Archive for the ‘Children & Families’ Category

Brentwood woman arrested at Antioch motel, charged with murder for death of her 2-year-old child from fentanyl intoxication

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

By Brentwood Police Department

It was the call that every officer dreads to hear…

On September 20, 2020, at around 2:54 AM, Brentwood officers responded to a residence in the 50 block of Havenwood Ave. to investigate a report of an unresponsive 2 year-old child, later identified as Jasani Kerry. His mother, 22-year-old Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, had found him unresponsive and telephoned emergency personnel.

When officers and emergency personnel arrived on scene, they performed CPR for several minutes, however, Jasani was ultimately declared deceased. The preliminary investigation revealed drug paraphernalia and illicit drugs that later tested positive for fentanyl in the presence of Jasani preceding his death. Weeks later, a Contra Costa County Coroner’s pathologist determined Jasani’s cause of death was due to acute fentanyl intoxication.

Following an extensive follow-up investigation, Brentwood investigators prepared an arrest warrant for Genesis charging her with murder.

On October 30, 2020 at around 3:30 PM, investigators located Genesis at the Comfort Inn Hotel located at 2436 Mahogany Way in Antioch and took her into custody without incident. Genesis was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility on the outstanding arrest warrant.

Yesterday the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office formally charged Genesis with second-degree murder, possession of narcotics for sale, and child abuse resulting in death. Genesis is being held on $1.1 million dollar bail.

Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends who have been affected by this tragedy. The loss of any child is difficult for anyone to bear; we hope the arrest in this case can bring some peace to those affected.

Rest in peace Jasani.

Arraignment Scheduled For November 18

Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Scott Alonso issued the following about the case Thursday morning:

Earlier this week, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges against Genesis Barrera-Galdamez (22-year-old resident of Brentwood) for the death of her two-year-old son, Jasani Kerry, Jr. Barrera-Galdamez was also charged with felony child abuse and felony possession of Fentanyl to sell. Two enhancements were also filed tied to the child abuse charge against the defendant: willful harm causing injury and great bodily injury resulting in brain damage and paralysis. The young child consumed fentanyl under the care of Barrera-Galdamez. The child’s autopsy report later ruled the toddler’s death was caused by Acute Fentanyl Toxicity.

Brentwood Police Department investigated the case and presented it to our Office for filing. Homicide Unit Supervisor Derek Butts reviewed the investigation and filed the charges listed above.

“While the Defendant did not intend that her son Jasani die, the evidence shows that she was aware her Fentanyl possession and use was dangerous to human life and despite this knowledge, exposed Jasani to the danger which ultimately led to his death, stated Deputy District Attorney Butts. “Well known amongst abusers, Fentanyl is an exceptionally toxic and dangerous substance.  The act of exposing people to or supplying others with Fentanyl, if death results, can lead to murder charges.”

In the early morning hours of September 20, the defendant called police and stated her son was not breathing and non-responsive. She told the police that her son appeared blue and his body was very cold. CPR performed at the scene by Brentwood Police Officers and continued by American Medical Response personnel for over 30 minutes did not revive the boy. Officers at the scene located multiple items of drug paraphernalia on and around the bed the Defendant shared with Jasani, including 13 grams of powdered Fentanyl, baggies and tin foil pieces containing Fentanyl residue and a torch lighter.

After Jasani’s death, Barrera-Galdamez attempted to sell Fentanyl to multiple parties. Brentwood Police Department officers obtained a warrant for the arrest of the defendant on October 29th. The following day, Barrera-Galdamez was arrested at the Comfort Inn in Antioch, where she was engaging in Fentanyl sales.

Barrera-Galdamez made her first appearance in court yesterday and she remains in custody with bail set at $1,100,000. Her arraignment on the charges was set for November 18th.

Case information: People v. Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, Docket Number 04-200626-0.

 

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County health officials offer guidance on celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos safely

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Joint Statement by Bay Area Health Officers to prevent spreading COVID-19 among family and friends

Bay Area health officials remind residents that many commonly celebrated Halloween and Día de Los Muertos activities carry high risk for spreading COVID-19. Focusing on decorations, limiting activities to the people you live with, and virtual costume parties or contests will help keep our communities safe this season, especially our children. Together, we all need to do as much as we can to protect ourselves and those around us.

For instance, trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity, because it increases contact with people outside of your household who may not be as careful about COVID-19 prevention. Parties are high-risk because mixing among people who don’t live in the same home introduces more opportunities for the virus to pass from one person to another. Bay Area contact tracing has shown that gathering and mixing are key contributors to infection.

These holidays are no different than the rest of the year when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you feel sick or have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19; wear a face covering whenever you leave home; and keep your distance from others (even relatives) who don’t live in your household, and remember that being outside is safer than being inside, especially in combination with face covering and keeping your distance. Consider using a themed cloth mask, as a costume mask is not a substitute. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.

Contra Costa County residents are reminded that local and State Health Officer Orders are still in effect. Halloween gatherings, Día de los Muertos celebrations, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted unless they are conducted in compliance with local and State Health Orders.

Local health officials highly recommend community members participate in lower risk activities to celebrate Halloween and Día de Los Muertos this year:

LOWER RISK: Stay home, keep it small

  • Celebrating Halloween traditions like carving pumpkins or a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in your home.
  • Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, while wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others.
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at least 6 feet apart while wearing masks, with a very small group of neighbors or friends. Fewer people with more distance is safer.
  • Having a virtual costume contest.
  • Dressing up your house, apartment, living space, yard or car with Halloween decoration or decorating homes with images and objects to honor deceased loved ones.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes with members of your household.
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed.
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased.
  • Participating in vehicle-based gatherings that comply with state and local guidance like drive-in movies and drive-through attractions, or car/bike parades where participants do not leave their vehicles.
  • Avoid driving in areas where there are many pedestrians.
  • Spectators should watch from their homes or yards and not gather with people they do not live with.

MODERATE RISK: If you must

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to physically distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • Ensure everyone is wearing an appropriate face covering and maintaining a physical distance from others.
  • Everyone participating should bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently AND wash their hands immediately after coming home.
  • Candy shouldn’t be eaten while outside the home because that would require both removing the face mask and touching wrappers.
  • Having a very small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade or movie night where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart and are wearing masks. Fewer people with more distance is safer.
  • Enjoying themed outdoor dining that complies with state and local guidance or takeout.

HIGHER RISK: Please avoid

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door. Although this activity is outdoors, it is higher risk because it brings multiple people from different households together.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19. Doing so can bring COVID-19 into the area and threaten the residents’ lives.
  • If trick-or-treating is occurring in your neighborhood and you are at home and do not want to be disturbed, you may want to post a sign or turn off your porch light.

VERY HIGH RISK: Not permitted by State and Local Orders

  • Attending a crowded party held indoors or outdoors. Large gatherings, even if they are outdoors, are high risk for spreading COVID-19 and are associated with many cases throughout the Bay Area.
  • Sharing, eating, drinking, speaking loudly or singing amongst others outside of your household.
  • Haunted houses or indoor mazes
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.

To further protect yourself and your loved ones, be sure to monitor yourself during the 14 days after these holidays and pay particular attention from days 3 – 7 after the holidays when you are most likely to develop symptoms. If you don’t feel well or you learn someone you had close contact with tested positive, get tested immediately and stay home until your appointment and while you wait for your results.

To learn more about symptoms and testing, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

 

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County’s Public Health Nursing Car Seat Project awarded grant for child safety program

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Contra Costa Health Services’ Public Health Nursing Car Seat Project will help parents and caregivers keep their children as safe as possible in the car thanks to a $83,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

The one-year grant from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021 funds a car seat education program that encourages the proper installation and use of child safety seats.

The grant funds the following activities:

  • One-on-one/virtual appointments to inspect and install car seats.
  • Child safety seat education classes for parents and caregivers.
  • Child safety seats at no-cost to nursing case management clients and low-income families following education classes.
  • Promote safety seat recycling and importance of discarding used and expired car seats
  • Work with community partners to promote child passenger safety education.

“The Public Health Nursing Program in Contra Costa County serves vulnerable, low-income families who are impacted daily by health inequities,” said Program Manager Michelle Rivero, Program. “Our families struggle with meeting the basic needs of the children. Rent, food, clothing all become priorities over car seats, and many of our families use old, expired car seats. This program is a much-needed resource to help keep children safe.”

From CA Office of Traffic Safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of car seats are misused.

“Car seats save lives,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Keeping children safe in a vehicle is as important as ever, and funding for car seat programs play a vital role in ensuring the proper use of child safety seats.”

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To find the right car seat for your child, click here.

For more information contact Rivero at (925) 608-5119 or Child Passenger Safety Technician, Jessica Recinos, at (925) 532-2152.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Drive-Thru Trick or Treat at Golden Hills Community Church Brentwood campus Saturday evening

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

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Free Holy Eve Community Drive-Through Festival in Antioch Saturday Oct. 31

Monday, October 26th, 2020

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Antioch Councilwoman to be panelist for virtual Sexual and Domestic Violence Town Hall Saturday

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Hosted by The Yellow Heart Committee

Moderators include Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, NBC Bay Area’s Candice Nguyen

Citizens will have opportunity to be a party to political leaders discussing sexual assault prevention and survivor empowerment

Zoom – This town hall is to allow survivors, politicians, and non-profit leaders to engage and brainstorm tangible policy changes and actions to support survivors. We look forward to holding a space to hear potent testimonies of the struggles victims have endured post attack, to listen to the demands of victims, and to address the flaws in our criminal justice system. This will be a platform for a conversation and a chance for leaders to reflect on the direct impact they could have on victims’ lives through their policy decisions.

“I knew we needed to get the people who can make change happen in the same room,” said The Yellow Heart Committee Founder N’dea Johnson. “Getting people together, especially during COVID, is never easy. But the work we’re doing, and the education we’re spreading, it’s just too important to wait.”

The virtual town hall is scheduled for October 17th, 2020 at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST. It consists of three panels: Urgency of the Issue, Reimagining Support for Survivors, and Addressing Necessary Policy Changes. In addition, there will be testimonials from survivors, and a panel of political figures. They are listed below.

Speakers:

US Congressman Eric Swalwell

US Congressman Mike Thompson

CA State Assemblymember Rob Bonta

CA State Assemblymember Shirley Weber

Panelists:

CA State Assemblymember Tim Grayson

SC State House Candidate Dr. Jermaine Johnson

Antioch City Council Member Monica Wilson

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan

President of Alliance For Hope International Casey Gwinn

CEO of Love Never Fails Vanessa Russell

President of SF Pride Carolyn Wysinger

Moderators

CA State Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan

NBC Investigative Reporter and Survivor Candice Nguyen

Suisun City Vice Mayor Wanda Williams

Event Details:

What: Virtual Zoom Town Hall

When: Saturday, October 17, 2020

Where: Zoom. Register Here: https://bit.ly/3mJ9yiv

For any additional information, please contact us at yellowheartcommittee@gmail.com

The Yellow Heart Committee is an organization that is mobilizing to help survivors of trauma through policy making and community outreach. For more information, please visit and get involved at https://www.yellowheartcommittee.com/

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Wright campaign mailer falsely attacks Thorpe claiming he’s a deadbeat dad

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Back of Wright’s attack mailer against Thorpe. Courtesy of Wright’s campaign for mayor.

Thorpe says he does pay his child support; reveals second child, a son; calls attack “sickening and disgusting”

County Child Services confirms he’s current with his child support payments, had it reduced in 2016.

By Allen Payton

In a mailer received by voters paid for and sent out by Mayor Sean Wright’s re-election campaign beginning on Saturday, it claims his opponent and fellow Councilmember Lamar Thorpe has failed to pay child support, among other attacks, including an old one about a sexual-related incident between Thorpe and his then, girlfriend in college, which the Herald reported on in 2014 and 2016.

However, as was written in the latter article, “it is clear what he was accused of never happened. He was still punished for it, in an on-campus disciplinary process. While it took him a year, Thorpe won his appeal, and his record was expunged.”

Front of Wright’s attack mailer against Thorpe. Courtesy of Wright’s campaign for mayor.

On one side of the mailer it shows photos of a variety of women with the message “We are daughters, mothers and grandmothers…Let us tell you why we cannot support Lamar Thorpe for Mayor.”

On the other side, along with other accusations the mailer reads, “Lamar Thorpe doesn’t pay his child support,” and references in small type at the bottom two cases in Contra Costa Superior Court, one in 2015 and another in 2016.

The details in the mailer referencing the two court cases for Thorpe’s child support.

Thorpe Responds

When reached for comment Thorpe said, “It’s a lie. The first court case was to establish child support. The second was to reduce the amount of child support that I paid, because I overpaid.”

Asked if it was for his daughter who he is seen with regularly in photos and videos on Facebook and in public, Thorpe responded, “No, it’s for my son. But I’m not going beyond that because it’s nobody’s business. It has nothing to do with being on the council and nothing to do with being mayor.”

“When I learned I had a son, I started paying child support,” he stated. That was six years ago, in 2014.

“But, to call me a deadbeat dad is ridiculous,” he continued. “I provide for my son and I provide for my daughter,” adding that he’s “sending her to private school.”

“The irony is, recently the state sent me back about $3,000 because I had overpaid,” Thorpe shared.

“It’s sickening and disgusting,” he continued and claims it has a tinge of racism included.

“Every stereotype of a black man that you can find is in that mailer,” Thorpe stated.  “Deadbeat dad, sexual predator and a lazy Black man,” referring to a photo of him relaxing that was posted on his Facebook page.

Asked if he’s all current with his child support Thorpe responded, “it comes out automatically. It’s taken out of both my city stipend and my employment check. I knew I was overpaying. But that’s fine. That’s why the state refunded me, recently.”

Thorpe Child Support Judgement 2015. Redactions and document provided by Lamar Thorpe.

Both Thorpe and Wright Asked to Provide Documents to Support Their Claims

Both Thorpe and Wright were asked if they had copies of the documents from the two court cases regarding the child support issue to support their claims. The Wright campaign provided a background report on Thorpe from Peoplefinders.com showing the two  judgments against him. Pages from Background Check Report for Lamar A Thorpe _ Peoplefinders.com

In addition, Wright’s campaign responded via mail regarding Thorpe’s claims about the two court cases with, “this is absolutely not true. When you get the full documentation from Mr. Thorpe, you will see what these judgments really are. Attached is the background report on Mr. Thorpe in its entirety. As you can see, they are ‘judgments’ listed as such with a gavel by the word ‘judgment’. In addition, you will also see that Mr. Thorpe doesn’t pay his taxes.

We looked extensively before going out with this information … and at this location, you will find https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/1375/Services that the Dept of Child Support Services does the following:

Services

Case workers and attorneys in our office:

  • Establish court orders for paternity, child support, and medical coverage;
  • Locate the noncustodial parent and his/her assets to enforce the court order;
  • Collect and distribute support payments;
  • Maintain accounts of payments paid and due;
  • Modify court orders when appropriate; and
  • Determine and take appropriate actions to enforce court orders for child, family, spousal, and medical support.

Services not provided by Contra Costa County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS)

  • We do not legally represent either the custodial or noncustodial party’s interests. Our attorneys are not your attorneys.
  • We cannot assist with visitation or custody issues.
  • We cannot obtain divorce decrees nor represent either party in a divorce action.
  • We cannot establish or modify spousal support orders.
  • We cannot obtain or enforce restraining orders, except those orders which include child support.

To further clarify, per our research, an ‘AX – Abstract of Support Judgment’ is in essence a ‘lien’ on a noncustodial parent and his or her property for nonpayment of child support. Here’s what we have in our files about that:

Here’s a pamphlet from the San Diego Dept of Child Support Services for your review: https://famguardian.org/subjects/FamilyLaw/Divorce/SupportLiens.pdf this best explains what an Abstract of Support Judgment is. IT IS NOT AN ACTION TAKEN BY A NONCUSTODIAL PARENT TO MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS. What Mr. Thorpe is telling you is a bold-faced lie.

Furthermore, this is the form that must be completed to process an ‘Abstract of Support Judgment’ lien on the property of a noncustodial parent https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl480.pdf

AS YOU CAN SEE, THIS IS NOT A NONCUSTODIAL PARENT OPENING UP A LIEN AGAINST HIMSELF OR HIS OWN PROPERTY FOR PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT. It is someone else (likely the custodial parent) filing to place a lien for payment on Mr. Thorpe and the property he owns … to hold him accountable to making his child support payments.”

County Child Support Services Confirms Thorpe’s Claims About the Court Documents and That He is Current on Payments

However, regarding the two court cases and liens on Thorpe’s property, Danielle Torres of Contra Costa County Child Support Services said, “He is current with his balance. He is current with his child support.”

“Those are just standard liens, because he has a case opened for child support,” she continued. “We place those liens as soon as we open a case against someone, in the event they happen to accrue a balance, and if they sell or refinance their property, we are able to collect.”

“But in his case, if he has to sell or refinance his property, we won’t collect anything, because he’s current,” Torres stated.

In fact, he has a partial future payment balance of over $100.

“The second case was an amendment in which the judge ordered a reduction in his child support payments,” she explained. “The lien will remain until his son is age 18 which is standard practice.”

Thorpe Child Support Withholding Order 05-01-2015. Redactions and document provided by Lamar Thorpe.

Thorpe Provides Documents Proving First Court Case was to Establish Child Support

Thorpe sent the Herald both pages of the judge’s order from the first court case in 2015, showing it established that he had to make child support payments beginning December 2014 and the Withholding Order, dated May 1, 2015. The case took place in Merced County. Asked why, Thorpe responded, “That’s where I lived when I first moved to California. I lived with my cousin in Delhi. So, my son’s mother found me via my cousin who I stayed with as we transitioned to Antioch.” Thorpe Child Support Judgement 2015  Thorpe Child Support Withholding Order 05-01-2015

Asked about the “past-due child support – Arrears greater than 12 weeks?” listed in the Withholding Order, Thorpe explained, “It’s not based on the fact I didn’t pay. Judgments are back dated to when the original claim was made.”

While Thorpe was unable to find the documents from the 2018 court case, but the Child Services representative confirmed his claim that it was for reducing the amount of child support he had to pay.

Another Accusation by Wright Campaign

The Wright campaign then accused Thorpe of calling some of the ladies whose photos appear on the mailer and yelling at them.

When asked if that happened, Thorpe said, “I called Lori Garrow, and I was very respectful, and told her she and her husband had contributed to my campaign. I gave her my condolences for Ralph’s passing, recently. But I wanted her to hear it from me, as a man, that it was disgusting and inappropriate. She was feeling very uncomfortable. There was no need for me to yell at her.”

An effort to reach Garrow for comment was unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Wright Campaign Runs Ads With False Accusation

Screenshot of Wright’s Facebook ad attacking Thorpe. Provided by Lamar Thorpe.

Wright’s campaign is running an ad on social media from the NoLamarThorpe.com website, which shows at the bottom it’s “Paid for by Leadership for Antioch – Sean Wright For Mayor 2020 – ID# 1384338”, which includes the false claim, “Lamar Thorpe doesn’t pay his child support.” The ad also reads “and has numerous judgments against him. Now he wants to be your Mayor. See Dept of Child Services file numbers here.” The ad links to the NoLamarThorpe.com website.

7:30 PM UPDATE: The Wright campaign informed the Herald Wednesday night that they had pulled the ad as of this morning. Asked when the ad started, neither Wright nor the campaign responded.

“At the end of the day the mayor has nothing to show for the last four years,” he stated. “There are serious concerns around homelessness, police reform and the jobs and housing imbalance, and increasing funding for youth programs, once we get out of COVID.”

“He (Wright) can do whatever he wants and I’m going to continue talking to voters the right way,” Thorpe concluded.

The election is three weeks from today. Wright and Thorpe who are both completing their first terms on the council face three other candidates in the race for mayor. For the list of all candidates running for office in Antioch visit our Election 2020 page on this website.

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Antioch re-opens playgrounds following state announcement

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

Photo by City of Antioch.

Get out and play….safely!

Playgrounds begin re-opening in Antioch!!! Remember to wear masks, maintain social distance from other children, keep that hand sanitizer handy, and be mindful of all park visitors.

Playgrounds provide a multisensory experience and having them closed during the pandemic made it more challenging for youth to be active, meet other children, and spend heartwarming time with parents and family. The State of California has issued guidance and direction on the usage of outdoor playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities to support a safe environment for children and families. After reviewing the State guidelines, the City of Antioch is pleased to announce that staff is proceeding with the re-opening of playgrounds in all neighborhood and community parks. The Public Works and Recreation Departments will begin removing “closed” signage currently found at playgrounds, installing the swings that were removed for health and safety, and re-activating the regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for playgrounds.

“Play teaches social skills: sharing, cooperating and collaborating as part of a group,” says Nancy Kaiser, Parks and Recreation Director. Antioch’s parks and play areas, along with inclusive playgrounds, provide a place for all children to have an enjoyable experience within the community. “We welcome back all our parents and know that they will take the lead to ensure that kids learn and grow while playing in our parks.”

Antioch park signage directing park usage has been up since July and the State has issued seven simple steps to keep playgrounds safe, open and fun. Playground and park visitors should follow these guidelines:

  • Wear a mask; everyone 2 years and older should wear a face covering
  • Maintain social distancing – at least 6 feet – from different households; prevent crowding of children
  • Do not eat or drink in the playground area; do not share food when visiting a park
  • Wash or sanitize your hands before and after use
  • Plan and visit playgrounds at different times or days to avoid crowds
  • Stay home if you feel sick
  • Share space; limit visits to 30 minutes when other families are present

Park visitors are also reminded to put litter in its place. Use garbage cans and help park workers keep all green spaces clean and attractive for everyone’s enjoyment. Caregivers and adults that supervise children must always actively supervise each child to make sure that face coverings remain in place and social distancing is followed.

Residents are encouraged to stay connected with the City of Antioch by following the daily announcements posted on the website www.antiochca.gov. For more information about park use and the activities allowed at this time please call the Recreation Department at 925-776-3050.

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