Archive for December, 2015

Enjoy New Year’s Day brunch at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center, Friday

Monday, December 28th, 2015

New Years Brunch 2016

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Man shot multiple times in Antioch on Christmas expected to survive, police search for suspects

Monday, December 28th, 2015

By Corporal J. McMurry, #2384, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Friday, December 25, 2015 at 5:28 PM, Antioch Police Officers responded to the 900 block of J Street after 911 calls were received of shots fired. A 26-year-old male was located at the scene suffering from gunshot wounds. The male was transported to an area hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening injuries, and he is expected to survive.

We are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects involved. There are no other updates on the condition of the victim at this time. The public is encouraged to call with any

information, no matter how minor, that could be related to this case. The public is asked to call Detective Colley at (925) 779-6922. They may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word Antioch in the body of the text.

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The Church @ Antioch to celebrate one year anniversary by gifting car to deserving mother on Sunday

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The One Church@Antioch

Following its distribution of over 500 Christmas Gifts to local children and youth – The Church @ Antioch continues season of sharing with car giveaway.

With a commitment to impact the city, The Church at Antioch will celebrate their first anniversary with a vehicle giveaway Sunday, January 3, 2016.

One deserving mother will be selected from a pool of nominations that began pouring in over the fall. The drawing will take place following the 10 a.m. worship service, held at the Black Diamond Middle School Theater, 4730 Sterling Hill Drive in Antioch.

“I am thoroughly convinced that we are supposed to be in Antioch and by virtue of the fact that our Church name contains the name of the city, says Rev. Christopher Williams, Pastor and Founder. We can’t be satisfied with just being a church – we are here to be the Church, and the Church should make an impact on the City. We’re grateful to work alongside others throughout the city to make lasting impact on the lives of those that call Antioch home.”

The Anniversary Celebration will also include recording artist, Leon Timbo.

Since their January 2015 ministry launch, The Church at Antioch has made community service and engagement an integral part of its purpose. With an engaging combination of ministry and technology – the rapidly expanding congregation draws the diversity of its community.

For more information about The Church At Antioch, stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at and


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Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Harvey and the Wallbangers Band at Tailgaters in Antioch

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

TG NYE 2016 flyer

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Antioch School Board interviews superintendent search consultants, hears more teacher complaints, Gibson-Gray new President

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

By Allen Payton

At their regular meeting on Wednesday night, December 9, 2015, the Antioch School Board interviewed the representatives of three search firms, vying for the contract to help the district hire a new superintendent, to replace Dr. Don Gill.

After being sworn in at an earlier, special session, new trustee Fernando Navarro took his seat on the dais. In addition, the trustees voted in Diane Gibson-Gray as President and Walter Ruehlig, the highest vote-getter in last year’s election, as Vice President, for the coming year. They will begin serving in their new roles at their next meeting, in January.

Superintendent Search Firm Interviews

The board members challenged the representatives of the three search firms with questions such as how they plan to engage the community and about a money-back guarantee.

The three groups included Educational Leadership, Leadership Associates and Ray & Associates, Inc.

In response to a question by Gibson-Gray, Jim Brown of Leadership Associates and who is a former superintendent, as are his partners Sally Frazier and Rich Fischer, said their money-back guarantee applied even if the board goes with someone they don’t recommend.

“We want the candidate to interview us,” Gibson-Gray stated.

“We do too,” Brown replied. “We suggest two rounds in the interview process.”

Trustee Debra Vinson wanted to know how the search firms plan to engage the community.

Each group committed to reaching out to as many people in the community as possible.

They spoke of online surveys for the public to provide input, using the district’s website.

“There’s different steps in the process,” Brown responded. “Up front it’s very important to reach out as widely as we can and we’ll need your help to identify individuals.”

“Everybody’s perspective is important,” he added.

Dr. Carmella Franco, a former superintendent and Lead Consultant for Ray & Associates, Inc., spoke of public and employee meetings for input and a “full report with every single word taken down.”

Her colleague Noel Gallo, who served on the Oakland Board of Education for 20 years, shared his experience as a selling point.

