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VALLEY

THE

SENTINEL always for the community VOl 19, nO 2

Inside this month:

Á la carte

Spring 2014

A La Carte Magazine Spring 2014 Inside... Taste of Spring Spring Drinks Top Picks The Changing Seasons

March 2014

www.valleysentinel.com

SPOTLIGHT

Tassahara One Room School nominated for National Register of Historic Places California’s nine member State Historical Review Board voted in February to nominate

ECRWSS

PRESORTED STANDARD US POSTAGE PAID DANVILLE, CA PERMIT NO. 70

See SCHOOLHOUSE page 7

The 12U San Ramon Slammers Baseball Club went 4-0 in weekend games over President’s Day to win the Pleasant Hill Baseball Association Tournament. Players (front) left to right: Luke Neate, Elijah Leonard, J.T. Noble, Logan Snow, Nate Rutchena, Christian Luciano, Griffin Bloom, Michael Santich, Jake Reno, Brandan Yan, Jake Snow, Chip Menard. Not pictured: Kevin Harioka. Coaches (in back) left to right: Scott Menard, Brian Snow, Greg Noble

Meet the American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

Postmaster: Dated Material

By James Hale

Sentinel Newspapers, Inc. 390 Diablo Road, Ste. 145 Danville, CA 94526 925-820-6047

The American Beaver (Castor canadensis) is the largest rodent in North America, weighing up to 75 pounds. Highly modified for an aquatic life, its large size, flat scaly tail, and webbed hind feet easily distinguish the beaver from any other native mammal. Its cousin, the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) is found in Europe and Asia. The North American beaver population once was more than 60 million, but as of 1988 varied between 6 and 12 million individuals. The largest North American concentration may still be in the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta. Extensive hunting for its water repellent fur and glands used for medicine and perfume was responsible for the dramatic decline in numbers.

Beavers harvest trees for food, dams, and lodges, which may flood waterways and interfere with other land uses. Trapping has helped to control some individuals and populations that are in conflict with human activities. Native Americans called beavers the “sacred center” of the land because this species creates such rich, watery habitat for otters, mammals, fish, frogs, turtles, birds, ducks, and other wildlife. About 10 to 14 million years ago giant beavers evolved in North America, and some survived until the end of the glacial epochs, perhaps as recently as 10,000 years ago. One of these ancient ancestors was as large as a black bear.

American Beavers are well adapted to their aquatic lifestyles. When submerged, clear membranes slide over and protect their eyes and valves close their nostrils and ears. The lips form a seal behind the incisors, allowing beavers to

This month’s Special Sections:

Kids Camps

page 8-9

Home & Garden page 10-11

chew while they are submerged without having water and mud enter the mouth. A layer of fat beneath their waterproof fur protects beavers from cold water, and the oily secretion See BEAVERS page 4


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT dining out • music • art • theater • fun events

page 2

The Valley SenTinel

March 2014

2014 Business & Culinary Showcase Thursday, April 3 5-8 pm

Crow Canyon Country Club 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville Advance Tickets $35 per person $50 at the door To purchase call 925-837-4400 or purchase them online at www.danvilleareachamber.com Click on the Store tab

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Now - March 16 Sleeping Beauty The story of the princess who fell asleep comes to life before your eyes as the audience tries to save Sleeping Beauty from the spinning wheel. Where is her true Prince to awaken her with her kiss? $14. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! Now - March 16 2pm, 8pm. The Tri-Valley Repetory Theatre presents a “hilarious revenue that pays tribute to those who have loved and lost, and those who have fallen on their face at the portral of romance.” $30. Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville. Information: 925820-1278 Now - March 23 Wonderland! Presented by Center Stage Theatre and Contra Costa Christian Theatre, this is a wonderful musical based on the 2nd book in the Alice in Wonderland tale, “Through the Looking Glass.” $14. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org.

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valleysentinel.com Now - April 20 CCMT presents Les Miserables Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miserables holds the record for the longest-running musical in the world and continues to thrill and captivate audiences in every corner of the globe. Following 19 years of unjust imprisonment, hero Jean Valjean initiates a lifelong struggle for redemption, relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert, in this treasured tale about the survival of the human spirit. Epic and uplifting – stirring and tu ne ful – a Mode r n Masterpiece. $48 students and seniors, $53 adults. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org.

Now - April 26 Artful Women “7 Voices in Fabric Art” A showing of contemporary fabric artists will take place at the Danville Village Theatre Art Gallery, 233 Front Street, Danville, CA. Information: (925) 314-3460 or www.danville. ca.gov/Things-To-Do/Artand-Culture/Village-TheatreArt-Gallery.

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Now - March 27 One Planet Ceramics The Dougherty Station Community Center Gallery features the ceramic pieces of One Planet Ceramics. Each piece is inspired by the idea that all living things share Mother Earth. Images of earth from space reinforce that concept. Other pieces are adaptations of Google Earth images. From 10,000 feet up, you get a whole new view of mankind’s power to shape the planet. Dougherty Station Community Center Art Gallery, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA. The gallery is open when other events and programs are scheduled in the building. Please call (925) 973-3200 for current operation hours or visit www.sanramon. ca.gov for more information.

Night at the Improv March 15 8pm. Join in a night of fun times and comedy with the San Ramon Improv U Players a n d t h e re s i d e n t t ro u p e Twisted Gray Matter at Night at the Improv. The show is audience interactive and not appropriate for kids under 18. $10. Front Row Theater, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon. Information: sanramonperformingarts. org.

The World of Jane Austen: Art and Culture in the 18th and 19th Century March 18 1-2pm. The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco Docent Council will give a fascinating visual presentation of the upcoming art exhibit about the influential art and culture of the 1700s and the 1800s. Danville Library, 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889 Art Chat: ARTful Women March 19 7-9pm. Join in a discussion exploring the visual structure, composition, and other factors going into the artwork of ARTful Women: 7 Voices in Fabric Art by seven foothill artists. Village Theatre Art Gallery, 233 Front St., Danville. Information: (925) 314-3460. Young @ Art: Fabric Quilt Mosaic Project March 20 3:30-5pm. For kids ages 5-11. The Village Theatre Art Gallery will be providing Young @ Art as a program to introduce to children gallery exhibitions in a fun and educational way, all while bolstering their creativity. Local instructor Jean Cernigoj will interact with the children and work with fabric pieces that will tie into the exhibit, ARTful Women: 7 Voices in Fabric Art. Registration is required. Village Theatre Art Gallery, 233 Front St., Danville. (925) 314-3400 Grannie’s Bedtime Stories March 20-23 9:30am, 2pm, 7pm. This fourth installment of Grannie’s fairy tale stories will include Sleeping Beauty, The Pied Piper, and the Three Little Pigs. $810. Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville. Information: 925820-1278.

March 21 Lamplighters Musical Theater p re s e n t s H M S P i n a f o re Singalong 8pm. Dress up like a British tar, a First Lord of the Admiralty, a sister, a cousin or aunt, or just See A & E page 3


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT dining out • music • art • theater • fun events

valleysentinel.com A&E from page 2

a plain and simple landlubber - whatever you choose. But it’s all hands on deck for an evening of fun belting out the score of Pinafore with us. $20 students, $36 adults. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org. San Ramon Valley Rotary Club Valley Teen Idol 2014 Musical Competition March 22 7pm. The Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center is hosting Valley Teen Idol, a musical competition based l o o s e l y f ro m “A m e r i c a n Idol”. Students from grades 7 through 12 will be showing off their vocal talent in the 9th Annual Final Competition. $25 students. $35 general admission. Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon. Information: 925-973-3343. March 23 Diablo Symphony Orchestra presents Brahms 1 2pm. Sometimes referred to as “Beethoven’s 10th”, this Brahms’ epic symphony follows a path of darkness to light, a journey through struggle and suffering to the stars, an internal narrative which never fails to resonate, and a supreme work which carries the listener every step of the way. Additional pieces will also be performed. $12 Youth under 17, $28 adults. Hofmann Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-2951400 or www.lesherartscenter. org.

March 2014 romantic and patriotic upbeat 1940s musical revue featuring a company of 19 on stage: thirteen-piece Big Band and six singer-dancers featuring some high-flying swing dancing! The show recreates the swing era with sizzling choreography, sassy costumes and over 40 classic songs performed live on stage. $58 Youth under 17 and Seniors, $62 Adults. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum March 27 - April 5 9am, 11am. The Danville Children’s Musical Theatre presents an “unforgettable, hysterical” show about a “crafty slave” that “struggles to win the hand of the beautiful but slow-witted courtesan named Philia for his young master.” $5. Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville. Information: 925820-1278 Robin Hood March 28- April 14 The San Ramon Community Theatre presents Robin Hood, a classic story that will keep you on the edge of your seat with all the action. $16 adults, $13 children and seniors. $11 matinees for everyone, Front Row Theatre, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon. Showtimes and more at sanramonperformingarts. org.

