Archive for the ‘Children & Families’ Category

Delta Learning Center to reopen Monday

Friday, July 16th, 2021

The Delta Learning Center is located across from the Antioch Main Post Office on W. Tregallas Road. Photo from their Facebook page.

By Martha Goralka

Because of the time, treasure, and talent donated by the Board of the Delta Learning Center, Contra Costa’s oldest nonprofit tutoring center, has survived the pandemic and is reopening for students of all ages on Monday, July 19, 2021.

The Center was founded by Julia “Bess” Combs, a retired Antioch Unified School District psychologist.  Since 1976, the Delta Learning Center has provided one on one tutoring with credentialed teachers tutoring students for the lowest cost professional tutoring service in the county.

Kimberley Ahumada has joined the Center as the Executive Director after 17 years of working with the community in adult education and directing a home daycare.   A grant from the Antioch Community Foundation has allowed the Center to invest in software; so students can sign up on-line at www.DeltaLearningCenter.org or by calling (925) 757-13410. Limited discounts and scholarships may be available.

The unique blue building at 275 W. Tregallas Road, across from the Antioch Post Office, was designed and built by the East County Community specifically for Delta Learning Center in 1989.

DLC is always looking for additional credentialed teachers to tutor local students in a variety of subjects.

“Nothing can compare to the Delta Learning Center.  Our tutors love the one-on-one teaching in this relaxed and caring atmosphere,” explained former Executive Director, Tara McKnight, who still serves on the board after relocating to Las Vegas in 2019.  “DLC tutors and staff are talented and devoted educators who truly care about the success of our students.”

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

Black authors to hold children’s book tour and expo in Antioch Thursday afternoon

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

By Dietra King

Come support our Black authors.  Bring every child you know out today from 2-6 pm at Dad’s BBQ, 5887 Lone Tree Way, Suite R, 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 council to consider first in region Bicycle Garden during Tuesday night meeting

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Screenshot of Bicycle Garden concept video.

14-item agenda begins with 5-year Capital Improvement Program study session, followed by presentation of Rivertown Dining District marketing program, adopting a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, more youth development programs such as All Inclusive Parks, plus easing restrictions on home occupations, expanding ban on smoking, giving city manager 15% pay raise

By Allen Payton

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 the Antioch City Council will once again deal with 14 agenda items, as they did during last week’s special meeting. They include a study session on the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program beginning at 5:00 p.m., followed by a presentation on marketing for the new Rivertown Dining District, adopting a water shortage contingency plan, plus multiple youth development programs.

The council will also consider easing restrictions on home-based businesses, allowing for light manufacturing, such as crafts and other items that are sold on websites such as Etsy, as well as expanding the ban on smoking to include e-cigarettes. Finally, the council will consider increasing City Manager Ron Bernal’s annual salary by 15% to $293,712  which “reflects a positive review”, according to the staff report.

Water Management

The council will consider adopting a Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) as part of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan Update which will be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources. According to the city staff report, while the WSCP is done each year, this year the city must now provide information not previously required. That includes a description of the process for an annual water supply reliability assessment, five-year drought risk assessment, six water shortage levels and a seismic risk and assessment plan, among others.

Bicycle Garden rendering. From council presentation by CCTA and Safe Streets.

Bicycle Garden

The youth development programs the council will be discussing include a Bicycle Garden, in coordination with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Street Smarts Diablo Region Safe Routes to Schools program. (See concept videoBicycle Garden presentation

According to the city staff report the proposed development of a state-of-the-art Bicycle Garden in Antioch would be the first of its kind in the region and is expected to be completed via public-private partnership funding. The Bicycle Garden would be a permanent, hands-on bicycle training facility fully contained within an existing Antioch park.

Bicycle Garden rendering.

Designed like a miniature city streetscape, the Garden would provide a safe place for youth and adults to ride bikes and learn the rules-of-the-road. The park would consist of small roads that weave in and around landscaped areas with smaller scaled versions of real-life traffic features including signals, traffic signs, road markings, bus stops, bike lanes, train tracks, etc.

In addition to open and free public use by individuals and families, the Bicycle Garden could provide a variety of programming opportunities for the City of Antioch: school field trips, classes for children, teens, and adults of all ages and abilities; summer camp modules, community biking and safety events, private party rentals, and more.

The Antioch Bicycle Garden will serve four goals:

  • SAFETY: Serve as the gold standard model for bicycle safety education, work toward a regional Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatal and severe traffic collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians; and provide hands-on bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety education designed for both programmed and independent learning in a comfortable, fun, permanent, and car-free facility.
  • COMMUNITY HEALTH: Increase and support community building, exercise, outdoor recreation options, and social and emotional well-being for youth and adults while instilling a “culture of bicycling” in Antioch, and the region.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by inspiring community members to replace vehicle trips to/from schools and other community destinations with bicycling or walking.
  • EQUITY: Ensure equitable, safe, and no-cost access to the facility for all members of the public, including youth and adults of all ages and abilities.

From Antioch City Council presentation by Gates + Associates.

All Inclusive Parks

The council will also be provided a presentation on All Inclusive Parks, expanding on the All Abilities Playground at Prewett Family Park. They will then discuss and provide direction to staff on a park design policy. All Inclusive Parks presentation

The regular council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. See the complete agenda.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting in the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting, to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers – You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting. – When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.
  3. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, General Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. All emails received by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting.

 

 

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

Low-cost childcare assistance available through CocoKids

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

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

California CASA releases 2019/2020 Impact Report: Stronger Together

Friday, March 12th, 2021

California CASA announced today, Friday, March 12, 2021, that it has published its 2019/2020 Impact Report, which reinforces the organization’s mission as it relates to helping serve the over 83,000 youth in California’s foster care system, local CASA programs, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. This year’s report also focuses on the unique actions the organization took in the wake of unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this exceptional year, the 44 CASA programs in our state experienced first-hand how difficult it was, at times, for children in foster care to get their basic needs met. California CASA also witnessed the dedication and resiliency of CASA staff, boards, and volunteers in their outstanding support of youth who have experienced abuse and neglect,” said CA CASA CEO Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq. “The 2019/2020 Impact Report showcases the strength of our network and the potential to serve even more children by recruiting, training, and overseeing a growing and more diverse group of volunteer advocates in each county.”

The title of this year’s report — Stronger Together— underscores the cooperative relationship of California CASA and the variety of community members that come together to care for children across the state. In the midst of these tumultuous times, California CASA’s flexibility enabled the organization to operate exceptionally in an environment where county and state guidelines shifted in unpredictable ways. This purposeful approach was enhanced by dedicated CASA staff and volunteers at individual CASA programs adapting to ever changing dependency court and public health requirements that impacted advocates and the youth they are connected to.

The report looks at the how California CASA managed a wide range of initiatives to strengthen the service, quality, and impact of Court Appointed Special Advocates around the state.

Summary of 2019/2020 Impact in California:

  • 14,150 children in California foster had the support of a CASA volunteer.
  • 8,798 Court Appointed Special Advocates worked on behalf of children.
  • $17.6M+ worth of volunteer service hours were provided by CASA volunteers to foster youth.
  • 6,628 hours of technical assistance were provided by California CASA to local CASA programs.
  • $8.5M+ in funding was facilitated by California CASA for local CASA programs.
  • 2500 local CASA staff and volunteers attended California CASA webinar training sessions.

California CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization ensuring that children and youth in California’s foster care system have both a voice and the services they need for a stable future. California CASA connects the 44 county CASA programs in the state in order to raise awareness of the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates and provides support, advice, resources, and oversight to maintain high-quality programs that serve children’s best interests. California CASA is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children.

 More information about California Court Appointed Special Advocates Association can be found here: CaliforniaCASA.org.  

 

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

Supervisors chastise DA Becton over outdoor wedding, OK demolishing old admin, county jail buildings

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Historic photo of old Contra Costa County jail. Source: Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa

Architectural Preservation Foundation wants old jail preserved for other uses; Board hears from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID related equity issues; COVID-19 variant draws concern

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa Supervisors Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff chastised Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, during the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, for holding her wedding reception in the backyard of her El Sobrante home in August in violation of COVID-19 health protocols.

“I think we give up hope when our top public officials improperly conduct themselves,” District 4 Supervisor Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said.

“What District Attorney Becton did was wrong.  There were so many events that so many of us had to give up that were important,” Mitchoff later said. “It just needs to be called out.  We cannot sweep it under the rug and act as if this did not happen.”

“I feel very frustrated about the wedding District Attorney Becton had at her home” remarked District 2 Supervisor Andersen of Danville.  “I was very surprised that she would have a party after a wedding, knowing it was in violation of county health codes.”

In her defense, Becton said: “I did everything I believe was in proper guidance with what I thought was allowed.  I realize public officials like myself are held to a higher standard as we should be.”

Becton married Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, a fourth-generation preacher and the author of his most recently published book, Hope Us, Lord. (See related article)

Approve Demolition of Old County Administration Building, Old County Jail

Over the concerns of preservationists, supervisors flashed the green light for Contra Costa County Public Works officials to hire a design-build contractor to demolish the old 12-story county administration complex at 651 Pine Street in Martínez and the old county jail across the street from the administration complex so that either a two or three-story office building can be constructed on the site of the old administration building.

In December, the county opened a new four-story, 71,000 square foot Administration Building across the street from old the Pine Street building.

It would cost about $65 million to demolish the old building and then build a two-story building and $75 million to build a three-story office building.  The County plans to provide parking and open public space on the land cleared through demolition.

“Four years ago, we presented over 300 signatures to you for preservation,” said Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa President Cheryll Grover. “There has been no current relevant community outreach on this issue.”

According to the organization’s website, “In 1989 the entire Contra Costa County ‘Court House Block’ was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1903 County Jail and the present-day Finance Building.  The National Register described these as classically inspired dignified structures of Vermont granite ‘designed to represent stability and permanence.’”

County officials have shown interest in using the Pine Street site for office space for the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Public Offender’s Office, Health Services and the Office of Racial Justice and Equality.

Supervisors said because of the old jails building material – concrete to keep prisoners inside along with concerns about the presence of asbestos, made it problematic to renovate the old jail.  Grover said her preservation group did propose alternative proposals to rehabilitate the old jail, but their proposals apparently fell short of the mark as far as meeting County Public Works criteria.

From slide show presentation to CCCBOS 020921.

Hear from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID Related Equity Issues

In other action, the Supervisors heard a presentation from the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition and the Bay Area Equity Atlas on COVID Related Equity Issues, to ensure all county residents are treated fairly during recovery from the pandemic.

According to their slide show, “The Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition advocates for community engagement in the Contra Costa County budgeting process and for a set of values-based budgeting principles that support safe and affordable housing, stable employment with fair wages, sufficient healthy food, essential health care, access to critical social services, and quality early care and education.”

Presenters spoke on the subjects of Disparate COVID Health, Housing, and Economic Impacts, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Community Challenges and Stabilizing Neighborhoods and Equitable Relief.

They offered proposed solutions and plans of action in response including: “Producing and Maintaining lasting affordable housing”; “Prioritize equity and those most in need – evictions, food, housing, health, essential services”; “Protect and stabilize vulnerable households and workers”; “Connect low-wage workers with economic opportunities”; and “‘Build Back Better’ through equitable investments in a stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy”; among others.

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Variant Draws County Warning

A deadly Coronavirus variant now prevalent in Santa Clara County could surface in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa County Health Department Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano informed supervisors.

“Getting a vaccine is still the most important thing one can do to protect oneself,” said Dr. Farnitano upon informing supervisors about the Santa Clara County variant.  So far, 800 patients in Santa Clara County have been stricken with this variant and “there have been a couple of cases of this variant in Contra Costa County,” he said.  “We expect to be more knowledgeable about this variant in the next couple of weeks.”

The Santa Clara County COVID-10 variant is one of a number of Coronavirus strains to have surfaced globally, particularly in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Farnitano said because Contra Costa County remains in the Purple Tier, at or under 46.2 new infections as it was in late January, school grade levels K to 6 can “bring back students as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday).”  The restart of school for grade levels 7 to 12 will be determined later.

County health officials made the COVID-19 announcements at the same time United States health officials announced Tuesday that the most severe surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation has weakened significantly based on major metrics.  Nationally, newly reported cases have declined 56 percent over the past 30 days.  Hospitalizations have declined 38 percent since January 6.  The seven-day average of COVID-19 tests returning positive declined to 6.93 percent over the past week, the lowest rate since October 31.

Dr. Farnitano announced religious institutions can reopen at 25 percent occupancy, but chanting, singing and the serving of food are prohibited, he said.

Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth also confirmed the county will receive $40 million in stated COVID-19 vaccine distribution funding but, could not provide details.  Last week, there were initial reports the state aid the county would receive would be shared with health organizations Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield.

County Health Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas said the county’s efforts to equitably distribute the vaccine throughout the county, especially in parts of the county where there are more people of color or economically disadvantaged is gaining traction.  He reported that about 70,000 vaccine shots had been administered to county residents and retailers like Safeway, RiteAid, and WalMart are participating in the administration of vaccine shots.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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

Contra Costa County Clerk’s office to officiate weddings on Valentine’s Day 2021

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach and Engagement Specialist

Photo: CCC Clerk

The Contra Costa County Clerk’s Office will officiate wedding ceremonies on Valentine’s Day – the most romantic day of the year.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Sunday, February 14th.  Twenty-one ceremonies will be performed at the Contra Costa County Clerk’s office, located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

“Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year and despite the many limitations posed by the pandemic, we are thrilled to offer safe, socially-distant appointments for couples to exchange nuptials on this special and popular day that symbolizes never-ending love,” Assistant Clerk-Recorder Barbara Dunmore said. “Not surprisingly, the appointments filled to capacity very quickly.”

Typically, the County Clerk’s Office officiates Valentine’s Day ceremonies as part of the Destination Wedding program in a picturesque or historic location. The pandemic has caused this program to be put on hold for the near future.  It is not likely to resume until the shelter order is lifted.

As with all ceremony appointments offered throughout the pandemic, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office takes precautions to keep our constituents and our staff safe.  Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place and ceremonies will be conducted with a glass barrier between the couple and the officiant.  Only the couple getting married will be permitted in our lobby.

All appointments for the Sunday ceremonies have been filled, and the County Clerk’s Office does not accept walk-in appointments.

Before the ceremony, couples must obtain a marriage license at the main office in Martinez. The civil marriage ceremony fee is $60. Couples can obtain a public marriage license for $86 or a confidential marriage license for $90.

The County Clerk’s Office continues to conduct wedding ceremonies during the week.  Couples interested in having their ceremony at the Martinez office must make an appointment.  For information about marriage license and ceremony services, go to https://www.ccclerkrec.us/ or call the office at 925-335-7900.

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

El Campanil Theatre Academy for children begins Monday, Jan. 11

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Learn Film Acting, Voice-Overs, Stage Combat, Children’s Theatre, Technical Theatre, Improvisation

Since 2006, El Campanil Theatre has offered El Campanil Children’s Theatre – a tuition-free, performance-based program that has served as a first stepping stone for hundreds of young actors over the years, introduced by Sharon Redman.

As arts programs get slashed everywhere, we asked ourselves what our greater responsibility was: to our students, to their parents, and to the community.

We have expanded Sharon Redman’s original concept into El Campanil Theatre Academy — a tiered, multi-layered program meant to not only educate students in the performing arts, but give them tools for career placement in the performing arts. Classes ranging from acting to design, from directing to playwriting, and from voice to movement–all taught by industry professionals.

Tuition-free and low-tuition classes are available below. Limited scholarships are available by applying here.

These classes have been designed to be taught either virtually or in-person, depending on the COVID regulations at the time that classes begin.

For schedule and more information, click here.

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