The Valley Sentinel_November 2020

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Exchange Club Donation to Discovery Center

New Shoreline Park Be a Pup Pro! Bridging the Nature Gap How You Can Support Your Parks Salmon Migration Season

The San Ramon Valley Exchange Club presented over $1,000 to Discovery Counseling Center. This is intended to help local youth face COVID 19 as they tried to cope with issues created by Shelter in Place. This program will help The Discovery Counseling Center’s mission to address child abuse prevention and child safety issues here.


Postmaster: Dated Material


Left to right: Judy Lloyd, Discovery Counseling Center CEO Kathy Chiverton, Danville Mayor Karen Stepper, Tim White

Sentinel Newspapers, Inc. P.O. Box 1309 Danville, CA 94526 925-820-6047

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Plus many more fun activities for kids and families!

As we slowly adjust to guidelines for the reopening of local businesses, we want to show you that there are places to go, boutiques to see in downtown Danville. Shop Small, Live Locally and enjoy the wonderful offerings your local businesses provide so close to home. Here we see a gift basket assembled by Danville Area Chamber of Commerce Board member Kim Lindeberg to help raise money for the DACC “small Business Recovery Fund”. Left to Right: Cottage Jewel Proprietor Marcia Harmon, Danville Mayor Karen Stepper, and two visitors to Marcia’s ‘unique boutique,’ Cottage Jewel.

Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) By James M. Hale

Each September, the calls and songs of returning Golden-crowned Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, signal that fall migration is in full swing. The vocalizations of these three species of birds have stood out to me since childhood, as the familiar sounds of fall and winter in Contra Costa County. Of the three species, the Goldencrowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) is my favorite. Its distinctive, haunting, three note song is unmistakable. The song is a descending in pitch, three note whistle. Its been described as ohdear-me; I’m-so-dreary; or I’m-sotired. This melancholy phrase led miners in the Yukon, at the turn of the twentieth century, to call the bird the “Weary Willie”. Some also referred to the Golden-crowned Sparrow as the “no-gold-here”

bird, because the song resembled the depressing phrase. The genus Zonotrichia is a compound word. The Greek “zone” means “band” or “girdle”, and the Greek thrix or trikhos means “hair”. The specific epithet atricapilla is Latin for “black-haired”; atri meaning “black” and capillus, meaning ”hair of the head”. The Goldencrowned Sparrow arrives earlier and stays longer on its California wintering grounds than almost any other species. The Golden-crowned Sparrow is very closely related to the Whitecrowned Sparrow, and is considered to be a sister species. Mitochondrial

DNA studies suggest the two species evolved into separate s p e c i e s ve r y re c e n t l y i n geologic time. William John Swainson established the genus Zonotrichia. The adult Golden-crowned Sparrow is a fairly large American sparrow measuring up to seven inches in length, with a wingspan that is almost ten inches. The tail is long and square-tipped. Males and females look alike, with males averaging slightly larger in size. Golden-crowned Sparrows are grayish-brown birds with light and dark streaks for camouflage. They have a gray nape and lighter underparts. The wings have two white bars. The upper mandible is darker than the lower mandible. The iris is brown. During the breeding season, the Golden-crowned

Sparrow has a broad goldenyellow, central crown stripe that becomes pale gray towards the back of the head. The slightly peaked, central stripe is lined on both sides with black. Immature and non-breeding birds may be c o n f u s e d w i t h i m m a t u re White-crowned or Whitethroated Sparrows, or female House Sparrows. The migratory Goldencrowned Sparrow is common along the western edge of North America, breeding from north-central Alaska to

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Senior Living

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See SPARROW page 3

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SPARROW from page 1

northwestern Washington. They winter from southern Alaska to Baja, California, and are generally found in brushy areas, particularly dense shrubs or chaparral. Golden-crowned Sparrows winter in flocks with conspecifics, however they often associate with Whitecrowned Sparrows and Darkeyed Juncos. Flock territories range in size from fifteen to twenty acres. Research suggest the gold and black stripes of the Golden-crowned Sparrow signal social status in wintering flocks, and re d u c e t h e i n c i d e n c e o f conflicts between birds. Golden-crowned Sparrows forage for seeds and invertebrates on the ground by scratching and p e c k i n g . S e e d s, b e r r i e s, buds, and insects supplement t h e i r d i e t . E c o l o g i c a l l y, Golden-crowned Sparrows are significant destroyers of weed seeds on the Pacific Slope. A variety of ryegrasses, fescues, bromes, pigweeds, chickweeds, mulleins, Filarees, knotweeds, and poison oak are known foods. Pa i r b o n d s r e m a i n strong, and males will follow f e m a l e s w h i l e f o ra g i n g .

Golden-crowned Sparrows ex h i b i t we i g h t g a i n s i n mid-winter, and in spring, just before migration. The breeding season begins in late May, and in favorable years runs to early August. The cup nest is constructed by the female of dried plant material and lined with hair, fine grasses, and feathers. It is typically hidden on the ground, or rarely on a low branch. Clutch size ranges from three to five eggs, with five eggs being most common. The oval eggs are green with reddishbrown spots. Incubation is from eleven to fourteen days. Both parents feed the young, which fledge within twelve d ays. T h e o l d e s t k n ow n Golden-crowned Sparrow lived at least ten years and six months. A variety of predators feed on the Golden-crowned Sparrow. Their populations are stable, or expanding throughout their range. The song of the Golden-crowned Sparrow will forever remain familiar and endearing to me. James M. Hale is a wildlife biologist, ethnobiologist, and ecological consultant based in Contra Costa County. Please visit his website at www.

The Town is recruiting for 15 volunteer positions on Town Commissions: Arts Advisory Board – Youth Member (1) 2-year term Parks, Recreation and Arts Commission (2) 4-year terms Heritage Resource Commission (3) 4-year terms Planning Commission (5) 4-year terms Design Review Board (1) 4-year terms CCC Advisory Council on Aging (1) 2-year term CCC Mosquito and Vector Control District (1) 4-year term CCC Library Commission (1) 2-year term Applications are due December 1, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. Members will be appointed on January 12, 2021. Applications are available on the Town website at For more information, contact City Clerk Marie Sunseri at (925)314-3401 or

Stay safe this Holiday Season!

Online Nature Programs By Beverly Lane, President, East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors

Although in-person, inpark nature programs have been on hold for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, East Bay Regional Park District naturalists have been active nonetheless, producing all kinds of educational and entertaining videos. The videos range the spectrum of natural history topics: lizards, ground squirrels, tarantulas, bats, birds, geology and flower dissection, to mention just a few. There are also virtual t o u rs o f re g i o n a l p a r k s, including Pleasanton Ridge, Alameda Creek, Las Trampas, and the future regional park at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. S o n g s a n d Stories is a series for the youngest learners, great for supplementing online schoolwork. The kids can learn the importance of habitat, find out about the food chain, or see how animals, including us, scope out their surroundings using their five senses. There are games as well. Try out nature bingo, or play “Bat and Moth,” which resembles “Marco Polo.” All this and more can be viewed by visiting the Park District website at www.

And the Park District and Timelooper, Inc. have developed virtual tours of selected Regional Parks. People can now virtually visit the parks to discover more about these lands and their unique stories. To experience the parks in Virtual Reality, download the Timelooper App onto a tablet or smartphone from the App Store or Google Play. Once the App is downloaded onto your device, follow the steps on the screen to find “East Bay Regional Park District” in the San Francisco Bay section of the app. Of course most of the regional parks and trails are open for hiking, bicycling and riding, although picnic areas are still closed and large group gatherings are not allowed. Parks that remain closed are Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, Little Hills Picnic Ranch in San Ramon, Bay Point Regional Shoreline in Bay Point, Morgan Territory and Round Valley Regional Preserves east of Mt. Diablo, and Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County. All facilities at Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area in Walnut Creek are closed, but visitors can walk through Castle Rock to access the Stage Road Trail in Diablo Foothills Regional Park. Although the visitor centers and in-person naturalist programs are not available at Black Diamond Mines in Antioch and Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, both parks are open for hiking and riding.

For up-to-date information on the status of your favorite regional park, visit the District website at, and click on “COVID-19 & WildfireRelated Closures” at the top of any page. During fire season red-alerts, please notice which additional parks are closed temporarily for fire safety. And while you are out in the parks, please remember to maintain social distance from other park visitors. Carry a mask to use when social distancing is impossible on narrow trails and at gates. Please also keep your dog on leash on paved trails, in developed park areas, and when grazing cattle are nearby. An exception is Point Isabel in Richmond, where dogs are okay offleash throughout the park. Dogs are permitted off-leash in the backcountry, as long as they are under the owner’s control. This means the dogs will come when called, don’t chase wildlife or cows, and don’t have uninvited interactions with other park visitors. Also please remember to pick up your dog’s litter and deposit it in trash cans. Don’t leave the bags along the trail for someone else to deal with. T h e Pa r k D i s t r i c t board and staff appreciate everyone’s cooperation during these difficult times. We ’ l l l o o k f o r w a r d t o resuming normal operations as soon as health department mandates permit. November 2020

Joint Statement of the Bay Area Health Officers Bay Area Health Officials Fight Flu, Urge Flu Shots Staying up-to-date on preventive vaccines is even more important during COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials from across the Bay Area are asking the public to fight the flu by getting the annual vaccination for influenza right now. Each winter, people sick with flu crowd hospitals and urgent care clinics, resources that may be strained due t o C OV I D - 1 9 . E a r l y a n d timely flu shots can prevent a disease that hospitalizes 200,000 Americans every year. It is important to get a new flu vaccine each year. The flu vaccine offers protection for many months, but not forever. Also, the strains of influenza circulating in the community change over time, and the current vaccine offers protection against those strains. To keep yourself and your family out of the hospital, doctors recommend an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months or older. The flu shot is a safe, effective way to reduce your chance of missing work or ending up in the hospital due to severe

flu. Symptoms of the flu can be similar to early symptoms of COVID-19, meaning that this year, people with flu symptoms may require a C OV I D - 1 9 t e s t a n d m ay need to stay home from work and isolate away from their families while awaiting results. In the Bay Area, as is the case across the state and the country, the percentage of children up to date on immunizations has fallen as parents delay routine visits to their pediatricians, which is a serious concern. An annual flu shot visit is a great time for kids to catch up on all vaccinations. For those with insurance, under the Affordable Care Act, a flu shot is available without cost as a preventive service from your regular doctor or most pharmacies. For those without health insurance, or anyone who finds it more convenient, there are many opportunities to get a free flu shot at community clinics, COVID-19 test sites, or mass vaccination events. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu is not

COVID-19, which is caused by a different virus. Flu is not the same as the common cold, which is caused by different viruses. It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective after you get the shot, so getting vaccinated in advance of the arrival of severe flu in the Bay Area offers the best protection. While the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, it is especially important for pregnant women, children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. People who live in the same household with someone at high risk can help protect that person from severe flu by getting a flu shot. Health officials advise i n d i v i d u a l s t o t a ke t h e following steps to protect themselves and loved ones from flu: • Get the flu vaccine every year. • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an

Contra Costa Responds Quickly to Climbing COVID-19 Cases • Indoor movie theaters With data from the past week showing a marked increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Contra Costa County, health officials are taking steps to protect the community with modest changes to local health orders. Contra Costa entered the orange tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Oct. 27, triggering an expansion of community reopening activities in the county. But since that date, the average daily number of new cases in the county has grown substantially higher. If the trend continues, the county is at risk of moving backward into the morerestrictive red tier of the state’s reopening plan as soon as the week of November 9. In the meantime, Contra Costa has amended its health orders to rein in some of the riskier indoor activities permitted under the orange tier in hopes of preventing outbreaks and keeping the county out of the red. Contra Costa County’s health officer issued new orders today limiting the number of spectators allowed at professional and collegiate

sporting events, while also reimposing restrictions on other high-risk activities. The health order on sporting events limits the number of spectators at pro or college games to 25 people from no more than three different households. This is consistent with the County’s guidance on private social gatherings, said Dr. Chris Farnitano, the County’s health officer. The health officer also issued another order restoring stricter limitations on high-risk activities, such as prolonged indoor gatherings and gatherings involving eating and drinking where masks must be removed. Wearing face coverings when around others from outside your household is one of the most effective ways people can stop the spread of COVID, Dr. Farnitano said. Under the new order, select high-risk activities must be modified: • Outdoor bars prohibited (except where allowed under restaurant guidance with drinks as part of a meal) • Indoor dining allowed at a maximum of 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy and 200 people)

can operate at a maximum 25% of occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy or 200 people) • Religious services indoors allowed at a maximum 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy or 200 people) • Cardrooms and satellite wagering sites can’t operate indoors (they previously could operate indoors at 25% capacity) “We believe these measures are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID in our community,” Dr. Farnitano said. The state allows counties to impose stricter standards so local health departments can respond to circumstances in their communities. The order in Contra Costa will go into effect Friday, Nov. 6. Over the past months, the Bay Area counties have made the decisions they’ve felt best around opening or not opening businesses and activities. San Francisco pulled back on their timeline for opening last week. Alameda and Santa Clara have all taken a slower pace than the state tier system allows. All three of these counties are essentially operating See RESPONSE page 5

THE VALLEY SENTINEL alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Cover your cough and sneezes. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. • Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home when they are sick. • Sy m p t o m s o f t h e flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy

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nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. • Wear a face covering and maintain at least a six-foot distance from others in public settings. For more information about flu, visit flu. Find more locations near you that offer flu vaccine using the Vaccine Finder.

