Archive for January, 2013

From the Bay to L.A., Antioch’s Khira Thomas makes it in Hollywood

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

By Allen Payton

Antioch hails many students with childhood dreams. Some say “I want to be a doctor,” or a “District Attorney” maybe a “football player.” Khira Thomas always told her peers “I’m going to be an actress!” Almost 10 years have passed since she graduated from Deer Valley High School with the Class of 2003, and that’s exactly what she became.

“I knew it was going to happen someday,” says Thomas. “I told everybody I would, and that’s what I was able to accomplish.”

How it was going to happen, was another story in itself.

The first step for Thomas was to earn a degree in Theater. By being accepted to the California State University of Northridge, she would live close to Hollywood where she could learn about the business and stud the craft at the same time. “Being in proximity with the university and the Hollywood offices gave me the advantage to learn both my craft and the industry at the same time,” says Thomas. “They worked hand in hand with the jobs I booked and the exercises I did in class, I had 1 up on other actors at auditions because the casting directors saw I had the training to handle the part.”

One of the first things Thomas did upon arriving in Los Angeles was to get a feel of the TV and film industry.

“My very first encounter was attending a taping of the Wayne Brady Show, in 2004,” she said. “I was in shell shock seeing the movie magic unfold on set. From that point on I was in hot pursuit, working my way up to be a part of it.”

She was soon doing research on how and where to find auditions, and what it took to get acting jobs. It started with taking acting classes, then using those skills to find auditions and land roles.

“In a way, I felt as if the industry was gravitating to me, because eventually I was landing more jobs in a matter of months than those actors older than me, who hadn’t in years. I felt at home with the entertainment industry, and still do,” said Thomas.

Thomas found herself in the midst of many perks of the industry: walking the red carpet, earning money, and meeting notable celebrities. Thomas’ 1st major break was in the film “Lakeview Terrace” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, and Kerry Washington.

“I only got a featured role in that film, but it meant the world to me, and it also inspired me to want more out of my career, as well” said Thomas.

After that, there was no room for backtracking, Khira wasn’t accepting anything less from that point on. This led her to landing supporting roles in more projects. She played a deceptive mistress in “House of Flesh Mannequins,” a horror movie heroine in “Poe,” a sexy decoy in “The Marriage Chronicles,” and a bus driver in “Bus People.” All are available on Netflix and/or DVD.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to watch myself on screen and be recognized by others” she stated. “It took so much and so long for me to do all of those films, and to finally see them out is such a relief. I always told people I was going to Hollywood to make movies, work with famous people, and walk the red carpet. Now I have a resume that speaks for itself.”

Her mother, Antioch resident Robin Reed, who watched her daughter in all her school plays from Kindergarten through high schools, said “I’m very proud of Khira for following her dreams.”

She caught the acting bug when she played the lead role in the play “The Princess and the Frog” in third grade.

“Khira had never been away from home,” Reed said. “So for her to leave home, move to L.A. where she didn’t know anyone, I was impressed by her strength.”.

“But my proudest moment was when I watched her walk across the stage to get her degree in theater from Cal State Northridge.”

Khira was the first member of her immediate family to graduate from college.

Although Khira Thomas has fulfilled her goal of becoming an actress, it’s not the end of her pursuits.

“I still do not feel as if I hit the prime of my life, yet” she shared. “I know I’ve done quite a bit as an actress, I still believe I have more roles in me to become even more successful.”

Ten years ago she had a dream to become an actress, and 10 years later she is looking to become a pivotal figure in the entertainment industry. There’s still time for her to walk the red carpet to the Academy Awards stage and to become a major entrepreneur.

She also wants to serve as an example to other, future actors who wish to be at the top of their game, like Khira expects to be very soon.

“I told people that I was going to be an actress, and I did it, now I’m telling you all I’m going to be a legend because if I knew then what I was going to be, then I ought to know what I’m going to be now!”

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Kredit Kard Fu uses the usurers – Get their rewards but read the fine print

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

By Harry Stoll

One reason to use your credit card for as many purchases as possible is the rewards for using the card. But pay off your credit card each month, otherwise the rewards are for a fool in a fool’s game. The usurers say the more you spend, the more you save. Well, really, the more you spend the more you owe. Still, stay within your means and pay the card off each month, and the rewards are beneficial.

