), then using this new kind of deed would be unwise. Instead, a Trust, prepared and executed with proper legal formalities, can create meaningful control and protection, including probate avoidance, for such loved one. What happens if the named grantee in the deed dies before the property owner dies? This question leads to the most fundamental shortcoming of the new law. Let’s suppose, for example, that the grantee dies and the owner is then incapacitated or unable to revoke the deed prior to her death. In that event, if the owner had no valid Will, the real estate would go to the owner’s next of kin. That applicable “intestacy” statute could result in the real estate being distributed to a blood relative whom the owner would have never wanted to inherit her property. Typically, this is not a problem for people who establish a Living Trust (or a Will) because they routinely designate one or more contingent beneficiaries. Accordingly, if the primary beneficiary dies before the owner does, the property is alternatively distributed per the

owner’s wishes. The “bottom line” is that this new law, if used when appropriate and after consulting with legal counsel, can be helpful; but it is only one limited tool, among many, that might be useful in any particular estate plan. Upon request, I’ll be happy to provide you, on a complimentary basis, any or all of the following: i) an “Estate Planning Primer”; ii) a brochure on alternative methods of holding title to property; iii) an introductory meeting. Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group specializing in estate planning, trust administration and probate, real estate, and business taxes. They are located at 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw. com. This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should

not be relied upon as legal, tax and/ or business advice. Readers should obtain specific advice from their own, qualified professional advisors. Advertorial

Page 24 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Your Personal Nutritionist

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

What I hear from clients this time of year is, “How can I enjoy the holidays without overeating and gaining weight?” or, “Oh! I just will start my diet 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 nutritional success during the holiday madness is to become mindful of your eating. What does this mean? Becoming mindful means developing a moment-to-moment awareness of what you are eating without judging yourself. It means deliberately paying attention to your thoughts about food, taste, aroma, and sensation in your mouth. It means becoming more aware of how you eat rather than what you eat. For example, when you are eating quickly without savoring your food and then immediately taking another serving, you are not eating mindfully. When you arrive at a party and prepare a plate of food, first think, “Do I really like this food?” “Is it on my list of favorites, and then is it as good as I thought it would be?” This is mindful eating. Practice moderation, not deprivation, because deprivation will only cause a backlash of binging 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 holiday parties. The clients learn to realize that occasional overeating does not equate to instant weight gain. If you return to eating mindfully after a night of overeating, you will be eating less. I see many clients want to throw in the towel when they overeat at a party and they get very upset with themselves and end up repeating the undesired behavior. One effective tool for mindful eating 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 before you are still chewing? You are not eating mindfully when there is attention to the next bite instead of focusing on what is in your mouth. Put your fork down when you are chewing. With finger foods put the food

VNVDV continued from front page

crafted quilts. Blue Star Moms co-hosts the event. Beyond helping their fellow veterans to appreciate their own achievements, VNVDV has sought from its inception to improve the image of Viet Nam veterans prevalent among those who did not share their experiences. “We wanted to address the negative representation of Viet Nam veterans in the press by showing these were fathers, husbands, and business people,” Slattengren says. The VNVDV Speakers Bureau answers the need to dispel inaccurate impressions by proffering properly documented information and personal remembrances untainted by a political agenda. To date the VNVDV Speakers Bureau has taken historically accurate presentations to almost 70,000 individuals including students from grammar school to college level and interested groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis. Talking about the traumatic times they have tried to put behind them does not come easily. Quoted on the VNVDV website, Speakers Bureau Co-Director Mike Martin, a naval supply officer in Da Nang, admits, “When some of us get up in front of people to give these talks, some of us will literally break. Something flashes in our head and the voice starts to quiver and eyes will well up.” Bill Green, Martin’s Co-Director, spent 12 months “in country” in the northern mountains and still feels the urge to patrol his Alamo property for intruders and assess potential hiding places for snipers whenever he walks through local parks. Praise for the VNVDV educational talks underscores their importance. From Tom Dalldorf, Amador Valley High: “The U.S. History Department feels your visit

