Archive for the ‘Seniors’ Category

Antioch Council to pursue zoning for seniors only mobile home park

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

By John Crowder

At the June 13 meeting of the Antioch City Council, councilmembers vowed to have city staff take immediate steps to provide relief for residents of the Vista Diablo Mobile Estates. The direction to staff was in response to complaints that the seniors living in that community were being taken advantage of by the mobile home park owner.

Listed as a regular agenda item at the evening meeting was the receipt of a report and the opportunity to provide direction to staff regarding creation of a Senior Mobile Home Housing Zoning District.  When the item was reached, Interim City Attorney Derek Cole began the report by discussing the history of federal laws prohibiting discrimination in public housing.  He explained that, while federal law broadly prohibits discrimination, an exception was carved out in the late 1980’s for “housing for older people.”  Following this exception being established, senior communities (age 55 and older) began to be developed.  Eventually, cities began creating mandatory senior only zoning districts.

According to the staff report submitted to the City Council, the purpose of the agenda item was to provide information to members of the City Council surrounding this issue, and determine if the council desired city staff to pursue such an ordinance for at least one mobile home park in Antioch, the Vista Diablo park.

The staff report also provided some history regarding the Vista Diablo Park and the City of Antioch.  According to the report, “In 2007, the City and owner of this mobile home park entered into a settlement agreement…in which, under the threat of litigation, the owner agreed to continue to operate as a senior community (as it had done since 1978) for at least ten more years.  (The ten-year period expires on October 9 of this year).  Subject to further review, we believe that at least this mobile home park could be subject to any overlay district the Council may wish to create.”

Following the presentation, a dozen Antioch residents came forward to voice their support for the enactment of such an ordinance.

Lola Buck, President of Vista Diablo Homeowners Association, led off with her presentation.  She informed the Council that there are 150 homes in the park, that the homes themselves are owned by the residents, and that they pay rent for the land upon which they sit.

“We are here tonight to ask for your help,” Buck said.

She noted that the agreement of 2007 will expire in 2017, and said that in 2007 residents of the park were threatened with the park being turned into a family park and the raising of rents.  Now that the agreement was expiring she said residents feared that management would try to convert it to an all-age park.

“Our rents are the highest in Contra Costa County of mobile home parks,” Buck stated.

She also complained that there is a lack of maintenance by the owners, and increasing rents, which results in decreasing equities of the homes.  She urged the council to vote in favor of establishing a senior-only ordinance to protect the residents of the park.

Following comments by another eleven speakers, including Kip Stevens, who likened the management of the park to “slum lords” who “want to take advantage of the elderly,” and others who discussed rising rents negatively impacting fixed-income Seniors, the Council took up the matter.

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe, moving beyond the requested relief of a seniors-only ordinance, asked the City Attorney about the possibility of rent control.   After being informed that rent control could be considered, Thorpe responded, “I hope so,” to loud applause from those in attendance.  Thorpe concluded his remarks by saying that he would do anything he could to support [the seniors.]

Council Member Tony Tiscareno echoed the sentiments expressed by Thorpe.

“I want to make sure we are protecting the folks out there,” he said. “The previous city council was trying to do the right thing to protect you…I’m here with you as well.”

Council Member Lori Ogorchock expressed her appreciation for those speaking at the meeting.  “I’m very impressed with the speakers tonight,” she said.  Noting her agreement with the comments made by Thorpe, she said that she believed it was proper to institute an urgency ordinance.  “We do have to look at rent control,” she also said, mentioning that she knew of several people in the mobile home park who had to move because of rate increases.

Council Member Monica Wilson echoed the comments by Ogorchock, then said, she was “appalled” by some of what she’d heard.

“I don’t want to do a ten-year moratorium, I want to protect them,” she continued. “I don’t want somebody else to come back ten years from now.”

Wilson also said that the matter required urgency on the part of the city council.

Mayor Sean Wright brought the discussion to a conclusion, saying “I think you’ve heard loud and clear from Council that we would like to move forward with an overlay.”

After further discussion with the city attorney regarding a consideration of rent control as well, Wright stated, “You have the support of the council.”

As the agenda item was informational, the council then voted, unanimously, to receive and file the report.

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March for Meals to support Meals on Wheels in Antioch, Friday morning

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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Tickets available for An Elderly Wish Foundation’s 15th Annual Heart to Heart Ball, Sat., March 18

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

H2H_Ball 2017 ad

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Antioch woman’s company, Pacific Senior Care Services, honored with fifth award in first three years in business

Friday, December 30th, 2016
Pacific Senior Care Services owner Kelly Gonzales with the 2016 award from Best Businesses of Walnut Creek.

Pacific Senior Care Services owner Kelly Gonzales with the 2016 award from Best Businesses of Walnut Creek.

By Allen Payton

Pacific Senior Care Services, LLC owned by Antioch resident Kelly Gonzales, has been selected for the 2016 Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award in the Home Health Care and Senior Services organizations categories by the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program. This is the second time since 2014 that Pacific Senior Care Services has been selected for the awards.

Each year, the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program identifies companies that the organization believes have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Walnut Creek area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program and data provided by third parties.

“I’m honored to receive these awards, in just our third year of business,” said Gonzales. “We strive to meet elder needs with love and compassion, as our slogan states.”

Pacific Senior Care Services place seniors and others in care homes and senior facilities, offer senior care referral services, as well as senior insurance services through their affiliated company.

This is the fifth award for the company since Gonzales formed it in April, 2014. They also received the 2016 City Beat News Spectrum Award bestowed on companies for their excellence in customer service.

About the Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program

The Best Businesses of Walnut Creek Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the
achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Walnut Creek area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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Antioch Police seek help in finding 82-year-old man missing since Sunday morning

Monday, December 19th, 2016
Gino Ridolfi

Gino Ridolfi

By Sergeant Dimitri Barakos #2176, Community Policing Bureau

On Sunday, December 18, 2016 at approximately 09:30 AM, 82-year-old Gino Ridolfi left his residence in Antioch. Ridolfi has gray hair, blue eyes, standing approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing approximately 180 pounds. Ridolfi is believed to be wearing blue jeans, a blue polo shirt with white stripes, a black jacket, and a black hat.

Ridolfi drove away in his 2008 black Ford Focus 4 door sedan California license 6MCF913.

Ridolfi has medical conditions and may become disoriented. A Silver Alert has been issued for Ridolfi.

Anyone with information should call the Antioch Police non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Eight Antioch residents of two living facilities with same owner, fall ill, three die over weekend, due to possible food poisoning

Monday, November 28th, 2016

By Allen Payton

Eight Antioch residents of two assisted living facilities licensed to and operated by the same people, fell ill over the weekend, and three died from possible food poisoning. According to a KTVU Channel 2 news report by Tom Vacar, on Monday, “investigators think a Thanksgiving dinner is to blame.”

Yet, according to Dr. Louise McNitt of Infectious Disease with Contra Costa Public Health during a Monday afternoon press briefing, “All the patients are associated with the same living facility, so it’s unclear if the illness is related to the Thanksgiving Day event or their living situation.”

However, Tuesday morning Michael Weston, spokesperson for the California Department of Social Services, said, “two of the deceased individuals were from Minerva’s Place on Palo Verde Way and the third individual was from Minerva Place IV which is on El Paso Way” in Antioch.

The two residential care homes, described as assisted living facilities, are licensed by Minerva Gonzalez and Emerito Ramon Gonzalez is listed as the Administrator. Each facility is licensed for up to six residents.

In addition to the facilities that are currently open, according to an internet search, there are or have been four other Minerva Place facilities at different addresses in Antioch, including Minerva’s Place Arf, Minerva’s Place #2, Minerva Place II and Minerva Place III.

All eight of those who got sick are believed to have eaten a Thanksgiving dinner at the Veterans Memorial Building and American Legion Hall on West 6th Street in Antioch on Thursday. The annual dinner was provided by the Golden Hills Community Church which rented out the hall, as they have been doing for about the past 30 years.

“We don’t know that the eight elderly people from the assisted living facility actually came to the hall to eat,” said Linda Oransky, who helped organize the Antioch dinner with her husband Jeff. “That was what was reported on the news, but it had not been confirmed.”

The church also serves Thanksgiving meals in Brentwood and Bethel Island. There were 825 people who were served meals at the Antioch location and 800 were served at the Brentwood location, according to Brian Sharp, a member of the church, who has been in charge of the Brentwood effort for the past ten years.

“No one else has told me that anyone else has said they got sick,” he stated.

Last Friday and Saturday eight people were admitted into Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch with possible food borne illnesses.

According to a Sutter Health statement released on Monday, “Between Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26, Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch received eight patients with probable food borne symptoms. Three patients have died, four patients were treated and released and one patient remains hospitalized. Contra Costa Public Health is investigating the cause and do not believe there is any risk to the general public.”

According to Vacar’s report, “Sutter was not the only one to receive patients.”

He also said the Contra Costa Coroner’s office is performing autopsies.

Vacar reported he was told the sick people were seniors from a senior center, but had not been able to confirm that.

At a 5:00 p.m. press briefing in Martinez on Monday, Marilyn C. Underwood, Ph.D., of Contra Costa County Environmental Health Services and Dr. Mcnitt answered questions.

One reporter asked referring to the church, “do they have the proper food handling permit?”

Dr. Underwood responded.

“The non-profit group that held the Thanksgiving event in Antioch is the Golden Hills Community Church and they’ve been sponsoring this for many, many years,” she stated. “I did speak with them about the type of event they had, does not need to be permitted by Environmental Health. They were using a permitted facility, which is the Veterans Hall also known as the American Legion location in Antioch.”

“And when we spoke with them about the food safety techniques they used they all sounded very appropriate,” Underwood continued. “Again, this is information we discussed with them, today.”

Asked about the senior facility where “are you also looking into the facility where these elderly people came from that they live in,” she replied, “We at Environmental Health do not oversee those particular facilities. They’re actually overseen by a state agency, the Department of Social Services. So we are in touch with them and made them aware of it so that hopefully they will be pursuing it.”

Dr. Mcnitt was able to answer the question, stating “my understanding is that we have been in touch with them but we’re still interviewing patients and just trying to get more information about what could be the cause of the illness.”

When asked what was served that night, Dr. Mcnitt responded, “I don’t believe we have a list of all the food that was served.”

However, Dr. Underwood stated, “In the discussion that we had with the pastor, it’s a traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, bread. They had pies. So it’s  a pretty traditional type of meal for Thanksgiving.”

“We’ve not received reports from any other health care facilities related to this incident,” Mcnitt stated. “At this point we do not believe that there’s any risk to the general public.”

The church serves the Thanksgiving meals to homeless and low-income individuals, and those who don’t want to be alone, on the holiday. For disclosure purposes, this reporter is a member of the church, and has attended the church since 1991. I have participated in the annual Thanksgiving meals many times over the past 20 years, including donating pies from a local bakery, and canned vegetables, and serving in the Antioch location, as well as eating the meal served there, a few times.

Attempts to reach Senior Pastor Larry Adams and Phil Hill, the Executive Pastor of the church, which has campuses in both Antioch and Brentwood, were unsuccessful. However, the church issued the following “Official Statement Regarding Thanksgiving Dinner” on their website Monday evening:

“We recently were informed that several people from the same care facility in Antioch, who were at our Antioch ­Thanksgiving Dinner, became sick and it is reported that 3 of them have died. County Health officials have informed us that the source of the illness is not known and could have come from any of a number of sources. Our dinner in Antioch is only one of a number of possibilities that County Health is investigating. We are fully cooperating with health officials and are praying fervently for the families who lost loved ones and for others who are sick. We will try to post updates from County Health as we are made aware.”

Also, a post on the church’s Facebook page included the comment, “Please join us in praying for the affected families.”

In addition, both Sharp, and Jeff and Linda Oransky, the organizers of the Antioch meal, were able to share what they had learned, so far.

“We do not know the cause of the contamination,” Sharp said. “It either came from the house or the Thanksgiving Dinner.”

“What I learned from the Antioch chairperson, Jeff Oransky, is an outside group brought food to the hall, last year. They were told not to. They came back again, this year, and handed to people standing in line, prepared meals from food not served in the hall, in plastic containers meant to be taken home.”

Sharp said neither he nor Oransky know if anyone who got sick received one of those meals.

When reached for comment asking about what Sharp said regarding the outside group handing out meals, Oransky said, “Yes, that’s true. They had prepared some meals and were handing them out in Styrofoam, take-out containers, like the ones restaurants hand out.”

“They were out there handing meals to people to whomever they saw,” said Jeff’s wife, Linda. “The people were outside of the hall, at an outside entrance that was not the main entrance, when they entered with the food. They tried to come inside. I met them inside and stopped them. I told them that we couldn’t accept their meals. They told me they had already been handing out meals outside.”

It was food prepared somewhere else and not at the hall.

“That’s why we wouldn’t take it from them or allow them to hand it out to people inside the hall,” Jeff stated. “I don’t know who they were handing them out to.”

The Oranskys lead the annual effort, together.

“We have a team of people that help us,” Jeff shared. “Golden Hills has been serving the Thanksgiving meals for about 30 years.”

The Oranskys have been in charge of the meal in Antioch for the past 12.

“This is the first time there’s ever been a medical-related incident like this, that I know of,” he stated. “I’ve been leading it for 12 years and serving for 15 years and I’ve never seen one, myself.”

“Linda and I ate there on Thursday, ourselves” and they didn’t get sick, he added.

Asked if he’d heard of anyone else getting sick since Thursday, Jeff replied, “All I’ve heard is the eight.”

“With no others reported sick and eight people in one house, it sure seems like the source was likely the house, not outside food,” Sharp added. “But no one knows for sure, yet.”

Department of Social Services

According to the California Department of Social Services’ website, Minerva’s Place was licensed in 2007, Minerva Place IV in 2011 and there have been no complaints for either of the two current locations.

The report from the visit on August 29, 2016 to Minerva’s Place showed no violations.  However, under the “Citations” drop down menu, the location has received four citations, two Type A and two Type B. Yet, under Inspections it shows the facility has one Type A and two Type B citations.

Under Other Visits, it shows one Type A Citation on January 30, 2015. It also states “One or more citations may be under appeal. Contact the State Licensing Office for more information. Other visits include anything other than yearly inspections and complaints, where the state may visit for administrative or follow up purposes, such as pre/post licensing processes.

The other two citations were from the visit in 2012, which the website doesn’t provide any details.

The Facility Evaluation Report from the state required five-year visit to Minerva Place IV on April 25, this year, stated “There are violations under California Code of Regulations, title 22 and are listed on 809-D,” “Appeal rights given” and “report reviewed with Minerva Gonzalez.”

“It was just a Type-B Citation for obtaining a doctor’s order saying it’s necessary to have a bedrail for an individual,” Weston explained.

Type B Citations are for violations that can be corrected, such as paperwork or other administrative things. Type A Citations are more serious, and can involve such things as wages, medication errors, food poisoning or death. If a violation is repeated within six months the owners will be fined $150 or the facility can be closed.

“You can have things start to increase,” Weston explained. “So it could be $150 per day if you’re not fixing a deficiency.”

“We’re working with public health officials in Contra Costa County and they will determine to the best of ability what happened and what’s the source of this,” he continued. “We will determine was the proper care and supervision given, and did they seek the appropriate care and in a timely manner.”

“If the facility is the source of this and there was a danger in the facility, we’ll make sure that will be addressed, as well,” Weston added. “Based on that information we’ll take appropriate action, if necessary.”

A call was made to the number listed for both facilities, seeking answers from the Gonzalez’ to the following questions: did the eight residents actually ate at the church’s Thanksgiving dinner? Did any of them receive and eat a meal distributed by the outside group? Did they all go back to one facility and eat or drink anything else? and did they own the other four locations and if so, why were they closed? But, no response was received before publication time.

Please check back later for updates to this report and any additional details.

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Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with friends at the Antioch Senior Center, Tuesday, Nov. 22

Monday, November 21st, 2016

thanksgiving-sr-ctr

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Halloween at the Antioch Senior Center, Monday, Oct. 31

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

ant-sr-ctr-halloween-flyer

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