Archive for February, 2017

Shooting leads to homicide on Highway 4 in Antioch, Saturday night

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Traffic backs up on Highway 4 in the eastbound lanes west of Hillcrest Avenue following a shooting at about 9:00 p.m. Saturday night. photo courtesy of KRON4.

By CHP Golden Gate Division

On Saturday, February 25, 2017 at approximately 9:03 PM, a freeway shooting occurred on eastbound Highway 4, just west of Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch.

A black male adult in a blue Toyota Solara was identified as the victim. A currently unknown suspect vehicle fled the scene.

CHP arrived on scene at the Hillcrest Avenue off ramp and determined that the victim had succumbed to his apparent gunshot injuries.

This is an active and ongoing investigation. If anyone saw this incident or the events leading up to it, please contact 1-800-TELL-CHP (1-800-835-5247).

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Mayor Wright: Sand Creek new development area plan “90-95% done”

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Map of the Moderate Growth plan for the Sand Creek Focus Area General Plan Land Use Update.

Ebbs: “An opportunity for the city to do something remarkable.” Council members advised to not attend community forum. About 2,800 more homes planned.

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 14 the Antioch City Council received a report on and discussed the General Plan Land Use Update for the Sand Creek Focus Area, where Antioch’s long-planned and debated new home developments will be located. Mayor Sean Wright concluded that the plan is “90-95% done.” However, Antioch Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs told the council, Nothing is set in stone, tonight.”

He provided the presentation including some history on the planning area, stating, “This has been on the radar for decades… since the 1990’s if not the 80’s.”

“Every five years we are to update the plan and address current conditions,” Ebbs explained. “This is part of the regular maintenance of the General Plan and frankly it’s overdue.”

The update includes the Land Use Element portion for the area in the city’s General Plan. Two projects have already been approved, the Promenade at Sand Creek and the Aviano project, which include about 1,200 new housing units. Those are located north of the actual Sand Creek and the planned Sand Creek Road extension, and east of the Kaiser hospital on Deer Valley Road.

“Each of those projects required multiple amendments to the 2003 General Plan,” Ebbs stated. “Even though they were the right projects at the time, no one was comfortable with the amount of amendments. So, we decided to break off this area for discussion. No other areas have as much controversy.”

“The spirit of the original 2003 General Plan is still evident,” he told the council. “Two very significant principles are that the Sand Creek Area is different – an opportunity for the city to do something remarkable. The natural element. Second is the number, 4,000. That’s a hard number in the 2003 General Plan.”

That figure is down from the 8,900 homes proposed for the area in the late 1990’s and is after the loss of the planned, and voter-approved 640 units that would have been built in the Roddy Ranch project. That land was sold to the East Bay Regional Parks District in 2014.

“Already we’ve approved 1,200 units,” Ebb stated. “We would have run out of units before we ran out of developable land. There are 2,800 units left to allocate. Those are rounded numbers. The policy had been first come, first served and would have allowed one (land owner) to get more units than their share. We needed a system to allocate the remaining units so everyone new  how many units they could build.”

They came up with the following calculation: Density x Acreage = Unit Count.

Referring to the projects already approved in the Sand Creek Focus Area, Ebbs said, “Both of those projects have higher densities than we expect to see elsewhere. No more than 50% of the area can be residential in the mixed unit project at Sand Creek and Deer Valley Roads. On the hills we have a reduced density…to keep development off the hills as much as possible.” 

“We came up with 3,970 units,” he said. “We were able to come up with this honestly, we didn’t reverse engineer.”

Ebbs then explained the Development Transfer Process which allows one project to transfer their units to another project, if their property is deemed too difficult and it allows them to get their investment back.

He also spoke of the opportunity for senior housing communities in the plan.

“We’re very clear about senior housing,” Ebbs shared. “There’s a density bonus if your project as 30% senior housing you get a 20% density bonus that may be approved. By state law we have a maximum and then allow 20% more. So, if we have more senior housing, we will have more than 4,000 units.”

Ebbs then spoke about the character of the neighborhoods, with high-end housing, executive housing, hillside housing.

“The larger the lot the higher the quality the home, the higher the value of the home,” he said. The reality is the two projects already approved out there, they were the farthest thing from there. The market is going to push us to smaller lots. But we wanted to make sure we don’t have too many small lots.”

Currently the plan following hearings and input by the Antioch Planning Commission has “a minimum lot size of 4,000, and 5,000 and 8,000, depending on the project.”

“But we want a diversity of lots so we have an average lot size of 7,000,” Ebbs explained. “That gives us diversity, so we can have starter homes and we can have the larger, executive homes. Senior housing doesn’t typically have larger lots. So, we’re going to exempt them from that average lot size.”

He also touched on the impacts to the city, which has been a concern of some residents.

“New development will be cost neutral to the city,” Ebbs said. “Private streets and utilities are encouraged.”

He then explained the policy and plans for open space.

“We’ve already designated 36% of the area as open space,” Ebbs stated. “We want to see a comprehensive trail system out there. We do have a specified buffer around Sand Creek of 250 feet wide with the creek in the middle. We only want to see benches and trails. We don’t want to see other junk. We want to see one-sided streets next to the creek.”

He also spoke of how the trails will connect to the nearby Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, and “a possible huge regional park and sports complex.”

Ebbs then explained the proposed policies on hillsides and hilltop development.

“The current General Plan talks about preserving hillsides and hilltops,” he said. “But then it tells you how to grade hilltops and hillsides. So, there’s some confusion, there. What we need is predictability.”

“The top 25% of the hill you get the hilltop and they’re not available for development,” Ebbs stated. “Hillsides are available for development. Using land form grading…so it retains a natural appearance. We also want to see oak trees.”

“No visible structures atop ridgelines or hilltops,” he added.

Ebbs stated that the plan “is not a guarantee of development rights. This is for orderly development out there. Project-specific analysis is required” and that “minor changes will be allowed.”

He then spoke of the proposed housing on the Zeka Ranch, formerly Higgins Ranch property.

“There are unit counts assigned to property west of Empire Mine Road, of 179 units,” Ebbs said. “But those will be a challenge. There are a lot of biologic and geologic issues.”

Overall he was satisfied with the latest plan update, concluding

We have worked it into a much more usable document that the development community

Council Members Have Questions, Offer Input

Following Ebbs presentation, the council members weighed in with their questions and thoughts.

Mayor Wright asked about the opportunity for more input before the plan was taken through the required California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. “This is direction, today, you will be coming back to us before going to CEQA?”

Ebbs responded, “My intention is to initiate the CEQA process, and then take this to the Planning Commission for a formal hearing.”

Wright then stated, “I didn’t see this as immediately going to CEQA after we’re done. I would like to see this come back to us in two to four weeks before going to CEQA.”

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe agreed with Wright

“I share the same thoughts and perspective that the mayor has,” he said. “There’s a community forum I’d like to participate in. I’ve got a lot of emails and phone calls from folks expressing their concerns.” Thorpe was referring to a meeting about the Sand Creek Focus Area, sponsored by Save Mt. Diablo and planned for tonight, Thursday night, Feb. 23.

Councilman Tony Tiscareno asked if there “were there any discrepancies between the developers” and the proposed plan update.

“I have one application in for preliminary review. There’s one area of discrepancy,” Ebbs responded. “We’ve talked about senior housing. Sometimes there’s typical detached and attached. Then there’s assisted living. It’s not quite housing. I see it as more of a commercial use.

I wouldn’t see assisted living out here take away from unit count. Convalescent homes are more what we should call them. They’re more like a hospital. We don’t preclude those…but we also don’t speak to them.”

Tiscareno then asked about open space.

“The old plan called for a golf course,” Ebbs explained. “It didn’t give an acreage for that. We don’t have a golf course in this but we’re at 36% open space. These are undeveloped parks, undeveloped open space.”

“It also calls for a trail system and an open space management plan, that will be fire safe,” he continued. “Not just a water tower and weeds.”

Public Comments

Then members of the public as well as landowners and development representatives offered their input to the council.

Planning Commissioner Martha Parsons asked for changes to policies affecting the Olive Grove senior housing project, specifically the 125-foot set back from Sand Creek.

Former Antioch City Manager Mike Ramsey, who is a consultant for the Olive Grove senior housing project, spoke next.

“We also would appreciate this administrative draft not sent forward tonight, but to allow us to meet with staff that have come to our attention,” he said. “The first area of the land use designations that concerns us…senior housing has long been encouraged. It’s not a small percentage it’s 100% and we’re trying to do it in such a way as to make them affordable.”

“We see assisted living as a very good addition,” Ramsey continued. “So we’d like to see that added without taking units away.”

He then spoke about his concerns with the requirement for the 125-foot set back from the creek.

“Some of the areas we’re planning to develop will encroach,” he stated and then suggested “an averaging…that would be sensitive to the terrain…without losing unit count which is so important for financing.”

Dr. Alan Iannacone, the son-in-law of the landowners of the proposed Olive Grove project, spoke in favor of the senior housing.

“We’ve already seen the successful Trilogy and Somerset in Brentwood,” he shared. “It has a mimimum impact on schools and Highway 4 and the proximity to medical care.”

Lucia Albers, the landowner of the Olive Grove, then spoke about the impact on the project of the changes in the General Plan.

“If implemented it would make it economically impossible to build,” she stated. “We hired the same engineers and architects that worked on Trilogy. I had a dream to do something similar in Sand Creek.”

She also spoke about the 125 foot set back.

“The road connecting the project to Sand Creek Road has been designated for this project since the 1990’s,” Albers explained. “The hilltop policy should be retained. The change eliminates rows of housing in the Olive Grove project.”

Her husband Monte Albers spoke briefly, also in favor of the Olive Grove senior housing project.

Planning Commission Chairman Kerry Motts spoke next, saying “I felt like some of the comments from the staff report have been lacking. A lot of work has gone into this. From the beginning I’ve felt we should have approached this with a more formal manner. Because we put the cart a little bit in front of the horse so we’ve had to work a little backwards.”

He then suggested forming an ad hoc committee of two council members and other working group members.

“I would urge council to look at whatever it could, a formal or informal process,” Motts continued. “This is essentially the build out of Antioch. The main thing is we get input from the public.”

Former Antioch Mayoral candidate Gil Murillo, who has been an outspoken critic of The Ranch project, the largest one in the Sand Creek shared his thoughts, mentioning the community meeting.

“I want to be quick because I’m in the dog house to be honest,” he began. “In the last session we only got 30 respondents. So, I’m glad to see Save Mt. Diablo is doing another…event. Fixing things in the city should be first. The City of Concord with a city similar in size to Antioch has 150 sworn officers. Antioch needs living wage jobs.”

“I was told Antioch is no Bishop Ranch,” Murillo continued. “I want to remind people Bishop Ranch started with one company and that was 20 years ago and look at where they are today. This land is slated as business park. Tech and business services. We need a police substation in the south area.”

Joe Davenport said “you have a great opportunity to shape the future of Antioch. There is a palpable sense that they’ve been disenfranchised and folks are generally angry. So, there’s a lot of unresolved public comment. The massive scale of the Bay Area’s largest development. This could create as many as 40,000 car trips per day. A loss of the hills.”

“Invest in at least one more community forum, a workshop in southeast Antioch,” he requested.

Resident Sherry Starks spoke about her desire for better schools in Antioch before more housing.

“I was here 14 years ago and I opposed the development,” she stated. “I don’t see where the school property is. I have the original 2003 General Plan and I did read through it. We haven’t disappeared, the people who opposed it. My daughter attended school in a trailer, you call them portables. You know what, there’s more trailers. The infrastructure doesn’t exist. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked for Antioch. It’s just a system of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. How many trailers.”

“Antioch is the armpit of the Bay Area,” Starks added, then asked, “You have all these trailers but what are you going to do to fix the problem?”

Aaron Ross-Swain of Richland Communities was the final speaker, sharing about his company’s project and their support for the latest plan update.

“We are a large property owner in the area, we are the applicant on the Ranch project,” he shared. “A look back in time, this area one point in time Antioch voters voted on the Urban Limit Line to bring this into the city. This envisioned jobs, homes. Very little has been done. Two housing projects have been approved. Kaiser has been constructed.”

“I think it’s a good land use,” Ross-Swain continued. “It really dovetails what we want to do on our property. It implements predictability. The high points and the merits of this plan revolve around the land use designation, executive and senior housing. It implements minimum lot sizes which preserves the integrity of this planning area and it preserves the natural open space for this planning area.”

Council Input To Staff

The council members then took up the matter for final input to staff.

Council Member Lori Ogorchock wanted workshops before making a final decision.

“In reading this I have to say it’s kind of confusing,” she said. “I’d like to see workshops to take the old plan and the new plan. It goes back to May of 1996 the Lone Tree Specific Plan. It talked about 6,800 jobs and 288 acres devoted to commercial development. We did this for the Downtown Specific Plan.”

“Senior housing is less calls for service, fewer cars on the roads. Less impact on the schools,” Ogorchock continued.

“Some of the homes will go to Brentwood some will go to Antioch. Most of these will go to Antioch schools,” Ebbs explained.

“Does Gordon Gravelle’s land count toward the open space?” Ogorchock asked, referring to land his company Suncrest Homes owned near Somersville Road and James Donlon Blvd., which he had planned for 50 homes, but recently donated to the parks district.

Ebbs responded, “It’s not in this focus area.”

Thorpe asked about how many meetings have been held on the plan, then said “we really haven’t had the opportunity to engage the community outside of Planning Commission meetings.”

He then asked about unit count.

“Let’s say we decide to move forward and go through CEQA. Let’s just say hypothetically it did impact unit count,” Thorpe said.

Ebbs responded, “the Olive Grove project isn’t on the agenda, tonight. This will change expectations.”

But, Thorpe pressed the issue wanting to know what happens “to those remaining units.”

“No one has a unit count, today,” Ebbs responded.

“If we did (approved) this?” Thorpe asked.

“We would have a unit count,” Ebbs stated. “Units could be transferred from one project to another.”

Council Member Monica Wilson then asked about elements of the plan and public services.

“The red areas you have designated as commercial. People have asked about fire, about public works facility. Have we identified locations” for them?

Ebbs responded, “That’s a really good point. We have identified a fire station because the developer has included it in their plans. We haven’t identified a specific spot for a future public works facility because that is someone’s property.”

Tiscareno then asked about all of the council members attending the community forum on Feb 23.

City Attorney Michael Vigilia responded, “I would advise against all of you attending so you would avoid the possibility of a Brown Act violation. I would strongly encourage you to not participate in the discussion.”

Mayor Wright then wrapped up the discussion, stating, “As far as I’m concerned it’s 90, 95% done. But you want council direction.”

“Probably more like four weeks,” Ebbs said in providing a time frame for staff to return with a final plan for a council vote.

Thorpe then said “I would like to know more about the challenges with development around Zeka Ranch.”

“If you have questions about specific projects that should be agendized specifically,” Vigilia stated.

Thorpe responded, “help me with understanding the environmental considerations and why we’re still considering possible development and what are the legal ramifications around that.”

Wilson asked for information on different types of senior housing.

Wright asked about “the hilltop 25% issue.”

“Overall, is there some flexibility on that?” he asked.

“Nothing in the General Plan should be in concrete,” Ebbs responded. “This is the 10,000-foot level. All the conflicts we run into they’re all minor, so we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

The council then went on to other matters on the night’s agenda.

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Antioch High basketball team honors teacher’s late wife in playoff victory over Deer Valley

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Antioch High Panthers on their way to defeating the Deer Valley Wolverines in the first round of the NCS playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. photos by Jesus Cano

The armband worn by the AHS players in memory of Yvette Mattthews.

By Jesus Cano

Antioch’s victory went beyond the court Tuesday night, as they defeated crosstown rival Deer Valley in the first round of the NCS Division 1 boys basketball playoffs. The win was dedicated to Yvette Matthews, who unexpectedly passed away this last weekend. Matthews was the wife of Antioch English teacher, Chris Matthews. Antioch players wore black armbands with the initials YM in yellow to show their respects.

“We wanted to let him know that the staff players and whole school is behind him,” Antioch head coach Andrew Riva said. “You never know when things like this are going to happen so we have to appreciate the moments we have.”

After leading 20-10 at the end of the first quarter, Antioch looked to carry their momentum. Deer Valley was able to tie up the game as Dominic Pino stole the ball and handed it over to Darius Ware for the game tying layup. This all coming after Dubem Boardman and Raydale Robinson contributed with nine points to reach the Panthers.

Kirmarje Trent scored the most with 26 points in the game and Antioch retained their lead with plays from Trent and Kaleb Smith, and at halftime they led 35-31.

“Coach always tells us that we’re going to have our ups and downs in the game,” Trent said. “We made sure we had more runs than them to make sure we executed in the game.”

The third quarter was a back and forth shootout between the teams. Antioch dominated half of the third quarter but the Wolverines countered back by going on a 11-point scoring streak, as Boardman built up eight of those points but Antioch still lead 53-45 at the end.

Trent’s biggest performance came in the final quarter, as he dropped 11 points. Towards the end of the game however, Antioch kept on fouling Deer Valley, handing them points. Elijah Sturgis was the man that kept them alive by completing four free throws along with dumping two points. It wasn’t enough as the Panthers kept pounding the rim, and defeated the Wolverines 81-72.

Antioch will travel to Dublin to face the top seeded Gales on Friday, February 24th.4

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Antioch School Board blocks contract for “positive news” consultant due to cost, conflict of interest

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Nick Goodrich

The Antioch School Board shot down a proposed contract with Burkholder Media Group for social media and community outreach services, during their meeting on Wednesday, February 15th, amid concerns of a lack of public input, the amount of the contract and a possible conflict of interest.

The proposal by Burkholder Media Group, owned by the publisher of news website East County Today, Mike Burkholder, was for a one-year, $53,900 contract. According to the staff report, the duties were to include “assisting in communicating internally and externally on District issues, writing press releases as needed, taking original photography, and creating YouTube videos for use on District websites, blogs, social media, or by news media.”

The main objective of the proposal by Burkholder, an unsuccessful candidate for the school board in the November election, was understood by many to be the promotion of “positive news” that aims to promote the District and represent it in a favorable light, highlighting its strengths rather than focusing on its weaknesses.

The contract is part of Superintendent Stephanie Anello’s effort to rebrand the District and move away from the negative stigma attached to it, due to such things as low proficiency in math and English among K-5 students, in order to maintain the existing student population and attract new students. The AUSD has seen a continuing decline in enrollment in recent years, and Anello has been working to reverse that trend since she was promoted last year.

However, some in attendance at the meeting, including three Board Members, were concerned about a conflict of interest, since Burkholder regularly covers District proceedings through his website.

Anello defended her choice during the meeting, and offered several advantages she believed other possible vendors might not have.

“I thought that would be a plus in this case, where it was somebody who knew [Antioch], knew the history,” she told the Board. “We were comfortable with the proposal, and their ability to do this kind of work based on their media experience.”

Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray agreed, saying, “We hired the Superintendent to do a job, and one of her goals was to improve our connection with the community, with the parents. If we tie her hands, it’s defeating the purpose.”

But other Board Members took issue with the contract. Trustee Walter Ruehlig echoed concerns about a conflict of interest.

“Taking on someone who owns an online newspaper, I just think that’s a conflict of interest,” he told the Board. “Perhaps he’ll be the one we select…But I would rather have more time to throw this back and forth, have a work study session, consider alternate ideas.”

Trustees Debra Vinson and Crystal Sawyer-White also supported giving other bids a chance and receiving more input from parents and the community.

Vinson was also cautious of the dollar amount of the contract, which several Antioch residents like Julie Young and Joshua Klee thought could be better spent improving performance in Antioch’s schools. Another Antioch resident said it reminded him of the Soviet Union and its government controlled newspaper, Pravda.

“I think positive news is good, and it’s a place to start, but I don’t see the value of spending this amount of money,” said Vinson. “Ultimately, it affects the children…If we’re putting out all this positive news, but our test scores stay low, then it’s going to backfire.”

Ultimately, the Board decided to table the matter and discuss it at a future meeting.

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Suspect in 2016 shooting arrested with guns, ammo; serious DUI collision among Antioch Police calls for Feb. 9-16, 2017

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The victim’s truck (foreground) and the driver’s truck following the collision caused by DUI on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. photo by Allen Payton

Following are the Antioch Police calls for service highlights as published in Assistant City Manager Steve Duran’s Weekly Report dated February 17, 2017 and provided by Chief of Police Allan Cantando.

Calls for Service and Arrest Data Summary:

Time Period: 02/09/17 00:00:00 – 02/15/17 23:59:59

Number of Calls for Service: 1,616

Number of Case Reports: 256

Number of Arrests: 66

Felony: 33

Misdemeanor: 33

Arrests with DUI charge: 5

The data is based upon unaudited CAD/RMS data at time of report generation.

  • 2/16/17 at 6:14 am, officers responded with ConFire after several calls came in reporting flames and smoke coming from the back of a residence on Sunwood Court. Upon arrival, officers were able to assist the residents out of the burning house and evacuate neighboring homes. ConFire arrived and were able to extinguish the fire. The cause is under investigation, but there were no immediate signs of arson. There were no reported injuries, but there was significant damage to the residence.
  • 2/16/17 at 3:24 am, the reporting party called to report she spotted suspicious subjects at the rear of her business in the 3700 block of Lone Tree Way. Officers responded and contacted 23 year old Luis Brambila. He was found to have a warrant for his arrest. Brambila was taken into custody without incident and booked into County Jail.
  • 2/16/17 at 1:03 am, officers responded to the report of a subject going through a black vehicle in the parking lot of Taco Bell on A St. Upon arrival, 36 year old John Pate was stopped as he was driving out of the lot in a dark colored Honda. Contact with the registered owner showed the car to be an unreported stolen vehicle. Pate was taken into custody without incident and later booked into County Jail for vehicle theft. The vehicle was returned to the registered owner.
  • 2/15/17 at 9:45 pm, an officer saw the suspect vehicle from a shooting that occurred at the Shell Gas Station on 2/8/17 driving eastbound on Sycamore Dr. A license plate check showed that the car was reported stolen to Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office. It was also listed as an Armed and Dangerous vehicle with 23 year-old Lamar Kelley listed as the suspect.  A traffic enforcement stop was conducted, and Lamar Kelley was contacted as the passenger.  A 24 year-old female who turned out to be the registered owner of the vehicle was the driver of the vehicle.  Stanislaus County was contacted and it was learned that the registered owner reported that Kelley stole her car after a domestic dispute. The officer recognized Kelley to be the shooting suspect from the Shell Gas Station video. A loaded pistol was located under the center console of the vehicle.  Next to the gun was a 10-round magazine, a 17-round magazine and a 30-round magazine. A distinctive sweatshirt was located in the trunk of the vehicle that Kelley was wearing at the time of the shooting.  Kelley was also found to have an outstanding arrest warrant for a previous Antioch shooting that occurred in 2016.  He was arrested without incident and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/15/17 10:29 am, an employee at Weinerschnitzel on E. 18th St. called to report a subject giving another subject a firearm in a vehicle in the parking lot. Officers located the vehicle in the parking lot and detained the driver and passenger. The driver was 31 year old Jesse Martinez and the passenger was 30 year old Brandon Henderson. During a search of the vehicle, officers located live ammunition but no firearm. Martinez was a convicted felon and arrested for felon in possession of ammunition. He was booked in the County Jail. The passenger, Henderson, was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest. He was also booked into County Jail.
  • 2/14/17 at 10:38 pm, an officer conducted a check of a suspicious vehicle in the Staples parking lot on Lone Tree Way and contacted the occupant of the vehicle, 19 year old Cody Buffum. Dispatch advised that Buffum had a warrant. Buffum was issued a Promise to Appear with a new court date and released at the scene.
  • 2/14/17 at 5:24 pm, an officer on routine patrol recognized 49 year old Zolton Scott walking on the sidewalk on E. 18th St. near Cavallo Road. The officer knew Scott had an outstanding felony warrant. Scott was placed under arrest without incident and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/14/17 at 5:20 pm, officers were dispatched to a subject that was trespassing at a the Quikstop on Sycamore Dr. The store clerk told officers that 59 year old Charles Abercrombie was on the trespass log and continually harassing customers on the property. He had been asked to leave several times but refused.  He was placed under arrest and issued a citation before being released at the scene.
  • 2/14/17 at 4:10 pm, 44 year old Marisca Smith concealed a beer at the Quikstop on Sycamore Dr. She left the store but then returned and was confronted by the clerk, who located the beer in her purse. She denied stealing the beer and demanded it back.  When officers reviewed the video, it showed Smith stealing the beer.  She was placed under arrest and issued a citation before being released at the scene.
  • 2/14/17 at 1:15 pm, an employee from Fallas located on Somersville Road called to report subjects had just stolen clothing items from the store. One of the suspects pointed a firearm at the employee who attempted to detain them in the parking lot. The suspects all fled the scene in a Honda Prelude.  At 3:17 pm, an officer located the Honda Prelude on Auto Center Dr. near Costco Way.  The vehicle was occupied by 21 year old Cody Wilson, 22 year old Vanessa Martinez, 22 year old Savannah Vetterli and 20 year old Phillip Morris.  All subjects were detained without incident.  The victim from Fallas responded to the scene and positively identified all four subjects as the suspects from the robbery.  The stolen merchandise was recovered from the vehicle; however, no firearm was found.  All four subjects were later transported to County Jail for robbery.
  • 2/14/17 at 4:51 am, an officer conducted a traffic enforcement stop on Mahogany Way at Spanos St. Dispatch advised that one of the passengers in the vehicle, 23 year old Angelina Dieteman, had a warrant for her arrest. A check of the Vehicle Identification Number revealed that the car was stolen.  40 year old Adrian Arroyo was the driver of the vehicle.  Both Arroyo and Dieteman were arrested without incident and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/14/17 at 3:02 am, officers were dispatched to the 200 block of W. Madill St. for a report of a male subject sitting on the curb armed with a handgun. Upon arrival, officers located 38 year old Andrew Guillory. Guillory was too intoxicated to care for himself.  Guillory was arrested without incident, and he was sent to County Jail.  No firearm was located.
  • 2/13/17 at 8:02 pm, officers were dispatched to Joe’s Liquor on D St. for a report of an intoxicated female causing a disturbance. Upon arrival, officers contacted 52 year old Kari Foster and determined that she was too intoxicated in public to care for herself. Foster was arrested without incident and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/13/17 at 6:39 pm, an officer saw 30 year old Ryan Rike in front of the Bonfare Market on W. 10th Street. The officer knew Rike had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear for his work alternative program. Rike was placed under arrest without incident and sent to County Jail.
  • 2/13/17 at 4:48 pm, 33 year old Damien Johnson was contacted during a routine traffic stop on Auto Center Dr. He was found to have an outstanding warrant and placed under arrest without incident. He was issued a Promise to Appear with a new court date and released at the scene.
  • 2/13/17 at 4:06 pm, officers were dispatched to a female slumped over in her vehicle in a parking lot on Lone Tree Way and Tregallas Rd. Officers arrived and contacted 47 year old Mary Bailey attempting to drive away. She was determined to be driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  She was also found to be in possession of prescription medication not prescribed to her.  She was placed under arrest and sent to County Jail for DUI.
  • 2/13/17 at 10:21 am, an officer located a stolen Nissan Sentra being driven by 28 year old Courtney Amos on Sycamore Dr. Amos stopped in front on Mandarin Way, where she attempted to abandon the vehicle and walk away. Amos was detained by the officer without incident. The officer located a shaved key in the vehicle’s ignition and discovered Amos was on current felony probation for auto theft.  Amos was booked into County Jail for auto theft and violation of probation.
  • 2/12/17 at 9:58 pm, an officer responded to Costco on Verne Roberts Circle for a report of a subject on the property acting odd. Upon arrival, officers learned that 28 year old Moises Sanchez had been causing disturbances on the property for the last few days. Sanchez was searched, and officers located methamphetamine and a glass pipe in his possession. Sanchez was issued a citation for the narcotics and paraphernalia possession and admonished for trespassing on Costco property.  Moises later returned to the property and was arrested for trespassing.  He was then sent to County Jail.
  • 2/12/17 at 9:57 pm, officers were in the Diablo Vista Mobile Park off of Somersville Rd. on an unrelated call. Officers observed a red pickup pull up in front of a mobile home on Paulette Way at a high rate of speed. The driver fled from the truck and ran into the mobile home.  The truck’s license plate was checked and determined to be stolen.  The suspect refused to come out, and officers had to force entry into the home.  The suspect, 21 year old James Coker, surrendered and was sent to County Jail for the stolen vehicle.
  • 2/12/17 at 11:18 am, officers were dispatched to Bond Ct. on a reported disturbance at a home. Upon the officers’ arrival, they contacted 24 year old Ronald Avilla inside the home. Avilla showed to have a warrant related to a petty theft charge.  Avilla was taken into custody without incident and transported to County Jail.
  • 2/12/17 at 10:13 am, a resident in the 3400 block of Gentrytown Dr. reported his Toyota pickup truck stolen. The officer arrived and discovered the victim had video surveillance in front of his home. Upon review of the video, the officer observed 24 year old Robert Stalker enter the truck and drive away at approximately 6:30 am. The officer then drove to the Bank of the West on Somersville Rd., which was where the officer arrested Stalker earlier in the shift.  The officer located the victim’s stolen vehicle in the parking lot.  The officer then responded to County Jail, where Stalker was interviewed.  Stalker admitted to taking the truck, and the officer located a shaved Toyota key in his prisoner property.  Stalker was booked into County Jail with the additional charge of auto theft.
  • 2/12/17 at 9:03 am, an officer saw 24 year old Robert Stalker walking through the parking lot to the Bank of the West on Somersville Rd. The officer recognized Stalker from previous contacts. A name check revealed Stalker had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failing to appear related to an auto theft charge.  Stalker was taken into custody without incident and transported to County Jail.
  • 2/11/17 at 9:16 pm, an officer conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle on L St. at W. 18th St. 54 year-old Gary Shelby was contacted and found to have a warrant for DUI. Shelby was arrested and booked into County Jail.
  • 2/11/17 at 9:13 pm, officers responded to a traffic collision at the intersection of Slatten Ranch Road and Wicklow Way 57 year old Greg Tuell was driving his 54 year old wife, 36 year old daughter, and his 10 year old grand-daughter home from dinner and shopping. They were northbound on Slatten Ranch Road and continued through the intersection towards the closed section of roadway. Another driver pulled from the stop sign for eastbound Wicklow Way at about the same time. The other driver was broadsided by Tuell, and both trucks came to rest north of the intersection. The other driver was transported to an area hospital with a complaint of pain. The 10 year old grand-daughter was also transported to an area hospital with a complaint of pain. As reported on the Antioch Herald Facebook page the night of the collision “The male driver (Tuell) of the white 2016 Ford F-150 claimed the driver of the Chevrolet Avalanche ‘blew through the stop sign’ and ‘totaled’ his ‘brand new truck.’ But a witness driving a truck behind the Chevy on Wicklow Way said the Chevy came to a stop then proceeded into the intersection where it was struck by the Ford whichwas continuing to head north on Slatten Ranch Road past the intersection about 35 MPH toward a dead end. The driver of the Ford (Tuell) smelled of alcohol and when asked if he’d been drinking said he’d only had one beer.” Tuell was found to be intoxicated and refused field sobriety tests at the scene. He was ultimately transported to an area hospital for complaints of pain but was later released and transported to County Jail for felony DUI. (See photo above and additional photos on the Herald Facebook page).
  • 2/11/17 at 3:23 pm, an officer conducted a pedestrian stop on subjects loitering at a vacant building on W. 19th St. During the contact, it was discovered that a 32 year old Giovan Espinoza and 38 year old Hector Pozo had multiple warrants for their arrest. Both males were taken into custody without incident and transported to County Jail.
  • 2/11/17 at 2:07 am, officers responded to the area of Minaker Dr. and Jacobsen St. for the report of a collision heard in the area. On arrival, 33 year old Carl Simmons was contacted on Minaker Dr. as he was exiting his damaged vehicle. He was not injured, but found to be extremely intoxicated. Simmons collided with two of his neighbors’ vehicles on his way home. Simmons was found to be on probation for prior DUI convictions and booked into County Jail.
  • 2/11/17 at 2:06 am, 34 year old Tiffany Hill was contacted during a vehicle stop. She was found to have a warrant for her arrest and taken into custody without incident. She was released at the scene on a signed Promise to Appear with a new court date.
  • 2/11/17 at 12:01 am, an officer located an occupied stolen vehicle in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn on Mahogany Wy. 32 year-old Noel Santillan was contacted inside of the vehicle and arrested for being in possession of the stolen vehicle. Santillan was found to have a probation violation warrant from a prior stolen vehicle case. Santillan was booked into County Jail.
  • 2/10/17 at 11:34 pm, officers attempted to stop a vehicle for vehicle code violations on A St. at Hwy 4. The driver, later identified as 18 year old David Ruiz, initially slowed but then entered westbound Hwy 4 and refused to stop while he and the other occupants began throwing objects out the vehicle’s windows. Ruiz exited at the next exit onto L St. and attempted to go northbound. Ruiz damaged his vehicle’s left front tire when he struck the center median. The pursuit ended when Ruiz was unable to negotiate a bend in the road on William Reed Rd. and struck a parked vehicle. Ruiz and his passengers, a 16 year old male and a 17 year old female, were all taken into custody without incident. Ruiz was intoxicated and booked into County Jail for DUI and evading police. Both of the juveniles were released at the scene to their parents per PC 849(b). The items that were discarded were found to be alcohol containers.
  • 2/10/17 at 8:55 am, officers were dispatched to Shell Gas Station on Auto Center Dr. for an assault that occurred. Officers arrived shortly after the call was dispatched and contacted an employee who had extremely hot water thrown on her face by two males that were not allowed at the store. Officers checked the area for the suspects and located 26 year old Darrin Hughes and 27 year old Lewis Butler at Valero on Somersville Road. Both Hughes and Butler fled on foot but were apprehended after short foot pursuits. The victim identified Butler as the responsible who threw the hot water on her face. Butler was arrested for felony assault and resisting arrest. He was booked in the County Jail. Hughes was given a citation at the scene for resisting arrest.
  • 2/9/17 at 4:41 pm, officers were dispatched to the area of Johnny’s Market on W. 9th St. for a medical call. Officers learned of a possible battery that occurred at the location. Officers contacted 30 year old Juan Montes in the area, and he was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest. Montes was arrested without incident and booked into County Jail.
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California Superior Court judges send letter to Gov. Brown asking for more money

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

By Allen Payton

In a strongly worded letter, judges from 49 of the 58 superior courts in California, including Contra Costa County, informed Governor Jerry Brown last week, of their displeasure with the amount of funding for the state’s judicial branch in his proposed budget. They believe the lack of an increase in their budget will have an impact on the communities they serve and are asking for an increase of $158.5 million to the $3.6 billion Brown has proposed in his budget. Courts Letter to Gov Brown 02-16-17

Each of the 58 counties in the state have a trial court, known as a superior court. The judges added their efforts to those by California “Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and the Judicial Council of California…and support their efforts to seek additional funding for the judicial branch.”

Brown’s proposed budget projects a $1.6 billion deficit. According to an L.A. Times article, Brown told reporters at the state Capitol…as he unveiled the state’s budget, that “The trajectory of revenue growth is declining.” As a result his “$179.5-billion plan seeks to resolve the budget shortfall by slower-than-expected growth in public school funding and through rolling back a series of one-time expenses discussed during last year’s budget negotiations.”

All the members of the State Senate and Assembly were copied on the letter from the judges, which states: “We, the undersigned courts, have had the opportunity to review your proposed budget for the judicial branch for Fiscal Year 2017-18. We are seriously concerned with the lack of additional funding proposed for trial court operations and our ability to provide adequate access to justice for those in need of California’s court system,” and “…we wish to inform you and the Legislature about the impact this proposed budget will have not only on the many trial courts throughout the state but, more importantly, on the communities that we serve.”

According to Brown’s budget summary, “the Budget includes total funding of $3.6 billion ($1.7 billion General Fund and $1.9 billion other funds) for the Judicial Branch, of which $2.8 billion is provided to support trial court operations.” That is $200 million less than the $3.8 billion Brown proposed in his budget and $100 million less than was approved for the current fiscal year, which was an increase of $300 million over the previous fiscal year.

The letter cites increases in costs and changes in laws will mean Brown’s budget will have the effect of a “net decrease” to the budget for the superior courts.

“This is due to, among other things, the rising cost of doing business in California (e.g., utility costs, rents, vendor expenses, employee salaries). It also results from governmental actions such as elimination of Proposition 47 funding, additional workload from voter-approved initiatives such as Propositions 57 and 64, legislative changes such as AB 2839 that considerably increase workload without accompanying offsetting funding,” the letter stated.

“The proposed elimination of a court’s ability to place a hold on a traffic defendant’s driver’s license for failure to pay or appear, the latter of which appears to have the unintended consequence of reducing revenues to the trial courts, counties and the state. In Solano and Contra Costa, two courts that have imposed a moratorium on driver’s license holds, both courts have seen an approximate 25% reduction in collections.”

The letter concludes with the requested increase in the proposed state budget for the superior courts.

“We respectfully request that the trial courts be treated in an equitable fashion with the Executive Branch and that the trial courts be funded with a modest annual increase.  An increase of $158.5 million—which is the amount requested by the Judicial Council to address baseline cost increases, but which was not included in the Governor’s Budget for next fiscal year—would allow us to keep pace with rising costs of doing business in California and, more importantly, allow courts to preserve the public’s access to justice.”

The budget is expected to be approved by the state legislature and sent to Brown for his signature by the end of June.

To see Gov. Brown’s proposed budget summary for the judicial branch, click here.  To learn more about California’s superior courts, click here.

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Young Antioch man shot Monday morning, police seek shooters

Monday, February 20th, 2017

By Corporal Matthew Koch, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11:01 am, Antioch Police officers were dispatched to the 5000 block of Lone Tree Way on a report of several gunshots heard in the area. Upon arrival, it was discovered the victim(s) and responsible(s) fled the area prior to police arrival.

A short time later a 21-year-old male Antioch resident arrived at an area hospital with a single gunshot wound. The victim underwent surgery; however, the wound did not appear to be life threatening.

This preliminary information is made available by the Field Services Bureau. There will be no further information released regarding this case at this time.

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

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Antioch girl places third in nation at NFL Punt, Pass & Kick contest during Pro Bowl weekend

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Kori Margain with her Third Place trophy in the national 2016 NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition.

By Allen Payton

Antioch nine-year old, Kori Margain brought home the bronze by placing third at the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition during the Pro Bowl weekend in Florida, on Saturday, January 27, 2017. She was one of four girls to represent the Oakland Raiders nationally, but one of only four girls in the eight- and nine-year-old age group to make it to the finals.

According to their website, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick is “the oldest grassroots initiative at the NFL” and allows children ages 6-15 “to experience the fun of learning football fundamentals in an engaging and supportive non-contact environment.”

“Kori, a fourth-grader, started last November in a local competition,” said her mother Melissa Margain, a former field representative for County Supervisor Mary Piepho. “She won first place, there and moved up to sectionals and team competition, which was held in the Oakland Coliseum before the Raiders game in December.”

Since she was the winner of that competition, Kori earned the right to go the Raiders game, later that day and of course, Mom went with her.

The scores from that day from all the sectionals across the country were then sent to the NFL for comparison.

“They took only the top four scores from each of the 32 teams for each age group to determine who would go to the national finals,” Melissa explained.

Kori competed in the competition for eight- and nine-year-old girls and was one of the top four competitors from the Raiders.

The NFL selected the top four scores in the nation for each age category and Kori’s score was one of them, earning her a spot in the final competition.

During the competition on Saturday, “she placed third in the nation for her scores,” Melissa stated

“They sent the competitors to the Pro Bowl weekend for four days, including a trip to Disney World, interviews by the football players during a media day, and they got to attend the Pro Bowl,” said Melissa.

Asked if Mom got to attend, as well, Melissa responded with a laugh, “I did.”

This was Kori’s second year competing in the contest.

“I participated, last year, too,” Kori said.

Kori with some of her friends from the competition.

She made it to the team competition but not to the finals, the first time. Then, for this year’s competition, she said “I practiced with my family” to improve her skills.

“I competed on Friday and went to Disneyworld on Saturday,” Kori shared. Then they went to the Pro Bowl

game on Sunday.

The most fun Kori said she had was hanging out with her new friends from the competition.

“One from the Oakland Raiders, one from the Chicago Bears, one from the Seattle Seahawks and one from the Chargers,” she said.

Asked if she thinks other kids should participate in the competition, Kori responded, “Yes, it’s fun, you make good friends.”

Her favorite subjects in school are math and reading, and when asked if she wants to play on the high school football team, Kori replied, “No. I’m more into basketball.” She wants to be a WNBA player when she grows up.

A message was posted on the Antioch Unified School District’s Facebook page congratulating Kori for her success in the competition.

“Congratulations to Kori Morgain, 4th grade student at John Muir Elementary, who recently competed in the National NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick competition where she placed third in The United States. Prior to the national completion, Kori beat out thousands of other children in her age category and placed first in her local, sectional, and team competitions. More than 300,000 children throughout The United States participated in the event where they represented a professional football team. Kori represented The Raiders who recognized her at a recent game. Congratulations Kori!”

For more information on the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition, visit www.nflppk.com.

 

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