Archive for May, 2011

Buchanan Bypass Faces Challenges

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Buchanan Bypass Faces ChallengesSince the 1990s Antioch and Brentwood commuters have been waiting for a thoroughfare known as the Buchanan Bypass, which would run from the intersection of Somersville Road and James Donlon Boulevard to Kirker Pass in Pittsburg. Better cross it off the wish list.

Although, as previously stated by former Mayor Donald Freitas, James Donlon was expanded at Somersille to include lighting, median divides and turnouts and Discovery Builders, owned by Albert Seeno, III,  built out James Donlon about half a mile west of Somersville as part of agreements for the Black Diamond Estates, the bypass will probably never be built.

Both the Thomas family, which owns the land where the bypass would cut through, and Save Mount Diablo vehemently oppose the project.

As residents know, Antioch and Pittsburg, where Seeno rules the roost, have had our differences in the past and apparently problems are still ongoing.

Recently City Staff recommended that Council authorize amending the capital improvement budget to include the Markley Creek Culvert Crossing Project (a “bridge” to go over the creek which is on Somersille between Buchanan and James Donlon where the former Antioch and Contra Costa landfills were located), pay California Dept. of Fish and Game the $92,880 mitigation fee that Discovery Builders is now refusing to pay and amend the 2010-11 budget to include a transfer in the amount of $1,000,000 from Project Area #1 to the Capital Improvement Capital Projects Fund and in the alternative from the Gas Tax fund if Agency funds are not available.

City Council Member Wade Harper, however, recused himself from the vote regarding possible litigation claiming that since Seeno donated to his campaign he has a conflict of interest. Interesting since he neither owns a home or property within 500 feet of the land in litigation nor, to my knowledge, has any personal financial interest.

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Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
600 gather for Antiochs 2011 Memorial Day ceremonies Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

A crowd of 600 gather at Oak View Memorial Park for Antioch's 2011 Memorial Day ceremonies

“Honor, Respect and Remembrance”

By Allen Payton, Publisher

On a sunny day with a cool breeze, under a cloudy sky, Antioch and East County officials and residents gathered at the

Brynna Finley sings 300x263 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Brynna Finley sings the National Anthem. photo by Karen Reano-Finley

Oak View Memorial Park to honor those who fought and died for our freedom during the annual Memorial Day ceremonies.

Labeled the Antioch Memorial Thunder, official ceremonies began with the roaring arrival of a 100 motorcycle procession of military veterans escorted by Antioch Police from Antioch City Hall.

Officials in attendance were Antioch Mayor Jim Davis, Mayor Pro Tem Wade Harper, Councilman Gary Agopian, Antioch School Board Trustee Walter Ruehlig and Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier.

It included a 45-minute musical tribute by the Temple Hill Choir and ended with a rare, in public, flag retirement ceremony, with the proper disposal of a tattered flag by burning, and a 21-gun salute.

Procession led by bagpiper Bryan Reynolds 225x300 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder
Procession to the 9-11 Monument and Veterans Memorials led by bagpiper Bryan Reynolds and 483rd Army Reserve Transportation Battalion Honor Guard

Led and coordinated by Mayor Davis with the help of members of the local veterans organizations, this year marked the 12th year in a row that residents gathered at Oak View on East 18th Street in Antioch.

“We started with 12 of us standing around the flagpole,” Davis said. “This year we have about 600 [people in attendance].”

The invocation was offered by American Legion Chaplain Michael Geltz followed by bagpiper Bryan Reynolds playing “When the Battle’s O’re.”

The day featured a variety of speaker, with VFW 6435 Post Commander Henri Veilieux focusing on recent events.

“It took us 10 years to get Bin Laden,” Veilieux stated. “But we got him” to the cheers of the audience, dressed in patriotic attire.

The next speaker was the most inspirational, former Navy man Chuck Kohler, a Pearl

Harbor survivor. He gave “honor, respect and remembrance to all those through the years who have sacrificed for our freedom and liberties.”

He quoted the book of John, chapter 14 verse 13 from the Bible, “Greater love hath

Pearl Harbor survivor Chuck Kohler 225x300 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Pearl Harbor survivor Chuck Kohler

no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Kohler spoke of the “most drastic event in the history of the U.S. Navy,” the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“It is my privilege to pay honor and respect to the 2,405 individuals who because of that event were not able to be with us for over 69 years past,” he stated. “And another 80,000 who survived that event but have since passed on.”

He spoke of the 1,177 sailor that went down with the U.S.S. Arizona and encouraged the audience, when in Honolulu, to visit the memorial, there.

“If you listen not with your ears, but with your heart, you will hear the voices of all who are still entombed in that ship at the bottom of the harbor as they speak in one voice ‘remember us, remember us.’”

The next speake was Lt. Colonel McLaughlin of the U.S. Army Reserve 483rd Transportation Battalion, which Antioch has adopted as its own. He thanked those who served and are currently serving in the military.

Honor Wall replicas are unveiled 300x225 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Honor Wall replicas are unveiled

Another speaker was Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran Maurice Dellmer, a representative from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s office. He spoke of his experiences with PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder and the help he received from the VA in his transition back to civilian life.

The Wall of Honor, replicas of the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials in Washington, D.C. wereuncovered by veterans Terry Andreasen, Duane Colvin and Dick Lamb, followed by the beautifully sung “America the Beautiful” by 13-year-old Brynna Autumn Finley, of Vallejo, who opened the ceremony with the National Anthem. She is the niece of Antioch residents Joe and Lesli Reano.

Mayor Davis was then joined by Major Eldon Strand and the Honor

Laying of the wreath and rose 225x300 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Laying of the wreath and rose

Guard of the Army Reserve 483rd Transportation Battalion, in the placing of a rose on the 9-11 Monument and laying a wreath on the Veterans Memorial at the park. The procession was led by bagpiper Reynolds playing “Amazing Grace.”

That was followed by the dove release, then the retirement of the flag that covered a casket of a World War II veteran. The flag had flown in his family’s yard for years, but had become tattered and U.S. Code requires the proper treatment and respect of our flag, and that includes disposal by burning. The crowd stood and gave the Pledge of Allegiance to the old flag, then quietly watched as members of Boy Scouts Pack 251 led the solemn ceremony.

Two buglers concluded the ceremonies with the playing of Taps.

Boy Scouts retire a tattered flag 300x225 Antioch Celebrates Memorial Day with Thunder

Boy Scouts retire a tattered flag

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Memorial Day Service in Antioch, Today

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Memorial Day Flagged Crosses 1024x682 Memorial Day Service in Antioch, Today

By Ben Franske

By Mayor Jim Davis

Publisher’s Note: Apologies for the late posting but, we just received this information, this morning and the time of the event, late last night.

Remembering those who have died to provide Americans freedom is what Memorial Day is all about. In Antioch, the observances set for Monday May 30, 2011 are about providing a way for grateful residents to say thank you.

There are a lot of people who are looking for a way to say thanks; this is one way you can do it.

Now over a dozen years old and still growing, the name of this year’s observance is appropriately dubbed Antioch Memorial Thunder. It will begin with the arrival of one hundred plus riders from patriotic motorcycle groups. The ceremony will feature many local musicians, speakers, a 21-gun salute, a dove release and other traditional activities.

We’d like to invite all the public to join us in paying tribute to those who fought for our liberty and are no longer here.

In addition to VFW Post 6435, participating sponsors of this year’s event include the City of Antioch, Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery, and the Army’ Reserve 483rd Transportation Battalion, American Legion Post 161, the Boy and Cub Scouts of America, and the Patriot Sentinel Riders.

Memorial Day Tribute begins at 10am, with a 45 minute performance by the Temple Hill Choir, made up of members from as far away as Gilroy to Santa Rosa.

Followed by the traditional Memorial Day Ceremony:

Place: Oak View Cemetery  East 18th Antioch

Arrival of the 100 + Motorcycle Procession from Antioch City Hall escorted by Antioch PD

Flag Salute

Guest Speakers

Musical Numbers

21 Gun Salute

Dove release and more…

Followed by the BSA -flag retirement ceremony.

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Mamaluke Plays Bases Loaded Tonight!

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

MamaLuke at Bases Loaded 1024x768 Mamaluke Plays Bases Loaded Tonight!

Mamaluke, led by singer Ron Nodder, plays Bases Loaded Friday, May 27 and again tonight, Saturday, May 28

Led by the versatile singing of Ron Nodder, Mamaluke will once again perform their variety of cover songs at Bases Loaded, in downtown, historic Rivertown, tonight, Saturday, May 28 starting at 9:00 p.m.  For more information visit www.BasesLoadedRestaurant.com Enjoy dinner before the band starts and watch the A’s game, on the 35 TV screens, too!

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Looks Like Another Silent 4th of July in Antioch

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Update:
Late breaking news! I just saw Mayor Jim Davis at the Memorial Day event and he said it’s on, no questions, for the 4th of July parade – he told the Chief of Police we really need to do this. Starting time is 10 a.m. on July 4 at 2nd and E streets in downtown Antioch. Parade participants can call me for event info (925) 756-7628 or e-mail me at walter.ruehlig@gmail.com. I will also put together an application for on-line posting.

———-
Aunt Millie, what next? Will they take Christmas away? I guess I just have to buck up, though, and realize times they are-a-changing. For a second straight year it looks like no Fourth of July celebration in historic Antioch.

