Archive for the ‘East County’ Category

Danville woman identified as victim in Friday morning Byron homicide

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff are continuing to investigate a homicide in Byron. The victim has been identified as 37-year-old Emily Courchesne of Danville.

On Friday morning, October 6, 2017 at about 10:05, Deputies were dispatched to a “Medical – PD” call at a residence on the 24000 block of Marsh Creek Road in Byron. Deputies found Courchesne deceased inside the home. Detectives later determined it was a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Antioch, San Francisco men arrested for August murder of woman in Byron

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Aleli Avila. From CoCoSheriff

Homicide Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff have arrested two suspects in the killing of 49-year-old Aleli Avila of San Francisco. Her body was found on a roadway on August 22, 2017, at about 3:50 PM, in the area of 500 Camino Diablo Road in Byron. (See related article)

Detectives on Tuesday arrested 44-year-old Alex Estrada of Antioch. He was arrested in Pittsburg. Estrada was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on a murder charge. The D.A.’s Office has since formally charged him. Estrada is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. 

Friday morning Detectives arrested 60-year-old Rodolfo Manalo of San Francisco. He was arrested in Daly City. Manalo was booked on a murder charge. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Detectives worked continuously on the Avila murder investigation. They interviewed numerous people, collected evidence, and followed up on all leads. They were able to obtain arrest warrants for both Estrada and Manalo.

The investigation is ongoing. The motive is still being determined. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to:tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Contra Costa’s CyberTran awarded U.S. patent for Transportation Internet

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Rendering of a CyberTran transit station. Renderings courtesy of CyberTran International, Inc.

Ultra-Light Rail Transit system vehicles travel throughout connected rail networks at low, medium and high speeds, direct to destination and at much lower capital deployment and maintenance costs

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA – CyberTran International, Inc. (CTI) offers the most innovative approach to solving the world’s traffic congestion problems. The recent patent approval for fixed guideway transportation systems, with lower cost of ownership and optimized benefits, validates what they’re calling the Transportation Internet technology. This system can be thought of as the computer-controlled technology solution to the problems of mass transit cost overruns and inefficiency.

Artist rendering of a CyberTran vehicle and station with overhead solar panels generating the power to operate the system.

CTI’s Ultra-Light Rail Transit (ULRT) is a mass transit system with the ability to build out Urban Circulator systems, Commuter Rail systems and High-Speed Rail systems and connect them to one network where small rail vehicles carrying up to thirty passengers can travel throughout the network Direct-to-Destination (nonstop). This allows ULRT to serve three separate markets, low, medium and high speeds! Until today all three markets have been served by three separate distinct technologies that can only be connected at transfer points where passengers have to disembark one system only to transfer to another to reach their destination.

Currently, CTI is closing in on funding for the purpose of demonstration and deployment. “Everybody wants to be second, nobody wants to be first,” said Dexter Vizinau, President of CTI.

Transit officials are hesitant to take a chance on a small and innovative company. The BART system started out as a demonstration project and the technology was the first of its kind. Today, CTI has approximately ten cities that are willing to be first, he explained.

In every major metropolitan region of the world, people are stuck in traffic. Today’s solutions aren’t working.

“Expanding today’s transit systems are too costly to build and maintain, yet transit officials continue to approach this as a solution, with little result,” said Neil Sinclair, CTI Board Chairman. “There’s a $78 billion backlog in transit systems maintenance in the U.S. and the only way to pay for it is to raise taxes. In the meantime, we’re all stuck in traffic with no end in sight.” That is, until today.

Overview rendering of the offline CyberTran stations.

“Our patent validates everything we’ve already proven,” Vizinau continued. “Two full-scale prototype vehicles have already been built and tested. The test vehicles have achieved speeds of up to 60 mph and have climbed a 10% grade, which means ULRT can go over the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles and also travel up the Grapevine Summit in Southern California. Bullet train systems and L.A. Metro-like systems cannot climb steep grades and therefore either have to tunnel or go around.”

By building out ULRT networks in cities at 35 mph, and then connecting them together throughout a region at 80 mph, ULRT becomes a commuter rail system like BART and Metro in Los Angeles. ULRT can handle the same throughput as BART during rush hour via the Transbay Tube. CTI can then connect regions with a high-speed line. The ULRT System design is flexible and can expand easily. Guideways and civil structures are manufactured offsite and assembled onsite allowing ULRT systems to be constructed more efficiently. CTI can construct long-distance systems in up to a quarter mile per day. The system was designed to reach speeds of up to 150 mph. (See related article)

CyberTran’s ULRT system also operates from solar power. Canopies of solar panels above the guideway can generate more than one megawatt per mile and eight times more energy than the system consumes, and supply renewable energy to surrounding communities resulting in a net gain to CTI.

Rendering of a possible CyberTran station on the second floor of an office building and campus.

Transit officials currently purchase transit systems from foreign companies. CTI plans to manufacture ULRT transit systems for a global market in Contra Costa County. “We’ve been to China five times in as many years. There are six hundred cities in China that can use this,” says Sinclair. Councilmember Rich Kinney of the City of San Pablo states, “West Contra Costa County in particular has to solve the I-80 corridor congestion issue to attract more businesses and jobs to our cities. This is our opportunity to effectively address that issue. May we not continue to kick the proverbial can down the road – it’s time to embrace the full deployment of CyberTran right here at home.”

Earlier this year the city councils of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch each voted unanimously to join the cities of Richmond and San Pablo to support efforts by CTI to obtain the needed funding for systems in both Western and Eastern Contra Costa County. (See related article) In addition, CTI has the support of U.C. Berkeley in their efforts to bring the technology to market. (See related article)

The next steps for CTI are to obtain funding to build two showrooms and a factory. This calls for one low-speed demonstration track up to 35 mph, and one rapid speed demonstration track up to 150 mph – in curves and with left and right banking. Both demo tracks and factory construction are to be done concurrently. There were no funding programs to support transit innovation, such as ULRT, at the federal level until CTI lobbied Congress to create one. Program legislation was created and approved in 2014 under a Republican-controlled Congress and Senate. CTI was hopeful that President Obama would release the program funding but it did not happen. CTI is hopeful about the President Trump’s infrastructure package and is encouraged by their reception in Washington, D.C.

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Oakley man suspected in attempted Byron homicide arrested in Antioch Tuesday

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Antonio Morales in custody. photo courtesy of CoCoSheriff

The suspect wanted in connection with a recent attempted homicide in Byron is now in custody. 22-year-old Antonio Morales of Oakley was arrested on Tuesday in Antioch by a U.S. Marshals Task Force that worked in conjunction with Office of the Sheriff Detectives.

On September 2, 2017, Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a report of a shooting on the 3000 block of Taylor Road in Bryon. Callers also reported an unknown suspect speeding through a parking lot with his vehicle aimed toward a group of people. The vehicle, a Nissan Maxima, reportedly struck numerous people and that several people were injured.

The suspect vehicle fled the scene. Deputies determined two people were hit by the car. They were treated and released from the hospital. Detectives later identified Morales, the driver, as the suspect.

On Wednesday Morales was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Morales is being held in lieu of $2,310,000 bail.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip line at (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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County Sheriff’s Detectives seek Oakley man as suspect in attempted Byron homicide

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Antonio Morales. Photo courtesy of CCCSheriff

Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff are looking for 22-year-old Antonio Morales of Oakley in connection to an attempted homicide incident in Byron.

At about 2:04 AM on September 2, 2017, Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a report of a shooting on the 3000 block of Taylor Road in Bryon. Callers also reported an unknown suspect speeding through a parking lot with his vehicle aimed toward a group of people. Initial reports indicated the vehicle, a Nissan Maxima, struck numerous people, shots had been fired and several people were injured.

The suspect vehicle fled the scene. Two people were hit by the car. They were treated and released from the hospital. Detectives later identified Morales, the driver, as the suspect. There is a warrant for his arrest for two counts of attempted murder.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Morales or on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip line at (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Laser-equipped drone helps improve safety, efficiency on Hwy 4 improvement project

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Screenshot from drone video of construction work at the Highway 4 and Balfour Road interchange in Brentwood, Tues., Sept. 12, 2017. Courtesy of Alta Vista Solutions.

Emerging drone technology moves construction and engineering into the future

On Tuesday morning, September 12, 2017, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Alta Vista Solutions showcased two emerging technologies on a construction project aimed to improve commutes on Highway 4 in Brentwood (aka the Bypass). Engineers piloted drones equipped with light detection and ranging (LiDAR) lasers–a surveying tool that uses a laser to create high-resolution geographical data.

The combination of the two emerging technologies has never been done in construction before and opens untold possibilities for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and related jobs in the future.  CCTA featured the system in action by providing a live feed of a drone flight.  The feed from this morning’s drone flight can be viewed at altavistasolutions.com/media – bar .

With assistance from engineering firm Alta Vista Solutions (Alta Vista), who proposed the new method, CCTA is flying the LiDAR scanners to measure the volumes of earth that need to be moved during this $74-million project to rework the Balfour Road interchange. The drones ensure that the cut-and-fill earthwork goes efficiently. With LiDAR’s pinpoint accuracy, CCTA can now make needed calculations and monitor site conditions faster, eliminating the unavoidable guesswork involved in manual surveys. Putting LiDAR on drones gathers 15 gigabytes of precise, high-quality data per month, cutting down drastically on time spent surveying. The drones also improve safety by taking workers out of live traffic.

Drone capabilities enable CCTA to track construction progress firsthand as work on Highway 4 continues.

“We are always looking for new ways to increase safety and efficiency on construction projects,” said CCTA Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “Drones give us aerial views of the site that were hard to come by before, making it safer for surveyors to do their job and helping us manage the large volumes of dirt that are being used to improve this intersection. This technology also allows us to monitor environmentally sensitive areas without disturbing the habitat.”

“This will change engineering and surveying,” said Ed Greutert, principal engineer at Alta Vista Solutions. “Innovations like combining LiDAR and UAVs are opening doors in infrastructure and making us efficient, effective, and safe in ways we couldn’t achieve before.”

Greutert also addresses fears of job loss as automation increases. “Using technology to do the surveying work can lead people to ask if this is the next step to the robot apocalypse – are drones going to take our jobs?” he speculates. “Not quite. It’s going to change jobs. It’s going to create new jobs in technology—and in the Balfour Road case, help people get to work faster.”

CCTA has faced challenges in being the first to test these technologies together.

“This has never been done. LiDAR on a UAV hasn’t worked until now – there are huge possibilities if we can be creative enough to really tap into them,” Greutert noted.

Handling the unprecedented quantity of data generated has also posed a challenge. However, in recent months, the team has succeeded in processing the hundreds of gigabytes collected.

“There are always challenges to pioneering new technology,” Iwasaki said. “But with the benefits this technology can provide in terms of keeping workers safe and managing a complicated construction project, I believe we’ll start to see more widespread use of drones on construction sites within a few years – especially as we discover new applications that can help save time and money. Right now, CCTA is excited to be leading efforts in this new frontier.”

About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts.  CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go.  CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable.  More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

About Alta Vista Solutions

Alta Vista is a California-based engineering firm that has been recognized as the 20th fastest-growing engineering firm in America by Inc. 5000 and was named by Zweig Group as one of America’s Hot Firms. Alta Vista has quickly differentiated itself by performing customized quality management strategies for some of the most complex infrastructure projects in the world. Over the past decade, Alta Vista has worked with public and private organizations to complete large-scale engineering projects that better serve their regions. Known for engineering services that include engineering, inspection, testing, unmanned aerial systems, quality management, and structural health monitoring, Alta Vista has grown and diversified and has been acknowledged in 2017 by ENR Magazine and other media outlets for using innovative solutions and technologies to deliver infrastructure projects faster, better and more cost effectively.  For more information about Alta Vista, visit altavistasolutions.com.

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Antioch, Pittsburg residents earn MBA degrees from WGU

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (Grassroots Newswire) July 24, 2017 – The following local residents have received their degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The university held its 33rd semi-annual commencement ceremony at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on July 15 and celebrated the graduation of more than 10,000 graduates.

  • Manjit Sooch of Antioch (94531) has received her MBA in IT Management
  • Ritche Martija of Pittsburg (94565) has received his MBA in IT Management

At the commencement, the online, nonprofit university recognized 6,348 undergraduates and 4,140 graduates who have completed their degrees in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and healthcare, including nursing. Clayton M. Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Founder of The Christensen Institute, delivered the commencement address, and joined President Scott D. Pulsipher in honoring the more than 1,000 new alumni participating in the ceremony. Students who were not able to attend the ceremony in person were able to watch the event via live video stream on WGU’s website.

WGU has made convenient and affordable higher education available to busy adults. Demand for its competency-based programs can be seen in the year-over-year growth of WGU’s national impact.

Forty percent of this year’s graduates represent the first generation in their family to complete college. The average time to graduation for bachelor’s degrees was two years, three months and the average time to graduation for graduate programs was one year, eight months.

Since WGU’s founding in 1997, the online, competency-based university has awarded more than 87,000 degrees; 20,000 of them in just the past year. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, WGU’s competency-based learning model makes it possible for students to fit studying into their busy lives. Students complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter, enabling them to move quickly through material they already know and spend more time on focusing on what they still need to learn. As a result, many students are able to accelerate their studies, finishing faster and saving money.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves 82,000 students and 87,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 20 years, the university has become a leading force in changing lives of through education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

 

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Three-car collision in Brentwood takes life of 95-year-old woman, Sunday afternoon

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Sunday, July 23 at about 4:11 p.m., Contra Costa CHP was advised of a collision at the intersection of Vasco Road/Highway 4 and Marsh Creek Road in Brentwood. Upon CHP and emergency personnel arrival, it was determined that three vehicles in total were involved and several parties were transported to local hospitals for injuries. Unfortunately, a 95-year-old female passenger succumbed to her injuries while at the hospital.

In the initial investigation, it appears that a red Cadillac sedan was traveling on southbound SR-4 Bypass, approaching the intersection of Marsh Creek Road, and continuing south to Vasco Road.

Meanwhile a white Hyundai sedan was on Marsh Creek Road and preparing to make a left turn onto southbound Vasco Road at the intersection. Both vehicles entered the intersection and the red Cadillac struck the side of the white Hyundai. The Hyundai careened through the intersection and collided with a light pole. The Cadillac then collided with a black Honda that was stopped on the other side of the intersection, only causing minor damage.

According to East Costa Contra Fire (ECCFD) Interim Battalion Chief Ross Macumber, firefighters extricated a victim from one of the vehicles, and established a “helispot”.

The female driver and female passenger of the Cadillac were both transported for minor injuries to Sutter Delta hospital in Antioch. The driver of the black Honda was uninjured.

The male driver and 95-year-old passenger from the Hyundai were both transported to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek with injuries. One patient was transported by CALSTAR helicopter. Unfortunately, while at the hospital, the 95-year-old passenger’s condition worsened and she succumbed to her injuries and died at 7:13 p.m. The male driver of the Hyundai is in stable condition.

Alcohol or drugs are not a factor in this collision. The cause of this intersection collision and the status of green light vs. red light is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, or was at the intersection at the time of the collision, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez and Officer Smith, the investigating officer, at (925) 646-4980.

See the ECCFD incident report, here: HWY4-MarshCreekMVA

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