Archive for February, 2014

Antioch’s new Blue Bay Mexican Grill offers fusion cuisine

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Blue Bay's steak Azteca offers a variety of delicious tastes on one plate.

Blue Bay’s steak Azteca offers a variety of delicious tastes on one plate.

By Allen Payton

If you’re looking for a unique, flavorful dining experience, then Blue Bay Mexican Grill is your place.

Named for the San Francisco bay, Antioch’s newest restaurant, started by chef and owner Juan Silva and friends, opened quietly on Wednesday, January 22 in the former Carpaccio Ristorante location.

It’s a new concept in Mexican cuisine with all of Silva’s experience as chef, offering a fusion of Mexican style and flavor with Mexican and American dishes.

Silva, who is originally from Mexico City, was educated at Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco and has worked for years at P.F. Chang’s, along with cook Eduardo Segura and Horlando Garcia, the bartender, as well as Daniel Segura, the barback. They’ve brought their joint talents together at Blue Bay.

Special dishes include Steak Azteca, which is a New York steak, with chili, pasilla, grilled cactus, guacamole and pico de gallo, as well as street corn on the cob topped with mayonnaise and queso fresco.

Another unique choice is their oyster burger, which is made of a deep fried, crispy oyster covered in garlic, aioli sauce, and topped with grilled eggplant, grilled bell peppers and shitake mushrooms.

They also offer a grilled chicken burger with rosemary, aioli sauce, fresh avocado and jack cheese, as well as camerones Diablo – a spicy shrimp dish, plus fish tacos and vegetarian dishes, as well.

Be sure to stop by any day between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re located at 2741 Lone Tree Way in the Terraces shopping center. To reserve one of the rooms for private events that hold 20 to 50 people, call them at (925) 775-4078.

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

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Man accidentally shoots himself at Antioch Walmart, last Friday

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Sgt. Tom Fuhrmann, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Friday, February 21, 2014 at 10:10 PM, Antioch police officers were dispatched to Walmart for a man who had been shot in the leg. The 27-year-old victim told officers he was walking with a relative when he heard a shot and felt pain in his leg. The victim stated at that time he had no idea who shot him. Evidence at the scene did not support the victim’s statement to police. The victim was treated at an area hospital and he was later released.

A follow-up interview with the victim revealed the victim was in possession of a gun when it accidentally went off and he shot himself in the leg. The case is being sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

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

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Forum on railroads carrying crude oil, in Martinez Wednesday night

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

How will refinery expansions and transportation of crude oil by rail affect YOUR town?

A panel of experts and activists will inform residents of Benicia, Martinez, Rodeo, Crockett and Port Costa of Big Oil’s plans, both local and global.

Wednesday, Feb. 26th at 6:30 PM
Veterans War Memorial Building, 930 Ward Street, Martinez
(@ the corner of Ward and Court Streets)

Please join our panelists for presentations and Q & A:

  • Marilaine Savard: spokesperson for a citizens’ group in the region of Lac-Mégantic, Québec.  Last year, a string of exploding petroleum rail cars destroyed the center of the town and claimed 47 lives.
  • Antonia Juhasz: oil industry analyst, journalist, and author of “The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry and What We Must do to Stop It” and “Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill”.
  • Diane Bailey, senior scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
  • Marilyn Bardet:  watchdog activist for the Valero refinery  and founding member of Benicia’s Good Neighbor Steering Committee.
  • Nancy Rieser: spokesperson, Crockett-Rodeo-Hercules Working Group, challenging Phillips 66 on its Propane Expansion Project.
  • Kalli Graham: spokesperson, Pittsburg Defense Council, fighting the proposed WesPac oil terminal.

Sponsored by:SunflowerAlliance_logoIn partnership with:
Sierra Club, 350 Bay Area, Communities for a Better Environment, Richmond Progressive Alliance, ForestEthics, Pittsburg Defense Council, Pittsburg Ethics Council, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community, and the Crockett-Rodeo-Hercules Working Group.

Download, print and distribute the FLYER

For those in other towns, we have related forums in Pittsburg and Richmond!  See

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The Wall That Heals replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento this week

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Assemblymember Jim Frazier to Host Four-Day Event to Remember and Honor the Service, Efforts and Sacrifices of Our Nation’s Vietnam Veterans

The Wall That Heals half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. - courtesy of

The Wall That Heals half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. – courtesy of

Each year millions of people visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., which honors the thousands of heroes who served our country during the Vietnam War. But millions of Americans, young and old, have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” Some haven’t been able to make the journey to our nation’s capital for various reasons, and many others may find the war’s legacy easier to confront while at home in their own communities.

It is my honor and privilege to bring The Wall That Heals to the State Capitol, and I invite Californians of all ages to come and share in this moving and unique experience.

This exhibition features a 250-foot replica of the original memorial and travels across America. The Wall That Heals transcends the Vietnam War to help America renew its relationship with veterans of all wars. It helps veterans from all of our nation’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences. Our society cannot forget those great sacrifices or the values those veterans exemplified through their service and heroism.

Millions of Americans answered their national call for service in Vietnam, just as they are today in operations worldwide. Among service members, a common thread of service bonds them no matter their era of service, branch or rank. Military families also feel camaraderie of mutual sacrifice. The connection, however, is so often lost among members of the general public who may never have had any direct experience with the military.

During stops around the country, The Wall That Heals helps Americans to honor its service members and allows those heroes enshrined on the Memorial to return symbolically to the places they called home, to exist among friends and family once more in the comfort and peace of familiar surroundings.

The Wall that Heals will be open 24-hours a day on the west side of the California State Capitol from Thursday, February 27, 2014 to Sunday, March 2, 2014. There will be an opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday and a closing candlelight memorial ceremony on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m.

It is my hope that all Californians take advantage of this rare opportunity to honor the service of our brave Vietnam veterans and their families, all of whom have sacrificed everything to defend our country and protect our freedoms.

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Antioch High baseball coaches on administrative leave following allegations of inappropriate conduct

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

By Luke Johnson

Antioch High principal Louie Rocha placed five baseball coaches, including seven-year varsity head coach Ben Juarez, on administrative leave last Wednesday, while the Antioch Unified School District investigates allegations of “inappropriate conduct.”

First-year Antioch High P.E. teacher and junior varsity head coach Carlos Gonzales has been appointed as interim varsity coach.

I received written statements by a number of people about some of the serious allegations that were being made,” Rocha said. “Based on that, we decided to place the coaches on administrative leave.”

The allegations are about a situation that happened during last baseball season, and AUSD’s Superintendant of Human Resources Keith Rogenski is investigating the matter.

JasonSparkyBray TweetOne returning Antioch High Senior varsity and All-BVAL baseball player posted a message on Twitter about the issue.

“Tbh [To be honest] those coaches have taught me everything I know for the last 6 years, and these ‘allegations’ being brought up are completely false,” said Jason “Sparky” Bray.

Juarez’s wife took to Facebook to express her thoughts on the matter.

These allegations are false and are all brought about by a crazy parent whose son was being threatened to be cut from the team because he was suspended for sexual harassment and threatening to blow up the school,” Kristen Hammer Juarez stated in a post.

Kristen Hammer Juarez FB comment

In the meantime, teachers at Antioch High with baseball experience along with alum and former World Series Champion Aaron Miles have stepped up as assistant coaches.

The Antioch community is just so supportive,” Gonzales said. “For an ex-Major Leaguer to come back to his alma mater and help out and give his time, just to have him on the field, is a joy and a blessing.”

Rocha and Gonzales would not elaborate on the details, only saying the matter is under investigation.

In Juarez’s seven-year tenure at Antioch High he has posted a 61-106 record, without any playoff appearances or a single season with a winning record.

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Antioch Planning Commission to hear Autozone proposal Wednesday night

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

By Allen Payton

On Wednesday night, February 19, the Antioch Planning Commission will be addressing a proposal for an AutoZone auto parts store, at the corner of Fairside Drive and Lone Tree Way in the southeast part of the city.

This will be the third location in Antioch for the national chain.

City staff is recommending the Commission deny the application, after a year of efforts by the auto parts company to design plans and address concerns of parking, access to the parking lot and location of the store on the lot.

The challenges to the applicant are the lot is unusual and requires the store to be located on the corner, with no setbacks from the sidewalk, in order to ensure the driveways be as far away from the corner as possible, and that there enough parking spaces.

However, staff says they don’t like the lack of setbacks and are counting the entire square footage of the store as retail space, even though half of it is used as warehouse. The difference amounts to 16 parking spaces between the 39 city staff is requiring and the 23 AutoZone is offering, even though if only half the store is counted as retail space, there would only be 18 spaces needed.

After weeks of delays, debates and discussions between the applicant and city staff, the Planning Commission has been offered both a motion to approve, as well as a motion to deny, which is all the staff offered the Commission, for last month’s meeting. Becuase of that AutoZone’s consultant chose to postpone the hearing until this month.

The meeting begins at 6:30 PM in the City Council Chambers at 3rd and H Streets in downtown Antioch. The public will have the opportunity to speak to the Commission about the issue. For the complete meeting agenda, click here.

For more background, please see the Payton Perspective column from last month by clicking here.

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Watchdog: Questions, concerns about Antioch’s Community Cafe’s

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

A few years ago the Antioch Police Department, like many other departments nationwide, started holding “Coffee with Cops” chats with residents. The informal sessions were welcomed by the public because they were a two way street – the public received valuable information, could ask questions and talk about what they thought needed improving.

This year the City’s gone a different route. On January 23, 25, 27 and January 29, the City conducted what they called “Community Café” sessions, Mayor Harper saying “We want to hear from the community and get buy-in.”

The sessions were directed by consultant Stacey McLaughlin of Mountaintop Consulting, hired by the City on March 27, 2013 for a sum not to exceed $44,000 to assist in organization assessment, City Council governance training and group development, fiscal goal setting and budget prioritization, strategic visioning and planning.

Regrettably, the sessions turned out to be similar to those held to persuade county residents to buy into the “Shaping Our Future” vision, now more regionally known as the One Bay Area Plan, which undermines local control and seeks to have us live in multi-use “stack and pack” high-rise developments adjacent to subsidized transit.

Such sessions, although touted as “public input” workshops, are in actuality the opposite because the object is to “facilitate” citizens into posing appropriate “questions” and arriving at appropriate “conclusions.”

At the Antioch “Community Café” sessions, participants were seated at small tables, shown a PowerPoint presentation and then asked to contribute thoughts, suggestions and ideas on the questions posed. According to the council minutes on these workshops, after table discussions “debriefing” of the questions was held. During the debriefing, each table had a representative share what the core/common themes of the discussions were.

Use of the term “debriefing” is of concern to me. In most cases, the purpose of debriefing is to make sure that participants are fully informed about, and not harmed in any way by their experience in an experiment or from a traumatic experience. Debriefing is typically not used in surveys, observational studies or other forms of research that involve no deception and minimal risk to participants.

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Show your love and donate blood on Monday at the Antioch Rotary Blood Drive

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Show-love-donate-bloodShow your love and donate blood to assist the American Red Cross in helping save lives, this next Monday, February 18. The Antioch Rotary Club will be holding another of their Community Blood Drives at the Lone Tree Golf & Event Center, 4800 Golf Course Road in Antioch from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Winter storms and freezing temperatures have resulted in thousands of uncollected blood and platelet donations. We need you now. Please give blood to help hospital patients in need.

Set an appointment at, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or just show up. Appointments let them know you’re attending, but walk-ins are always welcome. To help ensure a pleasant and successful donation experience, please drink an extra 16 ounces of water and fluids before donating and be sure to get a good night’s sleep before hand.

NOTE: Online appointment scheduling will be temporarily unavailable for scheduled maintenance from Saturday, February 15 at 6:00 pm EST until Sunday, February 16 at 10:00 am EST.

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