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March 2011

VOL 16, NO 3



Glass Art Exhibit Coming to Danville By Staff Writer

Mark your calendar for a treat on March 18. Opening at the Village art gallery in Danville is the glass art exhibit “Finding Balance: Glass art in the Bay Area”. Bay Area glass artist and co-curator Randy Strong will talk in-depth about the inner workings of glass art and the artists featured in the collection. This exhibit will be on display through May 25th. Winner of the juried 2005 and 2008 Niche award for blown glass, and finalist for 2010 – awarded by Niche magazine for the best of blown glass in the United States - Randy Strong - artist



See GLASS ART page 14

The coming of Spring is especially enjoyable looking out over beautiful Oak Hill Park on Stone Valley Road in Danville from the site of The All Wars Memorial. This spot is well worth a visit.

National Women's History Month Inspires AAUW historical drama the San Ramon valley during

Postmaster: Dated Material

By Dana Guzzetti San Ramon Valley (MSRV).

M a r c h is National 1st Place Winner W o m e n ' s Sharon Huber, History Month a n d 2 0 11 U.S. Marine Corporal happens to be 1967-1970 the centennial of women's suffrage in California. "Remember the Ladies!," the battle cry of California's suffragists, will be heard again when members of the Museum of San Ramon Valley reenact women achieving the right to vote in California 100 years ago. The historical drama to be performed for the American Association of University Women members and the general public is part of a series of events scheduled this year by the Museum of the

B e f o r e t h e S u s a n B. Anthony amendment to the U.S. constitution was approved in 1920, California became the sixth and largest western state to approve women’s suffrage on Oct. 10, 1911. Beverly Lane and others researched women's civil r i g h t s m ove m e n t s i n t h e 19th and 20th centuries, and museum volunteers have brought the events of the hard fought battle to life in the compelling 45-minute dramatic presentation, "Remembering the Ladies." This coincides with the new MSRV exhibit opening May 14 and running through July 16, depicting women in

the women’s suffrage campaign of 1911. Mannequins and a collection of artifacts will be on display and every Saturday, and historic reenactors will be present to talk to visitors. B eve r l y L a n e, l o c a l historian has spent months researching documents, letters and newspapers of the period. She says the Oct. 13, 1911 New York Times reported, "California farmers give votes to women," in an article which stated that the election took place on Oct. 10 and that "Granges and other farmer's organizations had endorsed suffrage." "When the Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, organized in California in 1873, both men and women were eligible

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members. In the San Ramon Valley in the early 1870s, the influential R. O. Baldwin called for both sexes to be members in a proposed Farmer's Union organization, a precursor to the Grange. On October 1, 1873, the new Danville Grange #85 welcomed 10 women and 20 men to its charter membership," according to a series of papers written by Lane for use in the upcoming museum exhibit. Lane found references to local families and records of meetings where "The question of women's suffrage was discussed at considerable length..." The Woman Suffrage Association was organized in Contra Costa County in 1870 with a large contingent from See WOMEN’S HISTORY page 5

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The Valley SenTinel

March 2011

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Danville businesses going green By Dana Guzzetti

A new program to educate, inspire and recognize Danville businesses striving for sustainability will allow the public to know which businesses have joined the Danville Sustainable Business Program. “We want to do the right thing for our community, and so many of our businesses are trying to do that too,” Cynthia

Ruzzi of Sustainable Danville Area remarks. “We want to help customers recognize their effort.” Sustainable Danville Area, the Danville Chamber of Commerce, the Discover Danville Association and Shop Danville have joined forces to establish criteria that measure a business’s efforts toward sustainability and certify its

significant progress toward that end. “If they have completed 25 things on the greener practices list, we will give them a decal to put in the window or if they are an online business, we will provide a digital logo,” Ruzzi said. If a business is certified or working on certification with the Bay Area Green Business Program, they will automatically qualify.


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Businesses that participate are also invited to join the Spring Fling, which is a series of events planned for the month of April in Danville. Sustainable Danville Area has been a supporter of the Bounty Garden, which is on the agends of the Joint Planning and Operations Committee for Hap Magee Ranch Park on March 24 at 6 p.m. The Bounty Garden is a community effort to establish a vegetable garden and an

organic gardening /nutrition education center, which will give its fresh produce to the Food Bank. The Bounty Garden needs JPOC and Town of Danville approval. Sustainable Danville will also celebrate its first anniversary with an organic wine tasting on April 21. To learn more about the Sustainable Danville Business Program visit www. sustainabledanville@gmail. com or call 925-895-5001

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

March 2011 March 6 Jukebox Saturday Night 2m. An afternoon performance with the Danville Community Band performing a variety of musical hits from the heyday of the jukebox, and more. Free. Blackhawk Auto Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. March 6 In The Spotlight 4pm. The California Symphony proudly showcases three of the region’s finest orchestral musicians, flutist Monica Daniel-Barker; violist Marcel Gemperli, and clarinetist Jerome Simas. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Tickets & Information: 943-7469. March 7 Winds of Change 7 : 30 p m . T h e Wa l n u t Creek Concert Band features music that has had a major impact for the band, including “Lincolnshire Posy” by Percy G ra i n g e r, “ S e c o n d S u i t e in F” by Gustav Holst and “Symphony for Band” by Vincent Persichetti. Tickets:

$14-$17. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut

Creek. Information: 943-7469. March 8 - May 7 Out With the Old, In With the New Tues – Sat: 11am-5pm. A broad selection of prints, p h o t o g ra p h s, p a i n t i n g s, ceramics and jewelry featuring current works and unique treasures. Shop for specially discounted works Lafayette Gallery, 50 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette. Information: 2842788. March 9 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Zheng Cao 8 p m . M e z z o - s o p ra n o Zheng Cao will perform in the U.S. premiere of “Into

the Bright Lights,” a cycle of three songs composed by Philharmonia Baroque Chorale. Tickets: $30-$90. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Information: 943-7469. March 11 Trial by Jury and Engaged 8pm. Lamplighters Music Theatre’s presentation will be a double feature of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury” coupled with Gilbert’s comic farce “Engaged.” “Trial by Jury” is a satire on the legal system. Forty minutes long and sung through with no dialog. “Engage” is a humorous farce that offers a different perspective on the subject of marriage with no singing at all. Tickets: $18-$43. Hofmann Theatre at Lesher Center,1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Information: 943-7469.

Free. Front Row Theater, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon. Information: 9732787. March 11-13 Always: Patsy Cline Mar. 11 & 12: 7:45pm., Mar. 13: 2:15pm. A tribute to Patsy Cline, the legendary country singer. Based on the true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan named Louise Seger, who

befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk and continued a correspondence with her until her death. Tickets: $20-$29. Knight Stage 3 Theatre at Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Information: 943-7469. For more A & E, see our website at www.valleysentinel. com/pages/living_arts_ entertainment_events.

March 11 S a n Ra m o n S y m p h o n i c Band 7:30pm. “The Art of the Wind Band.” An evening of music provided by the 65member San Ramon Symphonic band. Tickets: $6; under 12,


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The Valley Sentinel

March 2011


Healing shoulder pain and rotator cuff injury

Rehabilitation of the shoulder with class IV laser therapy By Dr. Niele Maimone, DC

The rotator cuff muscles (four muscles in total) are the primary support structures for the shoulder. Therefore, even minor dysfunction associated with these muscles can create pain and decreaseperformance of everyday tasks. A rotator cuff injury can be caused by many everyday activities. These activities include traumatic events (e.g. fall on an outstretched arm, “yanking” of the arm), repetitive motion (e.g. throwing a ball, carrying children) and chronic improper posture (e.g. operating a computer, driving).

