Archive for the ‘People’ Category

East County man promoted to Master Sergeant in U.S. Air Force Reserve

Friday, April 17th, 2015

By Allen Payton

Steven S. Kavanaugh has been promoted to the rank of master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Kavanaugh is currently serving as a ramp superintendent with the 82nd Aerial Port Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. He has served in the military for a total of 22 years, serving 18 years with the California Army National Guard, and reenlisting with the Air Force Reserve after a ten year break in service.

A former Antioch resident, Kavanaugh currently resides with his wife, Julie in Brentwood. They have three adult children. He is a member of the Ex-Schooner’s Patrons Network, which meets at various East County restaurants on Thursday nights.

He is a 1983 graduate of Northgate High School, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Main information provided by the Joint Hometown News Service of the Defense Media Activity.

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Antioch’s Toree McGee releases new music CD, tops local radio chart

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Toree McGee CD Amen Antiochs Toree McGee releases new music CD, tops local radio chart

By Allen Payton

“Amen” the new single by Antioch singer Toree McGee, was released on Tuesday, March 31 on iTunes, Google play, Amazon, and Spotify.

KRTY San Jose, 95.3 FM, has been playing it for the past several weeks or so and appeared at #1 on their “Hot 9 at 9″ chart, four nights in a row.

The song is receiving positive reviews from listeners on iTunes.

“Amazing! This song is so much fun! Makes me want to dance and sing along! It has a great beat and the vocals are AMAZING! Can’t wait for the whole album to come out!” wrote one commenter.

“Great song and a wonderful voice,” stated another.

The 2004 Deer Valley High grad was trained for 10 years by local voice teacher, Nuhad Levasseur.

“I always knew Toree had the potential to be a huge country star, one day,” Levasseur said. “I’m so very proud of her and excited that her journey has started.”

Toree recently spent some time in Nashville, which helped advance her musical career.

“I’m waiting to hear back from Sony on the date for the full EP release date,” Toree stated.

To hear more of her country rock songs, visit her page on Reverb Nation at www.reverbnation.com/toreemcgee. To learn more about Toree, visit www.toreemcgee.com.

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Antioch’s Ashley Morgan advances on The Voice, family, friends watch with excitement

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
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The Morgan family and friends watch Ashley perform at her parents’ home, Tuesday night.

By Allen Payton

Watching with anticipation at the Antioch home of Ashley Morgan’s parents, Keith and Patti, they, plus a group of family friends, as well as her brother Stephen and his wife Becky, cheered when she came on first, on Tuesday night’s showing of The Voice musical competition television show.

Before the show began, Patti distributed poppers and small toot horns for everyone to use when and if at least one of the four judges turned their chair around, signaling Ashley’s advancement to the next round.

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Ashley Morgan performs on The Voice on Tuesday night, March 3, 2015.

With raised hands, and squeals of excitement, Keith and Patti, expressed their excitement, even though it was the second time they watched. They both traveled to Southern California and were in attendance during Ashley’s performance before the judges.

Following her performance of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” made famous by the late Whitney Houston, both country music star Blake Shelton and singer, songwriter Pharrell Williams turned their chairs around, indicating they wanted her on their teams.

Ashley received positive comments from the judges.

You were hitting some notes, let me tell you,” said pop star Christina Aguilera. “That was no joke, Ashley.”

When she goes back to the theme park she’ll be the headliner,” Shelton stated.

There’s nobody like you in this competition,” he said, hoping to coax her onto his team. “This is your chance to become Ashley the artist in front of millions of people, by the way. I have not been this excited about an artist on this stage in a long time. I love you.”

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Ashley’s friends, mom and dad watch her perform from the viewing room during the taping of The Voice.

You cannot buy that type of training,” Williams said. “What kind of music do you want to make?” Ashley responded “I’m still figuring out who I am as an artist. But, I do want to make music that has an impact and makes a difference in the world.”

Then she chose Williams as her coach for the competition.

She’s an all American. She can win,” Shelton added, as Ashley left the stage, even though he couldn’t convince her to choose him for her coach.

Her dad and mom were at the taping of tonight’s episode, and appeared on TV a few times, showing them watching her from their viewing room.

It was incredible. I am ecstatic, happy, pleased, proud but not surprised,” her father, Keith said, after watching, tonight. “It was just as thrilling as the first time, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

Her mom was more focused on the future.

I’m excited for her, for the adventure and the journey she’s been given right, now,” Patti said. “We’ll see where it takes her in the next round, which is the Battle Rounds.”

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Ashley’s voice teacher, Nuhad Levasseur, right, her husband Michael, seated to her right, and Walt Black, a Morgan family friend, (standing) watch Ashley’s performance at her parents’ home, Tuesday night.

Ashley’s voice teacher Nuhad Levasseur, who taught her for 12 years.

I think she was absolutely incredible, tonight,” she said. “I felt so proud to have been her voice teacher all those years. We still talk and are still really close.”

She always had amazing work ethic in her singing and was always very focused on wanting to make it in the industry,” Levasseur shared. “She’s definitely on her way. She has the talent to be a big star one day.”

Ashley’s older brother Stephen said “She knocked it out of the park. She killed it! Great song choice. It fit her voice very well.”

I’m very proud of her,” he added.

Her oldest brother David wasn’t at the party, but watched from home with his family and had a teasing, tongue-in-cheek comment on Facebook, just like big brothers do.

All of Facebook is talking about this Ashley chick,” he wrote. “She’s pretty good, I guess! Proud to know her.”

The next round of the competition on The Voice will be shown next Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC at 8:00 p.m.

To watch her performance on Tuesday night’s show, it’s available on YouTube, by clicking here.

Ashley is a 2006 graduate of Antioch High School and a 2010 graduate of Azusa Pacific University in Music Business. She now lives in Costa Mesa, California.

To learn more about Ashley, read an earlier Herald article here or visit The Voice’s website at www.nbc.com/the-voice/artists/season-8/ashley-morgan.

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Antioch’s Ashley Morgan auditions for The Voice – watch it next week to see if she makes it

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Ashley Morgan as Cici in Freeze the Night by Rachel B. Photography Antiochs Ashley Morgan auditions for The Voice – watch it next week to see if she makes it

Ashley Morgan as Cici in Freeze the Night at Disney California Adventure from her Facebook fan page. by Rachel B. Photography

By Allen Payton

Ashley Morgan, from Antioch, the youngest member of a musical family, auditioned for the TV show The Voice, earlier this month.

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This was posted on Ashley Morgan’s Facebook fan page on February 6.

She wasn’t on either of this week’s shows on Monday or Tuesday. So, we’ll have to watch, again next Monday and Tuesday night, to see if she makes it and how she does.

Ashley’s mother Patti and father Keith sing in the choir and he plays the bass guitar as part of the worship team at Golden Hills Community Church, where her brother David is the music minister. Her brother, Stephen is also a music minister, at Concord Bible Church.

She’s already experienced some success in her blossoming musical career. According to her Facebook fan page, the 27-year-old, 2006 graduate of Antioch High School has provided background vocals for many recording projects and live performances including, The Voice, American Idol, The X-Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Grammys, the AMA’s, Duets, Dancing With The Stars, Stevie Wonder, Garth Brooks, Seal, Jackie Evancho, Janelle Monae, and Austin Mahone when he opened for Taylor Swift. She is also a session singer, worship leader, vocal arranger, performer as Alice in the Mad Hatter Band for Mad T Party and Cici for Freeze The Night, singing “Let It Go” at Disney California Adventure.

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Ashley Morgan as Alice in Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure from her Facebook fan page.

Ashley has also been a featured soloist at many churches and events around the world and is currently a freelance vocalist in the Orange County/Los Angeles area.

A 2010 graduate of Azusa Pacific University in Music Business, she was a student of local vocal teacher Nuhad Levasseur, owner of In The Light Voice Studio in Brentwood and is a singer with the band Faultlines, self-described as a Los Angeles folk outfit, which she and friends started, last summer.

You can follow her career by liking her fan page on Facebook. To see a sampling of her singing, visit www.youtube.com/user/ashleymorgan72. Follow Faultlines on Facebook at www.facebook.com/officialfaultlines and Twitter at https://twitter.com/faultlinesongs.

Good luck on The Voice, Ashley!

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Aiming High is having a positive impact on Antioch residents

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Walk down almost any street in Antioch, and it’s very likely that sooner or later you will walk by someone who is an Aiming High graduate. That’s an indication of just how many Antioch residents have benefited from the transformational work of a unique and highly effective Bay Area company called Aiming High Inc.

Aiming High offers an array of workshops, courses, seminars and one-to-one coaching packages for individuals, corporations and civic organizations that Antioch residents have been eager to take advantage of. Antioch’s LaSjeonia Hutchings, for example, said that by participating in Aiming High’s Game Changer workshop she was able to accomplish things that previously had seemed out of reach.

Our curriculum encourages people to re-imagine their lives,” Sylvia High, the company’s founder and principal trainer said. “And as part of that, people can then choose a more fulfilling lifestyle suited to a world they themselves have designed.”

Mrs. High, who recently was a featured panelist on Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour, has more than 20 years experience in the training industry, and Aiming High has been recognized as a leader in high-impact adult and youth learning models.

The Game Changer takes place over the course of two evenings and two days. It is a lively mix of exercises, lectures and demonstrations designed to produce what Mrs. High calls “empowered thinking.” Local real estate broker, Tique Lee Caul, said that the Aiming High trainings helped her diversify her career path. She now does leadership development.

We see ourselves as every client’s possibility partner,” Mrs. High said. “In other words, Aiming High’s expertise is in illuminating the greatest possibility in each client, and then coaching them toward excellence. This is the foundation of every lifestyle change or enhancement.”

She continued: “We ask big questions at Aiming High. And big questions deserve big answers. So our clients, using our breakthrough curriculum, respond by growing their ability to produce outstanding results… in their finances, careers, relationship… you name it.”

Mrs. High is the author of “The Little Book of Big Questions,” and she encourages her clients to use questions as a form of self-introspection. Bill Zupo, an Aiming High client and Antioch resident, said that the technique has proved effective for him in getting to the heart of what matters in goal setting.

In some ways, the Aiming High trainings may even seem a bit mysterious. But, in fact, it is all really simple and straightforward. The way that Mrs. High explains it, the Aiming High trainings allow people to see their “blind spots,” the areas of their lives where there are hidden impediments. Oprah refers to these as “ah-hah” moments. Mrs. High says that it is the “nature of discovery.”

The Game Changer workshop, according to Mr. Zupo, is an ‘exhilarating eye-opener.” He described the Aiming high trainings as energetic, upbeat settings filled with the unexpected, which often makes learning fun. “I loved the music,” he said. “It seems they always played the right song for just the right moment.”

Lynn Ferguson, another graduate and Antioch resident, put it this way: “Sylvia High is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. What sets her apart from others like her is that she presents possibilities in an actionable way. She doesn’t just offer a bunch of nice ideas. It’s always about taking the actions that will produce the desired results. She’s awesome.”

Aiming High Leadership Program graduates are responsible for initiating a number of community projects in the Bay Area, including a community garden and a teen education and empowerment program. For many Aiming High grads, the goal is to touch, move and inspire their family, friends, and neighbors toward leading the best lives possible as well.

Some heroes are born, and some are made,” Mrs. High said. “But in one way or another we’re all heroes looking for an opportunity to be heroic. Aiming High invites people to be heroic about creating the life they want.”

What a great fit for Antioch.

For more information on Aiming High and The Game Changer workshop, contact Sylvia High at (510) 303-4032, via email at sylvia@aiminghighinc.com or visit their website at www.aiminghighinc.com.

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Former Antioch student, Boston Red Sox pitcher helps South African orphans through baseball

Monday, January 26th, 2015
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Michael McCarthy teaches kids in South Africa how to field the ball.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela

By Michael McCarthy

My name is Michael McCarthy. I am a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox organization and a former Black Diamond Middle School student, in Antioch. I am part of a group called Baseball Miracles that helps underprivileged youth around the world grow through the game of baseball.

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Michael McCarthy teaches batting to an orphan during a 2014 trip to South Africa.

Baseball Miracles spent five day in Pretoria, South Africa, last fall where we worked with youth ministries to provide baseball instruction and equipment to the orphaned children of the region. Many of these children are orphans due to the AIDS epidemic of South Africa that has resulted in more than 2.4 million orphans across the nation.

More than 200 children received their very own baseball glove and baseball to keep as a gift, along with instruction from baseball professionals throughout the baseball ranks within the United States, including former Major League pitcher Virgil Vazquez, White Sox Hall of Fame Scout John Tumminia and Boston Red Sox Scout Jared Banner (a list of the people involved is in the link below).

We also hosted an All-American baseball lunch for the children that included hot dogs, peanuts, Big League Chew Bubblegum, sunflower seeds and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” This all comes at no cost to them and is created by financial and equipment based donations by generous donors across the nation that have a love for baseball and philanthropy.

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Part of the Baseball Miracles team with happy new baseball players in South Africa.

Baseball Miracles is a group of baseball professionals that have a strong knowledge of the game and a desire to help make the world a better place through the game of baseball. We have come together to create a charity that can help spread the goodwill of the game around the world.

Spanning continents, ethnicity, race and gender, we use baseball as a sport of unification and a means to make the world a better place.

Many of us have been incredibly blessed to play the game of baseball as children and learn many of the life lessons it has to offer. Words like integrity, team work and work ethic are among the most commonly used by the group, making baseball truly a classroom on grass. We receive no financial benefit and for most of us there are significant out of pocket expenses that go along with each trip.

Roster: www.baseballmiracles.org/about-us.html

Past trips include: Dominican Republic, Ireland and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota.

Future International trips include: Israel, Malawi and Kenya.

Future local trips include: Frozen Ropes Clinic in New York and Challenger leagues across the nation.

Publisher’s Note: For more information about Michael McCarthy, visit www.soxprospects.com/players/mccarthy-mike.htm.

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Down at the River: Harry Bouchard

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

By H. Maria

Harry Bouchard is a well-read, well-spoken, educated man. He loves the outdoors. He is not very tall, maybe 5’7” with a mop of curly golden hair, blue eyes. The “tell” of his love of the outdoors, is his tanned face. Early mornings and late afternoons are when he is most often outside. He has to take care with the sun. Medicine he must take makes his love of the sun problematic. Harry is a poet; the day we met he made his farewell by reciting his “poem of the day”. He flashed a boyish smile after his recitation and said, “the poem is free to you, but only this one poem, should you want to hear more, I do charge.”

He cares for his brothers in the way the New Testament instructs us to do. His occupation is to research valuable resources for his community. He welcomes new arrivals by supplying them with whatever information and materials are needed to make their move as smooth as possible. Harry is an orderly man of laws and codes. He makes sure new arrivals understand what will be expected of them as citizens. His other community service is to gather garbage from his town and place it where it can be easily be pick up. He told me he has made an arrangement with the neighboring community for daily collection. He loves where he lives. He shares that sunrises and sunsets there fill him with joy. He loves his life.

He told me a little of his history and proudly claims direct-descent from French pirate, Hippolyte Bouchard. ADHD and an easy tendency to depression require he take medicine. He brought out two prescription bottles, from his pocket, and held them out. I’m familiar with these medicines as being the gold standard for his problems. He lowered his head to look at the medicines and wryly commented they don’t really work for him. Despite having education and training in a useful field he says he has great difficulty working for others. He is very happy he was able to create the job he has, and is proud he does it well. He calls what he does, Human Resources for his community. He was once married. That union failed because of his then untreated mental issues. A son was born of the marriage. As he spoke of the boy, his blue eyes gave away the fierce love he has for his child. Despite having to move often, he has been careful never to move too far away. He wants the boy to grow up knowing he has a father who loves him. An elderly mother lives close by in a partly assisted living arrangement. He visits her from time to time and enjoys her hospitality. He never stays more than a day as he feels that would be wrong. Her rent is subsidized because of age and infirmity.

He graciously gave me a tour of his home. On the grounds were stacks of neatly contained waste he had collected from his community. In a culvert at the back of his lot was another waste pile that preexisted his move to the area. He puts a little of that pile out every day, as well. He’s careful not to put out too much for collection at one time. The service is free and he doesn’t want to overwhelm. Our visit came to an end as I had a scheduled commitment. After the recitation of his poem he wave me away with a big smile and a “be careful out there”. Harry Bouchard is a good man, he is a valuable man.

Since I met Harry in August, he has moved. Antioch cleaned out the homeless encampment a couple of months ago. I drove by the day after the clean up. I recognized his belongings neatly stacked in a row at the back of the lot. Harry lived in a ravine on our riverfront in a big tent. He collected tents, pots, and bedding to give to homeless that moved into his area. He gave out a list of contacts for sources in Antioch giving out food, clothing and direction to local homeless shelters. He also gave out information on how to apply for financial and medical aid. When we first spoke he stood downwind from me. The strong scent was overwhelming but interesting in that it was not the typical smell of a long unwashed human. It recalled the scent of a bobcat my husband and I once found while hiking in Southern California’s coastal mountains. He read my reaction, apologized and stood upwind from me.

“I shower at my mother’s from time to time”, he said. She is on financial assist so I can’t take advantage of her shower very often”. I don’t know where Harry is. I only ever saw him that one day. Harry is a truthful man. I could tell he believed everything he told me. What he understood to be a garbage collection agreement with Antioch was actually the work of citizens, including myself who took away the garbage he placed every day by a tree above his encampment. When I think of him, my immediate thought is that he could be helped to re-enter society. We in society would celebrate that as a job well done. Would he?

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Former Antioch couple celebrates 65th wedding anniversary

Friday, November 14th, 2014
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Caye and Lou Carufel

Louis H. and Catherine M. Carufel (neé Viera) of Anchorage, Alaska, celebrated 65 years of marriage this week. They were married in Antioch, California on November 12, 1949, at the Holy Rosary Church, followed by a reception at the Riverview Club. Catherine, known as Caye, was born in Antioch, California and Louis, known as Louie, was born in Bismarck, North Dakota.

After a brief honeymoon in Yosemite National Park, Louie and Caye began their lifelong travels and adventures.

As a fisheries biologist, Louis advanced his career with state and federal positions in California, North Dakota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Alaska. Caye worked both private and government sectors, and supported the family when Louis went back to college to earn his Masters Degree in Wildlife Management.

Along the way they raised five successful children (Louis III, Candace, Mark, Paul, David), lived on both coasts of the U.S., and traveled in Europe and Asia. Their children remain very close to their parents and claim that they have enjoyed an eventful and satisfying life.

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