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K-9 cop finds, takes into custody suspect hiding in couch, among Antioch Police calls for March 9-15, 2017

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Following are the Antioch Police Department calls for service highlights as published in Acting City Manager Ron Bernal’s Weekly Report dated March 17, 2017 and provided by Chief of Police Allan Cantando.

Calls for Service and Arrest Data Summary:

Time Period: 03/09/17 00:00:00 – 03/15/17 23:59:59

Number of Calls for Service: 1,792

Number of Case Reports: 307

Number of Arrests: 76

Felony: 28

Misdemeanor: 48

Arrests with DUI charge: 0

The data is based upon unaudited CAD/RMS data at time of report generation.

  • On 3/9/2017 at 8:56am, Officers contacted the occupants of a vehicle parked in the apartment complex located at 2301 Sycamore Dr. During a routine computer check, 32 year old Chino Jones was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest. Jones was arrested without incident and booked in the county jail.
  • On 3/9/2017 at approximately 12:17am, citizens in the area of Selena Ct. called dispatch to report gun shots in the area. Officers responded to the area but were unable to locate a scene or victims. Today at approximately 1:04 pm, a female called dispatch to report a bullet hole in her garage. Officers responded and confirmed her house was hit by a single gunshot along with a vehicle in the area. Two casings were collected as evidence. Video surveillance captured the incident however no leads were developed as a result of the footage.
  • On 3/9/2017 at 1:14 pm, dispatch received a call from 21 year old Jimmy Mauriscio who was in front of Antioch High School. Mauriscio called to turn himself in for two pending warrants. Officers responded and took Mauriscio into custody without incident. He was booked in the county jail.
  • On 3/9/17 at 11:01 pm, an officer was conducting extra patrol of the Goodwill lot and contacted 44 year old Nicole Costa, 37 year old Melissa Rinear, and 51 year old Michael Sullivan going through items in the fenced yard. The gate was open at this time and no representative of the business could be located to respond. Costa was found to have a warrant for her arrest. She was released at the scene on a signed promise to appear. All were given a trespass admonishment. The gate was closed, but could not be secured.
  • On 3/10/17 at 3:25 pm, an officer was conducting extra patrol at the Quikstop on Sycamore Dr. when he contacted 25 year old Peter Beskalis. The officer found Beskalis had a felony warrant for possession of stolen property. He was arrested and booked into the County Jail.
  • On 3/10/17 at 8:21 pm, officers were dispatched to the Sleep Train located at 4819 Lone Tree Way for subjects fighting in the parking lot. Officers arrived on scene and found a group of subjects but no fight. An officer recognized 20 year old Jordan Jackson as a suspect in a strong armed robbery that occurred at Eagleridge Park on 3/8/17.  Jackson was arrested for the robbery and booked into the County Jail.
  • On 3/10/17 at 11:05 pm, an officer made a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle on W 18th St. and contacted 19 year old Leonardo Meza. The officer found Meza had a felony warrant for possession and transportation of a controlled substance for the purpose of sales. He was arrested and booked into the County Jail.
  • On 3/11/2017 at 9:21 am, an officer observed 27 year old Armani Shankles in the Quikstop parking lot located at 1108 Sycamore Dr. The officer observed a hand to hand transaction and suspected Shankles to be involved in drug sales. Shankles was contacted and found to be on probation. During a search of Shankles and his vehicle, the officer located marijuana, cash and indicia of sales. Shankles was arrested, his probation was violated and he was booked in the county jail.
  • On 3/11/2017 at 1:03 pm, East Bay Regional Parks Helicopter was over Antioch when they received a LoJack hit on a stolen motorcycle reported by CHP. Officers checked the area of Boulder Drive and saw a similar motorcycle in the garage of a home on Boulder Dr. Officers made contact with 24 year old Daniel O’Neil who allowed officers in the garage to search. The motorcycle was the stolen motorcycle we were looking for. O’Neil was arrested and booked in the county jail. The motorcycle was released to the victim.
  • On 3/11/2017 at 1:09 pm, officers contacted 29 year old Agnes Brussor near Somersville Rd and HWY 4 during a traffic collision investigation. Brussor was found to have a warrant for her arrest and was booked in the county jail.
  • On 3/11/17 at 2301 hours, APD officers responded with Confire to the report of a large brush fire on Hillcrest Avenue near Laurel Road. On arrival, it was discovered to be a small fire in the bushes along the east sound wall of Hillcrest Avenue just south of Laurel Road. Confire quickly extinguished the fire and no structures were threatened. A Confire Investigator responded and took over the investigation. He later advised the fire appeared to be arson.
  • On 3/12/17 at 7:58 am, an officer on routine patrol in the area of Sycamore Dr. and Spanos St. observed 48 year old Kirt Grant walking down the middle of the street. The officer contacted Grant and discovered he had an outstanding warrant for probation violation. Grant was taken into custody without incident and transported to County Jail.
  • On 3/12/17 at 11:40 am, officers responded to the 4300 block of Hillcrest Ave for a reported single vehicle rollover accident. Upon arrival, it was determined the unknown driver of an Acura was traveling northbound on Hillcrest Ave, lost control of the vehicle, and collided into the city owned sound wall. The vehicle then rolled down an embankment and caught fire. The driver and two passengers all fled the scene in a separate vehicle that appeared to be following the responsible.  The hospitals were notified and as of this time the driver has not been identified.
  • On 3/12/17 at 11:50 am, an officer on routine patrol in the area of Auto Center Dr. and Highway 4 observed 50 year-old Timothy Jones panhandling at the on-ramp to Highway 4 at Auto Center Dr. The officer contacted Jones and discovered he had an outstanding warrant for narcotic violations. Jones was taken into custody without incident and transported to County Jail.
  • On 03/12/2017 at 8:30 pm officers were dispatched to 3214 Delta Fair Boulevard, Firestone Tires, for a report of a subject breaking into the business. Upon arrival officers located 28 year old Moises Sanchez laying on the ground in front of the business covered with a blanket watching the television that was on in the business. The officers were told by a witness that Sanchez broke the windows to the business so he could make entry to the building, turn the businesses television on, and watch television.  Sanchez was placed under arrest and placed in the back of a patrol car.  Sanchez continually kicked the door panel and windows of the interior of the patrol car.  Sanchez was placed in a restraint device (WRAP) and transported to county jail.
  • On 3/13/17 at 11:40 am, the County’s Hazardous Materials team requested Antioch officers to respond to the 2200 block of Manzanita Way for reported mercury in the roadway. Officers responded to the scene and canvassed the area for any leads as to how the mercury arrived, which met with negative results. An informational report was drawn for documentation purposes only.  The VIPS responded and took over traffic control.  At approximately 2:30 pm, HazMat requested all of Manzanita Way be shut down as it was discovered the mercury had spread from Mahogany Way to Sycamore Dr.  Due to the amount of mercury, the County’s Hazardous Materials team requested the assistance from the federal government.  Agents from the Environmental Protection Agency responded to the scene and took over.  It was anticipated the roadway would be closed for at least a day if not longer.
  • On 3/13/17 at 11:54 pm, an officer on routine patrol in the area of Mokelumne Drive made a traffic enforcement stop for vehicle code violations. The driver, 30 year-old Darrell Allen was contacted and found to be on felony probation. During a search of his person, the officer located narcotic paraphernalia.  Allen was arrested without incident and later transported to County Jail.
  • On 3/13/17 at 6:23 pm numerous callers advised of a fire at a storage facility on Sunset Drive. A vehicle and storage units were found engulfed in flames. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire. Arson investigators took over the investigation.
  • On 3/14/17 at 7:21 am, officers responded to Diana Dr. for a report of 31 year-old Salvador Quintero breaking into a residence. Based on prior cases involving Quintero, it was determined that Quintero had been stalking his child’s mother. Officers attempted contact at the residence and Quintero refused to comply and exit.  The residence was ultimately searched with a police K-9 (Enzo).  Enzo alerted to a couch in the family room.  Officers had to lift the couch in order to locate Quintero who was found hiding inside the frame area from underneath the couchQuintero refused to exit the couch and was taken into custody by the K-9.  Quintero was transported to a hospital for treatment.  He was later transported to County Jail on the charges of stalking, burglary and resisting arrest.
  • On 3/14/17 at 3:01 pm, an officer on routine patrol observed a suspicious vehicle parked in the lot to the Shell Gas Station located at 4198 Lone Tree Way. The officer could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle and contacted the occupant, 24 year-old Izaya Johnson. During a search of the vehicle, approximately 159 grams of marijuana was located packaged for sales. The officer also located numerous 9 mm bullets within the vehicle.  It was discovered that Johnson is a convicted felon.  Upon reviewing video, officers observed Johnson had been parked at the location for approximately two hours making numerous hand to hand transactions.   Johnson was arrested without incident and later transported to County Jail on the charges of marijuana sales and felon in possession of ammunition.
  • On 3/14/17 at 3:38 pm an officer saw 55 year old Scott Bevis walking on E Street near West 10th. The officer knew he had a warrant for his arrest. Bevis was arrested and taken to county jail.
  • On 3/14/17 at 4:56 pm an officer recognized 46 year old Lee Cash sitting on a park bench on Mahogany Way. The officer knew Cash had warrants for his arrest. Cash was arrested and taken to county jail.
  • On 03/14/2017 at 11:37 pm officers were dispatched to 2213 Buchanan Road Building #201 for a burglary in progress. Upon arrival officers stopped and arrested 36 year old Jonathan Pearson and 39 year old Angela Pena for trespassing and vandalism. A witness had seen the pair attempting to force entry into the bathroom in building 201.  Pearson and Pena were released on citations.
  • On 03/15/2017 at 11:42 am, an officer was in the area of 2201 San Jose Drive when he observed a subject sitting in a vehicle with expired vehicle registration. The officer made contact with 65 year old Earl Brown who was found to have a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. Brown was arrested without incident and booked in the county jail.
  • On 03/15/2017 at 12:19 pm, an officer was patrolling the open field area near Markstein due to the recent increase in trespass complaints as well as off-road vehicle use in the area. The officer made contact with 39 year old Justin Kurtiz who was parked in the field. Kurtiz has a suspended driver’s license and admitted to drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. Officers located a methamphetamine pipe and approximately 5.3 grams of blue colored methamphetamine. Kurtiz was issued a citation and released on scene.
  • On 03/15/2017 at 2:56pm, an officer was patrolling the open field near the end of Viera Av. due to recent stolen vehicles located in the field. The officer came upon 42 year old Daniel Bryant who advised he had a no bail warrant. During a records check, Bryant was found to have a warrant for his arrest and subsequently booked in the county jail.
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School Board votes to expand meditation teaching into more Antioch classrooms

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Photo from the Mindful Life Project website www.mindfullifeproject.org.

Vinson served with recall  papers, Sawyer-White threatened with possible recall

By Nick Goodrich

On Wednesday night, the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to approve funding for a meditation- and mindfulness-based program at Belshaw Elementary. In addition, Board Vice President Debra Vinson was served with recall papers for a second time and Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was threatened with a possible recall.

The Mindful Life Project

The Mindful Life Project, based in Richmond, California, will receive $1,500 as part of a vendor agreement with the school district, that includes a two-hour training for educators that will allow them to implement the program in their classrooms.

According to district staff, the program “empowers students with mindfulness and other transformational skills that build self-awareness, development of natural conflict resolution skills, self-regulation, perseverance, resilience, and social-emotional intelligence”.

The School Board allayed fears on Wednesday about the Mindful Life Project representing an introduction of Eastern religious teachings into Antioch classrooms. The program’s only goal, according to board members and district staff, is to help implement behavioral changes in Antioch students.

Board President Walter Ruehlig, who was given the chance to participate in one of the program’s meditation exercises, noted that the exercise simply involved breathing and reflection techniques.

“I didn’t notice anything religious about it,” he said. The other board members agreed, seeing no indication that the program involved religious teachings.

Earlier in the meeting, Superintendent Stephanie Anello delivered a report on the progress of meeting certain goals she set for the AUSD last year. Part of the report included her increased emphasis on tiered behavioral and intervention support for schools, and she informed the Board of a District-wide 38% decrease in suspensions from 2010 to 2016.

The Mindful Life Project is a new addition to the District that Anello hopes will continue that trend into next year. It has drawn praise for its effect on some of Richmond’s students, but it remains to be seen how effective it will be in Antioch.

With some AUSD schools holding less-than-stellar reputations for the behavior of their students, the District will presumably continue to find funding for proven anger management and behavioral intervention programs alongside the new addition of the Mindful Life Project.

On the website for The Mindfulness Project at www.mindfullifeproject.org it shows photos of children in classrooms, with their eyes closed, sometimes with hands out stretched, in what appears to be states of meditation. (See related Herald article)

The term for mindfulness in A Glossary of Pali and Buddhism Terms is sati. It’s definition is “Mindfulness, self-collectedness, powers of reference and retention. In some contexts, the word sati when used alone covers alertness (sampajañña) as well.” According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Pali is the Buddhist canonical language.

Attempt to Televise Board Meetings

At their previous meeting, Vinson proposed the idea of holding board meetings in the Antioch City Council Chambers, which would allow them to be televised and hold a larger audience.

Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White raised the discussion again on Wednesday, and said it would further increase transparency between the District and the public.

However, the Board was not prepared to discuss it during their meeting on the 23rd, and so resolved once again to place the matter on a future meeting agenda.

For now the District makes available the audio of all Board Meetings on their website.

Vinson Served With Recall Papers, Again

Trustee Debra Vinson during her first Antioch School Board meeting, Dec. 10, 2014. Photo by Allen Payton

During public comments on Wednesday, AUSD employee Nicole Cedano appeared again before the Board to serve Trustee Debra Vinson with a second set of recall papers.

Cedano’s first effort, stemming from an incident last year in which Cedano alleged that Vinson became verbally abusive to a secretary at an Antioch school campus, failed after being denied by the County Elections Office due to “a word technicality,” she said.

“Your behavior continues to be a detriment to this District and create an unwelcoming atmosphere for staff, students, and the community,” Cedano told Vinson during her statement to the Board.

In addition to serving Vinson with recall papers, Cedano also warned Sawyer-White of a potential recall, after Sawyer-White made comments last month suggesting that the District hire only minority firms.

“The best firm should get the job regardless of sex or color,” Cedano told the Board. “You should want what is best for the District, not what is best for a certain demographic.”

An attempt to reach Vinson for comment was unsuccessful prior to press time.

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See four cast members, local friends and family in Ferrante film Forgotten Evil fundraiser on April Fool’s

Friday, March 24th, 2017

In a scene from the movie “Forgotten Evil,” actors Kyle McKeever and Masiela Lusha play the parts of Randy and Renee. Photo courtesy of The Asylum/LMN

Filmed in Antioch last summer

Director Anthony C. Ferrante (in Ramones shirt) watches the shooting on a monitor with some of his crew outside the El Campanil Theatre in downtown Antioch, Monday night, August 22, 2016. Herald file photo by Allen Payton

Director Anthony Ferrante will show his “Forgotten Evil” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1s at El Campanil Theatre, 602 West Second St. in Antioch. The film was shot last fall throughout Antioch, including Antioch High School, the Antioch Police Department, El Campanil, the marina, Red Caboose and Riverview Lodge. Following the movie, a special Q&A and meet-and-greet is set with Ferrante and his three lead actors: Masiela Lusha, Kyle McKeever and Angie Teodora, along with Adrian Bustamante, a former Antioch resident.

Ferrante, an Antioch High graduate, directed the thriller, which follows amnesia victim Renee trying to piece together her past before she can start her new future. Played by Lusha, she is best known as Carmen, the daughter from the “George Lopez” TV show. Ferrante has also directed the wildly popular “Sharknado” movies.

It premiered on the LMN Channel on Sunday night, March 12. So if you didn’t watch it then, now’s your chance. And if you’ve already seen, this time watch it with the people who were actually in the film, including some of your local friends and family members.

Proceeds benefit Antioch High School. Tickets are just $10 at the door or $11.50 online at www.elcampaniltheatre.com. You can also purchase tickets at the Box Office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and one hour before the show. For more info, call 925-757-9500.

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Two young Antioch men shot, one killed, Thursday night

Friday, March 24th, 2017

By Lieutenant D. Bittner #3252, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Thursday, March 23, 2017 at approximately 9:20 p.m., the Antioch Police Department is currently investigating a shooting involving two victims, both Antioch residents, in the 2700 block of Contra Loma Blvd. A 22-year-old male victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The 23-year-old male victim was transported to a local hospital and is in stable condition.

Antioch Police Investigators were called to the scene and are in the early stages of the investigation. No further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Vanderpool with the Antioch Police Department at (925)779-6988.

Any further information or additional press releases will be provided by the Investigations Bureau at (925) 779-6939. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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During probation search Antioch police arrest Brentwood man at home for guns, drugs, Wednesday

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Drugs, cash and guns seized by Antioch police during the arrest of Brentwood resident Jerome Trainor, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Photos courtesy of APD

By Sergeant Wisecarver, Antioch Police Special Operations Unit

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at approximately 1:00 pm, the Antioch Police Department Special Operations Unit conducted a probation search on 31-year-old Jerome Trainor at his home in the City of Brentwood. SOU Detectives located four illegally possessed firearms, over six ounces of cocaine and over $40,000.00 in cash. Trainor was arrested for the guns and drugs and was booked in to the Martinez County Detention Facility.

We will not be releasing the address in Brentwood at this time. No further information will be released at this time as this investigation is ongoing; anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Sergeant Wisecarver with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6941.

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Antioch man shot multiple times, Wednesday night, in critical but stable condition

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

By Sergeant Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau                    

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 11:18 PM Antioch Police were dispatched to the 100 block of Walter Way on the report of a shooting.  Upon arrival Officers found a 37-year-old, Antioch man on the sidewalk, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds that he sustained when he was shot following a brief argument.  The victim was transported to an area hospital where he is being treated and is listed in critical but stable condition at the time of this writing.  This investigation is in its early stages and no further information will be released at this time.

Any further information or additional press releases will be provided by the Investigations Bureau at (925) 779-6939. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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School Board to vote on expanding Eastern religion-based meditation into more Antioch classrooms, Wednesday night

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Screenshot of the Home Page of the Mindful Life Project website.

Mindfulness training at Belshaw, Niroga Dynamic Mindfulness Yoga at Park Middle

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wednesday night, March 22, the Antioch School Board will be asked to vote on a contract to bring The Mindfulness Project into Antioch schools to teach Eastern religion-based meditation at Belshaw Elementary School. The Consent Calendar Item V on the meeting agenda is listed as “Vendor Agreement with Mindful Life Project/YMCA of the East Bay.”

The description of the agenda item reads as follows:

Screenshot of a photo on the Mindful Life Project website.

“The Mindful Life Project empowers students with mindfulness and other transformational skills that build self-awareness, development of natural confict resolution skills, self-regulation, perseverance, resilience, and social-emotional intelligence that enable them to thrive in their classrooms, their schools, and their community. Belshaw Elementary teachers will receive a two-hour training regarding mindfulness for educators. The training will involve teachers learning what mindfulness is, the brain science research, and ways to create an individual practice for personal well-being, as well as simple ways to bring mindfulness into their classrooms. A whole school assembly will be held three weeks after the training.”

According to Wikipedia “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term ‘mindfulness’ is a translation of the Pali term sati, which is a significant element of some Buddhist traditions.”

The Psychology Today website defines the term as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

That website then provides links to six articles under “Live in the Moment,” including “5 Meditation Tips for Beginners.”

The Mindful Life Project

Screenshot of a photo on the Mindful Life Project website.

In addition, on the website for The Mindful Life Project at www.mindfullifeproject.org it shows photos of children in classrooms, with their eyes closed, sometimes with hands out stretched, in what appears to be states of meditation.

The website claims “Mindfulness is a secular, science-based approach that takes advantage of our brain’s plasticity (ability to change throughout life). Mindfulness is proven to strengthen physiological responses to stress, negative emotions, anxiety and depression, and improve happiness, openness and self-awareness.

Mindfulness enables us to be present, moment to moment, in our increasingly distracted lives. Mindfulness improves social relationships with people and family and can even strengthen the immune system. It cultivates an openness to one’s life experience and a (sic) leads to a happier and more compassionate life.”

Photo collage on the Niroga Educational Services page of the Niroga Institute website.

Niroga Dynamic Mindful Yoga at Park Middle School

The proposed program at Belshaw is in addition to a program run by the Niroga Institute, that’s been implemented at Park Middle School, using grant money, to help with anger management.

On the Niroga website under Educational Services, it explains what they do in the classroom.

“We bring Dynamic Mindfulness to thousands of students every week in K-12 schools and alternative schools, helping children with academic, social and emotional learning. We have developed a comprehensive Transformative Life Skills (TLS) curriculum with 48 brief in-class lessons, systematically building stress resilience, self-awareness, emotion regulation and healthy relationships.”

Last November, the website provided the following background of the founder, Bidyut Bose, PhD, Executive Director of Niroga Institute. However, it has since been edited with portions deleted.

“Bidyut (BK) learned yoga from his father as a child, and later with monks in the Himalayas. A master Yoga Therapist in the Raja Yoga tradition, he is a long time student of Indian Philosophy and world religions. Inspired by Swami Vivekananda, he founded Niroga Institute, a non-profit dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality Yoga instruction and Yoga Therapy to underserved individuals and families. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).”

Swami means a Hindu male religious teacher.

Niroga Dynamic Mindfulness meditation in the classroom. From Niroga.com

Regarding the use of meditation and on what the students are meditating, Park Middle School Principal Jimno in a November interview stated, “from the experiences I’ve had with the organization, there’s never been a particular theme or word that they focus on.”

“They use a chime to bring focus in the room,” he explained. “Right now we currently have maybe 10 teachers that the trainers are going into the rooms for 15 minutes, twice a week. It’s not just breathing and teaching them, but how stress occurs in the body and implementing a coping mechanism…to be in control of their actions before they act on them. Getting their attention back in a positive way, rather than in anger.”

“They don’t call it meditation,” Jimno added. “I’m Christian and there’s lots of researched based practices. Lots of inner cities, Richmond is using this in their schools. We’re not utilizing the religious aspects of that. We’re using their techniques to calm students down.”

“No time have I even put those two together,” he stated. “At no time has there been an integration of the religion. As a Christian man, there have been things that have inspired me to bring back to teach students differently.”

When asked has the school brought in a Christian organization to teach biblical principles in a secular way, he responded “I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

Speaking of Bose, the founder of the Niroga Institute, Jimno said, “I’ve met him personally. I’ve been to his house for a meeting. Never once has religion been brought in to any conversation that I’ve had with him or in the trainings we’ve had here.”

Asked about the photos of students with hands folded and eyes closed in prayer and who are they praying to, he said, “It’s a centering posture, not necessarily a prayer posture.”

“We asked several questions of them and asked how they can apply it in music and in stretching in P.E.,” Jimno added. “It builds grey matter in the brain when you implement these techniques.”

Photo on the Niroga Institute website. Niroga.com

“The people who are coming on campus are not Eastern religion people,” he explained. “It’s been very pure, centered around making the climate calmer and help the students. It’s very separate from the wellness room. It’s about counseling. This is about meditation. But, we want to incorporate the breathing techniques into the wellness room.”

“It’s new and very big, right now,” Jimno stated. “It’s big in Richmond and Oakland. It’s funded by the Youth Justice Initiative grant through the county.”

“Last year it was used for trauma training and how it affects student behavior,” he said. “This year it’s more about bringing services to the campus community, wellness room, to get help for an all-day fix, to give them an outlet, rather than a punishment based system, to integrate them back into the classroom.”

“We’re working with the Lincoln Center for mental health therapy and, incorporating the Dynamic Mindfulness,” Jimno continued.

“In the first quarter of our school year, compared to the first quarter of last school year, we saw a 78% reduction in our suspension rate,” he stated. “Most of that was due to the wellness room and the trauma training, and the fact we added a counseling component, of a non-consequence solution.”

The flyer promoting the event at Park Middle School on Dec. 6th.

Navarro Calls for Equal Treatment

A flyer was distributed in November stating “Park Middle School presents Niroga A Parent & Family Night of Meditation & Relaxation,” held in the Multipurpose Room and Wellness Center at the school on Tuesday, December 6th.

Superintendent Stephanie Anello and all five board members, at the time were asked if they were aware of the event, why the school was sponsoring an event promoting Eastern religion and on what those in attendance would be meditating.

Then-Trustee Fernando Navarro was the only board member to respond.

“If we’re going to be neutral and they’re not going to allow Christian or any other religious-based organizations from bringing their philosophies onto school campuses, then advocates of Eastern religion shouldn’t be allowed to, either,” he stated.

“Frankly, they’ve reopened a door that constitutionally allows you to pray in school,” Navarro continued. “Because it’s separation of state from church, not church from state, where the state bullies a church or prevents the practice of religion thereof.”

“I got a heads up when Mr. Jimno brought it up at the Board meeting, last night,” He explained.

“Maybe we should have Christian prayer groups, Bible study during lunch or after school,” Navarro added.

Anello Defends Program

Superintendent Stephanie Anello and three of the board members, at the time and who continue to serve on the board, were asked if there are any other organizations to provide such services, that aren’t based on Eastern religion, and if there was a competitive bidding process, such as an RFQ (Request For Quote) or RFP (Request For Proposal), for using the funds from the justice grant, Anello responded.

“My understanding is that all meditation was inspired by Eastern religion but is used for a myriad of purposes,” she replied. “Per Ed(ucation) Code, a competitive bidding process was not required. The practice was implemented at the beginning of the school year. Mr. Jimno credits the 78% drop in suspensions due, in part, to this practice.

She was then asked about the district’s policy with regards to bringing in a religious affiliated philosophy into Antioch public classrooms and schools, and for schools to sponsor such activities, even if they are after hours at the campuses.

“Park Middle School like many schools across the nation, are practicing mindfulness. Mediation is just a piece of Mindfulnes,” Anello responded. “Meditation, although inspired by Eastern religion is a practice that transcends religion.

None of the board members responded to the questions.

Pastors Speak Out

When asked for comment about the Dynamic Meditation program, Pastor Larry Adams of Golden Hills Community Church in Antioch and Brentwood said he wasn’t going to fight it. But, rather he wanted equal time to have representatives of the Christian faith to be able to also go into the classrooms to share with students meditation on the Bible and praying to God, “who created them and knows all about them.”

Antioch pastor Dr. Lamont Francies of the Delta Bay Church of Christ shared a similar viewpoint.

“After doing research on the program at PMS, I would not implement the program,” he said. “I believe that if this program is implemented in public schools using public dollars that there must be an equal opportunity given to Christian based interventions.”

“I do not believe that schools can be void of culture, values and various beliefs. In our public schools we have educators that represent a diversity of culture, values and beliefs,” Francies continued. “I personally believe that if Christian prayer was being implemented in a public school, that it would have made national headlines. If AUSD endorses this mindfulness program, I believe they should offer a Christian alternative and let parents and students choose.”

The Antioch School Board meets at 7:00 p.m. in the Antioch Unified School District Office Board Room located at 510 G Street in downtown Antioch. Members of the public will have the opportunity to speak on this and any other agenda item and during public comments. To see the entire meeting agenda, click here: http://www.boarddocs.com/ca/ausd/Board.nsf/Public

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Felony charges filed against man in last Thursday’s Antioch officer involved shooting case

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

By Lieutenant D. Bittner #3252, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Monday, March 20, 2017 the Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney filed four felony charges against 49-year-old Anthony Terry for his involvement in the incident described below. Terry sustained minor injuries during the incident and is currently being held at the Martinez Detention Facility on the following charges:

– Felony assault upon a peace officer

– Felony fleeing a pursuing peace officer while driving reckless

– Felony illegal possession of ammunition

– Felony possession of a firearm

At approximately 10:13 PM on Thursday, March 16, 2017, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a reported shooting that was occurring in the 2000 block of Mokelumne Drive. As officers arrived in the area they located an involved vehicle. Officers attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle and the driver failed to stop for officers.

Officers pursued the vehicle and during the pursuit the suspect vehicle rammed an Antioch Police patrol vehicle near Wawona Court. Shots were fired by the officer and the suspect was wounded. A firearm was located in the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was transported to an area hospital and was treated for his injuries. The suspect is in stable condition at this time. No officers were injured. This investigation is in its early stages and no further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Vanderpool with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6988.

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