There are three major types of rotator cuff injuries that we treat successfully: 1. Rotator cuff muscle tears: This is a partial tear of one or more of the four rotator cuff muscles. Rotator cuff muscle tears are often accompanied by deep achy pain in the shoulder and arm weakness. 2. Tendonitis: Tendons are at the ends of each muscle and attach the muscles to the bones they move. When there is inflammation of these tendons it is called tendonitis. The symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis are often trigger point pain over the tendon

accompanied by deep, achy pain in the shoulder and arm weakness. 3. Rotator cuff Impingement syndrome: Chronic injury of the rotator cuff can lead to a “pinching” of the nerves passing through the shoulder. This is commonly referred to as a shoulder impingement or rotator cuff impingement. Symptoms often include numbness, tingling or sharp, shooting pain into the arm or hand. How do I heal my shoulder pain? The most common forms of medical treatment for rotator cuff injuries are antiinflammatory medications, cortisone injections and surgery. Although meds and injections may reduce the severity of pain associated with rotator cuff dysfunction, they are not a long-term solution and may do more bodily harm than good in the long run. Surgery is a last resort and should only be used if there is irreparable damage to the shoulder that

cannot be handled with proper rehabilitation. The natural approach First: Heal the damaged tissue. Ending the pain caused by a rotator cuff injury requires stopping the cycle of inflammation that is creating the pain. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this because it is presently the only modality that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously. During laser therapy, the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, pain is relieved and function is restored. Second: Correct the shoulder and postural mechanics. Long term pain relief of shoulder injuries involves

rehabilitation of the shoulder, neck, and thoracic spine. Shoulder rehabilitation is achieved by utilizing specific postural adjustments, exercises and specific posture stabilizing methods in order to re-establish proper motion and strength of the shoulder joint. Ongoing strengthening and stretching exercises are used to rehabilitate the musculature of the shoulder to ensure lasting results. Give us a call If you suffer from chronic pain, it is worth your while to spend some time figuring out which of any number of factors are contributing to your pain — we will help you explore which combination of therapies will help you heal it. The good news is you can do it without drugs, and you can get back to the activities you love! Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in the natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult, call 925-362-8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter. com.

News Bits By Dana Guzzetti

Odd observation July in 2011 has five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. This reportedly happens once every 823 years. Art Glass at Village Theatre Art Gallery The “Finding Balance: Glass Art in the Bay Area” exhibit opens with a reception from 5 to 8pm at the Village Theatre Art Gallery March 18. Bay Area glass artist and cocurator Randy Strong talks indepth about the inner workings of glass art and the artists featured in the collection. On display through May 25. New planning commissioner and CC Vector Control appointees Kerri Bock-Willmes was appointed to the Planning Commission for a term ending December 31, 2014, and Randall Diamond was appointed for a two-year term as Danville's representative on the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District Board at the mid-February Danville combined Planning Commission/Town Council meeting. Watch for waterfalls Las Trampas Regional

Wilderness and Mount Diablo State Park are two nearby places to find lively cascading waterfalls in March, right after a couple of days rain. Some of the falls are hard to find, but well worth the effort. Dress in layers, take a camera, bring maps and water and take extra care if you go near a waterfall area, as soil is sometimes unstable. Check out the creek along the trail at the Mitchell Canyon entrance to Mt. Diablo or on the west side of Eagle Peak. Check for detailed guides to Marsh Creek and Mt. Diablo waterfalls Follow the Madrone trail west of Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site to view one of two falls in Las Trampas. Drive a little farther to find Cataract Creek in Marin, Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore, Berry Creek in Big Basin or Uvas County Park waterfalls in Santa Clara. St. Patrick's Day for kids Forest Home Farms has a special St. Patrick's Day kid's event planned for March 12 from 10am to 2pm in San Ramon. Danville Planning Commission approves

Skyvilla, LLC Twice denied, Skyvilla's nearly 9,000 square feet of proposed improvements on 10 acres located on Lawrence Road was approved by the Danville Planning Commission in February. The project will be an exception to the town's Scenic Hillside Major Ridgeline Ordinance. Lighted tennis courts closer to approval The Alamo Municipal Advisory Council narrowly approved Round Hill Country Club's proposal to add 24foot light fixtures to the club's lower tennis courts near the intersection Round Hill and Stone Valley Roads. There is stiff opposition to the plan from neighbors, but also strong support from tennis court users who must sometimes wait for a lighted court because of the demand. The plan now goes to the Contra Costa Planning Administrator. March change of season and clocks Daylight savings time starts March 13 and the first day of spring, March 20, is the spring equinox, when day and night are approximately 12 hours long and the sun is at the midpoint of the sky.

March 2011

The Valley Sentinel

page 5


Cancer Therapy Moves Toward More Personalized Care By Tyler Kang, MD

Cancer is deadly and difficult to treat because it is not a single disease, but rather thousands of independent diseases that afflicts thousands of individual patients annually. Up until recently, traditional cancer therapy has utilized a shotgun approach to cancer treatment which uses drugs that effectively kill rapidly dividing cells but also indiscriminately affect normal, healthy tissues that also proliferate rapidly. With better understanding of the mechanisms by which cancers develop, new therapies are now able to target certain cancer growth pathways and result in better outcomes with reduced side effects. Breast Cancer Personalized therapy in breast cancer was first advanced with the discovery of Her-2/neu, a protein that is over-expressed in about a third of breast cancer patients and makes their disease more aggressive. Trastuzumab is a drug introduced in 1998 that targets this protein and improves treatment response without significant toxicity. A new type of drug, known as PARP-inhibitors, is currently in development targeting WOMEN’S HISTORY from page 1

from Martinez. Danville's E.H. Cox and his wife were active members and their daughters were married to prominent local ranchers, R. O. Baldwin and William Meese. The exhibit will contain more information about the broader movement in order to form a frame of reference for visitors. A summer reception is also planned to honor past and present elected women in Contra Costa County. Community groups and clubs that would like to see a

another group of breast cancer patients that traditionally has a very poor prognosis. These drugs target an enzyme known as poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP), which is necessary for cancer to effectively escape the effects of chemotherapy. Patients with specific genetic mutations and those who lack both hormone receptors and Her-2/ neu receptors who receive this therapy are able to live longer than counterparts that receive standard chemotherapies. Lung Cancer The most deadly type of cancer, lung cancer afflicts many Americans yearly and is notoriously difficult to treat in its advanced stages. Traditional chemotherapies only improve survival for a few months. Early trials incorporating a class of drugs that interferes with a protein called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) were disappointing, but when patients were tested for EGFR mutations, it was noted that those who harbor certain EGFR mutations responded much better to this class of drugs when compared to those who have wildtype (unmutated) EGFRs. Subsequent studies showed significant survival benefit using EGFR inhibitors in this group of patients, reenactment may request one by contacting kathychiverton@ or srvmuseum@ The AAUW also provides c o l l e g e s c h o l a rs h i p s f o r qualified young women, and is accepting applications which must be postmarked by April 1, 2011. Applications are available at One of the events that provides funding for the scholarship program is the Annual Garden Tour slated for May 6 and 7 from 10am to 4pm. Visit www.gardentour@ for details.

AAUW luncheon What: “Remember the Ladies Re-enactment,� public is invited to 45-minute historical drama at AAUW Luncheon Where: Crow Canyon Country Club 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville When: March 12, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the public is invited. Details: Seating limited to 80. Call Karen for reservations 925-891-4632.

and they are now approved therapies in patients with advanced lung cancer. A n e w, e x c i t i n g development in lung cancer t h e ra py s t e m s f ro m t h e discovery that a small group of lung cancer patients have a specific mutation in a gene known as ALK. This abnormality tends to appear in younger lung cancer patients who are non-smokers and is associated with a slower g row i n g d i s e a s e. E a r l y studies have recently shown that when these patients are treated with drugs that inhibit ALK, response rates up to 57% were seen. Further clinical studies are underway to hopefully confirm these findings.The discovery of cancer development pathways has helped us to further subcategorize these and other cancer types and allows us to treat patients based on the details of their individual disease. It is only with this new approach to cancer care can we hope to dramatically improve outcomes in an illness that continues to devastate those families it touches. D r. Ka n g i s a b o a rd certified Medical Oncologist and Hematologist with Epic Care. (

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• Education • libraries • schools • camps • events

San Ramon City's Parent Project ... will change your life

Bentley School and the Bentley Parent’s Association Invite you to Join us for an Evening Discussion about Gratitude

Monday, March 21 6:30 pm Lafayette Campus 1000 Upper Happy Valley Rd The public is cordially invited to this event.  Appropriate for elementary and middle school families. For more info visit or

H av i n g t ro u b l e w i t h your teenager? Do you have a strong willed child? The Parent Project may have the answers for you. The Parent Project helps parents reduce family conflict, improve school performance and attendance, identify and intervene with drug and alcohol abuse, intercede in negative peer associations (including gangs) and set more effective limits. This ten week activity-based course focuses on changing destructive adolescent

behavior and gives parents the necessary skills to do so. The Parent Project offers concrete, no nonsense solutions. The straight forward, step-by-step action plans presented in the curriculum allow parents to take immediate steps towards preventing or intervening in their child’s negative choices. This program focuses on middle school and high school aged children. Give us 24 hours! It will change your life! Begins March 16, 2011 through May 25, 2011 on

Wednesdays, 6:30 - 9:30pm. 10 week series, no-cost tuition. $30 materials fee. Sponsored by the San Ramon Police Department. For more information contact Officer Mark Gunning 925-973-2737 or Officer Hollis Tong 925-973-2752 or visit

SRVUSD to host first-ever local Speaker Series The San Ramon Valley Unified School District announces its first-ever speaker series entitled; “The Skills and Ethics Needed for Success in the 21st Century.” The series is meant to appeal to high school students and parents in the district. The series will be held Wednesdays during the month of March and will rotate among high schools in the district. There are several fabulous presentations lined up. Kevin Lovell, District Manager, Safeway NorCal

Division will present “The Skills Companies Require of Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) Workers”on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Dougherty Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 105 50 A l b i o n Ro a d , S a n Ramon Newell Arnerich, Council Member, Town of Danville will present “Am I a Leader? You bet! You just may not know it yet!” on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Monte Vista High School

Oratory Competition On February 5th, 2011 the American legion Post #246 of Danville hosted the American Legion District 9 Oratorical CompetiAtion at Hap Magee Ranch Park. This competition was the American Legion District 9 contest involving the winners

of the Lafayette Post #517 and the Danville Post #246. Entitled a “Constitutional Speech Contest,” the contest focuses on the U.S. Constitution with an emphasis on the attendant duties and responsibilities of the citizenry regarding the United States constitution and


College Prep for Students (Grades 8-12) Who Learn Differently

Accepting Applications for Fall 2011, and Summer School Open House Wed. April 20th 7:00 PM 19 Altarinda Rd., Orinda, CA 94563 •

Summer School June 20-Aug. 5 Cartooning, Music Lessons, Middle and High School Prep, Math, English, U.S. History, Spanish

Theater, 3131 Stone Valley Road, Danville A Panel of Local Business People/High School Students (Co-sponsored by San Ramon Chamber of Commerce) will present “Next Generation Workforce – What it Takes to Get the Great Jobs” on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. California High School Theater, 9870 Broadmoor Drive, San Ramon All presentations will be from 6:30 - 8 pm.

the government. The format of the contest was the same as the previous Posts’ contests and consists of a prepared 8 to 10 minute oration on some phase of the constitution followed by a 3 to 5 minute assigned topic regarding a specific clause, statute, section or amendment. This year’s participants were Anastasia Kaiser from Miramonte High School in Orinda, Karna Adam from Monte Vista High School in Danville and Chad Rebarber from San Ramon Valley High School in Danville. In a very close competition, Anastasia will represent District 9 at the Area II finals to be held February 19 at 1pm at the Post #238 American Legion Hall in Pacifica, CA. The winner of this contest will participate in the Department Finals to be held February 27 in Oxnard, CA. The national finals will be held in Indianapolis, IN, in March. The specific date to be announced.

Kid’s Camps

March 2011

The Valley SenTinel

page 7

Summer Tech iD Tech Camps Held at Camps St. Mary’s College By Dana Guzzetti

There is an array of tech camps in the San Francisco Bay Area. If a couple of mature teens commute together, it is probably possible to access many more tech camp options in San Francisco using BART, but those listed below are primarily day camps, more conveniently located in the East Bay Area.

L o c a t e d i n D a n v i l l e, Vision Tech Camp offers classes in game design, java programming, robotics and an Invention Convention Week, which will run from June 13 through Aug. 12 in weeklong sessions. Campers’ hours are from 9 am to 4 pm with extended hours available. Campers can bring lunch or buy one. (www.visiontechcamps. com or 925-699-9602) iD Programming Academy a t U C B e r ke l ey o f f e rs a summer program that includes website design, gaming and programming for ages 7-17. The same or similar programs are available at St. Mary’s college in Moraga, Santa Clara University and Stanford. These camps are accredited by the American Cam Association and also give kids a chance to see a college campus up close. This is the 13th year for iD and they are offering promotions, new products, continuing education credits and $50 refer-a-friend credits.(www.internaldrive. com or 888-709-8324) TechKnowHow will have week-long, half-day summer day camps with extended day care in Danville, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Livermore, Pleasanton and Fremont from June 13 through Aug 19. Most are offered through local recreation departments or community centers. Classes vary with the age group, with younger kids doing more building and robotics and kids See SUMMER CAMPS page 11

Over 120,000 kids and teens worldwide have learned to create video games, iPhone and iPad apps, C++ and Java programs, websites with Flash, movies with Final Cut Studio and After Effects, Maya 3D animations and models, ad designs, robots and more with products experts use in their professions. Beginner to advanced students, ages 7-17 enroll in these fun and challenging, weeklong, day and overnight summer camps. Programs are held at 60 prestigious universities nationwide including St. Mary’s College of CA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Santa Clara, MIT, Harvard, UCLA and others. iD Tech Camps guarantees small class sizes (average

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The Valley SenTinel

March 2011

Mark Your Calendar for the Annual AAUW Garden Tour Visit seven wonderful gardens in Alamo, Danville and Walnut Creek on Friday or Saturday, May 6 and 7, from 10 am to 4 pm. Various landscape designers and expert gardeners will be on hand to share their knowledge. The cost for a ticket is $30 ($25 for seniors) if postmarked by April 30, or $35 thereafter ($30 for seniors). No children under 12 please. All proceeds benefit AAUW’s Funds, which support aspiring female scholars. For tickets with garden

locations, mail check payable to “AAUW Funds” along with a business size, self-addressed stamped envelope to: AAUW Garden Tour, 400 Cliffside Dr., Danville, CA 94526. Tickets are also available after April 1 at East Bay Flower Company, 206 Sycamore Valley Road West (Danville Livery). They are accepting cash or check only. For further information, send an email to gardentour@ or call Tena at 925-837-0826.

