Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

This year’s Relay for Life means something different for one Antioch woman

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Members of the Cruising for a Cure Team at this year’s Relay for Life: Melissa’s daughter Malea, mother Brenda, Aunt Vicky, Melissa and her friend Crystal at this year’s event on Sat., June 24, 2017.

By Allen Payton

The annual Relay for Life fundraiser in Antioch for the American Cancer Society was dedicated to a six-year-old boy, whose nickname is Squishy and was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer when he was just three. During the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning it was announced that the Antioch effort had already raised $30,000.

This is Melissa Warren’s third time at the annual 24-hour event. But this year is different, because one year ago today she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, which has spread to her bones. So she’s designated as a fighter, as well as a survivor.

Melissa’s husband Dave, Melissa and daughter Malea “cruising” around the Deer Valley High School track on Saturday, June 24th.

Her aunt Vicky Galloway has been participating in the Relay for years and started the Cruise for a Cure team. Not only do the “cruise” around the track, the effort raises money for her team by organizing an actual sea cruise every year and a half on Carnival Cruise Lines, with the help of Tammy Larsen of Almost There Travel.

Carnival pays a per cabin donation to the Antioch Relay for Life. The last cruise was a Halloween themed cruise on Oct. 30, 2016 and raised $2,430 for Vicky’s team, for this year’s relay.

“The money that’s raised here goes toward helping people in Antioch,” Vicky explained.

Her team’s effort isn’t benefiting Melissa’s battle, directly. But Melissa said “when I first found out I have breast cancer I received a check to help with rent from the American Cancer Society. So, it’s all connected.”

Melissa’s treatment for her cancer has included targeted radiation to her right femur, and just last month a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, at the same time. Melissa said she spent a week in the hospital and is still recovering. She is to have bimonthly scans to check and see if the cancer appears in any other area.

Joining Vicky and Melissa on Saturday were Melissa’s mom, Brenda Adams, and her daughter Malea and friend Crystal and other friends and family. They along with the other teams will be walking on the track until 10 am Sunday morning at the Deer Valley High School football stadium.

If you would like to attend Vicky and Melissa’s cruise to benefit next year’s Relay for Life, the next one is planned for May, 2018. The cruise will be in the Mexican Riviera for seven nights for as little as $677.25 per person. Call Almost There Travel at 925-238-0001 or stop by their office at 506 W. 2nd Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown.

Let’s pray for the complete healing for Melissa and other cancer fighters in Antioch.

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Contra Costa Supervisors Consider Banning Flavored Tobacco Sales to Youth

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

By Daniel Borsuk

Expect Contra Costa County Supervisors to have on the books at either their July 11 or 18 meeting an ordinance outlawing the sale of flavored tobacco products to youths at 93 licensed tobacco retailers located in unincorporated parts of the county.

Should county supervisors adopt the proposed ordinance next month, the East Bay county will join Yolo and Santa Clara counties and the cities of El Cerrito and Los Gatos to have passed ordinances banning the sale of flavored tobacco products to youths under the age of 21.  Yolo and Santa Clara counties and Los Gatos have gone the extra mile to ban the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes that are a leading contributor to heart and lung disease related deaths especially among African Americans.

Supervisors balked on Tuesday acting on a proposed ordinance aimed to protect youth under the age of 21 from buying flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-liquids, snuff, chewing tobacco, little cigars, cigarillos, hookah tobacco, and vapor solutions for electronic smoking, mainly because they could not agree on some technical issues, one being whether a retailer selling these products should be 500 feet or 1,000 feet from either a school, library, park, or playground.

County records show 48 of the 93 licensed tobacco retailers in unincorporated Contra Costa County are within 1,000 feet of a school, park, playground or library.  Some 57 retailers are located within 500 feet of another tobacco retailer and 13 of these 57 stores are also within 1,000 feet of a school.

Saying she prefers setting a 500-foot distance, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said it is important for the board to draft an ordinance that supervisors can be satisfied with so that elected officials on city councils in the county will be potentially interested in adopting similar anti-flavored tobacco product ordinances.

County Health Director William Walker recommended that supervisors adopt the proposed ordinance that attracted more than 50 speakers, most of them calling on supervisors to pass the ordinance.

“Smoking is a pediatric disease, “said Dr. Walker.  “It is a leading factor for why this county spends $334 million a year in medical costs per year.  Flavored tobacco products are the gateway products to being a habitual smoker.”

Ninety percent of United States smokers began to smoke on average by age 18, he said.

Walker estimates the county receives $30 million in all tobacco sales tax revenue a year, a figure that includes tax revenue from flavored tobacco product sales in the county.

Dr. Phillip Gardener of the University of California San Francisco encouraged the board to adopt the ordinance noting how menthol flavored tobacco products are a major contributing factor for a high death toll in African American community.

“Menthol flavored tobacco products are a starter products for our youth,” he said.

“While store employees try to keep these products out of the hands of youth, the reality of the problem is that these products do get into the hands of our youth,” said Rachel Lazarus of the Contra Costa Tolerance Prevention Coalition.  “This ordinance will control this problem.”

With the prospects that the tobacco industry might file a lawsuit to block the county from enacting the ordinance, Jag Sing, a board member representing 12 Contra Costa County 7-11 Stores, opposed the proposed ordinance saying “No retailer wants to sell to minors.  Let’s work together.”

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New bill to combat understaffing in California dialysis clinics, including 15 in Contra Costa, three in Antioch

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

By Sean Wherley

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced legislation, on Wednesday, to improve staffing at more than 550 dialysis clinics in California.

SB 349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act, would mandate annual inspections of dialysis clinics and safer staffing levels. Current law requires inspections of dialysis clinics every six years, while nursing homes in California must be inspected every year, and hospitals every two years.

This legislation would affect 15 dialysis clinics in Contra Costa County: three each in Antioch and Walnut Creek; two each in Pittsburg and San Pablo; and one each in Brentwood, Concord, El Cerrito, Pleasant Hill and Richmond.

“Dialysis patients are grandparents, children and siblings not numbers on a balance sheet,” said Lara. “It’s time to fix the dialysis industry and improve patient care for the more than 63,000 Californians who rely on this life-saving treatment in clinics daily.”

Dialysis is necessary for people with kidney failure, who must have their blood removed, cleaned, and put back into their bodies. A typical treatment lasts three hours, and must be conducted three days a week for the rest of the patient’s life.

The two largest dialysis corporations – DaVita and Fresenius – make $2.9 billion a year in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States, but workers say the companies pocket the money rather than improve patient care or provide adequate staffing in their clinics.

Dialysis workers regularly report staffing levels so low that it threatens patient care. One worker cited an incident last March at a dialysis clinic in Anaheim, Calif. in which a patient collapsed in the parking lot. The worker said it could have been prevented if more staff were onsite at the time. Seven states already have minimum staffing levels in dialysis clinics: Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Dialysis workers in California have been organizing into a union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), for safer working conditions and stronger worker and patient protections. To learn more about the campaign, visit

Wherley is the Media Relations Specialist with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

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BART to pay $1.275 million settlement in environmental prosecution case by DA’s of three counties

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Transit agency failed to implement plans notifying first responders of the presence of large quantities of hazardous materials at its facilities throughout the Bay Area

Martinez, , CA – The Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney, along with District Attorneys from Alameda County and San Mateo County, announced today that Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson has ordered San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) to pay $1.275 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution alleging that the transit agency failed to implement hazardous materials business plans at facilities throughout the three counties as well as violating aboveground storage tank, underground storage tank, and hazardous waste laws.

The judgment agreed to by BART, resolves allegations made in a civil enforcement lawsuit filed January 31, 2017 in Alameda County and covers environmental violations dating back to January 2010.  The lawsuit claimed that at over 30 of BART’s 190 facilities throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo Counties, BART unlawfully failed to establish and implement a hazardous materials business plan for emergency response to a release or threatened release of hazardous materials.  These hazardous materials included large quantities of diesel fuel, petroleum, sulfuric acid contained in industrial batteries, and fire extinguishing chemicals.  The lawsuit further alleged that at these and other facilities, BART violated its environmental obligations related to its aboveground storage and underground storage of petroleum, and its hazardous waste.

“The protection of the public and the environment from dangerous hazardous materials through the enforcement of environmental protection laws is and always will be a high priority,” say District Attorney, Mark A. Peterson. “I am committed to ensuring both private and public entities comply with environmental laws enacted to protect our community and environment.”

In January of 2014, during routine compliance inspections, hazardous materials inspectors from the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health observed large aboveground storage tanks containing diesel at BART facilities in East Dublin/Pleasanton, West Dublin, and Castro Valley. These tanks, which contained 500 to over 1,700 gallons of diesel, fueled backup generators and were located in close proximity to areas accessed by thousands of BART commuters each day.  Despite the presence of large quantities of hazardous materials, BART had never implemented a hazardous materials business plan for any of these facilities as required by law.  These plans contain critical emergency response information for first responders, such as firefighters, and BART employees, should there be a release or threatened release of hazardous materials into the environment.  These hazardous materials business plans are designed to ensure the protection of the public and the environment in the event of a hazardous materials spill.

The violations were brought to the attention of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Division who then conducted a follow up investigation with the District Attorney’s Offices’ Environmental Protection Units of Contra Costa County and San Mateo County.  The Contra Costa Health Services Hazardous Materials Program and San Mateo County Environmental Health Division also conducted inspections of all BART facilities in their respective Counties.  The follow up investigations revealed that BART’s failure to implement hazardous materials business plans was more widespread and covered over 30 BART facilities in the three counties.  The investigation also revealed that, at numerous other BART facilities, BART was committing violations of California’s aboveground storage tank, underground storage tank, and hazardous waste laws.

BART was cooperative throughout the investigation and worked hard to bring their agency into substantial environmental compliance.  During the investigation, BART hired an third party to conduct an audit of its environmental management programs and the audit identified areas of improvement related to hazardous materials, aboveground storage tanks, and hazardous waste. As part of the settlement, BART agreed to implement the recommendations from this audit.

As part of the settlement, BART agreed to implement the recommendations from this audit.

Under the settlement, BART must pay $675,000 in civil penalties paid out, according to statute, to other government agencies, and $300,000 to reimburse the costs of the investigation.  As part of the settlement, BART must also commit $300,000 to an additional environmental compliance position, for a total of two such positions for the next two years.  BART will also be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law.

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Antioch woman’s company, Pacific Senior Care Services, honored with fifth award in first three years in business

Friday, December 30th, 2016
Pacific Senior Care Services owner Kelly Gonzales with the 2016 award from Best Businesses of Walnut Creek.

Pacific Senior Care Services owner Kelly Gonzales with the 2016 award from Best Businesses of Walnut Creek.

By Allen Payton

Pacific Senior Care Services, LLC owned by Antioch resident Kelly Gonzales, has been selected for the 2016 Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award in the Home Health Care and Senior Services organizations categories by the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program. This is the second time since 2014 that Pacific Senior Care Services has been selected for the awards.

Each year, the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program identifies companies that the organization believes have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Walnut Creek area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program and data provided by third parties.

“I’m honored to receive these awards, in just our third year of business,” said Gonzales. “We strive to meet elder needs with love and compassion, as our slogan states.”

Pacific Senior Care Services place seniors and others in care homes and senior facilities, offer senior care referral services, as well as senior insurance services through their affiliated company.

This is the fifth award for the company since Gonzales formed it in April, 2014. They also received the 2016 City Beat News Spectrum Award bestowed on companies for their excellence in customer service.

About the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program

The Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the
achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Walnut Creek area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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Cause of Thanksgiving foodborne illness outbreak in Antioch identified

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa County Health Services announced, today, Tuesday, December 20, 2016, that the cause of the foodborne illness outbreak reported after a Thanksgiving Day charity event in Antioch has been identified. It was caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens.

A laboratory at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) confirmed the presence of the bacteria in stool samples taken from people sickened by food served at the Nov. 24 holiday celebration, held by Golden Hills Community Church of Brentwood and Antioch, at Antioch’s American Legion hall.

“Clostridium perfringens is one of the most common foodborne illnesses in the U.S. It can be found in the human intestine without hurting us, but eating food containing large amounts of this bacteria can cause illness and in some cases death,” said Dr. Louise McNitt, deputy health officer for Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS).

CCHS’ Public Health and Environmental Health divisions investigated 25 related reports of foodborne illness after the event, including three fatal cases.

“Our investigation was not able to determine exactly what people ate that made them sick. But after extensive interviews we found most of the ill people ate turkey and mashed potatoes and they all ate around the same time. Some dishes served at the event, including cooked turkey, were brought to the site after they were prepared in private homes,” said Dr. Marilyn Underwood, CCHS Environmental Health director.

Underwood said proper food handling is essential to prevent foodborne illness, including cooking foods to proper temperatures, cooling and storing them appropriately if they are not going to be eaten right away, separating raw meats from foods that won’t be cooked, storing food properly and washing hands and cooking surfaces often.

“We’re saddened for the families that suffered losses this holiday season. We encourage anyone planning charity events where food will be served to the public to contact us to understand the permitting process and to learn about food safety,” said Underwood.

All of the reported illnesses occurred within 24 hours of the patients consuming food from the event.

“We at Golden Hills are mindful of all the people who were affected,” said Senior Pastor Larry Adams. “We will continue to cooperate with local health officials and are encouraged by the county’s speedy investigation.”

“This is a difficult season for all involved. We as a Christian community will continue to pray for those who are ill and the families of those who have died,” he added.

For more information about preventing foodborne illness or about C. perfringens, visit

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Lose weight during the holidays with a special program working for others in Antioch

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

arbonne_lynn_kutsal_dec_2016Join Lynn Kutsal, owner of Nature’s Bounty in Antioch, in a clean eating adventure that could change your life.

“It’s working for me. I’ve lost 10 pounds in just the first two weeks on the program and an inch around my waist in just the first three,” said Allen Payton, publisher of the Antioch Herald. “Try it and see if it works for you, too.”

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24 Hour Fitness® expands club in Antioch, Grand Opening this Saturday, Dec. 17

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

New “Super Sport” club designed to keep pace with growth in Antioch, East County

The 24 Hour Fitness at the Somersville Towne Center in Antioch is expanding and relocating inside the former Gottschalks store. The new club is designed to match the fitness lifestyle needs of some of the fastest-growing communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, found here in Eastern Contra Costa County.

A grand opening event is scheduled this Saturday, December 17, 2016 from 9:00 a.m., to 1:00 p.m. for the 24 Hour Fitness Somersville Road Super Sport at 2520 Somersville Road in Antioch. The community is invited to this free celebration, which includes club tours, prize drawings, group training demonstrations, innovative group exercise studio classes and more.

The new club is situated in what is both a highly retail and densely residential area, and so the 24 Hour Fitness Somersville Road Super Sport will be poised where more and more East Bay residents live, play, dine and shop.

“We are excited to meet the needs of this rapidly-growing community with a large and convenient space for fitness,” said Tony Cigliutti, General Manager. “With a greater variety of equipment, and more of it, plus classes like Cycle and amenities like a lap pool, basketball court and Kids Club, there really is something for every member of the family. As the winter holidays and New Year approach, we know many people set new goals for themselves. The club is just one part of leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and we can help members meet those health and fitness goals even when they are outside of the club.”

The new, 38,000+ square foot club features a modern design and open-floor plan. Amenities include:

  • Cardio, strength and functional training equipment
  • Large rooms for a full schedule of Cycle and Group X® classes, including new formats like POP Pilates, Treat While You Train and bootybarre®
  • Lap pool, spa & sauna
  • Indoor basketball court
  • Personal and Group training services*
  • Kids’ Club*

*Additional fees apply

To experience the new gym, download a free guest pass from

About 24 Hour Fitness

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness is a leading health club industry pioneer, serving nearly four million members in over 400 clubs across the U.S. For more than 30 years, the company has been dedicated to helping members change their lives and reach their individual fitness goals. With convenient club locations, personal training services, popular group exercise classes and a variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, 24 Hour Fitness offers fitness solutions for everyone. Please visit for more information and to find the club nearest you.

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