Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Antioch motorcyclist killed by DUI driver on Highway 4 in Pittsburg Sunday morning

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

Driver from Antioch taken to hospital, arrested; Driver of other car from Oakley sustains minor injuries

By CHP-Contra Costa

UPDATE: the Volkswagen sedan driven by Moss was determined that it was traveling wrong way (westbound within the eastbound lanes) of Hwy-4 prior to the initial collision with the Toyota.

Early this morning, at approximately 2:09am, CHP Contra Costa responded to a collision involving three vehicles on Hwy-4 eastbound, just east of Bailey Road. Upon CHP & emergency personnel arrival, a 2002 Volkswagen sedan, a 2015 Toyota sedan, and a 2016 Harley Davidson motorcycle had been involved in a collision. Unfortunately, the solo male driver of the Harley (29 years old from Antioch) was killed in the crash. The solo male driver of the Toyota (20 years old from Oakley) sustained only minor complaint of pain injuries. And the solo male driver of the Volkswagen (59-year-old Tony Moss from Antioch) was transported to John Muir hospital in Walnut Creek for his injuries and suspicion of DUI driving.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will be handling the release of identity of the deceased male rider from the Harley Davidson.

This incident is still under investigation and requires follow up investigation as well. But our preliminary report indicates the Volkswagen and Toyota may have been involved in a collision on eastbound Hwy 4 at Bailey Road and then the Harley Davidson became involved as well, subsequently ejecting the rider of the Harley Davidson and killing him. The driver of the Toyota suffered only minor injuries, remained on scene, and cooperated with the investigation.

While at the hospital, Officers placed Moss under arrest for felony DUI. Upon his release from the hospital early this morning, he was transported to the Martinez detention facility where he was booked into the county jail for two counts of FELONY DUI: 23153(a)VC & 23153(b)VC.

As this incident is still under investigation, if anyone has information regarding this collision or events leading up to it, call CHP in Martinez at 925-646-4980. Thank you.

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Antioch man arrested Tuesday for December murder of Pittsburg man

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Mark Anthony Thomas in his March 2019 Facebook page profile photo.

Identified as Mark Anthony Thomas. Second suspect still at large.

By Pittsburg Police Department

On December 14, 2019, the Pittsburg Police Department was notified of a person who was shot inside of a residence in the 200 block of Havenwood Circle in Pittsburg. At the time of the incident, the victim, along with his wife and children, were present when two armed and masked gunmen entered the residence and shot the victim following a brief struggle. Upon arrival, officers located a 30-year-old male resident suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso.

From initial information, officers learned that two masked gunmen entered the residence and engaged in an altercation with the man and other people inside the residence. Officers provided aid to the man until medical personnel arrived. The man later died from his injuries. (See related article).

Detectives began working the case immediately and painstakingly poured over many leads and pieces of evidence until they were able to identify one of the shooters involved in the homicide. That shooter has been identified a 35-year-old Mark Anthony Thomas from Antioch.

According to his Facebook page, Thomas is a rapper whose stage name is M80.

On February 4, 2020, Thomas was located at a residence in the 5000 block of Ranch Hallow Way in Antioch and arrested by our agency. He is currently in custody in Martinez on murder charges.

This is an ongoing investigation and if anyone has any information please contact Detective Ruff at 925-252-4089.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Principal Tim Cooper of Antioch’s Live Oak High School named association’s Administrator of the Year

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Live Oak High School Principal Tim Cooper.

Article & photo y Antioch Unified School District

The Association of California School Administrators has named Antioch’s Live Oak High School principal, Tim Cooper the Region VI Continuation Education Administrator of the Year. According to their website, ACSA Region 6 represents School Administrators from Alameda and Contra Costa counties. ACSA serves educational leaders in the pursuit of equity and excellence to meet the diverse needs of all California students. Region 6 has local charters that meet regularly to support administrators in our region.

Although, he notes he didn’t get into education for the accolades, the ACSA nonetheless has recognized Cooper.

He was taken aback when he learned he had been singled out for his work at Live Oak High School.

“I was like, ‘Oh really?’”, Cooper said.

He’s in his fourth year of overseeing one of Antioch Unified’s two continuation high schools, an alternative for teens who are floundering in a mainstream setting. Students transfer to Live Oak after failing classes and falling at least the equivalent of one semester behind their peers. Mostly juniors and seniors, the vast majority are here because of truancy, not disruptive behavior, Cooper said, noting that there have been virtually no fights on campus over the past three years.

“The vibe I give off has an effect,” he said of the correlation between the conduct of the young people in his charge and his attitude toward them. “Students don’t care what you know until they know you care.”

And they do. Cooper knows the first and last name of every one of Live Oak’s 160 students, a feat he achieves in part by visiting classes every morning.

Sometimes he simply observes the action from the sidelines; on other occasions he’ll join a group of kids in a trivia contest or other activity. Teens who feel anonymous lack a sense of accountability for their actions, he said. And because Live Oak has so few students, he has more time to have a conversation with each instead of just comments in passing, Cooper said.

He began his career three decades ago as a substitute teacher in Pittsburg before coming to Antioch Unified in 2001 as a Deer Valley High Vice Principal. Cooper then opened Bidwell Continuation High School as its Vice Principal and did a stint as Black Diamond Middle School’s Principal before returning to Deer Valley High.

At Live Oak he shapes the curriculum by bringing in guest speakers, arranging field trips and developing the school budget.

One of the toughest aspects of his job is the frustration of drawing up a to-do list only to walk into the office the next morning and find everything has changed.

Then again, the element of surprise “kind of makes it exciting,” he said.

A highlight for Cooper is Live Oak’s graduation speeches, when seniors describe the obstacles they’ve overcome.

“I meet so many students who are super stars — they do well inside the classroom, they get involved in their community,” he said. “And some didn’t think they were capable of that.”

Cooper, who’s married with two grown children, is a fiend for golf and has played all over the Bay Area as well as at Lake Tahoe, the San Diego area and even Vancouver, Canada.

“Wherever I can tee it up, I’ll tee it up,” he said.

#WeAreAUSD

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Police add one more new officer to the force

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Officer Chandler with Chief Brooks.

By Antioch Police Department

On Monday, Feb. 3, we welcomed Officer Joseph Chandler.

Joseph was born in San Leandro and raised in the East Bay. He graduated from Newark Memorial High School and pursued a career in sports broadcasting. After 13 years of working behind the scenes, Joe went after his dream of becoming a Law Enforcement Officer and was hired by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. During his time at the Sheriff’s Office, he was assigned to the Court Security Division, Transit Patrol, Parks Patrol and Headquarters Patrol.

Now that he doesn’t have a 104-mile daily commute, Joe is looking forward to spending more time with his family, watching their sporting events, and start to check off the “honey do list” his wife has for him.

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Antioch Police K9 assists with arrest of two for illegal drug sales and guns

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Photos by APD.

By Antioch Police Department

Tongue out Tuesday! (Feb. 4, 2020) K9 Purcy showing off his recent “catch” after he recently completed his Narcotics Detection Course. K9 Purcy has been assisting Officers with numerous narcotics sniffs which recently resulted in the arrest of two subjects for narcotics sales and firearm possession. K9 Purcy is committed to helping officers take a bite out of crime!

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County health officials tell Supervisors they’re taking extra steps to control Coronavirus

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Supes finalize appointment of County Clerk, approve agriculture land use policy

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa County Health Department officials told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the county is “taking extra steps to control” the global Novel Coronavirus epidemic.

Dr. Louise McNitt, Director of the Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Unit, told supervisors, “We are still learning about it, but we are taking the extra steps to control it, who to test.”

As of Tuesday, there were no Novel Coronavirus cases reported in Contra Costa County while four cases had been reported elsewhere in the Bay Area. Overall, six Novel Coronavirus cases had been reported in California. There were 11 cases reported throughout the United States. McNitt reported there were 20,000 cases worldwide.

McNitt said the county checks daily with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to get the most recent information on how to medically combat Novel Coronavirus.

“The Centers for Disease Control answers a lot of our questions,” she said.

“What happens if in four months there are a large number of cases?” asked District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. “We cannot build new hospitals overnight like how China does.”

“We have the tight network of health officials in the Bay Area to quickly respond to this virus should it get out of control,” said Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth. “We are ready if we have a case that comes to us.

“The risk is low,” added Roth. “We are continuously updating our website and advice line.”

“I have every confidence any hospital is ready to treat patients with this disease” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill. But the supervisor said that citizens can get help by getting flu shots and frequently washing their hands.

McNitt agreed with Mitchoff about the flu shots. “Right now, there are more people who have the flu than have this virus,” she said.

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who requested that the Novel Coronavirus topic be placed on the Board Agenda, requested that the county’s health department’s website be continuously updated with information about this virus.

Finalize Appointment of Deborah Cooper as County Clerk

Soon to be appointed Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters Deborah Cooper at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

The Supervisors appointed Deborah Cooper as the County Clerk-Recorder to the remaining term of the office that will expire on January 2, 2023.

“The Board held an open process over the past three months to find, interview, select and appoint a new County Clerk-Recorder,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen. “During this time, the Board of Supervisors has strongly affirmed the integrity and the professional work of County staff in the Clerk-Recorder-Elections Division. We have every confidence that Debi Cooper will continue to move the team forward during this important election year and beyond with the utmost integrity.”

Deborah Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder, said, “Our primary purpose is to serve the public, whether conducting elections or providing Clerk and Recorder services. Maintaining the public trust while remaining impartial and neutral is crucial. I appreciate our talented and dedicated staff. We will continue to provide great customer service to the people of Contra Costa.”

Most recently, Cooper served as the Acting County Clerk-Recorder since November 1, 2019 and, prior to that, as the Deputy County Clerk-Recorder since 2012.

County Administrator David J. Twa who announced the recruitment for selecting and appointing a Clerk-Recorder, remarked, “It was important to conduct a clear and transparent process with each step. The public was able to attend or watch Board of Supervisors meetings, make public comment, and see the timeline and other key information on the website.”

Ag Land Use Policy Gets Green Light

Supervisors flashed the green light for the county planners to proceed in the development of an Agricultural Land Use Policy that envisions the transformation of agricultural land use to various types of lodging accommodations and food services.

Funded on a $150,000 Livable Communities Trust Grant since 2016, the Department of Conservation and Development presented an update to supervisors on where the study stands.

So far, more work needs to be done since there is no consensus on the study’s recommendations about different types of lodging accommodations, including short-term rentals for 9-days or less, farm stays for up to 90 days, bed-and-breakfast, and camping, yurts or little houses on wheels.

Food service use proposals include farm dinners, farm-to-table restaurants, updating the Winery Ordinance, and allowing hosting of large events. These uses may require a zoning permit like an administerial permit or a land use permit or other permits required by other agencies.

“This is not a total road map. We are checking into with the Board to see if you accept the report,” said Contra Costa County Conservation & Development Department Director John Kopchik.

“There’s tension in the farm community,” Supervisor Mitchoff said about the preliminary land use plan. “You need to work it out.”

Where once fertile farmland once stood with real estate prices might fetch $10,000 an acre, some farmland is being snapped up by developers at $100,000 an acre or higher.

The county’s Agricultural Land Use Policy is in response to the skyrocketing real estate prices shaking up the rural areas in Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen in East County and Danville.

The planning study occurs at a pivotal time in the county’s steadily declining agricultural economy. In 2017, county crop production from corn, berries, and other crops fell to $120.4 million, a six percent decline from 2016 due mainly to crop marketplace conditions.

The planning study also includes recommendations to promote agriculture use to include equestrian and bike trails to connect farms, consider allowing equestrian facilities within additional agricultural districts, exploring funding for signage to promote farming in the county, updating the county’s sign ordinance, and working with other agencies to promote agricultural vitality in the County.

Funds for 30-Unit Pittsburg Rental Housing Project Approved

Supervisors unanimously approved as part of the consent agenda items, the issuance of $18 million in state Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to finance the cost of the acquisition and construction of a 30-unit rental housing development at 901 Los Medanos Street and 295 E. 10th Street in Pittsburg.

Veterans Square will provide 29 units of affordable housing and one manager’s unit. Fifteen units will be reserved for households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the area median income and 14 units will be reserved at or below 30 percent of the area median income.

The Board of Supervisors had previously allocated about $2.2 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds for Veterans Square and approved the county submission of an application to the state for $3.6 million in No Place Like Home funds. On Dec. 17, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a Reimbursement Resolution for this prospective issuance of bonds.

When asked why it’s costing $600,000 for each of the one-bedroom apartments, county Affordable Housing Program Manager Kristen Lackey said, “That is what we are seeing in affordable housing units, and with other projects, as well. Construction costs are going up. Affordable housing is typically more expensive to develop based on the different sources of funds, which adds to the complexity and they have to pay prevailing wage, so the labor costs on it are higher, than what normal residential construction will be.”

“It’s an unfortunate reality of the housing crisis,” she added.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association recommends Glover for re-election

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

By Allen Payton

In a news release, today The Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association announced they are “proud to recommend Supervisor Federal Glover on Election Day, March 3rd. Please join us.”

“Under Supervisor Federal Glover’s leadership, Contra Costa County has opened three Family Justice Centers to help victims of domestic violence, elder abuse and human trafficking and hired new deputies to respond more efficiently to 911 calls,” the announcement continued. “Supervisor Glover also fought for cameras to deter freeway shooters. Contra Costa’s Deputy Sheriffs wholeheartedly support Supervisor Glover’s re-election. We ask you to join our deputies in voting for him on or before Election Day, March 3rd.”

Glover is running for his sixth term on the Board of Supervisors, having first been elected in 2000. He faces two opponents, County Assessor Gus Kramer and Martinez Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the Primary, the top two candidates will face off in the General Election in November.

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Kaiser Permanente optical workers in Antioch switch unions, join SEIU-UHW to win better contract

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Part of 425 optical workers in Northern California

OAKLAND – More than 400 Kaiser Permanente optical workers in Northern California, eager to negotiate a stronger contract, voted to switch their membership to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), a union that already represents 57,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers across California.

“Every day we provide outstanding service to Kaiser patients, and it was well past time for our pay and benefits to reflect the work we do,” said Paul Martinez, an optical worker in Richmond, Calif. “By joining SEIU-UHW, our work will be more appreciated and we will have a stronger voice to speak up about patient care and job conditions.”

Nearly 60 percent of the workers voting supported joining SEIU-UHW by a vote of 217-150.

The vote applies to workers at 44 facilities located in 29 cities: Antioch, Daly City, Davis, Elk Grove, Fairfield, Folsom, Fremont, Gilroy, Lincoln, Livermore, Mountain View, Napa, Oakland, Petaluma, Rancho Cordova, Redwood City, Richmond, Rohnert Park, Roseville, Sacramento, San Mateo, San Rafael, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Union City, Vacaville, Vallejo and Walnut Creek.

The workers had been members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which represents 4,500 Kaiser employees in the state. However, over the years they had seen their pay and benefits chipped away, falling well behind those earned by SEIU-UHW members at Kaiser. For instance, NUHW members’ medical co-pays are four times higher than those paid by SEIU-UHW members, and new hires under NUHW’s contract start at lower pay scales and do not receive pensions.

In September 2019, Kaiser and SEIU-UHW members reached a four-year contract agreement that includes:

  • Establishing a $130 million program – Futuro Health – to cover the costs of training healthcare workers to fill an expected shortage of hundreds of thousands of healthcare jobs in California;
  • Annual raises of 3 percent in each of the four years;
  • Full protection of retirement benefits for current and future employees;
  • A ban on subcontracting and stronger restrictions on outsourcing; and
  • Forming a committee to ensure patients receive personal care that integrates cutting-edge technology with quality, dedicated caregivers.

 

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