July 4th

Foulger victorious over Hogge IV in Summer Nationals at Antioch Speedway, NASCAR’s Wallace: “These drivers are the best”

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062715Foulger Hogge 1024x370 Foulger victorious over Hogge IV in Summer Nationals at Antioch Speedway, NASCARs Wallace: “These drivers are the best”

When Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas comes to town, the intensity of competition goes up a notch at Antioch Speedway. Add North Carolina-based NASCAR star Kenny Wallace, a consummate dirt track driver, and the bar is raised even higher.

Four-time track champ Troy Foulger rose to the occasion, showing the visitors the fast way to the finish line as he won the Antioch Speedway Summer Nationals main event on Saturday night.

Foulger, from Martinez, was not about to let Hogge IV or Wallace rule in the $2500-to-win International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) sanctioned modified stock car feature race. He and Hogge IV waged a cat-and-mouse battle for first right up to the fall of the checkered flag.

Cheered on by a full grandstand of fans standing up for the final two laps, Foulger scored a victory for the local racers. Wallace finished 10th.

Foulger came out of the box fast at the start of the IMCA Modified feature, dashing to a straightaway lead ahead of the pack of 18 cars.

That gap was soon erased.

The car of Oakley’s Aaron Crowell stalled in turn four to bring out a caution flag with eight laps to go in the event. That set up the battle between Foulger and Hogge IV.

On the restart, Kellen Chadwick of Oakley and Randy McDaniel of Chico were right behind Foulger and Hogge IV, waiting for a miscue by either driver. There were no mistakes as Foulger and Hogge IV raced side by side to the finish.

Bobby (Hogge IV) is a great competitor no matter where he races,” Foulger said in victory lane. “I saw the nose of his car along side me quite a few times. What a race! It is such a great feeling to win like this.”

Hogge IV praised his new car and the track.

This is the best track I’ve raced on in a long time – smooth and fast. We’ve got the new modified set up right,” he said after the race. “Troy (Foulger) just did a great job reading the track. It was a great race.”

McDaniel, Chadwick, and Darrell Hughes of Manteca completed the top five finishers in the 18-car field.

These drivers are the best,” Wallace said after the race. “It was a thrill racing with them. The competition is top-notch here. This race track is tough and fast.”

Wallace secured his position in the IMCA main event by winning one of two “B-Main” events. After winning, he stood on the door edge of his Las Vegas-based IMCA car to the delight of fans chanting “Earnhardt” – until he sang a song written by John Roberts, his NASCAR Race Day TV show co-host.

Hogge Dominates Late Model Stock Car Event

Hogge IV, considered California’s best dirt tack driver, was untouchable in winning the DIRTcar Late Model Stock car feature event of the Summer Nationals. His commanding lead was never challenged.

I pride myself in setting up a car to have momentum getting through the turns,” Hogge IV explained. “Getting into the turns deeper and getting up to speed faster coming out of the turns is the key.”

Randy Shafer of Vacaville topped Anthony Restad of Santa Rosa in the battle for second. Ryan

McDaniel of Chico drove Richard Papenhausen’s car to fourth. Jeff Decker of Morgan Hill brought home fifth.

Thomas New Winner IMCA SportMod Event

Darrin Thomas of Atwater raced his car three years without a win until he scored in the IMCA SportMod portion of the Summer Nationals. Thomas was able to out-run IMCA national point leader Fred Ryland of Brentwood, who finished second.

I haven’t won here since ’93,” Thomas proclaimed in victory lane.

Ryland complimented Thomas.

He did a great job – I just couldn’t catch him,” Ryland explained.

Jorddon Braaten of Medford, Oregon finished third on his first visit to Antioch Speedway. Matt Haggio of Watsonville and Paul Mulder from Pleasanton were fourth and fifth.

Ryland, Busby Win in Friday Night IMCA Program

The Summer Nationals heated up with special Friday night events at Antioch Speedway. Veteran racer Scott Busby scored $1500, winning his fourth IMCA Modified feature event of the season. He fought off Ryan McDaniel and his dad Randy McDaniel, who finished second and third, respectively. Hogge IV was fourth, and Nick DeCarlo of Martinez finished fifth.

Fred Ryland out-dueled nemesis Keith Brown, of Pittsburg, in the IMCA SportMod main event. The win is Ryland’s fifth at Antioch this season. Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis grabbed third, followed by Braaten and Thomas.

Todd Cooper of Yuba City won the Hobby Stock Feature and David Teves of Concord notched his fourth win of the season in the Dwarf Car division.

Action Returns to Antioch Speedway July 11

The DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car, IMCA SportMod and Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car divisions headline the July 11 event at Antioch Speedway. The speedway is closed for the 4th of July holiday.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, California. For more information visit www.ovalmotorsports.com.

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Publisher @ June 29, 2015

School Board Trustee applauds restoring music programs

Posted in: Opinion, Letters to the Editor, Opinion | Comments (0)

Dear Editor:

We all know what road is said to be paved with good intentions. In the frenzied rush of squeezing the budget while doubling-down on core subjects, music and the arts got short shrift. What was lost in the deal of drill and kill on reading and math was the heart and soul that brings satisfaction to the daily grind, remember, many kids are disenfranchised and starving for even one passion, one single connection, one driving engagement to keep them from truancy.

It is not only about restoring motivation, though. Music can be academic brain food well as well. In teaching to the test and glorifying the fill-in-the-bubble multiple choice, we, inadvertently dumbed down. Coming full circle, we now see that learning music is not a frill luxury but, actually, a foundation in facilitating the learning of other subjects.

Poll any group of physicians and you will be amazed at how many took music.This should come as no surprise as music is really, in a sense, pure math. Research studies confirm that music students enjoy distinct advantages in spatial- temporal skills, associated with math comprehension.

Language development benefits, too. Musical training physically develops the left side of the brain, the part known to be involved in the learning of language. Vocabulary acquisition is enriched and cognitive thinking sharpened.

That’s not all. Music student attendance is cumulatively higher, grades better and discipline less. Music employs multiple skill sets, exercises eyes and ears and both larger and small muscles. In the process, students increase attention span and learn poise, teamwork and how to think on their feet.

Some research even indicates higher I.Q. of musical students. A 2007 study by Christopher Johnson of the University of Texas showed that students in elementarry schools having superior musical programs scored 22% higher on English and 20% higher on math standardized tests.

With this all in mind, good news for Antioch. As part of the holistic emphasis of the newly mandated Local Control Accountability Plan, (LCAP) the Antioch School Board just approved greatly expanded arts and music inititiatives. This includes bringing elementary band back and newly invigorated middle school programs. These are essential as the lower grades are, obviously, the high school feeders.

Kudos to the Board for a shared vision in adopting this measure and to those who did the tireless leg work to get this into the budget. Thanks go to Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill, LCAP Director Cheryl Domenichelli, and to Associate Superintendent Stephanie Anello for their enlightened perspective and for executing the logistics in pushing this forward.

Special gratitude goes to all the local long-term music educators, led by Sharon Vela, and the likes of Ken Bergmann, Romano Marchetti, Paul Rataczak, Damien Ting and Larry Widener, who carried the torch these lean years. They championed philosopher Frederick Nietzsche’s charge, that “without music life would be a mistake.”

Welcome back the spiritual soundtrack of our lives. Our kids, our hometown civic culture, and our collective humanity can celebrate.

It’s music to many of our ears.

Walter Ruehlig

A.U.S.D. School Board Trustee

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Publisher @ June 28, 2015

Antioch School Board rejects site plans for all schools in district, special meeting called for Monday

Posted in: Education, News | Comments (3)

by John Crowder

In a highly unusual move, the Antioch School Board rejected, with a majority of board members voting no, the 2015-2016 School Site Academic Plans for all of the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.

This marked the second meeting in a row where the plans failed to gain approval, even though the board room, each time, was filled with the principals of most of the local schools, available to address specific questions from board members. When last considered, on June 10, Stephanie Anello, Antioch Unified School District’s (AUSD) Associate Superintendent for Educational Services, had pulled the item regarding the elementary site specific plans from the consent calendar because, she said, the plans for two schools, Grant Elementary and Marsh Elementary, were incomplete.

At that same meeting, board members had complained about the limited time they were given to review the plans. Board Member Barbara Cowan said that the first time she had seen the plans was that evening, and that she had only had time to review one of them. Board Member Debra Vinson said that she would need time to review all of the plans. Board Vice President Diane Gibson-Gray echoed their comments, and added that board members had asked for advance copies of the documents the previous year, as well.

At the June 24 meeting, AUSD Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Don Gill, introduced Dr. Cheryl Domenichelli, AUSD Coordinator of Outreach and Community Development, to speak to the plans. No sooner had she finished her remarks than it became clear that the plans were once again in trouble, as school board member Vinson’s opening comment was, “I don’t even know where to begin.” She then told Domenichelli, “Say that again.”

