Archive for February, 2014

Watchdog – If you build it they will come – dealing with Antioch’s homeless

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

In addition to having the highest number of Section 8 housing choice vouchers (HCV) in Contra Costa County, we now have the highest number of unsheltered homeless in the county. That’s why I was floored when I read Antioch’s plan to address the problem e.g. establishing a Suburban Poverty Task Force and creating a voucher donation program though local businesses and PayPal.

Sean Wright, the altruistic CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, who recently touted KIVA, a micro loan program to give borrowers in Kenya and the United States limited access to capital through interest-free loans, is quoted as saying “We need to empower people to change their own lives by teaching them to fish rather than creating dependency”.

Informing the homeless about available resources for addiction counseling, job training and temporary shelter is one thing, but handing out voucher donations, will only encourage more homeless people to relocate to Antioch. Regrettably, handouts such as unlimited welfare benefits or food stamps create dependency, they don’t “teach people to fish.”

Although Antioch has a law allowing it to fine private property owners for cleanup and ongoing inspection fees which Ryan Graham, Antioch’s deputy economic development director, states often compels the owners to break up homeless encampments, it is rarely enforced and doesn’t address homeless encampments on public property which are left to local law enforcement officers to deal with.

What is needed in this instance is proactive enforcement. Back in the days when the police department was located on 10 Street, there was a homeless population who used to camp in the city park on the corner of 10 and A Street. The Police Department at that time was so persistent in running them out, that one day a bunch of the homeless jumped aboard a boxcar and rode it out of town, never to come back. That’s the kind of persistence I’m talking about – not handing out vouchers which will only encourage the homeless to hang around for the “freebies.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Man arrested for felony assault with a knife in Antioch, Wednesday evening

Friday, February 28th, 2014

By Sergeant Santiago Castillo, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at approximately 5:00 p.m., APD was called to an apartment in the Lake Shore Apartment Complex at 600 Wilbur Avenue, for a report of an intoxicated male fighting with a female and her elderly father. The caller indicated that the male was armed with a knife and had cut the female during the fight.

Upon arrival, Officers confronted the male who was later identified as 32-year-old, David Thomason standing on a second-story balcony banging on the front door to an apartment. When officers confronted him, Thomason produced a knife which he held to his neck. After a short standoff, Thomason was taken into custody after being subdued with the use of a taser.

Thomason was taken to a local hospital before being taken to the county jail on felony charges. The female victim and her father were treated by AMR at the scene. No further information is being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

If anyone has any information related to this incident, they are encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. They may also text an anonymous tip to 274637(CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH in the body of the text.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Two teens arrested for Antioch home burglary, Wednesday

Friday, February 28th, 2014

By Corporal Rick Smith, Antioch Police Community Policing Bureau

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM, Antioch police officers were summoned to the 2800 block of Vista Way. A witness, knowing the residents were not home at this time, called and reported seeing two subjects enter into the side yard. Both subjects were seen at the front door just prior to this.

When officers arrived on scene, they found the residence forced open. During a check of the interior, an adult male and juvenile male were located. They were in the process of ransacking the interior and placing items from the residence into bags. Both attempted to flee, but were quickly apprehended. Both had several items belonging to the victims on their person at the time of arrest.

The juvenile, a 17-year-old male was later booked into Juvenile Hall and the adult, an 18-year-old male was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. This apprehension was thanks to the alertness and cooperation of neighborhood residents.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Antioch Police Department at (925) 778-2441. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word “ANTIOCH”.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch’s Dozier-Libbey Medical High School teachers vote to convert to a charter school

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

On Monday, February 24, 2014, in an effort to remain true to the original mission of an innovative California pathway high school whose vision is “Every student valued, every student challenged, every student prepared to succeed in a changing world,” a petition to convert to an independent public charter high school was filed with the Antioch Unified School District on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School.  This petition was signed by 88% of the tenured teachers at the site, well above the required 50% needed to file, and is expected to be reviewed by district leadership over the next 30 days.

Reasons cited for the conversion included, among others, diverging philosophies between the district and site staffs for program implementation at this dynamic health career–themed school. While faculty and staff at this close-knit school serving just over 600 students regret having to part ways with their school district, most are very optimistic about what the future holds for them and the students as a California conversion charter school. None of the teachers were opposed to the charter conversion. Teachers are looking forward to carrying out the original vision of the school that has been clouded by the district’s cumbersome management and decision-making process. The school will continue to offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, with a health care career emphasis, that exceeds traditional academic instructions with a focus on mastery learning and in-class supports for struggling students.

The school will remain a public school with the same admission and enrollment policies that existed under the district.  All students currently enrolled at DLMHS will be guaranteed admission to the charter once converted. As evidenced by the strong show of support for the petition by permanent certificated staff, almost all of the faculty is expected to stay on. Reasons for not electing to stay are largely due to personal and professional considerations. Without exception, DLMHS teachers are in support of the charter conversion.

Dozier-Libbey Medical High School opened its doors to 9th graders in 2008 and subsequently added a grade level each year until full enrollment in 2012.  Founded in response to overcrowding in Antioch Unified School District’s two comprehensive high schools, the Superintendent at that time saw an opportunity to open a different kind of school. He was interested in building a high school that had a career focus. He convened community leaders and business people to investigate the labor force needs and they discovered that health care would have the highest employment possibility and that the land adjacent to the space where the new school would be built was going to have a medical facility built on it at the same time. The district made the decision to open a new small school with a healthcare focus. An advisory committee comprised of teachers, district representatives, community members, school founders, and a CEO of the local hospital was formed to oversee the school’s development.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch’s Michael Semanick nominated for more Oscar gold

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

By Luke Johnson & Allen Payton

Antioch native Michael Semanick has received his tenth Academy Award nomination for Best Sound for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and has a chance to bring home a third Oscar Trophy.

The sound mixer earned his first Academy Award nomination in 2001 for “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” and later won for the first time in 2004 for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” Semanick went on to wrap his hands around more gold in 2006 for his work in “King Kong.”

Poster from the 2004 Antioch event for Semanick.

Poster from the 2004 Antioch event for Semanick.

Antioch held a celebration of his first Oscar win, in 2004. Semanick gave a talk at Antioch High’s Beede Auditorium, followed by a reception at Schooner’s.

Semanick did the mixing for the latest Hobbit movie in New Zealand, last fall.

This year, he’s up against four other movies: Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Captain Phillips and Lone Survivor.

Since 1987, the 51-year-old Semanick has taken part in over 110 films, and he said it has gone by too quickly.

Sometimes I think ‘Did I really do all that?’” Semanick said. “I don’t realize until afterwards and I say to myself, ‘Wow! That’s what I’ve been doing.’”

Before graduating from Antioch High School in 1981, Semanick found a passion for music and performing arts, and knew that was the career path he wanted to pursue since his sophomore year.

He said the best part of his success is sharing it with the Antioch community, and hopes to inspire others that come out of the small suburban town.

I want people to say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it, too,” Semanick added.

The Oscar winner said one of his biggest mentors has been his drama teacher Theresa Rossi at Antioch High. The school’s drama program has been defunct since 2012. Semanick feels it is a shame that something that was incredibly influential to him is no longer existent.

The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will take place Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theater, which used to be the Kodak Theater – where they’ve been held since 2001, in Hollywood and televised on the ABC network, beginning at 4 p.m.


In a separate, two-hour conversation on Wednesday, February 19, Semanick shared more background on the Academy Awards and his work:

Nominees are always on the floor of the theater. He was seated in the back, but close enough to get up to the stage, if announced.

Two years ago I took my daughter,” he said. “This year, I’m taking my 15-year-old son.”

The wife, daughter, and the rest of his family will be in Los Angeles, as well, and probably go to a viewing party of the live broadcast.

The studio parties are usually held on Thursday or Friday nights. Warner Brothers is having a party for all of the nominees for their movies.

The studios scaled back since 2008, with less extravagant spending even though the companies were making more money than ever.

Semanick is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences and in the Sound Mixers and Editors Union.

The various divisions of the Academy nominate their own members. Actors only nominate actors, directors only nominate directors and sound branch members can nominate for sound and best picture.

So you’re really being chosen by your peers,” he said. “But the voting is open to any active member of the Academy. So I can vote for all the categories.”

Technically you should have watched the movies if you’re going to vote,” said Semanick. “Voting just opened up and closes next week. I don’t want to be swayed by friendship. I ask myself oes it stand on it’s own merit

He pointed out that there’s a difference between sound editing and sound mixing, and each has its own category for Oscar nominations and awards.

On winning an Oscar:

It can be kind of a curse,” Semanick said with a laugh. “After winning my second Oscar I stopped getting work because they assumed they couldn’t afford me, because I had raised my rates.”

He doesn’t have an agent or a public relations person.

I’m just fortunate they keep nominating me,” he added.

On his particular craft:

Sound in a movie is good. But it can be too loud and it pushes people out of the movie.”

The key is to keep it well balanced.

For me it’s all about creating dynamic in a soundtrack.”

New projects?

He’s working on a picture called Big Eyes, by Tim Burton, starring Amy Adams, which is based on the painters of the big eye paintings, Margaret and Walter Keane.

It’s a drama about who actually did the paintings,” Semanick shared. “He took all the credit but she did the actual paintings, locked in a closet. It actually happened in Marin County and it’s a fascinating story.”

Then, he’ll be working on 22 Jump Street, then a David Fincher movie called Gone Girl.

Then off to New Zealand for Hobbit 3, for the third and final installment.

The other movies for which he was nominated for an Academy Award are The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
To learn more about Michael Semanick, visit
Publisher’s Note: We wish Michael good luck, this Sunday night and will be watching with fingers crossed!
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch neighborhood cleanup this Saturday, March 1st

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Neighborhood CleanupThe Antioch Police Department is excited to announce the 50th installment of the Neighborhood Cleanup Program. This is a collaborative community effort which involves active participation from The Antioch Police Department Crime Prevention Commission; Neighborhood Watch Program; Volunteers in Police Service; community volunteers and the Public Works Department.

Collectively, “We”, everyone who works and lives in the City Antioch, can make a difference and improve the quality of life. It’s our community and it’s our chance to make a difference.

The City of Antioch Neighborhood Cleanup program is not just for residential neighborhoods. It is a program that will change venues on a monthly basis and it will include business and commercial areas as well. Neighborhoods that are free of trash and refuse are inviting, and a clean community instills a sense of community pride.

The 50th Neighborhood Cleanup event will occur on Saturday, March 1st from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Downtown area. Volunteers should report to the parking lot of City Hall located at 3rd and H Streets..

Volunteers will receive instructions and the equipment necessary to accomplish the goal. The targeted area is within walking distance. Excluding inclement weather, future Neighborhood Cleanup events are scheduled for the first Saturday of every month and the locations will be announced in advance.

Remember, cleaning up your neighborhood can make life better for your family, your neighbors and your community!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Your Pro’s Corner: Want to score better? “Keep the target in your mind’s eye”

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Your Pro's CornerBy Ron Parish, PGA, General Manager/Director of Golf, Lone Tree Golf Course

Whatever part of the game, putting, chipping, sand, approach irons, or long game, when you hit your best shots I would venture to say you have your target in your minds eye. It doesn’t really matter what mechanics you are keying on, good golf shots require you to have your target in mind. I am more and more of the belief that keeping your target in mind is something that can be practiced, encouraged, and additionally supported through routine.

Other activities that practice “visualization”. Visualization, or keeping the target in mind is an exercise in itself. I would encourage other activities that involve visualization to help develop this skill. Playing basketball and shooting baskets, playing darts, pool, ping pong, tennis, or playing catch with a baseball or football are all activities that sharpen the minds visualization skills and the bodies skills in working with the mind. Remember Kareem Abdul Jabbar before shooting a sky hook? He was usually looking away from the target before the shot but his minds eye knew where that basket was.

