Steve Lesher has been a respected, generous and tireless advocate for many of our neighborhood organizations. He is also a leader in the business community and merges both his vocation and avocation each year to raise funds for students in Martinez through the Shell Oil Company-sponsored "Run-Walk for Education."

Please share your time, energy, dollars and support for his cause. After all he has done for others, help us do this for him.

Run for Education

The 10th annual Shell/Martinez Education Foundation Run-Walk for Education will take place Sunday, Oct. 7, in downtown Martinez. Last year, the event raised approximately $45,000 for the MEF.

Registration and check-in on race day will take place at Starbucks Plaza on Main Street and begins at 7 a.m. The Run-Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. Registering is easy -- log on to www.theschedule.com (search "Shell MEF Run") or pick up a form at the Martinez Unified School District office at 921 Susana St. or at the Martinez Chamber of Commerce at 603 Marina Vista in Martinez.

"The Run for Education just gets better and better every year, and this one promises to the best yet," said Lesher, public affairs manager for Shell. "Once again, Shell will be matching the first $10,000 in registrations."

All proceeds from the race go to the Martinez Education Foundation to benefit the Martinez Unified School District schools.


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Top finishers in each category receive a run medal, and the overall male and female winners will receive a $100 Shell gas card.

After the 5K, there will be the annual "kid race" for small children, with each participant receiving a ribbon.

Once again, the fabulous Alhambra High School Bulldog Marching Band will perform in the plaza on race day.

The Martinez Kiwanis and Rotary clubs will again be hosting their traditional pre-race pasta feed on Oct. 6, at the Martinez Senior Center, at 818 Green St. Entry is $15 (kids under 6 are free), and will feature a terrific silent auction.

In addition to the major sponsorship provided by the Shell Refinery, sponsors for the 10th annual Run-Walk for Education include Shell Chemical Plant, Air Products, Benicia Fabrication and Machine, Delta Tech, Matrix Services, Air Science and Technologies, Brinderson, Certified Safety Specialists, Contra Costa Electric, Willbros, Eco Mulch, Hamilton Tree Service, J.T. Thorpe, McJunkin Redman, Mistras, Securitas, Siemens, Aquilex, Joseph Janicki, Pacific Coast Chemicals, Performance Mechanical, Starcon, and Turner, Huguet and Adams.

There are many volunteers from the Martinez Education Foundation, Martinez Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Martinez, Martinez Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, the city of Martinez and the Martinez Police Department, involved, as well as the members of the Shell/MEF Run for Education organizing committee co-chaired by Jack Funk and Jan Berletti.

Also on the committee are Diane Beck, Reba Bower, Joelle Fockler, Erin Hallissy, Heather Hamilton, Cathy Ivers, Barbara Kapsalis, Steve Lesher, Rami Muth, Leanne Peterson, Rich Wilkerson and Kevin Searls.

Volunteers are always needed on race day to serve as course monitors, hand out goody bags, etc. To volunteer, call Barbara Kapsalis at 925-229-9079 or email bjkapsalis@aol.com.

Each year, Shell sponsors a contest in the Martinez Unified School District to design the run logo, which appears on that year's T-shirt and other promotional materials. Lela Smith of Martinez Junior High School drew this year's design and received a $100 Visa gift card, courtesy of Shell.

Cycling challenge

Diablo Valley's most exciting cycling event, the Mount Diablo Challenge on Oct. 7, is an 11.2-mile timed bike ride to the summit of Mount Diablo. The starting gun fires at 8:30 a.m. at Athenian School in Danville and climbs up Southgate Road 3,249 feet to the summit of Mount Diablo.

Proceeds benefit Save Mount Diablo in its mission to preserve, protect and restore the remaining 70,000 acres on Mount Diablo and its foothills for wildlife and people to enjoy.

More than 1,000 cyclists compete and prizes are awarded in a ceremony at the summit with food and beverages for all. Awards for fastest team and individuals, and the team that raises the most funds for Save Mount Diablo will be presented.

Riders of all ages are welcome and can compete on any type of nonmotorized cycle, including tandems, unicycles and hand-powered vehicles. Cyclists can register at SaveMountDiablo.org.

For those who cannot ride, but want to be a part of the experience, volunteer by emailing smdinfo@SaveMountDiablo.org?subject=Mount Diablo Challenge.

Bags for Kids

Second-graders at five Martinez elementary schools were the beneficiaries of the Masonic Lodge's 17th Bags for Kids project, in which backpacks filled with school supplies were delivered to children in early September.

Volunteers, including members of Martinez Masonic Lodge #41, the Crafty Ladies of the Masonic Lodge, the John Muir Chapter Order of De Molay and Jobs Daughter Bethel 218 of Orinda all participated, in stuffing 450 backpacks.

Thanks go out to the many businesses and individuals who have donated funds to accomplish the project, said Norman McDonald.

Lively writing

Author Rick Reed will present "Put Life Experiences into Your Writing" at the next meeting of the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill.

Reed spent 26 years as a policeman and detective, and began his writing career with a contract from Kensington Books to write a true-crime novel, "Blood Trail," about his capture of serial killer Joseph Weldon Brown. His other books include "The Cruelest Cut" and "The Coldest Fear." He will discuss true crime versus fiction, pace and tone in both fiction and nonfiction, and anxiety versus humor.

Registration is $20 for CWC members and $25 for guests. Reservations are required, and must be received no later than noon Wednesday, Oct. 10. Contact Jeannie Georgakopoulos at jeaniegpops@comcast.net, or by phone at 925-934-5677. Expect confirmation only if you e-mail your reservation.

The California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch web address is http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.com/.

Music of the dance

Music from such legendary ballets as "Swan Lake," "Giselle," and others come alive in the piano concert, Great Music from Great Ballets, at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Sherman Clay store, 1605 Bonanza St. in Walnut Creek. Admission is free.

Presented by Diablo Ballet and Sherman Clay, world-class concert pianist Gregory Taboloff will perform works by such legendary composers as Chopin, Tchaikovsky and other masters. Lauren Jonas, Diablo Ballet artistic director, will introduce and talk about each ballet.

Those attending can enjoy a glass of complimentary wine and some of the greatest classical music ever written, and also enter a free drawing to win tickets to a future Diablo Ballet performance.

For more information, call Diablo Ballet at 925-943-1775 or visit www.DiabloBallet.org.

Plein air painting

The Concord Art Association will present a plein air (outdoors) watercolor demonstration by local artist David Savellano from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 9, at the Concord Library, 2900 Salvio St.

Savellano has earned signature membership in the National Watercolor Society and the California Watercolor Association.

"I enjoy working outdoors because it's unpredictable and lends itself to a kind of spontaneity you just can't get in a studio," he says.

Painting outdoors, especially in the urban settings he favors, requires adaptability and above all, speed. Usually the elements are a factor, like changing light (or more dramatically, the onset of a thunderstorm), with subjects often fleeting.

For more information, call 925-646-5455 or visit http://concordart.wordpress.com.

"Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.