Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

John Muir Health contributes to Antioch, Deer Valley High Schools’ “Safe and Sober Grad Night” celebrations

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

John Muir Health announced this week, the donation of $10,000 to local high schools across Contra Costa County. The funds will support programs and services related to the schools’ 2016 “Safe and Sober Grad Night” celebrations, which are held to honor the graduating senior class in a safe environment.

Antioch High and Deer Valley High Schools, as well as 18 other high schools each received a $500 check from John Muir Health to help finance graduation night festivities hosted by the schools, including professional entertainment such as hypnotists, magicians, karaoke, casino games and live DJs.

“As a health care provider in the community with the county’s only trauma center, we’re well aware of the dangers involved with teens driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Kacey Hansen, executive director of Trauma and Transfer Services at John Muir Health.  “This is an important time in their lives and we appreciate the efforts by local high schools to provide an appropriate environment for them to celebrate. The last place we want to see members of the class of 2016 on their graduation night is in one of our hospitals.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of John Muir Health’s trauma center, which cares for critically injured patients in Contra Costa County and parts of Solano and Marin counties. In addition to treating critical injuries, John Muir Health actively works to prevent them. Trauma physicians, nurses and staff are participants in the Every 15 Minutes program to educate high school juniors and seniors about drinking and driving and the impact their decisions have on family, friends and other members of their community. John Muir Health also participates in Beyond Violence, an intervention program for trauma patients treated at the medical center between the ages of 14-25 who are victims of intentional injuries (e.g. gunshot, knife assault) and reside in West or East Contra Costa County. Support for Safe and Sober Grad Nights is another form of injury prevention.

The other high schools receiving donations included: Acalanes High School, Alhambra High School, California High School, Campolindo High School, Clayton Valley Charter High School, College Park High School, Concord High School, El Cerrito High School, Freedom High School, Heritage High School, Las Lomas High School, Liberty High School, Miramonte High School, Monte Vista High School, Northgate High School, Pittsburg High School, San Ramon Valley High School and Ygnacio Valley High School.

About John Muir Health

John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, nearly 6,000 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County’s only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with San Ramon Regional Medical Center, UCSF Medical Center and Stanford Children’s Health to expand its capabilities, increase access to services and better serve patients. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics care.

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Antioch Mayor Harper offers good news, positive outlook, new downtown design concepts at annual State of the City lunch

Friday, June 3rd, 2016
Mayor Harper presented a design concept of townhomes on the old lumber company lot in downtown, during his annual State of the City presentation on Friday, May 27, 2016.

Mayor Harper presented a design concept of townhomes on the old lumber company lot in downtown, during his annual State of the City presentation on Friday, May 27, 2016.

By Allen Payton

At the annual State of the City lunch, hosted by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and attended by about 200 business owners and community leaders on Friday, May 27, 2016 Antioch Mayor Wade Harper shared information about the progress the city has made over the past year as well as the challenges we face.

Chamber CEO Dr. Sean Wright introduced the mayor by stating “There are many exciting things happening in Antioch and at the Chamber, as well.”

Harper then thanked the city staff and his fellow council members.

“They do a wonderful job,” he stated. “They’ve had to do more with less through the years.”

He presented a slide show covering various aspects of the city’s efforts.

The first slide stated: “Antioch has recently grown to be the second largest city in Contra Costa County, with a population of approximately 112,968 according to recent state of California estimates.

A side view design concept of the townhomes on the old lumber company site in downtown.

A side view design concept of the townhomes on the old lumber company site in downtown.

Antioch is the ‘Gateway to the Delta’ and the economic as well as geographic center of East County.

Antioch is Business and Family Friendly. We encourage businesses and families to come grow with us!”

“The city’s finances have improved,” Harper stated. “Crime has decreased. We want to keep that up.”
He also shared some downsides.

“Homelessness has become a bigger problem,” he said. “City staff is working with cross-departmental task forces. This is a real problem we’re working on.”

“We are balancing our efforts with quality of life enhancements,” Harper added. “Reducing crime has always been our top priority…reducing blight, increasing economic development.”

He spoke of the weekly reports by City Manager Steve Duran as examples of being “the most transparent.”

Harper then stated the city will be “ending the fiscal year slightly over budget by about $800,000.”

He then spoke about the reduction in crime between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of this year, that Police Chief Allan Cantando reported at a recent council meeting.

“Police services take up about 71% of the General Fund budget,” Harper stated.

Waldie Plaza event center design concept from the air.

Waldie Plaza event center design concept from the air.

Then he spoke about the use of Measure C funds.

“All of the funds…used for police services and code enforcement,” he said. “There’s no fudging on the numbers. We put the honest numbers out there.”

He spoke of the addition of one Code Enforcement Officer and Manager, and the hiring of the Blight Abatement Crew.

“It’s like the Bay Bridge,” stated Harper. “We have to keep at it.”

He spoke of “enhancing quality of life” with parks and the new “All Abilities Playground for children and families at the Prewett community park,” the new playground structure at Contra Loma Park, family campfire, Jr. Giants which includes 600 youth, Jr. Warriors with 200 youth, recreational pre-school affecting 500 children and the kids fishing derby.

Then Harper spoke about the recent improvements to Highway 4 including the interchange with Highway 160, and the new BART station that is to be ready by spring, 2018.

“Every time I drive by I get excited because I can see it getting built,” he shared. “I can see progress.”

Then he spoke about economic development advancements.

“This is the part I get excited about,” Harper said.

He then read highlights from the list of new businesses and space that has been leased up in town.

Waldie Plaza design concept from the ground.

Waldie Plaza design concept from the ground.

Harper spoke of the WalMart expansion with the new grocery section, and the addition of Hurricane Grill & Wings, the new Taco Bell at 18th and A Streets, the remodeled Denny’s on Lone Tree, Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in the former Sizzler location, and Southern Café in downtown, in the former Bases Loaded location.

“I try to get my fix regularly with Southern Café,” he joked.

He also spoke of the “nice, new, huge health club, City Sports, on Lone Tree” as well as the anticipated new restaurant “Plates in Rivertown,” Panda Express with a drive-through on Auto Center Drive, and Kangazoom soon to open in the former Golf n Games on 4th Street.

Harper said the city has “fewer vacancies overall” then mentioned the addition of Limitless Kitchen & Bath leasing up 4,400 square feet of showroom and warehouse, Alegre Trucking leasing 9.5 acres on Wilbur, WalMart leased 39,000 square feet of warehouse space and a solar distributor leasing 99,000 square feet in Antioch.

He shared that “Rivertown currently has over 80 active businesses,” that “Somersville Town Center is under new management,” that “G St. Mercantile was voted the number one antique store” in Antioch, and that “Strategic Threat Management patrols downtown.”

Then the mayor showed some design concepts of a townhome project for the old lumber yard lot, as well as concepts for an expanded event center at Waldie Plaza, across from City Hall.

Harper then compared Antioch to a patient in the hospital.

“The patient is getting regular treatment and checkups,” he stated. “It is on the way to a very healthy recovery.”

“I give this council accolades and kudos for all the hard work,” Harper concluded. “The council is everywhere. The City of Antioch is in good hands.”

Wright followed Harper’s presentation with a motivational speech of his own.

“There are multiple reasons to live in Antioch,” he said. “Business is coming. We’re having 10 new members join the Chamber each month.”

“We’re Antioch and we have people who live this city,” Wright continued. “We are a vibrant, viable, wonderful community.”

“People are going to move here to play on the Delta,” he shared. “They’re going to move here in the next year in droves, because we have affordable housing, here. We’re a community on the rise.”

“Remember, Antioch is the place to be,” Wright concluded.

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Contra Costa County Fair 2016 Schedule for Friday-Sunday

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

FA-CONTRACOSTA2016Friday, June 3 FUN FAMILY FRIDAY

  • Kids 12 & Under– FREE admission all day for kids 12 and under!
  • Family Carnival Deal-Buy 1 Ride Wristband & Get 1 FREE until 6:00pm…$25 savings

12:00 Gates Open
12:00 Splash Dogs Registration begins
1:00 Splash Dogs
1:30 Circus Imagination
2:00 Wild About Monkeys
3:00 Splash Dogs
4:00 Circus Imagination
5:00 Splash Dogs
5:00 Rabbits & Cavy Show – Small Animal Barn
5:30 Circus Imagination
6:30 Wild About Monkeys
7:00 Splash Dogs
7:00 Pop, Rock, & Soul- Main Stage
7:30 Jr. Sheep Lead – Shady Oak Arena
7:30 Undead Betty’s Roller Derby– Paradise Skate
8:00 Wild About Monkeys
9:15 & 10:30 Big Bad Boogie Rock- Main Stage

 

Saturday, June 4

9:00 Swine Show-Livestock Arena
11:00 Gates Open
11:00 Splash Dogs Registration begins
12:00 Splash Dogs
12:00 Pocket Pets-Shady Oak Arena
12:30 Circus Imagination
1:00 Wild About Monkeys
1:30 The Doritos Rollerskating Dance Team-Paradise Skate
2:00 Splash Dogs
3:00 Circus Imagination
3:30 The Doritos Rollerskating Dance Team-Paradise Skate
4:00 Wild About Monkeys
4:00 Small Animal Showmanship-Livestock Arena
5:00 Woodcarver Auction
5:30 Gwen In Doubt-Main Stage
5:30 The Doritos Rollerskating Dance Team-Paradise Skate
6:00 Large Animal Showmanship-Livestock Arena
6:00 Splash Dogs
6:45 Circus Imagination
7:00 Metalachi-Main Stage
7:30 Wild About Monkeys
8:00 The Doritos Rollerskating Dance Team-Paradise Skate
9:15 & 10:30 Long Duck Dongs- Main Stage

 

Sunday, June 5 Fiesta De La Familia Day

10:00 Junior Livestock Auction-Livestock Arena
11:00 Gates Open
11:00 Splash Dogs Registration begins
12:00 Circus Imagination
1:00 Wild About Monkeys
1:30 Splash Dogs
2:00 Live Hispanic Musical Entertainment – Main Stage
2:00 Battle of the Bullriders-Antioch Speedway
2:30 Circus Imagination
3:00 Undead Betty’s Roller Derby-Paradise Skate
3:00 Wild About Monkeys
3:00 Livestock Awards Ceremony-Livestock Arena
3:30 Splash Dogs
5:00 Splash Dog Finals
5:30 Woodcarver Auction
6:00 Wild About Monkeys
6:30 Circus Imagination

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It’s Fair Time! Contra Costa County Fair opens in Antioch, today, runs through Sunday

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

FA-CONTRACOSTA2016

Sponsored in part by the Antioch Herald.

Concert Schedule and Features at the 2016 Contra Costa County Fair

True Willie

True Willie

THURSDAY JUNE 2

TRUE WILLIE

Chosen as the most authentic and convincing tribute act to Willie Nelson in America, the True Willie Tribute Band is fast becoming the first choice with audiences across America. If you’re a Willie Nelson fan, you won’t want to miss this show.

Thunder Cover

Thunder Cover

THUNDER COVER

Thunder Cover hails from Sacramento, CA and is one of the most energetic and fun cover bands you will ever see. In an area that is full of cover bands, Thunder Cover separates themselves with a high energy show and a unique set that features some of the biggest hits of all time.

FRIDAY JUNE 3

Pop Rock Soul

Pop Rock Soul

POP, ROCK, & SOUL

Pop, Rock, & Soul has the best of all music in one show! Nathan Owens has put together another unforgettable show featuring tribute performances of three of the music industry’s biggest legends…Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and James Brown. Come experience this amazing show!

Big Bad Boogie Rock

Big Bad Boogie Rock

BIG BAD BOOGIE ROCK

The name says it all! Let’s boogie down, get funky, and let’s rock to the music of the 70s and early 80s! Afros, long hair, and guitars…what more could you ask for?Big Bad Boogie Rock Band is where the very best of Disco and Rock…EXPLODE! It’s high energy will have you shaking your booty all night long.Let the party begin!

SATURDAY JUNE 4

GWEN IN DOUBT

GWEN IN DOUBT has been entertaining audiences with the high energy performances of the music of Gwen Stefani and No Doubt for nearly a decade. Whether you are a hard core fan or a newcomer to this music, the authentic vocals, staging and performances will have you on your feet.

Gwen In Doubt

Gwen In Doubt

METALACHI

What do you get when you mix the best heavy metal rock music with a crazy mariachi band…METALACHI! Back by popular demand, it’s the outrageous experience that brought down the house last year! This one of a kind show should not be missed, it will blow your mind!

LONG DUCK DONGS

Long Duck Dongs was voted “Best Cover Band” in Coachella Valley. All the classic 80’s hits you remember from junior high dances and mix tapes. Their high energy performances will keep you on your feet dancing and singing along!

 

Metalachi

Metalachi

Prehistoric Adventures

Prehistoric Adventures provides a fascinating and thrilling experience that will captivate both adults and children alike. The newest addition to the Prehistoric Adventures family is “FIRE STRYKER”, a smoke blowing, fire breathing, wing flapping, one of a kind Dragon. Led around on a leash by a “medieval Viking” handler, large crowds will want to gather to get up close and personal to this incredible flying beast.

 

Fables of The West

Fables of The West

Fables of the West

Get ready to ride with the biggest little cowboys in the Old West! This strolling cowboy comedy team is always 100 % G-rated, family friendly, and fun. Performing at over 550 Fairs from California all the way to Alaska, these crazy cowboys have been entertaining crowds of all ages for over 10 years. Be sure to keep a look out for them and their trusty steeds during your visit to the Fair!

 

 

Fire Stryker of Prehistoric Adventures

Fire Stryker of Prehistoric Adventures

Flo the Clown

The one and only Flo the Clown is back! Flo and her clowning antics have been delighting audiences for more than 20 years from the West Coast of the United States to Russia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore. She has even toured with the Yankee Doodle Circus in New York and beyond. Look for Flo riding her tricycle down the midway, carting fair guests around in her custom car, or running all the fun games and activities at the Kids Korral stage…she’s a delight to fairgoers of all ages!

Circus Imagination

Expanding the imagination of children through learning and playing experience, Circus Imagination is a sure crowd pleaser for both children and parents.  Up to 25 children can participate per show, dressing up, and joining the circus as the stars of the show!  No talent or special skills are required…just a great imagination. Don’t miss this circus when it comes to town at the Fair!

 

Wild About Monkeys

Wild About Monkeys

Wild About Monkeys

When a movie producer needs a performing baboon, chances are they will call “Wild about Monkeys”. Combining the rare skills of excellent trainers and the incredible instincts of the wild as well as domestic animals with which they have become friends, your hosts Kevin and Martina will delight and amaze  audiences with fun, education and great entertainment for the whole family. “Wild about Monkeys” is the only traveling animal exhibition that features trained baboons. Come “monkey” around with them!

 

Splash Dogs

Splash Dogs

Splash Dogs

Splash Dogs is a nationally recognized dog enthusiast company that organizes and promotes dock jumping events across the United States. Splash Dogs strives to provide a family oriented competitive atmosphere. Splash Dogs is a sanctioning body for dock jumping and dock diving events. Splash Dogs tracks overall event and individual rankings as well as offering a multi level titling program for all participants. Come check out all the dock jumping, tail wagging, water splashing fun!

The Contra Costa County Fairgrounds are loated at 1201 West 10th Street in Antioch. For the complete, current schedule and special offers or more information visit www.contracostafair.com.

 

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Residents gather to remember during annual Antioch Memorial Day ceremonies, Monday

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
Major General Dan Helix of the U.S Volunteers Honor Guard speaks at the annual Antioch Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Major General Dan Helix of the U.S Volunteers Honor Guard speaks about the sacrifices made by military men and women throughout American history, at the annual Antioch Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Raising of the flags to half mast.

Raising of the flags to half mast.

By Allen Payton

Hundreds of Antioch and East County residents gathered at the Oak View Memorial Park, Monday morning, to honor those military men and women who had sacrificed their lives for our freedoms, during the annual Memorial Day commemoration.

The morning’s event began with a motorcycle procession from Antioch City Hall, led by the Knights Palladin.

Local veteran J.R. Wilson served as Master of Ceremonies, and Pastor Chris Williams of the Church at Antioch offered the opening and closing prayers.

The American Legion presented the colors, and the American and POW/MIA flags were raised, then lowered to half staff.

Casey Ferrier of Boy Scout Troop 450 and a friend led in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by Velma Wilson, to which the audience sang along.

Major General Dan Helix, of the U.S. Volunteers Honor Guard, was the guest speaker, offering an overview of the sacrifices made in the various wars, throughout American history.

Placing of the Roses at 9-11 Memorial

Placing of the Roses at 9-11 Memorial

That was followed by a performance by the Deer Valley High Marching Band, offering portions of the songs from each of the various military branches. As each song was played, the veterans of that branch stood and received a warm round of applause.

Velma Wilson then led in the singing of God Bless America, followed by the sounding of Two Bells and the Placement of the Roses on the 9-11 Memorial by representatives of the Antioch Police and Contra Costa Fire Departments.

Mayor Wade Harper and Henri Vellieux, Commander of the Antioch VFW Post then placed a wreath at the memorial to all those from Antioch who had died in wars.

Jean Espinosa of Boy Scout Troop 450 played taps on his trumpet to close out the ceremonies.

Following are the complete remarks of Major General Helix:

Thank you all very much. Mr. Mayor and Council members…honored guests…and fellow citizens: what an honor it is to speak to you on this occasion, and what a privilege it is to have worn one of the uniforms of my country, as many of you here have as well.

Placing of the Wreath by Mayor Wade Harper and VFW Post Commander Henri Villeaux

Placing of the Wreath by Mayor Wade Harper and VFW Post Commander Henri Villeaux

For more than a century and a half, Americans have gathered on this day to remember those who were lost and that which was gained. Memorial Day is a day when celebration and sadness walk hand in hand. I have heard that celebration is the wrong word to use, but commemoration is more appropriate. It is the day our nation has set aside to remember, reflect and honor our service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country whether in battle, in support of combat operations, or even those who were doing the job of ensuring the peace. In short, today is a day about remembering those who died for our freedom -  pure and simple.

As Kasey Pipes, then a Navy LT, later a speech writer for the White House, remarked on the occasion of Memorial Day some years ago, “The actions of those patriots are far more eloquent than any words I can offer.”

Places like Bunker Hill and Guadalcanal, Little Round Top and the Ia Drang Valley, the courageous heroes who fought and died wrote new chapters in the story of freedom.

When he dedicated the battlefield at Gettysburg in 1863, President Lincoln spoke of the inadequacy of words on occasions such as these: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

And so it is with us today. The eloquence of words cannot match the power of the sacrifices made by so many. We honor them. We praise them. We remember them.

And we do something else also: we acknowledge that their struggle—the ancient struggle to be free—goes on today. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, that when put together as a whole produce a picture, so too all the battles in our history are connected to the larger struggle for freedom for all men and women.

It has been the citizen volunteer soldier who has fought the wars of this country. The first piece of the puzzle was set in place when the first musket was fired at Concord, Mass. They all showed up to fight: farmers, students, craftsmen, and clerks -  they answered the call.

Then in 1812 a British armada came down from Canada to sack and burn Washington D.C. and attack Baltimore, guarded by Ft. McHenry. The fort held through the bombardment inspiring Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner” and the British abandoned their Western outposts and what was then the Northwest was ceded to the United States.

After that the Mexican war, which became a metaphor for the triumph of will, determination and a belief in Manifest Destiny that demonstrated the continuing of the indomitable American spirit that demands freedom even today.

Slavery was the issue of the 1860’s and it divided our nation. The Civil War began with the firing on Ft. Sumter, South Carolina. The Battle Hymn of the Republic clashed with Dixie in a prolonged and tragically bloody war. Johnny (eventually) came marching home and the Union was preserved.

The next piece of the puzzle was set in place during World War I, when we fought “over there”. The doughboys experienced the hell of mustard gas and trench warfare. Because of our fighting men America became a player onto the world stage. We showed that a democracy, in the right circumstances can be imbued with the soul of battle and turn the horror of killing to a higher purpose of demanding that nations be allowed to live in freedom.

December 7th 1941 the date that has lived in infamy, “Remember Pearl Harbor” was the rallying cry that mobilized an outraged nation. American blood was spilled in both the European and Pacific Theaters of war. Finally, in 1945, on May 8th in Europe and August 14th in Japan, Germany and Japan surrendered unconditionally and an entire nation, on bended knees, gratefully thanked God for what would be called the Greatest Generation.

They were the citizen soldiers with an ethical zeal who became the most ruthless of men and endured murderous seasons. When the war ended they melted anonymously back into the culture of the peacetime democracy that produced them. They were the volunteers who evinced the soul and spirit of the warrior.

On a little known Korean Peninsula, situated between the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan, Thousands of Americans would die as the surrogates of our being unprepared. Dog faced soldiers and Marines thrown into combat on the Pusan Perimeter, and were welcomed to the war with 21 bullets and three hand grenades. With the heroic fighting breakout by the U.S. Marines at the Chosin Reservoir, the phrase Retreat Hell would become two words separated by a comma. America demonstrated that we would shed blood fighting to repel invaders who espoused a morality fundamentally repugnant to our own. Officially there were 36,261 KIA, an average of 980 Combat deaths per month during that “conflict”.

The courageous men and women who fought in Vietnam, fought a war, in a time and place no one really understood. These men and women knew only one thing – they were called and they went. They were needed and they were there. That, in the truest sense, is why we are here today. That is the Spirit of America. The more we understand it, the more we honor those who kept the spirit alive. 58,000 of America’s finest paid the ultimate price.

Another piece of the puzzle was put in place with Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As a nation, we learned to better express our appreciation for those men and women who stand in harm’s way.  A new generation of precision guided munitions convinced Saddam Hussein his attempt to annex Kuwait would not be tolerated.

In Bosnia and Kosovo we found timid leaders can be more concerned about their political image than the security of those they send into harm’s way.  We must insist that we never let our troops get involved with a foreign country where America’s power is not totally involved. Some of you will know from where this comes, but there is a saying that half measures availed us nothing.

The suicide bombings of the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 made it clear that America was at war with terrorists. Our past involvement in Iraq contributed to the courage displayed by the Iraqi people in passing that nation’s first test of democracy, and we pray our current involvement in Afghanistan will prove to have a similar effect.

What we now know is this: the that first time an American combat soldier knelt down to laugh and visit with a group of Iraqi children, he did more to help our world than all the billions spent by the United Nations. We are honored to have some of these veterans here with us today, along with their Blue Star Moms and Dads. And since I mention the Mom’s and Dad’s I would be remiss to not recognize our Gold Star Families – Moms, Dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents. Whether they personally ever put on a uniform or not, their service must be seen as the most selfless, sacrificial and patriotic service of all.  We know none of them ever aspired to or desired that, but in the end that is the case. We are sure none of them ever wanted that, but in the end they are the patriots with the most skin in the game short only of those who paid the ultimate price, their loved ones. I will tell you, Gold star families while we can never know the full extent of your loss, we share that loss, we grieve that loss and we honor the sacrifice with gratitude that we live in a free United States today. Jesus Himself said there can be no greater sacrifice one can make than to die for another. And so through the years and wars, Americans have never ceased to honor those who gave all.

We need a special salute to all those who served during the Cold War that raged from 1945 – 1991. There were plenty of clashes. The Iron Curtain in Europe, the Bamboo Curtain in Asia, the missile crisis, thankless battlefields in Grenada and El Salvador, descending into the Heart of Darkness in the Congo and the hot battlefield of Angola. Thousands of Americans in uniform died outside war zones from hostile and non-hostile causes. We remember and honor our fallen brothers and sisters. We learned sad lessons from the fiascos in Somalia, Rwanda and Haiti. Don’t spout the rhetoric if you’re not willing to back it up.

The troops around the world today are the direct descendants of the troops that crossed the Potomac  and landed on D-Day . The battle fronts may be different. The weapons may have changed. But the fight is the same. We know that to protect our freedom at home we must promote freedom throughout the world.

In that spirit, let me take a moment and briefly talk about the world we live in. First, we are fighting a global war that will last for many years and require many assets. We fight an enemy that is evil but effective, deadly, and despicable. We cannot underestimate this enemy or the new world in which we live.

We now live in the most interconnected world in history. Consider its impact. Globalization means a businessman in New York can have his U.S. income taxes prepared in India. Globalization means a farmer in Japan can sell his produce in Maryland. And globalization means that from Florida to the Philippines…from Tacoma, Washington to Tokyo, Japan…goods, services and people are flowing more freely and more directly than ever before.

Trying to hold back this trend is like standing on the beach and trying to hold back the waves. It can’t be done. We can’t turn it back. Nor should we want to. The future is coming whether we plan for it or not. And for the most part, these are all very positive developments for the region and the world.

But while globalization brings many opportunities, it also presents some obstacles. We must be aware and we must be alert. We saw the dark side of globalization on September 11, 2001. Travelers from another country gained easy access to America, purchased plane tickets, and carried out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

No doubt about it—we now live in the post-9/11 world. No longer can we count on the good intentions of evil people. No more can we simply wait to be attacked. And that is exactly what the brave men and women of our armed forces are doing all over the globe right now: taking the battle to the terrorists.

Yes, we live in a different century filled with new challenges. But we are engaging it with a different Military focused on new capacities. And we have to be ready. The only times in our history where we have had to go fight, not just supply advisors and trainers, is not when we have had a lack of resolve or were technologically inferior, but when we have had a numerically weak Armed Forces. What military we have on watch today is ready for the future. This is where we need our young folks to step up and volunteer to be part of the deterrent and solution for this country. For you young folks, the military may not be for everyone, but if you feel up to the challenge – then take the challenge, your country needs you.

Almost 30 years ago, in his farewell address to the nation, President Ronald Reagan told the story of a sailor on the U.S.S. Midway. The sailor was on the deck one day as a small boat filled with Indonesian refugees approached. One of the refugees shouted out in a loud voice: “Hello, American sailor! Hello, freedom man!”

Today, the same refrain is heard throughout the world. From the survivors of the Natural Disasters to the villages of Afghanistan, wherever and whenever the people of the world see the military men and women of our country, they see the faces of freedom…they see the defenders of liberty…they see the ambassadors of hope.

Every day, Our United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard have the chance to make the world safer. And they can.

Every day, Our United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard have the ability to spread freedom. And they will.

Every day, Our United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard has the power to fight and destroy terrorists. And they must.

I believe we will win this battle. I believe we will preserve, protect, and promote freedom.

And as we continue to patrol the city streets and seas in support of missions throughout the world, I believe our military will do so in a way that respects its citizens here at home and honors our ancestors before us.

The greatest tribute we can offer to those who have died is to wave the banner of freedom proudly.

This Memorial Day and every day…

May we never forget those who died…

May we never fail to live up to their standard…

And may we never falter in our fight for freedom at home and abroad.

On this Memorial Day weekend, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are grieving. May we, as Abraham Lincoln said, “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Finally, on this Memorial Day 2016 may God bless you all, may God bless our Service Members and Veterans, may God bless the families of our fallen and may God Bless America.

 

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Memorial Day Celebration at Oak View Memorial Park in Antioch, Monday

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Bull riding competition at the 2016 Contra Costa County Fair

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

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Deer Valley grads come home to speak at Y.ASSEMBLE Youth Conference, Saturday, free concert added

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Website: YASSEMBLE.CO

Register: YASSEMBLE.eventbright.com

Shaun Derrick will return to once again be the Master of Ceremonies for the conference.

Shaun Derrick will return to once again be the Master of Ceremonies for the conference.

Everything from how to find a job or preparing for college to how to make a film to dating relationships will be offered to the youth who attend the 16th Annual Youth Conference & Empowerment Summit. Formerly known as the Youth Summit, this year’s countywide gathering of young people from 6th grade through high school, will discover that have a plethora of new offerings for their workshops, an integral part of the summit, which will be held at Pittsburg High School on May 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The first 250 youth who walk through the door will get a free summer bus pass. A tasty lunch  will also be offered. The entire day is free. Plus a musical concert has been added to cap the daylong event.

“We are changing the flavor of the summit this year,” says Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover, who sponsors the conference. “We are updating some of the workshops and offering new ones to make them more relevant to today’s youth. There’s a stronger emphasis on the STEM fields and how the new technology affects our everyday lives.”

The charismatic Shaun Derrick will be returning for the third year to emcee the proceedings and to guide the youth through the day’s activities.

“He connects with young people through straight talk and music,” says Glover.

The youth summit will start the day with a team of Deer Valley High School graduates who will give the keynote presentation.

Lenard the KYD Jackson will be the Keynote Speaker at the conference

Lenard the KYD Jackson will be the Keynote Speaker at the conference

Lenard The KYD Jackson, who graduated Deer Valley High School two years ago, is being joined by Team KYD, which includes fellow DVHS alumni Lawrence Eyo White, Jr., Cherokee White and Ledell Jones. Performing at the annual youth conference is a way of giving back to their community. The interactive presentation called Talkback will consist of comedy skits, standup comedy and a personal testimony from KYD members and a Q&A with the students.

Since he left Antioch, KYD has worked in film, stage and in comedy clubs. As an actor and a musician, he has worked with Kevin Hart, Paul Mooney, Dick Gregory, Sinbad, Charlie Murphy and Condoleeza Rice.

Eyo White and Ledell Jones are still students at LMC and Cherokee White is a student at San Francisco State University.

Following the conference, students who stay for the entire conference will be treated to a free, live concert featuring up and coming artist Samaria, a 19­‐year-old singer from Oakland who is on the verge of breaking out. Her music has a 1990’s R&B vibe to it but her sound is so distinct that it extends beyond just R&B or soul. Her sound cannot be placed into a box. Samaria said her musical style is heavily influenced by her heritage ­‐ Jamaican and Puerto Rican.

Singer Samaria will perform at a free concert following the conference for those students who attend all day.

Singer Samaria will perform at a free concert following the conference for those students who attend all day.

One of the more intriguing workshops will talk about the results of a research project by Rising Youth for Social Equity, based in Richmond. It will explore the coping strategies for stress caused by living in an environment where friends and family are shot and killed is an everyday experience of growing up. The young people growing in such a stressful environment are showing signs of PTSD, a malady usually associated with veterans of warfare.

Here’s a sampling of the other 40 workshops being offered:

•Dance movement

•Developing trust

•Navigating the media maze

•Healthy relationships

•Empowering youth to change communities

•Find your voice, find your ‘hustle’

•Building a rocket

•How to cope with violence

•Access to new technologies

•How to build a robot

•The alcohol industry’s marketing towards youth

•Trademarks of an effective leader

With Team KYD, Samaria and M.C. Shaun Derrick, almost 40 workshops, resource tables, fun activities and a free lunch Y.ASSEMBLE will be a full day for young people. Doors will open at 8 a.m. For the day’s schedule and a list of the workshops, go to YASSEMBLE.CO or YASSEMBLE.eventbrite.com. The free concert starts about 4:15 p.m. and is open only to YASSEMBLE participants.

“I hope the event opens the eyes of the young people,” said Glover. “Through the inspirational speakers, resources and opportunities that we’re offering and the impact of the day will help them make some critical choices in their lives. That’s what it’s all about.”

Y.ASSEMBLE Youth Conference & Empowerment Summit

Saturday, May 21, 2016

9 a.m. ­‐ 4 p.m.

Pittsburg High School

1750 Harbor Street, Pittsburg

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