Archive for March, 2017

School Board votes to expand meditation teaching into more Antioch classrooms

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Photo from the Mindful Life Project website

Vinson served with recall  papers, Sawyer-White threatened with possible recall

By Nick Goodrich

On Wednesday night, the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to approve funding for a meditation- and mindfulness-based program at Belshaw Elementary. In addition, Board Vice President Debra Vinson was served with recall papers for a second time and Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was threatened with a possible recall.

The Mindful Life Project

The Mindful Life Project, based in Richmond, California, will receive $1,500 as part of a vendor agreement with the school district, that includes a two-hour training for educators that will allow them to implement the program in their classrooms.

According to district staff, the program “empowers students with mindfulness and other transformational skills that build self-awareness, development of natural conflict resolution skills, self-regulation, perseverance, resilience, and social-emotional intelligence”.

The School Board allayed fears on Wednesday about the Mindful Life Project representing an introduction of Eastern religious teachings into Antioch classrooms. The program’s only goal, according to board members and district staff, is to help implement behavioral changes in Antioch students.

Board President Walter Ruehlig, who was given the chance to participate in one of the program’s meditation exercises, noted that the exercise simply involved breathing and reflection techniques.

“I didn’t notice anything religious about it,” he said. The other board members agreed, seeing no indication that the program involved religious teachings.

Earlier in the meeting, Superintendent Stephanie Anello delivered a report on the progress of meeting certain goals she set for the AUSD last year. Part of the report included her increased emphasis on tiered behavioral and intervention support for schools, and she informed the Board of a District-wide 38% decrease in suspensions from 2010 to 2016.

The Mindful Life Project is a new addition to the District that Anello hopes will continue that trend into next year. It has drawn praise for its effect on some of Richmond’s students, but it remains to be seen how effective it will be in Antioch.

With some AUSD schools holding less-than-stellar reputations for the behavior of their students, the District will presumably continue to find funding for proven anger management and behavioral intervention programs alongside the new addition of the Mindful Life Project.

On the website for The Mindfulness Project at it shows photos of children in classrooms, with their eyes closed, sometimes with hands out stretched, in what appears to be states of meditation. (See related Herald article)

The term for mindfulness in A Glossary of Pali and Buddhism Terms is sati. It’s definition is “Mindfulness, self-collectedness, powers of reference and retention. In some contexts, the word sati when used alone covers alertness (sampajañña) as well.” According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Pali is the Buddhist canonical language.

Attempt to Televise Board Meetings

At their previous meeting, Vinson proposed the idea of holding board meetings in the Antioch City Council Chambers, which would allow them to be televised and hold a larger audience.

Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White raised the discussion again on Wednesday, and said it would further increase transparency between the District and the public.

However, the Board was not prepared to discuss it during their meeting on the 23rd, and so resolved once again to place the matter on a future meeting agenda.

For now the District makes available the audio of all Board Meetings on their website.

Vinson Served With Recall Papers, Again

Trustee Debra Vinson during her first Antioch School Board meeting, Dec. 10, 2014. Photo by Allen Payton

During public comments on Wednesday, AUSD employee Nicole Cedano appeared again before the Board to serve Trustee Debra Vinson with a second set of recall papers.

Cedano’s first effort, stemming from an incident last year in which Cedano alleged that Vinson became verbally abusive to a secretary at an Antioch school campus, failed after being denied by the County Elections Office due to “a word technicality,” she said.

“Your behavior continues to be a detriment to this District and create an unwelcoming atmosphere for staff, students, and the community,” Cedano told Vinson during her statement to the Board.

In addition to serving Vinson with recall papers, Cedano also warned Sawyer-White of a potential recall, after Sawyer-White made comments last month suggesting that the District hire only minority firms.

“The best firm should get the job regardless of sex or color,” Cedano told the Board. “You should want what is best for the District, not what is best for a certain demographic.”

An attempt to reach Vinson for comment was unsuccessful prior to press time.

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

See four cast members, local friends and family in Ferrante film Forgotten Evil fundraiser on April Fool’s

Friday, March 24th, 2017

In a scene from the movie “Forgotten Evil,” actors Kyle McKeever and Masiela Lusha play the parts of Randy and Renee. Photo courtesy of The Asylum/LMN

Filmed in Antioch last summer

Director Anthony C. Ferrante (in Ramones shirt) watches the shooting on a monitor with some of his crew outside the El Campanil Theatre in downtown Antioch, Monday night, August 22, 2016. Herald file photo by Allen Payton

Director Anthony Ferrante will show his “Forgotten Evil” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1s at El Campanil Theatre, 602 West Second St. in Antioch. The film was shot last fall throughout Antioch, including Antioch High School, the Antioch Police Department, El Campanil, the marina, Red Caboose and Riverview Lodge. Following the movie, a special Q&A and meet-and-greet is set with Ferrante and his three lead actors: Masiela Lusha, Kyle McKeever and Angie Teodora, along with Adrian Bustamante, a former Antioch resident.

