Archive for January, 2016

Antioch police SWAT officers assist El Cerrito police in arresting two armed robbery suspects, Saturday morning

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

By Corporal Powell Meads, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On January 30th, 2016 at approximately 11:00 a.m. the El Cerrito Police Department, with the assistance of Antioch Police Department SWAT Officers, served a high risk search warrant in the 2900 block of Larkspur Drive. The search warrant was the culmination of the El Cerrito Police Department’s investigation into two armed robberies that occurred in their city during the month of January. During the service of the search warrant, Antioch SWAT Officers detained five subjects, two of whom were ultimately arrested by El Cerrito Detectives.

Any further information on this incident should be requested through the El Cerrito Police Department.

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Antioch police arrest two for residential burglary, Saturday morning

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
Antioch SWAT team searches for burglary suspects, Saturday morning, January 30th.

Antioch SWAT team searched for burglary suspects, in the Deerspring Way neighborhood, off Vista Grande Drive, Saturday morning, January 30th. photos by Fernando Navarro

Isaiah Robinson, age 19

Isaiah Robinson, age 19

By Corporal Shawn Morin, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On January 30th, 2016 at approximately 10:04 a.m., Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a residential burglary in progress in the 5100 block of Deerspring Way. Responding officers determined a burglary had occurred and the suspects had fled on foot in the area. Additionally, officers learned one of the suspects was possibly armed with a firearm.

Antioch SWAT Officers were in the area on an unrelated detail and responded to assist with a yard to yard search. After an extensive area search, officers located Isaiah Robinson, 19 years old of Antioch, along with a male juvenile suspect. Robinson was booked in the Martinez Detention Facility and the male juvenile was booked in juvenile hall on burglary charges. Officers did not locate a firearm or the third male suspect.

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau.

Burglary 2 Burglary 3

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Watchdog: On the Antioch citizens initiative for downtown park and event center

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Watchdog-LogoIn June, the Antioch City Council unanimously approved a plan for downtown that envisions a balance of housing (2,173 homes) and commercial construction (575,000 sq. ft. of new retail and office space).

Council however had butted heads with some residents who disagreed with the three options Council considered for the vacant lot, formerly known as the Beede Lumber yard, across from the old Antioch Lumber Company building, which now belongs to a realtor.  The city’s proposed options were:   1) housing – 18 units per acre instead of the 37 unit limit originally planned;  2) a combination of residential or commercial and/or a park;  3) turn the area into a park with space for an event center.

Option 3 runs counter to staff’s recommendation to convert Waldie Plaza into a venue for concerts, festivals and other gatherings.  Note: The city’s general plan designation for the “Yard” is “Rivertown/Urban Waterfront”, which encourages the maintenance of sufficient waterfront amenities in the original downtown (aka “Rivertown”) to attract visitor trade.

Council may already be aware, or shortly will learn about an initiative ordinance to turn the Beede Lumber Yard into a town square. (The parcel is located between E Street, West 2nd Street and West 3rd Street)

The  ORDINANCE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF ANTIOCH DESIGNATING THE OLD BEEDE LUMBERYARD SITE AS A TOWN SQUARE was submitted to the City Clerk on January 26th, the intent being that it go to the public for a vote at the next regularly scheduled election, once the necessary signatures are gathered, which would be this November.

As a former member of the Antioch Waterfront Commission, I know there were big plans for that area and I don’t mean high density housing.  Condos were voted down before.

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Antioch residents file papers for ballot initiative for a park and event center in downtown

Saturday, January 30th, 2016
An artist's rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by Second, Third and E Streets.

An artist’s rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by Second, Third and E Streets.

By Allen Payton

This week, Joy Motts, one of the leaders of an effort to turn the old Antioch Lumber Company lot into a park and event center, in downtown, known as “Save The Yard,” filed the necessary papers for an initiative to help make that a possibility.

Entitled “An Ordinance of the People of the City of Antioch Designating the Old Beede Lumberyard Site as a Town Square,” the initiative pre-empts the expected action by the City Council to sell the parcel to a developer who could build up to 18 housing units per acre on the 2.5 acre site, instead of waiting for the vote and filing a referendum.