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down in between bites. Sit down and eat at a party instead of standing up because you will not be as mindful when standing. Become aware of your hunger signals. Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are satisfied. There is no need to eat until you are uncomfortable to truly enjoy a party. It is OK 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 be true to yourself and not give in. The number one rule for eating at a party is to not arrive too hungry. If you arrive hungry, you are setting yourself up to fail in a situation where you will inevitably overeat. Have a substantial lunch the day of the party. Don’t just have a bowl of soup or salad, but add at least 4-6 ounces of protein and a cup of veggies. Skip breads and save them to eat at the party. Try 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 a fruit salad. These items will balance your meal especially when the party offerings are often starch and fat laden. Make time for your exercise program. You can burn off 300-500 calories with an intense hour of exercise. Also, arrive fashionably late to the party if possible. Just think what that will allow you at your next party- definitely a few appetizers and a couple of holiday cookies. During the holiday season I often counsel my clients by phone or e-mail. We speak often and 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. NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING CAN BE COVERED BY MEDICAL INSURANCE - Aetna, Hill Physicians, Sutter Health, Health Net, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and other insurances. Please refer to my website www.LindaRD.com for past articles and information about services. Feel free to call me at (925)855-0150 Advertorial or email lifeweight1@yahoo.com. has a huge impact on our students’ understanding of the Vietnam Experience.” From St. Mary’s College graduate Susan Perry: “It is one thing to read about the Vietnam War in history class. It is another to listen to a real person who went through all the tragedies and controversies of the war.” Dr. Teri Ann Bengiveno, Los Positas College writes: “The presentation is invalu- VNVDV funded the statue initiating the All Wars Memorial able, poignant, and even installation in Oak Hill Park to honor all who have served our nation. at times humorous…The impact on my classes has been tremendous …” Generating respect for those currently serving our country is another key component of the VNVDV mission. “One of the reasons we are so active is that we never want to see any member of the military or any veteran treated as we were treated when we came back,” explains VNVDV Past-President Jerry Yahiro. “I felt the politics had eclipsed the veterans, their service and their lives. I wanted to create a memorial that everyone would be able to respond to,” writes Maya Lin in an essay published on November 2, 2002 in The New York Review of Books on designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for Washington, DC. The statue in Danville’s Oak Hill Park funded by VNVDV as the initial element of the All Wars Memorial likewise honors the sacrifices of everyone who has served our nation. When the opportunity came to travel back to Vietnam in 2006 with the Wheelchair Foundation, Yahiro finally made the difficult decision to return. He went again with the Foundation in 2012. The 2006 trip brought 500 wheelchairs to wounded Vietnamese veterans and orphans affected by the war. The second

See VNVDV continued on page 26


Beating Cold and Flu Season!

By Melissa Ko, DC, PAK, COES Sycamore Valley Chiropractic

With colder weather and finally some rain, we are now heading into cold and flu season. Already we are getting reports that this year’s “flu shot” is still less than 18% effective, leading many to consider other options for staying healthy this year. Whether you choose to get the flu shot or not, here are five helpful tips to boost your immune system to not only survive but thrive through our winter season!

1. Drink plenty of water

Did you know that even a 5-15% drop in body water supply results in symptoms of early dehydration. Your immune and nervous system are instantly affected. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day (example: 150 lbs = 75 oz. water/day). Or even more simple, drink until your urine is clear! If you are already fighting a bug or feeling run down, hydration will help clear your body of infection.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly

This one seems obvious but especially during cold and flu season, hand washing is imperative. Good old soap and water will do, but use hand sanitizer if you’re not able to get to a sink. Make sure to wash before and after meals, and avoid touching your face and eyes.

3. Get solar power!

Vitamin D is a powerful immune booster and is produced only through sun exposure. Most people run low in the winter months when the sun is not as strong. Sit outside for your lunch breaks, give yourself an extra 10-30 minutes daily to walk outdoors, or plan more outdoor activities with your family to get extra doses of vit D!

4. Clean up the diet

Oh, the holidays- with all the delectable treats and bountiful feasts it’s easy to

The Eye Opener

By Gregory Kraskowsky, O.D., Alamo Optometry Happy Holidays and the Year in Review

It is hard to believe that it is already December and that 2015 is almost done. It is a good idea around this time of year to reflect on the year closing and look forward to the year ahead. We have made some positive changes this year to improve the office, patient care, and choices for our patients when considering frames and contact lenses. Our major change in the office this year has been the transition to electronic records. We just switched over a few weeks ago, so the bugs are still being worked out. Even though in the short term it is going to be more work for our office, it will eventually prove to be a positive for everyone. It will ensure that our record keeping and orders are precise and conform to all of the new coding criteria that was instituted this year and all HIPAA privacy regulations. As the transition moves along, we will introduce a patient portal that will integrate with our system that will allow patients to make appointments, fill out their demographic and health information from home, and be able to print out statements and prescriptions if needed from home. In addition, in the not too distant future, we will be able to send drug prescriptions directly to your local pharmacy so you will not have to drop them off yourself. We believe the change to paperless records will be a benefit for our patients, our office, and the environment. For our contact lens patients, our Lens Ferry program for ordering contact lenses is now fully functional. It is always being updated and improved to make it easier for our patients to be able to order their additional contact lenses from either their phone or computer at their convenience. We will put the information in the system, and when the time comes to reorder, an email or text can be sent to facilitate the process. This will eliminate the need to call the office to order lenses and then come to the office to pick them up. As an added bonus, there are no shipping costs for any order, even if it is not an annual supply. You should receive an email when your

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 25 overdo the sweets. So, in between the festivities, make sure to keep the diet focused on lots of veggies, fruits, lean meats, and protein! Remember that illness is created when the body is inflamed. Foods that cause inflammation include refined sugars, alcohol, preservatives, and other food additives, so limit these during flu and cold season.

5. Get chiropractic adjustments!

Did you know that chiropractic care has an enormous impact on the immune system? It’s not just for back pain! The nervous system is protected by the skull and spine; spinal misalgnments cause problems with nerve function. Chiropractic adjustments restore nerve function which leads to a healthier immune system. There is a lot of research on immune system improvement with chiropractic treatment. A 1992 study found that chiropractic adjustments to the mid-back cause an immediate increase in immune white blood cell count, specifically neutrophil cells. A 2008 study found that a single chiropractic adjustment causes an increase in a different type of immune cell called a T-lymphocyte. Research shows that patients under chiropractic care have a 200% stronger immune system than patients not under chiropractic care. And finally, another study found that patients get a 48% boost in their overall white blood cell count for 24-48 hours after a treatment! So, don’t wait, get your spine and nervous system functioning for a healthy immune system! All of us at Sycamore Valley Chiropractic wish you all a safe and healthy holiday season; we are here and at your service to ensure you feel great during all of your festivities! Sycamore Valley Chiropractic is located at 565 Sycamore Valley Rd. West in Danville. Please visit www.sycamorevalleychiropractic.com or call 925837-5595 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Advertorial

contact lens information is entered in the system, so make sure to look for it in your inbox. For those patients who wear glasses, you will be happy to know that we have brought back Sama eyewear to the office. These high-quality and sophisticated frames add a dimension to our dispensary that was not present. This line has plastic, titanium, and combination frames in both rich and vibrant colors. Sama has frames for both men and women who appreciate both style and distinction in their eyewear. As the holiday season approaches, it is important to remember to exhaust your flexible spending accounts (FSA) before the end of the year. The government has a wide range of specified costs that qualify as a medical expense. 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 2015 account balance. In addition to these tax-friendly accounts, do not forget to utilize your vision insurance. At our office, we are providers for Vision Service Plan (VSP), Eyemed, and Medical Eye Services (MES). Between your vision coverage and your FSA, most if not all of your charges will be covered. Our office has grown this year thanks to our patients. You continually support us and go above and beyond by recommending us to your friends and family. As the years go by, we are meeting more and more local people while in the community at local establishments and at the office. We believe in providing quality service and care, and this is what our patients deserve and have come to expect from us. Our office extends best holiday wishes and a prosperous new year to all of our patients and the local community. Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear. He can be reached at 925820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo. Visit our website at www.alamooptometry.com, and join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Alamo Optometry. Advertorial


Page 26 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

Reconstructive Surgery: The Other Side of Plastics By Barbara Persons, MD, Persons Plastic Surgery, Inc.