“I know all about California and the Ed Code,” he said. “And I know Antioch. We work for the board. We work for you.”

Ruehlig asked about the current field of potential applicants.

“We don’t get the numbers we did 40 years ago or 30 years ago,” Brown replied. “Now we deal with the spouse because you’re not just hiring one, but two. We’re optimistic about the candidate pool. “We’re hoping to get 12 to 25 applicants.”

“We have a website people are checking throughout the state,” Frazier added.

Franco responded to the same question when it was her group’s turn.

“In a recent search in California, we had 54 applicants, which is unheard of,” she stated. “Some from California, some who have worked in California and want to move back. There usually is a connection to California.”

Franco said they do “deep reference checking.”

Ruehlig then asked about diversity, which Gallo had mentioned.

Franco stated they get “candidates from all backgrounds. Some bilingual, if that’s desired.”

“We want to see the superintendent be successful and for you to have a good relationship with the superintendent,” she added.

Gibson-Gray asked Franco about the money-back guarantee, as well, asking if the superintendent left within the a year would they do the search for free.

“We have the same money-back guarantee,” Franco stated. Then said they have had “less than five” superintendents that have done so.

“We have a very successful record,” she added.

Gibson-Gray then suggested the board members “mull over” their selection “individually, then come back January 20th” at the next board meeting to take a vote.

Vinson and Ruehlig agreed. Navarro did, as well.

“Of course, I’m on board,” he said.

Public Comments, More Teacher Complaints

Resident and regular board meeting attendee, Julie Young spoke about the new federal education bill, that recently passed Congress.

“We are going to still be teaching to the test,” she stated. “It requires state that they have adopted standards that comply with 11 federal requirements. We are stuck in this Common Core that is being run by a bunch of corporations and not in the interest of the children.”

She mentioned the “21st century initiatives making schools the sweeping influence in a child’s life.”

Deer Valley High teacher Joan Setka complained about class sizes.

“My largest class size is 37,” she stated. “But I have colleagues that have up to 44. This is more child care than teaching.”

Kenneth Kent, who teaches fifth grade at Kimball Elementary, spoke about special education.

“We have a history of placing students in special ed,” he said, then shared two concerns, including the hiring and support of special education staff.

“One left after less than a month,” Kent shared. “One who’s only there until 10 AM and another only going to be there one hour a day.”

He said the qualifying process is “laborious. It has to be streamlined.”

“We have a larger population of students who have needs,” Kent continued. “Let’s stop ignoring them.”

Deer Valley High teacher Scott Benedict shared his concerns about the teachers’ contract with the district.

“This contract we’re negotiating is not just about current teachers,” he said. “This district always seems fit to do the negotiating in the contract year. We’re doing it backwards.”

“You’re going to be faced with a huge deficit of teachers this next year, due to fewer coming out of schools,” Benedict stated.

Antioch Middle School teacher Trish Campbell complained about the lack of heat in her classroom.

“I dress in multiple layers to teach in my classroom,” she stated. “The heat wasn’t going to be turned on until the calendar said so, instead of the weather. It’s set at 61 degrees.”

“When we hit a heat wave, the air conditioning goes off and we have no windows open,” Campbell continued. “We should be able to control it in the classroom and make them [the students] comfortable.”

Pamela Fisher, a kindergarten teacher at Carmen Dragon Elementary also shared concerns about class sizes.

“Our students deserve to learn in a smaller class,” she stated. “Districts are being funded to be 24 to 1. But our district is only willing to lower to 27 to 1 at the elementary level. You’re telling us you don’t care.”

Fisher spoke of the need for “better relationships to address student needs and disciplines.”

“Now all I do is trying to keep them under control,” she added.

Robert Strickler, President of the Antioch Education Assocation (AEA), the local teachers’ union, congratulated Navarro, then directed his thoughts to Interim Superintendent Stephanie Anello, saying “If I was in charge of the search, it would be over.”

“We’re here to present Christmas cards from teachers,” Strickler said, then spoke of class sizes, especially in special education being over the legally maximum size.

