Letters to the Editor | July 24, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Perspective - July 24, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Save lizards who can counteract Lyme

Dear Editor:

As pointed out in the article July 17, black-legged ticks and Lyme disease are common in Contra Costa County. Western fence lizards, also known as "blue belly" lizards, have an amazing ability. A protein in their blood kills the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. After an infected tick feeds on a fence lizard, it no longer will transmit the disease if it bites a person.

At the Lindsay Wildlife Museum hospital, we've seen 21 western fence lizards brought to us in the past 18 months—many caught by cats or stuck on sticky traps. With this lizard's ability to help us stay healthy, it's important to keep cats indoors and eliminate the use of sticky traps to save these useful lizards.

Susan Heckly, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Walnut Creek

Remembering Hellsten's generosity

Dear Editor:

I would like to share my personal story illustrating Phil Hellsten's

generosity of spirit.

In the fall of 2006, I volunteered to curate the final Eugene O'Neill Festival Art Exhibition at the Danville Fine Arts Gallery on Front Street. While gathering artwork from a dozen local artists participating in the show, I remembered seeing Phil's wonderful 40" x 40" black and white portrait painting of Eugene O'Neil on exhibition in the recent past. I called him up to ask if he would be willing to bring in the portrait to hang in the show. He said he certainly would bring it in.

When the exhibition opened to the public, one woman came all the way from New York City to attend the festival. She was a longtime admirer of O'Neill and asked to buy Phil's painting. Another volunteer in the gallery sold her the portrait painting for the wrong price.

The selling price was supposed to be $3,000 but the title card mistakenly read $300.

When I arrived in the gallery and was told the painting had been sold for $300, I was outraged.

I asked Phil what he thought about the matter. I was amazed. He was very calm, not upset at all. He said he was glad someone wanted to buy his painting and that it was going to find a home in NYC. The money really didn't matter that much to him.

I asked the buyer if she could find it in her heart to send additional payments to Phil, knowing of the mistake. She agreed to do so. Months later, I asked Phil if he had received additional payments and he said he had. However, as far as I know, it was never paid in full.

Marilyn Mattson, President Contra Costa Academy of Fine Art


Concerns beginning over New Farm

Excerpt from Danville Weekly's Town Square Online Forum: I have concerns regarding the New Farm development in the Tassajara Valley, not so much the actual development itself, which in concept, has merit, but the by-product in the form of increased traffic congestion on Camino Tassajara.

One only has to see the current traffic flow on the aforementioned artery on a weekday morning, between 7 to 8:30 a.m., in the area between Lawrence Road and Blackhawk Drive. Within this area of approximately 6/10's of a mile you have an existing grammar school and middle school, with a new grammar school, Creekside Elementary, to open in August 2009, to accommodate the new housing development in the Alamo Creek subdivision.

Add into the equation the additional commuter traffic generated by individuals using Camino Tassajara as a shortcut from Highway 580 to Highway 680, and you have the perfect recipe for gridlock! As was the case with the hard-fought Alamo Creek development, the developers had to cede to pressure from the Town of Danville and San Ramon, along with former County Supervisor Donna Gerber, to scale-back their construction to approximately 1,350 homes, vs. the original plans by the largest developer(Shapell), which called for in-excess of 4,500 dwellings. Development in the Tassajara Valley will have to be carefully and thoughtfully planned and researched, by both the Town of Danville and San Ramon, with acrimony put aside, exuding a united front displayed towards the New Farm developer, setting-up growth that can be balanced for both communities and the Tassajara area.

posted by Tony B.


Dear Editor: