Archive for June, 2015

Three Antioch girls to hold joint Sweet 16 birthday party, Saturday night

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Sweet 16 Birthday party

Three Antioch girls have decided to join together to celebrate their Sweet 16 birthdays, this Saturday night and wanted to let the world know.

Savannah Eve Thrower is the daughter of Brandon and Danyell Thrower. Savannah is considered a book-smart nerd, she loves to read and write. Savannah plans to one day, finish writing her own book and would love to share it with the world. She is nice and likes to make new friends. She also wants to pursue a career in photography and share her creativeness with the world.

Ajanna Malaya Williams Jamison is the daughter of Michael and Adeesha Jamison. Ajanna, who goes by AJ, is a student athlete who is on her varsity high school basketball team. She also works in community service and on fundraisers. Ajanna plans to attend a four-year college and major in forensic science.

Felicity Terezah Faith Scott is the daughter of Percy and Dannette Scott. Felicity has a very interesting taste in fashion. She has created her own personal style in which her goal is to represent how important it is to be an individual and unique. Felicity is also a student athlete as a member of her high school varsity basketball team, runs track, dances, is part of the yearbook committee, and is very active in church.

Happy Sweet 16 Birthday, ladies!

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Antioch police respond to burglary call, discover large-scale marijuana cultivation, arrest San Francisco man

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Shaohui Tan

Shaohui Tan

By Detective Koch, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at approximately 12:50 AM, Antioch Police Department patrol officers responded to a residence in the 800 block of Buttonwood Court on a report of a residential burglary in-progress. Patrol officers arrived and located signs of forced entry into the home. Officers checked the interior of the residence and located a large scale marijuana cultivation inside. During the investigation officers contacted Shaohui Tan, a 42-year old resident of San Francisco, in the immediate area and connected him to the cultivation. Investigators arrived on scene and ultimately served a search warrant seizing approximately 1000 marijuana plants from the home. The case is still being investigated by the Antioch Police Department’s Special Operations Unit.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Lowther with the Antioch Police Department at (925)779-6943. You may also text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.

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Man dies while Antioch police attempt to arrest him for breaking into apartment, Thursday

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

By Captain Leonard Orman, Antioch Police Department Field Services

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm, officers responded to 2301 Sycamore Dr. regarding a male who had forced the door open to a resident’s apartment and entered inside. When officers arrived he was no longer in the home.

A short time later, officers located the suspect in the apartment complex and attempted to detain him. During their attempts to do so, the suspect suffered some sort of medical distress. Fire and ambulance were arriving on scene and life saving measures were taken. The 31-year-old man was transported to the hospital and later pronounced deceased.

Because this is considered an in custody death, the county protocol was invoked. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, the Contra Costa County Crime Lab and the Antioch Police Department will be conducting an investigation into the facts surrounding this incident. No further information will be released tonight regarding the investigation.

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Antioch Council approves Downtown Specific Plan, allowing for park, event center on former lumber yard site

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
The Downtown Specific Plan Alternative 1B that the Antioch City Council approved, at Tuesday night's meeting, allowing for mixed-use development or a park and event center on the empty lot between West Second, West Third and F Streets.

The Downtown Specific Plan Revised Alternative 1B that the Antioch City Council approved, at Tuesday night’s meeting, allowing for mixed-use development or a park and event center on the empty lot between West Second, West Third and E Streets.

Ogorchock moves to reduce total units per acre from 37 to 18, council agrees

By John Crowder

Following months of community meetings, the Antioch City Council selected, from a mix of six options presented, their “preferred alternative,” giving staff direction in preparing the Draft Specific Plan, the guiding document to be used in efforts to revitalize the downtown area. Their choice appeared to be a compromise, for the moment, between two competing ideas for use of the old Beede Lumber Yard property: a recommendation by city staff for high-density housing, and a request by local citizen groups for a park and event center on the site.

The selection of the preferred alternative for downtown was the last item on the agenda, and local residents who have been fighting for a park and event center on the site shown on the plan as “Opportunity Site 5” stayed until the end to make their case and see the outcome of the vote.

Discussion of the item began with City Manager Steve Duran providing background on the matter. He detailed the number of community meetings that had taken place and the amount of work that had already gone into the project by city staff and consultants. Referencing the Beede lumber site, and alluding to the citizen groups seeking a park and event center for the location, he said staff was still recommending it be used for housing, and that it was his and staff’s duty to provide their best professional advice with respect to what use would lead to the revitalization of the downtown area.

A presentation was then given showing the alternatives. According to staff, Refined Alternative #1 would “accommodate a broader range of residential product types” and provide “flexibility in housing densities to respond to future market conditions.” Refined Alternative #3 would “focus on placing a greater emphasis on concentration of commercial activities within the established Downtown Core, while also limiting residential densities surrounding the Downtown Core.” It was noted that Alternative #2 had been dropped from consideration after a previous meeting.

Within each option, three choices were then given for Opportunity Site 5, the parcel of land that had been the subject of the competing downtown visions. These ranged from Residential High Density (the consultant/staff recommendation if Alternative 1 was chosen), to Mixed-Use (which was said to allow for any combination of residential, and/or commercial, and/or park), to Residential Low Medium Density (the recommended choice for Alternative 3), to Park.

An artist's rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by Second, Third and E Streets.

An artist’s rendering of a proposed event center for downtown Antioch on the lot bordered by West West Second, Third and E Streets.

Following the presentation, a few speakers came forward to advocate for the event center/park. One of them, Lee Ballesteros, told the council not to fall for the “mixed use” designation. “Please choose a park/event center for that site,” she said.

Other speakers, though, asked that the Mixed-Use designation be chosen.

Dr. Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, told the council that the Mixed-Use designation would provide for the greatest flexibility. He said that, with that designation, a park could be placed on the site and, if it did not produce the desired result, it could be changed to something else.

Allen Payton, publisher of the Antioch Herald, said he supported what Wright had said. He said that he had a concern with how a park and event center would be paid for, and then advocated for changing the names of the streets leading into the downtown area.

We need to take advantage of the changes of the signs on the freeway…to promote downtown, permanently,” he said. “A and Second Streets to Rivertown Drive and L Street to Marina Way or Boulevard.”

With the conclusion of public comments, the members of the council then each expressed their views on the matter. Each of them expressed support for Alternative #1, then spoke to their views for Opportunity Site 5, the Beede lumber yard property.

Council Member Tony Tiscareno, first to speak to the matter, said, “I think this council is hearing you.”

He went on to say that he preferred the Mixed-Use designation because of the flexibility. He also said that he believed a ferry system, if developed, would bring people to the downtown area, but he did not think an event center would do so.

Council Member Mary Rocha said that there should be a set amount of time in which to develop a park, because other opportunities exist right now. “The timing is important,” she said, but also said she supported the Mixed-Use designation, but with the understanding that, at least initially, a park would be on the site.

Council Member Monica Wilson said she also supported the Mixed-Use option, as it, “leaves it open to multiple possibilities.”

Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock said, “I do have concerns with how an event center would be paid for,” but also, “I don’t like the idea of the high density.”

She said she was favoring Alternative 3 with the Mixed-Use designation for the contested Site 5. However, after further discussion, and clarification from Duran that the council could, “mix and match” between the plans, she voiced her support for Alternative 1 but with a change to Medium Density housing.

Mayor Wade Harper thanked the community for all of their input, but said, with reference to designating Site 5 a Park, “I would want to know how you’re going to pay for it.” Even so, he said, “I’m going to choose 1B, and I would like to give the community the opportunity to find out how we’re going to pay for it.”

After further discussion, a motion was finally put forward by Ogorchock to choose Alternative 1, with a Mixed-Use designation for the Beede site that would restrict the number of units to 18 per acre, but still retain the possibility of a park. The motion passed on a vote of 5-0.

Following the vote, Joy Motts, representing the Celebrate Antioch Foundation and the Rivertown Preservation Group, and one of the leading proponents for the park and event center, commented.

After a year-and-a-half battle we are hopeful,” she stated. “We are pleased that the Council has listened to the community and that they will allow us to prove to them that economic revitalization can happen in ways other than high density housing. The best use of the Beede Lumber site, as seen by most in the community, utilizes its incomparable river views, its proximity to the downtown, preserves its historical significance and creates a much needed event center and park for Rivertown and for the entire Antioch community that can host Farmer’s Markets, Festivals, Summer concerts, and more.”

It is a critical part of changing the dynamic, culture, and public perception of Antioch,” Motts added.

The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 28. Meetings are held at the City Council Chambers, 200 H Street, and typically begin at 7:00 p.m.

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Antioch School Board hears about African-American promotion ceremony, LCAP, Kids’ Club, again

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

by John Crowder

Once again, it was standing room only at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Education, held on June 10, 2015. The overflow crowd in attendance addressed two main concerns, a recently held promotion ceremony for African American students and the on-going saga of Kids’ Club Preschool.

Also on the agenda were public hearings on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the budget for the District.

African American Promotion Celebration

AUSD Superintendent Dr. Don Gill wasted no time in addressing those present about the African American promotion ceremony that has generated so much scrutiny and concern on social media.

Reading from a prepared statement, Gill said, “I wanted to address recent concerns by some community members regarding an African American cultural celebration sponsored by an employee in his capacity as a community member. We acknowledge that there were some procedural errors that occurred regarding communication. We are looking into this so that we can ensure we are effectively communicating procedures for employees. However, I hope that this will not cloud or taint what was truly a well-intentioned positive event for our students. While we did not sponsor this particular event this year, we do see the value in holding such cultural celebrations as they are a chance for students to be recognized and honored and for all of us to learn more about the rich cultures of our students and our community.”

Some of those speaking during public comments, however, did not feel that District staff had gone far enough in supporting Dr. Lamont Francies, the organizer of the event, who recently took a leave of absence from his work as a counselor with AUSD.

This sentiment was most succinctly put forward by Lawrence Rasheed, Founder of Greatness Rediscovered In Our Time (GRIOT), a mentoring and advocacy group focusing on young African American males.

Rasheed stated that all of the Board members, and Dr. Gill, had been notified in April of the African American promotion ceremony that Francies had organized. He said that they should apologize to Francies for not supporting him when the controversy over the event began.

Kids’ Club

Representatives of Kids’ Club Preschool have been attending both Antioch City Council and AUSD School Board meetings in recent months, making various requests for assistance. The lease for the building used by the preschool (and owned by AUSD) is due to expire next month, and, among other things, the group has asked for a lease extension or land upon which to place modular buildings.

While several speakers spoke in support of the Kids’ Club program, as has been the case at each meeting where they have been present, this time one resident, Julie Young, spoke out in opposition to the requests they have been making.

Young began her remarks by saying that Kids’ Club was, “a good program.” But, she said, their requests for land and/or buildings were inappropriate, and, if granted, would be, “against good public policy.”

Pointing out that the program was given a year’s notice to find a new location, she called their demands for land, “a bold request.” “What they are really saying is, we are a private group that does a good thing, and you [AUSD] owe us…”

Young continued, “As a school district, you do not have the authority to give away land…funded by the taxpayer, to a private entity.”

Expressing her sympathy for those in support of the preschool, and looking for alternatives, Young concluded her remarks by telling all in attendance that other preschool options were available, including The Child Day Schools, located at 112 East Tregallas Road in Antioch, which recently announced an award of state funding that would allow them to take 87 additional preschool students.

LCAP Presentation and Hearings

AUSD staff gave a presentation on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for the 2015-2016 school year, and it was followed by a public hearing later in the meeting. A separate hearing was also held, on the 2015-2016 budget for the District.

Only a handful of people came forward to speak during the hearings.

Sharon Vela spoke in support of restoring and expanding the music program. Others spoke about continuing to engage parents in the process, and the importance of supporting cultural events.

Only one speaker, Willie Mims, Education Chair of the East County NAACP, questioned any of the spending that had been outlined, telling the Board that funding Vice Principal positions from money coming from supplemental funds was not permitted.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. Meetings take place in the School Services Building, located at 510 G Street.

Alia Bickham contributed to this report.

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The Church@Antioch to host men’s conference, this Saturday

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Church@Antioch Rebuild

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Thousands gather in Antioch to remember Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill at candlelight vigil, Friday night

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
The crowd at the candelight vigil for Jeremy "Lumpy" Sturgill gathers in front of Lumpy's Diner in Antioch, and listens to his father Dave "Digger" Sturgill speak, Friday night, June 19, 2015.

The crowd at the candelight vigil for Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill gathers in front of Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch, and listens as his father Dave “Digger” Sturgill speak, Friday night, June 19, 2015.

By Allen Payton

An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people gathered in the parking lot near Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch, Friday night, June 19th to remember owner Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill, who died suddenly at the age of 35, the previous Tuesday morning.

Those in attendance held lighted candles and listened to family members and friends share their thoughts. Speakers included his father and mother, car club leaders and then, finally, his wife Marci.

Lumpy's mother, Kathy Sturgill speaks to those gathered, last Friday night.

Lumpy’s mother, Kathy Sturgill speaks to those gathered, last Friday night.

You can’t outgive the Lord,” said his mother Kathy Sturgill speaking of her memory of the first fundraiser Lumpy held at his restaurant and the conversation she had with him about it. “All he wanted to do was make everyone proud of him. I can tell you we are proud of our son. I’m gonna miss my son. But, I love that boy.”

This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do,” his father Dave “Digger” Sturgill, owner of Diggers in Brentwood, said. “They call me Digger because I’m a grave digger. Today I had to pick out the casket for my son. But I believe he made things right with God, and I will see him again. If you give your heart to Jesus you will see him again. That is the desire of my heart.”

Following Sturgill’s parents, leaders of various car clubs, which had participated in car shows in the same parking lot, spoke

It didn’t matter what connected you to Lumpy, whether it was sports, art, or just good food,” said Arami Picazo of the Pastimes Car Club. “He made a connection with you. I’ll always remember Lumpy for the loving, caring person he was. As we celebrate Lumpy’s life let’s take a moment to remember the moments that were special.”

Gena Noack, Manager of Lumpy’s Diner, spoke as the female servers, known as the angels, stood next to her.

I’m going to make this diner, with Marci, what he wanted,” she said. “This is the angels. Now, Lump now you’re our angel.”

Then, Marci Sturgill spoke and offered an emotional thank you to all those who attended.

Family and friends, seated in the center of the crowd, were then handed lanterns, which when lit, floated into the sky. Although it was a windy night, most all of the lanterns were able to launch.

The funeral service for Lumpy will be held this Wednesday and visitation will be Tuesday night. For details, please click here.

Attendees light the lanterns at Lumpy's vigil, Friday night.

Friends and family light the lanterns at Lumpy’s vigil, Friday night.

The lanterns rise into the sky on the windy evening in memory of Jeremy "Lumpy" Sturgill, Friday night, June 19, 2015.

The lanterns rise into the sky on the windy evening in memory of Jeremy “Lumpy” Sturgill, Friday night, June 19, 2015.

 

 

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Three Antioch boys at home when burglar enters, call police, man arrested, Monday morning

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Corporal James McMurry #2384, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Monday, June 22, 2015 at 10:25 AM, Antioch Police Officers responded to the 911 call of a male who had entered the residence of a home in the 2100 block of Hamlin Drive, with three juveniles, ages 10, 12 and 13, inside. The parent had briefly left to go to the store but did not lock the front door when she left the home.

The suspect, Terrell Freeman, age 39, entered the closed, but unlocked front door and was standing in the living room. The boys heard the door open and went to see who it was and saw the unknown man standing inside the house.

The family dog entered the living room, saw the unknown man in the house, and the dog charged at the man. Freeman fled out the front door and closed the door behind him. The boys locked the door and called 911 to report what had happened.

Officers responded to the residence and located Freeman standing in the front yard near the front door. Freeman was detained without incident and later arrested. He was later sent to the Martinez Detention Facility on a residential burglary charge. Neither the three boys nor the dog were injured during the incident.

If anyone has information that is related to this case, they can call the Antioch Police Department’s non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441.

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