Ferrante, an Antioch High graduate, directed the thriller, which follows amnesia victim Renee trying to piece together her past before she can start her new future. Played by Lusha, she is best known as Carmen, the daughter from the “George Lopez” TV show. Ferrante has also directed the wildly popular “Sharknado” movies.

It premiered on the LMN Channel on Sunday night, March 12. So if you didn’t watch it then, now’s your chance. And if you’ve already seen, this time watch it with the people who were actually in the film, including some of your local friends and family members.

Proceeds benefit Antioch High School. Tickets are just $10 at the door or $11.50 online at You can also purchase tickets at the Box Office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and one hour before the show. For more info, call 925-757-9500.

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

Writer says sanctuary states, counties, cities and facilities are illegal, should be prosecuted

Friday, March 24th, 2017


I believe that publicly financed “Sanctuary” States, Counties, Cities, and facilities for illegal immigrants are illegal, and they all should be prosecuted. In law one cannot harbor, assist, aid and abet, etc., anyone who has committed any criminal act – including of illegal immigrants. Those doing so are criminal “principals” under law, according to both state and federal laws.

The whole nonsense of allowing them to do so, under the guise of humanitarian and social necessity, are but criminally disguised acts that need to be brought to justice asap! We can no longer allow or justify the ‘bleeding hearts’ and illegal immigrants everywhere to dictate to us what is or is not legally right. They have to entirely be cut off from any related public funding, and now. And, any public cfficial criminally involved should immediately forfeit their position, and forever be barred from ever holding public office again.

Sure, give them their claimed “rights” to a prosecution and court system that America still has in place. Then they each should pay the ‘price’ for their violating our laws, to include incarceration, fines, and dispatching the illegals out of the USA. We must insist on upholding the laws against those who commit the crimes.

Ralph A. Hernandez


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 young Antioch men shot, one killed, Thursday night

Friday, March 24th, 2017

By Lieutenant D. Bittner #3252, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Thursday, March 23, 2017 at approximately 9:20 p.m., the Antioch Police Department is currently investigating a shooting involving two victims, both Antioch residents, in the 2700 block of Contra Loma Blvd. A 22-year-old male victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The 23-year-old male victim was transported to a local hospital and is in stable condition.

Antioch Police Investigators were called to the scene and are in the early stages of the investigation. No further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Vanderpool with the Antioch Police Department at (925)779-6988.

Any further information or additional press releases will be provided by the Investigations Bureau at (925) 779-6939. 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

During probation search Antioch police arrest Brentwood man at home for guns, drugs, Wednesday

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Drugs, cash and guns seized by Antioch police during the arrest of Brentwood resident Jerome Trainor, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Photos courtesy of APD

By Sergeant Wisecarver, Antioch Police Special Operations Unit

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at approximately 1:00 pm, the Antioch Police Department Special Operations Unit conducted a probation search on 31-year-old Jerome Trainor at his home in the City of Brentwood. SOU Detectives located four illegally possessed firearms, over six ounces of cocaine and over $40,000.00 in cash. Trainor was arrested for the guns and drugs and was booked in to the Martinez County Detention Facility.

We will not be releasing the address in Brentwood at this time. No further information will be released at this time as this investigation is ongoing; anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call Sergeant Wisecarver with the Antioch Police Department at (925) 779-6941.

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

Payton Perspective: Officials must listen to the people and stop the Delta Tunnels

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

After watching and listening to the variety of East County and Bay Area residents speak out against the Delta Tunnels at the meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council in Brentwood on Thursday, March 23, 2017, one thing is clear, we don’t want them. All they will do is damage the Delta and the region in which we live. So how is that good stewardship of the Delta?

The proposed tunnels are referred to as conveyances. Well we already have two water conveyances, they’re called the San Joaquin River which flows north into and through the Delta and the Sacramento River which flows south. The two natural, God created conveyances we call rivers, meet at Antioch whose current slogan is the “Gateway to the Delta.”

Plus, there’s another man-made conveyance, known as the California Aqueduct that’s been sending water from Northern California and the Central Valley to Southern California for decades.  We don’t need another two, huge water conveyances to move the water from, around or under the Delta to Southern California.

Speaker after speaker who stood in line in the standing room only meeting – from residents, to activists, to Realtors, to those who fish and others who earn a living off the Delta – opposed the tunnels as the solution to water supply in the state. Instead they suggested more storage, such as maximizing the use of existing reservoirs and building more, and desalination.

