Man arrested with two loaded guns on Antioch trail

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Photos by APD

Drone used to communicate with him from safe distance

By Antioch Police Department

At 8:00 am, Friday, July 12, 2024, dispatchers received a call about a man lying on the trail near Lone Tree Way and Longview Drive. The caller reported that the man had a pistol in his waistband. As a precaution, APD officers used our drone to communicate with the man from a distance.

Officers were able to successfully utilize the drone and de-escalation techniques to safely take the man into custody. It turned out that he was carrying two loaded pistols.

Publisher @ July 12, 2024

Antioch’s Caring Haven honored as Bay Area’s Premier Home Care Agency

Posted in: Business, Health, Honors & Awards, News, Seniors | Comments (0)

Best of Best Review award for Caring Haven owned by CEO Nicola “Nikki” Lopez.

Founded and owned by Jamaican immigrant Nikki Lopez

Caring Haven, headquartered in Antioch, has proudly been recognized as the Best Senior Care Agency in the Bay Area by Best of Best Review. This accolade reflects the agency’s unwavering dedication to providing dignified care for seniors and veterans.

Founded last October by CEO and Chief Care Officer Nicola “Nikki” K. Lopez, MBA, an inspiring immigrant from Jamaica, Caring Haven is built on the foundation of family love and care. Nikki’s personal values shape the company’s mission: “We ensure every client is seen, heard, and empowered, just as we care for our own family. Each loved one we serve is treated with the same affection and dignity our CEO gives to her grandma.”

The company slogan is “Elevating Life, Embracing Care” and their service areas include Antioch, Discovery Bay, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg, Tracy, Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek including Rossmoor, Benicia, Vallejo, Rio Vista and surrounding areas.

According to the awards organization, “At Best of Best Review, we take great pride in recognizing the outstanding companies that stand out in their fields, and this year, Caring Haven LLC has earned a distinguished place as the ‘Best Senior Care Agency in the Bay Area’. This accolade reflects the unparalleled dedication, compassion, and expertise that Caring Haven brings to home care services.

Nicola’s journey, as an immigrant navigating corporate America, has shaped her passion for providing top-tier, empathetic care. This dedication is evident in the way Caring Haven embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion, placing people over profit.

A Testament to Excellence

Caring Haven’s commitment to excellence is evident in the glowing testimonials from clients and partners. Latrice Roberson from Grace and Glory Hospice notes, ‘Nikki’s smile and calm manner can bring an individual’s anxiety down to where they feel empowered to move forward. Her loyalty and dedication to the health industry speaks volumes and shows her empathy towards others.’

Another satisfied client shares, ‘Caring Haven was an absolute godsend recently when my 100-year-old mother’s full-time caregiver came down with Covid. Nikki Lopez personally filled in, ensuring my mother received the care she needed. Her compassion and dedication are unmatched.’

Rigorous Selection Process

Caring Haven’s recognition as the “Best Senior Care Agency in the Bay Area” was not earned lightly. Hundreds of agencies were evaluated based on several criteria, including:

  • Client Satisfaction: Testimonials and reviews highlighted the exceptional care and dedication of the caregivers.
  • Expertise and Knowledge: Demonstrated through comprehensive and personalized care plans.
  • Authenticity and Trustworthiness: Evident in the agency’s transparent and heartfelt communication with clients.
  • Performance Metrics: High client retention rates and positive health outcomes.
  • Competitive Differentiation: Unique DEI-led approach and unwavering focus on community and compassion.

Personalized and Compassionate Care

The care provided by Caring Haven is not just about meeting physical needs but also nurturing the emotional and psychological well-being of clients. For instance, one client recalls how Nikki from Caring Haven quickly responded to an urgent request for a caregiver, connecting deeply with the family and ensuring the service started promptly. This personalized attention and genuine compassion are what make Caring Haven stand out.

A Legacy of Dedication

Caring Haven’s mission is clear: to make every client feel seen, heard, and empowered. The team’s dedication to building meaningful relationships and creating a nurturing environment is reflected in every aspect of their service. From companionship and assistance with daily activities to respite care, Caring Haven ensures that clients receive comprehensive support tailored to their individual needs.

Pros of Choosing Caring Haven LLC:

  • Compassionate and personalized care
  • Quick response time and professional service
  • Highly skilled and empathetic caregivers
  • DEI-led approach prioritizing people over profit
  • High client satisfaction and retention rates”

About the award, Lopez said, “People are literally trusting me with their lives and others are trusting me with those who matter most to them. It’s humbling, and not a task I take lightly.”