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Hope Hospice Honors Veterans With Special Recognition Program Fo r H o p e H o s p i c e clinicians, proving compassionate end-of-life care to a patient who is a military veteran is a special privilege, and the local agency finds creative ways to acknowledge and commemorate military service. Over the past five years, an average of nearly 10 percent of Hope Hospice patients spent many of their prime years in service to others as a member of our nation’s armed forces. Volunteer Thais Carlucci heads up Hope’s Veteran Blanket Program. She procures soft fleece fabric in designs themed after four major military branches (Navy, Marines, Army, and Air Force) to make cozy lap blankets. An American flag motif is used for patients who served in any of the smaller branches, such as the U.S. Coast Guard. Hope’s medical social workers present a blanket in the appropriate design to the patient and family during the admissions process. The blanket program c o m m e n c e d i n 2 01 6 , inspired by discussion in an interdisciplinary team meeting on how Hope might honor patients with military service. Carlucci, who has service members in her own family, suggested the idea of a themed blanket, since a comfort item is a welcomed gift. Recently, Hope created another piece of appreciation: a special lapel pin inscribed with the message “Hope Hospice Honors Veterans.” Not all patients want to or are able to wear their pin, so a patriotic stand lets families display it the bedside for visual enjoyment.

Hope Hospice Home Health Aide Jose Benitez presents a veteran appreciation pin to patient Norman Thomas, who also displays his U.S. Army–themed lap blanket crafted by Hope’s Volunteer Services Department team members.

H o p e ’ s Ve t e r a n s Appreciation Program could not happen without the support of the American Legion Post 237, based in Pleasanton. Legion member Earl Stevens, who also volunteers for Hope Hospice, was instrumental in connecting Hope with the Legion, which now annually donates funds to cover the cost of fabric. The number of blankets needed each year varies, but Carlucci says she and other volunteers find themselves making at least 30. “Feedback from patient families over the years has been that family members keep the blankets long after the patient has passed on, as a warm memory.”

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San Ramon Chamber of Commerce announces the recipients of its 36th Annual Business and Community Awards The San Ramon Chamber of Commerce recently announced the recipients of its 36th Annual Night of the Stars Business and Community Awards. The San Ramon Chamber w i l l p re s e n t s i x awa rd s Thursday, December 3, 2020: Citizen of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Essential Workers of the Year, Educator of the Year, Green Company of the Year, and Ambassador of the Year. “The Business and Community Awards event is an opportunity to thank and give appreciation to individuals who have made a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e re n c e and contribution in our community,” said San Ramon Chamber of Commerce President, Stewart Bambino. “Login to honor those around us who help to make San Ramon an exceptional place to live and work.”

The honorees are the following: Citizen of the Year Award • M i t c h e l l H o p s o n , Leadership San Ramon Valley Board of Directors, Chair and Leader of the San Ramon Inclusiveness Committee, Treasurer of the Diablo Black Men’s Group Business Person of the Year • J o h n L e n g y a l , Enterprise Account Executive, Comcast Business Employees of the Year • A l l o f o u r F i r s t Responders, Hospital Workers and Essential Employees Educator of the Year • Dr. Patrick Joseph, Associate of Medicine, University of California Green Company of the Year • Republic Services, Tim Argenti, Community Relations Manager Ambassador of the Year

• L a u r a S t e i n b e c k , Pacific Wealth Planning, Inc. • T h e S a n R a m o n Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Awards will be held Thursday, December 3, 2020 via a Zoom Webinar at 4:00pm. • Register HERE and a link will be sent to you the afternoon before the event. • S p o n s o rs i n c l u d e Chevron, the City of San Ramon, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, City Center / Bishop Ranch / Sunset Development, and AMOS Productions. • For any questions, please call Kathy Fanning at the Chamber office at 925.242.0600 or e-mail at kathy.fanning@sanramon. org. The San Ramon Chamber of Commerce office is located at 2410 Camino Ramon, Suite 125, Bishop Ranch 6, San Ramon, CA 94583.

Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline Dedication News from the East Bay Regional Park District Park It column by Ned MacKay that the lightning strikes on Aug. A new 45-acre regional shoreline park is now open at the eastern touchdown of the Bay Bridge, offering spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the bridge’s new span between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island. The park is named Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline. Judge Sutter, now retired, had a distinguished career including time as a superior court judge, as Oakland’s vice mayor, and as a member of the Regional Park District board. He is also an environmental leader instrumental in obtaining and preserving public access to the bay shoreline. Fe a t u re s o f t h e n ew park include the newlyr e n o v a t e d B r i d g e Ya r d building, available for future public events; a walking trail to the recently constructed 600-foot observation pier; and improved parking with bicycle and pedestrian access to the Alex Zuckermann Bay Bridge Trail, which leads out to Treasure Island. The pier was constructed on supports remaining when the new bridge replaced the old earthquakedamaged structure. From 1903 to 1960 the site of the new park was the base of operations for the Key System electric railway, which transported passengers around the East Bay and to San Francisco via the lower deck of

the Bay Bridge. A substation located at the site provided electrical power to all the Key System trains. The site was also part of the Oakland Army Base, which was a transportation port and distribution terminal for the Pacific region from 1941 until it closed in 1999. The district will receive additional property from the Army. The 1930s-era Bridge Yard building was the maintenance center for the Key System trains. It will be the activity hub for the park, with interpretive and recreational programming, equipment rentals, food concessionaires, and space for public events and conferences. The 24,000 square-foot building was renovated by Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority, and has been leased to the Park District by Caltrans. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission and Bay Area Transportation Authority also provided funding. The Park District celebrated the opening with a “virtual” dedication, though with some onsite participants on Wednesday, Oct. 21. For information on how to watch the ceremony online, visit www. * * * Robert Doyle, general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, reports

15 caused major fires in five regional parks: Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Mission Peak, Sunol Wilderness and Ohlone Wilderness. All were part of the SCU Lightning Complex Fire, which burned almost 397,000 acres, most of it south of Sunol and Ohlone. About 6,000 acres of regional parkland burned. Doyle notes that the park district has been proactive for years in fire prevention efforts on its lands, especially in places where the regional parks adjoin urban and suburban neighborhoods. Efforts include proper trail and fire road maintenance, and the district’s grazing program. In the East Bay Hills, the district is carrying out an approved Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan, with funding from FEMA, Measure FF and grants. We are now in the height of the fire season, when vegetation has been dried by a long hot summer and the rains of winter have not yet arrived. So the district staff and board are urging everyone to be vigilant, abide by fire-related restrictions, and report any fires or dangerous activities by calling 9-1-1. Everyone’s cooperation is greatly appreciated. Visit the district website for up-to-date information on the status of all the regional parks, including fire-related closures, if any.

November 2020


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Virtual Events and News Bits November 17 The Alamo Danville Newcomers Club is a woman’s organization whose purpose is to enrich the lives of all its members and their families in a social manner. Check out our club by visiting www. alamodanvillenewcomers. com. We will be holding a virtual “Information Coffee” November 17 at 10am. This is a great way to find out more about our club. If you are interested, please contact us at alamodanvillenewcomers@ Hope Hospice of the East Bay 34th Annual Tree of Lights Hospice East Bay is proud to be celebrating our 34th annual Tree of Lights! These ceremonies have provided a way for families and friends to honor their loved ones and find solace in the symbolism of light as the names of their loved ones are read. The funds raised by these ceremonies make it possible for Hospice East Bay to provide care to patients who are not covered by insurance. Your support also allows us to offer additional services and programs, such as music therapy and children’s grief programs for the families in our care. Our ceremony for Danville will be held virtually on Friday, November 20, at 5:30pm Our ceremony for Alamo will be held virtually on Tuesday, November 24, at 5:00pm Our ceremony for Blackhawk will be held virtually on Sunday, December 4, at 5pm. Note: Some locations may allow guests to congregate safely with social distancing guidelines. Please visit our website and social media for more updates: https://www.

