Antioch Chamber of Commerce announces annual award winners

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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 https://antiochchamber.com/2019-inaugural-gala-and-awards-ceremony/, by calling (925) 757-1800, or emailing frontdeskadmin@antiochchamber.com. Ticket sales will end March 1, 2019 at 5 p.m.

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

 

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Publisher @ January 15, 2019

Commentary: Sawyer-White offers her side of the story as an Antioch Unified Board Trustee

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

Crystal Sawyer-White. Photo courtesy of AUSD.

As an Antioch Unified School Board Trustee since November 8, 2016, I am compelled to share my side of the story. My tenure has been a total abyss of despair that is impacting our Antioch student’s education with racially intimidating practices. The day that I was elected on November 8, 2016, I was humbled and excited to serve as School Board Trustee for the students of Antioch Unified School District. I never thought I would experience deceitfulness to undermine my good intentions to fulfill my fiduciary responsibilities.

As an educator and a proud parent of a young adult who graduated from the district in 2007, I am very passionate about education and felt I was ready for the challenge. I looked forward to attending the first board meeting. However, almost every board meeting for the past two years has been stagnated by a lack of collaboration to accomplish goals. The progress of the board to work as a collaborative body was impeded by other members who use their position as a “bully pulpit” for workplace racial intimidation. In addition, my authority as Vice President was constantly challenged, overruled and outright disrespected in this role. I was elected as Vice President a year ago and was considered for the role of President on December 12, 2018.

The role of the President is to enforce the conduct of the Board meetings. President Hack has not enforced Mrs. Velma Wilson’s conduct who is an African American parent of students in AUSD. Mrs. Wilson has continuously spoke in a disrespectful manner during public comments badgering the African American female Board Trustees. Mrs. Wilson exhibits premeditated hostility and bias toward African American female Board Trustees intentionally. Mrs. Wilson publicly stated that I was absent from the most recent Brown Act training. To clarify the Brown Act training invitation that was sent to all Board Trustees, Superintendent Stephanie Anello specified, for new members to attend. Once again, Mrs. Wilson does not know what she is talking about. I have attended two Brown Act trainings thus far.

My focus has been on our students from day one. Here is a list of agenda items to be placed on the agenda that were ignored or disregarded:

1) Safety-Sandy Hook’s Promise-Presentation (asked three times pertaining to student and staff safety)

2) Revolutionary Foods-Nutritional breakfast and lunch programs that are a decrease in cost

3) California Dashboard-To be transparent of our homeless and foster youth.

4) Facility Fees-primarily African American parents and Antioch residents of color pay higher fees.

The following listed below exhibits lack of support, disrespect, and mistreatment:

1) The first month of my term (November 2016), then-Board President Diane Gibson-Gray called me on my cell phone to encourage me to be sworn in by the superintendent, privately. I refused. All public officials are sworn in publicly.

2) In November 2016 I was given a binder of the AUSD 9000 Board Bylaws. I informed the public within a couple of weeks that the new Board Bylaws were revised without Board adoption. The California School Board Association is the key component pertaining to applicable and foundational It is important to update the Bylaws that are 39 years old. Board Trustee Debra Vinson agreed.

The California School Board Association informed me that 30 Board bylaws and policies have been revised. 100 bylaws and policies are outdated since 1989.

3) It’s a steep learning curve, without training, to be a board member. I asked the board to attend the Master of Governance training for Board Development once elected in November. I didn’t attend the first workshop for New Board Trustee training until April 2017 in Anaheim, California.

Here is a list of the trainings:

MIG Course 1 Resources

COURSE 1: Foundations of Effective Governance | Setting Direction

MIG Course 2Resources

COURSE 2: Policy & Judicial Review | Student Learning & Achievement

MIG Course 3 Resources

COURSE 3: School Finance

COURSE 4: Human Resources | Collective Bargaining

MIG Course 5

COURSE 5: Community Relations and Advocacy | Governance Integration

For the past two years all Board Trustees have voted against my attendance to attend professional development except for Debra Vinson. What is wrong with this picture? The Antioch Board of Education is not about educating their students nor Board Trustees to meet their full potential.

4) Superintendent Stephanie Anello recently replied to my text message. She replied to me within minutes by accident sending it to the wrong person. This gave me great insight into her thought process. The text stated, “Should I reply to Crystal’s text or should I ignore it?”

The last Board meeting on December 12, 2018 was the most hostile meeting I ever attended. As Vice President, I was continuously disrespected and intimidated during the meeting. The attendees in the front row were the ex-Chief of Police for the of City of Antioch and Mrs. Velma Wilson, an African American parent of two Antioch Unified School District students. Mrs. Wilson stated I was not worthy of becoming President. I motioned to move up the Action Items A President Elect and B Vice President Elect one the Agenda in front of consent items. Ellie, the new Board Trustee, seconded my motion. It was voted down 2-3. I felt the hostility more than ever after the final vote.

Hearing Mrs. Wilson’s statement coming as an African American woman was intentionally staged. Her conduct during the meeting should have been enforced by President Gary Hack, but he continues to sit idly by.

I have decided to inform my constituents, parents of the City of Antioch, and friends the truth pertaining to the Antioch of Board of Education Board meetings. I believe justice will prevail. Based on Board Bylaw 9100 that states that the Presidency is based on rotation and I was the Vice President for one year, I am deserving of the Presidency of the Antioch Board of Education.

It is obvious that I have experienced racial practices and intimidation as a fear tactic to embed on my human psyche. This tactic is intentional to imply that as an African American woman is not worthy and not qualified is clearly base on race. The public needs to know the truth and advocate for the students of Antioch Unified School District. If given the opportunity to be President, I will continue to lead with integrity and follow the appropriate Board Bylaws that will lead our students for a better education.

Crystal Sawyer -White, MS

Board Trustee, Antioch Unified School District

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Publisher @ January 15, 2019

Antioch to host events to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Monday, Jan. 21

Posted in: Community | Comments (0)

Hosted by the City of Antioch Recreation Department. To sign up visit their Facebook page, here – https://www.facebook.com/events/2410075459020301/.

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Publisher @ January 14, 2019

NAACP East County Branch to host annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Prayer Breakfast in Pittsburg Jan. 21

Posted in: Community | Comments (0)

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Publisher @ January 14, 2019

D.A. charges ConFire EMS Chief with embezzlement and possession of controlled substances

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, District Attorney, Fire | Comments (0)

Richard P. Stephenson

Due to the investigation by the Martinez Police Department, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged 50-year-old Martinez resident Richard P. Stephenson with two felonies for embezzlement and two misdemeanor charges of possessing a controlled substance. 

The embezzlement charges relate to Mr. Stephenson stealing controlled substances belonging to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in order to support his personal drug addiction. 

An arrest warrant in the amount of $50,000 was issued on January 9, 2019.  Stephenson was arraigned at the Contra Costa County Superior Courthouse on January 10, 2019, the next court date is February 26th.

The charges filed against Richard Stephenson include:

  • Count 1, Embezzlement by Public or Private Officer – Felony
  • Count 2, Embezzlement by Clerk, Agent or Servant – Felony
  • Count 3, Possession of Fentanyl – Misdemeanor
  • Count 4, Possession of Midazolam – Misdemeanor

Case information: People v. Richard Paul Stephenson, Docket Number 01-188454-3

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Publisher @ January 12, 2019

Man shot and killed in Antioch Saturday afternoon, police seek shooter

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

City’s first homicide of 2019

By Acting Sergeant J. Colley, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 at approximately 1:52 pm, Antioch Police officers responded to the report of several gunshots on Peppertree Way near Sycamore Drive. While officers were responding, it was reported that a subject was down on the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. When officers arrived at the scene, they located one adult male gunshot victim. Officers immediately provided first aid to the victim until AMR paramedics and Contra Costa County Fire arrived. Paramedics transported the victim to a local area trauma center where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

Currently, the case is under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441, or Detective Bledsoe at 925-779-6884. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ January 12, 2019

Two teens die, four more injured in Antioch high-speed car accident Friday night

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, Youth | Comments (1)

Scene of the fatal accident in which the Honda SUV struck a tree Friday night, Jan. 11, 2019. Photo by ConFire

By Sergeant Matthew Harger #3305, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at approximately 9:00 pm, Antioch Police Department Officers were dispatched to Lone Tree Way and Indian Hill Drive regarding a solo vehicle colliding into a tree. Upon arriving on scene Officers located the vehicle on the south sidewalk of Lone Tree Way with extensive damage. Officers found one passenger had been ejected from the vehicle and five other occupants still trapped inside, which required the assistance of the Contra Costa Consolidated Fire Department to extricate them all. (The APD press release stated the accident occurred at 7:00 pm).

Four of the vehicle’s occupants were transported by AMR Ambulance to local trauma centers all suffering moderate to life threatening injuries and two were pronounced deceased at the collision scene.

The driver was a 17-year-old female, and the passengers were two 17-year-old females, one 16-year-old male, and two 13-year-old females.

The preliminary investigation appears to indicate excessive speed on the wet roadway as the most likely cause in this collision at this time.

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

See more from the ABC7 News report on the accident.

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Publisher @ January 12, 2019

BART Police offer new details, boost in reward for 2016 killing of Antioch teen at West Oakland Station

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, BART | Comments (0)

Suspect in the shooting death of an Antioch teen at the West Oakland BART Station on Jan. 9, 2016. Photos by BART.

Suspect believed to have strong ties to Antioch area, goes by first name Matty,  father’s first name believed to be Vic or Victor

The BART Police Department is releasing new information about the killing of 19-year-old Carlos Funez-Romero, who was fatally shot aboard a BART train stopped at the West Oakland Station on January 9, 2016.  The department is also announcing the reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect is being increased from $10,000 to $25,000. (See related KRON4 news report)

Detectives with the BART Police Department have been following up on multiple leads as well as working closely with partner law enforcement agencies to identify and locate the suspect.  Investigators now believe the suspect has strong ties to the Antioch area and goes by the first name of Matty.  Detectives also believe the name of the suspect’s father is Vic or Victor.

“We are encouraged by the recent progress we’ve been able to make and are fully committed to bringing this suspect to justice,” said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas. “Homicides very rarely happen on our system, but when they do we will find those responsible as proven by the arrests made in connection with all three homicides we had last year.” 

The investigation into the killing of Funez-Romero has remained active for three years.  Chief Rojas in June boosted the effort to find the suspect by assigning an investigator to the case full time.  That’s on top of other BPD resources that have been dedicated to solving this case.

The suspect is a black male who is 6’0” to 6’4” tall.  At the time of the murder he had a bald-shaved/or close-cut hair style, slim build, and was wearing a green hooded jacket with beige, construction-style boots.

Before the killing of Mr. Funez-Romero, there had not been a homicide on the BART system since February of 2013.

Anyone with information on this case is strongly urged to immediately call the BART Police Department at 510-464-7040 or the anonymous tip line at 510-464-7011.

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Publisher @ January 11, 2019