Have a story idea? E-mail the editor





Do you have a story idea or an event that needs publicity?
Send us the details and we'll post it for you. Submissions can
be e-mailed to us at

PostHeaderIcon Around Town

PostHeaderIcon Got Manners?

Tweet me!



Once the pop, crackle and bang of the 4th of July fireworks and the excitement over the ever-entertaining parades have drawn to a close, we honorably request that you set aside some time for a visit to the venerable San Ramon Valley venue, the esteemed, David Glass House.

The home, featuring a revolving displays and presentations, resplendent with culture of a by-gone Victorian era, will give you a glimpse as well into contemporary life of the 21st Century, The Glass House Museum is, thank you very much, currently hosting the Good Manners exhibit. With the intention of providing user-friendly tips on everyday etiquette spanning the decades from past to present, the humorous history of manners in American culture also offers a comic side to being prim and ever so proper.

Program director, Mary Ann Wilkman, of the San Ramon Historic Park’s and Community Services Department, notes that “Even though there are similarities and differences, many things are timeless.  Simple things like table manner have always been taught—I know my mom taught me, for example, to not put my elbows on the table.  There’s a common thread that runs through time.”

It may not be a session taught at Miss Emily’s Finishing School, bedecked in starched shirts and hoop skirts, but having a nodding acquaintance with etiquette and the right thing to do for any occasion in day to day life is invaluable.  Rules from the past, Victorian age, to the modern era, have evolved over time, but some things never change.

This traveling exhibit has been viewed nationally and is acclaimed as interesting, informative and amusing, showing defined differences between appropriate actions a century ago as compared to what is considered socially correct or acceptable today.  Included in the display are old-time cartoons making fun of folks with bad manners.  A table set for tea or a full meal depicts the proper placement of silver settings and linens for entertaining guests.  Specific manners for greeting a single or married lady, having a polite conversation or a proper introduction from olden times might seem laughable to us now.

But, no matter what the setting, while in public, in a crowd or in communication via the Internet or by telephone, courtesy and mannerly consideration is always in fashion.  Being aware of the evolution of etiquette, its history and its place in civilized society brings a renewed perspective of the original importance of social graces.

Residing in the heart of Forest Home Farms Historic Park, The Glass House Museum is open to private groups and elementary school classes on weekdays by appointment.  Regularly scheduled tours of the restored Victorian Glass House Museum are held on the second Saturday of each month.

The final showing of Good Manners is slated for July 9 with tours held at 10 a.m.,11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.  There is a $5 fee, but children 2 and under are admitted free.  An on-going attraction on the grounds at the Historic Park on Saturday, July 9 is Meet the Animals, with a choice of attending an 11 a.m. or a 1 p.m tour.  The combined cost for attendance at both features is $8 . The house is located at 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. For additional information, call 925-973-3284 or visit  www.SanRamon.ca.gov ---- KRB

Karen R. Balch is a retired nurse, freelance writer and San Ramon resident. She writes regularly for www.allnewsnoblues.com and can be reached through tellusyournews@gmail.com. gt;

Last Updated (Tuesday, 05 July 2011 20:56)


PostHeaderIcon Summer =2.6 Months Worth of Knowledge Loss

Tweet me!

School is out, which means excitement, vacations, and for a lot of kids, a lack of reading.  It's great to let your kids let loose during the summer time and really enjoy being a kids, cherishing those family moments, but did you know that your kids can lose an average of 2.6 months worth of knowledge during a summer vacations? There are many factors that can come into this, your child’s grade level, subject matter (like math, language arts, science, etc), and even family income can play a part.

What can you do as a parent to help prevent this?  Even just 20 minutes a day of educational exercises can help your child retain good reading habits, and even improve academic performance.  Many parents don't know how to design a curriculum for their young learners, and follow through for a home design may not be easy.

There are many programs out there to help a parent out, one in particular is called Summer Skills.  According to their resources, children who consistently lose reading skills over the summer will be two years behind their classmates. 
The summer Skills series offers three different areas of review books.  Math, language arts, and foreign language.  They offer books for students from Pre-K through high school, and with over 20 years of business their program has benefited students in over 15,000 schools nationwide.

Summer Skills was founded by three women who all have backgrounds in education, and even more important are mothers themselves.  As mom's and educators, they understood the ease of the “Summer Slide” where kids are too busy having fun time to focus on reading a book or doing a little math. 

Not only are these books effective in reinforcing the skills your children have already learned in previous school years, but they are so easy to implement into a summer routine!  If your child just finished the 3rd grade, then you use the 3rd grade books.  These books can require as little as 20 minutes, three days a week for ten weeks.  Of course, the best part is it's flexible to how you want to manage it.

Research the programs you're interested in and make sure they're right for you.  If you want to make your own program, start with a few simple steps. 

