Archive for the ‘News’ Category

ConFire Chief Jeff Carman named state Fire Chief of the Year

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Fire Chief Jeff Carmen (center) is joined by County Supervisors and members of ConFire staff on Oct. 9, 2018. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Also honored by County Supervisors

Fire Chief Carman

By Daniel Borsuk

During their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors honored Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Carman for receiving the Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award from the California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs).

Carman was presented the award at the association’s annual conference in Sacramento on Friday morning, Sept. 28.

The California Fire Chiefs Association established the award in 2000 to recognize an outstanding member of the state fire service leadership community. The award recognizes a single individual who is a role model for all fire chiefs in the state as demonstrated through leadership and management locally, regionally and statewide.

“The prestigious Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award recognizes our member who is a role model for all fire chiefs statewide,” said Jeffrey Meston, President Elect, CalChiefs and Chief, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “And, owing to his leadership, and the accomplishments of his district under that leadership, I am pleased to award Jeff Carman this year’s Fire Chief of the Year award on behalf of CalChiefs.”
Carman leads a 400-member ConFire in providing fire and emergency medical response to more than 1 million people in a 304-square-mile area in Contra Costa County.

During his nearly five-year tenure, the chief and his staff have reopened four stations that were closed during the recession, staffed the fire rescue boat, and improved overall fire response times. They also planned and executed implementation of the Offices of Emergency Services Type 2 Hazardous Materials Response team, and developed and expanded a joint venture with the Sheriff’s Office helicopter program for short-haul rescue and firefighting.

Chief Carman and his staff were also created a unique 911 emergency ambulance system called Alliance, a private-public partnership with AMR, which supervisors credited for saving tax dollars and providing improved response times.

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the men and women of our district whose dedication, professionalism and selfless service have made all our accomplishments possible these last five years.,” said Jeff Carman, Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “I’m also thankful for the leadership and vision of our county administrator and his staff, and our incredibly supportive fire board members who have, together, created the collaborative environment essential to our success on behalf of the citizens of Contra Costa County.”

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said Carman has been a “strong voice on statewide mutual aid” at a critical time of large, widespread fires.

“I really appreciate the leadership you have demonstrated, to bring ConFire out of a very challenging situation,” Supervisor Candace Andersen said.

Carman added, “I’m eager to continue our work here, and with my fellow fire chiefs, across the state, to challenge the status quo and continue to drive change in how we deliver better and more effective fire and EMS services to the citizens of our state.”

About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is a recognized fire service leader providing fire and emergency medical services to more than a million people across a 304 square-mile area, in and around the 20 cities of Contra Costa County, California. In 2017, the District responded to nearly 74,000 fire and EMS emergencies and provided expert medical care in the conduct of more than 75,000 ambulance transports. The District with 25 fire stations and nearly 400 employees is dedicated to the preservation of life, property and the environment.

About California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs)

CalChiefs is a professional association whose vision is to be the voice of the California fire service covering the spectrum of fire and EMS delivery, actively engaging in legislation that affects service delivery throughout the state, including national issues. CalChiefs membership includes leaders at all levels from the more than 800 municipal fire service agencies and fire districts (paid, combination & volunteer), state and federal government agencies, and corporate fire brigades operating in the state of California and associated colleagues from fire service support organizations and vendors. 

Allen Payton and the Richmond Standard contributed to this report.

 

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Antioch’s Flowing Motion partners with Feet First Foundation to fight human trafficking in East Bay

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Antioch based Flowing Motion, owned by Roy Sorvari and family operated, a fully integrated martial arts school and health and wellness center committed to improving the quality of life, announced recently, that they have partnered with Feet First Foundation, a non-profit, whose objective is to provide trauma recovery for youth in crisis and reduce the incidence of human trafficking and child exploitation. 

  •  According to Feet First Foundation statistics human trafficking is currently tied with illegal firearms for the second largest criminal industry in the world behind drugs. 
  • California, New York, Texas, and Oklahoma have the largest concentration of human trafficking survivors in the US. 
  • According to the US Attorneys General’s office, from 2010 -2014, California identified 1,277 victims and arrested 1,798 individuals.  
  • In addition, the FBI identified San Francisco as one of the worst areas in the country for commercial sex exploitation of children. In 2015 alone, there were 499 human trafficking cases identified.

According to the FBI website, 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15, 2017. The youngest victim recovered during the operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old.

Contra Costa County has experienced a steady increase in human trafficking over the last 10 years. In 2015 Contra Costa County identified 108 human trafficking victims. It is important to note that, according to county agencies, the true number is most likely significantly higher because of un-reporting due to the highly secretive nature of the crime.

Since 2017 Feet First Foundation has had phenomenal success helping participants overcome trauma, depression, anger, and anxiety. Statistically, the program has seen 75% reduction in depression, anger, and anxiety and 100% reduction in suicidal thoughts among participants.

With the great success of the Feet First Foundation program in the Martinez area, it’s only natural to want to bring these results to others.  The Feet First Foundation is opening another location in Antioch through Flowing Motion, located at 3158 Contra Loma Blvd.  

This program is endorsed by Kinder’s BBQ, In-N-Out Burger, the City of Martinez, the Mount Diablo School District, Love Never Fails, Pillars of Hope, the Contra Costa County District Attorney, local law enforcement, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, Fightcore Gym, Shield Corps Security, A Step Forward, Red Sand Project, the Contra Costa 211 Hotline, and Slave2Nothing Foundation. 

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Antioch Police arrest three teens for murder in grocery store parking lot

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

By Sergeant John Fortner, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau, Violent Crimes Unit

On Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at approximately 5:30 pm, Antioch Police Department detectives arrested a 16-year-old male suspect in connection with the shooting homicide that occurred on Oct. 9, 2018 in the parking lot of the Lucky Supermarket on E. 18th Street in north Antioch.

The ongoing investigation revealed two additional suspects. On Thursday, Oct. 18, detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit in a joint operation with the Special Operations Unit located and arrested both outstanding suspects, a 16-year-old male juvenile and a 17-year-old male juvenile. There are no known suspects outstanding, and each juvenile was booked into the John A. Davis Juvenile Hall facility.

Currently, detectives are still conducting follow-up investigation. Afterwards, the case will be presented to the District Attorney’s office.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441 or Detective Bledsoe at 925-779-6884. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch Police Chief shares statistics showing decrease in most major crimes

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Lately, I have had a number of people ask me about crime statistics in Antioch. More specifically, they want to know how our current crime rate compares to the crime rate prior to Measure C being approved by voters back in November 2013. Below is a graph comparing Antioch’s Part I crimes for the first nine months of 2013 to the first nine months of this year. (They can also be viewed on the City’s website at https://www.antiochca.gov/police/crime-statistics/)

Pretty staggering results! Overall, violent crime is down 39.9% and property crime is down 25.5%, resulting in a Total Part I Crime reduction of 28.2%.

This data clearly shows that Antioch is a safer community than it was five years ago. Now, by no means am I saying Antioch is crime-free, or even as safe as we would like it to be. It’s not. However, we have made great strides over the last five years in making our city safer. But like many things that happen over a period of time, the results aren’t as obvious to those of us who live here and are acclimated to the environment we see every day.

I’d like to share a personal story as an analogy to this. About 13 years ago, I weighed 320 pounds. I made some eating and lifestyle changes, and eventually lost over 100 pounds. This was very difficult for me to do and took more than a year to accomplish. The sad part about this was while I was losing weight, I continually felt as though my physical appearance was not changing. I saw myself every day, picking apart every flaw, and continually feeling as though I was making very little (if any) progress. It was not until I saw a picture of myself at my heaviest, and compared it to a more recent picture, that I was able to appreciate the change I had made.

Some people have a preconceived notion about Antioch. And for them, every single incident of crime reported helps justify their opinion. Also known as confirmation bias, this is the mentality of someone who fails to see the forest for the trees. Antioch previously had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most dangerous cities in California. That is no longer the case. In fact, the most recent list I saw (just published last week) had Antioch down to #51 (https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dangerous-cities-in-california/). By no means is this perfect or even ideal. But it’s a marked improvement from where we were.

There is still a lot of work needed to make Antioch safer. But the men and women of the Antioch Police Department have been, and are still, committed to doing the best we can with the staffing and resources we have to improve the safety of our community. I believe the funding generated by Measure C has enabled the Antioch Police Department to make a measurable impact on the crime in our city over the past five years. Measure W, on this November’s ballot, is intended to continue providing the Department funding that could be used for programs and staffing to further reduce crime in our community.

As your Chief of Police, and an Antioch resident, I am truly thankful for everything and everyone working to keep our community safer!

Respectfully,

Tammany Brooks III

Antioch Chief of Police

**The increase in Rape crimes was a direct result of the Department of Justice expanding the definition of that crime, which took effect January 2014.

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Supervisors cut hangar, tie-down rates at Buchanan, Byron Airports to compete

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Photos courtesy of Contra Costa County.

Approve spending $41,000 for sideshow deterrence project

By Daniel Borsuk

Airplane tenants at the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport and Byron Airport – will see hangar and tie-down rental rates decline as a result of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors concurring with an airports staff analysis that the rates charged at the two airports are non-competitive. The lower rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving the rate reductions at a meeting on Tuesday in Martinez.

Overall, the lower rates will mean the county will receive $65,514 less annual revenue for the Airport Enterprise Fund, the fund that financially operates the two airports.  Unlike other county departments or operations, the two airports are run as financially self-sustaining public use facilities in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration.

A market survey County Director of Airports Keith Freitas and his staff conducted on the county airports’ regional competitors including Livermore, Hayward, Napa, Sonoma, Stockton, and Nut Tree showed that rates at the two Contra Costa County airports were “on the high end of the rate range.”

“To best position Buchanan Field and Byron Airports to be regionally competitive, the new hangar and tie-down rates have been lowered and they will adjust every three years instead of annually,” Freitas wrote in his report to the supervisors.  This will permit the Airports Division to “react and behave more like a business in order to successfully compete for marketplace in the region.”

There is currently a six-month wait for a hangar at the two airports, the airports director said and he would like to see that wait period decline even more over time.

The county’s tie-down rates are less than 40 percent occupied, the airports director’s report stated.

Pleasant Hill resident Tom Weber, who is not a pilot, supported the lower airport rates because “We need to be competitive. Our rates have been too high.”

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who serves on the Airports Commission, foresees how the lower hangar and tie-down rates at the airports could potentially spark “so many opportunities” in the county.  She cited how the airports could be catalysts for “really good jobs for the Northern Waterfront,” an area currently undergoing an extensive county planning study for future development.

$41,000 Sideshow Deterrence Project OK’d

Without out any comment, supervisors approved a $41,000 anti-sideshow project at the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.  The supervisors approved the item on their consent agenda.

At the request of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who has received complaints from citizens about illegal sideshow activities (spinning circles and other illegal vehicular stunts) at the intersection, the county Public Works Department plans to take preventive action.

“The project consists of installing a series of 6-inch and/or 8-inch raised ceramic domes at the four approaches to the intersection,” Brian M. Balbas, Public Work Director/Chief Engineer wrote in this report to the board.

“The ceramic domes will be strategically placed along the centerline striping and in the shoulder areas.  The intent of the raised features is to provide a visual, auditory, and sensory deterrence, while minimizing the impact to most road users who follow the vehicle code.  The project will test if raised ceramic domes have intended deterrent effect on sideshow activities.”

But when the Contra Costa Herald contacted Balbas, the county public works chief wasn’t too optimistic that the ceramic domes will spoil the enthusiasm of the sideshow participants.  “They’ll find a way to either scrape them off or demolish the ceramic domes in order continue their sideshows,” he said.

Supervisors also heard Arthur Road resident Jonathan Katayanagi describe how sideshows and speeding cars have made his neighborhood dangerous for children and anyone living in the area.  Recently there was an auto accident on Arthur Road, sparking increased concerns about sideshows and dangerous auto stunts.  Katayanagi told the Herald perhaps his neighborhood should also get the ceramic dome street treatment like what Public Works will soon install at Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.

Proclaim October Diaper Need Awareness Month

Supervisors unanimously proclaimed October as Diaper Need Awareness Month in Contra Costa County as part of a countywide effort to raise public awareness and action to donate diapers to diaper banks, diaper drives, and organizations that distribute diapers to families in need.

Supervisors acknowledged the works of Sweet Beginnings Family Resource Center for its work to be recognized as the 20th Diaper Bank in California and the work of SupplyBank.Org’s Diaper Kit Assistance that distributes 18,000 TalkReadSign branded diapers and 36,000 baby wipes per month through the Concord Women and Children (WIC) Program.

Citing how the high cost of diapers imposes a financial strain, especially on low income families, can account for 14 percent of a monthly budget.  Diapers can be purchased with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, but only 27 percent of families with children in poverty receive TANF benefits.

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County election equipment to undergo testing to ensure accuracy

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Ballots lined up to be counted in the County Elections office on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Photo by Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla

In an effort to ensure that every Contra Costa ballot is counted completely and accurately, technicians from the Elections Division are in the process of programming and testing every piece of voting equipment that will be used in the November 6, 2018 General Election.

The central-count voting system for Vote-by-Mail ballots and the scanners for paper ballots located at each polling place are being tested for logic and accuracy. The ballot-marking equipment used at Regional Early Voting locations and on Election Day is also tested at this time since it interacts with those counting systems.

The series of tests starts by confirming that all machines are in working order and functioning properly, followed by a series of test ballots running through each machine to make sure they are properly programmed to pick up intended ballot marks.

There are six central count machines that will record results for approximately 2 million Vote-by-Mail ballot cards, along with about 300 ballot scanners at polling places throughout the County.

The public is always invited to check out the equipment testing in action. Those interested in observing the process should contact the Elections Division at 925-335-7805, as testing is being conducted intermittently during the next several weeks and at multiple locations.

A public demonstration of the central count voting equipment is scheduled for 10:00 am on November 2, 2018, at the Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office, 555 Escobar Street in Martinez. Visitors are asked to check-in at the Elections lobby. For more information, call 925-335-7800.

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Antioch Chamber of Commerce announces endorsements in council, school board races

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is pleased to endorse the following candidates for the November 6, 2018 election:

Antioch City Council:

–          Incumbent, Tony Tiscareno

–          Incumbent, Lori Ogorchock

AUSD School Board Trustee:

–          Dr. Clyde H. Lewis Jr.

–          Jim Davis

We believe these candidates provide the strongest alignment with the Chamber’s mission and vision, and possess the greatest opportunity and potential to advance the City of Antioch.

Founded in 1938, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) non-profit voluntary partnership of business and professional people working together to build a healthy economy and to improve the quality of life in our community.

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Bus Service Goes to the Dogs – Guide Dog Training on Tri Delta Transit

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

The Eastern Contra Costa County Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit) recently gave rides to more than a dozen furry-footed passengers learning to ride the bus. One by one, a procession of soon-to-be Guide Dogs boarded a 40-foot long Tri Delta Transit bus, to acclimate to a new surrounding. With tails eagerly wagging, they boarded ready for a new adventure. By the end of the trip, a valuable lesson was learned.

For several years, Tri Delta Transit CEO, Jeanne Krieg has opened her bus doors to assist Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. “For years, this is a relationship we’ve fostered and something all of our staff embrace,” said Krieg. “Our drivers enthusiastically volunteer to drive the bus for this event and we usually have staff stick around to watch the dogs in action. We look forward to assisting Guide Dogs for the Blind for a long time to come.”

Getting used to the sights and sounds of the real world is a key part in Guide Dogs’ training. Inexperienced dogs might be intimidated by the size, noises and smell of the bus. However, acclimating the dogs to buses and trains is important because the blind depend so heavily on public transportation.

To train a Guide Dog, volunteers spend about 18 weeks teaching everything from obedience to acquainting them with the human world. From there it’s back to the Guide Dogs campus where professionals take over for another five to nine months, training the dogs to see for someone else. “These are truly amazing animals,” continued Ms. Krieg. “If we can play a small part in fulfilling their mission, we will continue to offer our vehicles and service for years to come.”

Tri Delta Transit provides over 3,000,000 trips each year to a population of over 250,000 residents in the 225 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. They currently operate 15 local bus routes Monday – Friday, 4 local bus routes on weekends, door-to-door bus service for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and shuttle services to community events.

For additional information about Tri Delta Transit, please visit www.trideltatransit.com.

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