Get the wedge out. Another way to practice visualization is to get the wedge out and play chipping games. Chip to the same hole from the same location with three balls. Hit the first ball with a low trajectory that runs just landing it on the green. Hit the second with a medium trajectory that flies a little farther on the green and runs a little less. Hit the third shot with a high trajectory that floats in farthest and stops quickly by the hole. Switch to another hole and do the same thing. Then go to the putting green and putt to the same hole from the same spot hitting the first putt firm and fast with little break, the second medium speed with a little more break, and the third lagging just right with the greatest amount of break. Just the mere way in which you are now practicing, hitting every shot differently with a different target or line, is getting you to practice your visualization. Ultimately, that is what you are doing when you play on the course hitting one shot at a time, each shot being different. It makes a lot of sense to practice that way if you want to improve your game. \

With routine, develop a process to help encourage and support visualization. Follow these steps in your pre-shot routine and I bet it will help:

  1. Look at the lie of the golf ball. It will tell you what you can or can’t do. If the ball is sitting down in a hard pan lie, trying a flop shot where you slide the club under the ball is ruled out. So start with your lie and the options is allows.
  2. Stand behind the ball and look at the target and determine the specific spot you are going to aim. Make a decision and commit to it! Remember to pick the spot that gives you a good percentage of success; so essentially play to the fat of the green or fairway.
  3. As you walk forward and approach the ball, be sure to use your eyes and look back and forth from the ball to that decided upon target repeatedly. Your eyes will help program the “athelete” and see the shot you are trying to make as well as tell the body what it has to do. If you lose sight of the image at anytime, back off and start again, if you don’t a poor shot will happen.
  4. As you set up to the ball, stay with your routine that you are familiar with and keep the target in mind. Some people take longer then others over the ball, but just be familiair with how long you take and try and stay consistent with it. There is comfort for you as a player in taking the same amount of time over a shot and that helps you feel confident and keep the target in mind. Feel yourself taking too long? Red flag! Doubt and uncertainty are creeping in and I bet the target is not in your mind’s eye. Back off and start again. Be fully committed to that target and stick to your routine.
  5. Pull the trigger and keep the target in mind as you swing.

I can talk about it all day in this article but to get good at this you are going to have to go out and practice and understand what it is to visualize the shot and keep it in your minds eye. If you become proficient, this is the best way to play golf and I promise you your scores will only improve! Good luck!

Thank you for all you do for Golf and for Lone Tree Golf Course and Event Center. I hope 2013 was a great year and may 2014 find you golfing often and happily (and while you are out there, bring a buddy to the game, golf needs that).

Your Pro,

Ron Parish, PGA

If you are interested in reviewing other articles from Coach Ron go to under “The Course” tab.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch High grad Shamawn Wright shines through adversity

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Shamawn WrightBy Luke Johnson

When Shamawn Wright graduated from Antioch High School in 2011, he became the first alum to play collegiate Division 1 football in eight years. Now after his redshirt sophomore season at UC Davis, he has earned All-Conference honors at cornerback. 

But the road to Wright’s success was not so smooth. By the time he was 15 years old, and the only sophomore on Antioch High’s varsity football team, he had been homeless for over half his life. Wright had been bouncing around homeless shelters since he was seven years old, after his biological father ran out on his family.

Growing up in Oakland, Wright was a witness to some horrible sights. When he was 10 years old, he saw his cousin shot to death in front of his own eyes.

Wright moved to the East Bay to another shelter about a year later, and shortly after, his mother was sent to jail for child abuse. Wright and his two brothers were under child protective services, and did not see their mother for two years.

Toward the end of his sophomore year in high school, Wright and his mother were not getting along, and she kicked him out of the group home where they were staying. He then called Antioch High’s defensive back coach Wilson Pica to ask for some help. Pica told Wright he could stay at his house for a coupe of days. But gradually, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned months, and Wright has been living there ever since.

When I first walked in there, it felt like home. I was happy I had my own room, bed [and] food every night,” Wright said. “I wasn’t homeless anymore. I just didn’t want to leave.”

This past season at UC Davis, Wright helped the Aggies become the best defense in the Big Sky Conference, only allowing 200 passing yards per game. He was also 24th in the nation in kickoff returns.

Wright is determined to reach the NFL one day, and hopes to become the first Antioch High alum to do so since 1999.

This article first appeared in the February, 2014 issue of the Antioch Herald.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter