Looking Back, Looking Forward

On behalf of the Danville Town Council, I would first like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and to take a few moments to recognize and express my appreciation to outgoing Mayor Newell Arnerich. During his tenure as Mayor, he represented Danville at a very high level. On behalf of the entire Town, “Thank you Newell.”

The Town Council was honored to formally acknowledge and show its appreciation to community members at its annual awards event, which was held at the Danville Community Center on December first. Former Councilmember and Mayor Mike Shimansky received the prestigious Danville Award (posthumous), for his dedication of service to the Danville Community. His wife, Sue and daughter Cyndi, accepted the award. Award of Special Recognition was given to Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel for his six years of excellence in overseeing Danville’s Police Department.

The Parks & Leisure Services Commission Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Valley Youth Council for implementation of the online Needs Assessment Survey that led to ways to serve the local high school population with recreational opportunities and education about current issues. The Arts Commission Volunteer of the Year was given to Kevin Chen for the time and commitment he has generously provided to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. The Town Volunteer of the Year award was given to Richard Schumm for his dedication and commitment
to coaching youth basketball.

Awards of Merit were bestowed upon the following: Robin Kelly, for her volunteerism and dedication to the EPIC Healthy Choices Program at San Ramon Valley High School and the youth in the community; Danville Police Reserves, for volunteering their time to provide an invaluable service to the Danville Community; Tony Carnemolla, for his leadership and service to the veterans in the Danville community; San Ramon Valley Sports Alliance, for their cooperation and teamwork in representing youth and adult sports leagues in the Danville community; CPC Job Connections, for ongoing programs to provide support and encouragement to the unemployed; Colette Ankenman, for establishing Baragwanath Blessings, creating blankets and hats for newborns in South
Africa; Meony Newman, for her dedication and willingness to always go above and beyond as the C.E.O. of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The first Michael K. Shimansky Community Service Award was given to Christy Dodge, for her community service with the Special Olympics in Danville. Congratulations to everyone!

One of my goals as Mayor in 2010 is to hear from more of the citizens of Danville. I value your input. Please e-mail me with comments or questions at mdoyle@ci.danville.ca.us. All are invited to “Mornings with the Mayor” the First Friday of each month at 7:30 a.m. at Father Nature’s, 172 E. Prospect Avenue. Due to the holidays, the January meeting will be on January 8. I hope to see you there.

I look forward to working with you next year as your Mayor!

Exchange Club San Ramon Valley Luncheon every 2nd Wednesday, 12:00 – 1.00 pm, $16 Faz, 600 Hartz, Danville. Info: 925-275-2412/ coachstepper@yahoo.com

Danville Farmers’ Market: Saturdays 9am – 1pm Year-Round, Thursdays, 4pm – 8pm May10 – Aug 16. Corner of Railroad & Prospect St.

Soroptimist International of San Ramon Valley meets 1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month at Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville, 12.15-1.30pm. Soroptimist’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls locally and globally.

San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated meets on the Fourth Tuesday of every month except June-August at Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville at 11:30a.m. – 1:30p.m. Lunches are $23. Please join us to hear informative speakers on important issues! Info: Sonali @ (925) 314-9194.

01/11, Monday 7pm – 8.30pm: SAT Strategy Session with Princeton Review. Getting ready to take the SAT? The Danville Library will be offering this informative and helpful program that will focus on making the most of the SAT process and achieving the best possible score. Location: Danville Library. Info: (925) 837-4889
01/15 – 02/06: Role Players Ensemble presents a daring, zany black comedy “Kimberly Akimbo” at the Village Theatre, 233 Front Street.Tickets:$15-$25.00. www.villagetheatreshows.com or (925) 314.3400.

It’s A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life

This month I’m reviewing my brother-in-law, Frank’s favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Knowing this about Frank has made me appreciate him all the more.

George Bailey, played superbly by James Stewart, is a noble man who oozes small town forthrightness. An adventurer at heart, wishing to trek to all parts of the world, he becomes a slave to sacrifice to the family’s business, the Bailey Building and Loan. When he was a young boy, George lost his hearing in one ear after saving his younger brother Harry from frigid ice water. Then, just as he was about to leave Bedford Falls, his father is stricken with a stroke and George is left to tend the piddling family business. Again and again George’s plans and dreams of leaving are thwarted with circumstance after circumstance. Finally, married with four children and no exit ticket in sight, George gives up. He hits bottom after a sudden loss of funds threatens to torpedo the business and send George to jail. Broke and disgraced, in a Christmas Eve outburst where all seems hopeless, he sets out to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. Before George can jump, he sees someone in the water so he does what George always does-he jumps in to save them. An angel sans wings named Clarence (Henry Travers) has been sent down to help George see that he is invaluable to Bedford Falls and George pulls him out of the river. Clarence is there to earn his wings so he transports George back in time for a glimpse of what his community would be if he had not been there to help them.

Without George, Bedford Falls had long since been taken over by the rich and miserly Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). Through all of his sacrifices, George helped many people over the years and through the domino effect had helped even more. Bedford Falls would have been a very different place without George Bailey. In unskilled hands, this moral fable might have been dully preachy. Director Frank Capra’s inventiveness, humor and affection for human beings keep it glowing with life and excitement. Stewart’s warm-hearted playing of what might have been a goody-goody role is a constant delight. Donna Reed as Bailey’s wife Mary is incredible.

In 1946, when It’s a Wonderful Life was released, both Capra and Stewart were home from the war. Capra , an ex-Signal Corps colonel who bossed the making of wartime documentaries was one of Hollywood’s most talented moviemakers. Stewart, who worked his way up without a lot of fanfare from buck private to Air Force colonel (and bomber-wing commander) was home to return to his acting career.

Clarence is George’s guide on a journey that makes you realize how every life has great influence on all it touches. From George and Mary’s breathless first kiss to finding out that bank statements never can tell us how truly rich we are, you will love every minute of It’s a Wonderful Life.

As always, I invite your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com or go to my archives at www.CarolynHastings.com.

Trivial Matters

Ben Fernandez

Ben Fernandez

Can it really be Christmas again? I would tell you how many Christmases I have been around for, but I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I would rather stir up your competitive juices with some Xmas Trivia to see if you can answer these.

By the way, Merry Christmas everyone!

Here are this month’s questions:

  1. In the classic movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” Santa sends children to the store across the street if Macy’s does not carry their favorite toy. No longer there, what was the name of the other store?
  2. First shown in 1984, what Oscar winning actor played a memorable Scrooge on a TV adaptation of “A Christmas Carol?”
  3. In another Christmas season classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” what does Jimmy Stewart find in his pocket to show he has returned to his real life in Bedford Falls?
  4. What member of a famous acting family played Scrooge every year on radio from the mid 30’s to the late 40’s?
  5. In which movie did Bing Crosby originally sing “White Christmas?”
  6. It still plays on TV every year, but who played Scrooge in the MGM version of “A Christmas Carol” in 1938?

November’s Trivia Answers:
1. Shirley Ross 2. Detroit Lions 3. “Anything Goes” 4.”Malcolm X” 5. “Mayflower Madam” 6. John Rolfe

November Trivia Winner:
Diane Slater of Alamo
Win Lunch On Ben!

The first person to email or mail, no calls please, the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate at The Uptown Cafe in downtown Danville, compliments of Ben Fernandez! Entries must be received by Dec. 25, 2009. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. Please email your answers to info@aliveeastbay.com, or mail to ALIVE East Bay, 199 East Linda Mesa Avenue, Suite 10, Danville, CA 94526.

Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE East Bay are not eligible. Restaurant may be changed without notice.

Emerging Markets the Key to a Global Recovery?

You do not have to look too hard to find evidence that the U.S. economy is still in sorry shape. Unemployment just went over 10%, there are “for lease” signs everywhere you look, consumer sentiment indicators remain low and the housing market is still trying to find a bottom. I expect consumer spending here in the U.S. to be depressed for a long time. Despite the economic situation domestically, I still believe there will be good investment opportunities over the next several years for those who maintain a global perspective. The growth of the emerging market economies and specifically the growth of emerging world consumers may well play a pivotal role in keeping the global economy humming along.

The excessive spending by U.S. consumers the last ten years or so has left U.S. households under saved and over indebted. At the same time, however, our spending binge has helped create tremendous economic growth, job growth and income growth in the emerging markets. These newfound emerging world consumers may help pick up the slack going forward as U.S. consumers curtail their spending and repair their balance sheets by paying off debt and saving more.

The growth in the spending power of emerging world consumers has been quite dramatic over the last ten years. Ten years ago, the total value of emerging world consumption was about 50% of the total value of U.S. consumer spending. Today, the spending of emerging world consumers is equal to 91.7% of the spending by U.S. households.* Essentially, the world has almost reproduced or cloned the U.S. consumer.

Going forward, this new class of consumers will be a force. On average, these emerging market consumers are much younger, have low debt and high savings. They desire all the nice things we have (and take for granted I might add) and are willing to spend to get them. Cleary the U.S. consumer may not be up to the task of leading global growth, but all is not lost. We are no longer the sole engine pulling the global economic train. Emerging market consumers should be able to fill or at least reduce the gap created by our subpar spending and consumption. Invest globally with this in mind and rewards should
follow over time.

* Wells Capital Management, Economic and Market Perspectives, September 2009
Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and an Investment Adviser Representative of, and offers securities through, Financial Network Investment Corporation, Member SIPC.

These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and should not be construed as investment advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic stability and differences in accounting standards. Not all recommendations are suitable for investors. Each investor must consider their own goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or dcouture@jbcfg.com.


Drought Resistant Water: An Oxymoron That Benefits You

“Purple” sprinkler heads dot the landscaping like small flowers in the grass—at Emerald Glen Park, in the park strip in front of my son’s town homes and at many golf courses. These highly visible colors are required by law to identify recycled water systems-so that thirsty hikers and picnickers won’t accidentally drink from the spigots.

Our soccer team (Tony and I coach under 13 girls) practices at Emerald Glen Park in Dublin. Despite looming drought conditions this year, the park was lush and inviting because recycled water is available, regardless of the availability of water for family uses. So recycled water is “drought resistant” because it does not utilize drinking water that must be cautiously rationed during dry summers.

DERWAis, at last, bringing recycled water to a park or green area near you. In 1995, DSRSE joined EBMUD to form a Recycle Water Authority – ok, that is FAR too many acronyms! The project received stimulus tax money to build the completely separate pipelines. However, pumping stations and storage tanks (also completely separate from potable water supplies) must be built before the project can deliver water to our valley.

Director John Coleman from EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Water District) touted some of the virtues of recycled water at our council meeting last month:

  • Re-using some water saves more of our “best” water for drinking.
  • Re-using wastewater stops that wastewater from being treated and dumped into San Francisco Bay.

This reclamation will soon become a discussion with some of the Tri-Valley cities to the south of us. Currently, those cities are not allowing EBMUD to use some of their unneeded water stores for our recycled water projects. Instead, that water is piped over the Sunol Grade and dumped into the bay. Those cities are presumably worried that they may need access to that water in the future. But contacts can allow usage only in times that do not interfere with those needs. EBMUD hopes to negotiate current usage that helps our environment while safeguarding times of unexpected needs by those cities.

So how safe is the water? EXPLODE MYTHS – NO ILLNESS: John has drunk some of it in public forums to illustrate that cleaning it three times over through treatments and filtering valves does indeed make it “safe.” Indeed, in virtually 100 years, recycled water has an unblemished record—”no harm was done to humans in the making of this recycled water!”

NO SMELL: Sometimes our soccer balls gravitate to low, wet spots at the base of a hilly spot off the field. The dirty water that splashes up reeks. Is that from recycled water? NO. The smell of recycled water is the smell of “cut grass.” Any additional “fragrance” must be added by the fertilizers on the field.

“Proposed” uses of recycled water in our area include golf courses at Canyon Lakes, Crow Canyon, and Blackhawk; greenbelts and streetscapes at El Capitan and Tassajara Ranch; and school fields at Diablo Vista and Creekside. And San Ramon already has retrofitted 32 sites. (A complete list is posted at ebmud.com or call Lori Steere at 510-287-1631).

Future water shortages—for human needs, fish propagation and agriculture—dominate the headlines. Recycled water is a step in the right direction. So in 2011-2012, finances permitting, the first recycled water is expected to be delivered to a Danville area near you.

The views of this column represent the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the council.


Heartfelt Holidays

By Mayor H. Abram Wilson
We think, in this holy season, of those who are closest to our hearts, even though they may be far away in miles or have passed away. We pause to remember and give special thought to those who are going through difficult times, and of the bond that brings all people of good will together in a universal belief in faith and hope for a better tomorrow.

When we pause, we touch something basic and good in the human spirit. It is a special moment that makes this a time of giving and forgiving a time of good will.

As we give to one another in the spirit of Christmas, let us give of ourselves to all that we meet and greet, with respect, regardless of their religious belief. We are all one under God. Among God’s greatest gifts to mankind is the gift of giving. The more we give of ourselves, the more of ourselves we have to give.

As Americans, we are fortunate to be able, in our own special way, to celebrate the festive time of year, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanza or another belief. On behalf of San Ramon City staff, the City Council, my family and I wish all those who live, work, or visit San Ramon, a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a glorious Holiday Season.

A Christmas wish – “May you never forget what is worth remembering nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” (Irish traditional)

I am truly blessed to be the mayor of this wonderful City. Thank you!

Together we can—Together we will—Make a difference—Make a better community, and be proud that we’ve made a Better San Ramon.
You may contact Mayor Wilson by email at: hawilson@sanramon.ca.gov.

Business Book Club meets at 12:30 pm on the first Tuesday of every month. San Ramon Chamber of Commerce 12667 Alcosta Blvd., Ste 160, Bishop Ranch 15. 925-242-0600.

San Ramon Valley Newcomers Club Hiking Group meets every Friday at 8:30 am. Hikes are usually 2 hours and within 30 minutes of San Ramon. Info: Sharon, 925-735-8960.

Toastmasters Diablo View Chapter meets every Tuesday morning at 7:55 am San Ramon Community Center 2501 Alcosta Blvd. Info: Todd Westerlund, 925-242-0600.

Homeowner/Homebuyer Book Club: A place to learn, share, and discuss, First Monday of the Month, 6:00 pm , 3223 Crow Canyon Rd. (@ Camino Ramon), Second Floor conference room, San Ramon. To RSVP: 925-397-2093.

Stay-at-Home MOMS Club – 1st Wednesday of every month. The MOMS Club of San Ramon, Danville, and Dublin are for stay-at-home moms in this area. A number of activity groups are included in the membership. Dues are only $28 a year. Info: Michelle Borrero at 925-639-9556 or minxy7399@yahoo.com.

East Bay FIT is part of USA FIT, which prepares people of all fitness levels to RUN or WALK a marathon or half marathon using a proven 6-month training plan. Long group runs are done together on Saturday mornings, and weekday runs are left to individual members. For more information, please visit www.eastbayfit.net or call 1-866-333-9828

12/18, 7pm: Community Chorus Holiday Concert at the Community Center at Central Park. Bring the entire family to this delightful holiday concert featuring multi-cultural holiday music and dance. This charming program is certain to entertain one and all. The evening will culminate with a special visit from Santa Claus himself. FREE admission.

12/19 at 2pm & 4:30pm – 12/23 at 11am, 2pm & 4:30pm: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. This pratfall-filled comedy, which brings to life the popular book of the same name, will delight preschoolers, while parents chortle with recognition at the antics of the exuberant mouse. Holiday treat for the whole family. SanRamonPerformingArts.com.

12/20, December 20, 7pm: Messiah Sing A Long at the San Ramon Presbyterian Church (12943 Alcosta Blvd.). Four soloists will perform with an orchestra and you! The chorus is made up of those in the audience who wish to add their voices to the inspiring strains of George F. Handel’s Messiah. There will be free choral workshops on 11/16, 11/30, 12/5 & 12/14. www.sanramonarts.org.

Danville December

By Newell Arnerich Mayor of Danville

The great Danville tradition, the Lighting of the Tree on the day after Thanksgiving, signals the beginning of our local holiday season. We can all enjoy our holiday shopping right here in Danville because of the fine array of shopping environments and specialty stores, perfect for every need. Danville has an extraordinary selection of fine shops, fashionable men’s and women’s clothing stores, fine jewelry stores and, of course, the finest award-winning restaurants and wine bars around. By shopping and dining locally, not only do our businesses succeed, but our schools and charities benefit from the local prosperity.

The Danville Town Council held its annual Community Awards Recognition and Mayor’s installation on December 1st. The Council recognized many community volunteers and leaders including: the Valley Youth Council for their work in implementing an online Needs Assessment Survey to help teens; Kevin Chen, Arts Commission Volunteer of the Year, for his volunteer work for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley; Volunteer of the Year, Richard Schumm, for his dedication and commitment to coaching youth basketball; Melony Newman, CEO/President of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce for her extraordinary commitment to the Danville community; Community Presbyterian Church for their Jobs Connections Program; Tony Carnemolla for his dedication and leadership for veterans’ activities and for his support of the new Veterans Memorial Building; Danville Police Reserves were recognized for their volunteer efforts as Reserve Officers helping keep Danville safe; Colette Ankenman, a sixteen-year-old high school student, for her Baragwanath Blessings Project creating blankets and hats for newborns in South Africa; Robyn Kelly for her volunteer efforts with EPIC Healthy Choices Program at San Ramon Valley High School; Sports Alliance for the long-term commitment of many individuals representing youth and adult sports leagues in coordinating service to over 10,000 participants annually. In addition, the Council presented an Award of Special Recognition to Police Chief Chris Wenzel for his outstanding leadership for the past six years in Danville. The Chief is being called back to work with the Sheriff in Martinez.

Lastly, the Council presented the prestigious Danville Award posthumously to the Shimansky family in honor of long-term Councilmember Mike Shimansky for his nearly 25 years of service to the Danville community. The award was accepted by his wife Sue and their daughter Cyndi. The Shimansky family also presented their first annual financial award in Mike’s honor recognizing a Danville youth for outstanding community service in helping others. The Council concluded the evening event by unanimously electing Mike Doyle to serve as Danville’s new Mayor for 2010.

On behalf of the entire Council, I wish you a safe, joyous and prosperous New Year! Happy holidays to everyone.
You can reach the Mayor at arnerich@ci.danville.ca.us.
Visit www.danvilleinstyle.com to view what Danville has to offer.

Exchange Club San Ramon Valley Luncheon every 2nd Wednesday, 12:00 – 1.00 pm, $16 Faz, 600 Hartz, Danville. Info: 925-275-2412 / coachstepper@yahoo.com.

Danville Farmers’ Market: Saturdays 9am – 1pm Year-Round, Thursdays, 4pm – 8pm May10 – Aug 16. Corner of Railroad & Prospect St.

San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated meets on the Fourth Tuesday of every month except June-August at Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville at 11:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. Lunches are $23. Please join us to hear informative speakers on important issues! Info: Sonali @ (925) 314-9194.

Soroptimist International of San Ramon Valley meets 1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month at Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville, 12.15-1.30pm. Soroptimist’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls locally and globally.

12/08/09, Tuesday, 6.pm – 9.pm: The Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society (ADAS) Holiday Party & Community Art and Education Program (CAEP) Awards.
The highlight of this evening comes after dinner when we present donation checks to local schools’ art education departments. Free admission. 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd (Danville Congregational Social Hall). www.adas4art.org.

12/12, Saturday, 9.30am – 1pm: Elf Workshop at the Veterans’ Memorial Hall. Goodies will be served while children create hands-on holiday crafts and get a chance to visit and take a photo with Santa. 2 sessions available 9:30-11:00 am or 11:30-1:00 pm. Pre-registration required at www.danvillerecguide.com. Info: (925) 314-3477.

12/27, Sunday, 1-4pm: Sentinels of Freedom Annual Holiday Welcome Home Ceremony & Reception The event will honor members of all Armed Forces who are home on holiday leave and who reside in Danville, Dublin, San Ramon, Blackhawk and Alamo. Veterans Memorial Building, 400 Hartz Avenue, Danville. If you know a member of the Armed Forces home for the holidays, please notify your city contact for more information: Town of Danville, Rochelle Flotten (925) 314-3328; City of Dublin: Dora Ramirez (925) 833-6656; City of San Ramon: Karen McHenry-Smith at 925-973-2532; Alamo/Blackhawk: Jennifer Quallick at (925) 820-8683

Alamo Demonstrates Its Generosity

By Steve Mick
Alamo residents can take pride not only in their abundant community spirit, but also in their generous response to neighbors’ needs. There are many examples of this and here are two recent ones.

Julie Hawkins, a twenty-six year old, had been struggling with flu-like symptoms for several days. Blood tests indicated that she had a strain of hepatitis and was admitted to John Muir for treatment and close observation. Doctors soon diagnosed her with acute liver failure and she would need a liver transplant within a few days. She was flown by helicopter to Stanford Hospital to await a donor. Miraculously, a transplant donor was quickly located. The transplant was a success, but the emotional and financial toll on Julie and her family was overwhelming.

The Alamo Women’s Club heard of Julie’s situation and immediately wanted to do something to help. They organized a gourmet breakfast to benefit the Miss Julie Hawkins’ Medical Fund. Held at the Clubhouse in September, the event was an enormous success. Participation and donations far exceeded the organizers’ expectations. It truly was a gourmet breakfast that included juices, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and all the amenities. There was an almost constant flow of people from the very beginning. The Alamo Women’s Club and the many good people of Alamo and neighboring communities can take satisfaction in their outstanding response to Julie and her family.

The new Juniorette group of the Alamo Women’s Club was started by San Ramon High School junior, Amy Corstorphine and a few friends. The goal of the group is to reach out in meaningful ways to those less fortunate. They organized Together We Give, a community-wide donation day held in November. They wanted to make it easy for people to donate and recycle specific items needed. Several philanthropic organizations were on hand to discuss the work that they are doing in local communities. Groups represented included the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, Animal Rescue Foundation, and Shepherd’s Gate, among many others. The community turned out in large numbers with donations of food, specific items of clothing, pet supplies, diapers, sports gear and many other items. The Juniorette Group reported that their first Together We Give event was a great success.

The Alamo MAC held its first meeting on November 11. Chaired by Supervisor Mary Piepho, this was an informal meeting for the new members to meet each other and the public. Supervisor Piepho and her staff discussed a number of procedural topics and requirements. The next Alamo MAC meeting will be on December 15 at 7:00 PM at Hap Magee Ranch Park. For more information please visit www.alamore.org.

Contact Steve Mick at steve@alamore.org

Alamo Community Council
Meets at 5:00 p.m. the 2nd Thursday of the month at Hap Magee Ranch Park – Swain House

Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society
Meets at 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Danville Congregational’s Social Hall, 989 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, Danville

Alamo Improvement Association Board of Directors Meeting
Meets at 7:00 p.m. the Thursday after the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Creekside Community Church

Alamo Chamber of Commerce

Monthly Social & Networking Mixers are held the 4th Wednesday of every month, 5:30pm at various members locations. Visit www.alamochamberofcommerce.com for details!

Alamo Roads Advisory Committee
Meets at 3:30 p.m. the 2nd Thursday of the month at Hap Magee Ranch Park – Swain House

Alamo Rotary
Meets Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. Round Hill Golf and Country Club, For more information call (925) 820-6847

Alamo Women’s Club
Meets the 4th Wednesday of the month 1401 Danville Boulevard, For more information call Nancy P. Combs at (925) 351-6999

Delta Nu Psi Service Sorority
Sends donated goods to our military people. For more information: deltanupsi@comcast.net

Hap Magee Ranch Park Joint Planning and Operations Committee (JPOC)
Meets at 5:00 p.m. – Please visit www.alamore.org for date, Hap Magee Ranch Park – The Cottage

Objects of Virtue at the Bedford Gallery

By Adriane Lee Bird, Marketing Manager, City of Walnut Creek, Department of Arts, Recreation and Community Services

The complicated relationships between the so-called “fine arts” and artifacts of other kinds for which artistry is equally important-furniture, jewelry, and pottery-has long been debated amongst artists, curators, collectors, and scholars. Regardless of it standing in the traditional art world, functional craft has provided archeologists with some of the earliest evidence of human culture. Thanks to its relative durability, and because there is so much of it, pottery is a large part of the archaeological record of Ancient Greece and other societies.

But where does it stand today? What will our contemporary potters create that will tell of our tastes, pastimes, and rituals to future historians? The Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek takes a look at these questions in a new exhibition that includes ceramic artists, from all over the United States, examining one form, the vessel. The show Objects of Virtue (December 2, 2009-January 31, 2010) is important because it highlights nationally the wealth of distinctive trends in the field of ceramics today.

The concept of pots as “objects of virtue” is attributed to the late master potter Byron Temple, who championed the idea of potters as artists. With this exhibit, Bedford Gallery presents artists from across the country, who share the idea that something as humble as a pot can have the import and mystery of a fine painting or sculpture. Curator Carrie Lederer states, “In every detail, from the shape of the vessel’s footing, to the finesse of a lid, to the overall shape of its body, the pot demonstrates a concern for both beauty and function. As an amalgamation of surface, color, texture, and mass, pottery is potentially one of the richest art mediums.”

The exhibition was juried by master potter Julia Galloway, Chair of the School of Art at the University of Montana, who states, “An exhibition and gallery location is a brief but very important place for pottery. It is through the act of ‘show’ that the public first comes to see and understand the work. Specific displays of pottery can bridge the viewer with the content in work.”

Bedford Gallery is a program of the City of Walnut Creek. For more information contact the Bedford Gallery at 925-295-1417, or www.bedfordgallery.org

Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Performing Arts.
Tickets: 925-943-SHOW (7469)
12/11 – 12/19: Whiskers! Galatean Players Ensemble Theatre
12/12 – 12/20: Singalong Down Memory Lane Hero Theatrical Productions
12/18 – 12/20: The Biggest Gift Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble
12/20: Voices of the Season…A Multi-Ethnic Celebration by Voena
12/22-23: Once Upon a Christmas The Ballet Joyeux
12/26: Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVII Worst of Durst
12/29 – 12/30: The Grinch Dance Connection
01/12/10: Bob Schieffer Lesher Speaker Series

Walnut Creek Farmers Market
Every Sunday, 8 AM to 1 PM on Civic Dr. by Civic Park.

Until 01/18, 11 am – 10 pm, Walnut Creek on Ice
Historic Civic Park. Info: (925)935.SNOW (7669) www.iceskatewalnutcreek.com

Through 12/24: Visit Santa on Broadway Lane
For photos and a free gift! Info: (925) 939-7600

12/13, Sunday, 3pm: Sierra Chamber Society’s Concert featuring members of the San Francisco Symphony (C.P.E Bach: Trio Sonata in G Major, Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole, Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 18, No.6). Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd. Info: 925-930-8880 www.sierrachamber.com

12/13, Sunday, 4 – 6pm: Grand Menorah Lighting
Friends and family are invited to join the Chabad of Contra Costa for their annual Grand Menorah Lighting in Broadway Plaza’s Promenade Fountain Area. Info: www.JewishContraCosta.com or call 925-937-4101.

Through 01/15/10: Empire Realty Associates hosts One Warm Coat Drive
This program encourages supporters to pass along new and used coats to benefit those in need. Coats will be collected 380 Diablo Road, Danville or 1261 Locust Street, Walnut Creek, Monday through Friday between 8:30am – 5pm. Info: Julie Sullivan at 925.200.3411 or at julie@julie-sullivan.com.

2010 Kia Soul: A Boxy Compact with Spirit

2010 Kia Soul Sport

2010 Kia Soul Sport

As gas prices rise in the west, the east continues to bring over the small fuel-efficient vehicles that roam their roads. Let’s face it; the reason America has been so successful is because we think big and that has translated into the passenger vehicles we buy and drive. We’ve all heard the saying “Size Matters,” but since 2008 our interpretation of size has changed—or at least our willingness to fork over major bucks at the gas pump required by our addiction to lots of sheet metal, has.

The general theory has been that Americans wouldn’t have the taste for the small plain cars utilized in other markets. Kia has broken the mold by creating a small yet very stylish and functional vehicle that is fun to drive. All new for 2010 is the Kia Soul—a compact four-door box on wheels.

The 2010 Kia Soul competes against other boxy compacts including the Scion xB, Nissan Cube, and the Honda Fit. In the Soul, Kia has perfected the boxy design with sporty portions, unique features, and utilitarian interior space, all of which cater well to its demographics—Gen Y.

In this space (compact boxy Gen Y vehicles), buyers want and enjoy personalizing their cars and Kia is up to the challenge, offering many accessories and accent colors to emanate your soul in the Kia Soul. They even offer seats that glow in the dark! My test model had front door speakers that illuminated red to the beat of the music or could be dialed to either a mood setting or completely turned off.

The interior was comfortably fitted with easy-to-use electronics and a dash designed with curves and circular elements. We cruised around, sporting two-tone black and red seats and door panels. The front seats hold you with support and the rear legroom is surprisingly spacious for a car with only a wheelbase of 100.4 inches. The rear tailgate introduces 19.3 cubic feet of cargo area with enough room for small packages and a few grocery bags.

In reading the model lineup for the 2010 Kia Soul it may appear that my fingers are pushing random keys, but trust me, I am tapping with extreme accuracy! The lineup is as follows: base, + !, and Sport. The base Soul starts at $13,300 and is equipped with a 1.6-liter 122 hp engine mated to a fivespeed manual transmission. The Soul + ($14,950) jumps in horsepower to 142 compliments of the larger 2.0 liter engine. Additional features including Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, remote entry, tinted windows, and steering wheel controls, contribute to the increased price. You can also order the “+” with a four-speed automatic transmission for $950.

The Soul “!” arrives at $16,950 and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, premium audio package, power sunroof, leather steering and shift knob, premium hound’s-tooth accented cloth upholstery and a metal-finish interior trim.

The Soul Sport is also $16,950 but replaces the power sunroof with black front and rear fascias and side sills, a spoiler, black and red cloth seats and trim, metal pedals and a sport-tuned suspension.

Several people came up to me with big smiles and compliments to the styling of the Kia Soul. They favored it over the current competition citing reasons including: more dramatic lines, sportier stance, and interior features.

The Soul is available in some wild colors including Alien green and coffee-inspired Java. Kia calls the shape a reversed wedge greenhouse because the rear windows are smaller than the front which in turns draws an upward bodyline from front to back projecting the wedge form. At the back, large rear tail lamps sit vertical and wrap into the rear quarter panels in almost a Volvo fashion.


  • The owner’s manual didn’t clearly list instructions on how to pair your cell phone for Bluetooth connectivity


  • Blue-Tooth phone connectivit
  • Speakers that lit up (optional feature)
  • Cool two-tone interior (standard on sport trim)

The 2010 Kia Soul includes six airbags, active front headrest, ABS, tire pressure monitor, LATCH seating system, and electronic stability control. The rear seat comfortably fit my son’s child seat and securely locked it in place. We had a tire that lost air due to a puncture and the tire pressure monitoring system quickly notified us when the tire dropped below 25 psi.

In Summary – The 2010 Kia Soul may be hitting the market after its competitors, but does so with well deserved confidence of styling and elements that will surely attract the attention of Gen Y and probably Gen X too. The Soul takes the box look to a new level and shows that small economy cars can rank high on the cool monitor and deliver a playful driving experience.

passing_lane1209_2 passing_lane1209_3

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S :
BASE PRICE: $16,950 AS DRIVEN: $18,345 (WITH
HORSEPOWER: 142 @ 6000