“Eight teachers have filed grievances,” he stated. “Several aren’t returning next year.”

He also mentioned that there are “no computer education classes in elementary and middle schools.”

Sharon Weaver, a teacher at Turner Elementary, asked that the district would “please send your team, tomorrow,” then stated that the “special ed staff shortage is real and must be addressed to retain current employees.”

“Our students with disabilities deserve the best and that will never happen with a string of subs,” she added.

Antioch Middle School teacher Deb Hubbard offered her thoughts on the teachers’ contract discussions with the district.

“Let’s settle the contract early, instead of May,” she said. “It would be great for me and my colleagues to feel valued.”

“Pittsburg is in settlement,” Hubbard continued. “They just got a 7% raise, total. Almost 20% in two years.”

“Let’s get decent pay and let’s get this contract settled,” she added.

Antioch High French teacher Sara Svacool, Political Chair of Antioch Education Association, continued her efforts on the issue of substitute teachers, that she spoke about at length, at the previous board meeting, saying they’ve “got the ball rolling.”

“Thank you for passing on my message with regards to substitutes,” she told the board.

Synitha Walker shared her concerns about challenges with college application of high school students in the district.

“Transcripts of our students are incorrect,” she stated. “They’re not updating their GPA when classes affecting the college application process.”

“They need to be aware they need to send their transcripts from the colleges where they’ve taken classes,” Board President Claire Smith responded.

“They’re doing that,” Walker replied.

Board Actions

The board chose not to vote to endorse the proposed “Funding Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016” after Julie Young questioned the need for it.

“Do we need to have more taxes in Antioch?” she asked. “I’m certainly done.”

In a vote that should help alleviate the concerns of not enough teachers, the board voted 4-0-1, with Navarro abstaining, to approve a Provisional Intern Permit. That allowed the hiring of someone obtaining their credential by next May, for one classroom at Jack London Elementary, to replace a teacher who left.

“I don’t want to just rubber stamp the vote,” Navarro stated as his reason for abstaining.

Smith said she had told him it would be acceptable to not vote on issues that night, as he just took his seat on the board, earlier that afternoon.

“But, next meeting, he needs to be ready,” she added with a smile.

The Antioch Unified School District Board of Education meets twice a month, usually the second and fourth Wednesdays, at 7:00 p.m. at the School Services Building, 510 G Street, Antioch. For more information visit

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Nominations open for 2016 Contra Costa County and Student Humanitarians of the Year

Friday, December 25th, 2015

County to honor residents who embody the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do you know someone whose work and presence in the community exemplifies the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Time is running short to submit your candidates for consideration as the Contra Costa County Humanitarian and Student Humanitarian of the Year.  County residents are encouraged to submit online nominations of community leaders no later than Thursday, December 31.  Student nominations can be accepted through Tuesday, January 5.

Each January, the Board of Supervisors recognizes a community member as well as a student leader whose dedication to others embodies the essence and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those selected as winners will be presented with their awards during the County’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ceremony on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.  The public is invited to the ceremony and commemoration, which takes place in the Board of Supervisors Chamber at 651 Pine Street in Martinez.  The event begins at 11:00 a.m., followed by a complimentary buffet lunch.

The 2015 Humanitarian of the Year was Bishop Edwina Perez-Santiago, whose work transitioning previously incarcerated women back into their communities has influenced countless lives.  Among her signature efforts was the opening last year of Naomi’s House, a first-of-its-kind transitional home in North Richmond for formerly incarcerated women and their young children.

Heritage High School alum Tyler Page took honors as the Student Humanitarian of the Year for 2015.  Page, now in college, has spent much of his young life raising money and awareness for kids less fortunate them himself, whether in his own community or to combat human trafficking in Ghana.

For more information, a look back at previous celebration videos or to submit a nomination, visit the County’s website at

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Merry Christmas from the Antioch Herald

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Antioch Herald

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The true meaning of Christmas…

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

From the Bible in the book of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 1-14, New International Version

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