Archive for the ‘Children & Families’ Category

Back to School event at HIMC Barber Studio in Antioch offers free backpacks and haircuts Sunday, July 29

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

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BREAKING NEWS: DeSaulnier reports proposed detention center “has been halted”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Screenshot of a tent city-type detention center from

Washington, DC – Today, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) issued the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it will not be moving forward with a detention center at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

“I am pleased the effort to turn Concord Naval Weapons Station into a detention facility has been halted. As we advised the Administration, the Concord Naval Weapons Station is an unsafe and inhabitable environment, and to propose housing almost 50,000 people there was both dangerous and immoral. We fought this proposal along with our local officials and dedicated community and will continue to fight against the inhumane and unjust policies proposed by this Administration. It is important not to let our guard down as one tweet can change things.”

Congressman DeSaulnier voiced concerns to the Administration about creating a detention facility on Concord Naval Weapons Station and led an effort of California Members in asking for the release of a proposal identifying Concord Naval Weapons Station as a possible detention site. News of Concord making the list of proposed facilities first broke in Time Magazine and Congressman DeSaulnier immediately contacted local officials to work with them to fight this effort. He also held a Facebook town hall to answer questions from area residents.

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Former Concord Naval Weapons station possible site for 47,000 immigrant detention center

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

The former Concord Naval Weapons Station. Photo by

By Allen Payton

It was revealed on Friday that according to a copy of a draft memo obtained by TIME, the U.S. Navy is considering establishing a detention center for up to 47,000 illegal immigrants at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. It would be one of four remote bases in California, including at Camp Pendleton, as well as Alabama and Arizona as part of the Trump Administration’s new zero tolerance policy of prosecuting and detaining all those who cross our border illegally, even for the first time.

The immigrants, including families with children, would remain in a “temporary and austere” tent city as the Navy memo describes it, according to the TIME article, until their court hearing, including those seeking asylum. The estimated cost to construct all of the facilities would be $233 million.

It’s not clear where the facility would be located on the former weapons station site. The land south of Highway 4 is now labeled the Concord Reuse Project and includes plans for as many as 12,000 homes in four transit villages, elementary school, office park and open space, with the 500-acre first phase by Lennar Urban planned for 4,400 homes. Attempts to reach Guy Bjerke, Concord’s Director of Community Reuse Planning for more details, were unsuccessful.

Concord Reuse Plan for the former Naval Weapons Station land south of Highway 4.

In the Executive Order he signed on Wednesday banning the separation of families apprehended at the border for crossing illegally, President Trump stated “The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary (of Homeland Security), upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law.”

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA11) whose district includes Concord, released a statement on Friday regarding the proposed detention center.

“STOP! The Administration needs to take a time out,” he stated. “This is no way to effectuate intelligent immigration policy, including for those seeking asylum. This is absolute madness and I oppose it wholeheartedly. If the Administration wants to have a rational dialogue about fixing our immigration system, I am happy to do that, but making up immigration policy on the fly is just wrong. We will fight this in every way we can.”

In addition, Margarget Hanlon Gradie, Executive Director of the Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council, released the following statement on Friday opposing the proposed detention center.

“Working families oppose the proposal to jail asylum seekers anywhere in Concord, Contra Costa County, or America.

“We have worked for a dozen years to create a new vision for the Concord Naval Weapons Station that brings benefits to our community — not prisons.  We believe this land – the public’s land, belonging to the people of Concord – should be used for schools, hospitals, affordable homes and good jobs, not the criminal abuse of human rights.

We stand with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier and other elected leaders in their call to reject cynical political posturing. Our federal government needs to restore DACA for our Dreamers and create a path to citizenship in a functional immigration system that supports workers’ rights, family reunification, and the needs of local and global economies.”

Screenshot of a tent city-type detention center from

Anna Roth, Director of Contra Costa Health Services also released a politically-charged statement on Friday regarding the proposed detention center.

“Contra Costa Health Services learned through media reports on Friday that the former Concord Naval Weapons Station may soon be used as a detention facility for as many as 47,000 undocumented immigrants.