What I really enjoy about writing this monthly column is that it affords me the opportunity to educate, and clarify misconceptions about plastic surgery. My practice encompasses both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, and is in the most basic sense, about changing my patients’ quality of life. Whether the surgery is cosmetic or reconstructive, I look forward to work every day because I know I can help people feel more confident about themselves, and improve their ability to function well, both physically and emotionally. Many of my past articles have focused on education associated with cosmetic procedures, but this month I want to focus on the reconstructive side of my practice. According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, reconstructive surgery is defined as “surgery performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease.” Generally, reconstructive surgery is performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, I perform both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Reconstructive surgery represents a significant portion of my practice. The American Board of Plastic Surgery requires extensive training in areas which include congenital defects of the head and neck, craniomaxillofacial trauma, reconstructive surgery of the breast, surgery of the hand, plastic surgery of lower extremities, plastic surgery of the trunk and genitalia, burn reconstruction, microsurgical techniques, reconstruction by tissue transfer, and surgery of benign and malignant lesions. While a plastic and reconstructive surgeon’s training is extensive and spans many areas of expertise, a strong sense for aesthetics is also critically important for a procedure to be successful. Reconstructive surgery is in fact, as much an art form as it is a science. To perform a successful reconstruction, one must envision the results, the “art,” before beginning to operate. It is “seeing” in a completely different way. Plastic surgery has often been misunderstood, or perceived as being super-

VNVDV continued from page 24 delivery distributed wheelchairs to the general population. The journeys brought Jerry a therapeutic sense of closure. “Prior to 2006 and 2012 about every day something would remind me of Viet Nam. Now I can go days without thinking about Viet Nam, however it is still there,” Yahiro notes. “The Vietnamese have accommodated better. To them it was a war of independence. They differentiate individuals from politics.” Yahiro is also Director of East Bay Stand Down (EBSD), which VNVDV has helped to stage since its inception in 1999. The biennial 4-day event held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds brings approximately 450 homeless and disadvantaged veterans together to receive dental, medical and psychological care and to connect them with employment, legal, and social services. New clothing, hot showers, haircuts and nutritious meals help rebuild self-esteem. EBSD’s goal is giving “A Hand Up and Not a Hand Out.” Inspired by his grandfather’s recollections of serving as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, Danville Scout Chris Behring knew he wanted his Eagle Project to benefit veterans. Working with Maureen Morley, EBSD Special Projects Coordinator, Chris designed and executed his project in 2014 supporting EBSD by raising money for sleeping bags and directing fellow scouts from his troop in videotaping interviews with veterans for the Library of Congress History Project. Big 5 Sporting Goods, a regular EBSD sponsor, provided high quality sleeping bags at $15 apiece for veterans to keep after Stand Down. With the help of troop mates and the Rotary Clubs he personally addressed, Behring was able to raise over $11,000. In order to qualify for inclusion in the Library of Congress Project, each recording of a veteran recounting his or her military experiences must last at least 30 minutes. A special tent was set up for the interviews. Commenting on his favorite memory from this portion of his Eagle Project Behring recalls, “One Marine Veteran told a few stories in his interview that he had never told anyone before.

See VNVDV continued on page 27


ficial. The reality is that my training and strong aesthetic sense has enabled me to perform countless reconstructions, most recently on a pregnant woman with rapidly progressing cancer. It has allowed me to reconstruct a gunshot victim’s facial wounds, and repair the faces of dozens of children who were victims of dog attacks. Additional reconstructive procedures I’ve performed include reconstruction of skin cancer defects, skin grafts, and hand surgery. To have the opportunity to work with patients in need of reconstructive surgery is one of my greatest joys in life. I have seen the physical and emotional transformation of thousands of patients over many years of performing surgery. Enabling a patient to live a normal life, while instilling in them a sense of renewed confidence and self-esteem, is remarkably rewarding. It is more than improving appearances, it is allowing people to live the life they deserve and desire. 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@personsplasticsurgery.com. Advertorial

Winterize Your Skin By Dr. Jerome Potozkin

It’s been a rough couple of winters in the Bay Area. We have had barely any rain or snow, contributing to a draught as well as two very disappointing ski seasons at the Tahoe Resorts. Hopefully this year will be different, and the meteorologists predicting El Niño conditions will be right. I for one have already started doing my nightly snow dance in the hopes that the Tahoe resorts will be blanketed in snow by the holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you care for your skin this winter. Just like the single best thing you can do for your general health is to quit or never start smoking, the single best thing you can do for your skin is to protect it from ultraviolet radiation. Most people don’t think of sun protection in the winter, but it would be helpful if you did. If you are a skier or boarder your sun exposure occurs at a higher altitude where there is less atmospheric filtering of the sun’s harmful rays. Secondly, the snow serves as a giant reflector so you get both direct sun and reflected sun. The smart thing to do is apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater prior to hitting the slopes. If you need help picking out a sunscreen we are happy to help. Nothing beats a warm weather vacation during the cold winter months. Go and enjoy, but again use your sunscreen along with common sense such as avoiding the sun’s peak hours and wearing protective clothing. Forget about going to a tanning salon prior to your vacation to get a “protective” tan. Skin cancer, photo-aging, and wrinkles are all caused by the cumulative sun and ultraviolet exposure we get. If you are a minor, it is now illegal to go to a tanning salon. For those who want the appearance of a tan, then by all means feel free to get a spray-on or rub-on tan. One of the more common problems we see during winter months is dry itchy skin. The dry air this time of year contributes to itchy skin. You might think that water exposure would moisturize your skin, but the opposite is true. The more time you spend in water and the hotter the water, the more dry and itchy you will get. For those with dry itchy skin, I recommend using a mild cleanser or soap, taking quick showers, and patting one’s skin dry. After patting one’s skin dry is the best time to apply a moisturizer. Try to limit your showers to one a day, and avoid soaking in baths or hot tubs as this can make things worse. This time of year I usually see many patients with dry itchy skin caused by the combination of cold dry temperatures and nightly soaks in the hot tub. If you have problems with dry, itchy, or sensitive skin, feel free to call us today at (925) 838-4900 to schedule an appointment as we are here to help. Dr. Potozkin is a board certified dermatologist who has been serving the local community since 1993. His fully accredited dermatological and laser facility is located at 600 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 102 in Danville. Dr. Potozkin is a fellow member of the ASDS. He is accepting new patients. Please call (925) 838-4900 or visit Potozkin.com for more Advertorial information.


Herbal Supplements and Advice for Women with Recurrent Bladder Infections By Jeremy Lieb, MD

Treating women with recurrent bladder infections can be really, really difficult. Because of the overuse of antibiotics we have helped to support the so called super bugs, which are infections that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. For example, a patient presents with mild symptoms of burning or frequent urination and is treated with bactrim for a low grade infection. Next month another ‘infection’ is treated with Cipro, then Amoxicillin, then Nitrofurantoin. Guess what: the next infection could be impossible to treat with oral antibiotics because the bacteria are resistant to all of them. I often advocate a natural approach to flush the urinary tract in an attempt to lower the bacteria count. A similar analogy would be using a mouthwash for oral hygiene. Most patients are aware of the benefits of cranberry. This will help to reduce the bacteria adhering to the bladder wall. It’s important to either use a pure cranberry tablet or pure cranberry juice; sweetened cranberry cocktail juices are not effective. I usually recommend taking one ounce of juice or one pill three times a day for 10 days upon onset of symptoms. Then continue taking once daily to suppress symptoms. It is essential to supplement with ample water to flush the urinary system. Otherwise, this protocol will not be as effective. Another treatment I commonly recommend is D-Mannose. It is a nutritional supplement that is a complex sugar which sticks to the bacteria and reduces their capacity to adhere to the bladder wall. This is commonly used in other countries. I recommend treating with D-Mannose pills twice a day until symptoms improve then once daily for prevention. D-Mannose is widely available online and at local health food stores. Once again, use this supplement with ample water intake.

Danville Today News ~ December 2015 - Page 27

My recommendation is for antibiotic treatment if an infection is proven on urine culture and the symptoms are progressively getting worse. I usually prefer to delay treatment with mild burning and frequency because most healthy women can flush these infections without antibiotics. Obviously, these recommendations are intended as general advice, and the decision when to treat with antibiotics should be made with you and your physician. Dr. Lieb is a board certified urologist with Pacific Urology. He treats general urologic conditions with a special focus on treating female and pediatric urology, cancer diagnosis and treatment of the prostate. Pacific Urology has offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon, Brentwood, Livermore, Fremont and Antioch. 925-937-7740 or visit www.PacificUrology.com. Advertorial