Danville Girls Chorus “Here Comes the Sun” March 29 11am. The Diablo Girls Chorus presents its annual Spring Concert. Members of DGC are girls in 3rd to 8th grade from schools around the TriValley area. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5.00 for children. East Bay Four Square Church, 2615 Camino Tassajara Road, Danville. Information: www. danvillegirlschorus.org. March 30 Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra’s Herstory: A Women’s History Month Celebration 7:30pm. The program includes pieces by various female composers, including Jennifer Higdon, Lili Boulanger, Stacy Garrop, Libby Larsen, Cecile Chaminade, Emma Lou Diemer, Festival Overture, and Estefania Webster. $10 Youth 17 and under, $20 Seniors, $30 Adults. Hofmann Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or www.lesherartscenter.org. Pre-school Performance Series–Magic Dan April 4 10am. Give your pre-schoolaged kids a m e m o ra b l e experience by bringing them to this spectacular magic show with Magic Dan! $3. Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville. 925-820-1278

The Valley SenTinel

page 3

Green fun for all at Spring Fling On March 22, Danville merchants and businesses will offer fun and delightful deals throughout the day as you walk historic downtown to celebrate Spring. This year, spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20. Discover Danville’s Spring GREEN specials throughout the downtown featuring Green, Organic, Recycled and Upcycled LOCAL goods... Some of the participating businesses offer: Cottage Jewel Antiques at 100 Prospect, Taste organic 100% wild Pu’er tea and local honey, Shop GREEN and save 10% off all previously owned goods, Visit our DIY workshop: paper bag mementos book; Art on the Lane at 100 Prospect, upstairs, Open studio, painting lessons weekly; Kathlyn Stone Jewelry at 100 Prospect, upstairs, Wire wrapped pendant from the Earth and Sea; Sweet Street at Hartz & Prospect, All natural Snapple Jelly Bellies as a new treat; Heirloom Court at 281 Hartz, All natural paints, DIY workshops, upcycled furnishings; Forward Motion Sports at 432 Hartz,10% off custom fit shoes Mar. 22 only, and recycle your old ones for additional 5% off; Rakestraw Books at 550 Hartz, Spring-

time tales and books to inspire; Father Nature’s Hideaway at 120 E. Prospect, Organic special Quinoa Chicken Salad, 10% off menu Mar. 22; Koko FitClub, at 499B San Ramon Valley Blvd., Invites you to pick up a strolling map and walk Danville, Pinot’s Palette at 410 Sycamore Valley Rd. W. at Danville Livery, Invites you to try a “couples” painting class. Discover Danville’s offerings: Shop Local, Dine Organic, and Play Green!

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Art Beat presents In the Mood March 24 2pm & 7:30pm. In the Mood celebrates America’s Greatest Generation through the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Erskine Hawkins, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and other idols of the 1940s. Music arrangements, costumes and choreography are as authentic as it gets. It’s a rhythmic, jazzy, brassy, sentimental,

Center Rep Presents “Sleuth” March 28 - April 26 8pm. One of the best stage thrillers of all time, Sleuth has been wowing audiences with its fun and breathtaking surprises and revelations for decades. Successful British mystery writer Andrew Wyke invites his wife’s lover to his mansion and proposes an intricate scheme in which they can all come out winners. So begins the twisty, high-stakes game of brinksmanship. $33$54. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Information: 925-295-1400 or CenterREP.org

“A Gallery of Sound” April 6 2p.m. Join the Danville Communbity Band for a trek through A Gallery of Sound with selections from film scores to marches. Come see the fabulous auto galleries, tour the current exhibits, and enjoy a concert all in the same building. The concert is FREE with admission to the Blackhawk Automotive Museum (free for museum members). 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. Danville Community Band information: www.danvilleband.org. For Museum information call 925.736.2277 or visit www. blackhawkmuseum.org.

Danville Farmer’s Market & Downtown Danville Join Mr. Carrot for bounce house fun and demonstrations of organic and sustainable ideas for the home and garden. Downtown shops and restaurants continue the theme with organic food offerings, local honey, repurposed furniture, antique and vintage goods, and much more! Strolling maps and activity schedules will be available at Farmer’s Market

www.DiscoverDanvilleCA.com


page 4

The Valley Sentinel

March 2014

valleysentinel.com

Advertorial vegetables, and grains do not need supplements. In fact, nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, D, iron, and selenium can be toxic when overused. Blood tests can show nutrient deficiencies that may warrant diet changes or vitamin supplements. More fat equals higher cancer risk: High fat diets – saturated or unsaturated – can cause obesity, impair immune system function, increase carcinogen intake, and influence hormonal activity. Each of these effects is strongly associated with increased risk for certain cancer types. Fortunately, a low fat diet is usually higher in fiber, which provides its own benefits.

In addition, “organic” foods can potentially reduce toxic pesticides and hormones in the body. While organic foods cost more than traditionally produced foods, ask yourself, “Can I afford the alternative?” When deciding, realize that a diet low in meats but rich in plant-based foods may reduce toxins in the body while lowering the grocery bill. These dietary changes are easy steps to reduce cancer risk while reaping the benefits of heart-healthy foods and preventing - or at least delaying - the two most common illnesses in Americans today. Michael R Forrest, MD practices at Epic Care in Dublin, CA. For more information contact (925) 452-1852 and/ or www.epic-care.com

of feces (coprophagy) also aids in absorption of food material. Food is stored in winter as beavers do not hibernate. Beavers are known for their natural trait of building dams on creeks, rivers, and streams. They construct their lodges or homes on the resulting ponds, however they typically live in burrows, up to 160 feet long but usually less, along stream banks and levees. Beavers can stay submerged under water for as long as 15 minutes. They slap the surface of the water with their tail as a warning signal when danger is present. Beavers are nocturnal but sometimes active during the day. Most mating occurs during February with the kits born 106 - 110 days later. Two to six young are born and weaned at about two months. Sexual maturity is reached at about two years of age when individuals disperse to establish their own territories. Family groups often consist of yearlings as well as the young of the year. In downtown Martinez, a male and female beaver arrived

in Alhambra Creek in 2006. The Martinez beavers built a dam 30 feet wide and at one time 6 feet high, and chewed through half the willows and other creek side landscaping the city planted as part of its $9.7 million 1999 flood improvement project. When the city council wanted to remove the beavers because of fears of flooding, local residents organized to protect them, forming an organization called “Worth a Dam”. Resolution included installing a pipe through the beaver dam so that the pond’s water level could not become excessive. Now protected, the beavers have transformed Alhambra Creek from a trickle into multiple dams and beaver ponds, which in turn, led to the return of Steelhead and River Otter in 2008, and Mink in 2009. Beavers have recently reoccupied Walnut Creek and a 60 pound individual was unfortunately killed trying to cross Treat Boulevard a few years ago as it dispersed up Pine Creek. James M. Hale is a wildlife biologist and Vice Chair of the Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee

Is There Really an Anti-Cancer Diet? By Michael Forrest, MD

The American Cancer Society contends that at least one-third of US cancer deaths are due to dietary factors. Many cancer deaths are thought to be preventable, by implementing simple dietary recommendations: Maintain lifelong healthy weight. • Balance calorie intake with physical activity. • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight if currently overweight or obese. Adopt an active lifestyle. • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, above usual activities, 5 or more days per week. But strive for the guidelines offered to youth.

• C h i l d r e n a n d adolescents need at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days per week. Eat a healthy diet rich in plant-based foods. • Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. • Consume reasonable portions of foods and drinks. • Choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains. • Limit processed foods and red meats. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages. • Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men. What constitutes a healthy diet? The “raw food” diet is popular, and contains mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains with nothing cooked over 116-deg F. But this approach has limits, including inadequate

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protein and calories, plus risks of food-borne illness. While some cooked foods – particularly fried potatoes or barbecued meats – are linked to the production of carcinogens and other foods may lose vitamins B and C when cooked, cooking certain foods increases amounts of anti-cancer nutrients such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Thus, reduce meat consumption and eat a varied diet. “Whole” (unprocessed) foods are the best choices, whether prepared raw or cooked. W h a t a b o u t supplements? Most people with normal intestinal absorption who eat adequate servings of fruit,

BEAVERS from page 1

they continually groom into their coats keeps their skin dry. The nail on the second toe (and sometimes the first) of each webbed hind foot is split, allowing it to be used as a comb for grooming the fur. Beavers are not bothered by lice or ticks. They have a tiny, flat beetle that lives only on beaver fur that feeds on their dandruff. They do have poor eyesight, however they possess a keen sense of hearing, smell, and touch. Their four incisors are composed of hard orange enamel on the front and a softer dentin on the back. T h e c h i s e l - l i ke e n d s o f incisors are maintained by the self-sharpening wear pattern. Beavers’ teeth grow continuously so that they will not be worn down by chewing on wood. Beavers are herbivores, and its preferred food is the water-lily (genus Nuphar), which bears a resemblance to a cabbage-stalk, and grows at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers. Beavers also gnaw the bark and cambium of birch, alder, poplar, willow, cottonwood, aspens, and other broad-leaved trees. Trees are harvested on a sustaineduse basis as practiced by foresters. Animals move up or downstream to a new location, leaving the cutover area to reforest. During the summer, more varied herbage, with the addition of berries, grains, cattails, tules, and grasses is consumed. The gut contains a microbiota ( b a c t e r i a a n d p ro t o z o a ) for digesting cellulose, an estimated 30 percent of which is absorbed. Reingestion


valleysentinel.com

March 2014 Advertorial

Are Bulging Discs Getting On Your Nerves? By Dr. Niele Maimone, DC

If you are suffering from a pinched nerve or herniated disc, you know how debilitating it is and how the pain slowly leaks the vitality from your life. Since1999 when Align Healing Center opened its doors, we have been specialists in treating pain naturally; whether it’s back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or any other pain, we have been there to awaken the healing potential in the body and relieve the pain. That being said, we are always in search of miraculous new ways to relieve pain without the use of drugs, invasive procedures and certainly without inducing more pain! If you or someone you care about suffers from pinched nerves or disc related pain, it is worthwhile to explore the exceptional, noninvasive, natural therapies that are available today. Can I heal my pain without drugs or surgery? Yes, here’s how! 1. Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy Non-surgical spinal decompression is a state of the art treatment that has been helping thousands of patients with chronic neck or low back pain, sciatica, and herniated, bulging or degenerated discs. This is an entirely different treatment from traditional chiropractic adjustments. Many of the patients who are

candidates for this procedure have already tried chiropractic, physical therapy, injections, and/or were told they would need surgery. This breakthrough treatment works by gently separating the vertebra which decompresses the disc, thus causing the bulging material to be drawn back into the disc. It does this by reversing the internal disc pressure, thus creating a vacuum effect. According to the Journal of Neurosurgery (vol. 81, 1994), decompression was found to substantially reduce the pressure inside disc, therefore allowing water and nutrients to be absorbed and initiate the healing process within the disc itself. Non-surgical spinal decompression is very effective, has a high success rate, and can be utilized for both cervical and lumbar disc injuries. 2. Class IV Laser Therapy Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser 1200 Class IV Laser. Class IV Laser therapy gets to the root of the injury and treats it at the cellular level, providing energy to the cells so they can heal. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During each painless treatment, laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing

environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved. There is hope! We have found that a combination of Class IV laser therapy and spinal decompression offers outstanding results in healing stubborn pain due to a pinched nerve, bulging discs or spinal degeneration. As a general rule, most patients experience significant changes in symptoms within one to three sessions. Occasionally, a more advanced degenerative condition or multiple level herniated discs may take 8-10 sessions before realizing a major decline in symptoms. Relief response varies according to age, body morphology and the degree of severity. This unique combination o f n o n - i n va s i ve t h e ra py offers a chance for realizing a permanent cure for neck or back pain. This eliminates the long-term care commitment forced upon patients by other symptomatic low-back pain treatments, such as drugs, injections or surgery. With proper care and rehabilitation of your spine you can be back to your healthy self quickly! For more information about Dr. Niele Maimone, DC or to set up a complimentary consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter. com.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center helps raise awareness and understanding of the Affordable Care Act Path to Health campaign offers resources, trained enrollment counselors understand all of the coverage With time running out for individuals to enroll in an insurance plan in the healthcare marketplace for coverage starting in 2014, San Ramon Regional Medical Center is ramping up efforts to educate the uninsured on steps they can take to secure affordable healthcare coverage. As part of the “Path to Health” campaign, a community education and outreach initiative to raise awareness and understanding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provide trusted resources to assist in enrolling, San Ramon Regional Medical

Center will be providing trained enrollment counselors to answer questions and assist with the enrollment process. “ T h e Pa t h t o H e a l t h initiative provides an excellent opportunity for members of our community to get answers to the questions they have about health insurance basics, the enrollment process and the health care law,” said Gary Sloan, Chief Executive Officer of San Ramon Regional Medical Center. “We have always been committed to delivering safe, quality care in the communities we serve. As caregivers, ensuring that our community and our patients

options available to them is an extension of that mission.” Through its social media channels, bilingual website and enrollment events, the “Path to Health” campaign works with community partners to offer educational materials and resources about the insurance exchanges and the ACA to help simplify the law and educate members of the community about their insurance options so that they can choose the best coverage for themselves and their families. For more information, visit www.pathtohealth.com or call 866-893-8446.

The Valley Sentinel

page 5

Center REP says “thank you” with First Look program Center REPertory Company is proud to announce its new “First Look” program thanking US Military personnel and US Veterans and active college students with $15 tickets. The dual purpose of the program is to encourage Bay area college students, faculty and staff to experience live theatre and to thank United States military personnel and veterans for their service.
 All two and four year college students, faculty, and staff with a school ID or any active military or veterans with appropriate ID are eligible to purchase up to a pair of $15 tickets to any Preview

performance of a Center REP production. Upcoming productions include: Sleuth Previews: Friday March 28, 8:00pm, Saturday March 29, 8:00pm, Sunday March 30, 2:30pm. (Opening: Tuesday April 1, 7:30PM) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Friday May 16, 8:00pm, Saturday May 17, 8:00pm, Sunday May 18, 2:30pm. (Opening: Tuesday May 20, 7:30PM) Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Tickets: 925.943.SHOW (7469).

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The Valley SenTinel

March 2014

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guided American students in work/learn programs in Europe and had developed a solid leadership record in Chicago managing the Merchandise Mart and serving on the Board of Education. He proved to be an able choice as the first Director from its inception until 1966. I n l a t e Au g u s t 1 9 61 President Kennedy hosted a ceremony in the Rose Garden in honor of the first Peace Corps Volunteers departing for service in Ghana and Tanzania as 51 young people left to serve as teachers. A month later Congress approved legislation for the Peace Corps with a mandate to promote world peace and friendship. By the end of the year, more than 500 volunteers were serving in nine countries and some 200 more were in training. In the next few years, the numbers escalated and by June 1966, more than 15,000 volunteers and trainees were involved, including the 68-year-old mother of then President Jimmy Carter. Lillian Carter served as a public health volunteer in India. By the mid-80s women outnumbered men as volunteers. In the 90s new geographic areas were hosting volunteers for the first time; for example, Central and Eastern Europe as well as South Africa, after apartheid. In the fall of 2005 for the first time, volunteers were deployed domestically, participating in FEMA relief operations following the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. More on Peace Corps Women While Sargent Shriver’s contribution to the early success of the Peace Corps is well documented, he had

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If you were a college student in the 60s, it’s very likely you were familiar with the Peace Corps and perhaps even considered serving as a volunteer in a developing country. It may generate a little less name recognition today, but there’s no denying the fact that to date—some 52 years later—The Peace Corps has achieved significant results. Some 210,000 Americans have been deployed to assist 139 countries. Its stated mission is threefold: providing technical assistance; helping people outside the United States to understand American culture; and, conversely, assisting Americans to understand the cultures of other countries. The focus of work is typically related to social and economic development. Each participant or PC Volunteer is an American citizen, typically with a college degree who after three months of training goes abroad to serve for two years. The concept of a national service program was presented by then-Senator John Kennedy while he was on the presidential campaign trail making a 2 am stop at the University of Michigan. He asked the 5000 students waiting to hear him on October 14, 1960 if they would contribute two years of their lives to helping others. Just 39 days after taking office as President he issued Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps within the State Department and requesting permanent f u n d i n g f ro m C o n g re s s. Kennedy turned to his brotherin-law R. Sargent Shriver to make some recommendations for launching the program. Shriver, as a young man, had

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connected women to help him. These include Mary Ann Orlando who had worked with Shriver in Chicago for over 10 years and joined him at the Peace Corps as Confidential Assistant to the Director—essentially her boss’ gatekeeper. Nancy Gore, Al Gore’s older sister and daughter of then Tennessee Senator, Albert Gore was welltravelled and well-known in Democratic circles. Another famous daughter was Sally Bowles, whose father was Ambassador Chester Bowles. Her title was Volunteer Liaison Officer in the division of Volunteer Field Services. She made a number of private trips overseas to serve as Shriver’s eyes and ears. Finally, there was a Bay Area woman on this impressive female team— Nan Tucker McEvoy who served as Director of the Africa program. At the time she was a seasoned reporter whose grandfather founded the San Francisco Chronicle. She later headed the Chronicle Publishing Company in the 80s and early 90s. Today, the McEvoy ranch is the largest producer of organic estategrown olive oil in the U.S. And, to round out the contribution of women to the Peace Corps are five who have served as Director, including the first African American, Carolyn Robertson Payton; the first Asian American, Elaine Chao; the first former PC Volunteer, Carol Bellamy as well as Loret Miller Ruppe who initiated businessoriented projects and now Acting Director, Carrie HesslerRadelet. Interested in Learning More? The Peace Corps offers essentially three volunteer programs: (1) a “general” one with a two-year commitment in such areas as agriculture, economic development, education, environment, health and youth development; (2) A Hi-Impact Response option for short-term volunteers with 10 years work experience in specialized areas; and (3) Global Health Service option for physicians/nurses who deploy for one year to train the next generation of health professionals. Typically a bachelor’s degree is needed to apply for the general volunteer service. Visit the web site, www.peacecorps.gov for more information, including how to apply online, locations for recruitment sessions, and FAQs.


Seniors valleysentinel.com

March 2014

How to Sign Up for Medicare By David Sayen

So you’re turning 65. Congratulations! It’s time to start taking advantage of your Medicare benefits. And just how do you do that? F i rs t , h e re ’s a q u i c k overview of the benefits: Medicare has four parts, A through D. Part A pays for hospitalization, and most eligible people don’t have to pay premiums for it. Part B covers doctor fees, outpatient care, home health care, and preventive screenings for cancer, glaucoma, diabetes, and other diseases. Part B has a monthly premium, which for most beneficiaries is $104.90 this year. Part C is Medicare managed care and Part D is prescription drug coverage. If you already get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you’ll automatically get Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. (If your birthday is on the first day of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.) You’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday. If you don’t want Part B, follow the instructions that come with the card, and SCHOOLHOUSE from page 1

Ta s s a j a r a O n e - Ro o m School for the National Register of Historic Sites. It has still to be officially approved, but likelihood of its inclusion in the Register is almost a certainty. Located at 1650 Finley Rd. i n D a n v i l l e, t h i s would be Danville’s third landmark (buildings) on the National Registry, along with Tao House (playwright Eugene O’Neill’s home was designated in 1971) and the Southern Pa c i f i c R a i l r o a d Depot, which now houses the Museum of the San Ramon Valley on Railroad Avenue, designated in 1994. The other two sites

send the card back. If you keep the card, you’ll keep Part B and pay Part B premiums. I f y o u a re n ’ t g e t t i n g Social Security or RRB benefits (because, for instance, you’re still working), you need to sign up for Part A and Part B. It’s easy to do. You can sign up by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you’re 65 or older, you can also apply online for Part A (if you don’t have to pay premiums) and Part B at www.socialsecurity.gov/ retirement. The whole process can take less than 10 minutes. You can sign up when you’re first eligible for Part B. If you’re eligible for Part B when you turn 65, you have a seven-month window that begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. Sign up early! That way you’ll avoid any delay in getting your benefits. If you sign up during the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases your coverage starts the first day of your birth month. (If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage starts on the first day of the prior month.) If you wait until the last four months of the Initial E n ro l l m e n t Pe r i o d , y o u r start date for coverage may be delayed as long as three months. You may also face a a re M t . D i a b l o , a n d t h e Captain Pedro Fages Trail. Built in 1889, the school functioned for 57 years until 1946 when it was closed due to small enrollment. In 2012 the Museum of the San Ramon Valley took over

ownership and management of the Tassajara One Room School property from the San

penalty in the form of a higher Part B premium. If you didn’t enroll in Part A and/or Part B when you were first eligible because you were employed and covered under a group health plan based on that employment, you have a Special Enrollment Period. That means you can sign up any time while you or your spouse are working and you have employer or union group coverage. Or you can enroll during the eightmonth period that begins after your employment ends or your group health coverage ends, whichever happens first. Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. But here’s an important caveat: If you have COBRA coverage or a retiree health plan, you don’t have coverage based on current employment. You’re not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when that coverage ends. For more information about enrolling in Medicare, v i s i t w w w. m e d i c a re. g o v / MedicareEligibility. You can also get free, personalized counseling about Medicare from your state Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). To get the phone number for your local SHIP, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, N e v a d a , a n d t h e Pa c i f i c Territories. Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. Since 1994 the Museum has held an educational Living History program with the San Ramon Valley Unified school District third grade students. Each third grade class gets to spend an authentic 1889 school day at the one-room school, in a program designed by Mistress and former teacher Joan Kurtz. The students use slates, learn to cipher, recite from a McGuffey Reader and play nineteenth century games. They dress in period clothes, tie their horses in the stable and eat farm lunches. F o r m o r e information on the program, visit www.museumsrv.org/ srvm_sp_sh.html

The Valley SenTinel

page 7

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CITY OF SAN RAMON 2014 SUMMER JOBS The City of San OF Ramon recruits each year for a variety of part-time, temporary positions in the areasJOBS of Aquatics CITY SAN RAMON 2014 SUMMER and Day Camps. This iseach a great way learn new skills, earntemporary money andpositions meet new friends. of our The Summer City of San Ramon recruits year forto a variety of part-time, in the areasMany of Aquatics summer employees returnThis each to build newnew skills, earnearn promotions to higher levelfriends. positions andof work and Summer Day Camps. is summer a great way to learn skills, money and meet new Many our The City of San Ramon recruits each year for to a other variety of part-time, temporary in the community. These skills can help build resumes and lead employment opportunities. summer employees return each summer to build new skills, earn promotions to higher level positions and work

positions in the areas of Aquatics and Summer Day Camps. This is a great way in the community. TheseAT skillsTHE can help build resumes andSUMMER lead to other employment SUMMER JOBS POOLS JOBS ATopportunities. DAY CAMP to learn new skills, earn money and meet new friends. Many of our summer Summer Applications: Summer Applications: SUMMER JOBS AT THE POOLS SUMMER JOBS AT DAY CAMP

employees returnApplications each summer to build new skills, earn promotions to higher Position Begin Position Applications Begin Deadline Deadline Summer Applications: Summer Applications: level positions and work in community. These skills build Junior Lifeguard February 1 the March 28 Recreation Leaders I/II can help February 1 resumes March 5 Position Applications Begin Position Applications Begin Deadline Deadline Lifeguard/Swim Instructor March 1 April 23 Benefits of Working Here: andLifeguard lead to other employment opportunities. Junior February 1 March 28 Recreation Leaders I/II February 1 March 5 Pool Manager/Senior Lifeguard February 1 February 21 • Plan and lead camp activities, crafts and games Lifeguard/Swim Instructor March 1 April 23 Benefits of Working Here: Benefits of Working Here: •• Act a mentor and role modelcrafts to campers Pool Manager/Senior Lifeguard February 1 February 21 Planasand lead camp activities, and games • Leadership Experience •• Learn work onand a team Benefits of Working Here: Act asto a mentor role model to campers •• Serve the Community Summer Applications: Leadership Experience •• Develop Learn to valuable work on acustomer team service skills •• Teach Lifelong Skills to Children Serve the Community •• Mentor Leaders Position Applications Begin Deadline DevelopJunior valuable customer service skills •• New TeachChallenges Lifelong Skills to Children •• Work outside inspire children to play! Mentor Juniorand Leaders Junior Lifeguard February 1 March 28 •• Opportunities for Promotions New Challenges • Work outside and inspire children to play! Lifeguard/Swim March 1 April 23 For More Information Visit: www.SanRamon.ca.gov •• AOpportunities swimsuit is your uniformInstructor for Promotions

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The Valley SenTinel

page 8

SAT/ACT - Start Planning for College Now By Susan Sokat

Fo r s o m e s t u d e n t s , thoughts and plans for higher education only begin as high school graduation nears. But as the competition to get into college grows more fierce with every year, it’s important for students to make plans sooner rather than later. Wait too long and your spot at the college of your choice just may go to your neighbor in Chemistry class. Most students who want a competitive edge in today’s market will be taking an SAT or ACT during the spring of their junior year. F i rs t o f a l l , c o n s i d e r which is the best test for you. It is important to know the differences between the two exams. Both tests contain math, reading, and writing, however the SAT has a focus on vocabulary, and the ACT has a section on science. SAT gives you a score for Reading, Writing, and Math. You can obtain a possible 800 on each subtest. ACT gives you a composite score with a highest possible score of 36. You may find that you score higher on one test versus the other, depending on your aptitude for the various subject knowledge they measure. SAT may tend to have “ t r i c k i e r ” q u e s t i o n s. O n the SAT, wrong answers are penalized by .25 of a point, and in some cases it may be better to skip a question than to guess. You will want to know these facts about the tests in order to prepare. You will also want to know when each test is being offered. If you plan to test this spring, the time to sign up is now.

