Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Assemblyman Frazier honored by Special Olympics Northern California as Volunteer of the Year

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Assemblymember Jim Frazier 2016On Friday, June 24, 2016, Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D–Oakley) received the Volunteer of the Year award from Special Olympics Northern California.

“I am honored to receive this award from such an inspiring organization. As a volunteer at the summer games, each year I witness the confidence, self-esteem and dignity instilled in the athletes who have the opportunity to shine and showcase their talents,” stated Frazier. “Knowing how much they look forward to this event and seeing the smiles on their faces is reward enough for me. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Special Olympics Northern California to expand possibilities for the athletes of the future.”

Frazier has volunteered at the summer games for the past 12 years. This year he is carrying legislation, AB 2371, to help maximize opportunities for people to make donations supporting the Special Olympics. Frazier also worked to secure $1,000,000 in the budget to expand the Special Olympics Unified Strategy for Schools.

“Volunteers are essential to the success of Special Olympics Northern California. This year we chose to honor Assemblymember Jim Frazier as Special Olympics Northern California’s Volunteer of the Year. The time and dedication Assemblymember Frazier and his staff, have shown year-after-year as volunteers at Summer Games is extraordinary,” said David Solo, President and CEO of Special Olympics Northern California. “We thank Assemblymember Frazier for believing in the abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities and the importance that Special Olympics can have on their lives.”

Special Olympics Northern California is a free year-round sports training and competition program for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. There are 19,940 athletes who compete in 198 competitions throughout the region in 12 sports.

Included in that figure are 9,385 special education student-athletes who have Special Olympics in the classroom through our Schools Partnership Program. Special Olympics requires the extraordinary support and time of 20,000 volunteers and volunteer coaches.

Financial support comes almost exclusively from individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations. For more information on Special Olympics Northern California, visit www.SONC.org.

Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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Antioch student graduates with Masters from Tulane University

Friday, June 10th, 2016
Jared Clay from his Facebook page.

Jared Clay from his Facebook page.

New Orleans, LA (Grassroots Newswire) June 6, 2016 – Tulane University awarded degrees to nearly 3,000 graduates on May 14, 2016 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Local student, Jared Clay of Antioch, graduated from the School of Liberal Arts with a Master of Arts degree. The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Hoda Kotb, co-host of NBC’s Today show who also received a Tulane President’s Medal. Honorary degrees were given to renowned artist Lynda Benglis and Christopher Paola, a world leader in the study of earth surface processes, particularly in river and delta regions.

The Deer Valley High grad, Clay and fellow class members were honored at the ceremony, which included all the pomp and circumstance of a traditional commencement but with a New Orleans twist, including herald trumpets, and a second-line jazz  procession. Music was provided by Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band, jazz singer Topsy Chapman and Tulane a capella group Green Envy.

Tulane University is one of the nation’s leading educational and research institutions. Founded in 1834 in New Orleans, Tulane has ten schools and colleges offering degrees in architecture, business, law, liberal arts, medicine, public health and tropical medicine, the sciences and
engineering, and social work.

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A tribute to the Watchdog, Barbara Zivica

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Barbara Zivica from her Facebook page.

Barbara Zivica from her Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

The self-named Watchdog of local politics, Barbara Zivica, passed away on Saturday, May 21 following a long battle with cancer. Born in Brooklyn, NY, she graduated from East Rockaway High School and earned a degree in Management from St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Before she was the columnist for the Antioch Herald, Barbara was a columnist for the Dawn newspaper chain in East Detroit, Michigan, the Valley Merchant in Concord, CA and the Ledger-Dispatch in Antioch. She also worked at the Antioch Police Department for many years.

Barbara served on the Antioch Waterfront Commission, was a Charter Member of the Delta Toastmasters, and Executive Director of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.

She was especially proud of being in charge of a referendum to locate the Walnut Creek City Hall where it is, today. As a result, in 1980, the Mayor gave her a brick and certificate of commendation for her efforts, which she had on display in her home.

She is survived by her two daughters, Stephanie Simonson of Scottsdale, Arizona and Stacey Anderson of Benicia, and five grandchildren, Destiny, Todd, Skyanne, Jacey and Jenna, and Barbara’s long-time companion, Hank Bagwell.

Barbara wanted the following poem shared, which it’s believed she wrote:

Beneath the bridge and waves so blue

I commit my soul to life anew.

To those I love I leave this thought

Don’t let life be lived for naught.

Taped to her computer monitor she had the following quotes:

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.  – Benjamin Franklin

Then, of course, this quote:

Our liberty depends on freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost. – Thomas Jefferson

I enjoyed her writing and our discussions on local issues. Although we didn’t always agree, I respected her opinion and research skills. Barbara wouldn’t let me pay her, even with gift certificates from local businesses. She created the logo for her column, a photo of her dog Hooch, who she also left behind.

Her final column, about water issues, was posted on the Antioch Herald website on May 10, 2016 and will appear in the July issue of the paper.

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Sutter Elementary teacher Vicki McGuire, is Antioch Unified School District’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Contra Costa County’s school districts announce their 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year

There are currently, approximately 8,401 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See list below.)

The upcoming school year’s 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”

Now in her 30th year of teaching, McGuire began her career in 1985.  She taught in the Oakland Unified School District for seven years, then moved to Antioch, where she’s been teaching for the past 23 years.  Most of them have been spent at Sutter Elementary, but she did work at John Muir Elementary for five years.

McGuire received a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio State University and her Master’s Degree from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay).

“I am currently taking classes at Los Medanos College because I believe in life-long learning,” she said. “I enjoy getting to build meaningful relationships with my students and their families.  In some cases, all of the children in a family have come through my classroom.  As a member of the community, I like seeing students and former students outside the school setting at sporting events or around town.”

“I believe in educating the whole child, by helping them grow socially, as well as academically,” McGuire added.

The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:

On April 8, a committee of 15 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners will carefully review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

In April and May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:

On August 15, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary, Fifth Grade

Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High

Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

Erin Flanigan, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle

Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle

Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools

Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary

Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary

Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary

Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary

Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High

Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High

Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary

Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary

Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center

Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.
  • Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #CoCoTOY

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Antioch resident earns degree with double major from University of Wyoming

Friday, April 1st, 2016
Boyland jersey

Boyland with his Wyoming Cowboys jersey, from his Facebook page. published with permission.

The University of Wyoming announced it has accorded a Bachelor of Arts degree upon Antioch resident Troy Lamonte Boyland, Jr. at the completion of the 2015 fall semester.

Boyland was a double major in both criminal justice and social sciences, and played offensive guard on the Wyoming Cowboys football team on a full scholarship. He is originally from San Francisco, but has been living in Antioch for the past three years.

The University of Wyoming provides quality undergraduate and graduate programs to 13,800 students from all 50 states and 94 countries. Established in 1886, UW is a nationally recognized research institution with accomplished faculty and world class facilities. Offering 200 areas of study, UW provides an environment for success. A low student faculty ratio allows for individual instruction and attention, and undergraduates often participate in cutting edge research projects.

For more information about the University of Wyoming, visit www.uwyo.edu.

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Diane Burgis receives Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Diane Burgis, a trustee on the East Bay Regional Parks District Board and Executive Director of Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed received the Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame, Tuesday night in Concord.

The Board of Supervisors established the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame in October 1997 to acknowledge those exceptional, multifaceted women who have enhanced life in Contra Costa County through their careers and volunteer activities.

The honorees have made a difference through their efforts towards equity, innovation, service or achievement in commerce or community outreach.

Burgis was nominated by Susan Morgan, a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board.  “Through Diane Burgis’ leadership as Executive Director of the Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed, the protection of natural resources including creeks, water quality and open space has become a priority to our community and its leaders,” said Morgan.  “Much of Diane’s work has been funded part time and she was able to accomplish great things for our environment and the Watershed by working beyond her paid hours and by recruiting and encouraging support from volunteers in the community.”

Marsh Creek is one of the fastest urbanizing watersheds in California, and the creek flows for 30 miles through the rapidly growing communities of Brentwood, Oakley and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the many volunteers who contribute their time and talent to protecting, conserving and restoring the Marsh Creek Watershed,” said Burgis.

Burgis is a candidate for County Supervisor in District 3 in the June election. This is the second honor for her since she entered the race.

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Antioch resident, Gloria Martin, honored as 11th Assembly District 2016 Woman of the Year, at State Capitol, Monday

Monday, March 14th, 2016
2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left,  Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

2016 AD 11 Woman of the Year Gloria Martin holds her resolution on the floor of the Assembly, accompanied by Assemblymembers, from left, Chad Mayes (Minority Leader), Cristina Garcia (Women’s Caucus Vice Chair), Speaker Anthony Rendon and Jim Frazier.

Sacramento, CA – Today, Monday, March 14, 2016, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) honored Gloria Martin on the Assembly Floor as his 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District. Martin, a lifelong resident of Antioch, has quietly given back to her community through philanthropic support by way of the Martin Family Foundation and devoting countless volunteer hours throughout the community.

Gloria Martin and Jim Frazier 2“It is such an unexpected honor to be recognized for this award,” said Martin. “I would not be able to accomplish this great work without the help of all the other wonderful volunteers in our community.”

Martin developed her community spirit at a young age while attending Antioch schools, including Fremont Elementary, Antioch Junior High School and Antioch High School. She has since spent countless hours supporting children in the community. For over ten years she has been an active board member of the Antioch Schools Education Foundation. During this time she chaired the Fellows Award dinner honoring Antioch’s outstanding teachers and raised money to improve school classrooms through various grants.

In addition to her philanthropic work through local schools, Martin is a proud Rotarian with twenty years of perfect attendance and holding the office of Sergeant at Arms for many years. Martin is also an active member of the Holy Rosary church, Pittsburg Elks Club, Antioch Woman’s Club, Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and Umpqua Bank Advisory Board.

Marin regularly volunteers her time to support her community by participating in red ribbon week, various food banks, the Antioch Senior Center and the Antioch Historical Society. She also supports dozens of other nonprofits, including An Elderly Wish Foundation, the Police Activities League, Antioch High School, East County Boys & Girls Club, Leo Fontana Family Foundation, with a special place in her heart for the REACH Project.

“By selflessly dedicating her life to supporting her community, Gloria is the type of person we all wish to have in our lives,” said Frazier. “She truly lives the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’ and I am honored to name her my 2016 Woman of the Year for the 11th Assembly District.”

Frazier honored Martin in a ceremony this afternoon at the California State Capitol with an Assembly Resolution naming her an exemplary California woman.

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Career Antioch Police officer, Captain Leonard Orman retires

Friday, March 11th, 2016
Retired Antioch Police Captain Leonard Orman walks out of the Antioch Police Facility on his final day, past fellow officers and staff. photo courtesy of APD

Retired Antioch Police Captain Leonard Orman walks out of the Antioch Police Facility on his final day, past fellow officers and staff. photo courtesy of APD

By Allen Payton

On December 14, 2015 after 30 years and six months with the Antioch Police Department, Captain Leonard Orman retired and the next day was given a farewell by fellow officers, APD staff and Police Chief Allan Cantando.

Born in Antioch, Orman worked at Silveira Lumber in during high school and while attending Los Medanos College. That’s when he got hired by the APD. He later completed his bachelor’s at St. Mary’s College in 1998.

Orman receives a big, farewell hug from longtime friend and fellow officer, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando. photo courtesy of APD

Orman receives a big, farewell hug from longtime friend and fellow officer, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando. photo courtesy of APD

When asked what was his most memorable case, he shared, “Probably the Scott Duval murder case, who killed his wife and said she was a missing person.”

“It was a lot of legwork and strategy because he was a highly intelligent guy,” Orman stated. “We finally got him to confess that he had killed his wife, cut her up and spread her around the Delta. It’s one of those cases you feel good about solving, with a true victim.”

Asked about his favorite memory, Orman spoke about the department.

“Above and beyond the police work and working cases, having been there on the command staff during the recession, which was really tough. The whole community suffered from that,” he said. “What people don’t recognize is a lot of organizations tend to implode during something like that. I’m really proud of the fact that didn’t happen. Lots of people left but, most hung in there, working overtime, including records, dispatch, management. There was nobody who wasn’t suffering. I wasn’t sure how much longer we could sustain that. Things are much better, now.”

“We did a ton of succession planning during that time,” Orman continued. “It was a group effort and the reality is that the day after I left, Diane Aguinaga got promoted. That usually doesn’t happen that smoothly. To leave like that and have it be fluid, that was the leadership, across the board. I left there with a smile on my face, feeling good with where the organization was. That was what made me feel the best.”

He served under five police chiefs.

“I will say that they were all great chiefs in their time. Antioch’s been really fortunate. To have chiefs who stay five years or longer is pretty good. It’s a lot of stability.”

He’s married with three children and when asked what he’s doing with all his free time, he said “I’m taking some time off. Doing a lot of traveling. More than my wife is used to, with her and our children. But, I plan on going back to work on some level.”

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