As principle guardian of public health in Contra Costa County, charged with protecting all people who live here, Contra Costa Health Services condemns this dangerous, immoral proposal – not just the location of this facility, but its existence.

Whether the despicable practice of caging young children separately from their parents continues or family members are imprisoned together, there is no place in Contra Costa or any civilized society for these types of facilities.

We know as health professionals the irrevocable harm caused by family separation, a trauma that leads to higher incidence of addiction, mental illness and chronic disease among survivors. The consequences to the health of prisoners, particularly children, are not hard to predict.

The health impacts of institutional violence against immigrants also extend to residents of our county. As Health Services Director, I hear from patients and employees every day who are under duress because of recent immigration practices.

Many Contra Costa residents live in fear, documented and otherwise. Patients miss appointments because they’re afraid ICE will be waiting for them in the doctor’s office.

This climate of fear adversely affects our community’s health, and would only worsen with this detention facility pitched in the center of our county. For the health of all Contra Costans we demand that a detention camp not be located in our county.

Furthermore, we call for an immediate end to the practice of imprisoning undocumented immigrants, particularly children.”


Anna M. Roth RN, MS, MPH Director | Contra Costa Health Services”

Immigrants who cross the U.S. border illegally and are detained awaiting their court hearing, are part of a backlog of 700,000 immigration court cases according to a report by Mother Jones, including those seeking asylum. But, according to a Washington Times article, the backlog is closer to one million cases. “James McHenry, the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which handles immigration cases, said Tuesday that the backlog of active cases is over 692,000 and that the courts have an additional 330,000 cases that have been put into ‘administrative closure,’ but that are still before the courts.”

The asylum process takes more time, causing the immigrants to remain in detention longer, which can be extended further if they arrive without documentation. (See requirements for being granted asylum). In order to seek asylum it must be done in the U.S., including at a port of entry, an embassy or consulate in the immigrant’s home country, or in another country, such as Mexico.

Those seeking asylum cannot work while they await the decision by the government until after 150 days have passed, according to information on the U.S.  Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website:

“You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum. You may apply for employment authorization if: 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND No decision has been made on your application.

According to a 2016 report by then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson during the final year of the Obama Administration, there has been an increase in families from Central America crossing the border illegally and being apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

“Unaccompanied children and families have presented new challenges in our immigration system,” he stated.

Those figures show an increase from 15,000 families crossing illegally in 2013 to almost 78,000 in 2016.

The first time an immigrant crosses illegally they are charged with a misdemeanor. Each subsequent illegal crossing it is a felony. Previously, the parents of those crossing as families for the first time have been apprehended, cited and released, pending their court hearing. But, many of them never appeared for their court date. The Trump Administration, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new zero tolerance policy, requires the arrest and detention of even those who cross the border illegally for the first time.

According to the press release by the Department of Justice, the “policy comes as the Department of Homeland Security reported a 203 percent increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018, and a 37 percent increase from February 2018 to March 2018—the largest month-to-month increase since 2011.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration Statistics Yearbook for 2016, each year, on average the U.S. allows in one million foreign nationals who are granted lawful permanent residence (i.e. immigrants who receive a ‘green card’), admitted as temporary nonimmigrants, granted asylum or refugee status, or are naturalized.”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Contra Costa DA’s Office partners with ASK and Brady Center for Gun Safety campaign

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is committed to preventing gun violence in our communities and educating youth about the dangers and consequences of gun possession. This month, the District Attorney’s Office is collaborating with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics in the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Gun Safety Campaign to educate parents and children about gun safety.

Nationwide, approximately 1.7 million youth live in a home with an unlocked, loaded gun. More than one in five U.S. teenagers (ages 14 to 17) report having witnessed a shooting, and an average of seven children and teens under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day. The ASK campaign is a nationwide effort which includes numerous leading national organizations, including education, healthcare, and law enforcement groups who are dedicated to stopping gun violence in America. 

We must address the growing trends of gun violence, not only in our schools but on our streets and in our homes. Common sense gun safety laws do work along with educating parents and guardians on how they can best protect their children at home. My office will continue to partner with law enforcement, our schools, and our community to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our kids safe and to prevent further gun violence,” stated District Attorney Diana Becton.

In honor of the annual summer “ASK Day” kickoff this week, representatives from the District Attorney’s Office will host tables at the Farmers’ Markets in Pittsburg and Martinez on Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th to provide the community with information about the risks associated with unsafely stored guns in their homes.

In partnership with the Contra Costa County Probation Department, the District Attorney’s Office will continue to teach the Gun Information for Teens (“GIFT”) Program to youth throughout the county. In 2012, the GIFT Program started as an initial pilot to educate youth about gun violence and prevention, which focused on the intersection between gangs, guns, drugs and youth in our county. The GIFT Program expanded in 2015 remains an important tool for our office to empower students to protect themselves and their communities from gun violence. Representatives from the District Attorney’s Office and Probation Department currently teach this 6-course anti-violence curriculum to approximately 1,000 students each year.

All school district administrators are encouraged to join this collaborative effort to keep our schools and neighborhoods safe; to schedule the GIFT Program at your school, please contact Deputy District Laura Delehunt at Courses will be tailored to address the specific needs at your school site and will provide students with valuable skills to make positive choices.

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The Learning Experience® Opens Academy of Early Education in Antioch

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

The Learning Experience’s new location in Antioch, near Mel’s Diner, Staples and Walmart. Photo by Allen Payton

First-time franchisee brings nationally-recognized childcare, enrichment programs and early education to toddlers and preschoolers in community 

The Learning Experience, one of the country’s fastest-growing Academies of Early Education, is pleased to announce the opening of its newest center at 4831 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, California.

The Learning Experience’s center in Antioch, which is now enrolling for summer camp for preschool and school age children and offering private tours for families, provides childcare, enrichment programs, and early education for children from six weeks to six years of age. Its all-inclusive curriculum and programs include phonics, mathematics, science, foreign language, yoga, and a philanthropy program that teaches children the value of kindness and generosity.

The independent franchise location in Antioch is owned by Rajya Ponnaluri, a first-time franchise owner who will employ over 30 teachers and staff members to serve upwards of 180 children in the community.

“The Learning Experience provides the perfect balance of owning a small business and having the support of a nationally-recognized franchise brand with a proven track record of success,” said Ponnaluri. “I am thrilled to bring such an outstanding curriculum to the little citizens of our surrounding communities.”

The Learning Experience’s proprietary Learning Experience Academic Program (L.E.A.P.®) curriculum and enrichment programs were developed through more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education. Its early literacy programs have 9 out of 10 children reading before Kindergarten, and its unique philanthropy curriculum was created in partnership with Make-A-Wish®.

The center in Antioch marks the franchise’s first location in San Francisco area, and fourth location in California. The Learning Experience is ranked no. 79 on Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500 and has over 220 centers across the country serving more than 25,000 toddlers and preschoolers with childcare, enrichment programs, and early education. The franchise also has over 100 locations currently in development in select markets nationwide.

For more information about The Learning Experience center in Antioch, please visit

About The Learning Experience®

The Learning Experience ( is one of the nation’s fastest-growing Academies of Early Education for children ages six weeks to six years old. With a greater national emphasis on educational development during the most crucial years of a child’s growth, The Learning Experience places a prominent focus on programs that advance scholastic preparation. The Learning Experience prepares children academically and socially via innovative scholastic and enrichment programs such as the L.E.A.P.® curriculum, a cutting-edge proprietary approach to learning which has 9 out of 10 of its children entering Kindergarten already reading. To complement the academic curriculum, The Learning Experience utilizes various enrichment programs crucial to advancing learning and overall balance, such as philanthropy, Yippee 4 Yoga™, Music 4 Me®, Movin’ N Groovin’®, manners and etiquette, and foreign language.

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Family Friendly Comedy Show in Brentwood June 30 includes Antioch comedian

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Fun and laughter for the entire family

Finally, a comedy show that caters to the entire family. The Family Friendly Comedy Show, in Brentwood on Saturday, June 30, will be a night filled with food, fun and laughter.

Headlining will be Donald Lacy from BET’s ComicView and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, Featuring G. King one of the nation’s funniest and fastest rising comedians, Special Guest Jay Rich straight off the Paul Mooney & Friends Tour, Hosted by Comedian and Award-Winning Actor of Stage and Screen Lenard Jackson from Antioch. Music provided by DJ Oasis.

Saturday June 30, 2018, 8pm doors open at 7pm. Admission $20. at Brentwood Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 757 First Street in Brentwood. Brought to you by Rick Sullivan & C.O.G.H. This is a Rick Sullivan Production.

Producer and Promoter Rick Sullivan believes that there is a desire for comedy shows that cater to the entire family and decided to fill that void. Now parents and kids can come out and enjoy a comedy event together.

For the full line up and tickets for this event, please visit: or contact Rick Sullivan at 510.228.7038. Food and beverages will be available to purchase at the show.

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Antioch Family Fair at Somersville Towne Center Saturday, June 16

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

There will be a petting zoo and pony rides at the Antioch Family Fair on June 16th this year.

We found a great vendor last minute, with a huge petting zoo that has miniature horses, baby cows, lamas, and all kinds of adorable animals. The ponies and all the animals are loved and well cared for and enjoy being around kids and families.

This great event just got so much better. In addition to the pony rides and petting zoo, don’t miss laser tag, bounce house, game truck, vendor booths, and live performances and entertainment all day.

Somersville Towne Center is located at 2550 Somersville Road in Antioch. For more information visit


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Nationwide Operation Broken Heart results in online child exploitation arrests in county

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Investigators with the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recently participated in the nationwide Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide effort to investigate individuals exploiting children on the internet. Throughout March, April and May, the team conducted investigations of subjects who distributed child pornography over the internet and focused on individuals traveling to Contra Costa County to meet minors to engage in sexual activity.

In addition to the proactive investigations the ICAC team participated in, a significant school outreach program was also undertaken to teach parents and students about the risks associated with smartphones and social media. During the three-month period, investigators and prosecutors delivered presentations at six schools, reaching 140 parents and over 300 students. During the 2017/2018 school year, the ICAC task force has delivered presentations to over 300 parents and over 2,800 students in Contra Costa County.

The three-month nation-wide operation by the ICAC Task Force Program resulted in the arrests of 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders.

“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”

Some notable arrests and investigations conducted during Operation Broken Heart include:

-On April 6, 2018, investigators arrested Russell Meirose of Milpitas, California. Meirose was arrested after chatting online with someone he believed to be a 13-year old girl and enticing her to meet for sex. Meirose was arrested at a hotel in Pleasanton after he rented a room for the girl and himself. The girl he was talking to was actually an undercover police officer. Meirose has been charged with multiple felonies including attempted lewd acts with a child and arranging to meet a minor for sex.

-On April 19, 2018, investigators arrested Andrew Lund, a fourth grade teacher and school supervisor at Glen Cove Elementary school in Vallejo. Lund was arrested after it was determined he was sending harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor and attempting to arrange a meeting with that 14-year-old girl for sex. In reality, Lund was chatting with an undercover police officer. When investigators searched his house in Vallejo, they located child pornography on Lund’s cell phone. Lund has been charged with possession of child pornography and sending harmful material to a minor, among other charges.

In conjunction with Operation Broken Heart, on May 25, 2018, which is nationally recognized as Missing Children’s Day, the ICAC task force executed three search warrants in Contra Costa County, targeting offenders distributing child pornography.

-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Contra Costa FBI Safe Streets Task Force, San Ramon Police Department, United States Secret Service, San Jose Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Contra Costa County Probation Department served a search warrant in the 1200 block of Elmwood Drive in Walnut Creek. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.

-Investigators with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in the 200 block of Hillside Ave in Antioch. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and arrested Raymond Myers for possession of child pornography. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.

-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, Child Exploitation Unit, served a search warrant on Brush Creek Drive in Pittsburg. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.

The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.

Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact Deputy District Attorney Lauren Whalen at or Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe at

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