February 2023

Vol 7: Issue 2

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The Shadelands Scene

Your place for community news, updates, and insights

Visit Shadelands.org




Join the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce for the next monthly Civic Affairs Forum, a free and informative webinar.

The Future of Office

in Walnut Creek

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

9–10am | Virtual only

Panel discussions | Q&A

And a review of

Office & Medical Office Studies commissioned by

the City of Walnut Creek

Moderated by

Ed Del Beccaro, EVP

TRI Commercial

Real Estate Services


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar. More details at Civic Affairs Forum.


Alexander Quinn, JLL

Breck Lutz, Newmark

Teri Killgore, City of Walnut Creek

Brandon Farrell, Hall Equities Group


Walnut Creek

Arts + Rec Job Fair

Thursday, February 9


Shadelands Art Center

111 N. Wiget Lane

Walnut Creek


Walnut Creek Arts + Rec is looking for enthusiastic, community-minded people to join its team.

Part-time, full-time, and seasonal hourly positions; flexible schedules; nights, weekends.

• Gym attendants

• Building attendants

• Preschool co-teachers

• Summer camp counselors

• After-school sports coaches

• Lifeguards & swim instructors

• Ticket agents & house managers

And more.

Representatives from Center for Community Arts, Lesher Center for the Arts, and Walnut Creek Arts + Recreation will be available to share information and answer questions.


After After 30 years at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), the last 16 as Executive Director, Elena Bicker, a life-long advocate for animals, is retiring, leaving an enduring mark on the nonprofit, whose dual mission is “People Rescuing Animals…Animals Rescuing People.” 

Elena began volunteering at ARF in 1993, looking to balance a business career with her love of animals and desire to give back. So energized by the opportunities to connect animals with forever homes, Elena left her corporate job with GE Capital and quickly moved through the organization, taking on the position of marketing director in 1998 before becoming executive director in 2006.


Under Elena’s leadership, ARF became a trailblazer in animal welfare, increasing adoption rates and establishing itself as an educator and strong collaborator with local and national organizations. Elena created innovative programs such as ARF’s Pets and Vets, which transforms rescue animals into emotional support and trained service dogs for American veterans with PTSD and other disabilities, and positioned ARF as a key partner in a national disaster response network, which has been successfully tested in recent crises, including Florida’s Hurricane Irma and California’s devastating wildfires. 


With a natural ease for fundraising, she expanded ARF’s U.S. supporter base to include all 50 states, leading to, among other accomplishments, the construction of the new Engelstad Pets and Vets Center and the completion of a large-scale campus expansion to save even more lives.

“In 1993, I was volunteer number 32, we had one paid staff, we worked out of the ARF thrift store in Concord, and we saved 11 dogs,” says Elena. “Today, we have hundreds of the most amazing, dedicated volunteers and supporters, an incredible employee team of more than 100, this beautiful award-winning building and our new Pets and Vets Center.”

In its 31-year history, ARF has re-homed nearly 48,000 animals and continues to be nationally recognized as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking organizations in animal welfare.


“Animals are incredibly magical and can transcend conversation with unconditional love to make someone feel better, feel loved, feel needed, feel safe, without judgement."


A favorite take-away from the past 30 years?


“I could pick one for every year, because every day you have the power to make a life better,” says Elena. “But this is what I really love: I love when the rescue van returns after visiting shelters with animals we've saved.


"When the van comes back and I watch the team pull each one of those animals out, and I help unload the animals that were running out of time, I know that those dogs and cats are getting a second chance at life and a forever home. 

Executive Director Elena Bicker, with Jax, led ARF's growth 2006–2022. (Photo credit Walnut Creek Magazine)

Tony La Russa's 

Animal Rescue Foundation

2890 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


Elena Bicker on Capitol Hill in 2019 for PAWS, the Veterans Therapy Act that aids programs such as ARF’s Pets and Vets. (Courtesy of ARF)

Elena Bicker with Tony La Russa (c), Michael (l), and Michael's service dog, Zoey (Photo credit Mark Rogers)

"The animals are looking at you with so much emotion in their eyes and in their behaviors. And I know, 'We saved you, and we saved you, and we saved you.' You can’t help but be moved. That’s the thing I'll remember. The life-saving part.”

Elena Bicker with Mia, her ARF Pet Hug Pack golden retriever, one of many loving therapy dogs that offer unconditional hugs and snuggles. (Courtesy of ARF)

Elena has her sights set on golf, travel, and training her new puppy, an ARF rescue. She won't stray far from ARF. "I was born with the animal rescue gene."


Lennon Lane: Protected bike lanes completed

After some delays due to the supply chain and recent storms, the white traffic posts have been installed on Lennon Lane, now Walnut Creek’s first roadway with a separated bikeway, also known as protected bike lanes. This work was identified in the recently approved Shadelands Multi-Modal Plan, the goal of which is to make Shadelands a business and lifestyle center of the future, offering safe alternatives to driving by providing comfortable spaces for people who are walking, biking, and using other mobility devices.

Shadelands Drive & Wiget Lane: Sidewalk gap closure and bioretention basin planned

Plans are also underway to improve pedestrian safety and access along the southwest corner of Shadelands Drive and Wiget Lane beginning in late summer or early fall 2023. The project involves closing a sidewalk gap along Wiget Lane and Shadelands Drive, and constructing a bioretention basin between the new sidewalk and existing shrubbery that will wrap around the corner in front of the Master Gardeners Our Garden site.

Bioretention basins are landscaped, shallow basins used to slow and treat storm water and roadway runoff, which contains grease, oils, rubber, and other pollutants. Storm water is directed to the basin and then percolates through the system of perforated pipe and drain rock underneath and soil and planting on top. The basin limits the flow of water during heavy rainfalls and cleans up the water before it enters the storm drain system.


The City is working with Master Gardeners to help identify the most effective, aesthetically pleasing, and water-wise plants and soil mix to use as a part of the pilot bioretention basin system.

For now, the first phase of the project is to install the 10ft-wide sidewalks and construct the basin itself, which will retain rain water and provide some treatment. The next project phase will establish planting in the basin that will further treat runoff by taking up pollutants before it enters the storm drain system.

Striped protected bike lanes now with traffic posts on Lennon Lane, creating Walnut Creek's first full-length protected bike lane facility.

City of Walnut Creek

Public Works | City Hall

1666 N. Main Street

Walnut Creek


Southwest corner of Shadelands Drive and Wiget Lane, facing west, in front of Master Gardeners Our Garden, site of planned sidewalks and bioretention basin.

Bird's eye view conceptual drawing: Shadelands Drive at the top running E-W with 10ft-wide sidewalk; Wiget Lane on the right running N-S with 10ft-wide sidewalk; corner curb with 15ft-wide curb extension and curb ramps; 4ft-wide, 100ft-long landscaped bioretention strip wraps around the corner, between the new sidewalk and existing shrubs, with overflow structure and sidewalk drain.

Look for updates on this Multi-Modal Plan project in future issues of The Shadelands Scene.


Dr. Artemio Perez, known as Artie to his friends and colleagues, is new to BASS Medical Group in Shadelands, but not new to medicine. A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Dr. Perez received his degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology, and completed his residency in family medicine in Queens, New York, with an additional year of training in non-surgical sports medicine in his home state of New Jersey.

He has been practicing since 2005, most recently in Oakland, and joined BASS in November 2022, as a primary care physician, to be closer to his home and community of Pleasant Hill.


“I believe the key to being the best family physician I can be is to work where I live. It’s about building relationships with patients who live in the community and now that I’m here at BASS, I’m looking forward to being a greater part of this community."


In conjunction with completing four years of a medical instruction curriculum required of a medical doctor (MD), the DO receives additional training in anatomy and manipulation of the spine for two to three years, depending on the osteopathic school curriculum. DOs then take on residencies, which are not restricted by discipline or field of specialty.


“DOs become ophthalmologists, cardiologists, neurosurgeons, internists—any branch of medicine,” says Dr. Perez. “My sports medicine background and extra training in the musculoskeletal system give me the ability to practice as a primary care physician, as well as a specialist, an extra tool in my family medicine practitioner tool box.”

Dr. Perez takes great joy in helping people take ownership of their health. "I enjoy being my patients' guide as they walk the path to a healthier life”

BASS Medical Group

2637 Shadelands Drive

Suite E

Walnut Creek


Artemio Perez, DO, recently joined BASS Medical Group as a primary care physician

As a primary care physician, Dr. Perez is the first point of contact for annual exams and any type of medical issue. He evaluates and treats, or refers patients to appropriate specialists.

In addition to helping patients get and stay healthy, Dr. Perez is involved in the community. A former athlete himself, Dr. Perez was the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek for ten years, working with student athletes and athletic trainers, and gave talks to students at Diablo Valley College on sports medicine training.



Join Center for Community Arts for an evening of art, music, and fun!

Arts After Dark

February 15 | 6–8pm

Shadelands Art Center

Community Arts teaching artists will be leading drop-in workshops for adults in printmaking, drumming, sumi-e (Japanese ink painting), ceramics, and abstract painting.

Shake up your weeknight and try something new while enjoying snacks and refreshments!


Center for Community Arts

Shadelands Art Center

111 N. Wiget lane

Walnut Creek



To celebrate San Francisco Beer Week, which runs February 10–19, Calicraft Brewing Co. has collaborated with longtime brew friends Heretic Brewing Company and Hopsteiner to create an experimental and progressive Triple IPA, boldly named Evil & Co. Triple IPA.

The boundary pushing craft beer, which is an 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) Triple IPA with notes of peach, melon, apricot, and yuzu (a Japanese citrus), will be released at Heretic Brewing on February 11, and at Calicraft on February 18.

“We couldn’t be more amped to collaborate with our friends at Heretic Brewing and Hopsteiner on Evil & Co. Triple IPA,” says Calicraft Brewmaster Thomas Vo. “We’ve always loved the great Bay Area Triple IPAs and are extremely excited to add one to the pantheon."

Calicraft will release 16oz cans on February 18 at its Taproom Release Party, which will also feature limited cask ale versions of Evil & Co.

In addition to releasing Evil & Co. Triple IPA for SF Beer Week, Calicraft will be pouring beer at the SF Beer Week Kickoff Party, the evening of February 10, at 21st Amendment Brewery & Taproom in San Leandro.

Calicraft Brewing Co.

2700 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


Team effort: Evil & Co. Triple IPA

(l-r) Andrew Conlon, Heretic Brewing Company; Jay Prahl, Hopsteiner, Thomas Vo, Calicraft; Johnson Tran, Calicraft; Blaine Landberg, Calicraft


In April 2022, Contra Costa School of Performing Arts (SPA) received National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) accreditation, which now allows its performing arts graduates to participate in NCAA college sports.

In its seven-year history, no SPA graduate had chosen to compete in NCAA college sports, not until Ka'Nayah Landers-Daniels, a 2021 SPA graduate and accomplished theater major at Saint Mary's College of California (SMC), decided to join the SMC Gaels Women's Rowing Team. The college determined that she could practice with the team but couldn't compete because she did not graduate from an NCAA accredited high school.

"When we opened our doors in 2016, we were very clear with our families that we're a performing arts school and that we don't have a sports program," says Lisa Kingsbury, Director of Community Engagement. "Our after school activities are arts-focused, not sports."

And then, last year, Lisa got a visit from theater alum Ka'Nayah who asked SPA to look into NCAA accreditation so she could join the rowing team.

Outside the scope of the school's core arts education focus, Lisa says SPA had never even considered the NCAA. "We love our kids and we love our alumni, however, and we said, 'Okay, we’re going to figure this out.'"

After two grueling months of researching the school's history and records, collecting and packaging program and course curricula data, answering flurries of questions, and presenting a case for accreditation based on SPA's academic excellence, word came from the NCAA on April 28, 2022, that Contra Costa School of Performing Arts had been approved for accreditation and that SPA graduates can now compete on the NCAA college level.

"What this means is that students now have more opportunities and more access to a variety of college pursuits," says Lisa. "Some of our artist students play community sports not affiliated with a high school. Others aren't introduced to sports programs until college, like Ka'Nayah. Now, because we’re accredited, they can follow their arts and sports journeys all the way to and through college.

Contra Costa School of

Performing Arts

2730 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


The Saint Mary's Women's Rowing Team competed at the Head of the American Regatta at Lake Natoma in Fall 2022. [Courtesy Saint Mary's College of California]

Ka'Nayah Landers-Daniels, a CoCoSPA graduate and SMC theater major, is now a competing member of the SMC Gails Women's Rowing Team [Courtesy Saint Mary's College of California]

To ensure student-athletes are academically prepared to enter a four-year collegiate institution and compete in its NCAA programs, students must meet NCAA eligibility requirements.

"And that’s what we want for our kids—options and opportunities. Now this talented theater major is also a part of the rowing world, which will put her in contact with other new and interesting people and activities and keep her healthy and active.

"We're excited for Ka'Nayah, and we're excited for our students."

Congratulations SPA!


Join Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for Yappy Hour, a fun and festive evening for animal-lovers 21+. Enjoy cold drinks, tasty treats, and trivia games in the company of two-legged and four-legged friends.

Yappy Hour

An evening of fun for

animal lovers ages 21+

Thursday, February 9 | 6pm

Attendees will have the chance to visit ARF's rescue dogs and cats who are looking for homes. Proceeds benefit ARF's lifesaving programs for pets and people

Tony La Russa's 

Animal Rescue Foundation

2890 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


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