Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Travis Credit Union announces 2020 college scholarship program for graduating high school seniors

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

VACAVILLE, CA –  Travis Credit Union announced it will award twenty $2,000 scholarships to current high school seniors bound for college in the fall of 2020. This year marks the 17th year of the scholarship program by the Vacaville-based credit union. Since the scholarship was established in 2004, the credit union has awarded more than $397,000 in scholarships.

The credit union encourages all graduating seniors to apply. Each applicant must be a high school senior with a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), bound for a two–or four–year college or university and a member of Travis Credit Union in good standing. Students who live in Travis Credit Union’s twelve-county service region and are not yet members may join the credit union and apply for a scholarship at the same time.

“Credit unions were founded on the philosophy of people helping people,” says Barry Nelson, Travis Credit Union’s president and CEO. “Offering scholarships to deserving high school seniors is just one way we assist our young members with the rising cost of high education, while reinforcing our commitment to the financial success of our country’s future leaders.”

The Travis Credit Union Board of Directors established the scholarship program in 2004. The program honors the late Mary Keith Duff, who passed away in 2004. Duff was the first woman to serve on the Travis Credit Union Board of Directors.

The 2020 scholarship application is now available online at or at any Travis Credit Union branch location. Completed applications must be received at the credit union by the close of business of Monday, March 2, 2020. In addition to a completed application, applicants must submit a 250-word personal statement, a certified high school transcript and a letter of reference from a teacher. The scholarships will be awarded in mid-June by the credit union.
“In the last 17 years, we have received a tremendous response from young members who have exhibited a commitment to academic excellence and community service. We look forward to recognizing even more of our deserving young members this year,” adds Nelson.

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live or work in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 13th largest credit union in California with more than 214,000 members and more than $3.2 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members and the community; its solid, secure history; and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.

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Wanda Hom, Ralph Garrow chosen Antioch Citizens of the Year, Rick Fuller Real Estate Team is Small Business of the Year

Monday, January 13th, 2020

2019 Antioch Citizens of the Year for Most Impact Wanda Hom and for Lifetime Achievement Ralph Garrow. Photos from Facebook.

Antioch Chamber announces annual awards; winners to be honored at annual gala, March 13

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2019 Annual Award winners:

Citizen of the Year

Lifetime Achievement – Ralph Garrow

Most Impact – Wanda Hom

Veteran of the Year

Denny Hollison, US Army Vietnam Veteran, VFW Commander

Youth of the Year

Chris Garcia, Antioch High School

Non-Profit of the Year

Fellowship Church

Jennifer and Rick Fuller and the Rick Fuller Team real estate brokerage, 2019 Antioch Small Business of the Year. Photo courtesy of Rick Fuller.

Business of the Year

Large/Corporate Business – Travis Credit Union

Small Business  – Rick Fuller Team

Ambassadors of the Year

Tom McNell, Edward Jones

Jose Solorio, SERVPRO of Antioch

“I’m honored but I don’t necessarily believe I deserve it. I care a lot about Antioch, so, maybe my life has reflected that,” Garrow said, when reached for comment.

Hom is the Accounting Activities Specialist for Deer Valley High School and works with the student clubs and athletics to manage all the funds they bring in.

“Oh, man, I don’t believe it,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very honored and don’t feel deserving. There are so many others in Antioch who are more deserving. But, I’m happy to highlight Deer Valley High School and all of the things we do, here.”

Asked about her activities this past year, Hom responded, “it would be our educational foundation and its support for the school and the Every 15 Minutes driving safety program.

“The Deer Valley Educational Advancement Foundation, which was started by the parents, has been around about 14 years, supporting the school,” she explained. “This year they’ll be raising funds for the choir to pay for risers with backs on them for safety. We’re always a place for homeless and foster students providing them with supplies and materials, such as backpacks.”

Fuller offered his thanks for the honor.

“I have a lot of respect for local businesses in Antioch and it’s very humbling to featured. I’d like to give thanks to my incredible team, amazing clients and my wonderful family,” he said. “I thank the Lord for His blessing and favor on our lives.”

Fuller has had the Rick Fuller Team for over 10 years and served 250 families and about $125 million in sales, last year. He also shared they have almost 1,000 five-star online reviews and have sold over 1,000 homes in their 10 years of business.

The annual Chamber gala will be held on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 6pm. Tickets are $75 per person, or $600 for a reserved table of eight. Purchase of gala tickets can be made online at, by calling (925) 757-1800, or emailing Ticket sales will end March 2, 2020 at 5pm.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown to host monthly events in 2020

Monday, January 13th, 2020

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The Chamber’s Corner: Eat and drink your way through Antioch

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

By Richard Pagano, CEO, Antioch Chamber of Commerce

From the Mayor’s Burrito Bowl downtown to dining at the golf course and everything in between, we’ve got the 411 on the best of Antioch’s culinary scene!

Lone Tree Golf and Event Center – As one of Antioch’s premier restaurant and event centers, Lone Tree   offers a splendid Champagne Brunch Buffet on Sundays. Start off with a glass of their house champagne or mimosa and continue with a stroll through the buffet extravaganza. And don’t miss their house-made dessert selections.

Guadalajara Taqueria – Come explore downtown and this amazing new family owned Mexican restaurant. Even the Mayor has created his own “Mayor’s Bowl,” with grilled steak over a bowl of rice, crisp greens, whole beans topped with fresh jalapeños and sour cream. You can taste the family tradition in every bite.

Hillcrest Taphouse: One of Antioch’s premier restaurants for craft beer, you’ll find everything from Porters and Stouts, to IPAs and Sours. Hillcrest Taphouse has a satisfying beer for any pallet. The wine and mixed drink selections are also not to be missed. While you’re there, try one of their   garden-fresh salads, Angus beef burgers, or homemade pizzas. For an appetizer, try the wings or Hillcrest Knots. We’re sure you’ll be a fan of how fresh their food is too. No frozen food here.

Tailgaters – If you love sports, good food, and great drinks, Tailgaters is the place for you! From tacos and sandwiches, to wraps and burgers, Tailgaters has something for everyone. Fan favorites are the veggie wrap, blackened grilled chicken breast, and the Mac Daddy Burger; a cheeseburger covered in bacon and mac and cheese bites. Their wings, fried pickles, and jalapeno     bacon poppers are a great addition to your favorite craft beer or mixed drink, while watching your favorite team play on one of their 20 TVs! Be sure to check out their daily specials and happy hour events.

Search “Restaurants” on to find other great places like Celia’s Mexican Restaurant, Mac’s Old House, Solid Rock Café, Samurai, Afrique, and more!

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Antioch Chamber Monthly Mixer at New York Life in Brentwood, Thursday, Oct. 24

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

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TreVista Antioch Senior Living hires local lady to lead the team

Monday, October 7th, 2019

TreVista Antioch’s new Executive Director, Sonya Smith.

By Allen Payton

The city’s premier assisted living facility, TreVista Antioch recently made a change in leadership with the hiring of Sonya (Gonzalez) Smith as the new Executive Director. She replaces Neal Torres who has moved on to another position in the industry.

A native of Antioch, Smith is a graduate of Antioch High and was on the varsity teams for both cross country and track. She was track and field team captain in her freshman year. She was the starter for the 4×100 relay team, but her specialty was the 200-meter. They wouldn’t let her run the hurdles, as she wanted, out of fear of getting hurt and not being able to be the relay team’s starter. But Smith got her chance to deal with hurdles, later in her career.

“I got my running from my dad. He was a runner. I’m an Army brat and he would enter me in all the kids’ mile runs, over by the fairgrounds,” Smith shared. “Tom Torlakson was my cross-country coach. We always participated in the Kiwanis Club’s Holiday Run.”

She still loves to run and runs around Contra Loma at least once a week.

Smith attended Marsh Elementary “when Mr. Reed was principal,” she shared. She then attended Antioch   Junior High, when it had 7th, 8th and 9th grades, before it became the middle school. Smith continued the family tradition of attending Antioch High, “the home of the Panthers”, she said, proudly.

Her favorite subjects in high school were home ec, government and science.

“I loved being in jazz dance,” Smith said.

Health Care Career Begins

“After high school I became a nurse and fell in love with the seniors,” she shared. “I’ve always been in geriatrics, senior care.”

Smith specialized in pain management, working for a private practice doctor in Walnut Creek.

Then she became a community nurse at an assisted living facility in Brentwood.

“I just fell in love with it and knew this is the kind of nurse I was meant to be,” she said.

An LVN, for four years she was in charge of all the health care plans, assessing all the residents, supporting them in their day to day care, visiting them in the hospital, staying in contact with their doctors, and making sure their medications were correct, “to ensure a good quality of life,” said Smith.

Sonya Smith interacts with the residents.

Agemark Career Begins

She was then hired as the Assistant Director for the Agemark facility in Oakdale, California. That was short lived as she was then promoted to the Executive Director position three months later.

“I believe in the company and really believe in their values,” she shared. “So, it was really easy to jump on the team and go forward.”

“I think people in the healthcare industry get so task oriented that they forget about the person,” said Smith. “Our families, our residents have stories to share. They’ve been successful. We have veterans. They have done so much. We don’t see them as their diagnosis. We focus on the residents and the staff, as family.”

“That’s why I’m always here,” she said with a laugh.

Then, this year, she was offered the position at TreVista Antioch and began as Executive Director at the beginning of September.

Agemark, Owner of TreVista

The owner of TreVista is Agemark, based in Orinda. They currently own 21 properties, but they’re getting ready to break ground on five more properties.

The company’s first facility was in Vancouver, Washington. They have another location in Nebraska which is a renovated 1940’s hotel.

“It’s like a flash into the past,” Smith stated. “It’s so cool.”

“That’s what I love about AgeMark. They invest in their properties and some are original landmarks,” she said. “They save the buildings, rehab and give them a facelift and bring new life to them.”

They’re now coast to coast with another location in Maryland.

“It’s a smaller company in the industry, with     regards to the number of locations they own,” Smith shared. “We stay local and our philosophy is that we treat everyone like family. All of our facilities are intimate.”

Her daily responsibilities include ensuring her team provides their residents with the best quality of life. That includes their care needs, their dietary needs and most importantly, their social stimulation needs.

“We have happy hour, we go to the casinos, we go to the movies, we take them shopping. We let them try new things, like going to the beach, when weather permits,” Smith added.

There are over 80 staff members at the Antioch location, including her management team and line staff: servers, care givers, housekeeping and maintenance.

One of her managers is also the head chef, offering home-made, nutritional meals.

“You gotta have that home-style cooking, of course on the healthier side,” Smith said with a laugh.

“With our wellness department we also have two other nurses on staff to address the care needs of our residents,” she continued.

“I’m on the floor all the time. We have a resident council with regular meetings, which I attend when I’m invited in,” Smith said. “I think it’s important to be on the floor, to be visible. It goes back to our philosophy. Engaged in conversation, welcoming them.”

TreVista Antioch also has a dementia support unit, known as memory care.

TreVista Antioch is located on Lone Tree Way across from Sutter Delta Medical Center.

Community Involvement

Smith wants to help her residents enjoy their lives.

“We have one lady who wanted to ride a motorcycle. So, we made that happen,” she said. “That’s why I like working with Mary Chapman of An Elderly Wish Foundation. We sponsor their annual fundraising dinner.”

TreVista is also a member of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce as Silver Sponsors of the local business organization. Smith plans to be more involved, first as an Ambassador, then hopefully as a member of the board of directors.

“Now that I’m local, I really want to help with the community events, including the parades in downtown,” she said. “Our location in Oakdale won the Most Inspirational Float of the Oakdale Rodeo Parade.”

On the Personal Side

Smith is a big supporter of veterans and the military. Her son is a Marine serving as a diesel mechanic with one deployment under his belt, and her dad served 26 years in the Army and was a Captain in the infantry.

Her daughter is a cheerleader and is currently in high school.

