Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Woman found dead in Antioch following disturbance call early Sunday morning

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

By Sergeant James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations)

On Sunday, May 19, 2019 at approximately 2:48 AM, the Antioch Police Department responded to a disturbance in the 4500 block of Big Horn Court. Antioch patrol officers arrived on scene and located a deceased 30-year-old female inside of a residence. The female had suspicious injuries that appeared to be the cause her death.

A 32-year-old male is being questioned as a person of interest in this homicide. This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Construction to begin on Marsh Creek Road Monday

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will begin construction of the Marsh Creek Road Traffic Safety Improvements project. The project will consist of installing a centerline rumble strip, restriping of the centerline, and traffic sign replacement and upgrades along the 14-mile stretch of Marsh Creek Road between the Cities of Clayton and Brentwood. Improvements will also include a streetlight installation on a wooden pole, and two solar flashing beacons at the intersection of Marsh Creek Road and Deer Valley Road.

Construction will begin on Monday, May 20, 2019, with completion by July 1, 2019, barring unforeseen circumstances. Drivers can expect traffic delays up to 30 minutes. Work hours will be 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to minimize impacts to commute traffic.

Funding for this project is gas tax revenues provided by the SB1 Road Repair and Accountability Act and the Highway Safety Improvement Program funds. More information for this project can be found at http://www.cccounty.us/pwdmap.

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Antioch Middle School teacher one of four finalists for County Teacher of the Year

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

DarVisa Marshall, sixth grade teacher, Antioch Middle School. Photo by CCCOE.

The following four teachers have been named as the 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District; Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; DarVisa R. Marshall, Antioch Unified School District; and Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program. See below for the entire listing of the 22 Contra Costa County TOYs, class of 2019-2020.

Like so many teachers, DarVisa Marshall was influenced by a special teacher in her life. For Marshall, it was in the 11th grade, back in Cincinnati, Ohio. “No matter the circumstances, Mrs. Bryant never gave up on me,” remembers Marshall. “She saw potential that I never saw and my parents didn’t understand. Because of her, I became a teacher.” For the past five years, Marshall has been teaching English language arts (ELA) and history to grade six, at Antioch Middle School, in Antioch. Her 21 years of experience also includes teaching ELA and history in middle and elementary schools in Oakland and Cincinnati.

With 27 years of education experience, Gina Capelli has been teaching at Liberty High School, in Brentwood, since 2002. Capelli’s courses include psychology, government, ethnic studies, and social studies. Capelli joined Liberty High School with an impressive resume of teaching experience with school districts in San Jose, Livermore, and Brentwood. “My most important contribution to my students is to model selflessness and the importance of school and community involvement,” says Capelli. “Living in a small, tight-knit community has helped me to participate in many community activities alongside my students.”

Science instructor and robotics club advisor, Shay Kornfield, has been teaching at Diablo View Middle School, in Clayton, for the past three years. Five years prior, Kornfield taught grades 4 and 5 at Fair Oaks Elementary School, in Pleasant Hill. Kornfield says that he was lucky enough to grow up in a loving household with educated parents and grandparents that fostered his sense of curiosity and adventure. “Then, I had a teacher, Glen Barker [2018 CCCOE Teacher of the Year], who made school feel like summer camp for the first time in my life,” remembers Kornfield. “Without these amazing people, perhaps I would not have chosen the career path I have – but choose it I did, and what an amazing ride thus far!”

Maureen Mattson has been a positive fixture for the past 33 years at Pittsburg High School. The honored teacher has been teaching physical education during her entire career at the school. Along with teaching physical education, she has served many other rolls, including the school’s women’s basketball coach, assistant principal, and assistant athletic director. “My biggest influence in becoming a teacher was my father, Bob Matson,” reflects Mattson. “He was a physical education teacher, department chair, athletic director, and coach of multiple sports at Hollister High School for 38 years.”

The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE, and with such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (18 teachers eligible this year), the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:

On April 12, a committee of 13 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners carefully reviewed the TOY representative applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently read and rated each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers (see above) will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

April 22-May 17, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee will interview the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:

On July 24, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 26, 2019, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey, who serves as the evening’s master of ceremonies, will introduce all 22 TOYs to the attendees. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in July) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic conclusion with the announcement of the two 2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2019-2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

  • Paul Verbanszky, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High School
  • DarVisa R. Marshall, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch Middle School
  • Ezra Smith, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elem/Loma Vista Elem
  • Alicia Woodson, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary
  • Cheri Etheredge, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa Community College
  • Kevin McKibben, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Mt. McKinley School
  • Nagia “GG” Abdu, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High School
  • Katy Bracelin, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary School
  • Cindy Fisher, Lafayette School District, Happy Valley Elementary School
  • Gina Capelli, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High School
  • Pamuela Galletti, Martinez Unified School District, John Muir Elementary School
  • Jennifer Strohmeyer, Moraga School District, Donald L. Rheem Elementary School
  • Emily Andrews, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Bancroft Elementary School
  • Shay Kornfeld, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Diablo View Middle School
  • Maria Fernandez, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary School
  • Jennifer Dodd, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary School
  • Maureen Mattson, Pittsburg Unified School District, Pittsburg High School
  • Athena Agustin, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High School
  • Nusheen Saadat, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Quail Run Elementary School
  • Jana Palmquist, Walnut Creek School District, Walnut Creek Intermediate School
  • Daniel O’Shea, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Pinole Valley High School
  • Doug Silva, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Helms Middle School

Note regarding eligible participants:

Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.

Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.

Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter and Instagram at: #cocotoy

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Contra Costa County Fair opens Thursday runs through Sunday

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

For details and schedule visit www.ContraCostaFair.com or download the following:

  2019 CCCFair Schedule p12019 CCCFair Sched p2 & Map2019 CCCFair Details

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Maintenance work on Vasco Road May 28-30

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Vasco Road from Camino Diablo Road to the Alameda County line. The roadwork will occur from Tuesday through Thursday, May 28-30 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The roadwork will consist of replacing the delineators, debris removal and street sweeping. The purpose of the delineators is to increase driver awareness and safety when travelling through this commute corridor. The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and drivers can expect delays.

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DA Becton updates immigration policy to avoid deportation of defendants to comply with state law

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a new policy for the DA’s Office focused on immigration. In order to comply with state and federal laws, the office has updated its immigration policy.

“It is important to have a standardized process in place to ensure we meet our obligations under the law. I am confident that with this new policy we can fairly review all options for a disposition while at the same time ensuring we meet the demands to protect the public and victims,” said DA Becton. “Moving forward, cases will be evaluated by our state legislative mandate to ‘consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process as one factor in an effort to reach a just resolution.’”

Last July, for the first time ever, the entire DA’s office staff received an in-depth immigration training which focused on the role of prosecutors in considering adverse immigration consequences, i.e. deportation.

The law was changed in California in 2016 and now Penal Code Section 1016.3(b) mandates, “the prosecution … consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process as one factor in an effort to reach a just resolution.”

The legislature enacted the law after finding “the immigration consequences of criminal convictions have a particularly strong impact in California. One out of every four persons living in the state is foreign-born. One out of every two children lives in a household headed by at least one foreign-born person. The majority of these children are United States citizens. It is estimated that 50,000 parents of California United States citizen children were deported in a little over two years. Once a person is deported, especially after a criminal conviction, it is extremely unlikely that he or she ever is permitted to return.” (Cal. Penal Code Section 1016.2(g)).

Following are aspects of Becton’s updated policy, under governing law, “consideration of immigration consequences during the plea negotiation process is mandatory” and “victim’s rights must also be included and considered in the plea negotiation process.”

The policy notes that “These internal guidelines are not intended to create any new procedural rights in favor of criminal defendants or to be enforceable in a court of law. Nor shall these guidelines be construed to create any presumptions that a previously sentenced defendant would have received any offer other than that which has already been extended and accepted.

The policy further states, “Prosecutors do not have an obligation to independently research or investigate the adverse immigration consequences that may result from a plea or criminal conviction.” But, they “shall consider adverse immigration consequences presented by the defense.”

In addition, the new policy requires that “the supervising prosecutor…determine based upon the totality of the circumstances if an appropriate disposition can be reached that neither jeopardizes public safety nor leads to disproportionate immigration consequences based on the information provided by the defense.”

According to the new policy, alternative considerations include, “Devising an alternative plea agreement that is factually honest and of a similar nature and consequence to the originally charged offense, but minimizes the defendant’s exposure to adverse immigration consequences; and Allowing language to be stricken from a charging document or plea colloquy while maintaining the truthfulness of the remaining charging language.”

Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the Contra Costa County District Attorney contributed to this report.

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Supervisors approve $13 million plan to reduce number of mentally ill in county jail

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

May is Foster Parent Recognition Month

The Contra Cost Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14 recognized May as Foster Parent Recognition Month. Supervisors’ resolution noted there are approximately 1,100 children and youngsters in foster care in the county. At the ceremony, supervisors presented the resolution to first time foster parents Patricia and Ryan Streeter of Antioch, who became the foster parents of two-month-old Samuel. The couple are the parents of their eight-year-old biological son Josiah. The supervisors’ resolution noted the importance of Foster Parent Recognition Month in Contra Costa County for “being provided with a safe, secure and stable home environment, along with the compassion and nurturing of foster relative and non-relative families….” Photo by D. Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.

Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.

Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.

Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.

“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.

The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:

  • “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
  • “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
  • “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
  • “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
  • “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
  • “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
  • “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
  • “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
  • “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
  • “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
  • “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
  • “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
  • “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”

Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:

Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project

Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.

Emergency Driving Program

Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.

Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center

Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.

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Antioch Council approves low-income apartment complex, creating new youth services manager position

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Rendering of the entrance to AMCAL’s approved affordable family and senior apartment complex on E. 18th Street. Courtesy of AMCAL Multi-Family Housing.

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 the Antioch City Council approved creating the positing of Youth Services Network Manager and a 394-unit, affordable housing apartment complex for low-income families and seniors on E. 18th Street.

In addition, the council agreed to form an ad hoc committee to study cannabis business-related issues.

Low-Income Housing Apartments

The gated apartment complex will consist of 11 three-story buildings, located on 14.85 acres on the south side of E. 18th Street between Phillips Lane and Highway 160, and just north of Grace Bible Fellowship’s property.

The proponent, AMCAL Multi-Housing of Los Angeles, has proposed 350 units be restricted to tenants earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) and 40 units be restricted to tenants earning 50% of the AMI. That means the maximum rent they could charge would be 30% of the AMI at their respective income level. Four units will be reserved for on-site managers.

According to representatives of AMCAL who spoke at the meeting, the project meets the city’s low-income housing requirement through 2023 and the affordability requirement will last 55 years.

Social services will be provided on-site.

Youth Services Network Manager

The council approved the creation of a part-time position of Youth Services Network Manager was approved by the council. It will have a salary range of $50.00-$60.00 per hour, and not to exceed $120,000 per year. It will be funded from one-time revenue.

The position will have the following responsibilities as outlined in the city staff report:

  1. Develop a youth services network/collaborative (including database & memorandums of understanding) of public/private agencies, nonprofits, community-based organizations that serve youth and families.
  2. Work with network to identify services gaps, redundancy, and opportunities for growth.
  3. Explore appropriate models of quality youth services and programs as prospective contractors (i.e. Drop IN Centers, Youth Uprising, Boys & Girls Club, Rise Center, Concord Youth Center, etc.) for Antioch
  4. Special focus on early gang intervention programs for kids most at-risk (roughly in 6th and 7th grade).
  5. Work with area youth groups (i.e. Antioch Council of Teens, LCAP, etc.) to identify existing teen programs.
  6. Review City’s youth programming and communication efforts to determine how to better serve youth and parents.
  7. Inventory current city facilities, city parks, etc., to determine if it is appropriate to house and/or deliver youth programming.
  8. Provide strategic guidance to City Manager and periodic updates to Youth Services Task Force Committee and City Council in the implementation of the progress of the network.
  9. Identify funding costs and prospective philanthropic opportunities in and outside of Antioch.
  10. Research current youth employment opportunities with the City to build a youth employment program that focuses on 21st century workforce skills (i.e. similar to Thousand Strong Sacramento)
  11. Identify different areas of youth development as it relates to civic engagement and participation.
  12. Examine the possibility of a parent resource center.
  13. Support the City Manager’s proposed budget allocations of $350,000 for fiscal year 2019/20 and $750,000 for fiscal year 2020/21 for additional programming.
  14. Attend community events to provide education and advice to community members on youth services.
  15. Strong written and verbal communication skills to deliver public presentations and staff reports to City Council.
  16. Prepares reports and correspondence as required.
  17. Perform related duties as required.

Councilmember Lori Orgorchock asked that working on restorative justice matters be added to the list of responsibilities, before the council unanimously approved the position.

The position will be under the supervision of the city manager.

Applicants must have a college degree with major course work in Social Work, Recreation, Public Administration, Business Administration or closely related field, and a minimum of Three (3) years of full time (or the equivalent of full time) experience in recreation, education, social work or delivery, with emphasis on community organizing.

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