Archive for February, 2016

Highway 160/4 direct connector ramps in Antioch and Oakley completed, now open

Monday, February 29th, 2016
Officials celebrate after cutting the ribbon on the new Highway 4/160 northbound ramp on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.

Officials celebrate after cutting the ribbon on the new Highway 4/160 northbound ramp on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. photo by Allen Payton

Officials highlight improved regional mobility, waterfront access and congestion relief with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Monday

Antioch/Oakley, CA—The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)/Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), joined by state, regional, and local officials, marked the completion of work on the much-needed $50 million connection between State Route 160, the Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge (Antioch Bridge), and Highway 4 with a brief ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning, February 29th.

“It will reduce greenhouse gases and congestion on local roads,” said CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki.

The new ramps – one connecting westbound Highway 4 to northbound State Route 160, and one connecting southbound State Route 160 to eastbound Highway 4 – opened Monday afternoon and eliminate the U-turn that was previously required at Hillcrest Avenue, reduce through traffic and congestion on Oakley’s city streets, and improve access for Eastern Contra Costa County.

The new Highway 4/160 interchange ramps opened on Monday, Feb. 29 following a ribbon cutting ceremony. photo courtesy of CCTA

The new Highway 4/160 interchange ramps opened on Monday, Feb. 29 following a ribbon cutting ceremony. photo courtesy of CCTA

The completed State Route 160/Highway 4 Direct Connector Ramps add an additional 12-foot auxiliary lane to State Route 160 in both directions between the State Route 160/Highway 4 Interchange and the East 18th/Main Street Interchange. The new structure crosses the median of Highway 4 at a height that can accommodate a future BART extension.

“This makes the northern waterfront more viable for economic growth,” said Assemblyman Jim Frazier, who was part of the CCTA Board and an Oakley Councilman when the funding for the project was approved.

The project features sound wall extensions and new retaining walls in addition to the 2.62 new lane miles under construction, and was funded entirely by $50 million in Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) Bridge Toll Funds.

“MTC/BATA is proud to support these important improvements, which enhance safety and mobility for the residents and motorists of Eastern Contra Costa County,” said Federal Glover, MTC/BATA Commissioner and Contra Costa County Supervisor.

The addition of the interchange connectors is part of a massive $1.3 billion undertaking by CCTA and project partners to widen the Highway 4 corridor between Pittsburg and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and extend BART to Antioch.

“This latest segment of the Highway 4 improvement projects is furthering our efforts to improve regional mobility, revitalize the local economy, and improve the quality of life for 250,000 residents in East County,” Iwasaki added. “These projects are possible in large part due to the passage of a local half-cent sales tax by Contra Costa voters in 2004.”

Iwasaki of the CCTA signs a ceremonial check for the leftover funds totaling $1 million, as Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bijan Sartipi, Region IV Director for CalTrans look on.

Randell Iwasaki, Executive Director of the CCTA signs a ceremonial check for the project’s leftover funds totaling $1 million, as Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bijan Sartipi, Region IV Director for CalTrans look on. photo by Allen Payton

The Highway 4 projects include improvements that will help modernize eastern Contra Costa County. The projects expand Highway 4 from four to eight lanes between Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to just west of State Route 160 in Antioch, from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, add missing connector ramps at the State Route 160/Highway 4 interchange, and add a BART extension from Pittsburg to Antioch. This will greatly improve transit accessibility for the region, help reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the quality of life for the more than 250,000 residents of eastern Contra Costa County. The projects have been carefully staged to keep 130,000 vehicles per day moving as major construction and demolition work continue. These projects, plus previously constructed projects in the region, bring the total investment in East County to $1.3 billion, including State, Federal, Contra Costa Transportation Authority Measures C and J, regional bridge tolls, and other funds.

For additional information about Highway 4 Corridor Improvements/BART, please visit www.4eastcounty.org

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Child injured in major car accident in Antioch, Sunday

Monday, February 29th, 2016

By Corporal Shawn Morin, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Sunday, February 28, 2016 at approximately 1:54 PM, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a vehicle collision with injuries at Alumrock Drive and Rockford Drive. Upon our arrival, we located a black Lexus vehicle that had lost control while making a turn on to Alumrock Drive. The Lexus collided with a parked SUV as the occupants of the SUV were getting out of the parked vehicle.

During the collision, a 10-year-old child was struck by one of the cars. The child was treated by medical personnel on scene and subsequently transported to an area hospital for injuries sustained in the collision.

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

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Highway 4 construction related lane closures, Feb. 29-March 4

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

HIGHWAY LANE CLOSURES:

State Route 4:

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Railroad Avenue and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between State Route 160 to A Street on Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am and on Friday from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Contra Loma on Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 12:00 pm.

For questions or comments please send e-mail to info@4eastcounty.org.

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Tall Ships add new value-priced evening excursions to Antioch, Bay Area schedule, starting Thursday

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

two ships landingThe pair of tall ships scheduled to visit the San Francisco Bay Area later this month have added six mid-week sailing excursions to accommodate guests who cannot sail on the weekends. Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, both U.S. Coast Guard inspected passenger vessels, arrive in Oakland February 20 for a 52-day stay, which includes stops in Antioch, Redwood City, and Sausalito. Most public excursions happen on the weekends, but many of the ships’ fans work on the weekends or have family obligations. The ships have added the following mid-week Evening Sails as another option for these guests. Here’s the Evening Sail schedule:

Antioch (City Marina): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 3.

Antioch (City Marina): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 9.

Redwood City (Port of Redwood City): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 16.

Redwood City (Port of Redwood City): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 23.

Sausalito (Bay Model): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 31.

Sausalito (Bay Model): 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 6.

The tall ship Evening Sails are value-priced at $35 per person. The two-hour excursions feature a chance for guests to help raise a sail, learn a sea shanty, and take the helm of a real tall ship, conditions permitting. Tickets are available immediately at www.historicalseaport.org or by calling 800-200-5239.

The ships have also scheduled two-ship cannon battles and single-ship sailing excursions from these ports:

Oakland: February 20-29.

Antioch: March 2-9.

Redwood City: March 12-23.

Sausalito: March 25 to April 11.

Purchase all tickets online at www.historicalseaport.org or by calling 800-200-5239. No reservations are required for the walk-on tours, which are usually scheduled for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For a detailed schedule of tours and sailings, visit www.historicalseaport.org.

Editors: Download high-res images and b-roll of our ships at http://historicalseaport.smugmug.com. Click the “Media Images” category and select a gallery. Information is subject to change without notice. We welcome media aboard to observe operations and interview crew. Contact (media only) Joe Follansbee, 360-589-0766, jfollansbee@historicalseaport.org. Facebook: facebook.com/GHHSA; Pinterest: pinterest.com/ghhsa_wa.

Grays Harbor Historical Seaport is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) public development authority based in Aberdeen, Wash. that owns and operates the tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington, the Official Ship of the State of Washington. GHHSA provides educational, vocational, recreational and ambassadorial activities and experiences that promote and preserve the maritime history of Grays Harbor, the Pacific Northwest, and our nation while serving the needs of the community.

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Pearls of Perfection celebrates accomplishments of girls in Antioch and the Bay Area

Saturday, February 27th, 2016
Pearls of Perfection Cotillion dance was held on January 9, 2016 at the San Ramon Marriott. photo courtesy of Jovanka Beckles

Pearls of Perfection Cotillion dance was held on January 9, 2016 at the San Ramon Marriott. photo courtesy of Jovanka Beckles from her Facebook page.

By Nick Goodrich

The Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta started 2016 off right. On January 9th, their Pearls of Perfection program held its annual Cotillion Ball, in recognition and celebration of the eleven young ladies that successfully completed the 9-month process.

These young women began their journey in early 2015, when they were officially inducted into the program as Debutantes. Nearly a year of hard work and dedication culminated in the black-tie Cotillion Ball, held at the San Ramon Marriott Hotel in San Ramon.

Pearls of Perfection is a comprehensive program that has produced well-rounded graduates since it’s inception. Girls become eligible for Pearls of Perfection after 11th grade, but may participate as a Lady-in-Waiting for a year before beginning the main program. Once they are accepted as Debutantes, the young ladies attend a series of events and workshops over the next year, focusing on personal growth and education as they prepare for the next step after high school.

Pearls of Perfection’s goal is to provide young women with the resources and ability to succeed in the future, and become active contributors in their community. That means that academic excellence is emphasized, along with etiquette programs, promotion of self-awareness and self-esteem, and other skills that participants can rely on for the rest of their lives. Community service is just one other aspect of the Pearls program, allowing the women the chance to participate in service projects to instill the importance of giving back to the community. The participants even plan out and execute a project to gain leadership and real-world experience, reminiscent of the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout projects. The current graduates of the program held a fashion show for their project, which sported a dual-theme of “college” and “TV shows”. The ladies began by presenting the colleges they planned to attend, and transitioned to the lighter theme of popular TV shows later in the evening.

But the program’s main focus, and one of the reasons it is valued so highly, is its emphasis on college preparedness. Delta Sigma Theta places a high value on education before, during, and beyond high school, and that is reflected in how Pearls of Perfection is constructed. Ladies undergoing the program participate in a series of college preparedness workshops, including resume-building, scholarship and financial aid seminars, and segments that emphasize awareness of and readiness for the college application process. By the time the annual Cotillion Ball rolls around, these women are focused and prepared for the excitement and challenges that college will bring.

Brenda Captain-Edwards heard about the program in 2015, and it was not long before her daughter Brandi had expressed interest and was enrolled as a Lady-in-Waiting. That part of the program lasts a year, and is available to girls who have not reached the age requirement to become a Debutante, but are eager to get involved. It allows them to experience a healthy dose of Pearls of Perfection before starting as a Debutante, and to get a grasp of what the program is like and what they will be learning.

“Most of the participants started when they were seniors, and went right into the Debutante program,” said Captain-Edwards. “But there were a few others like Brandi that were 11th graders, and were preparing to go into the Debutantes. They’re similar but they do some things differently, like the Mock Trial, which was wonderful. Parents were able to come in and be the jury, so it was really fun.”

Parental involvement is a big part of the Pearls program, and they are able to participate in many of the program’s workshops and events. Mrs. Captain-Edwards found the financial aid and scholarship segment to be particularly helpful, as the college financial aid process can be confusing. But she and her daughter Brandi feel well-versed in the system. Confidence going into the college application process affords families the freedom to thoroughly explore every option and find the best fit for each participant.

As for Brandi, she has gotten a taste for the program after participating as a Lady-in-Waiting, and she is looking forward to the next step.

“Before I got into the program, I kind of thought I would be around snotty people, because you hear the word Debutante,” she laughed. “But once you get to know the girls, they’re the same as yourself. You start hanging out with them more, and it’s just a really good program.”

Brandi, a student at Deer Valley High School, completed the Ladies-in-Waiting program earlier this year, and is set to begin as a Debutante in March. As a junior in high school, she is already a great deal ahead of many of her classmates, who have not had the benefit of preparing for college as thoroughly or early on as Pearls of Perfection participants are able to.

Overall, Pearls of Perfection continues to produce graduates that are prepared to succeed at every stage of their lives. The program recognizes that college is an important part of the foundation that these women will build to rely on in the future, and Brenda and Brandi feel prepared to meet the challenge that it presents. “Since she’s been in the program, what I’ve seen is growth in leadership, etiquette skills, and an overall career awareness, which includes her academics now, and how she’s planning on mapping out her college experience,” said Brenda of her daughter.

“Polished, poised, and prepared” is the mantra of Pearls of Perfection, and they continue to guide young women in meeting these standards to the highest degree. More information on the Pearls of Perfection Program can be found at www.ccacdst.org/debutante.

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Deer Valley High teacher, Maria McClain named semi-finalist for 2016 California Teacher of the Year

Friday, February 26th, 2016
Maria McClain, math teacher, Deer Valley High School, Antioch Unified School District

Maria McClain, math teacher, Deer Valley High School, Antioch Unified School District

By Allen Payton

Deer Valley High math teacher, Maria McClain was recently named one of the eight semi-finalists for 2016 California’s Teacher of the Year. Each year thousands of teachers throughout the State are nominated by their Districts. Finalists from each County are then nominated for the State award.

was recognized for her contribution to the teaching profession at a gala held last week in Sacramento. She is the only teacher from Contra Costa County to be either a semi-finalist or finalist for 2016.