VNVDV continued from page 26

His wife was there and she was very grateful because she had never before heard much about what her husband had done during his military service.” Behring was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor held on May 17, 2015. “Take the Rock” Veteran Swim Challenge is a self-confidence and camaraderie building opportunity sponsored by VNDVD in cooperation with the Nadadores Locos Swim Club. Open to all US military veterans, the annual swim from Alcatraz Island to a San Francisco beach on September 20, 2015 included 40 swimmers.Yahiro proudly describes the achievement of one veteran paralyzed from the chest down who completed the 1.3-mile challenge. From donating gas cards enabling veterans to get to appointments and interviews to providing information on benefits and services, VNVDV actively aids veterans, currently serving military personnel and their families on a daily basis. To read more about their mission and the events they sponsor, or to join or support their projects, visit www.vnvdv.org.

To Advertise Call 925.405.6397

Page 28 - December 2015 ~ Danville Today News

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Danville Single Family Median Home Price Hits $1,110,000

Just to be a little different this month, I thought I would list the homes that have sold in Danville as reported for the last half of the year (Sept. 1- Nov. 16). 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 $1,279,872, and the average square foot price is $468. The median price is exactly $1,110,000. The price swath ranges from $727,350 to as much as $3,775,000 for a Luxury Home. Prices per square foot range from $329 to $734. Not one Danville home sold for the exact statistical mean, although a many were close. Today, homes are being judged on their individual merits, and pricing correctly is more important than ever. Location, condition, size, and style are just a few of the important dimensions that determine value. How does your home measure up?

Address Sold Price Price/Sqft 1401 Dutch Mill Dr $3,775,000 $377.50 1158 Lawrence Rd $3,383,000 $406.90 595 Bradford Pl $3,000,000 $494.23 116 Laurelwood Dr $2,590,000 $473.58 2600 Finley Rd $2,425,000 $468.60 11 Brightwood Cir $2,400,000 $444.44 261 Montair Dr $2,270,000 $567.50 2 Tyler Court $2,070,000 $544.02 170 Edinburgh Cir $1,870,000 $429.79 124 Gerald Dr $1,800,000 $615.81 342 Love Ln $1,730,000 $640.74 106 Capari Ct $1,728,998 $390.29 3016 Gritstone St $1,697,218 $328.73 520 Edinburgh Cir $1,657,000 $375.74 25 Barrons Pl $1,570,000 $380.33 166 Alta Vista Way $1,560,000 $444.32 140 Sunhaven Rd $1,558,000 $447.32 112 Shadewell Dr $1,530,000 $523.43 963 Blemer Rd $1,515,000 $393.30 207 Kaitlyn Ln $1,498,000 $428.00 336 Bonanza Way $1,485,000 $508.39

810 Lancelot Ct 59 Saint Teresa Ct 475 Veda Dr 835 Richard Ln 217 Still Creek Rd 809 Waingarth Way 1550 Finley Rd 22 La Vista Way 208 Fairway Dr 237 Estates Dr 307 Elati Ct 453 Veda Dr 127 Provence Rd 1250 Vailwood Dr 3293 Griffon St West 632 Ambience Way 676 Dunhill Dr 301 W Prospect Ave 116 Wilshire Ct 100 Bedford Ct 635 Las Barrancas Dr 817 Maldon Ct

$1,480,000 $502.38 $1,475,000 $497.97 $1,465,000 $594.32 $1,440,000 $553.85 $1,425,000 $537.94 $1,415,000 $422.39 $1,410,000 $762.99 $1,375,000 $541.34 $1,354,000 $579.13 $1,350,000 $583.66 $1,330,000 $476.02 $1,310,000 $576.08 $1,300,000 $375.29 $1,300,000 $506.63 $1,260,000 $430.92 $1,258,000 $356.78 $1,225,000 $397.86 $1,222,000 $711.29 $1,216,000 $553.48 $1,215,000 $413.97 $1,200,000 $484.85 $1,199,000 $368.70