“It was a surprise, I didn’t expect it,” she added.

Lopez’s commitment extends beyond her company. She is an active member of the Antioch and Brentwood Chambers of Commerce and serves on three significant boards in Contra Costa County: the Economic Opportunity Council (EOC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Aging Council on Aging (ACAOC).

Additionally, Caring Haven hires and trains the best Care Team ensuring all clients receive a consistent level of professional, dignified, and reliable care. 

Caring Haven is credentialed with the Veterans Administration (VA) and Medicaid, and also accepts private pay and various long-term care insurance plans, including workers’ compensation for post-surgery or rehab patients. Their comprehensive services include companionship, personal care, dementia care, and more.

For those seeking quality care for their loved ones, Caring Haven is the trusted choice. Visit their website at www.caringhavenhomecare.com or call 925.331.0590 for more information.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Publisher @ July 12, 2024

California Highway Patrol swears in 102 new officers

Posted in: CHP, News, State of California | Comments (0)

CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee administers the Code of Honor to the 102 new officers on Friday morning, July 12, 2024. Photo: CHP

After completing 1,200 hours of intensive training over 26 weeks

By Tami Grimes, PIO, CHP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) proudly introduced 102 of the state’s newest officers during a swearing-in ceremony today at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento. In a continued effort to fill vacant officer positions, these men and women hail from communities throughout California, as well as Colorado and Oregon.

“Having successfully completed the last 26 weeks of intensive training, the CHP is pleased to welcome these new officers to the CHP family. They are beginning a career of service and I trust they will do everything they can to take care of their communities,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “Every corner of the State deserves to have the best trained and prepared personnel, and I am confident these new officers will be able to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security possible.”

CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee inspects the cadets before the ceremony on Friday, July 12, 2024. Photo: CHP

Before offering his prepared remarks, Duryee said to the audience of the new officers’ family members and friends, “Alright, listen. I was a little disappointed to that approach. Not from the cadets, from the crowd. You all gotta get a little fired up. This is a celebration.”

“I don’t know what they’ve told you how this place is,” he continued with a smile. “But this is a celebration, today. So, as we celebrate them let’s get a little rowdy. Yeah?” to which the audience applauded and cheered in response.

While at the CHP Academy, cadets receive over 1,200 hours of training and start with subjects including nobility in policing, leadership, professionalism and ethics, and cultural diversity. Additionally, cadets receive instruction on mental illness response and crisis intervention techniques. Training also covers vehicle patrol, crash investigation, first aid, and the apprehension of suspected violators, including those who drive under the influence. Cadets also receive training in traffic control, report writing, recovery of stolen vehicles, assisting the motoring public, issuing citations, emergency scene management, and various codes, including the California Vehicle Code, Penal Code, and Health and Safety Code.

The Code of Honor was administered by Duryee and repeated by the cadets as follows: “I, a member of the California Highway Patrol, subscribe in word and deed to the following; To serve the United States of America and the State of California honestly, and conscientiously; and fulfill my oath as a soldier of the law; to uphold and maintain the honor and integrity of the California Highway Patrol; Be loyal to my fellow officers; respect and obey my seniors in rank; and enforce the law without fear, favor or discrimination; to assist those in peril or distress and if necessary lay down my life rather than swerve from the path of duty; my person conduct shall at all times be above reproach; and I will never knowingly commit any act that will in any way bring discredit upon the California Highway Patrol or any member thereof; to all of this I do solemnly pledge my sacred honor as an officer with the California Highway Patrol.”

Family members and friends pinned the new officers’ badges to their uniforms. Video screenshot

Today’s graduation concludes the new officers’ stay at the Academy prior to their reporting to one of the 102 CHP Area offices throughout the state on July 22. (View ceremony video and highlight video)

The CHP continues the search for service-minded individuals who are interested in a career in law enforcement in support of its ongoing, multiyear recruitment campaign to hire 1,000 officers. In 2023, the CHP added 407 officers to its ranks. With today’s swearing-in, an additional 409 officers have been sworn in this year and there are still two more cadet classes scheduled to complete the Academy before the end of 2024.

For more information about a life-changing career with the CHP, visit our website and register for our online hiring seminar at 6:30 p.m. on July 17.

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Publisher @ July 12, 2024

Man shot dead at Antioch apartment complex

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By Lt. D. Bittner #3252, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On July 11, 2024, at approximately 7:29 pm, Antioch police officers responded to the apartment complex located at 600 Wilbur Avenue on the report of a shooting.

When officers arrived, they located a 34-yearold male in the street near the center of the apartment complex suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.

The Antioch Police Department’s Investigations Bureau, consisting of Crime Scene Investigators and detectives with the Violent Crimes Unit took over the investigation. This is an active investigation, and no further information will be released at this time.

Additional inquiries, tips or information can be directed to Antioch Police Detective John Cox at (925) 481-8147 or by email jcox@antiochca.gov.

Publisher @ July 12, 2024

Grand opening of new $65 million Contra Costa County Administration Building celebrated

Posted in: Construction, Contra Costa County, Government, News | Comments (0)

The grand opening of the new Contra Costa County Administration Building and Plaza was held on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Photos: Contra Costa County

A new government facility to better fit its environment

Includes new plaza, public law library

By Kristi Jourdan, PIO, Contra Costa County

County and city officials celebrated the grand opening of Contra Costa County’s new Administration Building Tuesday morning, July 9, 2024. Located on Pine Street in the heart of downtown Martinez, the three-story cutting-edge office administration building and civic plaza was unveiled on the historic grounds previously occupied by a taller, outdated office tower and a jail dating back to around 1902. Both were demolished to make way for the modern development including the County’s other new administration building across Escobar Street that houses the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers.

Members of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and the Martinez City Council, county staff and representatives of both Webcor Builders and design firm Perkins & Will gathered for the building’s grand opening.

Speakers included Board Chair and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis and District 4 Supervisor Ken Carlson, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt and Martinez Mayor Brianne Zorn, and representatives of design firm Perkins & Will and Webcor Builders.

The new County Administration Building and Plaza.

The new $65 million building replaced a programmatically obsolete and contextually out of scale office tower and showcases state-of-the-art architecture that harmonizes beautifully with the surrounding historic buildings. It also rejuvenates the public plaza formed by the vacation of a city street within the County administration campus. It embodies sustainability with on-site photovoltaics for high-performance energy use, responsibly sourced finishes, and low embodied carbon materials.

The entrance and a retail space inside the new County Administration Building.

The development significantly enhances community space by adding a new public law library, ground-floor retail spaces, and a parking garage. The plaza also includes street improvements and an advanced stormwater system tailored to the site’s unique groundwater challenges and topography. Internally, the building acts as a hub for several County administrative departments, including the Public Defender, County Sheriff’s Civil Division and the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, consolidating essential services under one roof to improve service delivery and enhance community interaction.

The new building marks a significant contribution to Contra Costa County, where modernity meets tradition and community service meets innovation.

Alexandra Pony of Pony Communications and Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Publisher @ July 11, 2024

Former Antioch nanny pleads guilty to sexual abuse of small child

Posted in: Children & Families, District Attorney, News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

Michelle Hidalgo in a post on her Facebook page on October 26, 2022.

Sentenced to 15 years to life

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

A 29-year-old resident of Antioch was sentenced today, July 11, 2024, in Contra Costa Superior Court for sexual abuse of a young child.

Michelle Nicole Hidalgo, was sentenced by the Honorable David Goldstein after she pled guilty to engaging in sexual acts with a child 10 years old or younger [PC 288.7(b)]. Hidalgo was a nanny to the minor victim and has been in custody since her arrest on September 22, 2023. As part of a negotiated agreement, Hidalgo was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison – which will begin immediately. She was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

On September 21, 2023, the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was alerted to sexually explicit images of a small child being shared on X (formally Twitter). A search warrant was served at a residence in Antioch, seized equipment used in the production and distribution of pornographic images of minors and Hidalgo was arrested.  She was employed as a part-time nanny for the victim’s family. (See related article)

Pursuant to her plea, Hidalgo admitted to abusing the child on September 19, 2023. Evidence also demonstrated Hidalgo created visual depictions of the abuse and shared those images with other X users. Text messages sent from Hidalgo to others were recovered. Those messages indicated her intent to further

abuse the child the next time she was with the victim. Investigators are currently working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to ensure those images are flagged if shared online in the future.

“The sentence delivered today reflects the severity of the crime committed,” said District Attorney Diana

Becton. “Our system of justice is dedicated to protecting victims and safeguarding the community by holding offenders accountable.”

Deputy District Attorney Jenna Franklin from the DA’s Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted the case. The investigation was led by the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). Detectives and investigators who participated in the ICAC investigation are from the Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg, San Ramon and Danville police departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Special Agents from the United States Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations, and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office, the five-foot, three-inch tall, 250-pound Hidalgo is Hispanic was born on December 23, 1994 and is being held in the West County Detention Facility on $800,000 bail. Her Facebook profile shows she lives in Antioch and is from Pacifica, CA where she studied at Terra Nova High School.

Case No. 01-23-02982 | The People of the State of California v. Hidalgo, Michelle Nicole

Publisher @ July 11, 2024

Long-time Antioch Reserve Officer Frank Rupani passes

Posted in: News, Obituary, People, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

Frank Rupani in a 2016 photo posted on his Facebook page and in his Antioch Police Reserve Officer uniform. Photo (right): APD

By Antioch Police Department

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you about the passing of Reserve Officer Frank Rupani. Frank was a dedicated member of the Antioch Police Department for over 26 years, serving our community with utmost commitment and professionalism.

He began his service on October 30, 1997, and has received numerous commendations and letters of appreciation from the public. In May 2014, Rupani was honored by then-Chief Allan Cantando as a Reserve Sergeant.

Prior to his retirement from the APD Reserve Unit in 2017, Rupani was assigned to assist the Parking Enforcement unit with a huge backlog of abandoned vehicles in the City. According to then-Police Chief Tammany Brooks, Rupani had been instrumental in getting the number down to a manageable level. He continued to serve the citizens of Antioch by transitioning to the Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS) program and could be seen at community events, including parades in downtown Rivertown, as well as Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies.

Following his retirement Frank Rupani was honored with a plaque for his 20 years of service by then-Chief T Brooks as Captain Tony Morefield looks on during an Antioch Police Ceremony on May 17, 2018. Photos: APD

Officer Rupani’s unwavering dedication to his duty and his selfless service to the Antioch community will always be remembered. He was a true asset to our department, and his loss will be deeply felt by all of us.

During his time with us, Officer Rupani exemplified the values of integrity, compassion, and bravery. He was not only a respected colleague but also a trusted friend to many. His positive impact on our community and the lives he touched cannot be overstated.

As we mourn the loss of Officer Rupani, let us also remember and celebrate the incredible legacy he leaves behind. His contributions to public safety and his unwavering commitment to serving others will continue to inspire us all.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Rupani’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. We extend our deepest condolences and offer our full support to those affected by this loss.

According to his Facebook page, Rupani is from Burgettstown, Pennsylvania and studied for his Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Akron.

Born on June 24, 1944, Rupani had just turned 80 and is survived by his wife Inelda who, according to family members, was by his side when he passed on July 10, 2024.

Please join us in honoring Officer Frank Rupani’s memory and the invaluable service he provided to our community.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Publisher @ July 10, 2024

Con Fire experiences 30% increase in July 4th incidents over last year

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The fire on the hill behind the Hillcrest Crossroads shopping center off Hillcrest Avenue and Larkspur Drive in Antioch started about 10:30 PM on July 4, 2024, and burned to the fence line behind the buildings at the bottom and the homes on Locust Court at the top. Fire & Rescue crew members head down off the hill near the KFC after extinguishing the fire. Photos by Allen D. Payton. Aerial shot of the area burned on the Hillcrest Avenue side of the hill. Photo by Con Fire.

Antioch had most fire-related calls

By Allen D. Payton

According to a report by the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire), they responded to a total of 317 incidents from 10:00 AM on July 4, 2024, to 3:00 AM on July 5th. That’s an increase of 30% over the 243 incidents Con Fire responded to last year.

Source: Con Fire

Of this year’s incidents, 129 were fire-related including 92 exterior fires, 16 vegetation fires, 13 structure fires and eight other types of fires. All four categories experienced increases over 2023 with more than double for exterior fires.

Antioch had the most fire-related calls with about 45 total, followed by 20 for Pittsburg and 10 for Bay Point. All other cities and unincorporated communities in the Con Fire service area had fewer than 10 fire-related incidents.

Source: Con Fire

Calls for significant fires began Thursday at 10:30 AM with a vegetation fire on Leland Road in Pittsburg confirmed to have been started by fireworks at consumed 10 acres. The last significant incident was another vegetation fire that started about 10:30 PM in Antioch on the hill off Hillcrest Avenue behind the Hillcrest Crossings Shopping Center between where KFC and the County Market Asian grocery store are located. It caused the evacuation of six homes.

Source: Con Fire

According to Con Fire PIO, Captain Christopher Toler, a care home on Lotus Court was first evacuated, then fire personnel decided to evacuate all six homes closest to the fire. Structure protection was in place and the fire stopped at the fence lines at both the top and bottom of the hill.

See videos of the Antioch fire here, here, here and here.

Publisher @ July 10, 2024