Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Double lung transplant recipient from Antioch featured in Giving Me Life art exhibit at Highland Hospital

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Liver recipient, Debra Harkness (left) and double lung recipient, Damita Barbee (center) of Antioch at the opening of the exhibit on Friday, April 4, 2019. Photo by Donor Network West.

April is Donate Life Month

The “Giving Me Life: A Visual Journey of African-American Organ and Tissue Transplant Recipients” art exhibit has officially opened at the Alameda Health System (AHS)-Highland Care Pavilion Lobby. AHS has partnered with Donor Network West, the organ and tissue recovery organization for Northern California and Nevada, to bring “Giving Me Life” to AHS. The exhibit underscores the need for more registered donors within the African-American community through social documentary. April is Donate Life Month and the exhibit will be on display at Highland until April 30.

Antwone Johnson, the brother of organ donor Anthony Johnson, gave a very emotional testimony at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 4.

“I lost my brother about a year ago at Highland Hospital. He died unexpectedly after experiencing seizures that sent him into cardiac arrest. When I was first approached about donating his organs I was not interested, but as I sat in the hospital, I reflected on the fact that he was the kindest person I ever met. He would give you his last dollar without knowing where his next one was coming from. I joke that I hope the cruelest, corrupt person received my brother’s heart because there is no way they can continue to be unkind with a piece of Tony in their body.”

In addition, Johnson shared that he is humbled to be able to save someone else’s life through his decision to donate his brother’s organs.

Currently, African-Americans make up 5% of the 13 million people in Donor Network West’s donation service area, however, they represent 10% of those waiting for organ transplants in the region. The exhibit is a visual testimonial of nine local African-American transplant recipients who have overcome incredible obstacles in their respective journeys toward health and wellness thanks to organ and tissue donation.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Alameda Health System to bring the Giving Me Life exhibit to Highland Hospital in Oakland, which boasts a proud legacy of African-American culture, art and social justice. We deeply respect Alameda Health System’s commitment to promoting healthy equity and access for all patients, 30% of whom are African-American. Our hope is to spark new conversations, and inspire more African-Americans to register as organ donors,” said Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer of Donor Network West.

Damita Barbee, a double-lung transplant recipient from Antioch, and one of the people featured in the Giving Me Life exhibit will be traveling to Italy this year, something she was not able to do five years ago. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, but is now thriving. In her spare time she shares her story with others, hoping to encourage as many people as possible to become registered donors.

“I am very passionate about finding solutions that will help our patients live healthy lives. There are many people on the transplant waiting list and this exhibit is a great way to raise awareness about the need,” said Luis Fonseca, AHS Chief Operating Officer and Donor Network West board member.

About 50 people attended the event. Participants included Donor Network West Ambassadors, transplant recipients, donor families, AHS staff, community members, and representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s office.

Nearly 1,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Alameda County. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West is the federally designated nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organ and tissue recovery organization that serves 13 hospitals and more than 500,000 people in Northern Nevada. Established in 1987, the organization saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. Donor Network West is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registry. For information, visit and follow us on social media: @mydnwest

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch Senior at UC Davis interning for California State Senator Glazer

Friday, February 8th, 2019

His only intern from Contra Costa County

Sasha Jordan. Photo courtesy of Mark Jordan.

University of California Davis senior, Sasha Jordan is interning for State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) this spring.  Glazer, who represents the 7th Senate District including most of Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda County in the East Bay, currently has three interns but Jordan is the only intern from Contra Costa County.

Jordan is an Antioch resident and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2015.  She began attending UC Davis that same fall.  While at Deer Valley she was active in the Performing Arts Academy. Jordan will graduate in June this year with a degree in Political Science and minor in Communications.

She had worked as a teen and young adult for the real estate company owned by her parents Mark and Cynthia Jordan, a local Certified Public Accountant and a local Attorney.  She also had worked for the University as a resident advisor during her sophomore year at the Tecero Dorms on campus.

Jordan is currently applying for fellowships at the State Capital in Sacramento and is looking forward to a career in government.

“I think it is a good thing to help other people and government is just one way to make a difference” she said.

Asked about what she’s doing for the Senator, currently, Jordan said, “Right now, I’m working at the front desk greeting visitors. I’ve done some research projects.”

