Archive for June, 2021

Antioch to celebrate Independence Day with downtown parade and fireworks over the river

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

By Joy Motts, President, Celebrate Antioch Foundation

Hope you can join us, the Celebrate Antioch Foundation, as we welcome back our annual 4th of July celebration with fireworks once again in historic downtown Rivertown over the San Joaquin River at 9:00 p.m. The Pancake Breakfast  is 8-10 a.m. at City Hall – $5 donation.

Starting at 5:00 p.m. will be3 our traditional 4th of July parade, live music, car show, craft and food vendors, and the downtown restaurants will be open! Bring your folding chairs.

It’s not too late to enter the parade or car show, go to to submit your application by July 1st.  This is a free event for our community thanks to our tremendous sponsors and the City of Antioch! But you can still contribute by giving $4 or More for the 4th.

Important restrictions: No coolers are allowed, and this is an alcohol-free event.  State, county and city guidelines strongly encourage all attendees to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending and if not vaccinated, to wear a mask.

See you Sunday!

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Long-time Antioch resident passes at 79, survived by 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren

Monday, June 28th, 2021

Virginia (Gini) Kay Christensen

February 1942 – June 9, 2021

Virginia (Gini) Kay Christensen, 79, a long-time resident of Antioch, CA, passed away after an extended illness on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

Gini was born in Long Beach, CA, to James and Norma Caughron in February 1942. At the age of three Gini moved with her mother to post-WWII Germany, where her father was an officer in the US Army, in her early teens the family moved back to Southern California, relocating to Northern California in her early twenties. Gini began her work life as a Mermaid at the Disneyland Submarine ride, trained as a nurse in her early twenties, then a clerical worker employed by the Daily Ledger and the City of Antioch, City Clerk’s Office, finishing her career in the private sector.

Gini was a quiet lady with an artist’s heart. She loved painting, quilting, porcelain doll making and stained glass. Gini very much enjoyed singing, musicals, dancing, and animals-especially dogs. Gini was navigationally challenged resulting in many family trips that began with a plan that became an adventure…never lost.

Gini was preceded in death by both her father and mother, in 1986 and 2012 respectively, and her husband, Loren E. Christensen in 2000. Gini will be missed by her brothers, James Caughron and Robert Caughron, her children and stepchildren, Jeff Varner, deAnne McCoy, Victoria Varner, Lori Christensen Maxwell, Loren David Christensen, Mari Christensen Bourret, their spouses/partners, 15 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, as well as a multitude of extended family and friends.

Gini’s family is planning an informal Celebration of Life on July 24, 2021 from 1-3pm at the Antioch Community Center located at 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA.


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Writer complains privatization of Antioch’s Lynn House Gallery is death of the “Soul of the City”

Monday, June 28th, 2021

People attend an event at the Lynn House on August 17, 2016. Photo by Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch.

By Fred Hoskins, Antioch artist

I need to give the readers of this document a short history about art in Antioch. The “Soul of our City”.

Perhaps you’ve seen a couple of sculptures along Hillcrest Avenue. Years ago an ambitious group of citizens collected money to spark the imagination of the public and create interest in art. It was quite an effort obtaining business financial contributions.

Out of this effort a non-profit group was formed. The organization was known as the Delta Art Association (DAA). This group grew to about 350 members (half artists and half patrons of the arts). A dentist was our president and an art teacher from our high was V.P. (Mr. Booth, as I recall). I was a founding member and very involved in the 50’s. I had my first “One-Man Show” in the Bank of America on 18th Street in 1967.

The DAA had a huge art show every year in the Horticulture Building at the Fairgrounds each year. All contributing business representatives were invited to a special preview night. We had wine tasting from Sebastiani of Sonoma, cheese sampling from a Petaluma factory and chamber music by four during the award presentations. Attendance was outstanding!

DAA set-up a gallery on 3rd Street where artworks could be rented or sold by the members. The gallery was moved four times in the downtown area. DAA finally gave up – it seems every time we moved the owners of the space wanted to rent to a paying business. I remember after our first move to 2nd and G Streets a travel agency moved into the site. The agency offered free space, but members objected resulting in a third move across the street. DAA finally gave up. With dwindling membership down to less than 30, it disbanded.