November 20 Online Cooking Series Debuts Enjoy Date Night at home with Compassionate Cravings When the weather outside gets frightful, join us for a meal that is tasty and delightful as the Town of Danville introduces a new series of virtual cooking classes. Instructor Carol Jeha of Compassionate Cravings, comes from a family that cooks. Her passion for food and cooking sparked from spending hours in the kitchen helping her mother, grandmother and aunt prep dinner for very large family get togethers. After marriage she started a gourmet hotdog and ice cream shop that grew for 2 years before selling it to purchase a pizza and pasta restaurant that she helped develop for 20 years. Now she has extended her passion to teaching a class during a pandemic along with hosting her own YouTube channel where she makes a variety of desserts and dishes centered around using vegan ingredients. With the purchase of a ticket, participants will receive a shopping list of ingredients to prep ahead of time and a Zoom link emailed prior to the class. Instructions on ingredients that may need defrosting or prep work beforehand will also be included in that email. Each recipe has alternative protein and product options to best suit any dietary need such as vegetarian, gluten free and food allergies. There are two classes scheduled for the remainder of 2020: November 20: Homemade “Adult Mac and Cheese” and a green salad appetizer. December 19: Stuffed Artichoke Hearts with hummus. Classes are held on Zoom at 7:00pm. Tickets are $35 each.

December 10 Jim Brickman Supports The San Ramon Performing Arts Center with Comfort & Joy At Home Live! Virtually Jim Brickman is donating to theatres across the US this holiday season by performing virtual concerts complete with Interactive Zoom Rooms, Meet & Greets and Christmas Gifts delivered to your door.

This concert will happen on Thursday, December 10, at 7pm, on your couch, your bed, your comfy chair. Enjoy a one of a kind personal c o n c e r t ex p e r i e n c e w i t h Jim Brickman and support your local theatre. Tickets are $125, $75, $40 includes I n t e ra c t i ve Z o o m Ro o m , Meet & Greets and Christmas Gifts delivered to your door. Tickets on Sale at www.

December 11 Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Virtual Hanukkah Celebration Come join us for a secular humanistic menorah lighting and naming ceremony. Bring your menorah and candles. We will also play dreidel virtually. Friday, December 11th from 7-8pm. We ask for a donation of $10 for non-member adults. Please contact Jamie at for the registration link.

Danville Facilities Begin Limited Reopening

Community Center and Senior Center Front Counter Now Open the Village Theatre Art Gallery California Dreaming: Finding The Town of Danville’s Recreation, Arts and Community Services has reopened two of its facilities for front counter service as of Monday, November 2, 2020. The two facilities are the Danville Senior Center, 172 E. Prospect Avenue, and the Community Center, 420 Front St. Members of the community can come in to register for programs, make payments, or ask questions from 8:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. This marks the first reopening since public facilities were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later this month, patrons will also be able to return to

on an appointment only basis. Appointments can be made from Monday, November 9, 2020 through Thanksgiving weekend. Starting Monday, November 30, 2020, the gallery will then open to walk-ins as well as appointments. Walk-in hours are Tuesday-Thursday from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. To make an appointment, visitors should go to the Village Theatre Art Gallery webpage at villagetheatreartgallery. The current exhibit showing in the Village Theatre Art Gallery is

Beauty in My Own Backyard. This exhibit will be on display through December 18, 2020. Patrons are asked to follow the posted COVID-19 guidelines before entering a Town of Danville facility. For questions regarding the Coronavirus Health Order or for COVID-19 updates, go to www.danville. For more information on the Senior Center, call (925) 314-3430. For information on the Danville Community Center, call (925) 314-3400. For more information on the Village Theatre Art Gallery call (925) 314-3467.

RESPONSE from page 3

Costa – above the orange-tier benchmark of fewer than 4 per 100,000 people. If those numbers hold for another week or increase, Contra Costa will move back into the more restrictive red tier. In addition, there were 40 people hospitalized on Nov. 2 due to COVID in local hospitals, compared to a low point of 17 in mid-October.

For now, other activities not cited in the new order will still be allowed under orangetier criteria, including indoor swimming pools and indoor family entertainment centers can continue “naturally distanced” activities, such as bowling alleys, escape rooms and climbing-wall gyms, at 25% occupancy. For more information, visit

at red tier level restrictions even though they are in orange or yellow tiers. Contra Costa County is still in the orange tier, but case rates are increasing again into the more restrictive red-tier level. The most recent data show an adjusted rate of 4.9 daily cases per 100,000 people in Contra

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Artist in Residence deadline coming soon 2021 residencies. Create in The November 15 application deadline for the 2021 Travis Bogard residencies is fast approaching! To all scholars, playwrights and critics: The Eugene O’Neill Fo u n d a t i o n , Ta o H o u s e Trav i s B o g a rd A r t i s t i n Residence Program is accepting applications for

For more information or to buy tickets visit vtshows or call 925-314-3400.

the serenity and atmosphere that was so instrumental to the writing of Eugene O’Neill. Fellows work at Tao House, his home in the hills above Danville, California. Applications and guidelines can be downloaded at artist-in-residence-program

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Recycles Dayth is November 15

dge online Take our rec ycling ple th for the chance 30 r be vem by No ! to win zero-waste prizes m www.ContraCostaRe Visit /hhw to learn how to properly dispose of hazardous waste. It is illegal and dangerous to put these items in any of your carts!

Holiday Giving page 6


November 2020

NBC Bay Area / Safeway Annual Food Drive is Happening in November and December The Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley will be supporting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano by helping publicize the NBC Bay Area / Safeway food drive in November. The Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley is teaming up again with NBC Bay Area and Safeway Grocery Stores to help support the 16th Annual Food Drive. The Food Drive’s theme this year is “Nourishing Neighbors”, reminding everyone that we’re all in this together, and that you never know who might need a little extra help this holiday season. Safeway will have scannable tickets at every cash register which will be for a $10 donation to the Food Bank of Contra Costa/Solano. Every donation will go directly to help provide food to our neighbors who are most in need this holiday season.

In past years, the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley would have volunteers from the Kiwanis Club, Key Club high-schoolers, members of the National Charity League, Boys Team Charities, and friends/ family, to help get the word out. This year, due to Covid concerns, this is not possible. Instead, Kiwanis will be mobilizing a social media campaign to spread the word about the Food Drive beyond just those who shop at Safeway on one specific day. Our goal is to get the word out about the need and get as many members of the community to donate at Safeway as possible. “In past years we’ve been outside the stores, encouraging shoppers to buy $10 bags of food for the Food Bank. However, in the time of Covid, we will be helping to spread the word about the Food Drive and the importance of continuing to donate. The Food Bank will use whatever funds the community

donates to buy non-perishables items and produce and will help with the logistics of distributing food to those in need. It’s great to see such community support for the work of the Food Bank,” says Nancy Bray, Chair of the Kiwanis 2020 Food Drive. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Founded in 1915 in Detroit and with headquarters now in Indianapolis, Kiwanis International is a thriving organization of service and community minded individuals who support children and young adults around the world. More than 600,000 Kiwanis family members in 96 countries make their mark by responding to the needs of their communities and pooling their resources to address worldwide issues. Additional information may be obtained on the Kiwanis website:

California Symphony Rings In Holiday Season

It’s A Cello-Bration! • Saturday, November 14 Season In Song • Saturday, December 12 C a l i f o r n i a Sy m p h o ny announced today the full programs for the final concerts in its 2020 video concert series. IT’S A CELLO-BRATION, premiering November 14 at 7 p.m., will feature “rock star cellist,” composer, and returning favorite Joshua Roman and the California Symphony String Quartet; and SEASON IN SONG, premiering December 12 at 7 p.m. will continue the festivities with Grammy-winning mezzosoprano Kelley O’Connor, standout tenor Nicholas Phan, and the California Symphony Brass Quintet performing seasonal selections and holiday favorites. The free concerts will be simultaneously broadcast on Walnut Creek’s local public access TV channel and online at IT’S A CELLO-BRATION features solo performances by Roman of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Capriccio per Siegfried Palm, Caroline Shaw’s In Manus Tuas, as well as an original composition. The California Symphony String Quartet, featuring Jennifer Cho (Concertmaster), Philip Santos (violin), Marcel Gemperli (viola) and Leighton Fong (cello), round out the program with 19th century English composer of color Samuel ColeridgeTaylor’s lesser known gem

Fantasiestücke for String Quartet Jennifer Higdon’s Amazing Grace, inspired by the hymn and other tunes popular in Appalachia. For the full program, visit www.californiasymphony. org/shows/cellobration. SEASON IN SONG features O’Connor and Phan performing a mix of traditional holiday favorites and lesser known pieces to get everyone in the holiday spirit, along with the California Symphony Brass Quintet featuring William H a r vey ( t r u m p e t ) , S c o t t Macomber (trumpet), Meredith Brown (French horn), Don Benham (Principal trombone) and Forrest Byram (Principal tuba). Highlights include Byram’s original arrangements of “Dreidel Song” and “O Hanukkah,” Handel’s “Joy to the World” and Richard S. Willis’ “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.” For details, visit www. season_in_song. Audiences are invited to tune in 30 minutes prior to each concert to hear Maestro Cabrera in conversation with the featured artists. California Symphony’s video concert programs are supported by Hewlett Foundation, Lesher Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Electric Bicycle Rebate Pilot Program Launches in Contra emissions, eliminate parking Costa County gas dilemmas, and can help bridge

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Residents of Contra Costa County can now receive cash rebates for new electric bicycles (e-bikes) through a pilot program launched by 511 Contra Costa (511CC). A limited number of $150 rebates ($300 for low income residents) are available for residents of each Contra Costa city to assist in the purchase of e-bikes, e-bike conversion kits, and electric mopeds (with a maximum speed less than 30 mph). E-bikes are clean fuel vehicles that provide riders with an excellent alternative to driving when traveling short to medium distances on local streets. “We’re proud to partner with 511 Contra Costa on this effort”, states Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Randell Iwasaki. “E-bikes offer several key benefits as an alternative to driving - they reduce congestion, reduce greenhouse

those first and last mile trips to transit – plus they are just really cool.” Post purchase rebates are available for county residents who purchase e-bikes on or after October 1, 2020, and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. “One of our goals is to introduce Contra Costa residents to this energy efficient mode of transportation by helping to reduce costs and raising awareness about the benefits of e-bikes in their communities,” said Kirsten Riker, Project Manager, 511CC. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s local Measure J sales tax is the funding source for this program and others like it to encourage alternatives to the single occupant vehicle. To learn more, visit for information about rules, resources, and current rebate availability by city.

Holiday Giving

November 2020

Model Trains running through the museum this holiday season! On November 21 the Museum of the San Ramon Valley will be opening a great family exhibit celebrating Christmas and Trains. Safety protocols will be observed. The 2020 holiday exhibit will bring several favorites back to the Museum. Model trains, including the Polar Express and Christmas trains, will appear. These are a delight to observe for young and old. Models of local historical buildings will be set up, including the Tassajara School, Danville Hotel, San Ramon General Store and SP Railroad Depot. New this year is a model of the New England Presbyterian Church which sat on Front Street from 1875 until it burned down in 1932. Christmas will be celebrated with Santa and his reindeer sailing around the ceiling, and a moving Ferris wheel and carousel. The Oak Tree Lighting will be honored with the Father Christmas outfit which was worn by

Carmine DeVivi who was the original Father Christmas. A small exhibit, “Women Win the Vote in California and the Country” will continue in the Waiting Room. As you visit the many great downtown shops, eat in one of the many great restaurants or are just downtown take a moment out and visit this fun family exhibit celebrating the greatest time of the year! The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is now open on Friday 1-4, Saturday10-1 and Sunday 12-3 with restrictions due to Covad 19. We have implemented a variety of procedures to ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable. We are also now offering a free monthly virtual program series about the history of our area and beyond. To learn more about this programs please visit our website museumsrv. org. The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is located at 205 Railroad Ave Danville CA 94526.


page 7

Heartfelt Wishes, Prose and Raffle to Benefit Museum of the San Ramon Valley The spirit of Danville’s public art Heart theme continues at Cottage Jewel, located at 391 Hartz Avenue in Danville. There will be a drawing to benefit the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. This multi-dimensional paper mâché PORTAL HEART was commissioned by shop proprietor Marcia Harmon to hold the positive-prose and notes of encouragement that patrons have been sharing throughout the pandemic. Stop by the shop to add your message and perhaps donate to the Museum for a chance to win this ever-growing Portal Heart ($5 donation per raffle ticket) Winner to be announced on December 1st. Come one, come all!

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Community Input We at The Valley Sentinel welcome comments and suggestions from the community at large. We love hearing from you! However, consideration is only given to those who provide their name, address and phone number. Two-way communication is essential for growth and understanding. Write us at P.O. Box 1309, Danville, 94526, email to drousset@valleysentinel. com, or call us at 925-820-6047. Thank you! —Denise Rousset, Publisher

Sentinels of Freedom provides the resources and support needed for severely wounded veterans to live active, engaged, and successful lives as they recover from the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of their injuries, learn to live with their disabilities, and work their way back to a life of complete self-sufficiency. To learn more about our organization please visit us at: (925) 380-6342

Senior Living page 8

November 2020

It’s Time to Review Your Medicare Coverage

By Seema Verma Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment season is underway, and I want to encourage all people with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plan premiums have fallen to historic lows, dropping an average of 34% over the last three years. Many plans are offering a new insulin benefit that limits the maximum cost to $35 for a 30-day supply. By shopping around, you may be able to save money and find a plan that better meets your needs. Open Enrollment runs through December 7 each year. This is the time when you can change your Medicare health or drug coverage for the following year. You can switch to Original Medicare, or join o r c h a n g e a M e d i c a re Advantage plan or Part D

prescription drug plan. Any new coverage you select takes effect January 1, 2021. Our updated Medicare Plan Finder (www.Medicare. gov/plan-compare) can help you compare the prices and benefits of Medicare Advantage plans, Original Medicare, Medicare drug plans, and Medigap policies. This mobilefriendly tool works on smart phones, tablets, and desktop computers. For beneficiaries who have created an account, we’ve personalized Plan Finder to generate a personal drug history so that prescription information will be autopopulated from personal Medicare claims history with accurate brand, dosage, and frequency information. But anyone can browse options without creating an account. Many Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans that include drug coverage are participating in a new insulin savings initiative. These plans now offer 30 days of insulin for $35 or less – an average savings of $446-per-year on out-of-pocket costs. To find a plan with lower-cost insulin, look for “Insulin Savings” on Medicare Plan Finder.

T h e re a re i m p o r t a n t differences between Original M e d i c a re a n d M e d i c a re Advantage. Here’s a brief summary: Original Medicare With Original Medicare, you can go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, anywhere in the U.S. In most cases, you don’t need a referral to see a specialist. For services covered under Medicare Part B, you usually pay 20% of the Medicareapproved amount after you meet your deductible. You also pay a monthly premium for Part B. If you choose to join a Part D drug plan, you’ll pay an additional monthly premium. There’s no yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket, unless you have supplemental coverage, such as Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap. Medigap can help pay your remaining out-of-pocket costs (like your 20% coinsurance). Or you can use coverage from a former employer or union, or Medicaid. Original Medicare covers most medically necessary services and supplies in

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B premium. Some plans may have a $0 premium or may help pay all or part of your Part B premiums. Plans have a yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket for services covered under Medicare Part A and Part B. Once you reach your plan’s limit, you pay nothing for services covered by Part A and Part B for the rest of the year. Plans must cover all medically necessary services that Original Medicare covers. Most plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as some vision, hearing, dental, benefits, as well as adult day health services, caregiver support, in-home support, and homebased palliative care. In some cases, you have to get a service or item approved ahead of time for the plan to cover it. If you’d like free, personalized counseling on what Medicare options are right for you, call the nonprofit State Health Insurance and Assistance Program, or SHIP. To find the SHIP program in your state, go to https://www. Or call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-6334227).

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hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care settings. It doesn’t cover some benefits, including vision and most dental care. In most cases, you don’t have to get a service or item approved ahead of time for Original Medicare to cover it. Medicare Advantage Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurers that provide your Medicare Part A and B benefits, in many cases through a managed network, similar to an HMO. In many cases, you’ll need to use doctors and other providers in the plan’s network and service area to get the lowest out-of-pocket costs. HMO model plans won’t cover providers outside the plan’s network and service area unless certain exceptions apply, such as emergency services. You may need to get a referral to see a specialist, even if the specialist is in your plan’s network. Out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Advantage vary, and plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs for certain services. You may have to pay a monthly plan premium in addition to your monthly Part

by Tami Anastasia

So much has happened this year. How do we embrace this holiday season and make it as meaningful as possible given the challenges we have faced? There are 5 things we can do to make these holidays meaningful: 1) change our expectations, 2) make modifications, 3) focus on what we CAN do, what we CAN change, and what we CAN control, 4) stay within the COVID safety guidelines, and 5) take A.C.T.I.O.N.© A . C . T. I . O. N . © i s a n acronym to help us create a holiday season as happy and as joyous as it can be. A - Acceptance. What we’ve been through has been

challenging, difficult and traumatic. However, we have to accept that COIVD is the way things are for now and we’re ALL being affected by it. We need to accept that the holidays are going to be different this year and we need to focus on the things we CAN change and CAN do. This could be the year we start new traditions, rituals and do all of the things we couldn’t do in the past that will make this holiday season more special and meaningful. C – Connect with others. One of the worst things about COVID has been the isolation and loneliness it’s caused. As we enter into the holiday season what better time to connect with others and create new holiday rituals. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. We need to reach out to them. Perhaps call family and friends, send holiday letters and cards via snail mail and

distance visits and events or virtual Facetime/Zoom for holiday happy hours or games. Post on Facebook/Instagram holiday greetings, gatherings & festivities. Participate in holiday volunteer projects. Connect with people we’ve lost touch with. T - Take time out. Make a conscious effort every day to do something festive. Ask yourself everyday – “what can I do today for 10 minutes that would be comforting and fun”? For example, go for walks to enjoy the decorations, cut out holiday coupons, enjoy holiday flowers, meditate, listen to holiday music, take photos, go through holiday catalogues, sip hot chocolate, order gifts, decorate. These will get us into the holiday spirit and it also reminds us to do things that add joy and happiness to our day. See ACTION page 9

Senior Living

page 9

November 2020 Sponsored Content

A Secure Retirement By Robert Cucchiaro

With the election around the corner (or perhaps decided by the time you read this) uncertainty has been one of the major themes in 2020. If you are retired or close to retirement, this can be quite nerve racking as you watch the fluctuations in your IRA and 401K plan statement each month. Believe it or not, despite all the uncertainty around the economy and the stock market, there is one area where the opinion of experts has actually been converging. And that is the opinion that all retires who lack a corporate pension should strongly consider creating ACTION from page 8

I - Identify the “joys” of the holidays. Make a list of all the things we can do during the holiday season that bring happiness and commit to doing 1-2 of those activities per day. Some examples are: Put up holiday decorations. Go for drives or strolls to look at holiday lights. Make gingerbread houses. Sing holiday songs, read stories, listen to music. Bake holiday goodies. Create a holiday scrapbook. Start a gratitude or holiday journal. Watch favorite holiday movies. 0 - Optimistic. There is a tendency for us to focus on the things we have no control over when we’re in a crisis or a pandemic. This season gives us the opportunity to put our time and energy into the things that are positive – that make us smile, make us happy and are personally meaningful. It’s so easy for us to focus on what we’re going to be missing but there are many aspects of the season we can embrace and make our own. N – Negativity. Reduce the amount of negativity we allow into our life. For example, limit exposure to the news, spend less time with people who are judgmental and critical. Set boundaries and say “NO” to people who may be asking too much or don’t follow the safety guidelines

one themselves through the purchase of an annuity. While Suze Orman and Ken Fisher claim to hate annuities, the fact is, an annuity is just a contract between an investor and an insurance company. Annuities come in all different forms and can be highly customized to one’s needs. In the past 6 months we’ve seen articles advocating for the use of annuities in retirement p o r t f o l i o s f ro m B a ro n ’s, Kiplinger’s, Forbes, Goldman Sachs, American Funds and Wellington. Of note here is the fact that none of those companies are in the business of selling annuities, making their recommendation all the more powerful. Why are annuities all of a sudden in favor with these prestigious publications and investment companies? Here are just a few reasons though there are many more than this: and put you at higher risk of getting sick. Instead, replace the negativity by providing and accepting compliments, receive and send messages of love and friendship, express your appreciation and gratitude, watch on TV or attend online spiritual services, concerts and festivities that fill your soul. When we think of celebrating the holiday season this year, think of what Leo Buscaglia once said: “too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” As you take A.C.T.I.O.N.© …. I wish you a safe, happy and healthy Holiday Season. Tami Anastasia, M.A. is the founder of TAMS Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support. She has a private counseling practice and provides in person, online and phone support, guidance and care strategies for families caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Tami also facilitates four Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Groups and conducts Monthly Dementia Caregiver Workshops with ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine as well as One-toOne Consultation sessions via video conference. Contact Tami at (408) 377-4716, or email her at: tamswellness@gmail. com, or on her website: www.

1) Most people severely underestimate how much money they will need to retire comfortably and maintain their current standard of living. An annuity helps with this by increasing the amount of income one receives each month 2) Even the wealthiest of retirees fears outliving their money. An annuity can be designed to guarantee you never outlive your money 3) The traditional stock & bond portfolio is subject to low interest rates and high market volatility. An annuity can be designed to mitigate both of these risks 4) And finally, a portfolio comprised of dividend paying stock is subject to pay cuts and portfolio declines of 50% this year in the case of energy stocks and 20%+ in the case of financial services stocks. An annuity can provide a greater level of income without a pay cut. If an annuity can help retirees with all these concerns, why do “experts” like Suze Orman and Ken Fisher claim to hate them? Annuities can be quite simple or extraordinarily complex. With complexity comes the AdvAnced LAser

call at 925-927-1900 or email me at Robert Cucchiaro is a Certified Financial Planner and owner of Summit Wealth & Retirement, a financial planning firm that has been serving Danville for over 30 years. Summit Wealth has 3 Certified Financial Planners (CFP®), a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), an MBA and a Tax Director (EA) all on staff and in Danville. Visit us at www. summitwealthandretirement. com

potential for misunderstanding. Therefore, we recommend all retirees and near retirees hire an independent advisor, and preferably one who has obtained the CFP® (certified financial planner) designation. This is the highest standard when it comes to financial planning and helps assure you are working with a professional who can design your ideal retirement plan, and not an insurance salesman. If you want a second opinion on your retirement & investment accounts, give us a


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AUTO March 2009 November 2020

2020 Kia Forte GT By David and Judy Colman

The inventive engineers at Kia have fashioned a truly delectable sport sedan for 2020 called the Forte GT. Now the term “GT” is without doubt the most overused, misunderstood identifier in the history of car branding. Although originally used specifically to identify grand touring automobiles, it has been so freely applied to anything with wheels that the original focus on grand touring has evaporated altogether. Today, when you see that Kia has appended the GT moniker to its compact Forte economy sedan, you’re likely to snort and remark, “Yeah, right!” But to dismiss the Forte GT as just another grand touring imposter would be very wrong. Because this latest addition to the Kia family is not only the real GT deal, but one of the very best small sedans you can buy at any price. At a list of $22,290, and a loaded price of $26,445, the new Forte GT is a sensational bargain, and a real treasure for the enthusiast. Where most GT enhancements start and end with visual styling tweaks, K i a c o n s t r u c t s t h e i r GT from the suspension up, with MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear fully independent design Kia only adds the styling bits you can see after all the hard work is done to the mechanical bits that you can’t see. Here’s a brief recap of the underpinnings that distinguish the Forte GT from the economy car Forte: 201hp turbo motor versus 147hp base motor; paddle

shifted 7-speed dual clutch transmission (or 6-speed manual) versus CVT; 18 inch machined finish alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 4 radials (225/40R18) versus 17 inch rims with mediocre all season rubber. If those tasty inducements aren’t enough to whet your appetite for speed, there’s a slew of other hardcore improvements to enjoy, like a tightly sprung sporttuned suspension, a single pipe, dual tip sport muffler, a sport styled leather steering wheel, and a subtle ensemble of understated appearance/ aero improvements. This Kia receives reconfigured “GTLine” front and rear bumper fascia, GT Line sport side sills and GT Line rear deck spoiler. Finished in Gravity Grey over black premium leatherette, our test sample looked potent without resorting to the visual bragging you’ve come to expect from performance packages. Rather, Kia stylists have held the flamboyance to a minimum, with “GT”

embroidered headrests, red GT center caps for the alloy rims, red stitching on the steering wheel rim, and red highlights woven into the grill and rear diffuser strakes. Our sample carried a few upgrades that we would recommend. The incomparable Sport Cup tires add just $200, and the GT2 package adds $2,200 for blind spot warning, pedestrian

avoidance, parking distance warning, rear cross traffic alert, heated and vented Sofino leatherette front seats, power sunroof, and wireless phone charger. All in all, a good investment at a moderate price. The minute I climbed behind the wheel of the Forte GT to do a picture shoot of it, I knew there was something

very special about this sedan. In fact, when I returned home after the photo session, the first thing I said to my wife was “We’ve got ourselves a little hot rod here.” On first acquaintance, the steering feel of the GT instantly announces that this is a very special piece of equipment. It takes just 2.4 turns to run the steering rack from lock to lock, and the GT does a U-Turn in only 34.8 feet. Unlike the droves of boring machines we have cycled through recently, with their socalled “Sport” driving modes, none of them hold a candle to the steering of the Forte GT for instant feedback, precision of placement, or sensitivity to touch. And that’s with the GT in its “Normal” drive mode. Place it in “Sport” mode and you’ll feel like you’re racing an

open wheel formula car at the Bondurant School. The Sport Cup 4 Michelin tires offer phenomenal grip. On one particular decreasing radius freeway onramp, we pushed these tires as hard a s we c o u l d a n d n eve r experienced an iota of side slip. The 201hp turbo motor is a joy to manipulate with the paddle shift transmission. It comes up on boost instantly, with no lag and a great note from the “High Flow Active Exhaust” to accompany its trip to redline. Although the GT is supplied with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission as standard, Kia has thoughtfully accommodated all driving enthusiasts by making the GT available with a no extra cost 6-speed manual. Kia has recently enjoyed great sporting success with their Stinger line of vehicles. The design of the Forte GT builds on the stimulating appearance of the Stinger by importing the more expensive car’s looks and presence to the Forte model line. So successful has Kia been in this endeavor that they have created a viable and less expensive alternative to the king of the compact racers, the Volkswagen GTI. 2020 KIA FORTE GT ENGINE: 1.6 liter inline 4, gas direct injection, turbocharger H O R S E P OW E R : 201hp@6000rpm TORQUE: 195lb.-ft.@15004500rpm FUEL CONSUMPTION: 27MPG City/35MPG Highway PRICE AS TESTED: $26,445 HYPES: Runs Circles Around Bimmers GRIPES: Only Had It For A Week STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10

November 2020


COVID-19 and the Holiday Season By Candace Andersen. Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors

With COVID-19 continuing to play a pivotal role in our lives, it certainly appears the virus will have a similar impact on the upcoming holiday season as well. While the holiday season is traditionally a time to give thanks, reflect on one’s blessings, and donate to those less fortunate, this year, such a mission will prove to be even more difficult to carry out. With hundreds of thousands of Americans having lost their lives due to the Coronavirus, and millions of Americans unemployed as a result of businesses being closed, the number of people in need of assistance is perhaps more widespread than at any other time in the history of our country. Fo r c o n s t i t u e n t s i n my district, and residents throughout Contra Costa C o u n t y, t h e re a re m a ny organizations who will be working tirelessly to give charity during the holiday season in light of COVID-19.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano is an essential service for those experiencing food insecurity. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the food bank has played a crucial role in providing nourishment for vulnerable populations in our county, serving some 178,000 people who depend on them for 75% of their daily groceries. The food bank, experiencing an increase in those needing services during COVID-19, remains open and committed to serving those individuals, while doing so in a safe and cautious manner. Though equipped with a tremendous staff, the food bank relies heavily on food distributions, donations, and a network of volunteers. Due to a recent volunteer shortage, however, the food bank is asking for healthy people to sign up for volunteer shifts. Accordingly, the food bank is limiting group sizes to allow for social distancing during each shift. For more information on the food bank, its services, how to donate or volunteer, visit, or call 925-676-7543. The Pleasant Hill-based Ve s t i a i s a n o t h e r g r e a t organization offering a wide variety of services for those in need, both during the holiday season and yearround.

Vestia offers support for at-risk individuals and families who have received services from the Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department (EHSD). In addition to its emergency food services, clothing, foster youth scholarships, and many other programs, Vestia’s “Holiday Helpers Warehouse” has played a crucial role during the holiday season each year in our county. Partnering with EHSD, the Holiday Helpers Warehouse connects generous donors in the community with people in need. Service groups, c o r p o ra t i o n s, c h u rc h e s, schools, and individuals have all been known to answer the call of generosity and goodwill, contributing items such as warm clothes, toys, books, and food to make the festive season special for our neighbors in need. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Vestia has had to alter its Holiday Helpers Wa re h o u s e p ro g ra m b u t tremendous need is still there. For more information on these changes, and how you can contribute, visit, or call 925521-5060. The Contra Costa Crisis Center’s annual Share the Spirit Grant Making Project will also be participating in

It’s Still Fire Season

News from the East Bay Regional Parks by Ned MacKay

Until the arrival of winter rains, we are still in the midst of a dangerous fire season. The SCU Lighting Complex Fire, which burned almost 400,000 acres, impacted five regional parks: Round Valley, Morgan Territory, Del Valle, Sunol Wilderness, and Ohlone Wilderness. All told, some 6,000 acres of regional parkland burned. Fortunately, no major park district structures were affected, and there were no injuries. As of late October, four of the five parks remain closed, though of course the situation is changeable. Del Valle has reopened on a limited basis. Park district rangers and firefighters are on high alert. And the public can help with the fire prevention effort by being alert as well, and following some common-sense rules: • Smoking is prohibited in the regional parks. This includes vaping.

• Be aware of Red Flag Warning, fire danger levels, and park fire safety rules. Cooperate with any posted or announced safety rules. • If you see a fire in a park, call 9-1-1 immediately. If possible, report the fire’s l o c a t i o n , s i z e, d i re c t i o n of burn, and whether any buildings are in the path. But don’t delay; leave immediately. Your personal safety is of paramount importance. • Be aware of your surroundings and your location. This is always a good idea, whether it’s fire season or not. • During a fire or any other emergency, cooperate with all instructions from firefighters, police and park staff. For its part, the park district maintains a professionally trained fire department with 16 fulltime firefighters and more than 34 on-call firefighters who have other district jobs

but are trained and available when needed. In the event of fire, the district’s two helicopters provide aerial observation to guide ground crews. The copters are equipped with Bambi buckets to drop water on fires. The district helps to reduce fire fuels by grazing about 65 percent of the parklands throughout the year with cattle, goats and sheep. Among other places, the animals are grazed selectively on a fuel break that extends for about 30 miles through the Oakland-Berkeley hills. It’s a zone between the parklands and adjacent residential neighborhoods designed to slow the advance of fire and create a space where firefighters can make a stand. An eight-member fuel reduction crew works yearround to improve fire safety by clearing brush, trimming trees, and carrying out prescribed, controlled burning when weather conditions permit.

the festive and charitable spirit this holiday season. In partnership with Bay Area News Group, the non-profit program serves vulnerable individuals and families in both Alameda and Contra Costa counties from November through January. The program brings together nonprofit organizations in both counties to contribute their expertise to the benefit of those in difficult situations. Bay Area News Group for years has chronicled the tales of courage, perseverance, and resolve exhibited by the individuals in need. The 2020 Share the Spirit stories will be published in print and digital editions of the East Bay Times throughout the holidays. For more information on the 2020 Share the Spirit, visit www. A pair of organizations that offer similar services throughout the year but would be extremely grateful for donations during the holiday season are the Monument Crisis Center and White Pony Express. Based in Pleasant Hill, the Monument Crisis Center provides food, education, and referrals to anyone in need. The Monument Crisis Center is currently holding emergency food distributions for anyone in need: Mondays, Circumstances can change rapidly. So for up-todate information about fire conditions, red flag warnings, and any park closures, visit the park district website at The information is right at the top of every website page. * * * And of course when you are out in the parks, don’t forget about social distancing of at least six feet. Bring along a mask to wear when

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Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. T h ey a re a l s o a c c e p t i n g donations of perishable and non-perishable food. To make a monetary contribution, text MCC to 41-444. For more information on the Monument Crisis Center, visit www.monumentcrisiscenter. org or call 925-825-7751. Dedicated to eliminating hunger and poverty in our communities, White Pony Express delivers food for free to 70+ nonprofits in our community while its General Store has distributed 500,000 articles of clothing, toys, and books directly and at PopUp Boutiques, where WPE partners with organizations in impoverished neighborhoods. For more information on how to help, visit www. or call 925-322-0604. With so many among us in dire need of a helping hand, it is heartwarming to know there is an abundance o f o rg a n i z a t i o n s i n o u r community so devoted to serving those neighbors of ours. While the holidays have always been a time for philanthropy and generosity, the Coronavirus has made these ideals all the more important and needed. If you have any questions on how you can contribute to this cause and the organizations mentioned, feel free to contact my office at 925-957-8860.

social distancing is difficult at gates and on narrow trails. And please pick up after your dog. Deposit the dog waste bags in trash receptacles. Don’t leave them trailside for others to have to handle. Everyone’s cooperation is appreciated. If we all work together, we’ll get back to a more normal mode of operation as soon as the pandemic status and health regulations make it possible.

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