Her internship will last until March 15, which is the end of the Winter Quarter.

After Jordan graduates, her “plan is to work at the Capitol.”

As for her long-term plans, she said, “If you ask my dad, it’s to be governor of California.”

On a more serious note, Jordan stated, “My hope is to make as much change and improvement in the lives of individuals in California.”

Asked about her Communications minor, she said, “Right now, I’m learning about media messages. I’ve taken some classes on political communication, which I think is important. Because if you want to make change, you need the public to know about the issues that are going on.”

Jordan will graduate at the end of the Spring Quarter in June.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch resident Samantha Olive Barnhouse named Carnegie Hero for saving man from burning house

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Samantha Olive Barnhouse (with glasses). Photo courtesy of City of Antioch.

By City of Antioch

We’re honored to share that Antioch resident Samantha Olive Barnhouse has recently been awarded the Carnegie Medal for an extraordinary act of heroism.

Thirty-year-old Samantha Olive Barnhouse saved Lobis Burton, 78, from a burning house on Feb. 17, 2018, in Antioch. Alerted to the fire, Barnhouse, who lived across the street from Burton’s apartment building, entered Burton’s apartment. She moved past the burning kitchen to reach Burton, who was sitting in a wheeled desk chair in a bedroom, unable to move due to an injured hip.

Barnhouse pulled the desk chair through the bedroom and into the hall, and as flames and smoke intensified, she moved the chair past the kitchen and to the front door. The chair became stuck, and Barnhouse pulled on it, freeing it and causing her and Burton to fall outside beneath flames issuing overhead through the doorway.

Within a minute, the apartment’s windows shattered due to the heat. Burton was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and a broken hip, but he was no burned. Barnhouse was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation; she recovered

About Carnegie Hero

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. With this final announcement of 2018 recipients, a total of 10,062 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission Chair Mark Laskow said each of the awardees or their survivors will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the more than 114 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $40.5 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.

To get more information about Carnegie Hero, visit their website:

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch Chamber of Commerce announces annual award winners

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Antioch Citizens of the Year – Most Impact Trine Gallegos and Lifetime Achievement Gordon Gravelle with his wife Molly and their grandkids. Photos from Facebook.

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2018 Award winners:

Citizens of the Year

·         Most Impact 2018 – Trine Gallegos

·         Lifetime Achievement – Gordon Gravelle

Veteran of the Year

·         Ernie Rodriguez – US Marine, Vietnam Veteran, Past VFW Post 6435 Quartermaster and current VFW club manager, and lifetime member of Antioch American Legion Post 161

Youth of the Year:

·         Jewelina Culcasi of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School

·         Claryssa Wilson of Antioch High School

·         Runner-up: Sage Bennett of Antioch High School

Business for the Year

·         Small Business – County Market

·         Large Business – Kaiser Permanente

Non-Profit of the Year

·         Meals on Wheels Diablo Region

Ambassadors of the Year:

·         Michael Pohl, Mike and Mike Media

·         Cyndee Paulson-Heer, Heer’s Music and Sound

·         Justin Heer, Heer’s Music and Sound

Each award winner will be honored at the annual Chamber Gala, which will be held on Friday March 8, 2019 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person, or $700 for a reserved table of eight which includes a full-page advertisement. Purchase of gala tickets can be made online at, by calling (925) 757-1800, or emailing [email protected]. Ticket sales will end March 1, 2019 at 5 p.m.

We look forward to celebrating with you and each of our award recipients.


Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch City Clerk Simonsen reappointed to League of Cities’ Governance, Transparency & Labor Relations, and Housing, Community & Economic Development Policy Committees

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Arne Simonsen at a League of California Cities event.

Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen has been reappointed to the League’s Governance, Transparency and Labor Relations (GTLR) Policy Committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for recommending to the League board of directors’ policy positions on state issues involving transparency, technology (open data), healthcare, elections and political reform, pension and workers compensation reform as well as other labor related issues. The reappointments were announced by League President Jan Arbuckle, council member, Grass Valley.