Frequent Flier Miles is one type of award. Another is the 1% to 5% credit cards reward for purchases. These started as percentages, so for every dollar you spent you got a credit of from a penny to a nickel. Then some of the card issuers got tricky and talked about “points” rather than percentages; although the numbers are similar, the card issuer sets the points’ worth.

Citbank in particular plays a shell game. A few years ago, they changed, and rather than getting a $25 check for 2,500 points it took 4,000 points. It gets trickier. Recently they offered a 5X times the 1-point per dollar of purchases, making it seem like 5%, but it takes 5,000 points to get a $25 check. That’s 2.5%. Perhaps still a good deal. The Citi card with this offer is the Diamond Preferred (they prefer you don’t pay it off). The 5X program ran through Sept. 2012, and probably will be repeated. Always make sure what a point is worth.

Chase Freedom Card changes rewards every quarter; in two of them you get 5% for gas, and in another 5% for groceries, and in another 5% at drug stores. Other purchases award 1%. You must have at least $25 coming to collect, but they pay to the penny so no unused points lie about. As with all cards, “purchases” include whatever you buy (but not balance transfers or cash advances). You have to sign up each quarter and they send you an e-mail reminder. You must have a Chase banking account to qualify for more than 1%.

Discover card for July-September 2012 offered 5% on gas, and you can collect in $10 increments. The awards change each quarter. October-December 2012, it’s department stores, no doubt aimed at Christmas shoppers. The awards are capped at $75. They offer a bonus if you use your points to buy a gift card.

Jumping from card to card could get tedious; Bank America offers a 3-2-1 card, with 3% for gas, 2% for groceries, and 1% for everything else. It doesn’t change from quarter to quarter.

Take advantage of these rewards but make sure you know if the points are percentages or are worth some other ratio.

A note: Recently, I said Provident Credit Union pays 2.26% on free checking accounts (with some easy hoops to jump through), but they could change it without notice. While cheering on the Giants in the Venezuelan World Series, I saw their ad, stating it is 2.01%. Still a good deal.

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Watchdog concerned with city employee pension increases, standby council members

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Barbara Zivica

Things are moving quickly at City Hall since Mayor Harper, Monica Wilson and Mary Rocha were elected in November. First an accelerated swear in date, then appointment of Tony Tiscareno, who organized precinct walks for the aforementioned (Wade, Monica and Mary). Last but not least was the decision in December to abrogate the signed September 1, 2012 contract agreement with police officers and restore the more lucrative 3% at 50 pension formula for veteran police officers and a 2.7% formula for miscellaneous employees. How generous – especially for a city whose offices are closed to the public one day a week (furlough Fridays). Let’s just hope there’s no new parcel tax proposal this year to augment the general fund.

Shortly after the New Year, Mayor Harper, who recently retired from the Tracy Police Department, decided he wanted to occupy an office at City Hall, expressed a desire for a part time volunteer secretary and stated that it was time for the city manager to undergo a performance review.

This month Council received for consideration a list of applicants for three partial term appointments to the three vacant Economic Development Commission (EDC) seats: Applying were Moses de los Reyes (Master Compliance Services LLC, former member of the Police Crime Prevention Commission), Petru “Peter” Donisanu (Macroeconomic Investment Research Analyst, AVP Wells Fargo), Kendra Ebinger, (CPR certified, 10 year teacher, assistant and acting director of child care center), Rhoda Purhams (capital programs mgr, Recreation and Parks Dept. San Francisco (2005-2010), Lamar Thorpe (Director of Development San Jose State University, campaign fundraiser for Democratic party candidates e.g. Monica Wilson), Karen Williams (Issuance & Archive Coordinator Bayer Corp in Berkeley, Parking Control Tech Oakland (1995-6), Admin. Assistant San Leandro, Medical Records Clerk – Kaiser Hayward).