Last June, a majority of council members, including Mayor Wade Harper, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Council Member Mary Rocha, indicated that they would support allowing the group of Antioch residents to move forward on a possible park and event center on the property, and the council voted 5-0 to give it the designation of mixed-use which would allow for it. It would also allow for retail, commercial and residential uses on the property.

But, then during a closed session on August 25th, the Council voted 4-1, with Ogorchock dissenting, to direct City Manager Steve Duran to negotiate with a developer to sell that parcel and eight others the city owns in downtown. (See article, here).

Created with the help of an attorney, according to Motts, the ordinance, if passed, states the park and event center would include “a large gazebo or similar amenity along the river, or with a view of the river, which…could be the site of summer concerts and other performances.”

Known as “The Rivertown Town Square Ordinance,” it further states that the “general plan designation (of ‘Rivertown/Urban Waterfront’) also encourages recreational uses such as bocce ball and lawn bowling courts; provision for family activities for all ages; and an emphasis on historical recognition.”

Planned for the November, 2016 election, the supporters will need to get signatures of 10% of the registered voters in Antioch, which is about 4,600, according to Motts.

“But we’re hoping to get about 6,000 signatures to make sure we have enough valid ones,”  “We don’t want to come up short. So that’s our goal.”

According to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, “They will have 180 days from the day I approve their petition” to gather the required signatures.

Other proponents of the initiative, according to Motts, are Antioch downtown businessman Jim Lanter and Wayne Harrison, President of Celebrate Antioch Foundation, which has organized the annual Antioch July 4th Celebrations since 2013.

“We have a lot of citizens and business owners from all over the Antioch community on our committee,” Motts shared. “We’re asking people to donate to support the effort.”

For more information on the plans for the park and event center, as well as the initiative effort visit www.savetheyard.com.

Click here to read the ordinance. Final Initiative Ordinance

Following is the complete text of the Notice of Intent to Circulate, prior to submission to the City Clerk:

Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition

Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9202

 Notice is hereby given by the person whose name appears hereon of their intention to circulate the petition within the City of Antioch for the purpose of giving the voters a chance to adopt the attached ordinance to designate the Old Beede Lumberyard Site as a Town Square. A statement of the reasons for the proposed action contemplated in the petition is as follows:

The City of Antioch has embarked on an effort to revitalize its original core downtown-known as Rivertown-through a Rivertown Specific Plan. Prior to this, in a separate action that did not include public input, the city designated several city owned parcels within Rivertown for sale to a developer through an RFP or Request for Proposals process as a way to bring more residents, foot traffic and business to the area. The largest of these parcels is the Old Beede Lumberyard.

This site sits within one block of the founding place of Antioch, is the  focal point entering historic  Rivertown from A Street and Southeast Antioch, and provides unparalleled panoramic views of the Delta. Because of its historic location and proximity to Rivertown businesses, we believe its highest and best use to be as an event center, town square, and multi-use park that will fulfill Antioch’s General Plan request for development of such a venue.

By adopting this ordinance, the City of Antioch will forever provide its citizens with a link to its history, a connection to its Delta environment, the people needed to revitalize Rivertown’s economy, and an unsurpassed location for gathering and celebrations.

NOTE: The proposed ordinance is attached and the $200 refundable fee enclosed as required by Elections Code Section 9202.

Dated:__________                ____________________

                                                          Initiative Proponent

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Southern Café offers a “Taste of the South,” celebrates Grand Opening with ribbon cutting, Friday; now open for lunch and dinner

Saturday, January 30th, 2016
Antioch City Council members, representatives from the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, friends and family joined the owners of the new Southern Cafe in downtown Antioch for their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Friday, January 29th, 2016.

Antioch City Council members, representatives from the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, friends and family joined the owners and staff of the new Southern Cafe in downtown Antioch for their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Friday, January 29th, 2016.

By Allen Payton

Owners of Southern Café restaurant held the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting of their second location, in downtown Antioch, Friday, where the former Bases Loaded was located at 400 G Street.

Offering a Taste of the South, they invited community leaders and friends to sample and rate their food, during a VIP event on Saturday, January 9th, then held a special pre-opening party for friends and family on Saturday, January 16th, and a “soft opening” on Wednesday, January 20th, just serving dinner. They are now open for both lunch and dinner.

“We want to thank you all for being here, tonight and to the Chamber of Commerce. Because we do know without you this would not be possible,” said General Manager Leonard Collins at the VIP event.

The Core Four of Southern Cafe - Leonard Collins, Atallah Hill, and Courtney and Phillip Bell.

The Core Four ownership and management team of Southern Cafe – Leonard Collins, Atallah Hill, and Courtney and Phillip Bell.

He then introduced his partners.

“We’re known as the Core Four,” Collins said. “We really want to make a difference in the community. The finance lady Atallah (Hill). The lady with the high standards, Courtney Bell and the man of the hour Mr. (Phillip) Bell.”

“This has been a nice little journey,” Phillip Bell shared. “We started off I’m going to say in August. We were looking for another place to expand out of our location in Oakland.

I gotta give a shout-out to Jack (Monroe of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce).

This was the very first person when I met when I was peaking in the window. He pulled over and he’s been very helpful.

Their other location is at 2000 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in saying ‘we need something out in Antioch,’” Bell continued. “We didn’t do a lot of things we have on our menu in Oakland.”

Red beans and rice, plus fried chicken and barbeque chicken wings are just some of their menu items.

Red beans and rice, plus fried chicken and barbeque chicken wings are just some of their menu items.

Their food includes southern fried and baked chicken, as well as wings, turkey meatloaf and wings, short ribs, oxtails, beef meatloaf, breaded pork chops, chitterlings, seafood, including catfish, red snapper, prawns and blackened salmon, fried oysters, as well as salads, collard greens, cabbage, macaroni and cheese, red beans, rice, black eyed peas and yams.

Southern Cafe also offers desserts including sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and banana pudding.

During the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, attended by all five council members and representatives of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, a few speeches and expressions of gratitude were offered.

“We were waiting for and we want to thank you for being here,” said Mayor Wade Harper. “The food is excellent. Thank you for being one of the sponsors of the MLK event.”

“To have our entire city council to come out. Thank you for coming out to support the businesses,” said Dr. Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber. “Phillip I’m so impressed with you. Six months ago you started being a part of this community.”

Phillip Bell then introduced the Core Four ownership and management team and offer his appreciation to those who supported their efforts to locate in Antioch.

“I want to thank the city,” Bell said. “From the mayor on down, the council members, Jack (Monroe), Sean. You really welcomed us to Antioch.”

Everyone has been super, super friendly, from the planning staff,” he continued. “Antioch is a business friendly city.”

Servers and Chefs Red and Dee, during the special pre-opening party on Saturday, January 16th.

Servers and Chefs Red and Dee, during the special pre-opening party on Saturday, January 16th.

He then spoke about Collins, who he calls “Petey”.

“I had to coax Petey up here from Southern California,” Bell said “He has been in restaurant management all his life. I want to thank my family. We couldn’t do it without you.”

“We’re all about cooking food and service,” he shared. “It has a rich history in Oakland.”

He spoke of the founder of Southern Café and said “Her daughter, Dee is here.” She is one of the chefs.

“The chefs are responsible for all the good food you’ll be enjoying from now on,” Bell said.

“Also, thank you to Allen Payton for his articles in the Herald,” he added.

Then Collins spoke.

“We took a look at the spot. We took a look around,” he shared. “I’ll probably get a little emotional right now. It’s a dream come true.”

Then he thanked Antioch resident and former downtown business owner, Kym Kelley for welcoming them.

“Kym jumped out of her car and introduced herself,” Collins continued.

“We need to see you at least three times a week,” he told those gathered, with a laugh. “We really do need your support. Facebook. Twitter. We really need everyone to let others know we’re here.”

Southern Café is open Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 1-8 p.m. when they feature an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet and Live Jazz from 5-8 p.m. Call them at 754-1172 for reservations and visit them online at www.southerncafe2000.com.

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Antioch Council votes for possible new restaurant at Humphrey’s, agrees to deal with roosters, hears report of reduction in serious crime

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

By Nick Goodrich

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 26th, the Antioch City Council voted 5-0 to approve a letter of intent to lease the Humphrey’s restaurant location. Taking Humphrey’s place will be an Everett & Jones restaurant, the family owned barbeque place that has been a favorite in Oakland since its founding in 1973.

If the lease is approved by the Council, the former Humphrey’s site in Antioch will become Everett & Jones’ fourth location, with other restaurants in Berkeley and Hayward in addition to the original in Oakland. Dorothy King, daughter of the original founder Dorothy Everett, and Len Turner of Turner Construction Group were on hand to accept the resolution from City Council.

“It is such an honor to even have the opportunity to accept this offer,” said King, who went on to give an account of the original restaurant’s founding and the hardships it entailed.

“We think it’s a diamond in the rough. We think it’s beautiful,” Turner said.

City Manager Steve Duran was excited to announce Antioch’s intent to lease the building to Everett and Jones.

“We wanted someone that was a regional draw, with a background in the restaurant business, and a proven track record of success,” he said.

Mayor Wade Harper stated that Antioch has searched for an anchor location to draw more business and enthusiasm to the downtown area, which many residents have been less than impressed with in recent years. He believes that Everett & Jones is a great fit, and later revealed that he is a huge fan of their acclaimed barbeque sauce.

“I buy it at the store, the hot, medium, and mild, all of it,” he said with a laugh.

While the letter of intent is not an official lease to the restaurant chain, it states that the city intends to do so, and the formal lease will be presented at the next Council meeting on February 9th.

Annual Police Chief Report: Violent Crime Down

Earlier in the meeting, Police Chief Allan Cantando made another appearance before Council to present the Police Statistics for 2015. Cantando noted that from the years 2014 to 2015, Antioch experienced an increase of arrests but a 9.2% decrease in violent crime, a trend that has been observed in Antioch for the past several years.

Cantando attributed the increased effectiveness of the APD to both assistance from nearby law enforcement agencies and a surge in Antioch police staffing, and both he and the City Council commended the continued dedication and hard work of the Antioch police officers in making the city a safer place to live.

He also brought attention to the 33 hires the APD has made since November of last year, a number he was certain that not many other police agencies had been able to meet – due to retirements, terminations, and other factors, the net change in staffing resulted in nine additional sworn officers.

Council Addresses Noisy Rooster Complaints

In 2014, the City of Antioch annexed land from Contra Costa County in a bid to incorporate the industrial park on its northeast border. However, the County mandated that such an annexation would have to include the residential area around Vine Lane, Viera Avenue, Walnut Avenue, and Bown Lane—the same area in which Jaycee Lee Dugard was held captive for 18 years.

Since even before the annexation, residents in the area have been dealing with an over-population of wild roosters and hens, and complaints about the birds have been ongoing for several years. But, the County didn’t resolve the issue.

At the meeting on Tuesday, one resident said that an aggressive rooster that entered his backyard could have seriously hurt his infant grandson. Other residents are complaining about the noise and inconvenience the animals present.

Chief Cantando estimates that upwards of 60 or 70 hens and roosters are currently loose in the area, and stated that if nothing is done, they will continue to multiply.

However, no one in the area has yet taken responsibility for the birds, according to city staff. Police officers’ attempts to contact several of the residents about the situation have been met with varying degrees of frustration and hostility, many have told the police that they would not allow officers onto their properties to trap the birds. And Animal Services can’t help get rid of them, as the birds are non-vicious animals and thus don’t fall under their jurisdiction. So, while the city has allotted more than $7,000 to help trap the birds and clean up the area, the city’s hands are tied until residents cooperate with the Police Department.

“When we’ve had animal issues in the past, the community has come together to solve the problem,” said Council Member Mary Rocha, referring to Antioch’s longstanding feral cat population. “But this doesn’t seem like it’s pulling together.”

Council Member Tony Tiscareno and Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock both volunteered to speak with the homeowners and try to reach a resolution. Harper, noting that many of the area’s residents were against annexation by the City of Antioch in the first place, stated the importance of providing leadership in the community and reaching an understanding that satisfies both the city and the area’s residents.

Follow-Up List of Requested Agenda Items

At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock, the City Council reviewed its “Follow-Up List” of items that council members have requested to be placed on a council meeting agenda in the past, but either have not been agendized yet or have not been fully resolved. City policy requires that once items have been requested, the mayor and city manager have six months to include them on an agenda. Yet, several items have remained on the Follow-Up list for six months or more.

Ogorchock, who requested the inclusion of the list on Tuesday’s agenda, stated “We are listening to citizens, and we’re trying to work on these items.”

Mayor Harper noted that while many Antioch residents feel that their concerns are being ignored, the Follow-Up List includes those concerns and helps the Council and city staff, continue to work toward resolving the issues.

One of the items on the list for more than six months was a request for an ordinance to limit the number of smoke shops in the city, requested last February and another is on the donation bins and illegal dumping, requested last April.

Another item, regarding shopping carts, requested last August is expected to be on one of the Council meeting agendas in February.

Commission Appointments

The Council also voted to appoint three Antioch residents to the Planning Commission and Economic Development Commission. Reappointed to the Planning Commission for a second term was Kerry Motts, a lifelong resident of Antioch and Chairman of the commission at the time his application and new member Sedar Husary. The Council also appointed to the Economic Development Commission Robert Kilbourne, who previously served on the Antioch Police Activities League as a member and founder.

Council weighs in on trade treaty

Toward the end of the meeting, the Council discussed a resolution to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries, including the United States. Harper added the resolution to the agenda, at the request of local unions, stating that the agreement means a loss of jobs in America and could affect Antioch as well.

“I don’t support outsourcing jobs from the community,” he said.

He was joined in his dissent by several steel mill workers and other job-holders in Antioch, who stated that the deal had far-reaching consequences regarding the loss of jobs, from the area.

The Council voted to approve the resolution in a 4-0-1 vote, with Ogorchock abstaining. While she was reluctant to oppose such a resolution, Ogorchock wanted more information on the deal and its meaning for Antioch before proceeding with an affirmative vote. Tiscareno, who worked in the steel business for more than 20 years, felt strongly about the resolution and strongly opposed the TPP trade agreement and voted in favor of the motion.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Historical Society Museum to host Art & Our Delta show in February

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Feb2016DeltaExhibitThe Antioch Historical Society will host Art & Our Delta at the museum, featuring photographs by Larry Kramm, decoy and bird carvings by several artists, and Saturday demonstrations of carving by Jim Burcio.

The art of decoy carving is considered one of the five authentic American art forms, as it originated with the Indians of North American and was then turned into wood carving by the first American settlers. It is an art form that did not exist in Europe.

The show opens Wednesday, February 3rd and Saturday the 6th will be the first big day with Burcio demonstrating wood carving of his shore birds. They hope to have one Saturday (possibly Feb. 20th) with antique decoys for sale.

The museum is located at 1500 West Fourth Street. For more information call (925) 757-1326.

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Man found dead of gunshot wound in Antioch, Thursday afternoon, police investigate as murder

Friday, January 29th, 2016

By Acting Lieutenant Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

At 1:11 p.m., Thursday, January 28, 2016 officers were dispatched to the 1800 block of Periwinkle Way after a resident called 911 and stated she had just arrived home and found another resident of the house dead inside. Officers responded and located the victim, a 33 year old male, inside the residence and dead from a gunshot wound.

Antioch Police Detectives were called to the scene and are actively working the investigation as a homicide. This was Antioch’s first homicide for 2016.

No further information will be released at this time as we are in the early stages of the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Colley with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6922.  You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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