He was also reappointed to the League’s Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED Policy Committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for recommending to the League board of directors policy positions on state issues involving general plans and zoning, housing, rent control, Subdivision Map Act, residential care facilities, other land use regulation, development fees including school fee adequacy, annexation and incorporation policy, development agreements, building standards including seismic safety standards, economic development policy including redevelopment and enterprise zones, military base closure and reuse, mobile home regulation and sign regulation.

As a committee member, Simonsen will play a key role in shaping the League’s policy positions on issues facing California cities and advocating for cities at the State Capitol.

This is Simonsen’s 11th year serving on the HCED Policy Committee and third year serving on the GTLR Policy Committee. He previously served eight years on the Revenue & Taxation Policy Committee, chairing it in 2006; four years on the Administrative Services Policy Committee; and four years on the Employee Relations Policy Committee.

“I am proud to have Arne Simonsen join the League’s Governance, Transparency and Labor Relations Policy Committee and, Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee on behalf of his residents,” said League President Jan Arbuckle, council member, Grass Valley. “We will work together as a team, comprised of local frontline leaders from across the state, to ensure that the local perspective guides the outcome of state policy decisions.”

The leadership of the 2019 GTLR committee consists of Chair Richard Constantine, Mayor Pro Tem, Morgan Hill, and Vice Chair Jess Talamantes, Council Member, Burbank; and the leadership of the 2019 HCED committee consists of Chair Stacey Mattina, Council Member, Lakeport, and Vice Chair Blanca Pacheco, Council Member, Downey.

For more information on the League’s policy committees, visit:

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Police Sergeant Will Dee retires after 23 years on the Antioch force

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Photos by Antioch Police Department.

From the APD Facebook Page

Today, (Wed., Dec 26, 2018) is a bittersweet day for us as we congratulate Sergeant Will Dee on his well-earned retirement, but we also have to say good bye to him as well.

Will was born and raised in Florida, and ultimately found his way to California after enlisting in the United States Coast Guard In 1987. During this time, he was stationed in Alameda, but also did law enforcement patrols up and down the west coast of California and as far north as Alaska. After serving for five years, Will then attended the Napa Valley Police Academy.

Upon his graduation from the academy, he was hired with the Moffett Field Police Department in 1993, where he stayed until he joined us in 1995.

During his time with Antioch, Will has held multiple assignments including patrol, community policing, fraud investigator, homicide investigator, SWAT, Field Training Officer, and firearms instructor. Will was promoted to the rank of Police Corporal in 2002, and later again to Police Sergeant in 2008 where he has remained since.

After he signs off for his final graveyard shift, he can know he’s touched many of us, made lifelong friends, and most definitely left this place better than he found it 25 years ago. We wish Sergeant Dee, the happiest of retirements and hope he enjoys it with his wife, children and new grandchild!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Jim Boccio honored with tree, plaque in City Park for serving Antioch’s senior community

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Jim Boccio, Sr. (fourth from right), with his wife Phyllis and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, is surrounded by his family and friends at the presentation of the plaque to be placed next to his tree in City Park. Photo by City of Antioch.

Friends and family, including Council Member Lori Ogorchock and representatives of The Bedford Center, met at City Park last week to present the dedication plaque to much-beloved champion of volunteering, Jim Boccio who selflessly devotes his time serving our senior community.

The plaque will be placed next to Jim’s tree which City of Antioch Public Works has been caring for and nurturing since the planting ceremony in September.

The Bedford Center offers Alzheimer’s Care, Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, and Nursing Care senior care options for elderly adults in Antioch. It is located at 1811 C Street.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch student graduates from U.C. Merced during Fall Commencement ceremony

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

MERCED, Calif. — Over 140 students took part in UC Merced’s Fall Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, at The Art Kamangar Center in the historic Merced Theatre in downtown Merced. Students receiving their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were honored together at commencement, with accomplished alum, and member of UC Merced’s first graduating class, David Do (’09) serving as the commencement speaker.

Graduates included Marlon Wilson of Antioch with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

This was the second year that UC Merced held a fall commencement ceremony.

UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest member of the University of California system, and is the youngest university to earn a Carnegie research classification. The fastest-growing public university in the nation, UC Merced enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in campus construction and design, and supports high-achieving and dedicated students from the underserved San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The Merced 2020 Project, a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education, will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students. 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter