The Shadelands Scene
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In September, Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) celebrated the completion of its new Engelstad Pets and Vets Center, a 7,893-SF free-standing facility and headquarters for its flagship Pets and Vets Program.

Launched in 2011 as a service providing free adoptions and placement of emotional support animals for U.S. military veterans, ARF's Pets and Vets Program has grown in depth and breadth, now transforming ARF rescue dogs into skilled psychiatric service animals for veterans with health issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and depression, matching and supporting veteran-dog teams at no cost to the veteran.
What becomes apparent when a veteran takes on a rescue dog, who provides unconditional love and companionship, is the saving of two lives: Veterans are saving the animals as much as the animals are saving veterans. Hence, the program’s message, Saving both ends of the leash®.

The Pets and Vets Program goes beyond providing companion animals. This is a program in which veterans train their own dogs for specific tasks, under the guidance of professional dog trainers, for a full year, culminating in a graduation ceremony.

Per ADA rules, a dog must be specifically task-trained to mitigate a disability to allow that dog to have public access with the veteran where pet dogs are not allowed and be considered a service animal.

The first class of certified and fully fledged psychiatric service dogs graduated in 2017.
The new stand-alone Engelstad Pets and Vets Center, which opened during National Service Dog Month, was designed specifically for veterans and their dogs and the expanding needs of the program. The facility is open only to veterans; not the public. Exits are marked and clearly visible. Paths are straight and direct. Stairs and elevators are incorporated into the dog's service training. An expanded wing of the veterinary clinic with a separate entrance was built to accommodate vets and their dogs.

"The dogs graduate as psychiatric service dogs, but the graduation ceremony is really a recognition for the veterans as well," says Erin Thompson, ARF marketing manager. "The vets have been training and working with their dogs every day, creating an incomparable bond with a well-trained service animal, above and beyond standard obedience.

"So even though it's the dogs' photos that are up on the graduation wall, it's as much a recognition of the achievements of the veterans as it is for their dogs."
ARF's Erin Thompson with Hippo, waiting for the soon-to-be service dog's new owner.
2890 Mitchell Drive
Walnut Creek
Guests enter through the brightly lit lobby of the Engelstad Pets and Vets Center.
Several outdoor yards were built for Pets and Vets training and socializing activities.
The Shadelands Scene was there at the groundbreaking in April 2019.
Russell and Clover
New to Shadelands is The Sullivan Group, a mortgage lending company newly launched by mortgage lender Casey Sullivan, an experienced professional with twenty years in the industry.

When Casey made the decision to branch out after working for others to establish his own business, he aligned with CrossCountry Mortgage and formed The Sullivan Group in July 2021. Then in September, after temporary offices in Walnut Creek, Casey and his team of staff and loan officers moved into their new 3,100-SF office in Walnut Creek Executive Park, 2855 Mitchell Drive, Suite 235, managed by The Koll Company.

The Sullivan Group, with the resources of CrossCountry Mortgage, provides a suite of home ownership services including mortgage lending, refinancing, and reverse mortgages.

"We’re not transactional mortgage lenders," says Casey. "We focus on the relationship as a tool for our clients to use to feel comfortable about what they’re going through and to answer questions about the process and to help make the purchase or refinancing a positive experience.”

Casey chose Shadelands because he wanted to stay in Walnut Creek and "I wanted my clients to be able to find us and find parking—free parking and lots of it—and walk in," says Casey. "I'm not just a phone number or an e-mail address. I want to be available and easily accessible whenever clients want to come in."

Casey fell in love with the office complex—the natural setting and groomed landscapes. "Where else can you and your team work and be able to go outside and sit at a picnic table and have lunch, or take a break and go for a walk free of traffic, or watch ducks and egrets and fish in ponds right out your office window?" Welcome to Shadelands!
Casey Sullivan, Branch Manager, The Sullivan Group, CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC
Walnut Creek Executive Park
2855 Mitchell Drive
Suite 235 
Walnut Creek
Move-in day
Work in progressbut almost there!
“The three things that knock people down are stress, pain, and insomnia,” says Rebecca Sgambati, owner of Peak Performance Float and Wellness Center. “Our goal is to help people feel good—to help them experience their best life every day.”
We first met Rebecca in the December 2017 issue of The Shadelands Scene after she opened Peak Performance Float on Lennon Lane, the first and only float therapy center in Walnut Creek.

To its float and full body infrared light therapy services, yoga classes, and wellness retreats, Peak Performance has added something new, a far infrared sauna.
A traditional steam sauna heats the ambient air to 180 to 190 degF, which in turn warms the body and kick-starts the natural cooling process (sweat). An infrared sauna emits a wavelength of light to heat the body directly, from the inside out, while warming the ambient air to a more tolerable temperature of 140 to 145 degF, so people can experience the healing benefits of the sauna for longer periods of time.
Benefits include improved circulation; relaxed muscles; detoxification, which helps the liver and kidneys function more effectively; skin health (“sweating gives those pores a real workout”); weight loss (“not just water weight, but the stimulation of metabolism”); pain and stress relief; and immunity boost.
311 Lennon Lane, Suite A
Walnut Creek
Rebecca Sgambati, Peak Performance Float, and the new far infrared sauna.
One of the more interesting benefits of the far infrared sauna is the workout the body gets while in the increased temperature environment. Except for building muscle, "the experience is equivalent to a moderate intensity exercise workout," says Rebecca. "You're getting a workout for your body while sitting down."
The Center for Community Arts will host its annual two-day Handcrafted Holiday Sale showcasing handmade ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber arts, photography, prints, and much more, all created by Community Arts students and teaching artists.

A portion of the sales will benefit Center for Community Arts, the Clay Arts Guild, and the Community Arts Foundation.

Shadelands Art Center
111 N. Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek

Saturday, December 4

Sunday, December 5
According to a study released by Feeding America, Contra Costa experienced a food insecurity rate of 7.6% in 2019; with the onset of the pandemic, the County would see a 10% rate in 2021. That means tens of thousands of men, women, and children in Contra Costa struggle to find their next meal.

Kaiperm Credit Union maintains a food drive barrel in its lobby at 325 N. Wiget Lane, in plain view. Donated food is delivered to Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa, which has been feeding the hungry of Contra Costa County since 1983.

Please consider picking up a few extra non-perishables the next time you make a grocery run, and then visit Kaiperm on your lunch hour with your donations.

Food drives remind people of the desperate, ongoing needs of our hungry friends and neighbors year-round—and the power we have to help nourish lives.

325 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130
Walnut Creek
The Holiday Craft Faire, hosted by the Walnut Creek Historical Society, has been a seasonal tradition at the Shadelands Ranch Museum since 1983. During this two-week event, the historic 1903 ranch house overflows with handcrafted items and gifts, offered by dozens of artisans and vendors. Admission and parking are free.

2660 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek
November 27–December 12
Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk's year-long campaign to celebrate the everyday heroes among us has completed its fourth round of submissions with recipients announced at the October 5 meeting of the Walnut Creek City Council.

Citing Walnut Creek as a home base for a thriving healthcare community, Mayor Wilk shined a spotlight on an entire profession, naming all those who work in healthcare as our Health Care Heroes.

Shadelands is a large part of that community, populated with innovative and comprehensive medical services and technologies, and talented and dedicated healthcare professionals who help keep our communities safe and healthy.

Tosan Boyo, of John Muir Health, and Chris Boyd, of Kaiser Permanente, accepted this recognition on behalf of all Walnut Creek healthcare workers.

The fifth and final round of submissions opened on October 27, and runs through November 19; recipients will be announced at the December 7 City Council meeting.

If you know someone worthy of recognition, submit your nomination online.
Tosan Boyo, Senior Vice President, Hospital Operations, John Muir Health
Chris Boyd, Senior Vice President, Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente
Visit Heroes Among Us for more information about the program and to meet the local heroes honored to date.
A virtual Community Forum on Homelessness in Walnut Creek will be held November 17, 2021, 6–8pm, via Zoom, sponsored by the Walnut Creek Homeless Task Force. This is the fourth in a series of forums designed to give community members and business owners a platform to discuss homelessness in Walnut Creek and to learn about the actions being taken in the city and county to address homelessness in all parts of Walnut Creek.

The forum will focus on mental health services available to homeless individuals and will kick-off with a brief video about the continuum of care available to homeless and at risk populations, followed by guest speaker presentations. 
After the presentations, a panel of experts representing a number of resources will be on hand to share information about homelessness and services available to people experiencing homelessness.

During Q&A, speakers and panelists will take questions from attendees through a moderator.

This is a free public event, but attendees must RSVP online at Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link.

Read the full news release with event details and speakers here.
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The Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau is planning group travel to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sicily in May 2022.

Italy's largest island, Sicily offers exceptional beaches, enchanting towns and villages, and an abundance of ancient ruins and archeological sites.

If you're ready to visit Sicily, first visit the Walnut Creek Chamber to download the tour brochure and descriptive PowerPoint presentation.
The island of Ortygia, one stop on the Sicily trip, is home to more than 2500 years of history, art, and culture.
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