Not to diminish the laudable efforts of Martha Parsons and Sue Davis, who gallantly rode to the rescue last year to salvage a march around Somersville Town Center. Nevertheless, we all know that parading around a mall can’t light a Roman candle to pirouetting around the Delta.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for the likes of marching bands, Clydesdale horses, classic cars, dance troupes, Filipino folk dresses, Iowa Jima reeanactment floats and assorted clowns, real and perceived. Heck, what’s not to like about a red, white and blue birthday bash for 320 million folks? What inner child can’t yelp with delight at family barbecues, rockets red glare and lusty bars of Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, the Fourth of July and the word celebration go hand in hand. Now some might argue, why celebrate in these hard times. I say, exactly, hard times are on us. Why wallow in the misery? Now’s precisely the time to, yes, prudently, and without touching the city coffers, have a little glee and remember our blessings.

So said, I’m trying to put together a streamlined parade with private backing. Understood, all the bells and whistles are out of the question as the whole extravaganza can run Antioch $90,000. Aerial pyrotechnics alone cost $1,000 a minute. Auto show, music stages, food booths and police coverage at double time and half can run up the tab.

I’ve been soberly putting out feelers for several weeks. I’d be willing to put together a morning parade to minimize crowd control issues. There would be no frills and a shortened route a la the Veterans Day affair. I’ve even had private security firms offer donated help and we’ve had portable restrooms generously donated in the past.

Challenge is, it’s, admittedly, late in the game that I discovered there was nothing planned this year. It is not my style to be unreasonable, to scramble, or to ask others to. I wholeheartedly commend our city staff for working so short-handed. I applaud our men and women in blue for the stellar job they are doing under the stress of acute under staffing and fully understand the police concern that even with private security they will be the ones who could get called into action.

I’m still hoping, though, that some compromise can be worked out for this year from city discussions in progress. If it can’t, then let our representatives know your interest in Fourth celebrations and maybe with longer planning we can get something cooking next year. Antioch is a patriotic town and has always boasted a certified blue ribbon Independence Day parade.

Daniel Webster would have smiled upon our past efforts as he said, “May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely than this our country.”

Walter Ruehlig

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Residential Burglary Arrests

Friday, May 27th, 2011

On May 26 just before 5:30 p.m., police received a call reporting that two people were seen climbing over the back fence of a home in the 3300 block of Camby Road.

Officers found Dominic Flowers, 18, and a 14-year-old male, both of Antioch, inside the residence. Flowers fled out of the back of the home and onto a trail to the rear. Officers were able to contain him in one of the nearby backyards, and he was eventually flushed out by police dog Thor

Flowers was taken into custody by officers on the perimeter, and the juvenile was taken into custody inside of the home without incident.

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Highway 4 Night Closures on June 1, 2 and 3

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) are widening Highway 4 through Pittsburg and Antioch.

As part of this construction work, the contractor for the Loveridge Road project will close all lanes on westbound Highway 4 between Somersville Road and Loveridge Road on Wednesday and Thursday nights, June 1 and 2 from 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. and on Friday night, June 3 from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. This work is to ensure public and crew safety while crews work to open the new traffic lanes between Century Boulevard and Somersville Road.

The detour for this closure will be as follows: motorists will be directed off the highway at Somersville Road/Auto Center Drive, left on Somersville Road, continue on to Auto Center Drive, left on Tenth Street, left on Loveridge Road, right on California Avenue, and left on westbound Highway 4. Work may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather.

As part of this construction work the on ramp to westbound Highway 4 from Somersville Road will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday nights, June 1 and 2 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on Friday night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The detour for this closure will be as follows: motorists will either drive south on Somersville Road, right on Delta Fair Boulevard, continue on to Leland Road, right on Loveridge Road, left on California Avenue, and left on west bound SR-4 or they will drive north on Somersville Road, continue on to Auto Center Drive, left on Tenth Street, left on Loveridge Road, right on California Avenue, and left on west bound SR-4.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and allow extra time for their commute. Please drive cautiously through the detours and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Caltrans and CCTA appreciate your patience as we work to improve the highways.

For the most current information on all SR-4 corridor closures please visit http://widensr4.org.

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BART Wastes Our Money

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Dear Editor:

Some one is lying.

There was an interesting article in a newspaper recently about BART wanting to put a tax on us for new cars. Why weren’t they factored into Capital Improvements?

Every meeting I have attended, BART Board Member Joel Keller has said the 40-plus years the people of Antioch and East County have paid into BART has gone into running the system, not building the system out to us. Now they say they need new cars so they want to tax us AGAIN. Who is lying to us?

It is more likely all the money we have paid into BART has gone for ridiculous wages, pensions and Board Member perks. I say no more money until they stop lying and throwing e-BART at us. We want to see the books, and they need to show us where our money has gone.

Martin Fernandez

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