After another statement by Domenichelli, Vinson expressed her dissatisfaction.

Only a handful of the elementary site plans have enough data to make the plans valid,” she said. “They don’t address foster youth. They don’t address communication with parents.”

Vinson also complained about a lack of consistency with how Supplemental and Concentration funds were being spent across the school sites.

Domenichelli responded to Vinson’s concerns. She explained that, “latitude is extended to [school] sites.” She also said that different schools have different populations, some might have only two foster youth attending, while others might have 30.

After a lengthy question and answer session, with members of the board questioning Domenichelli on various aspects of the plans, Board President Claire Smith called for public comments. Once again, the site plans were roundly criticized.

Arrieanna Lombard singled out the site plan for Deer Valley High School (DVHS), saying that, having looked at it, “I have some serious concerns.”

These aren’t SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound),” she continued. “A goal is a desired result. Some of the actions don’t indicate how the goal will be met.”

When you plan, you should be planning to hit the ground running with your goals. This document is…unacceptable,” Lombard added.

Willie Mims, Education Chair of the East County NAACP, told the Board there was a “lack of parental involvement in development of the plans.”

How many parents were involved with this?” he asked. “You don’t want parental involvement. You claim you do. But your actions say you don’t.”

He then pointed to Strategy #14 of the DVHS plan, listed as a strategy to meet the needs of foster youth, and for which the budgeted amount was given as $3.00.

Three dollars? That is crazy,” he continued. “They developed a plan and just threw things in.”

Julie Young, who regularly attends and speaks at school board meetings, brought up the issue of proper public notice. She began by asking the board, “Can you get online? Go to the AUSD website.”

Young then walked the board members through the website links, showing them that the link for school site academic plans took them to the 2014-2015 plans, not the 2015-2016 plans, which they were supposed to be approving.

With this revelation, Domenichelli returned again to the podium, to explain that the plans were on-line, but under the LCAP link. Smith responded by saying the plans needed to be posted where a reasonable person could find them.

I’m a reasonable person, and I couldn’t find them,” she said.

Synitha Walker, of Parents Connected, discussed her concerns with the process for development of the plans.

I’m a school site member at DVHS,” she said, “and I’ve never seen this plan.” (According to a statement on the AUSD website accessed from the School Site Plans link, where the plans are now posted, “The School Site Council recommends this school plan…”) She went on to say that the process last year was, “terrible,” and that it will, “be bad this year, as well.”

Responding to further questions from the board, Louie Rocha, Principal of Antioch High School (AHS), came forward and gave an explanation as to the process used at his school to create their plan, while also elaborating on some of the goals and actions recommended in the AHS site plan.

While Rocha’s presentation received a favorable response, the plans submitted by other schools continued to be questioned.

The DVHS plan is not clear,” said Vinson. “If this plan, as vague and bland as it is, is lined up with LCAP, then we have a problem.”

AUSD staff members, at one point, expressed concern that, without approval of the plans, some school funding might be jeopardized. But in response to questions from Herald staff, they have yet to explain what funding might be in jeopardy, and what, if any, deadline must be met with respect to board approval of the plans so as not to jeopardize such funding.

Responding to further statements from staff, Vinson continued to express her displeasure with what had been presented.

What I don’t want to hear is excuses,” she said. “What I want to hear is that moving forward, we’re [addressing the needs] of all our students. Unequivocally.”

Following Vinson’s statement, Cowan moved to approve the plans, “with caveats.” Board Member Walter Ruehlig seconded, while also expressing reservations. Before the vote could be taken, though, Gibson-Gray added another comment. “This process is as flawed this week as it was two weeks ago,” she stated. “Now, the flaw is, it wasn’t available to the public. I’m going to vote no on this.”

The vote on Cowan’s motion was then taken, and it failed 2-3, with Gibson-Gray, Smith, and Vinson voting no.

These plans are not approved tonight,” Smith told staff.

She then called a special meeting for Monday, at 5:00 p.m. at which the site plans will once again be discussed. The meeting will take place in the School Services Building, located at 510 G Street.

Vinson had the last word of the night on the issue, telling everyone in attendance, “If you want to address these plans, that is the time to do it.”

When reached for comment via email about why he voted for the site plans, Ruehlig responded on Monday, June 29 at 7:00 a.m., “We were told the budget could be held back. They said June 30th was pitvotal but nobody at the State has confirmed that. I called the County and State Dept of Ed afterwards and found out that was apparently not the case. I am revoting tonite [sic] to reject.”

 

 

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Publisher @ June 28, 2015

Antioch’s Annual July 4th Celebration to include Parade, all day events and FIREWORKS!

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Final 4th of July Poster w Sponsors 785x1024 Antiochs Annual July 4th Celebration to include Parade, all day events and FIREWORKS!

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Publisher @ June 27, 2015

NASCAR’s Kenny Wallace races at Antioch Speedway, again, Saturday night

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KennyWallaceLateModel02 1024x547 NASCARs Kenny Wallace races at Antioch Speedway, again, Saturday night

NASCAR’s Kenny Wallace will drive his Late Model Stock Car in the DIRTcar races Saturday night, June 27 at Antioch Speedway. (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

The much anticipated visit by NASCAR racer Kenny Wallace is here, and Richard Papenhausen of Chico feels he is ready to show the national celebrity the short way around Antioch Speedway.

Papenhausen, who has dominated the DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car division at Antioch Speedway, is confident he can handle a challenge from Wallace, one of the most versatile and well experienced dirt track drivers in the country. They will meet on Saturday, in the Antioch Speedway Summer Nationals.

I’m ready for him,” Papenhausen said after his Saturday night, June 20th win at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds 3/8-mile clay oval. “He will be tough, but I raced him before – most recently in Arizona. I know what I need to do to beat him.”

Papenhausen and his crew have been working on perfecting their cars for the big race on Saturday night (June 27), which will be big in both purse money and prestige.

I’m excited to be racing in the Late Model Stock Car division again,” Wallace said. “It is where I started.”

Wallace won the 2005 “Prelude to the Dream”, a major late model stock car race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Since then, his daytime NASCAR duties and his traveling Fox-TV show have enabled Wallace to race at night, honing his skills at dirt tracks in every state.

Whenever I go to a track like Antioch Speedway, the words of (the late) Dale Earnhardt echo in my head,” Wallace said. “He said ‘Herman (Wallace’s Nickname), there are thousands of great drivers across North America. Most of them haven’t had the breaks we had to get to NASCAR – but they are as good or even better drivers then we are.’ No truer words have been spoken.”

Wallace raced his IMCA modified on Friday night and will do so again, Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. He will do double duty on Saturday, hopping into the Late Model Stock Car after racing his IMCA modified. Racing starts at 7 p.m. on both nights.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, California. For more information visit www.ovalmotorsports.com.

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Publisher @ June 27, 2015

Antioch’s Jason Agopian to represent the U.S. on volleyball team at the World University Games in South Korea, in July

Posted in: Sports, Youth | Comments (0)

Jason Agopian goes up for a spike in a game against UCLA in April 2015 Antiochs Jason Agopian to represent the U.S. on volleyball team at the World University Games in South Korea, in July

Jason Agopian goes up for a spike in a game against UCLA in April, 2015. photo courtesy of Jason Agopian.

By Allen Paytons

Collegiate volleyball player, Jason Agopian, of Antioch is heading to South Korea on Sunday to play on the U.S. men’s volleyball team during the World University Games in July. He is one of 12 players selected from across the country. He and two of his teammates of U.C. Irvine are on the team.

There are three levels of teams that represent that United States at sporting competitions, Agopian explained.

There’s the U.S. Olympic national team,” he said. “Those are the top dogs. The Panamerican Games team. Those guys are the number two. And then there’s the World University Games team, the next level down.”

The international competition includes a Winter Games, Summer Games and World Championships. This year’s Summer Games will be held in Gwangju, South Korea, and includes collegiate athletes on various teams, chosen from around the country. It will last from July 2 -11.

It’s pretty cool,” Agopian shared. “There’s an opening ceremony. It looks very much like the Olympics.”

Contacted in May, Agopian “was asked to play for this team to represent the USA at the World University Games made up of collegiate athletes from across the country,” he added.

For those who want to watch him and the USA team play, the games will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN3.

In addition being part of the U.S. men’s volleyball team for the World University Games, Agopian was also selected Second Team All American by Volleyball Magazine, this year, in which he was a red shirt junior. He’ll play one more year, as a senior.

In addition, he was selected First Team for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, of which UCI Men’s Volleyball team is a member.

Agopian was also part of UCI’s 2013 Men’s Volleyball team that won the National Championship.

A 2011 graduate of Deer Valley High School where he also played on the volleyball team, the 6-foot, 7-inch tall Agopian is majoring in Psychology and Social Behavior. But he said he’s considering a career in physical therapy, which will require additional education.