McClain is in her 29th year of teaching grades 10–12 for the Antioch Unified School District. For the past 20 years, McClain has been at Deer Valley High School (Antioch). McClain has taught high school pre-calculus, AP Calculus, AP statistics, and algebra, as well as junior high school mathematics and algebra.

Last year, she was chosen as one of two 2015–2016 Teachers of the Year for Contra Costa County.

McClain obtained her undergraduate college units at Diablo Valley College, followed by earning her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and teaching credentials at California State University, Sacramento.

“Congratulations Ms. McClain and Deer Valley High School — you continue the tradition of great teaching in the Antioch Unified School District,” reads the statement on the AUSD Facebook page.

For more information on the California Teachers of the Year, visit www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr15/yr15rel79.asp.

 

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In race for Supervisor, Wilson endorsed by Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma

Friday, February 26th, 2016
Fiona Ma

Fiona Ma

Antioch City Councilmember Monica Wilson announced on Wednesday she has earned the backing of Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, in her supervisorial campaign.

According to a news release from Wilson’s campaign, Ma currently serves over 9.5 million Californians on the Board of Equalization for District 2, which stretches from Santa Barbara County to the Oregon border and overlaps all of the third supervisorial district in Contra Costa. The Board of Equalization is the only publicly elected state tax commission and collects more than $50 billion in state taxes every year while holding meetings to hear business, income and property tax appeals.

“When I heard Monica was running for Supervisor, I knew Contra Costa had a great opportunity to elect a leader on transportation and the economy,” said Ma.

Wilson is Antioch’s alternate on two transportation boards, the East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Finance Authority and the State Route 4 By-Pass Authority, according to Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. She has attended one meeting of those boards.

Ma won her election to the Board of Equalization with over 68% of the vote in November 2014.

Prior to serving on the Board of Equalization, Ma served in the California State Assembly from 2006 until 2012 for the 12th District and was the first Asian woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore and as Assembly Majority Whip for three years. She first got her start as a small business owner and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and was an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Clinton aimed at advocating policies to Congress that help small businesses grow in the modern age.

“Fiona is trailblazer, and I’m honored to have her support and mentorship in my campaign,” said Wilson.

Wilson is one of six candidates running in the District 3 Supervisor race. The election will be held June 7th. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the two candidates to receive the most votes will face off in the General Election in November.

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Residents needed for two seats on Contra Costa County’s Treasury Oversight Committee

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking individuals with sound knowledge and experience in the field of public and private finance, to serve on the Treasury Oversight Committee (Committee). To be considered, candidates must be County residents, and may not be employed by an entity that has contributed to the reelection campaign of the County Treasurer or a member of the Board of Supervisors in the previous three years, may not directly or indirectly raise money for the County Treasurer or a member of the Board of Supervisors while a member of the Committee, and may not secure employment with bond underwriters, bond counsel, security brokerages or dealers or with financial services firms for three years after leaving the Committee.

The Committee meets quarterly on the third Tuesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. at 625 Court St, Room B001, Martinez, CA 94553, for approximately one hour. Its duties include reviewing and monitoring the County Treasurer’s annual investment policy, and ensuring an annual audit is conducted to determine the County Treasurer’s compliance with Government Code §§27130-27137. The annual audits, meeting agendas and minutes of the Committee are available online. Members of the Committee receive no compensation for their service. The Board of Supervisors will appoint to fill two vacancies for a four-year term ending on April 30, 2020. The new appointees will fill the seats of either the Representative of the Board or a Public Member At-Large.

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900 or by clicking on the following link: Application Form. Applications should be returned to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553 no later than Friday, March 4, 2016 by 5 p.m. More information about the Treasury Oversight Committee can be obtained by calling Russell Watts at (925) 975-2888 or visiting the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s website at www.cctax.us.

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