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By Tim Hunt

School days are upon us

Uploaded: Aug 9, 2016

School starts Monday in Pleasanton as well as Dublin and the San Ramon Valley when the new calendar that finishes the first semester by Christmas takes effect.
It has meant a summer two weeks shorter than traditional for local families, but it is the right step. School will end next year on June 2.
Reading the East Bay Times yesterday, a reporter listed stats for expected enrollment. Rapidly growing San Ramon has driven enrollment in the San Ramon Valley district to an estimated 32,300, more than twice as large as the Pleasanton at 14,869.
One interesting demographic fact: Livermore has about 14,000 more residents than Pleasanton, but about 2,000 fewer students (14,869 to 12,823).
Pleasanton has seen a strong influx of families, many headed by knowledge workers who crowd onto Interstate 680 to commute south to the Silicon Valley most mornings (Friday, most people seem to work from home). School district officials expect district enrollment to peak at about 15,000 next year and then gradually drop.
Given the uncertainty of the student population mix in high-density apartments now under construction, district trustees hedged their bets on the $272 million bond issue that voters will face in November by including a potential new elementary school in the mix.

Some additional demographic trends were listed in the San Francisco Business Times’ special edition featuring the Tri-Valley. Median household income in Pleasanton is $144,000 compared to $128,000 in Danville, $124,000 in San Ramon, $121,000 in Dublin and $100,000 in Livermore. Traditionally, Danville has had the highest household income, but that has shifted south to Pleasanton.
The section also reported that 58 percent of San Ramon adults had at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 56 percent in Pleasanton and 53 percent in Dublin. Livermore is at 40 percent. For the cities along I-680, those numbers have climbed significantly with well-educated new residents.

One more note on game parks in Africa: Watching television commercials here in America, you could readily come to the conclusion that poaching elephants for ivory is a major wildlife problem.
That may be in some countries, but poaching of rhinoceros for their horns is a far greater problem in South Africa. We stayed on a small, privately owned preserve of about 2,000 acres. The owner had greatly increased security after poachers killed a rhino—they had caught poachers recently that had shot a baby rhino in the hook in an attempt to draw out its mother.
The financial rewards for poachers are immense: a black market rhino horn in Asia, where it is valued as an aphrodisiac, can sell for up to $500,000.
After another much larger preserve (more than 20,000 acres) had a number of rhinos killed for their horns, the ownership decided to remove the horns from all of their rhinos. Horns grow like our fingernails or toenails so, over time, the horns will grow back and removing them will become a routine process every couple of years.
The choice—live rhinos without horns vs. trying to battle poachers on a huge estate, led to the rational decision.