Archive for November, 2011

Antioch Woman’s Club 57th Annual Christmas Home Tour

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The Annual Christmas House Tour, sponsored by GFWC Woman’s Club of Antioch, is the largest fundraiser each year for the club. It will be held Sunday, December 11, 2011, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Reception 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Our theme this year is, “The Heart of Christmas is Love.” The fundraiser benefits Antioch High school scholarships, local charities and the continued restoration of our 101 year old Historic Woman’s Club building. This year is the 57th annual tour.

The tour includes 6 homes and 3 businesses who have volunteered their decorated homes or businesses to this Christmas Tour. A reception is held at the American Legion Hall located on the corner of 6th and E Streets, where finger foods, cookies and champagne punch are served.

A live auction of 3 fully decorated Christmas Trees, silent auction of table top Christmas Trees decorated by our club members, plus other handmade crafts, services and lovely items like jewelry etc.

This year we have a special drawing for a computer, “Notebook,” separate Opportunity Drawing for festive items and services, several door prizes and music. Our ladies work hard to make this event very special. We enjoy being a, “Community Christmas Tradition.”

Hooke Residence: The Hooke’s are the original owners of this tri-level home. Their
home was built in 1970 by the builder Citation Homes. The Hooke’s remodeled their
home in 2004. The featured rooms are located on the main level, the expanded,
“Great Room” and the “Sun Room.” This home is whimsically decorated and exudes
holiday cheer and the love of Christmas.

Vistalli Residence: The families love for Disney resonates thorough out their home
and yard. The Vistalli home is known around town as the “Disney House” – the happiest
place on earth. The home was built in 1989, by Davidon Homes. The Vistalli’s are the
original homeowners and have decorated their home Disney style and most recently with
a new kitchen. The Holidays are well observed inside and outside by the decorated yard
and 20,000 lights that adorn the house. The yard decorations are all hand made and
painted by Mr.Vistalli. From the topiary bushes, inside décor and decorations, to the
Jurassic Park backyard – there is lots to see and enjoy.

Flock Residence: The Flock’s home was built by Hauffman Homes in 1976,
our countries bicentennial year. They purchased the home in 1987. Their children
grew up in this love filled home. Entertaining and music is a specialty, especially on
those, “Hot August,” summer nights. Mr. Flock is a musician and is in a band. The
family enjoys the holiday festivities, “welcoming visitors,” specifically Santa Clause.
Mrs. Flock has a collection of over 1,000 Jolly Saint Nick’s, a.k.a. Santa.

Gonzalos Residence: Cassie’s Gonzalos, birth name, “Casilda,” translates from Latin
to “place of dwelling.” When you enter Cassie’s place of dwelling, her casita, you will
feel her warmth, her passion for life, and for the love that has dwelled there over the
years; raising her children and now sharing her love with her grandchildren. The
Christmas season warms the heart of Cassie’s Casita. Mi casa es tu casa!

Ouka Residence: A touch of, “Old World Charm.” Ouka, purchased this home in
the mid 1970’s, it was built in the 1960’s and is a typical “tract” home. Ouka, has
made changes to the home that make folks feel, “warm and fuzzy.” As a girl, Ouka,
loved the feeling she got while visiting her grandmother’s. She tried to recreate
that feeling in this home. Her home has the look of a, “French Cottage Inn,” with
touches of pink, roses and other muted tones, “Shabby Chic/Vintage.” Viewing
the exterior of this lovely home does not reflect the interior or do it justice.

Fulton Shipyard Historical Home: Originally owned by the Jarvis Brothers, the
Shipyard was located in the area of Harkinson’s Point in the late 1800’s. The
business was sold to Christian August Lauritzen Sr. in 1918 and then resold to
Frank Leslie Fulton, “Les Fulton” and became the Fulton Shipyards in 1924.
Following his death in 1951, his wife, Angeline Louise “Ange” Fulton, became the only
woman Shipbuilder in the United States. Ange & Les met in Stockton while she
was working for Wheeler Transportation Company. They married in 1927 and Les
built their home at the shipyard. The front porch (where the front door is currently
located was added later.) The breakfast room in the main house was the laundry room
that led outside (now the backyard patio where the movable glass roof is located.)

Les was a well known boat designer. The shipyard built many wooden crafts,
including tugs, barges, river freighters and purseiner boats. Fulton Shipyard built
ships for many large companies, personal use and the Navy. 1941 Fulton Shipyard
was awarded contracts for six minesweepers completed ahead of schedule. More
Naval contracts followed for thirteen Coastal Transports and six Rescue Tugs. Fulton
Shipyard was awarded the Navy “E” for excellence in their production work.

The next home improvement occurred after World War II. Antioch did not have any
hotels, so Les built, “topsides” (located above the garage with two sets of built in
bunk beds.) Ange, later changed the entrance to topsides by having a spiral staircase
installed. The basement was turned into a bar, where Les entertained the, “Top Brass”
of the Navy. The basement/bar doubled as a playroom for Leslie and James. The
home was remodeled in 1954 by Carr Jones, one of the great Storybook builders of the
Bay Area. He worked for Ange until his death in 1965. Jones, graduated from UC
Berkeley in 1911, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was known for living
on the job site with his craftsmen and using recycled bricks, timbers, phone poles and
many other recycled supplies. Carr enclosed the patio, added the spiral staircase,
and new entrance to the basement bar. He also built the, “Orchid House,” the stained
glass roof came from the Delta King. He added the second kitchen, indoor built-in
BBQ and basically did all the used brickwork. He also redid the entrance to the
shipyard offices. Ange hired Lola Philhower, a renowned interior designer to redo the
upstairs bathroom in the main house, Carr helped complete this work. After Les’s
death Ange and her sons carried on the business. Ange passed in 1992 at the age of 89.
The shipyard was closed in 1999. The home of Les and Ange is whimsical and quite

Pieces of a Dream “The Barn”: This business is owned and operated by two sisters,
Mary Lou and Sylvia. “The Barn,” exterior appears like an, “old country barn,” but
inside the “Barn,” awaits a wondrous array of hand painted furniture, gifts and
collectibles. This very quaint and beautifully decorated business is inviting, cozy
and filled with love. While browsing and reminiscing enjoy a cup of hot cider.
Pieces of a Dream, offers FREE personalization on all ornaments purchased from
their trees also an opportunity to put your name, complimentary, in a drawing for a
Christmas Basket (valued at $300).

Antioch Historical Society: Located at the former Riverview Union High School,
This was the first high school built in Contra Costa County. Supported by the
Woman’s Club of Antioch, the first joint communities bond was passed in 1908,
For $20,000. Charles Appleton Hooper donated the land for the school. The school
opened, November 1911, and closed 1931. This site became registered with the
National Register of Historical Places, October 1998. 1999, this historic building
became the home of the Antioch Historical Society Museum. In 2008, Antioch
Historical Society received the Governor’s Historic Preservation Award. The
museum is decorated each December for the Annual Christmas Victorian Tea.
It is lovely to meander throughout the building and grounds. The museum displays
are very interesting. The Sports Legends Museum is also housed at this location.
Find more information at

Latino’s Hair Salon & Spa: Owned and operated by one of our very own members.
This state of the art salon and spa, is a full service salon and has been serving the Bay
Area for over 12 years. Their focus is providing a place of rejuvenation and
relaxation. Each and every client is given personalized service. Find more
information at

Tickets $25 per person, can be purchased at:

Rick’s On Second; 619 West 2nd Street; Antioch,
Teazz Salon; 606 West 2nd Street; Antioch,
Hillcrest Uniform Store; 3403 Deer Valley Rd; Antioch, (Hillcrest Shopping Center)

Ticket Information Contact Susan Welch 925-754-2006.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Announced

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

For the third year, the City of Antioch and the Antioch Unified School District are partnering to present the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and scholarship program.

The scholarship is open to middle and high school students who reside in the Antioch Unified School District boundaries. The application deadline is January 4th, 2012. Submissions may be written or visual. Visual work must be submitted on a DVD or CD to be considered.

Applications and submissions must be received by January 4th, 2012 at 4 PM and must be delivered to Antioch Unified School District office (510 G Street). The school district will be closed for the winter break from 12/17/11 to 1/2/12. Submissions submitted during this time may be placed in the door drop box.

Late submissions will not be reviewed, and all submissions become the property of the MLK Scholarship Committee and will not be returned.

Scholarships will be presented at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Celebration on January 16, 2012, which will be held at Beede Auditorium (Antioch High School, 700 West 18th Street) at 1 PM. For questions regarding the scholarship, please contact Lisa Harper at 437-4240. Information and application can be downloaded at

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I’d Vote for Arne Simonsen for Full-Time Mayor

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

To the editor:

As expected, Don Freitas is going to run for mayor next election. And he should. He controlled the city council meetings very well. But that’s no reason to re-elect him. Since he left office two years ago, he has not made any appearances at council meetings, never any input on anything.

The same can be said of Arne Simonsen. Never shows at council meetings and little input in the newspaper. But I could vote for Arne if he would make a commitment to run as a full-time mayor and eliminate the position of city manager.

Arne is the only council person to ask questions. I always thought him to be the smartest of them all. He has the time to be full-time mayor and we need him.

Bob Oliver

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

On Saturday, December 3 at 2 p.m., Santa will be dropping in on Byron Airport for a very special visit.

Santa Claus, with help from Bay Area Skydiving, will arrive at the Bay Area Skydiving hanger located at 6900 Falcon Way in Byron at 2 p.m. to give all the good little boys and girls an opportunity to get their pictures taken with him.

In the event of rain, pictures with Santa can be taken inside the Bay Area Skydiving hanger. The event is free, but Santa and his helpers would appreciate it if everyone participating would bring either a non-perishable food or monetary donation for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 3 Santa will also be skydiving at Buchanan Field Airport. He will arrive behind the Crowne Plaza Hotel located at 45 John Glenn Drive at 10 a.m. to hand out candy canes and give all the good little boys and girls an opportunity to get their pictures taken with him. In the event of rain, Santa will be taking pictures inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

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Antioch’s New Center Emphasizes ‘Community’

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

By Ray Faulkenberry

The Antioch Community Center in Prewett Park opened in January and has quickly become a popular attraction in the community, despite the fact that most people aren’t even aware of it.

Some may say, “How can the city be spending money on a community recreation center when the economy is down, jobs are down, and times are tough?” There are many reasons why and I’ll get to them, but first and foremost the funds used to create this incredible center came from Mello-Roos taxes earmarked for the recreational development.

Don’t be fooled, though, we’re not just talking recreation. The city is also offering an incredible number of services and classes that promote culture, growth, physical fitness, educational opportunities and other topics. A growing library sits just inside the doors alongside a computer lab that anyone can use to surf the Internet, enjoy a cup of coffee and hang out.

The center boasts a cutting-edge preschool that is designed to enhance and stimulate our kids. Also, for the first time in Antioch’s history we have our own 10,000 square foot community gymnasium (one not at a school). This beautiful gym hosts drop-in basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, gymnastics and a variety of leagues. The gymnasium also hosts crab feeds, large conferences and a bridal faire.

As you know, nothing can be run without the right people. The community center has been blessed to have two facility managers – Susan Vasquez and Al Anthony, who are warm and incredibly dedicated to the city and its mission to enhance and support the community. They are excited about the expanding range of classes that encompass traditional fitness, martial arts, dance and the latest fitness craze – Zumba.

“We’re branching out with the fifty-somethings, as this segment of the population is growing and we want to keep them active,” said Susan.

As a fifty-something myself, I can appreciate the fact that our age needs and wants opportunities to grow, expand, learn and challenge ourselves. For example, the center has plans to incorporate more cooking classes.

Added Al, “We want to make the community center a true gathering place where people can come and hang out, learn, laugh and have fun.

Both Susan and Al are advocates of listening to the community and providing what it wants. They encourage anyone to share thoughts on classes, programs, or events that could benefit the city.

The center also has a gorgeous amphitheatre with tiered seating providing a beautiful view of the mountains as well as the performers.

“We’ve already had two concerts put on by the city where we tested everything and worked out whatever kinks we had,” said Al with more than a little passion in his voice. “The future recreation guide will list concerts. Again, we’ll see what the community wants, and we’ll do our best to give it to them.”

The conference rooms are clean, professional and beautiful. People from all over the East County are renting the banquet room for parties, weddings and receptions of all kinds.

The facility also has the potential to be a fully functioning, police substation.

“Fiscally we’re doing very well,” Susan said. “We’ve had a massive increase in registrations and we’re looking to continue to grow in 2012. We’re expecting an exciting year for the city and we’re doing our best to provide the best services possible.”

We not only have an amazing, gorgeous facility full of programs, classes and opportunity, we also have a center that is run by caring, compassionate, professional people – some of Antioch’s finest.

I’m honored to be able to offer my own small part in the center, as my son, daughter and myself teach the martial arts classes. Come out and see the facility and talk with the staff. It’s a reprieve from the stresses that we experience living in this day and age. Best of all, it is Antioch through and through: practical, professional, and warm.

Ray Faulkenberry, PhD, is an author, coach, and entrepreneur that specialize in helping people and businesses achieve their potential. He teaches Taekwondo and Kenpo at the Recreation Center on Monday and Wednesday nights. Log onto his website and for a short time receive his books on success, leadership, and transformation for free. He can be reached at or

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Foreclosure Cleanouts and Illegal Dumping

Monday, November 28th, 2011

To the editor:

There should be an article about this problem. Honest. Neighbors celebrating the fact the house is getting some much needed love and attention may not know that the company hired to do the cleanuout isn’t always a reliable company.

Antioch is a victim of not so honest people doing foreclosure cleanouts that then illegally dump all the trash on the back roads in Antioch (instead of hauling the trash to the dump and paying like they are supposed to).

The lastest one I had to deal with came from a house on West 6th Street that was then dumped near a water source on McElheney Road. It took 5 people over 3 hours to clean up.

Impossible to track down who did it with the limited resources at hand. When I do get an address, and I usually do, they are, of course, bank-owned. But someone associated with the foreclosed home hired somebody to clean it out and the cleanout crew decided to keep all the money and illegally dump it instead.

I do not have the resources nor does the City to follow up every time this happens I do have pictures of what was recently dumped on McElheney Road by what we believe was one of these trash cleanout companies. Yet another side of foreclosures, unfortunately.

Neighbors need to take notice. If you see a trash cleanup at a foreclosed house, get the license plate number or take a picture or ask for a business card.

R.C. Ferris

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Simbang Gabi at St. Ignatius

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

By Walter Ruehlig

The public is warmly invited to the Simbang Gabi, a splendid cultural and spiritual treat held annually at St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church, 3351 Contra Loma Blvd., starting December 16th and ending December 24th.

Called the Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) in Spanish, the nine-day Novena begins each morning at 5 a.m. It helps conclude Advent, a season of joyful and abundantly spiritual expectations and prepares the devotee towards greater appreciation of Christ’s taking human form.

The Presiders will be Father Robert Rien and Father Ronan Rances. After each liturgy a breakfast of native delicacies and patented Filipino hospitality will be served.

The tradition traces back to Mexico in 1587 when the Pope granted a petition of Fray Diego de Soria, the prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolmar, to hold an outdoor Mass as the church could no longer contain the growing evening crowds. The tradition further took hold to allow farmers to hear Mass before going to the fields.

It has become one of the longest and most popular among the Filipino traditions with families hanging colored lights, lanterns and elaborate parols in their windows. In the olden days the church bells would ring as early as 3 a.m. to welcome the faithful to to enter their doors before the break of dawn.

Service would begin as early as 4 a.m. Bands would often play in the streets in rural towns and priests would even be known to knock on doors rousing the parishioners with the Good Word.

For further information contact Clarita Perez at 759-4488 or Sofia Zimmerman at 978-4788.

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Time for a Change in Sacramento and Washington

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Former Antioch City Councilman, Contra Costa County Supervisor and biker Tom Torlakson rode off to a new position in Sacramento.

Now as the state school’s chief, Torlakson is touting his “Schools of the Future” initiative designed to change California laws to encourage more renewable power systems for state schools. (California just lost out on the race for a share of $300 million in Race to the Top funds because of an “incomplete” application.)

Interesting to note that U.S. Congressman George Miller is also touting renewable energy, more specifically a failing California solar company called SunPower. (Miller is now the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.)

SunPower received a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electric ranch project three weeks AFTER announcing it was building a new manufacturing plant to build the panels for the project in Mexicali, Mexico.

What was Rep. George Miller’s connection to the project? The answer is his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV. Although not a registered lobbyist in Washington, he’s a member of its bar, although not a member of the California bar, home of his lobbying firm, Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller.

SunPower and its officers are defendants in a federal shareholder lawsuit whose plaintiffs include the Austin, Texas Police Retirement System, the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System and a number of institution investors in an alleged scheme to deceive the investing public by making false statements contrary to nonpublic information known to the insiders.

All this was known at the time it received it’s $1.2 billion loan guarantee from US taxpayers to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico.

Frankly it’s time for a change in Sacramento and Washington D.C. where lobbyists hold sway and members of Congress benefit from insider trading. Let’s start with voting for passage and enforcement of HR 1148, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.

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