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New gardening trends less wasteful By Dana Guzzetti

There are new trends in gardening. American gardens have been strongly influenced by traditional English gardens that reflected the colonial empire. Plants were imported from all around the world. Gardens filled with foreign or exotic plants became a status symbol. Americans have tended to mimic English, French, Japanese, and where climate a l l ows, I t a l i a n g a rd e n s. Heightened American awareness of organic foods, environmentalism and growing attention to water conservation has been the catalyst for U. S. gardeners to break away from tradition with a style of their own. To d a y ’ s g a r d e n e r s approach a plot of land or a deck or patio with a purpose. Yes there still is the relaxation of concentrating on nature, the outdoors experience and creating beauty in a small part of the world, but now gardeners are focusing on sustainability, nutrition and economic purpose. Landscape designer Kelly Marshall says, “There are still people in the Bay Area that pretend that they are in England and who are maintaining rolling expanses of lawn, but there is a growing awareness. More and more people are realizing, ‘Hey, I am in California where the climate and soils are different.’” The growing popularity of native plants and organizations such as Bringing Back the Natives is evidence that Americans throughout the country are beginning to appreciate the flora indigenous to each region. The National Gardening Association reports that nine out of 10 families already want to maintain their lawns and gardens in an environmentally conscious way. In contrast to the 1950’s tract home gardens with a lawn, a tree and roses near the porch, American gardeners are thinking out of the box, daring to plant herbs and vegetables with flowers, and sometimes, shocking neighbors by doing it in the front yard. “ M o re p e o p l e a re becoming the first on their street to show that it (a vegetable and herb garden) can be really beautiful,” Marshall remarks. “Everything tastes better and if

you feel good because it is not trucked, go ahead and grow them in the front yard if that is the only place you can do it”. Michelle Obama’s campaign to help children watch their weight makes gardening a logical place to begin to improve the quality of family life with delicious healthy food and a little exercise and fresh air. Homegrown vegetables are a delicious luxury, as witnessed by the old saying, “There are only two things in life that money can’t buy: true love and home grown tomatoes.” Decide which part of the property is best for vegetables (plenty of sun) and where herbs and vegetables will fit into the general landscape plan. Determine how to reduce the size of lawns or limit them to accents or designated play areas. Then learn about and explore gardens designed with native plants so less water will be needed and one can let Mother Nature do more of the work. It’s a paradigm shift,” experienced landscape architect and designer Kat Weiss says. “My whole business is artful California gardens.” Weiss encourages clients to get out into the native landscape. See what you love on a Saturday hike and design a beautiful garden you don’t have to spend all day on, or hire someone to mow and blow.” According to Weiss, “As a native gardener you can have any kind of garden you want. They can be colorful. The supply of beautiful, colorful natives at nurseries is much better than it was even two or three years ago.” It is also possible to give a native plant garden a more formal look. The Bringing Back the Natives garden tour in May would be an easy way to see what native and drought resistant gardens look like in the Bay Area. Start composting and make a plan. Find out what works best for others with the same climate and soil conditions. This is easier now because there are many gardening groups and classes. There are several native plant nurseries within a reasonable driving distance and standard nurseries are beginning to stock natives.

One can also order them upon request. Local park and recreation departments provide convenient classes on gardening and Diablo Valley College has a horticulture program. DVC also holds spring plant sales. Plants purchased at the DVC sales tend to be sturdy and thrive because they are not force fed to appear more salable. Check out groups such as Sustainable Danville Area (SDA) and ask questions at any one of the local garden clubs. SDA has an on-going list of classes, specials and events. It is trying to get a Bounty Garden approved at Hap McGee Park. If the Bounty Garden is approved, gardeners would learn how to grow foods in a sustainable manner and donate fresh produce to the Food Bank. The same approaches to gardening are possible in a small space or on a deck or patio. It is easy and fun to accomplish more with a container garden, trellises and vertical plant supports (tomatoes and beans do well in the sun). Design pots with color and shape in mind. Herbs and vegetables can be attractively combined with edible flowering plants such as Nasturtiums, DayLily, thyme, dill, chives, cilantro, squash (blossoms), lavender, rosemary and more. A pot of mint is great to keep on hand for garnish on a plate or in iced tea and other drinks. Mint should be planted in a pot and flourishes with abundant water and half shade/ half sun. Mint is known to grow rapidly and choke out other plants. A good spot is under or near a water spigot. Bright yellow calendulas taste a little like saffron, and roses and violets uses as a garnish can lend a sweet flavor to salads. Many flowers can be used in beverages, vinaigrettes, marinades, candies, cakes and jellies. Make sure to use organic gardening techniques and do not apply any pesticides or chemicals. If there is the slightest doubt about a plant being poisonous, be sure to check. Also, do not eat these flowers if they are picked in the wild or are from places where the source of their nurture is unknown.

March 2011

Birders are out for bird breeding season By Dana Guzzetti

There are 161 species of birds that breed in Contra Costa. Casual bird watchers and serious birders will be out in nature identifying, cataloging, drawing and photographing their every move in the next few months. The stereotypical image of a bird watcher could not be more misleading. Bird watchers come in as many shapes and sizes as the birds they watch. Local “birders,” as they are known to one another, gather important scientific data while enjoying nature, each other and the antics of Contra Costa’s feathered friends. Among the intrepid birders that joined the Mount Diablo Audubon Society’s (MDAS) annual ornithological census were a retired merchant marine officer, a professional ornithological researcher, businessmen, clerks, homemakers, authors, students and more. Birders

of all ages and all levels of expertise participated in that dawn to dusk count where they encountered coyotes, bobcats and stormy weather this year to spot 145 out of a possible 211 migrating species. Many in the group went bird watching in Costa Rica in January. It is common to delight at the sight of a blue jay or a redwing blackbird in the yard, but most people have

no clue that 20 others are in the vicinity. Members of the 57 year-old MDAS group learn where and how to look and listen to find them all. Modern birders sometimes use ringtones and iPods to illicit a response from a Red Breasted Nuthatch or other unseen birds in the bushes. “Red breasted Nuthatches were everywhere this year,” experienced birder Rosita Harvey revealed at the “Christmas Count” (annual census). Breeding season is a good time to go on an Audubon Society walk or pick up a copy of “The Breeding Bird Atlas” by Steven Glover, Heller Stanton and illustrator by Dana Gardner to enjoy a time of the year when birds are most active. The county was broken up into a series of grids about five kilometers square and an individual took the responsibility of observing a particular grid block over a period of five years. Birders compiled detailed accounts of numbers and species, what they were doing and when. All of that information was the basis of the book, which specifically covers Contra Costa. Local author Jean Richmond has also written the helpful and popular book, “Birding Northern California.” Birders often go out in pairs, in order to log their sightings or take photographs and enjoy sharing nature and their discoveries with each other. It is easy to link up with a group. To learn more, visit a local bird supply source such as East Bay Nature in Walnut Creek, Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill or Dublin, or Rodie’s Feed & Country Store in Clayton.