Council also appointed their Standby City Council Members. (The Antioch Municipal Code provides for the selection of standby council members “in the event of a declaration of a emergency and a Council Member is unavailable due to being killed, missing or having an incapaciting injury.” ) See if you find some the appointments as illuminating as I did:

Mayor Harper: 1) Vincent Manual (Sr. district rep for Federal Glover) 2) Diane Gibson-Gray (AUSD Board Trustee) 3) Robert Miller (attorney)

Council Member Agopian: 1) Former Mayor Jim Davis (appropriate choice) 2) Manny Soliz (former council member) 3) Lonnie Karste (consultant and former city employee)
Council Member Rocha: 1) Louie Rocha (self serving) 2) Ken Gray (husband of Diane Gibson-Gray) ; 3) Jessica Fernandez

Council Member Monica Wilson: 1) Don Freitas (former mayor) 2) Lamar Thorpe (campaign fundraiser)
Council Member Tiscareno: 1) Reggie Moore (former Council member) 2) Argentina Davila-Luevano (former state director of LULAC whose endorsement of Prop. 19 (legalized marijuana) led the national organization to state that she did not have the authority to make the endorsement on behalf of LULAC). 3) Greg Feere (Contra Costa Building Trades Council director). (Councilman Tiscareno and Mary Rocha also voted against a ban on pot clubs in January.)

Fortunately, there is no compensation for Standby Council Members.

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Giants’ World Series Trophies to visit Antioch this Monday

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The San Francisco Giants 2012 and 2010 World Series Trophies will be making a stop in Antioch on Monday, January 28 during their tour of the state, this winter.

Residents can see the trophies at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park, located at 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, across from Deer Valley High School from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

This will be the second public trophy tour held in the past three years and will feature both the 2012 and 2010 trophies. The focus of the San Francisco World Championship Trophy Tour presented by Bank of America is to share the trophies with Giants fans in Junior Giants communities throughout northern California.

“It was really important to us this time, given a second opportunity, to create a trophy tour which allowed us to connect with our fans as well as the more than 20,000 kids who participate in our Junior Giants baseball program,” said Larry Baer, Giants president and chief operating officer.

The organization is working in partnership with their Junior Giants Leagues throughout northern California to create public viewing opportunities in the following cities throughout the months of January, February and March. Fans will have the chance to both have their photo taken with the trophies and support their local Junior Giants Baseball League.

Major League Baseball World Series Trophy Fact Sheet

In 2000, Major League Baseball commissioned Tiffany & Co. to create one of the most celebrated awards in all of sports: the World Series Trophy. The Commissioner of Baseball presents this trophy to the winning team of the annual World Series. The goal of greatness is crafted into every detail of this revered trophy:

  • The initial World Series trophy was created by Major League Baseball in 1967. The St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games in the World Series that year, were the first World Series Champions to receive the trophy.

  • Trophy’s official name is “The Commissioner’s Trophy.” Each year, one full-sized trophy is crafted by Tiffany and awarded by the Commissioner of Baseball to the championship team.

  • The trophy is created at Tiffany’s workshop in New Jersey.

  • Master artisans employ age-old techniques – spinning, silversmithing, chasing, hand engraving, and polishing – to create the trophy.

  • Design features thirty pennants representing the teams in the American and National Baseball Leagues. The pennants encircle a dome base, which is etched with latitude/longitude lines symbolizing the globe and adorned with twenty-four karat gold vermeil applied stitches representing those on a baseball. Engraved on the base are the words, “Presented by the Commissioner of Baseball” along with the commissioner’s signature.

  • Sterling silver trophy weighs approximately 20 pounds and stands 24 inches high with a diameter of 11 inches.

Tiffany & Co. also creates the World Series MVP Trophy, presented to the Most Valuable Player of the World Series; the All-Star Home Run Derby Trophy, awarded by Major League Baseball to the winner of the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week; and the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award which is awarded at the Commissioner’s discretion. Previous winners include Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Roger Clemens, Ichiro Suzuki and Rachel Robinson.

Tiffany & Co. creates trophies for many of the world’s greatest sporting events. These designs include the National Basketball Association Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the National Football League, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship Trophies. Inspired by the transcendent form and energy of competition, these outstanding Tiffany designs are a lasting tribute to the athletes’ dedication and the thrill of victory.

For more information on the trophy’s tour, click here.

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Information is the key to solving many crimes – residents can help police

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Antioch Police Department

In many cases it is what victims and witnesses tell the police about a particular crime, suspicious circumstance or suspect that results in an arrest. Even an anonymous tip is better than no report at all. So do not hesitate, tell the police as much as you can! 

Become a good witness by getting an accurate description of a suspect or a vehicle. Practice writing down descriptions from memory, so when the time comes to actually reporting the crime your skills as a witness will give the police a better opportunity to apprehend the suspect(s). 

