The Shadelands Scene
Community news, updates, and insights
Yes, it’s true! The NBA G League has come to Shadelands, calling the John Muir Health Ultimate Fieldhouse home to its league team Ignite. This is big news for the Ultimate Fieldhouse, Shadelands SportsMall, and City of Walnut Creek—and for an ecstatic Mike Samuels, CEO of the Ultimate Fieldhouse.

“This is such a great opportunity not just for the John Muir Health Ultimate Fieldhouse, but for our entire community—for the kids and families in our community to get to be close to something like this, elite players associated with the NBA," says Mike. "To have a G League team calling Walnut Creek home and then to be able to watch this program grow year after year, this is a big win for the City of Walnut Creek."

For the uninitiated, the G League is the official minor league of the National Basketball Association (NBA), preparing players, coaches, and trainers for the pros.

The six young athletes who are now living in Walnut Creek and training at the Ultimate Fieldhouse and COPA Fit, located next door, are part of the NBA G League Pro Pathway Program, a groundbreaking initiative that gives elite players fresh out of high school a new option to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.

The NBA does not allow players to be drafted directly from high school. They must be at least 19 years old and a year removed from graduation. Some pro prospects play for a year overseas or join an NCAA team for a year. Now, there's another option.

The Pro Pathway Program is a way to develop these elite post-high school athletes for a year before entering the NBA, with intense physical and athletic skills training and life skills mentorship, preparing them for a professional career on the court and a personal life outside sports.
“The NBA was looking for a full-time home for the G League team Ignite," says Mike, noting that the team is coached by former NBA player and Bay Area legend, Brian Shaw. "We weren't aware of that. But, we happened to be engaged with the NBA in general conversations, highlighting our ability to combine with COPA to host larger events for them. After a week or two of conversations, we discovered they were considering us as a potential home for the team."

Mike is quick to point out that it was a true community effort to get Ignite here, to call Walnut Creek and the Fieldhouse home.

"Thanks to many contributors, John Muir Health, Muir Orthopaedics, COPA, and of course the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, the NBA decided that this was the best place to bring the team—and obviously we are beyond excited.

"As a nonprofit, our mission is to prepare players for the game of life. Having the NBA identify the Fieldhouse as its destination of choice to help prepare its top prospects for their next stage of life, it just seems to fit perfectly with why we are here," which is to provide players with a safe place where they can develop physically, socially, and mentally.

“I’m a Walnut Creek kid who was born at John Muir Hospital and grew up playing basketball at Arbolado Park and Northgate High School," says Mike.
Mike Samuels, CEO, Ultimate Fieldhouse, in the Shoot 360 Skills Lab during training and workouts.

2675 Mitchell Drive
Walnut Creek

One of only eight in the world, the Ultimate Fieldhouse Shoot 360 Skills Lab uses technology that tracks shots and allows for dynamic skills training and competitive play.
The Shoot 360 Skills Lab (top & bottom photos) puts passing skills to the test with a high-tech passing program to develop accuracy, speed, and timing.
"Part of the reason I came back to Walnut Creek was to help our ownership group fulfill its dream of building a facility like this in our community. We take pride in being here and being involved—that's important to us. And now, landing the G League here, we feel it's a great addition to our community.

"For us, the Fieldhouse is like our field of dreams. ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The NBA choosing our facility and our community to host their best prospects, well, it feels like maybe we achieved that."

Congratulations to Mike Samuels and the John Muir Health Ultimate Fieldhouse!

Read more about how Ignite came to call Walnut Creek home in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dr. Anthony Bernens, a primary care physician specializing in internal medicine, loves what he does.

In practice for 26 years, Dr. Bernens has been a member of BASS Medical Group since 2015, and recently moved to a new office in the BASS building at 2637 Shadelands Drive, between BASS Imaging and Micki’s Mochas.
“This location is ideal for me and for my patients,” says. Dr. Bernens, who notes Shadelands’ growing reputation as a hub for medical services, facilities, and technology. “I’m in one of BASS’s signature buildings with its Urgent Care, Lab, and Imaging centers, surrounded by exceptional medical resources—within walking and driving distance of specialists to whom I can refer my patients. There is so much here to help me provide my patients the best possible care."
He also notes that his Shadelands location puts him in the middle of a business community and lifestyle center. Not only can his patients who work in Shadelands easily stop by for an office visit during working hours, but patients from outside Shadelands have at their fingertips many Shadelands amenities, including free parking and The Orchards.

“I want to be able to work with my patients in a certain manner to insure they are well taken care of. I enjoy being with people and having good relationships with patients and that means spending time with them, having conversations with them, and coming to know them not just as patients, but as individuals and family members,” says Dr. Bernens, who values the independence and freedoms to tailor his practice and manage his office that being a member of BASS affords him.

“I love helping people improve the quality of their lives, and I enjoy the connections I’ve developed with my patients—some have been with me since I came to Walnut Creek in 1997. That’s primary care: becoming an important part of a person’s life, seeing that person every few months for a medical condition, or once a year for a physical. I feel like I’m a partner with my patients, helping to enhance their lives with good health care and medical attention to help them enjoy the important things in life and to be able to do the things that are important to them,” says Dr. Bernens.
Dr. Anthony Bernens, primary care and internal medicine, in his new Shadelands office in the BASS Medical Group building.
A Division of
BASS Medical Group
2637 Shadelands Drive
Walnut Creek
Dr. Bernens and a patient in one of three warm and welcoming exam rooms.
Dr. Bernens and Victoria Gaither, patient coordinator, welcome visitors to the office.
“I feel blessed to be a primary care physician where I can help people in a variety of ways, based on who they are as people, not just patients. The practice that I have and the style that defines our office and my workday have allowed me to be the kind of doctor I’ve always wanted to be.”
Service Dog Salute
Through Thanksgiving 2020, a portion of the proceeds from specially marked bags of Purina Dog Chow will benefit the lifesaving efforts of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), and specifically its Pets and Vets Program, while spreading the inspirational stories of military veterans and their psychiatric service dogs.

Launched in 2011 as a service to U.S. military heroes, ARF's flagship program transforms rescue dogs into skilled service animals, helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges in ways that no other therapy can. Learn more and watch inspirational stories of four-legged graduates at Pets and Vets.

Shred Day, October 17
Back by popular demand, ARF has added a second mobile Shred Day, the proceeds of which will benefit its life saving programs for pets and people.

ARF Shred Day, $10/box
Saturday, October 17, 2020
10am-Noon (until truck is full)

Bring your old papers to the ARF campus to be securely shredded on site. When you deliver your boxes, you must drive up to the drop off location, remain in your car, and wear a mask. For more details, visit ARF Shred Day.
ARF's Pets and Vets Program, supported by Purina Dog Chow
ARF Shred Day, October 17, 2020
2890 Mitchell Drive
Walnut Creek
Spend a few minutes watching Operations Manager and swim instructor Kenny Oei (pronounced Wee) engaging with a toddler in the pool at American Swim Academy at the Shadelands SportsMall, and you’ll see a young man who is experienced and in control—wise beyond his 20 years—and as playful and exuberant as the three-year-old he’s teaching.
It is no wonder Kenny has moved up so quickly through the organization, joining American Swim Academy (ASA) when he was 16 as a swim instructor, deck manager, and member services rep at the Dublin facility, to his recent promotion as operations manager at the Walnut Creek location.

“I love this job—the kids, the adults, my students of all ages, my co-workers, this organization. It’s a great day, every day,” says Kenny. “Being able to see kids who come in terrified of the water and flip that, through lessons and engagement so they’re comfortable in the water, having fun and starting to swim. Then seeing them swim all the way across the pool for the first time. That’s a great feeling. That keeps me here.”
Kenny is a spirited talker and keen listener, going above and beyond, making personal connections with students, parents, and members, in and out of the water.
“Even the kids and adults who aren’t in my classes, I say Hi to everyone. This is a friendly place," says Kenny, "and Hi! is a great way to welcome people and make them feel at home.”
Kenny’s role as operations manager is multi-layered and he's up for the job. In addition to swim instructor, he’s a training instructor for new hires, helping them learn their roles and the culture of ASA. He’s also responsible for member relations and development of the overall swim school.
That means overseeing the total member experience, from the time members walk through the doors to the time they leave, making sure that the experience is the best it could possibly be—and one that brings people back.
“Especially in these times when people aren’t able to get out as much as they’d like, we’re here for them. We're providing a safe place for them and their children, to get out of the house, and to have fun," says Kenny.
“American Swim Academy has become my heart and soul, this is a special place for me, and I want everyone who passes through the building to feel that this is a special place for them, as well.”
Kenny Oei, American Swim Academy operations manager and swim instructor, with 3-year-old eager student Gavin Cohen.
Kenny Oei, American Swim Academy Operations Manager and swim instructor
2650 Shadelands Drive
Shadelands SportsMall
Walnut Creek

Kenny Oei and Gavin Cohen, "Kick, kick, kick!"
Kenny Oei and Gavin Cohen, who's getting ready to jump into the water.
The Contra Costa Crisis Center is a nonprofit organization, committed to providing free 24/7 services to everyone in need. Its mission is to keep people alive and safe, help them through crises, and provide or connect them with culturally relevant services in the community.

Shadelands has been home to the Crisis Center since 1989, when the Center purchased, remodeled, and moved into its current space at 307 Lennon Lane. The Crisis Center's programs have expanded over the years and its offices enlarged to accommodate staff and visitors. Since incorporating in 1969, the Crisis Center has touched the lives of countless thousands of individuals and families in need.

During the health crisis, the Contra Costa Crisis Center facility is closed to visitors, although the phones lines are open 24/7, handled by volunteers and professionals.

Staff has, however, created an engaging virtual tour of its facility, which you can enjoy by clicking here.
Dee Dee Robillard, Community Projects Coordinator, Contra Costa Crisis Center, is one of three hosts of the virtual tour.
Here to listen and to help, 24/7.
If you are in a crisis and need help, call 211 or 800.833.2900,
or text ‘HOPE’ to 20121
to be connected to a
free, confidential crisis counselor
at Contra Costa Crisis Center.

307 Lennon Lane
Walnut Creek
The Walnut Creek Historical Society (WCHS) is offering the perfect gift for family and friends who are fans of the Historical Society's annual Victorian Tea Luncheon.

This year, rather than holding the popular holiday event in the beautifully decorated 1903 farmhouse (due to ongoing health crisis restrictions), the Historical Society is bringing the luncheon to you!
WCHS is holding a Tea for Two or More Fundraiser. For $44, you receive an attractive box with:

• Pre-measured Scone Dry Mix
• Homemade lemon curd
• Scrumptious shortbread cookies
• Special Blend Holiday Tea
• Two tea infusers
• Two Historical Society commemorative cookbooks

Order by phone or e-mail
August 8–November 6
Boxes will be available
November 28–December 13
Shadelands Ranch Museum
2660 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek

Contact-free pickup, delivery, and mailing options available.
If you've driven in the neighborhood of Oak Grove Road and Shadelands Drive recently, you've noticed construction activity at the northwest corner. Longtime residents will remember that this is the site of the former HMS Endeavor restaurant, popular in the 1980s, but empty and in disrepair for more than 20 years before it burned in 2010.

Now the 1.19-acre parcel is being cleared for future construction of an approximately 9,000-SF facility that will house professional services. Off-street work includes curb, gutter, and sidewalk improvements, and a good deal of grading and dirt movement.

We hope to have more details and announcements in the November issue of The Shadelands Scene.
From Shadelands Drive, facing north toward construction site at northwest corner of Shadelands Drive & Oak Grove Road
From Shadelands Drive, facing northwest
On April 18, 2019, ground was broken for the new Trellis Skilled Nursing facility on Mitchell Drive immediately east of the John Muir Health Ultimate Fieldhouse. Trellis will offer a place for individuals who are recovering from surgery and trauma to heal and recuperate before heading home. No word on construction timeline or expected open date.

A skilled nursing facility will add another level of care available in Shadelands, which has become a recognized destination for advanced health care services and technology.
Artist's rendering, credit Darden Architects
Construction photo, October 1, 2020
The Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau hosts Back to Business webinars that focus on critical economic issues and impacts of the health crisis.


Generally 2nd & 4th Tuesday
+Bonus Tuesdays
9–10am, via Zoom
Visit Walnut Creek Chamber for details and registration for upcoming webinars. Topics, agendas, and dates are subject to change.
The Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau hosted and recorded a virtual Candidates' Forum introducing all eight candidates running for three open Walnut Creek City Council seats on Tuesday, September 15.

The eight candidates are Hailey Ayres, Cindy Darling, Loella Haskew, Kurtis Reese, Michael Samson, Lauren Talbert, Justin Wedel, and Kevin Wilk. View the forum by clicking on the orange button to the right.
Future issues: Look for more updates on construction activity in Shadelands, and reopening of offices and retail as restrictions are lifted.
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