One speaker, who said he is a native Californian with three daughters, offered the definition of stewardship which includes “the responsible overseeing of something worth preserving.” Two more speakers challenged the council members on the meaning of stewardship, as well.

“Tell the governor the people in this room know the difference between fresh water and salt water,” said another speaker. “For every gallon of fresh water we divert south, a gallon of salt water comes up the Delta.”

Salt water has encroached all the way to and past Antioch, which has the lowest intakes on the Delta and last year had to purchase 95% of its raw water from the Contra Costa Water District. The city has pre-1914 rights to the river allowing it to pump pretty much whatever amount of water needed for use by residents and businesses in the city. But, during the drought, and it’s believed that if the tunnels are built, those rights no longer mean anything, as there was and will no longer be enough or any fresh water to pump. So, if the salt water has already reached Antioch before the tunnels have been built, it can easily reach other parts of the Delta, if they are.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier had a representative read a letter from him at the meeting, in opposition to the conveyance system, or tunnels.

His letter mentioned the 2009 Delta Reform Act which established co-equal goals of “providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem” and that the proposed conveyance system barely touches on protection of the Delta.

A former Orange County, CA resident said “do the right thing. We want to preserve the Delta for our children.”

One speaker at the meeting got a bit animated. Screenshot from website

The final speaker asked “does anyone in this room want the tunnels?”

“No” was the loud reply.

The Council hasn’t yet made their final recommendation on whether the twin tunnels will be the solution to the conveyance of our water. So, there’s still time for the public to give input.

You can provide your comments using the online form at All written submissions will be posted on the website at If you were unable to watch or attend the Thursday meeting in Brentwood, the webcast will be available on the website, as well.

Meetings of the Delta Stewardship Council in Sacramento on April 27th and 28th will be the next opportunity to give live, in-person input to the Council and for them to review the progress on the process. It will be held at Park Tower Plaza, 980 Ninth Street, 2nd Floor Conference Center in Sacramento.

In addition, in the future, as was said by Council Member and Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, the Council needs to hold their meetings for the public at night. They can also be held on a Saturday and in a larger venue, so more people can attend.

We must stand united and continue to fight the Delta Tunnels to keep them from being built and damaging the ecosystem of the Delta and the adjacent region where we call home. Hopefully those charged with the stewardship of the Delta will hear us and recommend against the tunnels.

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 Water Park season passes now available

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Stay cool this summer at the Antioch Water Park. The Water Park is conveniently located on Lone Tree way across the street from Deer Valley High School and is the premier water attraction in East Contra Costa County. For less than the cost of four regular admissions, you can have your own season pass to the Water Park and enjoy a summer of fun in the sun. Avoid the long lines and enjoy conveniently free parking at the Antioch Water Park.

Season Passes are on sale now at a discounted rate:

·         $55.00 for Antioch Residents – if purchased by May 26, 2017

·         $60.00 for Non-Antioch Residents – if purchased by May 26, 2016

The passes will increase to $70.00 (resident) and $80.00 (non-resident) if purchased after Opening Day (May 27th).

The Antioch Water Park is open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend. For more information about Season Passes or any of the programs at the Water Park, please contact the Antioch Water Park at 925-776-3070.


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

Tickets available for Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra at El Campanil Theatre, Sat. April 1

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Performing “Fairy Tales, Fantasy and Legend” with soprano Sarah Sloan and tenor Jeffrey Albright

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Time:  2:00 p.m. 

Tickets: Adults: $15    Seniors (62 & Over): $12     Students: $7

General Seating

Formed in the late 1970s, the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra has established a presence throughout the county.  The orchestra is comprised of forty-five musicians ranging in age from 15 to 94 who are music teachers, accountants, students, electricians, mechanics, homemakers, lawyers, retirees, dentists, engineers and computer specialists. Primarily Contra Costa residents, their only remuneration is the stimulation and satisfaction of rehearsing and performing together.  In addition to the five-concert season at the Lesher Center, the orchestra also nurtures its dedication to the community by providing affordable performances to the residents of East Contra Costa County at El Campanil Theatre.

Soprano Sarah Sloan and tenor Jeffrey Albright, who were our soloists in last season’s popular “Broadway at the Movies” set, return to sing songs from beloved movies and musicals. The orchestra is featured in selections from contemporary blockbusters and classical hits alike, including Mussorgsky’s evocative tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from Sleeping Beauty.


Night on Bald Mountain — Modest Mussorgsky

Music from “Up” — Michael Giacchino/arr. Datzman

Celebrating the 50th birthday of composer Michael Giacchino

Waltz, from “Sleeping Beauty” — Peter Tchaikovsky

Star Wars: The Force Awakens — John Williams

For tickets or more information visit or call the Box Office at (925) 757-9500.

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