It is not uncommon to test several times. All schools will take your best score, and most schools will take your best Reading, and best Math on the SAT, even if they do not occur on the same test date. Start by deciding your score goal. Visit the website of your dream school, or visit a website such as www. collegeapps.about.com Yo u c a n ex p l o re a ny school in the US and find out what their students have scored on the SAT or ACT. Knowing this will allow you to set goals for a successful score. To give yourself a better chance of increasing your scores on either exam, consider working with a private tutor. You will want to start with a diagnostic test so that tutoring can be completely individualized. Ta k i n g s a m p l e p r a c t i c e t e s t s, a n d p ra c t i c i n g o n your specific areas of weakness is the best strategy for improving your scores. You may want to re-learn concepts that were difficult for you. It is typical to see a 100-200 point gain with t h e a p p ro p r i a t e t u t o r i n g plan. Tutoring plans can be customized for your goals. Plus the tutoring can be individualized in your home. Please find test dates and important information about the SAT and ACT tests at www.clubztutoring.com/ d a n v i l l e. S t a r t p l a n n i n g now for the college of your dreams! Susan Sokat is the director of Danville’s Club Z tutoring. To reach Susan email her at ssokate@clubztutoring.com

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Kids Camps March 2014

The Valley SenTinel

Outdoor summer camps have hidden perks face-time their children get with electronics. Most outdoor camps require children to leave their electronics at home, or at least out of their hands, allowing them to participate in team activities, interact face to face with other camp goers and counselors and enjoy their nature surroundings, soaking in all of the benefits of the camp experience. Children ages 8-18 watch approximately four and a half hours of television per day on average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This, added to time spent with other electronics, comes out to seven hours of screen time per day, not including that spent on schoolwork. “One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or playing video games,” KidsHealth.org states. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) kids under age 2 should watch no TV at all while kids older than 2 should be restricted to

Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek AAUW seeks least entering their junior year scholarship candidates in college. The Danville-AlamoWalnut Creek Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) seeks candidates for its 2014 Local Scholarship Program. Are you the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers, librarians, researchers, scholars, writers, artists, doctors and more? We want to help women who will

give back to their community and to the world. Applicants must be women who presently reside or did reside in Walnut Creek while in public or private high school or women who presently reside or did reside in the San Ramon Valley School District area while in public or private high school are eligible. They must be at

Scholarships are based on merit and start at $1000. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2014. Awards will be announced by mid-May. Learn more about the scholarship at http://daw-ca. aauw.net/2014-scholarship/ and download the scholarship application packet there. E-mail Lynn at Lgood67334@comcast. net if you have questions.

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some age groups requiring up to two hours each day), an amount many kids don’t receive on their own. This alone is a great reason to consider outdoor camp, especially when the website states that the percentage of overweight and obese kids and teens has more than doubled in the past 30 years. This daily-recommended amount of exercise breaks down into both structured play and free play. If your child plays a sport or participates in a child’s gym class, they still may not be getting exactly what they need. Free play is an important part of a child’s daily routine. Look for a camp that not only offers a structured play time, but also an unstructured free play period where children are pushed to be creative and make up their own activities. Another obvious advantage of outdoor camp is the chance to unplug. Computer camps and summer school are great for exercising the mind, but they tend to put kids right back in front of a screen when many parents are trying to limit the

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There is an endless variety of summer camps in California. There are science camps, sports camps, performing arts camps, cooking camps - and each offers its own unique set of benefits. Outdoor camps have always been revered for getting kids outdoors and connecting with nature, but these benefits are only a small sampling of why outdoor camps are good for kids. Whether you are looking at sleep away camps that offer your children a mini, parentfree vacation, or day camps to help them keep structure in their lives when school is out, the reasons to consider an outdoor camp stretch beyond what meets the eye. Perhaps the more obvious advantages of outdoor camps are the physical aspects. Kids who attend outdoor camps are more likely to get the recommended amounts of daily exercise. According to KidsHealth.org, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children should receive 60 minutes or more of physical exercise per day (with

According to an article on CharlotteObserver.com, author Meg Lowman says, “Studies indicate that [children] will grow up healthier and happier because of a connection to nature.” Danville and San Ramon offer a variety of outdoor summer camp options, in both an overnight and day camp structure. Find some of these camps at www.ci.danville. ca.us and www.sanramon. ca.gov. An online directory of camps can be found at camp. findthebest.com.

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By Nora Heston

just one to two hours of quality programming per day. Another important aspect of outdoor camp is reconnecting children to nature. Children now spend less time outside than previous generations A survey reported in a 2002 issue of Science, the professional, peer-reviewed journal, cited that more children could successfully name the characters in an electronic, hand-held Pokémon game than could identify items found in nature – like an otter, beetle or oak tree.

page 9

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Home & Garden page 10

The Valley SenTinel

March 2014

Plant Community Gardening By Jonathan Espalin

Both home gardeners and professional landscapers are presented with a bewildering array of plant possibilities to include in their gardens. Our trusty Sunset Western Garden Book has over 8,000 garden plants listed, and it’s by no means a comprehensive list of all the plants we could possibly purchase and grow, especially in the Bay Area, with it’s rare wealth of independent garden centers, botanical gardens, and wholesalers. How are we to choose which plants to grow? There is also a great overflow of competing garden design advice, from “Plant Only Natives from your Own Watershed” to “Plant Whatever You Think Looks Good.” Both extremes are loud and easy answers, and both have major drawbacks. The ‘Natives Only’ approach impoverishes gardening by removing all of the beautiful, useful, and even ecologically beneficial plants that originate from other places. The ‘Whatever You Think Looks Good’ way is responsible for

pollution and much waste of precious water, energy, and labor to maintain gardens of incompatible plants on expensive life-support systems. We need a more reasonable path, but we also need some guidelines for how to make sense of all possible choices. I like to start with an approach adapted from Ecological Science, which we can call Plant Community Gardening. In nature, a plant community is defined as “a collection of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch.” In the Bay area, we have several native plant communities, such as Grassland, Oak Woodland, Chaparral, etc. We don’t need to be too technical about it, but it’s helpful to think in terms of plant communities when planning your own garden. For instance, if your property happens to be blessed with some mature oak trees, rather than fighting the shade, drought, and lots of leafy debris, you can look to natural plant communities to create

valleysentinel.com

a beautiful, low maintenance garden that is composed of plants that naturally thrive in these conditions: to create an ‘Oak Woodland’ Community. If you have a hot, dry slope, rather than trying to fight it with frequent irrigation, you could think in terms of a ‘Chaparral’ community of colorful, drought tolerant shrubs, grasses, perennials, and bulbs, that will work together to stabilize the slope and turn the heat, drought, and drainage into an asset. Plant community gardens don’t need to be composed of only native plants. You can create a stable, low maintenance, beautiful community with plants from different origins, but they do need to be from similar situations. For instance, if we take our hypothetical ‘California Oak Woodland’ community, we could still include lots of beautiful foreign plants: Cyclamens from Iran, Hellebores from Mediterranean Europe, Mat Rushes from Australia, Ipheions from Chile, and many others, in addition to the California natives from our own Oak Woodland community. All would thrive in the same

Orinda Hillside, Chaparral Plant Community Garden

environment of light shade, deep leaf litter, and minimal summer water. As soon as we give in to temptation to include things from incompatible communities, say an Azalea from the warm, wet Japanese mountains, we throw the balance of the whole system off, and the maintenance, water requirements, and pest problems go way up. There may be some special cases in which this is worth it, but if we are trying to create gardens that are low maintenance and environmentally responsible, this should happen sparingly. Maybe that special azalea could

be kept in a big pot with separate irrigation. Plant Community Gardening can’t make all your decisions, but it’s a great place to start your thinking, and will save you from lots of garden headaches. It lets us step over some barriers and get on with creating easy but exciting gardens that get better over time and give something back to the natural world. Jonathan Espalin is Garden Designer for Calvin Craig Landscaping. For more information call 925.935.5269 or visit www.craiglandscaping. com

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Home & Garden valleysentinel.com

March 2014

The Valley SenTinel

March in the Contra Costa Garden Provided by the Contra Costa Master Gardeners

March Garden To Dos General Garden Care Check drip systems: replace clogged emitters, filters, repair leaks, uncover sprinkler heads and flush. Fertilize lawns, fruit trees and shrubs if needed once it stops raining and if needed. Citrus will need nitrogen, although it is unavailable to the plants until the soil warms. Fertilize sparingly, using a slow release form—fertilizer run-off is a form of pollution. Nitrogen has been depleted from most soils by the winter/ spring rains. Aerate lawns when rains have stopped, top dress with compost. Fruits & Vegetables Plant potato tubers, citrus by the end of the month. Plant herbs—most require full sun and well-drained soil. Plant seeds of beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spinach, borage, radicchio.

Harvest strawberries. Strawberries need 6 hours of direct light a day to ripen fully. Check the soil temperature—soil should be 60°F prior to planting summer crops. Garden soils can be heated using clear or black plastic mulch. Flowers & Landscaping Divide fall blooming perennials. Start summer vegetables and flower seeds. Prune azaleas and camellias that have finished blooming. Fertilize with coffee grounds…it’s a good source of nitrogen and lowers the pH. Plant summer blooming bulbs: Canna, calla lilies, Caladium, Dahlia, Gladiolus, l i l i e s, N e r i n e, t u b e ro s e, tuberous begonia, Tigridia, Watsonia. Plant perennials from 4” pots. Fertilize roses as they begin to leaf out. Alfalfa pellets are a good slow-release form of nitrogen.