664 Bourne Court 63 Saint Teresa Ct 347 Barrett Cir 3862 Sheffield Cir 2020 Chadbourne Ct 105 Bedford Ct 2128 Carmenere St 440 Snowdon Pl 615 Bourne Ct 109 Baltana Ct 608 Bourne Ct 71 Alta Loma Ct 702 Via Hermosa 1700 Cottswald St 10 Montego Pl 41 Loch Lomond Ct 836 Griffon Ct 652 Thornhill Rd 264 Stetson Dr 145 Tenby Terr 115 Westwich St 38 Sorrento Ct

$1,199,000 $355.89 $1,195,000 $559.72 $1,195,000 $517.76 $1,185,000 $432.80 $1,175,000 $405.73 $1,160,000 $381.45 $1,159,238 $462.77 $1,150,000 $343.39 $1,125,000 $333.93 $1,124,000 $418.93 $1,110,000 $329.47 $1,105,000 $547.84 $1,100,000 $377.23 $1,100,000 $383.68 $1,100,000 $516.67 $1,100,000 $486.94 $1,095,000 $396.60 $1,095,000 $473.82 $1,090,000 $397.52 $1,085,500 $365.61 $1,080,000 $395.03 $1,075,000 $541.56

1 Countryside $1,075,000 $443.12 158 Joaquin Cir $1,069,000 $445.97 5182 Bengali St $1,068,000 $425.67 89 La Pera Ct $1,065,000 $524.11 635 Dunhill Dr $1,059,000 $370.28 740 El Cerro Blvd $1,050,000 $418.49 110 Blackstone Dr $1,020,000 $378.76 608 Morninghome Rd $1,007,100 $458.61 15 Stanton Ct $1,000,000 $345.30 366 Ilo Ln $1,000,000 $421.94 62 Vista Dr $1,000,000 $619.20 277 Paraiso Dr $1,000,000 $425.89 343 Glen Arms Dr $1,000,000 $412.37 37 Lily Court $1,000,000 $381.10 568 El Capitan Dr $993,000 $435.34 135 Glasgow Cir $990,000 $380.77 511 Blackstone Ct $985,000 $496.47 211 El Sobrante $985,000 $520.89 965 Chesterfield Ln $978,000 $381.29 115 Saint James Ct $975,000 $422.44 300 Alviso Way $972,500 $547.89 845 Saint George Rd $950,000 $509.38

206 Stetson Dr $950,000 $461.39 637 Paradise Valley Ct S $949,000 $536.46 114 Center Ct $945,000 $438.31 373 Squirrel Ridge Way $935,000 $481.71 1258 Silverwood Ct $928,000 $453.79 26 Cedar Hollow Dr $925,000 $430.43 449 Everett Dr $925,000 $416.85 199 Verde Mesa Dr $920,000 $733.65 608 Elworthy Ranch Ln $910,000 $504.16 3069 Griffon St E $910,000 $533.41 40 Monaco Ct $890,000 $523.53 129 Valle Vista Dr $875,000 $461.01 711 Glasgow Cir $866,000 $515.78 1199 River Rock Ln $840,000 $610.91 459 El Capitan Dr $830,000 $503.03 516 Rolling Hills Ln $827,500 $424.79 1647 Harlan Dr $825,000 $499.39 1718 S Clear Creek Pl $820,000 $394.23 32 Sage Hill Ct $768,000 $470.59 365 Gil Blas Rd $727,350 $563.40

Trying to figure out your next move? Need numbers and answers to your fix up questions to make your decision? Nancy and I will be happy to provide you with a personal consultation, including a multi-dimensional analysis of your home’s current value, to help you figure it out. No charge and no pressure just our honest opinions. Please call 925-989-6086 or send me an email joecombs@thecombsteam.com. Nancy and I have more than 3,000 email subscribers who receive this article in advance of publication. Sign up on our website or just send me an email and we can add you to the list. I assure you no spam will follow. Wishing you a joyous Holiday Season!

Danville 4 Bedroom


Orinda Single Story




Nicely updated 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath in lovely Danville neighborhood. Community pool and tennis courts. Priced to sell $899,000.

Nicely updated 3 bedroom Single Story, Views and Amazing Schools. Priced To Sell $799,000!

Executive Luxury Home

Danville Single Story, Great Location




Mt. Diablo views from this casually elegant & completely luxurious Braddock Logan model home. 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath. Priced to sell $1,899,000

Alamo Single Story Ranch

SO Three bedroom single story with a creek view. Priced to sell $699,000

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

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