There are 12 players on the team heading to the games. Agopian plays middle blocker. When he rotates to the back row, a player called the libero, who has a different colored jersey, comes in off the sidelines and takes Agopian’s place. Then when the libero rotates to the front, Agopian returns and takes the libero’s place.

He leaves for Southern California, on Saturday, where he and the rest of the team will meet up for the first time and practice. They will then fly to South Korea on Sunday night.

But, before he leaves on Sunday, Agopian will be the subject of a photo shoot to become the face of UCI Sports for the upcoming school year. His photo will show up in marketing for the school, mainly on campus and possibly on buses.

Agopian is the son of Robin and the late Antioch City Councilman Gary Agopian.

For more information on the World University Summer Games, www.wugusa.com/summer-games/. To learn more about UC Irvine Men’s Volleyball, visit www.ucirvinesports.com/sports/m-volley/index.

Good luck to Jason and the USA Men’s Volleyball Team!

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Publisher @ June 27, 2015

Free art exhibit at Umpqua Bank in July and August

Posted in: Arts & Entertainment | Comments (0)

grid200 Free art exhibit at Umpqua Bank in July and August

Grid200 by Dianne Curtain

The Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch (ACFA) continues their partnership with Antioch’s Umpqua Bank and features five artists in the upcoming exhibit. The bank is a perfect venue for local artists to showcase their work, which changes every two months. The featured artists are: Dianne Curtain, Nordyn Anderson, Jerome Gibson, Margarida Moniz and Paul Yang.

Umpqua Bank is located at 3700 Lone Tree Way and is open Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM, excluding bank holidays.

ACFA is currently seeking artists for the ongoing exhibit. The Umpqua exhibit changes every two months. If you are interested in participating, please email Diane@Art4Antioch.org or call Diane Gibson-Gray at (925) 325-9897.

For more information visit www.art4antioch.org or call Diane Gibson-Gray at (925) 325-9897.

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Publisher @ June 27, 2015

First ever kiteboarding event on Pittsburg waterfront, this Sunday

Posted in: Recreation, Sports | Comments (1)

Kiteboarding event First ever kiteboarding event on Pittsburg waterfront, this Sunday

PITTSBURG – Kites will fly this Sunday in Pittsburg at the City’s inaugural kiteboarding event! The City, together with its new watersports shop, The Kite Bar, will host the Launch the Launch RampKiteboarding Competition from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Riverview Park.

This is just one step in our long-term vision to turn Riverview Park into an elite kiteboarding hub and training center,” said Garrett Evans, Assistant City Manager. “We also hope to expose our residents to our waterfront, and encourage them to try their hand at stand up paddling, kiteboarding, kayaking, and more.”

Since early 2013 the City has been working with the local Kiteboard community to make this a reality. This week Pittsburg put the finishing touches on its new non-motorized watercraft launch ramp at Riverview Park, and last week, The Kite Bar, the city’s new water/wind sports shop opened its doors. “We’re thrilled to see the action and enthusiasm around kiteboarding, and we’re excited to bring a new sport and adventure to our community. We always knew wind would be an asset to us, but we never knew it would evolve into something as exciting as this,” says Pittsburg Mayor Pete Longmire.

Sunday’s event will feature Big Air, Freestyle, and Slalom competitions with elite kite boarders from the Bay Area and beyond. Spectators can expect near-constant kiteboarding action from 10am-4pm. Free Stand Up Paddle Board trials will be available to the public throughout the day in The Kite Bar’s 15 foot demonstration pool. There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new ramp, a demonstration by Kymera Body Boards, and delicious BBQ available for purchase. Event attendance for spectators is free. Competitors can register at www.thekitebar.com.

EVENT DETAILS:

DATE: Sunday, June 28, 2015

TIME: 10am-5:00pm

LOCATION: Riverview Park, Riverview Park Drive, Pittsburg, CA, 94565

PARKING: Street Parking on Bayside Drive, Marina Boulevard, and Herb White Way

MORE INFO: www.thekitebar.com

CONTACT: Alexandra Endress |City of Pittsburg Waterfront Development aendress@ci.pittsburg.ca.us |(925) 252-4968

PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE*:

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Big Air Competition

12:30 PM – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

12:45 PM – Kymera Bodyboard Demonstration

1:00 PM – Freestyle and Slalom Competitions

5:00 PM – Awards Ceremony

*Subject to change depending on wind conditions

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Publisher @ June 26, 2015