Create an “at-home” reading environment. 
* Select the right books and reading material.
* Know what questions to ask your kids about what they read.
* If you're not sure what books or questions to ask, ask your kids teachers.  Local libraries can be a great resource, so be sure to take advantage of the vast amounts of books that your kids can choose from.  Be a good example and join in reading time!  Do your best to make learning fun while you can, it can make a world of difference for your kids.

For more information on Summer Skills, please visit their website.  For more information about reading fundamentals, please visit RIF.org (Reading is Fundamental).

 Amy is a stay at home mother of 3. Between chasing her children, she does freelance writing, Professional Organizing and Virtual Assisting. Amy also has a website Mommy Optimistic, which focuses on the happiness of being a parent.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 June 2011 00:37)


PostHeaderIcon Kids in Your Hood Doin Good

Tweet me!

Earlier this year, 120 students from Community Presbyterian Church in Danville went to a Mexican border town to help build  modest homes for five indigenous, poor families.  The life-changing experience brought new hope for a better lifestyle to the Tijuana families, who formerly lived in makeshift shelters put together with used cardboard, metal and other scraps.

However, building homes in Mexico for families who didn’t have one wasn’t the only reward. 

They returned home from the volunteer work trip with a changed perspective on their own lives and their fortunate lifestyle gave them a sense of what they could do for others who are less fortunate.

“We decided to bring the youth group on an Amor trip because it is 100 percent hands on…and offers a really tangible blessing to a family who needs it,'' said Bill Haslim, a Community Presbyterian Church youth worker reports.  

Working together with Amor Team Members as project guides, without  electricity, plumbing, running water, power tools or pre-mixed concrete, they learned tenacity and built character.  The groups stayed in camps without beds that simulate what it is like to live like the families for whom they are building. Two gallons of water for bucket showers are provided for each student.

No prior building skills are required for participants on an Amor Mission Trip, and all tools and resources that are necessary are provided. Homes can be completely constructed by hand in 4 to 5 days .  Unlike the requirement for building permits and code standards in the U.S., consulting with engineers on the plans and final inspections are  simple.

Feeling a sense of purpose and camaraderie, groups have come from all over the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia.  Last year more than 10,000 participants built 505 homes in Mexico, Baja California, the San Carlos Apache Reservation and South Africa.   Youth groups lead the majority; however adult trips and family camps serve as well with the goal of providing strong, weather-proof two room homes, 11 ft. x 22 ft. with cement floors, a locking door and two locking windows.  In Mexico and South Africa, the houses are left unfinished on the inside, offering the family a partnership and a sense of ownership and individuality.

Amor Ministries works to support the local church in the area of the building, linking with  pastors to identify families in need of housing. Their mission, since 1980, has been to eradicate spiritual and physical poverty around the world through a church-based network. 

So many positive responses have come from the students reflecting on “being a small part of something so big” and “finding spiritual closeness in their outreach.”  Expressions were heard of “sweet cleansing tears” in seeing the hope being brought to grateful families and feeling “blessed to witness the emotional response “as the homes are dedicated when the keys are handed over to their new owners.  “Inspired” is a key word that stands out, overshadowing any complaints of  the inconveniences of a primitive camp, and learning a few more words in Spanish was a plus for all. 

Funding for Amor Ministries is dependent upon donations and participation fees.  For more details, visit www.amor.org or call 619.662.1200. --KRB


 Karen R. Balch is a retired nurse, freelance writer and San Ramon resident. She writes regularly for www.allnewsnoblues.com and can be reached through tellusyournews@gmail.com.

Last Updated (Monday, 13 June 2011 22:56)


PostHeaderIcon Here's to the Heroes: A Home Run Program

Tweet me!

This baseball season, Budweiser is helping the families of our nation’s heroes by donating $100 to charity for every home run hit  during the 2011 Major League Baseball season.

The money raised during the Here’s to the Heroes” Home Run Program will go to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country. 

Last season, 4,612 home runs were hit in MLB regular season games.

In addition to the “Here’s to the Heroes” Home Run Program, Budweiser will donate a portion of all sales from June 6 to July 10, in an effort to raise as much as $2 million for the Folds Of Honor Foundation.

“The start of the season is always an exciting time for Budweiser and baseball fans around the country,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch.  “Helping to provide educational scholarships to military families is one small way we can show our gratitude to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear.  No matter who you root for on the field, we can all cheer for the work being done by Folds of Honor.”

Additionally, Budweiser will feature special patriotic cans in stores this summer to pay tribute to our military men and women. 

Budweiser has been a sponsor of MLB since 1980 and is partnering with Hall of Fame slugger Dave Winfield to unveil the program today aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid located in the Hudson River in New York City.  The efforts of our military men and women are near and dear to Winfield’s heart.  His father served in World War II, and his maternal grandfather and uncle also served in the U.S. Army.

“In baseball, we often identify the heroes of the game as the players who can go deep, but real heroes are those who show their deep commitment to their country,” said Dave Winfield, who hit 465 home runs during his career.  “Each time a player hits a home run this season, we all will have a chance to join Budweiser in honoring America’s true heroes and their families.”

Joining Winfield aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid will be Rocky Sickmann, director of military sales for Anheuser-Busch. Sickmann, as a young Marine Sergeant stationed at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979, was captured and held hostage for 444 days. Following his six years of military service, Sickmann joined Anheuser-Busch and, as a 26-year veteran of the company, he continues to be an ambassador for Budweiser’s programs that support the men and women of the armed forces.

Since its creation in 2007, FHF has provided more than 1,600 scholarships to recipients across the country.  FHF is a charitable organization with the mission to empower deserving military families with educational support and opportunities.  Their unique scholarships can be applied to schooling now or held by FHF on behalf of young children until needed at the time of enrollment.

“While we can never replace the loss of their loved ones, Budweiser’s support of our efforts will significantly expand our mission to help these deserving families,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder and president of the Folds of Honor Foundation. 

Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser have never hesitated in their commitment to America’s armed forces.  The company and its philanthropic foundation have supported a variety of military charities, including the USO, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Pentagon Memorial Fund, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.  In May 2009, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) presented Anheuser-Busch with the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Award for the company’s public service in support of men and women in uniform.

Consumers also will have the chance to get involved by visiting www.facebook.com/Budweiser or texting HERO to 80888 to make a $5 donation to the organization.*

FHF was founded in May 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, a former F-16 Fighter Pilot with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, PGA Professional, and USGA member.  A decorated military pilot, Maj. Rooney has served three combat tours in Iraq.  It was after his second tour, while a passenger on a commercial flight, that Maj. Rooney witnessed an event that would profoundly change his life.  As the plane landed, the pilot announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have an American hero on board – Corporal Brock Bucklin.  And his twin brother, Corporal Brad Bucklin, is accompanying him home from Iraq.  As a sign of respect, please remain seated while Cpl. Bucklin's family receives him in his final homecoming."  Maj. Rooney watched through the window of the plane as the flag-draped casket was lowered.  He saw a family waiting for Brock, and a little four-year old boy waiting for his father.  This tragic homecoming inspired Maj. Rooney to create the Folds of Honor Foundation.  To learn more about FHF, visit www.foldsofhonor.org.--KB

Last Updated (Monday, 06 June 2011 03:41)


PostHeaderIcon Adopt a Pet For Free

Tweet me!


Oakland Animal Services will again be taking part in the Maddie’s Matchmaker Adopt-a-thon on Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5. Throughout the weekend, dog, cat, puppy and kitten adoptions from Oakland's city-run shelter will be free to qualified homes. The event is sponsored by  the animal foundation Maddie’s Fund.

What's more, each successful adoption will earn the shelter a donation from Maddie’s Fund of $500 to $1,500.

Hours for the Oakland Animal Services (OAS) adopt-a-thon will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June. Mark your calendars now and watch for more information at www.oaklandanimalservices.org or visit Oakland Animal Services, 1101 29th Avenue in Oakland.

“This year, again, the event is open to both dog and cat adoptions—and puppies and kittens, too, of course—and regular OAS adoption guidelines will apply,” OAS Director Megan Webb explained. “We adopted (out) 133 dogs and cats during the adoptathon last year, which raised $66,500 for the shelter! These funds were critical to offsetting a large decrease in the shelter’s operations budget and allowed us to pay for necessary veterinary supplies and equipment and medications for our shelter’s animals.”

Based on experience with last year’s adoptathon, Oakland Animal Services has created an even more streamlined adoption process for the two-day event. Anyone who is interested in adopting during the adoptathon can come to the shelter to be “pre-screened” beginning May 28 to make their experience finding an animal companion at the event as efficient as possible.

This year, animals from OAS will be featured not only at the city’s shelter at 1101 29th Avenue, Oakland, but also at the Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton and Woof Boarding and Day Care in San Ramon.

The umbrella event, “Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon,” which is open to animal groups in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, is the inspiration of Maddie’s Fund, the foundation funded by Workday and PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl. The goal of Maddie’s Fund, named in memory of the Duffields’ miniature Schnauzer, Maddie, is to revolutionize “the status and well-being of companion animals,” by guaranteeing all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats loving homes. Through the event, Maddie’s Fund hopes to spotlight the many groups whose efforts save countless dogs and cats each year.

Last year, the more than 1,800 animals were adopted from various sitess.

For additional information contact Oakland Animal Services Director Megan Webb at (510) 773-0614.

Last Updated (Monday, 30 May 2011 00:00)

More Articles...
For pictures that tell stories you won't soon forget for rejuvenation of body and mind

Follow us on: