Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Paradise Skate Roller Rink

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

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Antioch School Board Trustee Ruehlig compliments school concerts, music programs

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Deer Valley High School recently held its Jazz Ensemble during which members of their instrumental music groups performed. Photo by AUSD – See more photos of the various school concerts on the district’s Facebook page.

Dear Editor:

This holiday season brings the usual cheer, but adds a personal festive exclamation point with the local bounty of school concerts.  I was personally privileged to attend the Black Diamond Middle, Antioch and Deer Valley High Schools and Dozier Libbey Medical School combined concert and the Park Middle Schools performance. We had heard about the overflowing 1,300 students at elementary schools taking band but now we tasted the fruit of that pipeline.

We’re in our third year with music alive and well in the AUSD and are reaping benefits in more ways than one.  As might be expected, motivation took a hit when the heart and sound that can soften the daily grind was taken from the schools to save dollars and allow doubling down on core subjects. Granted, reading and math remain fundamental, but face it, for many kids, music or sports are the sole connection and engagement keeping them from truancy.

Aside, though, from increased attendance and GPA, we’ve noticed that, in and of itself, music is aiding academics as a sort of super brain food, bringing a plethora of values.  No surprise to us music lovers as poll any group of physicians or engineers and you will find that an amazing number of these hi-achievers had studied music in their formative years.

You see, in one sense music is pure math. Understanding beat, rhythm and scales helps children learn how to divide, create fractions and recognize patterns.  It sharpens special, temporal skills associated with math comprehension.   Essentially, then, music is a sort of hard wiring for all kinds of basic and advanced math.

Studying music also instills short and long-term memory aides by using mnemonic devices.  It also physically develops the left side of the brain, the part involved in language acquisition.

Music employs multiple skill sets, exercising eyes and ears and both larger and smaller muscle sets. Certain instruments, like percussion, develop timing, coordination, motor skills and ambidexterity. Call it sports in a chair.

Good news moms and dad; a 2007 study by Christopher Johnson at the University of Texas showed students in elementary schools having superior musical programs scored 22% higher on standardized English tests.

So-called soft skills, cited by employers as invaluable workplace skills, also mature. Musical student attendance is cumulatively higher and discipline rates less. Poise under pressure and accepting and giving constructive criticism also benefit. The habits of discipline, perseverance and the ability to demonstrate deferred gratification also develop.

Musical students learn teamwork and collaboration in group performance, and how to patiently wait their turn and respectfully listen to others.  They also broaden horizons as they are introduced to various genres, styles and cultures.

We might ask, how, then, does our child pick a chosen instrument?  Treat it like a petting zoo and let your child explore for the right sound, feel and temperamental fit. Make sure the challenge is appropriate, the price affordable, and that you, the parent, can live for endless hours without going crazy over home practice of that instrument. Drums, after all, may not fit us all.

Thankfully, with School Board support, and LCAP funding, we have welcomed back the spiritual soundtrack of our lives.  The enrichment surely can’t hurt our kids and our collective humanity. It’s an opportunity to celebrate as we affirm Frederick Nietzsche’s charge that “without music, life would be a mistake.”

Walter Ruehlig, Trustee, Antioch School Board

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Registration for Antioch Little League continues on Saturday

Friday, December 15th, 2017

At Mountain Mike’s Pizza in the Raley’s shopping center.

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County to refund $8.8 million in excessive Juvenile Hall housing, electronic monitoring fees

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Example of an ankle monitor. By

By Daniel Borsuk

Beginning next month, 6,000 and as many as 12,000 Contra Costa County residents will receive letters from the county that they could be entitled to refunds to be disbursed because the county Probation Department overcharged them fees for Juvenile Cost of Care and Cost of Electronic Surveillance of Minors. (See agenda item,  here.)

County Supervisors initiated the notification process at Tuesday’s board meeting on a 4-0 vote.  Letters printed in English and Spanish will be mailed to up to 6,000 individuals who may be due a refund because they may have been overcharged when they had a juvenile housed at a county juvenile hall facility from 2010 to 2016.  The county ceased assessing the fees in 2016.  The letters will instruct the recipients how to file for a claim.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville was absent for the vote.

The county estimates parents of juveniles held in county juvenile hall facilities were overcharged $8.8 million dating back to 1990.

The board’s Public Safety Committee will review whether another 6,000 residents living in the county between 1990 and 2010 might be eligible for refunds.  Supervisors would also establish a procedure whereby residents could claim money that was improperly withheld when youths were detained in juvenile hall facilities.  Supervisors will determine if the county improperly overcharged for electronic monitoring fees.

Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors there are about 12,000 cases that the county has identified from 1990 to 2016 that might be entitled to refund checks averaging $262 per account because of the work by Contra Costa supervisors did, and support from citizen organizations like the Racial Justice Coalition, statewide to make juvenile hall housing fees illegal on racial and financial hardship grounds.

Contra Costa is the first county in the state to begin the procedure of refunding money to parents or guardians of juveniles who were held in juvenile hall facility and were overcharged.

“No one is expecting a mad rush of people to file claims,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who was a key player at the county and state level in igniting the juvenile hall overcharge refund movement.

District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said it should be up to the claimants to show proof in the form of canceled checks, bank statements or some other proof of payment when filing a claim.

“Family members should never have been penalized,” admonished Willie Mims of the East County Branch of the NAACP.  “You should have the records and not lay that responsibility on the persons who might receive these letters.”

The fiscal impact to the General Fund is projected to be $136,000.

Supervisors OK Bonds for Multi-Family Housing Projects

Site of the approved Heritage Point Senior Apartments in North Richmond.

On a 5-0 vote, supervisors flashed the green light for construction to get underway for a $27 million senior housing project in North Richmond fronting the east side of Fred Jackson Way between Grove Avenue and Chelsey Avenue.  The 42-unit, Heritage Point Senior Apartments will be financed by the county with up to $17 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds.

It is a project of the Community Housing and Development Corporation of North Richmond (CHDC). According to their website, the organization was “founded in 1990 by local leaders…to eliminate blight, improve housing opportunities for current and future residents, and create better economic conditions.” It has since “added over 200 owner-occupied homes to the Richmond area along with street improvements, public services, senior and family rental housing.”

According to the staff report, there is “No impact to the General Fund. At the closing for the Bonds, the County is reimbursed for costs incurred in the issuance process. Annual expenses for monitoring of Regulatory Agreement provisions ensuring units in the Development will be rented to low income households will be reimbursed through issuer fees established in the documents for the Bonds. The Bonds will be solely secured by and payable from revenues (e.g. Development rents, reserves, etc.) pledged under the Bond documents. No County funds are pledged to secure the Bonds.”

Supervisors were informed that financing for the Heritage Point development is secure.  However, future affordable housing developments might be in jeopardy depending how the 2018 United States budget reform bill shapes up. Contra Costa County could potentially lose $3.5 million in bond financing for the North Richmond project if the budget reform bill is passed by Congress, said Maureen Toms of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.  Fortunately, the county has enough money in reserves to fill in funding gaps for projects like the Heritage Point development, she added.

“This could be the tip of the iceberg on the potential elimination of public funding for future affordable housing developments,” Gioia warned.

Riviera Family Apartments. Rendering by RCD.

In addition, the board approved converting $1.6 million in taxable bonds into tax-exempt bonds for a 58-unit, multi-family affordable housing apartment project in Walnut Creek. The Riviera Family Apartments will be located on two separate parcels, at 1515 and 1738 Rivera Avenue. The County had previously approved $19.2 million in tax-exempt bonds for the development in May 2016. The developer is Resources for Community Development in Berkeley. According to the staff report, no County funds are pledged to secure the bonds.

Honor 35-Year County Employee

In other action, the board honored Carmen Piña-Delgado who is the Supervising Real Property Agent with the Public Works Department in the Real Estate Division for her 35 years as a county employee. She started her career with the County Administrator’s Office as a Clerk-Experienced Level under the Affirmative Action Officer and due to budget cuts was let go. But, then in October, Piña-Delgado was rehired by the Health Services Department as a Clerk-Experienced Level in the Public Health Division.

In January 1992 she was promoted to the position of Real Property Technical Assistant in the Real Estate Division, where she has worked for the remainder of her career. In May 2001, Piña-Delgado graduated from Los Medanos College completing the Associate of Science Degree in Real Estate in order to qualify for advancement into the Real Property Agent Series. The resolution adopted by the Board recognizing her service states, she “has a great work ethic and has made a difference in the Public Works Department by delivering quality services in each division, County-wide, and with outside agencies/consultants.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Antioch Panthers end season strong in semi-finals versus Freedom Falcons

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

The Panthers scored another touchdown making it 33-31 Antioch with 7:52 left to go in the game. But it wasn’t enough for victory. Photos by Allen Payton

By Jesus Cano

In a flash, during the North Coast Section Division 1 semi-final game last Saturday night, Freedom’s Giles Jackson shattered the hearts of many Antioch High football fans and players, especially the seniors, as his seven-yard run in overtime helped seal the ticket for the Falcons to win the game 45-39. They advance to their first ever NCS Division I championship game and will face Brentwood’s Liberty High Lions in their first championship appearance in over 100 years, at Heritage High, Saturday night, Dec. 2.

Freedom’s Giles Jackson runs it in for a touchdown in OT winning the game 45-39. They head to the NCS Division 1 Championship game for the first time ever as the song “Hang on Snoopy” played over the loudspeaker at the Falcons’ stadium.

Many of Antioch’s players had their heads down, with tears running down their eyes which is perfectly normal reaction to have. Especially when some of these players will never be able to play another snap of football in a black and gold uniform.

According to the experts, Antioch was not supposed to get this far. The Panthers were not supposed to receive a number three seed in the NCS playoffs. Let alone, Antioch was not even supposed to win two games.

But they did, and they should be pretty satisfied with this season for shutting all the doubters up.

Najee Harris is a familiar name throughout the entire Bay Area, but Antioch is not a one-player team. They clearly asserted that with their performance.

Offensively, they had Dalaan Green getting a majority of the carries leading the team in rushing with 1,059 yards, followed by athlete Omari Harris backing him up when it came to power drives.

Antioch scored again tying the game at 39 with 3:40 left to play. The Panthers were going to attempt a 2-point conversion. But with two penalties totaling 20 yards Antioch chose to kick and it was blocked again, for the third time in the game.

However, Willem Karnthong was the best of both worlds. Not only did he break the record for the most career touchdowns in Antioch history, but he is on pace to break the record for most career touchdowns. Essentially, making him the statistically best quarterback in Antioch’s history. And he has a whole campaign left in him.

He had a plethora of options to throw to, including junior Gaudie Campbell and senior Isaiah Avery.

Defensively, Antioch had one of the most dangerous offensive lines with Garrett Robinson and Timmy Dorsey. In fact, Robinson was robbed out of the Bay Valley Athletic League MVP award. The achievement instead went to Liberty’s Nicky Einess.

The most impressive performance by Antioch was during the Big Little Game against Pittsburg. Yes, they lost 14-12, but they were the team that came closest to beating the BVAL champs. Pitt beat the two teams in the championship game, blanking Liberty 35-0 and besting Freedom 47-32.

The Panthers will come back strong, fierce and hungrier than ever to win next year’s BVAL title. Antioch will have plenty of weapons remaining in their arsenal including junior linebacker and tight and Vinny Ballardo, along with sophomore DeJuan Butler.

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Antioch loses to Pitt in Big Little Game for second year, but blanks Irvington 38-0 in first round of playoffs

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Antioch celebrates stopping Pittsburg in their first red zone trip during the Big Little Game on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Photo by Jesus Cano

Panthers play Dublin Saturday, Nov. 18; Deer Valley makes first round of playoffs, but falls to Amador Valley

Antioch’s Dalann Green scores the Panthers’ second touchdown during the Big Little Game. Photo from AUSD Facebook page.

By Jesus Cano

PITTSBURG, CALIF. – Donovan Crosse’s interception with three minutes remaining secured the Bay Valley Athletic League title for Pittsburg. The host Pirates narrowly escaped the 99th Big Little Game with a 14-12 win over Antioch.

The teams scored equal touchdowns. However, the difference was two missed extra-point attempts by the Panthers.

“After missing the first kick we had to go for two,” Antioch head coach John Lucido said. “I’m never satisfied with losing but these guys rose to the challenge.”

This victory ended a two-year title drought for Pittsburg – the longest under head coach Vic Galli’s 16-year tenure.

The JV and Varsity Cheer teams from Antioch and Pittsburg High School performed together at halftime. Photo by AUSD

Quarterback Justin Boyd is in his first year at the varsity level but is no stranger to big games, having played against juggernaut teams such as Serra and Centennial. The Pittsburg junior threw for 147-yard and two passing touchdowns.

“We should have won by more,” Boyd said. “I’m confident in my boys. They’re a good team, but we made a lot of mistakes.”

Boyd completed his first touchdown to his cousin A’Jae Boyd on a 74-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. He then connected with Willie Harts III for a 66-yard go-head score in the third quarter.

Harts also believes his team should have won by more than two points. He said that if this game was played again, it would be contrasting.

“The result would be totally different,” Harts said. “We’ll be more prepared and take it more serious.”

Antioch was three points away from giving Liberty its first league championship in since 1985. Since the Lions defeated Freedom 37-35 yesterday, the Pirates needed to win in order to claim the BVAL title.

Antioch’s Noah Wallace blocks the Pittsburg ball carrier. Photo by AUSD

The Panthers scored on their first drive of the game after a series of Willem Karnthong keepers. The junior quarterback finished it off with a 41-yard soaring pass to Gaudie Campbell. As soon as Campbell’s feet touched the surface of the end zone, the entire home side of Pirate Stadium was on mute. Meanwhile, the visiting side erupted.

Antioch extended its lead later in the first quarter on a Dalaan Green six-yard rush after Karnthong set him up with a 28-yard pass to Campbell.

Despite Pittsburg winning the 99th Big Little Game and BVAL title, Galli was not satisfied with his team’s win. However, he acknowledged Antioch’s level of competitiveness.

“That team played their a** off tonight and they brought it to us,” Galli said. “Our offense owes our defense a lot.”

To watch a recap of the game, on MaxPreps, click here.

Antioch Blanks Irvington

In the first round of the North Coast Section (NCS)/Les Schwab Tires Division 1 championship on the evening of Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11 the 3rd seed Antioch Panthers beat the 14th seed Irvington High Vikings of Fremont 38-0. Antioch was up 35-0 at half-time. The win gives Antioch a 7-3 record for the season.

Wolverines Fall to Amador Valley

In their first round of the NCS playoffs, the 7th seed Amador Valley Dons were too much for the 10th seed Deer Valley Wolverines beating them 26-13.

Panthers Face Dublin Saturday Night

Antioch moves on to the second round of post-season play when they face the 11th seed Dublin Gaels Saturday night, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Dublin.

Good luck, Panthers!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Delta Baseball & Softball League now accepting 2018 online registration, 10% discount before Dec. 1st

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Antioch High beats Deer Valley to retain trophy in annual Mayor’s Cup crosstown football game

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Antioch High Panthers football players raise the Mayor’s Cup trophy in celebration of their victory against the Deer Valley Wolverines on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Photos by Jesus Cano

By Jesus Cano

Antioch’s 20 unanswered points paved the way them to keep the city of Antioch Mayor’s Cup for the fifth year in a row in their 23-14 victory.

Antioch works to score another touchdown against Deer Valley.

“A lot of these guys played with me as sophomores, so they never lost against Deer Valley,” Antioch head coach John Lucido said. “Our focus was to get those seniors that trophy, and keep it at Antioch.”

Deer Valley struck early in the game on just three plays in their first drive, where Patrick Robinson ended the play by scoring on a five yard touchdown run.

After that, the Antioch offense answered back just three minutes later. In similar fashion, Dalaan Green rushed into the end zone from three yards out to tie the game. The Panther’s took a gamble right after by attempting the two point conversion after and were successful. Antioch lead 8-7 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Deer Valley was in business inside the red zone, but fumbled just seven yards out, handing the ball over to Antioch in the process. Green ran 40 yards for the Panther’s and his quarterback Willem Karnthong simply rushed in for touchdown to extend their lead 14-7.

Karnthong also added another touchdown to his name, a much shorter two yard keeper. Karnthong ended the night with 72 passing yards and 42 rushing yards.

Mayor Sean Wright and Antioch High Varsity Football Coach John Lucido hold the Mayor’s Cup trophy won by the Panthers, Friday night.

“We stuck with the game plan and came out with a W,” Karnthong said. “My line played great, they helped open it up for us.”

His teammate Green ended the night with 131 rushing yards. He also attributes his success to the offensive line.

A lot was on the line for Deer Valley, and they did not give up. In a blink of an eye, Jason Johnson took off to the house for a long 48 yard run into Antioch’s yellow end zone.

Omar Curiel added an insurance field goal from 25 yards out to advance Antioch to a 23-14 lead, which ended up being the final score.

This mark’s Deer Valley’s 18th straight league loss since 2014, which was head coach’s Robert Hubbard’s debut season.

“You can make a million excuse but at the end of the game they won the game,” Hubbard said. “We’ve been playing tough against every team but can’t pull off a victory.”

After the game Mayor Sean Wright presented the Mayor’s Cup trophy to the Antioch Panthers.

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