The City, seeing a need for a place for artists to show and sell their works, designated the Lynn House on First Street as our Arts and Cultural Center. Dianne Gibson-Gray was appointed the director and her agency was designated as non-profit. Over time, our city council kept reducing funds for the Lynn House agency and along with poor health, our director resigned.

One of our short-termed council members, Joy Motts suggested turning over the house to a single artist and without forethought all of the other four members voted for the move!

We now have a for-profit business paying $417.00 a month for use of ex-center, at their discretion offering art shows to the public, claiming that the trademark of “The Lynn House Gallery” name came with the rent!

I wish luck to all of the artists in that show. I know most of them. But beware! Someone is trying to buy the Soul of our City. It is also good-bye to the non-profit use of the Antioch Historical Museum for the “Celebraton of Art”. Rent there for profit making companies is $135.00 a day.

I will be showing my second (last was in 1967) One-Man Art Show on the fence of the Hard House on July 3-5. Drop by for a peek and chat. I will be there, full time.

We need to revitalize a city-backed arts commission! The Soul is suffering for now.


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Antioch teen arrested Sunday for shooting at family members Saturday night

Sunday, June 27th, 2021

By Antioch Police Department

Assault with a Deadly Weapon – Firearm

Arrested: Gideon Alemayehu, 18 Years Old

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, at approximately 10:55 pm, the Antioch Police Department responded to a residence in the 5000 block of Sunview Way for the report of a shooting. It was reported that 18-year-old Gideon Alemayehu brandished a handgun at family members and then fired several gunshots as the family members were fleeing the residence.

APD Officers arrived on scene and contacted the victims at a neighboring home. Through the victims’ statements and physical evidence located at the scene, officers confirmed that Alemayehu had in fact possessed a handgun and fired it numerous times. None of the victims were physically injured. Alemayehu may have fled the residence prior to police arrival and was not arrested.

On Sunday, June 27, 2021, at approximately 11:30 am, the Antioch Police Department received information that Alemayehu had returned to his residence. APD Patrol Officers responded back to the 5000 block of Sunview Way, accompanied by the APD SWAT and Crisis Negotiation Teams. Shortly after the APD SWAT Team arrived on scene, Alemayehu exited his residence and surrendered peacefully. The firearm believed to be used in this incident was recovered inside the residence.

Alemayehu will be booked at Contra Costa County Jail for a variety of charges to include Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Criminal Threats.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword ANTIOCH.


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Contra Costa Crime Lab awarded federal DNA grant, will help prevent crime case backlog

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Photos: CCCSO

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

The Forensic Services Division of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff was awarded $376,101 in grant funding from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program.

The grant will allow for the hiring of a forensic analyst and the purchase of new instrumentation and equipment. This will increase the capacity to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis and to prevent a backlog of forensic and database DNA samples, like those collected at crime scenes.

“This grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance will increase our capacity and help us better serve law enforcement agencies and crime victims,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “This will increase our efficiency of testing and enable us to provide quicker results to law enforcement and prosecutors on DNA cases in Contra Costa County.”

The Forensic Services Division hopes to hire a new forensic analyst by the end of the year.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, a  division of the U.S. Department of Justice, helps to make American communities safer by strengthening the nation’s criminal justice system: Its grants, training and technical assistance, and policy development services provide state, local, and tribal governments with the cutting edge tools and best practices they need to reduce violent and drug-related crime, support law enforcement, and combat victimization.

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Pittsburg man from construction business family that helped build homes in Antioch passes at 62

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Leonard (Lenny) Kolias Jr.

Feb 12, 1959 to June 2, 2021

Leonard (Lenny) Kolias Jr. of Pittsburg, CA passed away on June 2, 2021.

Lenny was born in Oakland, CA on February 12, 1959 and lived in the Bay Area his whole life. He graduated from the school of Hard Knocks and started working at age 13 in the family business, Kolias Grading and later for B & B Paving and Grading. He made house pads for thousands of the houses from Antioch/ Pittsburg to Danville/San Ramon and Vallejo/Napa as well as many other areas in the Bay Area. He loved his work and took pride in being a Dirt Pusher/Heavy Machine operator for over 40 years.

He enjoyed spending time with his family the most! Some of his favorite times were at the family cabin on the Sacramento River catching catfish and running through the corn fields. He loved fast cars and big trucks. If you knew Lenny, you knew he had a presence, he was big, loud, giving and always happy.

Lenny is survived by his partner Debbie Melia, daughters Jamie Kolias and Krystle Melia, beloved grandchildren Jesslyn Marie, Jayla Ann, and Aidan Leonard, his sister, Cyndi Vipperman (Ken), brother,  Don Kolias (Tracy) and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Lenny is preceded in death by his parents Leonard and Carole Kolias, his brother Christopher Kolias, his grandmother Francis Gates and his nephew Bradley Reid.

Lenny was loved by many and will be missed ♥️.

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Governor Newsom, legislative leaders announce eviction moratorium extension, increase rent relief to 100 percent

Friday, June 25th, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders of both the Senate and the Assembly today, Friday, June 25, 2021, announced a proposed extension of California’s statewide evictions moratorium, and an increase in compensation for California’s rent relief program.

The three-party agreement on AB 832 – which extends the current eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021 – will ensure that California quickly uses the more than $5 billion in federal rental assistance to help the state’s tenants and small landlords and protect vulnerable households from eviction. The agreement widens rental assistance by enhancing current law. Provisions include increasing reimbursement to 100 percent for both rent that is past due and prospective payments for both tenants and landlords. Additionally, the bill ensures rental assistance dollars stay in California by prioritizing cities and counties with unmet needs, and uses the judicial process to ensure tenants and landlords have attempted to obtain rental assistance.

“California is coming roaring back from the pandemic, but the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to disproportionately impact so many low-income Californians, tenants and small landlords alike,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “That’s why I am thankful for today’s news from the Legislature – protecting low-income tenants with a longer eviction moratorium and paying down their back-rent and utility bills – all thanks to the nation’s largest and most comprehensive rental assistance package, which I am eager to sign into law as soon as I receive it.”

“Our housing situation in California was a crisis before COVID, and the pandemic has only made it worse — this extension is key to making sure that more people don’t lose the safety net helping them keep their home,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) said. “While our state may be emerging from the pandemic, in many ways, the lingering financial impact still weighs heavily on California families. People are trying to find jobs and make ends meet and one of the greatest needs is to extend the evictions moratorium — which includes maximizing the federal funds available to help the most tenants and landlords possible — so that they can count on a roof over their heads while their finances rebound.”

“The key thing is to recognize that people in rental housing are still facing financial obstacles, even as our economy reopens,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) stated. “This moratorium will keep families in homes, provide critical financial support to landlords, and help protect our supply of rental housing.”

Details on the proposed extension can be found in AB 832, which will be in print today. To apply for rental assistance for either renters or landlords, visit

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New K-8 virtual academy coming to Antioch

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Named for Thomas Gaines, the city’s first Black resident

By Scott Bergerhouse, Director of Student Support, Antioch Unified School District

The Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Thomas Gaines Virtual Academy. The Thomas Gaines Virtual Academy is an alternative school of choice open to all K-8 students who thrive in a virtual learning environment, and/or need a flexible learning option.  The Thomas Gaines Virtual Academy promotes student voice and choice, student goal setting and monitoring, critical thinking, community, and collaboration.

Thomas Gaines’ Virtual Instructional Program

  • Core content instruction (English Language Arts/English Language Development, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education)
  • Standards mastery based learning
  • Project Based Learning (PBL)
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Digital Citizenship

Thomas Gaines’ Virtual Instructional Components

  • Live daily instruction
  • Learning and social emotional supports
  • Collaboration with peers
  • Individual and group assignments
  • Voluntary in-person activities

How to Enroll Students in the Thomas Gaines Virtual Academy

The academy is named for Gaines (1821-1896), Antioch’s first Black resident. (See related article)

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