Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Police seek help in finding Antioch teen girl missing for 11 days

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

missing-antioch-teenBy Lieutenant D. Bittner #3252, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, Naomi Lomax (15 years old) was reported as a missing person. She was last seen around 7:00 a.m. on September 17, 2016 near the 4400 block of Wolf Way in Antioch. Her whereabouts are unknown at this time. She is described as being mixed-race, 5’03” tall, 120 lbs, dark curly hair dyed red, and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing black pants, a red flannel shirt, black shoes, and a black hat.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is encouraged to call Detective Matt Allendorph with the Antioch Police Department at (925)779-6933. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch Police, other agencies arrest 25 during felony warrant sweep, sex registrant compliance operation

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

By Lieutenant Tony Morefield, Antioch Police  Patrol Division

From 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Monday, September 26, 2016 through Wednesday the 28th, officers and detectives of the Antioch Police Department, in partnership with members of the United States Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, San Francisco Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Department of State, California Department of Corrections, Contra Costa County Probation, Pittsburg Police Department, and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) conducted a three day, felony warrant sweep and sex registrant compliance check operation around East Contra Costa County.  This multi-agency event consisted of two parts: the first (two day) part of the operation was focused on serving outstanding, felony arrest warrants, and the second (one day) part was devoted to sex registrant address verifications and compliance checks.

The event went from the early morning hours into the afternoon each day and yielded a total 25 arrests for charges ranging from fugitive warrants to weapons charges.  In addition to these arrests, one loaded firearm was seized during this operation and over five dozen sex offender address verifications were conducted.  This was a cooperative effort intended to bring known and suspected offenders into custody and help further ensure the safety of this and our surrounding communities.

No additional information concerning this operation will be released at this time.

You may text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Crime, gang and youth violence, homelessness, local jobs are top concerns in City of Antioch’s survey of residents

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

By Allen Payton

There were no big surprises in the results of the Community Priorities Survey paid for by the City of Antioch and shared with the Antioch City Council at their regular meeting, on Tuesday night.

“Crime and gangs are clearly perceived as the most-urgent problems in Antioch,” the headline of the survey results reads.

The live phone survey using both landline and cell phones, which lasted about 15 minutes according to some residents who received the call and participated, was taken between July 17 and 21, 2016 and conducted in both English and Spanish.

Of the 400 residents who participated in the survey, 75% of residents who responded said crime was very or extremely serious. Of those surveyed 72% also rated gangs and youth violence as very or extremely serious.

Homeless was the next highest rated problem, with 62% saying it’s very or extremely serious, followed by a lack of good-paying, local jobs, with 59% of respondents rating that issue very or extremely serious.

The next major concern was categorized as “An empty downtown,” with 53% of respondents rating that as very or extremely serious. Waste and inefficiency in local government had 46% of those surveyed calling it very or extremely serious, and another 32% rating it as somewhat serious, for a total of 78% of respondents giving it a serious rating.

The condition of the local economy had 43% of respondents rating it very or extremely serious, and another 39% rating it as somewhat serious.

Finally, in the categories which a majority of those surveyed rating as serious is traffic congestion, with 41% rating as very or extremely serious and another 32% rating it as somewhat serious.

The survey next stated “Few are concerned about development, or the lack of retail or parks” with only 17% of respondents saying “A lack of parks and open space” was very or extremely serious, and another 29% rating it as somewhat serious. However, 55% rated it as “not too serious” or “didn’t know” or provided “no answer.”

Then the survey states “A plurality feel the city is growing at the right pace.”

It also states “Respondents were overwhelmingly satisfied with existing parks; they are less satisfied with nightlife and fine dining options.”

The survey then focused on downtown Antioch, stating “Only half of respondents indicated they were familiar with Waldie Plaza,” and “More than three in five say they haven’t heard about plans for the former lumberyard,” the controversial  lot on which a group of residents are pursuing an initiative for a park and event center. The survey also states about the lumberyard, “Those who have heard something know relatively few details other than ‘new housing.’”

Finally, the survey states and provides a breakdown in statistics of answers by respondents that “Jobs and scenery were seen as top priorities for the land.” Of those surveyed, 77% said “Creating local jobs” was extremely important or very important, and another 15% said it was somewhat important, for a total of 92% saying it is important at some level.

Please see the complete results of the survey, here: antioch-community-priorities-survey-report

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Four school board candidates refuse to participate in Herald forum, answer questions

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Angel Luevano, speaks representing candidate Alonzo Terry, as the other candidates, Fernando Navarro and Crystal Sawyer-White await their turns to answer the question at Friday's forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald.

Angel Luevano, speaks representing appointed Trustee Alonzo Terry, as the other candidates, appointed Trustee Fernando Navarro and challenger Crystal Sawyer-White await their turns to answer the question, while panelist and Associate Publisher Connie Woods looks on and City Clerk Arne Simonsen keeps time, at Friday night’s forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald. photo by Allen Payton

By Connie Woods, Associate Publisher

The Antioch Herald hosted a forum for the Antioch School Board candidates at the City Council Chambers, on Friday evening, September 23rd, to inform the public of their choices for in the upcoming general election.

The twice-rescheduled forum – to accommodate the schedules of a majority of the seven candidates – featured three of the candidates running in November’s election, including  appointed incumbents Fernando Navarro and Alonzo Terry, who was represented by Angel Luevano, and   tutoring business owner Crystal Sawyer-White.  All candidates were invited to the forum and given opportunity to send a surrogate to speak on their behalf, if they could not attend, and to submit answers to the questions emailed to them the Monday prior.

But four candidates, incumbent and Board President Diane Gibson-Gray, former school board members Joy Motts and Gary Hack who had stated they had previous commitments, and news website publisher Mike Burkholder, later refused to attend or answer the emailed questions. They cited a “perceived bias”, claiming that Herald Publisher and Editor Allen Payton had endorsed Navarro and they didn’t think it was fair that their answers would be used as the basis for determining the Herald’s endorsements. But, Payton stated he had not endorsed any candidates and wouldn’t until the publishing of the October issue of the paper.

The videotaped forum included  opportunities for the candidates to ask two questions of their opponents and offer two rebuttals, as well.

Questions of the evening from both the panelist and audience, ranged from the budget and deficit spending to retaining students, increasing graduation rates, and campus safety The event was upbeat, friendly, non-antagonistic, with lots of ideas about what could be done to take Antioch’s educational system forward.

Navarro, a husband, father of two, bilingual and bi-cultural says he can assist with “demographic changes” facing the district. An entrepreneur and business owner of 20 years, he wants to improve education, have safer schools, and higher graduations rates for students. Since his appointment Navarro has had the opportunity to see how the district works, and said he is “critically concerned”.

Crystal Sawyer-White says she has “a new vision that will meet college and career readiness and prepare them [students] for a global economy.”She has lived in Antioch for 12 years, and is a parent of a fourth grader in the district.

“Decrease of student enrollment is not acceptable,” she said. “Antioch has not been transparent.”

“Budget funds have been appeasing to the status quo,” Sawyer-White continued, then mentioned retaining teachers is crucial, and she “will advocate for teachers.”

Luevano, reading Terry’s statement, said he had19 years of service for the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department,  primarily working with youth and a former substitute teacher. The changes he wants are to make decisive action for academic achievement, teacher retention and mutual respect between students and teachers.

The forum can be viewed on TV in October, beginning Sunday, October 2nd on Delta TV (Comcast Channel 24 and AT&T U-verse on Channel 99) and the schedule is as follows: Sundays at 1 pm, Mondays at 11 am and Thursdays at 6 pm.

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Three candidates for mayor debate at forum, Harper attacks Herald, walks out in protest

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Candidate for Mayor of Antioch Gil Murillo, far right, gives his opening statement as the other candidates, incumbent Wade Harper, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Dr. Sean Wright await their turn, at the beginning of the forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald on Tuesday night, September 20th. photo by Allen Payton

Candidate for Mayor of Antioch Gil Murillo, far right, gives his opening statement as his opponents, incumbent Mayor Wade Harper, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock and Dr. Sean Wright await their turn, and panelist Paul Burgarino looks on, and City Clerk Arne Simonsen keeps the time, at the beginning of the forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald on Tuesday night, September 20th. photo by Allen Payton

by Connie Woods, Associate Publisher

The four candidates for Mayor of Antioch gathered in the City Council Chambers to address the Antioch community during the a forum hosted by the Antioch Herald, on Tuesday, September 20th and to share their plans of how they would lead the City of Antioch if elected or re-elected.  Participants included Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchok, Dr. Sean Wright, Gil Murillo and a brief appearance by Mayor Harper who spoke for a few minutes, before exiting the forum. He did not stay to answer questions, although some in the audience had already submitted a few for him.

The candidates were seated in random order and gave their opening statements. Harper was the last to offer his.

“You know, I’m tired of the biased reporting in our city by the Antioch  Herald and I think it’s got to change,” he stated. “No more gotcha politics…I will not participate in a biased forum by the Antioch Herald…I am protesting this event. So, thank you for your time.”

Harper then left the dais and the Council Chambers, and did not participate in the remainder of the forum.

Each of the candidates had the opportunity to answer questions by panelist Paul Burgarino of the County Elections Office, the audience and each other, as well as offer two rebuttals, each.

Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock is a real estate agent, wife, mother of three, and a long term resident of 45 plus years of the city of Antioch who”works, play and pray in our community”.  She said she has built strong relationships in the community and is very excited about new ones. “I look forward to removing the negativity from our city, one issue at a time”. Ogorchock said she is the “best person to be the face of the community”, and that she’s here, all the time and won’t be an evening mayor but will be available at all times for the community.

Regarding the budget, Ogorchock stated that she stays within the city    budget. Although it is thick, and hard to read citizens can call her, the mayor or any council member if they have a question about the budget.

“I’m a team player,” she said and “want my community to be safe.”

Dr. Sean Wright, a local chiropractor and CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce believe it’s time for a leadership change. He’s worked on Economic Development with “great success” and said they’re [the Chamber] is “filling in where the holes have been in the city”.  He’s proud of what the Chamber has accomplished on a budget of $180,000.  He’s worked collaboratively with schools, police department, and economic development.

Wright said he wants to be the mayor “because the city lacks that leadership right now”.  He spoke of the challenges of what Antioch can become and believes it to be “the diamond” of the county. Wright thinks the city budget needs to be simplified for citizens to understand and to know how money is being spent. In closing statements he said there are city problems that are unaddressed and he’s tired of the status quo. Wright spoke of the issues of crime, blight, number of police officers, and that he feels change has not occurred and he’s worked in collaboration with education, police, and regional economic development efforts with great success.

Businessman Gil Murillo wants to improve education, bring higher paying jobs, and start looking at strategic planning for the future of Antioch like how to bring business into our city.  He would like to address planning for the next generation.

“Tomorrow’s economy is here today and if we don’t plan for that today we are going to miss it again,” Murillo stated. Some other important issues that he spoke of were the jobs lost, businesses shut down, and said “we need leadership; someone to be on point,” and to take ownership.

“I can’t give the 40 hour a week that Lori can,” he stated. “But what I can give is the knowledge and expertise that’s necessary for this position.”

The forum can be viewed in its entirety in October, on Delta TV (Comcast Channel 24 and AT&T U-verse on Channel 99), beginning Sunday, October 2nd and the schedule is as follows: Sundays at 5 pm, Thursdays at 2 pm and Fridays at 11 am.

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Council candidates debate, Rocha defends record, Wilson a no show at Herald forum

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Antioch City Council candidate Fred Rouse, second from right, answers a question, as his opponents, Lamar Thorpe, Karl Dietzel, Kenny Turnage and incumbent Councilwoman Mary Rocha look on, during the forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald on Tuesday night, September 20.

Antioch City Council candidate Fred Rouse, second from right, answers a question, as his opponents, Lamar Thorpe, Karl Dietzel, Kenny Turnage and incumbent Councilwoman Mary Rocha await their turns to answer, during the forum sponsored by the Antioch Herald on Tuesday night, September 20th. photo by Allen Payton

By Connie Woods, Associate Publisher

Five of the six candidates competing for two seats on the Antioch City Council, faced off Tuesday evening, September 20th in the City Council Chambers to present their ideas on issues facing Antioch and its residents at a forum sponsored by hosted by the Antioch Herald.

Challengers Lamar Thorpe, Karl Dietzel, Kenny Turnage, Fred Rouse and incumbent Mary Rocha participated in the lively debate answering questions presented by panelist Paul Burgarino of the County Elections Office, the audience and each other. The other incumbent in the race, Monica Wilson was a no show.

Some of the questions discussed at the forum included the budget and the hot topic of how measure C and O funds are collected and spent which includes tax monies already received for funding new police officers; how to attract more businesses and jobs to Antioch, and views on new housing development.

Lamar Thorpe, a former member of the Economic Development Commission and university administrator, said he loves being involved with policy.

Councilwoman Mary Rocha, who was recognized as Woman of the Year by the Contra Costa County Women’s Commission, feels crime is the number one issue facing Antioch. She spent much of the time defending her record from the     others’ comments and questions.

Kenny Turnage, is a local construction company owner, Economic Development Commission member, president-elect of the Antioch Rotary Club, and was named 2015 Antioch Citizen of the Year.

Fred Rouse is a member of the City’s Board of Administrative Appeals. He decided to run when the media started referring to Antioch as something that it wasn’t, and wants to make a change.

First-generation American Karl Dietzel has lived in Antioch since 1989 and says he wants his city back. He also says Antioch is number four in the Bay Area as the most dangerous city.

Crime: Thorpe said that at the beginning of Measure C there were 89 sworn police officers, so with an additional 22 officers that were promised, that should have brought that number to 111 sworn police officers, which was not done. Most of the other candidates also agreed that more officers should have been hired with Measure C funding.

New homes and commercial   development: Thorpe stated in bringing companies to Antioch “that the trade-off should be jobs not homes”.

Turnage said that the “city needs to negotiate better with developers,” and he would even like to see some eight-story high rises by the waterfront to encourage businesses to come in.

Dietzel did not support any new housing developments and said that the city needs to take care of the 120,000 residents that are already here.

Rocha supports development and some gated communities. We now have the road systems, she mentioned. Rocha also said she has had the opportunity to bring in subsidized childcare to Antioch, which brings in $50,000 to the annual budget.

Attracting more businesses:  Thorpe said there should be tax incentives, smart growth development, and good quality of life for employers. Dietzel said crime and blight needs to be addressed or no one will come.

Turnage said we should work on perception of the city. Rouse suggested the city identify a need that Antioch can fill.

The forum can be viewed in October, beginning Sunday, October 2nd on Delta TV (Comcast Channel 24 and AT&T U-verse on Channel 99) and the schedule is as follows: Sundays at 7 pm,  Tuesdays at  11 am and Thursdays at 4 pm.

 

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Free College Admissions Workshop for adult students in Antioch, Tues., Sept. 27

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Thought about going to college, but not sure about the process?  Thought you were “too old” to start college?  Well, think again. Community colleges are a great starting point for reaching career goals.

The Antioch Adult School is offering a College Information Workshop on Tuesday, September 27 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm at the Antioch Adult School, 820 West Second Street, Room 144, Antioch.

Nick Morgan, Adult Transition Specialist for the school, will present information about the college application process.  The workshop is especially geared for non-traditional adult students who may be entering with a GED/high school equivalency or at a later stage of life.  He will discuss admissions, enrollment, assessments, and answer questions.  A future workshop is being planned to discuss financial aid.

The community is invited to attend.  For more information, please call the Antioch Adult Education office (925) 779-7490 or drop by Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

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Free ESL, GED classes available in Antioch

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Ready to get a job but need a high school diploma?

The Antioch Adult School offers FREE GED preparation classes as well as FREE English as a Second Language classes Monday – Friday with several open session times to match your schedule.

Registration is ongoing and orientations are offered on a weekly basis. Students learn in modern comfortable classrooms conveniently located at 820 West Second Street, Antioch (on the Tri Delta bus lines).

GED classes are self-paced. Classes contain both book-based and computer-based instruction with a credentialed teacher in class at all times to assist students.

Why do students take these classes? One new GED student stated, “I was so happy to find out about these classes.  I’m working on my GED and can’t wait to move up in my job as soon as I pass all the tests.”

Another student, Patricia Oliver-Munoz, explained her reasons for taking the classes:  “I’m proud that my children have all done well in school and are going to college.  Now it’s my turn. My children want to be proud of me and so they have encouraged me to get my GED. I’m working hard on my classes so I can pass.”

Antioch Adult School also has an Adult Transition Specialist, Nick Morgan, whose job is to help assist and support adult students as they transition into community college or career technical education.  He has information about the community college application process, financial aid, and programs offered. Students can sign up for a one-on-one session with Morgan.

For more information about the classes or to register for GED or ESL orientation, please call the Antioch Adult School office at (925) 779-7490 or stop in at the front desk today.

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