In a recent case of an attempted residential burglary a citizens keen observations were instrumental in the apprehension of two burglary suspects.  The case in question involved two suspects who were going door to door and when they encountered a resident the suspect’s story was that they were looking for a lost dog.  A resident noticed an officer had detained a different subject nearby and she relayed her story about the subject she had encountered; to include his height, weight, hair color hair style, clothing description and his scheme about looking for a lost dog. Soon thereafter another officer detained a second subject who was in fact the same subject the resident had encountered at her door.  These subjects were now suspects in an attempted burglary and they were subsequently arrested.  

The above case is a classic example of a citizen getting involved and being a good witness.  During the often stressful times of reporting either a suspicious circumstance or a suspected crime it’s important for you to remain calm, so you can clearly answer the dispatcher’s questions.  Listen to the police dispatcher for direction and guidance. Some of the questions may not seem pertinent to you, but trust the dispatchers as they are trained to ask the right questions. This means that a dispatcher may need to interrupt you while you’re relaying information. It is important that during emergencies, your answers are direct and brief. Keep in mind during emergencies, officers are usually being dispatched by a second dispatcher as the information is obtained by the dispatcher taking your call. The faster the dispatcher can obtain the necessary information from you, the faster it is relayed to the officers who are responding.

The dispatcher may let you know when an officer has arrived on the scene.  If the suspect(s) leave before you see police officers, tell the dispatcher and let them know which direction they fled and how they fled e.g. on foot, bicycle, vehicle, etc. The following checklist may help sharpen your witness skills.  


The Location:
Give the dispatcher your exact location.
– Allow the dispatcher to ask questions.
Do not hang up until directed to do so by the dispatcher.

The Environment:
What is the particular crime or suspicious activity?
Where did it occur?
When did it occur?

Approximate age
Height and weight
Skin tone
Clothing description (hat, coat, shirt, etc)
Hair color and style (including facial hair)
Eye color and shape, glasses
Tattoos, scars, birthmarks
Weapons (gun, knife, stick, walking cane)
Direction suspect fled to and how?
– Suspect’s identity (if you happen to know the person)
Other distinguishing features

Remember the acronym “CYMBALS”
C = Color of car
Y = Year
M = Make (Ford, BMW, Honda)
B = Body (2 door, 4 door, wagon, hatchback, SUV)
A = Additional descriptive features
L = License plate number
S = State

How many occupants?
Last direction of travel

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Antioch man found shot, killed on Monday morning

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Sergeant Morefield, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Monday, January 21, 2013 at approximately 6:06 AM, the Antioch Police Department received a report of a subject possibly dead in the 4500 block of Delta Fair Boulevard. Officers responded to the area to find the 36-year-old, male victim deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim was on the side walk next to a bicycle and appeared to have been there for several hours. This case is currently being investigated as a homicide by the Antioch Police Department Investigations Bureau.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Joannides with the Antioch Police Department at (925)779-6931.

You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH

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Antioch driver dies in solo crash on Wilbur Avenue

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Sergeant Robert Quintero, Antioch Police Patrol Bureau

On Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:37 p.m., the Antioch Police Department was notified of a solo vehicle collision that occurred on Wilbur Avenue in Antioch. A witness in the area advised he heard the collision then located a solo vehicle at rest in the vacant lot of 2301 Wilbur Avenue. Based on preliminary investigation, the vehicle was eastbound on Wilbur Avenue when the driver lost control for an unknown reason. The vehicle ran off the road through a fence, rolled and ejected the driver resulting in fatal injuries. The 34-year-old Antioch driver was pronounced deceased at the scene by Contra Costa Fire Department. The cause of this collision remains undetermined at this time and is still under investigation. The name of the driver is being withheld pending notification of family.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, you may call Officer Johnsen at the Antioch Police Department Field Service’s Bureau at (925) 779-6900 x84265. You may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch police investigate attempted homicide

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Sergeant Dimitri Barakos, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Friday, January 18, 2013 at approximately 10:51 p.m., Antioch police officers heard shots being fired in the area of East 16th Street and A Street. As officers were en route, citizens began calling dispatch reporting shots being fired on E16th Street and on Marie Avenue. Officers arrived on scene and located approximately 14 expended shell casings in the area and an unoccupied vehicle that crashed into the front yard of a residence in the 1600 block of Marie Avenue.

During the course of the investigation it was determined that an adult male patron of a local bar/restaurant started a fight with other patrons. The male fled in his vehicle while the other subjects chased him in their vehicle, shooting at him.

There were no reported injuries and the investigation is ongoing.

You may text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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