Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

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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3rd Annual Rivertown Brews & Barbecue Cook-Off plus car show Saturday, Oct. 5

Monday, September 30th, 2019
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Woman-owned beer distributor Markstein in Antioch Celebrates 100th anniversary

Sunday, September 29th, 2019
The Budweiser Clydesdale team made an appearance pulling the beer wagon with Bob and daughter Laura Markstein along for the ride. Photos by Allen Payton

Included an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales

By Allen Payton

On Saturday, Markstein Sales Company of Antioch celebrated their 100th anniversary with a big party for 500 of their employees, customers, friends and local government, fire and safety officials.  It included an appearance by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale team and featured multiple tasting stations with decorated themes, plus a variety of food vendors.

Laura Markstein, the fourth-generation owner of the beer distributor, presided over the event and thanked all those who helped the company achieve success and its longevity.

Markstein was founded in 1919 with a horse, a wagon and six cases of beer just before the 13 years of prohibition hit. The company made it through that challenge, as well as many others, and Markstein Sales Co. now delivers over 4 million cases of world-class beers to 1,500 retailers in the Bay Area.  The company employs more than 160 people in the East Bay, supports numerous not-profit organizations and serves as a great example of success for a woman-led company in a typically male-dominated industry.

Owner Laura Markstein offered thanks to those who helped the company’s success.

Laura acknowledged her father, Bob, who was also in attendance and joined him for a ride on the beer wagon pulled by the Clydesdale team.

The company relocated to Antioch 11 years ago, as pointed out by Mayor Sean Wright during his presentation to Laura.

“Antioch truly benefited 11 years ago when Markstein chose to expand,” he said. “Laura, congratulations on 100 years and thank so much for what you do for our community.”

The company is regularly listed as one of the top woman-owned businesses in the Bay Area. The company’s offices are located at 1645 Drive In Way in Antioch. For more information visit

See more photos on the Herald Facebook page.

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Antioch Comfort Inn to celebrate first anniversary with Chamber Mixer Sept. 26

Saturday, September 21st, 2019
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Local businessman forms production company with Vegas partner to bring top-tier entertainment to East County

Friday, September 20th, 2019

First two shows in October: comedy in Antioch; the “swingin’est rock band” in Pittsburg

By Allen Payton

East County businessman George Cardinale recently formed Licata-Cardinale Productions with Las Vegas-based Michael Licata to bring top-tiered entertainment talent to the area.

“There’s no reason for people to have to drive to Oakland or San Francisco anymore to see A-list entertainment,” Cardinale said.

“We’re currently in advanced discussions to bring four to six high-level acts to the area for 2020,” Licata added. “But, first up on our schedule are two great shows to get the ball rolling and close out 2019.”

First will be New Jersey’s Bad Boy comedian, Mike Marino with special guest, Pittsburg’s own home-grown comedian, Johnny Steele, Oct. 5 at Antioch’s El Campanil Theatre. Their show is entitled “Make America Italian Again!” ( and

Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses: Oct. 26 at Pittsburg’s California Theater. This band sold out the El Campanil six years ago. ( and

George Cardinale

George Cardinale

After a successful management career at U.S. Steel, lifelong East County resident Cardinale has worked in the real estate sales and construction business for almost 50 years. The broker and owner of Cardinale Custom Realty, he started as a real estate agent in 1972, before forming Delta Bay Real Estate Company in 1974 with partners.

Then in 1976 he became a partner in Garrow & Cardinale Construction Company, which built several hundred homes in East County. Finally, in 1990 he formed the Cardinale Company, a currently active real estate company focused on land and commercial brokerage firm working with landowners and prominent new home developers.

Cardinale wants to give back to the community where he’s had his success. Due to his passion for the arts he is determined to bring higher quality and top tier acts to East County, to enhance the quality of life for local residents.

Michael Licata

Michael Licata

Licata has been a force in the entertainment industry for over 20 years and brings his experience as a manager, agent, drummer, writer, producer and musical director to the team. He has been involved and responsible for multimillion-dollar projects for major recording artists including Chris Brown, Blues Traveler, Plain White T’s, Ricky Martin, Drake, Ringo Starr, Rodney Jerkins, Jermaine Stewart, Lil’ Wayne, Rhino Bucket, T-Pain, Savage Garden, Rihanna, Bang Tango and many others.

Michael has performed in internationally recognized music videos, on prestigious concert stages and has been awarded 16 Platinum/Gold records.

Management: Grammy-winners Blues Traveler, Grammy-winners Plain White T’s.

Behind the Drums: Ricky Martin, Ringo Starr, Rhino Bucket, Jermaine Stewart, Bang Tango, Savage Garden, Boys Don’t Cry.

Show Producer: Jason Alexander at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

TV Creator/Executive Producer: Viacom/CMT’s ‘H2Overdrive.’

About Mike Marino

Mike Marino – affectionately known to millions of his fans worldwide as New Jersey’s Bad Boy – is one of the most loved comedians of our time. He has performed in every major comedy club, theatre, casino and event center from New York to Los Angeles and around the world. Mike has also shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business.

Marino was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He entered the entertainment industry at an early age and has studied at some of the most prestigious acting schools in New York, the Herbert Berghof Studio and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Mike has appeared in over 200 national television commercials, including many endorsements and has received a Best Actor Clio Award Nomination. He has acted in many Prime Time soaps and television shows including: As the World Turns, One Life to Live, Becker, Nikki, Frasier and Party of Five. His film credits include Crooks, Pizza with Bullets, Hangin’ in Hedo and Steven King’s Lucky Quarter and Criticsized.

Adding to his great success in film, theatre, commercials and soaps, Mike Marino began touring the world performing and selling out at countless clubs, theatres and casinos. His stand-up material ranges from cutting edge observations of everyday life to his Italian family roots; which recently spun into a T.V. pilot called “Re-Constructing Jersey”. His comedic style has landed him guest appearances on The Tonight Show as a regular sketch player, The Martin Short Show, Canada’s Comedy TV, The Boomer Show, Wild Pitch, and Hand Held Comedy Radio. A clip of Mike’s appearance on Byran Allen’s Comics Unleashed earned him over 7 million views (and counting), which has led to his current web series “Marino 2016” – an original comedy based on Mike’s road to the White House and wise guy attempt to become the first Italian American President of the United States.

In the Fall of 2008, Mike Marino was inducted into the New Jersey Comedy Hall of Fame and in 2015 he won the USO Bob Hope Comedy Award for his many performances for the military. Mike has also been featured on numerous talk shows and has hosted some of the most prestigious award shows including The Beverly Hills Film Awards, Hoboken Film Festival, Montreal Quintus Film Festival and countless corporate events. Mike has been featured in the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Canada, seven years in a row.

Mike Marino has a tongue like a razor and a heart of gold. He has the incredible ability to perform in any arena, big or small, and can cater his material for all audiences, from strictly clean to down and dirty. He has performed in hundreds of corporate functions for companies including AT&T, United Airlines, American Express, Paul Mitchell, IBM, Wella, Merrill Lynch, Sebastian Intl., Toyota, L.A.S.D., N.J. Asphalt Assoc., The City of Hope, OSIA, and the LAPD. Mike Has performed for numerous charities including Aids Project – LA, Haven House, Team earthworks, and the Eric Davis Cancer Fund. When Marino is not performing, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family on the East Coast.

For more information visit

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