The Valley SenTinel

page 9

California State Flower, Food and Garden Show By Dana Guzzetti

The first California State Flower and Garden Show is coming to Cal Expo. The show is different from what visitors expect from the average home and garden show. The show is exclusively about landscape design and flower and vegetable gardening. It is also truly a statewide show. The centerpiece of the show is the eleven showgardens. They are themed on “A Walk Through California”. A couple of my favorites were “Mountain Magic,” created by Pond Pro with designer Mike Matracia, and “Flight of Fancy” from Foothill Design and Landscape. Another show garden, “Intimate with Trees,” featured the use of maples of all description. Designer Tricia Smyth and her company Essence of the Tree ( also have a booth where maples can be purchased to create in your own garden. “Urban Agriculture: A Growing Trend” by Sacramento Community Gardens is a totally practical show garden to take ideas from. Even in Central Sacramento neighborhoods with their small lots, there are great elements in these gardens that can inspire the urban landsacper. Having lived in Seattle much of my life, I attended the world class Northwest Flower and Garden Show many times. The show gardens in this show rival most of those at the NWF&G shows.

There are several seminars running during the show on the Monrovia and Pacific Horticulture stages. Featured speakers include Gary Gragg from “Superscapes” on HGTV and award winning author Amy Stewart (Wicked Plants, The Earth Moved). Nationally recognized floral arrangers Tony Todesco

and Rene Van Rems will also be presenting. There are numerous other seminars covering most every interest of the garden enthusiast. Held at the Cal Expo, Pavilion Building - East Gate entry on April 7, 8, 9 & 10, 2011. Thur. & Sun: 10am-6pm, Fri. & Sat: 10am-7pm.

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The Valley SenTinel

Beverly Lane EBRPD Board of Directors

Park professionals and trail advocates from throughout the state will gather at the San Ramon Marriott Hotel from April 11 to 13 for the 2011 California Trails and Greenways Conference. Sponsored by California State Parks and the California Trails Conference Foundation, the gathering presents an opportunity for professionals,

March 2011

GREENWAYS CONFERENCE COMING TO SAN RAMON By Beverly Lane, East Bay Regional Park District Board President

advocates, volunteers and park users to exchange information about effective trail system advocacy and management. Tw o g r e a t k e y n o t e speakers are scheduled. One is Tom Stienstra, a renowned outdoorsman and longtime outdoors writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. For 30 years Stienstra has shared with the public his experiences and tips for hiking, bicycling, fishing, boating and wildlife watching, often in the regional

parks. He has twice been elected National Outdoor Writer of the Year, and he’s a member of the California Outdoors Hall of Fame. The other keynoter is Dr. Nina S. Roberts, an associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at San Francisco State University. She is also director of the Pacific Leadership Institute. Dr. Roberts is nationally known for her research on race/ ethnicity and gender issues in recreational use of parks and public land. She will discuss how to respond effectively to demographic and cultural shifts on both the state and national level. East Bay Regional Park District has long been in the forefront of the effort to create regional trail networks linking parklands, residential neighborhoods and commercial districts. The Iron Horse Regional Trail, which traverses over 30 miles of Contra Costa and Alameda counties from Concord to Dublin, is a good example. Created along an old

railroad right-of-way with the cooperation of multiple cities and agencies, the trail is open to almost all non-motorized f o r m s o f t ra n s p o r t a t i o n including horseback. It is used every day by commuters, schoolchildren, and recreation seekers alike. Another example is the Briones to Mt. Diablo Regional Trail, which links Briones and Diablo Foothills Regional Parks with Mt. Diablo State Park. In East Contra Costa, a regional trail network connects Round Valley Regional Preserve to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve through Contra Costa Water District watershed lands. Using this trail and others to which it connects, you can hike from Round Valley to Walnut Creek, traversing some of the East Bay’s most beautiful backcountry, with campsites along the way.

Other equally extensive regional trails are already in existence or well along in the planning stages. A park district goal has long been to offer attractive alternatives to motor transport, for the resulting positive impacts on both our environment and our personal health. To get an idea just how extensive the park district’s regional trail system is, visit the district web site at www. On the left side of the home page, click on “parks” and then again on “maps.” You can download seven maps for the Iron Horse Regional Trail alone. East Bay Regional Park representatives will be active participants at the trails conference. For more about the conference, check the state parks websitea www.parks.

March 2011 SUMMER CAMPS from page 7

Danville Area Chamber presents 2010 awards By staff writer

The Danville Area Chamber of Commerce re c i p i e n t s f o r E d u c a t o r, Business Person, Citizen and Charitable Organization of the Year received their awards at the annual installation dinner that was held at the historic Diablo Country Club on February 17. T h e Va l l e y S e n t i n e l sponsored and presented the award for Educator of the Year to Bruce Koliha, who has taught choral music for 34 years, 29 of which have been at Monte Vista High School. The 2010 Educator of the Year nominees were Bruce Koliha, Monte Vista High School; Cindy Egan, San Ramon Valley High School; and Pat Hansen, PrincipalVista Grande Bay Area News Group Tri–Valley Herald presented the award for Business Person of the Year to Gordon Clarke, the owner of Tower Grille since June 2007. He contributes generously to the local schools and a variety of charities including STAND! For Families Free of Violence. The 2010 Business Person of the Year nominees were Gordon Clarke–Tower Grille; Marcia Harmon–Cottage Jewel; and Steve Wilcox–Summit Financial Group, LLC.

Bay Area News Group –San Ramon Valley Times presented the award for Citizen of the Year to Paulina Pulliam McGill, who has been a Realtor in Contra Costa since 1961. She is a life member of the One Hundred Club, which provides benefits for families of fallen police officers and fire fighters. Since 1998, she has been a volunteer at the San Ramon Medical Center. The 2010 Citizen of the Year nominees were Paulina Pulliam McGill; Nancy Mullally –Alamo Capital CEO; and Jerry Warren–Immediate Past Chair of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley's Steering Committee. The Danville Express presented the award for Charitable Organization of the Year to Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. For twelve years the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area has been encouraging the unlimited potential in children and adults who have Down Syndrome by offering a safe place for expression in an environment rich with opportunities to thrive. T h e 2010 C h a r i t a b l e Organization of the Year nominees were Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area; Museum of the San Ramon Valley, and The Wheelchair Foundation.

age 10 to 14 learning arcade and racing games as well as robotics. www. or 650292-2256.) The Tech Summer Camp Galileo Learning offers tech day camps for 4th through 8th graders at the Tech Museum i n S a n J o s e. We e k - l o n g sessions include hands-on science, filmmaking, music and technology, photography, video game design, Web, Wikis and Widgets from June 13–Aug. 12. Extended care offered from 8 am to 9 am and from 4 pm. to 5:30pm. ( or 800-854-3684) Camp Ed Tech is open to kids grades 5 through 9 with locations in Moraga, Oakland, Alameda and more. Week-long camp sessions are offered for two levels: Studio week (beginner) and a Pro week. Camps run from early June–July 29 with classes in animation, digital photography, graphic design and movie making. (www. or call 877993-6673) Recreation departments in the area are contracting with outside organizations such as Freshi, which specializes in kids’ tech education. Be sure to check what city park and recreation departments have to offer. Freshi Films offers digital media summer camp programs

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page 11

locations in the Bay Area. The camps are very fun and children from as young as 5 and up to 14 learn from firsthand experience the rewards and satisfaction of completing these projects and showcasing them to parents and friends. The Valley SenTinel FREE! Private Party Ads Up to 22 Words— Additional Words $1 Each

March 2011


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Please mail check and ad to: The Valley Sentinel, 390 Diablo Rd., Ste. 145, Danville, CA 94526. Or email w/credit card information to Write your ad clearly and include your: Name, Address, Daytime Phone, Date, and Category. DEADLINE is the 15th of the month preceeding publication month. For more information call 925-820-6047. REAL ESTATE Ready To Lease Your Property or Looking To Rent It? Come To Hitchcock Realty Property Management Rentals, Listings, Advertising, Maintenance Full Services Low Rates Call Chris at 925-890-4482. FOR SALE ’94 Electra Glide Custom Black on Black. 21” front wheel. Thunder header etc. $8500.00 Contact Marc (925) 639-4474 Bell & Howell 16mm School Projector, Model #2592. Works great. $70. Call David, (925) 681-8594 Bell & Howell Military Version 16mm Movie Projector. Bought at an army Surplus Auction. Has a separate speaker system. Very heavy duty. Brand new condition. I have never used it. $100. Call David (925) 681-8594

2011 Entertainment Coupon Books for Greater East Bay Area available NOW! Only $30 each. Support California High School Choral Boosters. Call Cam Reed @ 925-8290628. Free delivery San Ramon/Danville/Alamo/ Dublin area. HELP WANTED FINANCE: Risk Analyst - Structured Securities: Master’s in Econ., Finance, or rltd. & 3 yrs. exp. & exp. in analytics using Intex to forecast losses on structural securities including RMBS, CDOs and CLOs; implementing Model Governance framework on organization-wide models; and FRM certification. Resume to: Bank of the West, 2527 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, CA 9 4 5 8 3 . AT T N : H . R . or send to careers@ b a n k o fth e w e s t.c o m . EEO. The position is located in San Ramon, CA. Sales Executive Position: The Valley Sentinel Newspaper has immediate openings for two sales positions. No sales experience n e c e s s a r y, w e w i l l train. Must have an outgoing personality and a positive attitude. Compensation based on performance. The Valley Sentinel covers the most desirable areas of the Bay Area. Alamo, Danville, Blackhawk, Diablo and San Ramon. Please email your resume and request for interview to us at info@vallsysentinel. com, or fax it to 925820-6048.

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Mobile computer network repair & support - I make housecalls. Voted Best Computer Repair 20062010. Ken Cook at 925485-9040 (office) 925989-7722 (mobile). VOLUNTEERS Bruns House Seeks Volunteers: Volunteering at Hospice of the East Bay’s Bruns House InPatient Hospice, the only one of its kind in the East Bay, offers opportunities for meaningful and interesting work. Hospice is seeking volunteers to fill 2 - 4 hour shifts, weekdays and weekends. Volunteer opportunities include: Working alongside facility staff to provide comfort and support to patients. Assisting in administrative functions such as answering phones, greeting visitors, and helping the facility run smoothly and efficiently. Call Hospice of the East Bay at -925887-5678 and ask for the Volunteer Department or email volunteers@ Vo l u n t e e r t o b r i n g sunshine to Hospice patients: You can bring

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BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT – PLEASE RECYCLE THIS NEWSPAPER Danville • Blackhawk • Alamo • Diablo • San Ramon

Community News & Information

Publisher/Editor – Denise Rousset Chief Financial Officer – Jeff Gummere Writer, Auto – David & Judy Colman Graphic Designer – Laurie Prindle Assistant Editor – Jason Bellini 390 Diablo Road, Suite 145 Danville, CA 94526 925-820-6047 Website:


M a r c h

M a r c h

M a r c h

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For additional Community Events visit: If your event is not listed... Please do so by clicking on CALENDAR and Post an Event

We hope to see you there! ANNOUNCEMENTS March 12 Good Manners Exhibit & Glass House Museum 10am–2pm on the 2nd Saturday of each month. This exhibition takes an entertaining look at the etiquette of everyday life, comparing rules of the past with the present from the Victorian era to modern day. Admission covers the exhibit, Glass House and Tractor Museum. $5 per person or $8 for both tours. Forest Home Farms Historic Park, 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. Information: 973-3284 March 12 “Remember the Ladies!” 11am – 3pm. The battle cry of California’s suffragists will be heard again when members of the Museum of San Ramon Valley reenact women achieving the right to vote in California 100 years ago. Tickets: $26 in advance, $30 after March 4 deadline. Cost includes lunch. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. Information: 891-4632 or 831-8518. March 13 – May 7 Bear in Mind Exhibit Tues–Fri: 1–4pm. Sat: 10am–1pm. Sun: 1– 3pm. Myriads of pictures, artifacts, DVD’s, children’s activities and endless stories about the grizzly in California and the San Ramon Valley. Call the museum for special Bear in Mind events taking place on Sundays from noon–3 pm. $3 for guests, $1 for students and free for members. Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave., Danville. Information: 837-3750. March 16 – May 25 San Ramon City’s Parent Project Weds: 6:30–9:30pm. Having trouble with your teenager? Do you have a strong willed child? The Parent Project may have the answers for you. Ten week course focuses on middle school and high school aged children. No-cost tuition, $30 materials fee. San Ramon Police Department, Training Center , 3150 Crow Canyon Place, Ste 160, San Ramon. Information: 973-2737 or 973-2752 March 22 – May 18 “Captain Cool and the Sea Creatures” Tue. & Thur. afternoons. This is the fifth adventure for Captain Cool and the Righteous Dudes. Activities include auditioning, rehearsing and basic theatre skills. Each child receives personalized support and guidance. Good reading skills a plus. Final week of rehearsals involves some daytime and weekend participation. Class culminates in five performances at the Village Theatre. Performance dates are 5/19 -5/22. Open to youth, ages 7 to 14. Information & registration: 314-3400 March 26 Upledger Institute’s ShareCare® Program for Healing 8:30am – 4:40pm. A one-day class designed to teach attendees light-touch techniques to maximize the body’s self-healing properties and enhance overall health and well-being. Zen Strength, 3950 Valley Ave Ste. B, Pleasanton. Class is $85 if paid before March 12; $95 after. Information & enrollment: 596-0145.

March 31 The Bookies, A Celebration of Books and the People Who Love Them 6pm. Evening will include dinner, wine and a silent auction. Elizabeth Rosner, will be the guest speaker. Tickets: $50. Lafayette Park Hotel, 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Information: 927-3250

BUSINESS Alamo Chamber of Commerce March 16: Alamo Chamber Mixer, 5:30-7:30pm. Business showcase at RoundHill Country Club, 3169 Roundhill Road, Alamo. Danville Chamber of Commerce March 10: After Hours Mixer, 5:30pm. Best Western Danville, Sycamore Inn, 803 Camino Ramon #10, Danville. San Ramon Chamber of Commerce March 8: Monthly Networking Luncheon with Betty Jo Waxman. 11:30am-1:30pm. Cost: $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville. March 17: Third Thursday Mixer, 5:30-7:30pm. Scott’s Catering, Blackhawk Museum. Great food, wine and fun within the new juke joint at the Blackhawk Auto Museum!! $5 for members and $20 for non-members. Blackhawk Museum - Scott’s Catering, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. March 23: The Next Generation Workforce – What it takes to get a great job! 6–8pm. Presented by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce: Business Education Speaker Series. Cal High School Theatre, 9870 Broadmoor Drive, San Ramon. Job Connections Saturdays: Meets 9-11:30 a.m. A no-fee, volunteer organization supporting people that are unemployed, underemployed, or in a career transition in their search for employment. Community Presbyterian Church, 222 W. El Pintado, Danville. Visit

CLUBS March 12 Mt. Diablo Branch, California Writers Club 9am. Carla King’s book, “Self-Publishing Boot Camp,” forms the basis of her popular workshop on how to publish, promote and sell a book of any genre in print and every popular book format. Lunch after the workshop. Cost: $35 for CWC members, $40 for guests. Reservations required, and must be received no later than noon on Wednesday, March 9. Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. Information: Call: 934-5677 March 17 San Ramon Newcomers Club Luncheon 11:30am – 2pm. New & long-time residents are invited to the Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville. The cost is $21. Guest speaker will be Penny

Warner, author & columnist for the Contra Costa Times. Information & reservations: 718-5214 Danville Rotary Club Meets every Monday at noon at Faz Restaurant, 600 Hartz Ave., Danville Tuesdays Danville Sycamore Valley Rotary Club Meetings held every Tuesday morning at 7am. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville. For more information, call Scott Sampson at 743-8449. Wednesdays San Ramon Valley Rotary Club 7:00pm. Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville. For information call Valerie Munoz at 683-6310 or visit Blue Star Moms Chapter 101 General Meetings 7–9pm. Meets the second Wednesday of every month at Hap Magee Ranch Park Swain House, 1025 La Gonda Way, Danville. For more information contact Peggy Conklin at 866-7035 or visit Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley Meets for lunch at noon second Wednesdays monthly. Features guest speakers and business networking. Guests are welcome with luncheon reservations. Contact: Karen Stepper, president, 925-275-2412, www.srvexchangeclub. org. Alamo Women’s Club Program/Lunch - 4th Wednesday at the clubhouse, 1401 Danville Blvd, Alamo, CA Club Membership is open to women of all ages who reside in the Contra Costa area. Contact Nancy at or call 925831-0111 Diablo Singles Dance Club 7:30–10:30pm. Last Wednesday of every month. 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. Members $7, guests $9. All are welcome. Call 837-2851 for information. Thursdays Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 75, San Ramon Valley 7pm. Meets every second Thursday of the month at the Swain House at Hap Magee Ranch Park, located at 1025 La Gonda Way in Danville. Meeting begins at 7:30pm. For information, contact Post Commander Nathan Greene at 875-1747. Find out more about the VFW on the internet at Mt. Diablo Business Women Meets 5:45-8:30 p.m. second Thursdays monthly. Networking and dinner, guest speakers. Lafayette Park Hotel, 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. $37 members, $47 guests. Advance reservations required. Fridays Montelindo Club 9am. Club meets the third Friday of the month, September through May. The meeting is free and welcomes guests and new members. Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way, Orinda.

Please email or fax your Calendar Events to the Sentinel by 5 p.m. Friday, March 18 for the April issue. Fax No. 925-820-6048, or go to to enter your event online. Inclusion in the calendar pages is at the sole discretion of Sentinel Newspapers, Inc.

page 14

The Valley SenTinel

March 2011

Redevelopment agency funds next year. By Dana Guzzetti

In a quest to rectify the dire condition of California state finances, Governor Jerry Brown announced a plan to take over county and municipal redevelopment agency (RDA) funds next year. The estimated $1.78 million would be enough to pay for trial courts and Medi-Cal, according to the independent legislative analyst’s office report. This has initiated a general discussion of whether the existence of RDAs continues to be justified and what municipalities and counties do with RDA funds that could flow back into local coffers after RDA bond repayments and state withholdings. Redevelopment agencies throughout the state are maneuvering to protect at least some funds from state appropriation and fighting back with reminders of successful projects. The Town of Danville made an agreement to loan money to its redevelopment agency to get started in 1985 and it has not been repaid, according to Danville Town Attorney Bob Ewing. In mid-February, the town council acted to put specific parameters on that debt in case the state decides to appropriate its RDA funds next year. “We just plugged in a specific dollar amount and date when it will be paid,” Ewing remarked. “Now we have a better sense of how it will flow in, if the state is trying to take it.” The specific dollar amount is about $7.8 million, plus interest, Ewing said. Danville RDA projects include: acquisition and renovation of the Village Theater and Town Meeting Hall, Danville Library and

Community Hall, extension and expansion of Railroad Ave. ( i n c l u d i n g p a r k i n g lots), acquisition of land for low-income senior housing and other infrastructure improvements. San Ramon City Council made a similar but different move in January. It approved a contract between the city and its RDA that will transfer $7.38 million from the RDA to the city’s general fund for completion of a range of projects that the RDA has planned. Among them are: surveys and studies for the Purdue Road extension off of San Ramon Valley Blvd. south of Hooper Dr., complete remodeling of a Crow Canyon Road building which will house Police Services, environmental review, permit and work on a creek/culvert at Bollinger and Crow Canyon Roads, improvements to the cityowned old Mudd’s restaurant property, several landscaping, traffic signal and constriction studies and finally, $150,000 for planning development of the North Camino Specific Plan. The San Ramon RDA was formed in 1986 and has about 8.5 percent city land (est. 605 acres) within its purview now. There are two basic reasons for the current questions about the value of RDAs. One is the unique nature of RDAs. While they are legally separate from city councils and county supervisory boards, the fact that many of the same people serve on both the RDA board and the city council or county board can give the appearance of a conflict of interest, or compounding of power outside of public scrutiny. The other is the questionable need for some RDA projects, which proceed without traditionally

required public approval. The State of California legally authorized local governments to form RDAs in 1945, after World War II. The purpose was to give cities a way to fund the rebuilding of blighted, rundown areas and infrastructure, which had been neglected during the war effort. These projects were to benefit poor, disadvantaged neighborhoods that did not have any means of improvement through private sector investment. S i n c e t h e n , R DA s also build state mandated affordable housing projects, and it is common practice for them to build shopping centers, stadiums, auto rows and the like. There are now 400 active RDAs in California, according to the Town of Danville website. The RDA’s contribution to these projects, which may be partially funded by other sources, is paid for out of what is called a “tax increment.” That means that the property tax rate at the date of the formation of the agency becomes a baseline. If tax revenue within the RDA boundary increases after its formation date, the amount of the increase goes to the RDA, instead of the city or county general fund until the redevelopment plan is complete, or up to 40 years. After that, the tax increment goes back to the city or county. The RDA plan must be revised every five years so ending dates can change. That tax increase revenue is received gradually, so RDAs issue bonds to pay for projects and pay off the bonds with the GLASS ART from page 1

and designer in hot glass for 40 years, has worked continuously throughout his career producing innovative designs in glass that continually influence the ever changing and growing community of studio glass artists. Randy is one of a handful of the early pioneering American Glass Artists to help define American Studio Art Glass. Before he was to enter the world of glass however, he began his broad education in the arts by working in and collecting photography. In the late 60's he was working as an events photographer for the Oakland Tribune, and for a brief period, was privileged to work with and learn from photographer Ansel Adams. His first taste of working in glass came in 1969 at the tax increment. The bonds are debt to the RDA and not the city or county. RDAs also build civic improvements such as schools, libraries, roads and firehouses. While these become community assets, they may remove private property from the city or county revenue stream forever. Redevelopment agencies are not bound by the same public disclosure rules as a city council or county board of supervisors, but generally the same individuals serve on both the RDA and the governing body that has authority over the RDA area. RDAs have special powers: They can use eminent domain to take property for private use, issue bonds (borrow money to pay for projects) without a public vote, sell property without a public bid (even at a loss) and make private development deals without competition. The city council or county board of supervisors appoints planning and zoning commission members who could be inclined to agree with the people who appointed them and who also are on the RDA board. Redevelopment funds are commonly used to pay the salaries of planners working for the city because they are often working on a redevelopment project. Danville is 221 units behind in its state required low-income housing. “Very low” income in Danville is $50,000 annually and the town is expected to find a place for 187 of those units. It is likely that acreage will be added to the RDA purview and that zoning changes will occur to

meet that requirement. Many of the commercial, a f f o rd a b l e h o u s i n g a n d infrastructure projects are valuable improvements to the community, and in the spirit of the original purpose of redevelopment. Some projects are of questionable value or could have occurred without the use of public funds. Redevelopment agency abuses in more than 11 agencies were documented by the Los Angeles Times, and the city of Hercules appears to have problems with its RDA. There has been an estimated $800 million in documented RDA abuses in California as of 2010. The biggest question is whether communities are better off having the “tax increment” in their general fund to pay for regular expenses such as the salaries of police, fire fighters, and teachers, or is it better to keep, for example, seven to 10 percent of its annual property tax revenue aside for redevelopment projects. “Redevelopment agencies took roughly $11 of every $100 in property taxes collected in Contra Costa in the past fiscal year, including districts in 16 cities and six unincorporated areas…,” according to Lisa Vorderbrueggen’s report for Bay Area News Group. The bottom line in each community is whether or not the voting public approves of the use of tax dollars for the RDA projects, or would they like to spend that revenue on other priorities? Were the RDA improvements accomplished at a fair price? Do citizens like the planning and zoning changes initiated by the RDA?

California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Calif. where he began by studying ceramics and was fortunate to have as his mentor, the renowned ceramicist, Peter Voulkos. Upon graduation in 1970 he received one of the first scholarships to the University of Art in Osaka, Japan as one of the first exchange students between the Universities of Calif., Calif. College of Arts and Crafts, and Osaka, Japan. That grounding in ceramics led him into the largely unknown frontier of studio art glass. In 1970, he was with Dale Chihuly when Dale and the Haubergs selected the location for the now renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington – and the journey into that frontier was well underway. Randy's work through the last four decades has contributed countless innovative techniques,

materials, colors and forms now widely incorporated by other artists. Many of today’s successful, working glass artists are either former students, or have worked with or for him at one time. His work, ranging from his distinctive crystal and gold goblets and his ground-breaking work with dichroic glass, to his imposing cast sculptures, and now his seemingly gravity defying, moving, color saturated, multi-piece sculptures, have been acquired by collectors internationally and are a part of collections ranging from The Corning Museum in New York, to the Louvre in Paris.

March 2011

The Valley SenTinel

page 15

AUTO 2011 AUDI Q5 2.0T By David and Judy Colman

You might succumb to reverse sticker shock because the price of this Audi is so low. Opt for the new-for-2011 turbocharged, four cylinder Q5, and your base price is just $35,200. The 2.0 liter power plant used across the VW/Audi model range in everything from the Golf to the A4 makes its debut in the Q5 this year. Yes, you do lose 69hp by choosing the 211hp turbo 4 instead of the 270hp V6. But that slight concession in power saves you thousands in base price at little cost in ultimate performance. There’s still plenty of pop for passing maneuvers, plenty of quiet for freeway cruising, excellent ove ra l l g a s m i l e a g e ( 20 city/27highway), and lots of tow capacity (4,400 pounds). Trailer hitch pre-wiring is a nice standard feature. Granted, the base model Q5 looks a little plain compared to the ritzier V6, but purists will admire the turbo 4’s honest lack of pretense. The interior is supremely serviceable, offering standard three zone climate control, 12 -way adjustable power front seats, leather seating surfaces, and wood inlays that embelish the dash, center console and all four doors. Of course, you

can guild the base version by opting for the $4,200 Premium Plus package, which brings you useful features like xenon LED headlights, heated front seats, power tailgate, and a Bluetooth ready iPod interface. More importantly, the package adds a terrific “Panorama” sunroof which opens view vistas for both front and rear seat passengers. Panorama transforms the Q5’s interior from cave to observatory. Audi is generous in its standard tire and wheel fitment, providing the Q5 with ample contact patches at each corner thanks to 18 inch alloy wheels shod with grippy Dunlop Grandtrek Touring AS rubber measuring 215/60 R 18. You might expect the junior Q5’s turbo 4 to have difficulty motivating such a bulky, 4,320 pound package from a standing start, but the 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox does wonders by compensating for lack of sheer grunt with intelligent ratio selection. By shoving the console-mounted stickshift to the right, you can manually control gear selection. The central instrument display panel indicates the gear you’ve selected. A couple of items need attention here. That gear selection indicator is too small

for easy reference because it’s half the pica size of the less needed MPG indicator just above it in the same panel. The outside rear view mirrors, which for no apparent reason fold up when you turn off the ignition, are perfect for sighting behind you when towing a trailer. However, they are so large, and the A-pillar on which they are mounted is so thick, that peripheral vision becomes problematic. At its base price, this Q5 represents one of the best deals in the Audi catalog. If you opt for the Premium Package, you can still sneak this SUV out the door for under $40,000. If you must have Navigation, plan on spending $44,125 for the pleasure of owning a fully loaded junior Q5. 2011 AUDI Q5 2.0T quattro Tiptronic ENGINE: 2.0 liter DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged inline 4 HORSEPOWER: 211hp TORQUE: 207 lb.-ft. FUEL CONSUMPTION: 20 City MPG/27 Highway MPG PRICE AS TESTED: $44,125 PROS Price leader No decontenting in performance or luxe due to low price. Extremely stable in all conditions. CONS Paddle shift would be nice. Exterior a tad “plain Jane.” Mirrors obscure side views.



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The valley Sentinel

March 2011

Downsizing 101 & Points of Life–

Join us at the Villa San Ramon on Wednesday, March 30 for one or both of these informative presentations! Our informative and fun presentation is ideal for seniors (and their families) who are considering making a move into a retirement community. We’ll discuss step-by-step the downsizing process and the use of professionals who can help to make the transition as stress free as possible. Presented by: Annette Junell, Keller Williams & Cynthia Nolan & Dee Vance, Carefree Moves 3:00 – 4:00pm The Elder Ed Players will present 5 “Points of Life” Skits exploring the complexities of aging: Scene 1: She’s Your Mother, Not Mine! Scene 2: Denial Is Not A River In Egypt Scene 3: I’ll Think About It Tomorrow... Scene 4: Your Numbers Are Down Scene 5: I’m Afraid My Money Will Run Out Before I Do! These fun and enlightening skits will be followed by a panel of experts open discussion. Presented by: Richard Wexler, A Golden Hand 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Wednesday, March 30 1-2:30pm & 3-4pm RSVP to (925) 230-2209 9199 Fircrest Lane san ramon, ca 94583


The Valley Sentinel_March 2011  

Community News & Information