Garden Pests & Diseases Wash off spittle bugs if they annoy you—they are primarily a visual nuisance. Wash off aphids before population builds up. Control snails and slugs – handpick, trap or use iron phosphate baits. Check for scale crawlers with two-sided sticky tape. Spray with horticultural oil if found. Spray roses for powdery mildew. A simple mixture is 2-4 teaspoons baking soda + 2-4 teaspoons lightweight horticultural oil in 1 gallon of water. Mix well and spray to cover all foliage. S p ray a p p l e s, p e a rs, loquats with Bordeaux mixture during blossom time for fire blight control. Spray stone fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, etc.) for brown rot during bloom time. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers for the U n i v e rs i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a

Cooperative Extension (UCCE). They are residents of local communities who have an active interest in horticulture, have taken the Master Gardener training offered by the UCCE, and now share their knowledge with other members of that community. They provide University of California research-based

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horticultural information to the citizens of California through their volunteer efforts as Master Gardeners. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners. For more information visit ccmg.ucdavis.edu.

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR

March

March

March

March

March

March

March

For additional Community Events visit: www.ValleySentinel.com Please email information about your events to info@valleysentinel.com

COMMUNITY EVENTS Volunteers Needed: Read to Preschoolers Volunteers are needed at childcare centers in Concord, Pittsburg, and West County. The Contra Costa County Library will supply books and resources. For more information, please contact Maureen Kilmurray at 925-927-3288. Danville Farmer’s Market Every Saturday, Year-round 9am-1pm. Get the freshest seasonal fare at the Danville Certified Farmers’ Market. Railroad & Prospect Avenue, Danville. Information: www.ci.danville.ca.us. (You can make donations of fresh vegetables and fruit for our local food pantries at the Loaves & Fishes Booth at the Danville Farmers Market.) Free Tax Preparation AARP’s Tax-Aide and United Way’s Earn It, Keep It, Save It (EKS)programs are providing free tax preparation for the 2014 tax season starting in February. Tax-Aide has no income limit while EKS can only serve individuals who whose incomes are $50,000 or below. (925) 973-3250 San Ramon - San Ramon Senior Center site; (925) 480-7202 Danville - St. Isidore Ministry Center site. For general information and other site locations. Please call for information.(925) 726-3199. www. earnitkeepitsaveit.org. Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Secular Purim Celebration March 16 10:30-12:30am. The Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore will be hosting an event for the TVCJ where you can join in making hamantaschen, crafts, play games, and watch the annual Purim skit. Guests are encouraged to dress up as a Purim character. Free for members, $10 non-members. Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 8th St., Livermore. http://trivalleyculturaljews. wordpress.com Paws to Read March 17 4-5pm. For grades 1-5. This fun literacy program gives young students the opportunity to improve reading skills while reading to therapy dogs certified by the Valley Humane Society. Register with the Danville Library. 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889 Jungle Joe’s Animal Trainer Show March 18 4-5pm. Families of all ages are welcomed to the Danville Library to watch ventriloquist Jungle Joe and his animal friends put on an exciting and interactive show! No registration required. 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889 Get Covered, California! Informational Presentation March 18 6-8pm. Sue Hamill, a certified CA educator, along with several other counselors, will answer your questions and help you sort through health care options for you and your family. Seating will be given on a first come, first serve basis . Mt. Diablo Room, Danville Library, 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889. Something is Happening Upstairs March 19 3pm-4:45pm. The San Ramon Library invites middle school students to hang out for free “upstairs”, where they can watch movies, play games, participate in fun activities, or just have space to do homework. San Ramon Library, 100 Montgomery Street, San Ramon CA 94583. ccclib.org Danville Library Adult Book Club March 20 10am. The Danville Library will be hosting an opportunity to participate in a lively discussion about classic and current books with the Danville Library Book Club. Adults only. 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889. Good Food, Good Health March 25 7-8pm. Cynthia Ruzzi, Co-founder of Sustainable Danville, presents “Organic Food”, where she explains the benefits of eating organic and how to make it work in your diet. Seating on a first come, first serve basis. Danville Library, 400 Front St., Danville. 925-837-4889 Art Enrichment Book Club- Cartooning March 26 4-5:30pm. For grades 6-8. This session of the Book Club, members will be receiving Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! by James Patterson. Members will also learn how to

draw cartoons! Danville Library, 400 Front St., Danville. 925837-4889 2014 State of the Town and Community Luncheon- Danville Area Chamber of Commerce March 27 11:30am-1:30pm. Speaker Robert Storer will be present to educate attendees about the current happenings in Danville. Join in recognizing those who contribute in making Danville a great community. Reserve a seat by March 17th. $35. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Business and Culinary Showcase April 3 5-8pm. Discover more about Danville’s businesses, restaurants, wineries, and brewery pubs at this event sponsored by the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce. Get all you can eat and drink for $35 with a pre-paid ticket. Buy tickets at danvilleareachamber.com, and click on the “Store” tab, or call 925-837-4400. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Forest Home Farms Historic Park - Fun on the Farm April 12 10am-2pm. Forest Home Farms welcomes your family to partake in interactive exhibits, visit the tractor and Glass House Museum, and enjoy the gorgeous grounds and activities centered around April’s theme, “Spring on the Farm”. $5 per person on one tour, or $8 per person on both the Museum and Farm tour. 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. 925-973-3284.

SENIORS Senior Game Day March 21 & 28 10:30am-1:30pm. Whether it be playing your favorite game of cards, a board game, or dominoes, bring your friends to the Danville Senior Center to participate in a morning full of fun games. Admission is free and no registration is required. Danville Senior Center address: 115 E. Prospect Ave., Danville. Information: (925) 314-3490 Luck of the Irish Luncheon March 20 12-1:30pm. Enjoy a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage at the Danville Senior Center to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The experience is complete with live St. Patrick’s Day-themed music. 115 E. Prospect Ave., Danville. 925-314-3490. Danville Seniors Unless otherwise noted, the following activities are held at the Danville Senior Center, Veterans Memorial Building, 115 E. Prospect, Danville. For more information call 925-314-3490 or visit www.ci.danville.ca.us/Recreation/Seniors. Sneaker Trips: The Town of Danville’s Senior Sneakers program is a great way for you to make new friends and get out and around the greater Bay Area. There’s always something new to see and learn. All trips meet at the Danville Park & Ride lot unless otherwise noted in the trip details. Reserve your spot at the Danville Senior Center, 115 E. Prospect, Danville, CA 94526, on or before the registration date beginning at 8:30am. Information: 925-314-3400 or visit www. ci.danville.ca.us/Recreation/Seniors/Senior_Sneaker_Trips. The Danville Area Senior Hikes (DASH) are open to all adults and meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. The group starts at the Danville Park-n-Ride (next to the Sycamore Valley 680 North exit) at 9AM and returns about 1Pm. Most hikes are not strenuous, but gradients are involved due to the local terrain. Distances are usually in the 4-5 mile range, and the pace is moderate, with stops to view scenery, wildlife and to talk about location history when appropriate. Information: 925-314-3400 or visit www.ci.danville.ca.us/Recreation/Seniors/Senior_Hiking. San Ramon Seniors The following events are held at the Alcosta Senior & Community Center, 9300 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon, unless otherwise noted. For more information call 925-973-3250 or visit www.sanramon. ca.gov/parks/programs/ages55+.htm. Wisdom Wednesdays: Free workshops and informational sessions that will benefit you. They will give you free access to coffee, knowledge and a better understanding of important issues. Information: 925-973-3250.

Trips Trip Desk is open Tuesday from 10am-1pm. Sign up for trips at the travel desk or by depositing payment with registration form in the gold drop box found at the main entryway. Information: 973-3250. Wednesday Morning Hikes (time and location varies) Join the San Ramon Trailblazers if you are interested in meeting new people, enjoying the outdoors, having fun and getting in shape. The group meets once a week at various locations, This is an adults only group; pets are not permitted on hikes. To find out the exact meeting location and to get on the email list, please call the Senior Center or email trailblazer88@comcast.net. Page Turners Senior Book Group Third Tuesday of the month 1:30pm. Drop in–all are welcome! Copies of this month’s book are on reserve for you at the San Ramon Library Front Desk. Book group meets at Alcosta Senior and Community Center, 9300 Alcosta Blvd. Information: Carol Yuke, Adult Services Librarian. 925-973-2850.