For the Future

TreVista is in the process of adding a bistro where residents can grab a coffee or snack, plus a movie theater for residents to enjoy that kind of experience.

Soon they will become more high profile in the community

“My whole focus is to share our residents’ stories. They’ve had wonderful lives and want to invest that back into the community,” Smith said.

“The stereotype of what assisted living is, it’s not a place to go until you die. The misconception is that it’s the place where you’ve given up on life. But, it’s actually a new beginning. We’ve evolved because we know our residents need a support system in place. We get referred to as a standing cruise ship, where people go to live life.”

“We’re here to promote a healthy lifestyle, with the support and care to meet each individual resident’s needs,” she concluded.

To learn more about TreVista Antioch visit their website at and their Facebook page, or call (925) 470-3395 to set up a tour. They’re located at 3950 Lone Tree Way in Antioch across from Sutter Delta Medical Center.

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Bay Area Lifeline Nursing training school opens in Antioch

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Located in the heart of Antioch, Bay Area Lifeline Nursing is a Nursing Assistant and Home Health aide training school. Our goal is to help change lives within the community one heartbeat at a time.

We prepare our students for the California Health Department Certification for Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides. We also offer CEU (Continuing Education Units) and CPR classes.

Our instructors are highly experienced nurses with backgrounds from various healthcare settings including nursing education.

We offer an accelerated 21-day program to complete the Nursing Assistant Training and get you ready for the board examination and certification.

Certified Nursing Assistants are currently in high demand in health care facilities such as hospitals, nursing and convalescent homes, assisted living facilities, doctors offices, rehabilitation facilities, group homes, and in-home settings.

The California Health department requires periodic continued education units by every certified nursing assistant for certification renewal. Bay Area Lifeline Nursing offers courses to meet these requirements.

Let BALN help you start a new lifestyle with better job opportunities in California. They’re located at 3501 Lone Tree Way, Suite 1 in Antioch. For more information call (925) 839-7279, email or visit

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Rivertown: Linda Johnson Photography transforms into photo rental studio

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Studio 510 on W. Third Street in Antioch. Photo by Linda Johnson.

One of downtown Antioch’s longest staples has evolved. The city’s most famous photographer, Linda Johnson, is now providing a platform for other artists to shine by transforming her   business into a rental studio.

For the first time in 32 years, the sign in front of her storefront studio no longer says “Linda Johnson Photography” with her signature oval logo. It now reads “Studio 510”.

Photographer Tish Wetzel works with a client at Studio 510. Photo by Linda Johnson.

Rental of the studio includes use of the strobe lighting system and the window light shooting. Photographers also have access to the salesroom, digital projector, several backgrounds – along with many cool props. Additionally, they can put their logo on the door and one of their masterpieces on display in the gallery. Furthermore, there is a vast number of great outdoor shooting areas within a one-block radius of the studio in Antioch’s Historic Rivertown District.

Johnson wants to continue to provide a place for the local families to come for professional service with skilled, motivated and educated photographers that are driven to be the best.

“It’s important to choose a photographer that is licensed and insured,” she shared. “A photographer that will work in the best interest of the clients by offering a pre-portrait consultation where the clients can collaborate creative ideas with the photographer, go over products and services and build the trust that’s needed to tell their story through the art of photography”.

The photographer can provide signed releases, so the client has usage rights to the images. The clients should ask for model releases, so they know how the photographer is going to use their images and what the clients’ rights are for paying for work that was created for hire.

Linda lives primarily in Sedona, AZ, but offers mentoring to those that are interested when she is available in the summer months to teach technique, image quality, pricing, selling, marketing, portrait staging, lighting and posing. She enjoys helping photographers, wants to continue the respect in the industry and gain support from the community for the photographers.

“My goal is to help others get established at a low monthly cost like it was done for me at the beginning of my career,” Johnson said. “I feel that working in the studio presents a more professional image and provides an environment which will set a higher vibration and the energy to create better work, more enthusiasm and in turn satisfied clients.”

The studio is located at 510 W. Third Street in Rivertown, historic downtown Antioch.

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