BUSINESS San Ramon Chamber Business Expo and Mixer March 20 5-8pm. Attendees will have an opportunity to discover local business and network with over 350 people. Drop in from 4:30 to 6pm for a Social Media Seminar. The Bridges Golf Club, 9000 S. Gale Ridge Road, San Ramon. sanramon.org San Ramon Chamber New and Future Member Orientation March 25 4-5pm. Join the San Ramon Chamber members, Ambassadors, and its President Stewart Bambino for this casual-setting meeting to learn about the different ways joining the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce can help your business. RSVP at stewart.bambino@sanramon.org. Bishop Ranch 6, 2400 Camino Ramon Conference Room 158/K, San Ramon. Walnut Creek Chamber New and Future Member Orientation March 26 4-5pm. New, existing, and prospective Chamber members are welcomed to this meeting to learn about the Chamber’s programs and events, public policy initiatives and activities, sponsorship opportunities, networking, and ways to get involved. Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, 1280 Civic Drive, Ste. 100, Walnut Creek. walnutcreek.com Ribbon Cutting and Open House for Guardian Life Insurance March 27 5-7pm, Ribbon Cutting at 5:15 sharp. Attend the Grand Opening of San Ramon’s newest chamber member, Guardian Life Insurance. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Free.Guardian Life Insurance, 4000 Executive Parkway, Suite 514 San Ramon. www.sanramon.org

CLUBS and ORGANIZATIONS Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. AAUW membership is open to all graduates of accredited four year colleges or universities and those holding an Associate Degree or equivalent. Prospective members are welcome and may contact Liz at 389-0152 for details. Visit http://daw-ca.aauw.net for meeting dates. Fibro? CFIDS? Chronic Pain? If these are familiar to you, call about the San Ramon Valley support group for people who need support, information, classes and friendship from people who know what it’s like. We like to laugh while getting well. Call 925-837-0510. Hope Hospice Grief Support Groups-Ongoing Hope Hospice provides support to help you understand and manage grief in a way that is healthy and appropriate. Our Grief Support Center is available to all community members at minimal or no cost. Information: visit www.HopeHospice. com or call 925-829-8770.

Please email your calendar events to the Sentinel at Info@valleysentinel.com by 5pm on the 20th of the month preceding publication month. Inclusion in the calendar pages is at the sole discretion of Sentinel Newspapers, Inc.


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San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society March 18 10am-12pm. The March meeting of the Genealogical Society will revolve around the program, “Let me help you find that lost relative”. Both beginner and advanced genealogists will find this program of interest. Library of the LDS Church, 2949 Stone Valley Road Alamo. srvgensoc.org Wind ‘n Sea Sailing Club Sailing training classes take place at members’ homes. Information: Call Jan at 925-837-3381. Recurring: Mondays: The Walnut Creek Garden Club Meets the second Monday of each month. The general meeting begins at 9:30 with community and socializing from 10:30 to 11:00. You do not need to be a gardener to join the club. The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Road, Walnut Creek. Information: californiagardenclubs. com/content/walnut-creek-gardenclub or mslittle44@gmail.com Danville Rotary 12pm. Meets every Monday. Faz Restaurant, Danville. Information: danvillerotary.org. San Ramon Alzheimer Support Group 7-9pm. Meets the second Monday of each month, except on holidays. Sponsored by the Alzheimer Association. People who know or are caregivers of Alzheimer victims can get information on how to help them through this difficult time in life. San Ramon Senior & Community Center, 9300 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon. Information: 925-973-3250. Tuesdays: Danville am Toastmasters 7-8:30am. Meets every Tuesday. New members welcome. Father Nature’s Restaurant, 170 Prospect Ave., Danville. Information: danvilleam.freetoasthost.org. Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary 7am. Meets every Tuesday morning. Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville. Information: dsvrotary.com. Diablo View Toastmasters 8:15-9:15am. Meets every Tuesday. CMG Mortgage, 4th Floor Conference Room, 3160 Crow Canyon Rd.,

March 2014

COMMUNITY CALENDAR (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12) San Ramon. Information: 4160. toastmastersclubs.org. ARF Pet Loss Support Group 12-1:30pm. Meets first Tuesday of every month. In a nurturing small group, you are encouraged to process feelings of grief resulting from the loss of pet. Register with Vicki at 925-887-5678 or vickis@ hospiceeastbay.org. ARF, 2890 M i t c h e l l D r i v e , Wa l n u t C r e e k . Information: arf.net. Walnut Creek Kiwanis Club 12:10-1:30pm. Meets every Tuesday. Massimo’s Ristorante, 1604 Locust Street,
 Walnut Creek. Information: kiwanisofwalnutcreek.org. Walnut Creek Rotary 12:15-1:30pm. Meets every Tuesday. Heather Farms Garden Center, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. Information: rotarywc.org. Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Workshop Tuesdays, April 16 through July 3 0 11 a m - 1 p m . T h i s 1 2 - w e e k workshop is for women who have just been diagnosed and are either in treatment or starting treatment. Cancer Support Community, 3276 McNutt Avenue, Walnut Creek. Free. Please call to register 925933-0107. Tri-Valley Weight Loss Team Meetup 5pm-6pm. Meets every Tuesday. Join a small, supportive group of people who have a common goal of losing weight. Led by Dr. Dan Perez, the meetings focus on effective lifestyle strategies to lose weight and keep it off. Information: www.meetup.com/ Tri-Valley-Weight-Loss-Team. Prostate Cancer Group 7:30–9pm. Meets 2nd Tuesday of the month. Drop-in prostate cancer group for men and their loved ones. Sa n R a m o n R e g i o n a l Me d i ca l C e n t e r, S o u t h B u i l d i n g , We s t Day Room. 6001 Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon. Information: 925.933.0107 or www.twc-bayarea. org/community-programs.html. Wednesdays: Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley 12pm. Meets the second Wednesday of every month. Sign-in and social time begins at 11:30. Guests are welcome with lunch reservations. Faz Restaurant, 600 Hartz Ave.,

Danville. RSVP 925-275-2412. Information: coachstepper@yahoo. com. Walnut Creek Host Lion’s Club 12:15pm. Meets the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesdays of each month. Black Bear Diner, 700 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. Information: walnutcreeklions.org. Walnut Creek Toastmasters 7-8:15pm. Meets every Wednesday. 1660 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill. Information: walnutcreek.freetoasthost.net Alamo Rotary 12:15pm. Meets every Wednesday. Round Hill Country Club, 3169 Roundhill Road, Alamo. Information: alamorotary.org. San Ramon Valley Rotary 7pm. Meets every Wednesday. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Information: sanramonvalleyrotary.com. Blue Star Moms 7-9pm. Meets the second Wednesday of every month. Danville Veterans Memorial Building, 400 Hartz Ave. Information: bluestarmoms.org. Diablo Valley Quilters 7-9pm. Meets the third Wednesday of every month. No charge for guests. Danville Congregational Church, 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville. Information: diablovalleyquilters.com. Veterans of Foreign Wars 7:00pm. Meets the third Wednesday of every month. Veterans Memorial Hall, 400 Hartz Avenue, Danville. Information: Post Commander Ernie Petagara at 925-362-9806 or vfwpost75.org. D a n v i l l e To a s t m a s t e r s C l u b #1785 7:30-9pm. Meets every Wednesday. R o o m W 2 0 4 a t D i a b l o Va l l e y College,1690 Watermill Road, San Ramon. Information: danvilletoastmasters1785.com. Thursdays: San Ramon Valley Newcomers 11:30am-2pm. Meets the third Thursday of every month with a featured guest speaker at a local Tri-Valley restaurant. New and longtime adult residents are welcome. Reservations/information: 925-8379600 or www.srvnc.com.

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SERVICES Pool Service-If your pool looks like a pond, call John at 925-584-6333. It’s the last pool maintenance call you will have to make. Emotional / Spiritual Help We all experience challenges in life, times when we could benefit from the support of a caring person. Stephen Ministers at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, are trained to

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provide confidential, emotional and spiritual care to these individuals in our community. This is a FREE service open to all individuals. For more information, please call this private and confidential telephone number at 925- 855-1367, extension 558.

HELP WANTED Sales Executive: Sentinel Newspapers, Inc. has immediate openings for a sales person for A La Carte magazine and for the Valley Sentinel. Sales territory includes Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek and Lafayette. Sales experience helpful. Will train the right person. Must have an outgoing

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personality and a positive attitude. Compensation based on performance. Local Central Contra Costa residents only need apply. Please email your resume and request for interview to us at drousset@valleysentinel.com. LICENSED REAL ESTATE PROFFESSIONALS 100% COMMISSION. Confidential interview. Want a Real Estate License? Tassajara Valley Realty (TVR) Danville. Call Now Sylvia 925 285-1801 Sr. Project Manager: M.S. in Eng., C.E., or rltd & 2 yr. exp. CV to: careers@ bankofthewest.com. Position in San Ramon, CA.

Rotary Club of San Ramon 11:45am. Meets every Thursday. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Information: sanramonrotary.org. Diablo Numismatic Society 7-9pm. Meets the third Thursday of every month. Concord Police Community Meeting Room, 1350 Galindo Street, Concord. Information: diablocoinclub.org. Clutterers Anonymous 7-8pm. Meets the second Thursday of every month. St. Luke’s Lutheran Church room 7, 
2491 San Miguel Drive, 
 Walnut Creek. Information: 925-736-8627. Diablo Valley Lions Club 7:30pm. Meets the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Thursday of every month. 1400 Montego Drive, Walnut Creek. Information: diablovalleyca.lionwap. org. TENS - Thriving Empty Nesters 9-11:30am, Every Friday, Room 11 6 ; C o m m u n i t y P r e s b y t e r i a n C h u r c h ; 2 2 2 W. E l P i n t a d o Road; Danville. We are a Peer Community - Encouraging Women to Rediscover, Reconnect & Rejoice in the Empty Nest Stage of Life ! Information: Contact Barb Miller baiumil@yahoo.com or Donna Hill at hillmom3@comcast.net

page 13

Buttercup Bar and Grill, 660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. Information: diablo-pca.org. Fridays: Montelindo Garden Club 9am. Third Friday (September through May) St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 66 St. Stephens Drive, Orinda. Information: www. montelindogarden.com or luiseh@ comcast.net 925-254-3906. Sundays: Cars n Coffee: First Sunday of Every Month 8-10am. Blackhawk Automotive Museum is hosting Cars and Coffee for automotive enthusiasts in the parking lots of Blackhawk P l a z a . O u r p a r t n e r, S c o t t ’ s Catering, will provide coffee and other refreshments. Afterwards, visit shops and restaurants in Blackhawk Plaza. Blackhawk Museum; 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle; Danville. Information: www. blackhawkmuseum.org.

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The Valley SenTinel

March 2014

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The Iron Horse Trail keeps growing By Beverly Lane, East Bay Regional Parks District

Bicycles on the Iron Horse Trail. EBRPD photo by Shelly Lewis.

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The Iron Horse Trail through the San Ramon Valley is now a mile and a half longer with completion of a key new section linking the Dublin/ Pleasanton BART station to Santa Rita Road. This closes a trail gap and completes the Iron Horse Trail through Pleasanton. A dedication ceremony celebrating the achievement will be held sometime this spring at the Kaiser Permanente Campus, 5820 Owens Drive in Pleasanton. Details and participating dignitaries will be announced. The public will be welcome to attend. The dedication also celebrates the 40th anniversary of Right of Way Trail Advocates (ROWTA), a trail advocacy group that was instrumental in establishment and extension of the Iron Horse Trail. N ow ex t e n d i n g 30 + miles through the San Ramon Valley between Concord and Pleasanton, the Iron Horse Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a safe, nonmotorized route for adults and kids to travel between homes, schools, shopping, businesses and employers including Kaiser Permanente. It’s located primarily within the former Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way that was established in 1891 and abandoned in 1978; the tracks were removed in 1978-79. In 1998 a license agreement was approved between East Bay Regional Park District and Alameda County for the purpose of constructing the trail. And

in 2000, the Iron Horse Trail was designated one of the country’s millennium trails. The Santa Rita Road section is a $4.2 million project, part of the East Bay Green Transportation Initiative. Funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the park district’s Measure WW bonds, the Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation program, the Alameda County

East Bay Regional Park District General Manager Robert E. Doyle and Director Ayn Wieskamp at the May 2013 groundbreaking for the Iron Horse Trail extension to Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton. EBRPD photo by Mona Koh.

Transportation Commission and the city of Pleasanton. * * * East Bay Regional Park D i s t r i c t i s a p re s e n t i n g partner in a symposium e n t i t l e d “ Fre d e r i c k L aw Olmsted Jr.: A Vision for the American West,” to be held on March 27 and 28 at Stanford University. T h e sy m p o s i u m w i l l explore Olmsted’s profound influence on trends and issues specific to the West, including land and water conservation, metropolitan

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growth, the state and national park systems and protection of the region’s environmental resources. The Olmsted brothers and Ansel Hall co-authored a feasibility study in 1930 that was a major impetus for establishment of the E a s t B ay Re g i o n a l Pa r k District, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Olmsted also completed the master plan for the Stanford University campus.

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Robert Doyle, the park district general manager, will be among the symposium presenters on March 27. And a tour of the East Bay Regional Parks is offered on March 28 as an option for symposium attendees. If you’d like to attend t h e sy m p o s i u m , t h e re ’s re g i s t ra t i o n i n f o r m a t i o n online at www.olmsted.org/ symposia * * * Park district green will make the scene at the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the Dublin Lions Club. Members of the district’s Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol will participate. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15. Only a mile long, the parade route follows Amador Plaza Road, Dublin Boulevard, Village Parkway and Amador Valley Boulevard. Given the number of marching units, the lead elements may finish before the last ones step off. But it’s always a good time. Beverly Lane is a member of the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors. Her ward includes Central Contra Costa County from San Ramon through Concord and Pleasant Hill through Clayton.


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AUTO March 2009 March 2014

2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring By David and Judy Colman

The all new 2014, 4th generation Forester looks enough like its immediate predecessor to confuse you into believing Subaru has simply revised the sheet metal a bit. But a quick look at the specification sheet reveals the new Forester, at 181 inches in length and 71 inches in height, stands 1.5 inches longer and 2.1 inches taller than the version it replaces. The additional height is most noticeable when you enter the airy new cabin without ducking your head. In fact, if you’re feeling all hat and no cattle, go ahead and wear that ten gallon Stetson. You still won’t graze the roof liner, even when your Forester comes equipped with the huge Panoramic Power Moonroof that is standard issue on the Touring model. The extra length translates into added rear seat legroom, enabling aft passengers to lounge without knocking knees. Even the cargo hold is more spacious than before, growing to 74.7 cubic feet from 68.3 cubic feet when the split back seats are folded flat.

Of course, the extra size comes at a slight penalty in added weight, as the new Forester, at 3,415 pounds, carries an extra 164 pounds when compared to the previous model. However, the performance disadvantage you might expect from the additional weight is offset by the new CVT transmission, which has finally made its way to the Forester model line. Having introduced the very first CVT transmission to the US market in its Justy model back in 1988, Subaru has more experience with continuously variable transmissions than any other manufacturer. The breeding shows in the Forester application, where the CVT operates seamlessly, always offering just the right rpm range for the 2.5 liter flat 4 to operate optimally. There’s invariably enough zip on tap to master any merge or pass you might undertake. If you really feel the need for more speed, you can upgrade your 170hp Forester to the optional 258hp 2 liter, turbocharged 4. Bear in mind that the turbo will use more gas than the base motor, which

manages 27 MPG in overall driving. Regardless of engine choice, the Forester is tow rated at a commendable 2,400 pounds. When equipped with the newly available “EyeSight” driver assistance package ($2,400), the Forester is one of the safest vehicles you can buy in terms of crash prevention. Subaru has perfected its lane keeping program by seamlessly integrating EyeSight’s information stream into your driving routine - without the annoying chirps and buzzers so many other manufacturers favor. If you start to wander from your intended direction of travel, EyeSight will simply flash an orange warning light on the info panel between the 8,000rpm tachometer and the 150mph speedometer. The package also provides pre- collision braking and throttle management. Keyless access is included as well as high intensity discharge (HID) headlights. If you are inclined to favor such driver aids as EyeSight, you’ll discover that Subaru’s system puts most others

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to shame. Just be forewarned that you cannot attach anything to your windshield without disrupting the view of the twin CCD (charge coupled device) cameras attached to either side of the rear view mirror. Also, scratched windshields must be replaced with genuine Subaru glass to maintain the integrity of the system. The Touring Forester utilizes a grip enhancing rubber cargo mat in the trunk compartment that helps stabilize loose items. The rear hatch features automatic lift when you pull the up on the indented exterior handle, as well as automatic closure. The interior carpets are covered with loose weave sisal mats that were all the rage 40 years ago when they were known as cocoa mats. They still work well and look great, and we’re not sure why they ever disappeared. Subaru has seen fit to provide 3 nice chunky knobs for the heating and ventilation system. Would that they had done the same for the entertainment/navigation unit, which requires you to input commands to a 6.1 inch LCD touch screen that is virtually impossible to read in daylight.

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The good news, however, is that the navigation unit is standard equipment on the Touring model, and the Bluetooth enabled AM/ FM/HD/SIRIUS radio thumps out a whopping base through its Harmon Kardon 440 Watt amp and speaker system. You won’t win any road races with the Forester because its handling suffers from its high center of gravity, and the Yokohama G91 Geolander tires (225/60R17) confer modest grip. But no one buys this Subaru to win races. Its appeal lies in its consummate practicality, standard all wheel drive traction, spunky pancake 4 engine, new CVT drive train, and above all, its unsurpassed interior spaciousness. If all that isn’t worth a relatively modest investment of $33,220, good luck bettering this combo elsewhere.


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The Valley Sentinel_March 2014