Archive for the ‘Children & Families’ Category

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.

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2021 Contra Costa County Fair canceled

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

ANTIOCH – As a major event facility, The Contra Costa Event Park has been weighing all of its options, as we monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. There is no higher priority than the safety of our Fairgrounds family, patrons, vendors, promoters and sponsors at the Contra Costa Event Park. It is with heavy heart and great regret due to this ongoing situation the Contra Costa Event Park Board of Directors met last night and unanimously voted to cancel the 2021 Contra Costa County Fair scheduled for May 13 – 16.

We understand that this decision has both financial and emotional impact on all of our Fair partners. After thoughtful consideration, we do not feel it would be a responsible decision to continue with the planning of the 2021 Contra Costa County Fair, when it could potential be canceled at the last minute.

The Contra Costa County Fair has been an annual event for over 80 years, and has operated uninterrupted, with the exception of a few years during World War II. The Fair is a large part of our communities’ history and tradition, and the decision to cancel the 2021 Fair did not come lightly.

We thank the community and all of our partners for your continued support during these challenging times.

We look forward to seeing you all safe and healthy for the 2022 Contra Costa County Fair May 12 – 15.

 

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El Campanil Theatre brings Santa safely to your family

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation presents “Live From The Workshop”. By appointment, now through December 20, 2020, online, in your home

Since the beginning of October, El Campanil Theatre has been finding ways to safely bring entertainment into the homes of their patrons and community with “Live From El Campanil”, a live-streamed concert series featuring outstanding performances across    music genres.

At the end of a tempestuous year, the non-profit El Campanil Theatre wanted to find another way to let    audiences enjoy the holiday season safely. “For me, one of the greatest holiday traditions is bringing your children and grandchildren to see Santa,” laments Executive Director Rick Carraher. “The pandemic has rightfully made us all wary about bringing our loved ones to a public place. We wanted to find a way to keep that very special tradition alive, somehow.”

“Live From The Workshop”, a limited holiday series running on weekends from December 5th-20th, is     trying something unique: a live Zoom chat with the Big Guy himself, Santa Claus, right from his workplace at the North Pole. For $20 per household, families can book 5-minute sessions with Santa, can ask questions, tell him what they want for the holidays, and, best of all, the families will get a downloadable link of their chat with Santa so they can treasure it forever.

Upon purchase, parents will also get a link to fill out a personalized form to give Santa’s team more information prior to the chat, and can even upload their child’s wish list or letter to Santa so that he can have it in advance.

Tickets are $20 per household and available at https://www.elcampaniltheatre.com/santafaq.html or by calling (925) 757-9500.

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Sutter Delta nurses protest Dec. 31 closure of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Sutter Delta Medical Center nurses protest the Dec. 31 closure of the hospitals Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Photo by Allen Payton

Patients will be transferred to Alta Bates in Berkeley or other hospitals; mother and baby could be separated; closure based on financial challenges and lack of need; all unit staff have been offered other positions at the medical center

By Allen Payton

Holding signs that read “Don’t Put Babies At Risk! Keep Our NICU Open!”, nurses at Antioch’s Sutter Delta Medical Center staged a protest on the sidewalk next to the entrance of the hospital Lone Tree Way on Tuesday opposing the closure of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in January.

“That means patients will have to be transferred to another hospital, like Alta Bates instead,” said one of the nurses said at the protest.

“Mothers who are under 37 weeks gestation or high risk will be transferred to another facility,” Mari Ward, an RN at Sutter Delta shared. “Babies born inside the hospital requiring NICU care will now be transferred to Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley or Children’s Hospital in Oakland, separating mothers from their newborn.”

“So far this year, approximately 16% of our babies needed some form of NICU care,” she added.

According to a Nov. 30 press release from the California Nurses Association, “the hospital plans to shutter the unit by the end of December. The NICU unit cares for critically ill babies. After the closure, sick babies will be transported to other facilities, potentially placing patient safety in jeopardy. RNs who staff the NICU have expressed concern that the hospital’s policy is short-sighted and will leave infants in their first hours of life vulnerable to the worst possible outcomes.”

“Often the most difficult, trying moments for a baby that requires intensive care is the first few minutes and hours when we struggle to stabilize the baby,” said Ward. “This is highly skilled work that takes training and experience. I am so scared for the babies that we care for. That is why I am speaking out.”

The CNA press release continued, “Currently the hospital relies on NICU nurses not just for inpatient NICU stays but also as a nursery for ‘transition babies.’ Transition babies are essentially well but exhibit some worrisome signs that need to be monitored. For example, transitional tachypnea of the newborn, which more frequently occurs in newborns born to diabetic or asthmatic mothers and those born via cesarean section. These newborns with small signs of respiratory distress may require monitoring or interventions, including respiratory support.”

“Many babies have small signs of respiratory distress. In most cases they end up fine. But sometimes things go south,” Ward said. “Having trained neonatal nurses monitor these situations can save a life or prevent long-term complications.”

“This company’s decision to cut off our patients and our community from vital services is unconscionable,” said Sharon Martinez”, an operating room registered nurse.

“The NICU nurses respond daily to assist when complications arise during birth,” said Edith Owens, a registered nurse in the hospital’s Ambulatory Care Surgery unit. “Shame on Sutter Delta for putting profits over ensuring that they are alive and healthy to meet those challenges. Who will be there in these situations when we are gone?”

“This closure was announced prior to the beginning of January 2021, therefore only a 30-day notice is required,” Ward explained. “If it was announced after January 1st, 2021, under AB 2037 which was endorsed by the California Nurses’ Association, the hospital would have been required to give a 90 day notice, publish in the newspaper, notify the public, notify local city council, etc. This was a rushed notice with no plan on how or when to train L&D staff on newborn stabilization or allowing the Women’s Health Center time to prepare. Babies lives are at risk. This is a huge concern for our obstetrics doctors and the doctors specifically ask that this was shared with the media as well.”

Ward shared an official statement during a press conference about the NICU closure Tuesday afternoon.

“My name is Mari Ward, and I am a registered nurse in the NICU at Sutter Delta Medical Center. I’m joined by my RN colleagues from Sutter Delta. Our message today is an urgent response to Sutter Delta’s short-sighted decision to close the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  This closure would be a loss for this community, which depends on this hospital to have resources of specially-trained personnel like NICU nurses to address any complications that may occur during birth or after. A few examples of complications include: emergency deliveries outside the unit (ie the hospital parking lot), internal ‘high risk’ births, and resuscitation/stabilization of the tiniest of pre-term babies known as ‘micropremies.’ Closing this hospital’s NICU also threatens families. There’s a chance a mother could be separated from her newborn who would have to be transferred if NICU services are needed. The hospital is placing profits over patient safety. Placing financial line items and profit over ensuring that these critically ill infants remain alive and healthy. As Union nurses it is our duty to speak publicly about these failures, just as it is our duty to care for our patients at the bedside. We call on our Employer to immediately rescind this decision to close the NICU. Thank you.

We need the community’s support in this fight to keep our NICU open!”

According to Sutter Health Media Relations Manager, Monique Binkley Smith the decision to close the NICU at Sutter Delta was based on financial challenges and lack of need.

“Many hospitals across the country are facing financial challenges, which the global health crisis is making even more urgent,” she shared. “As many people continue to delay preventive care and avoid hospital emergency departments, Sutter Delta Medical Center (SDMC) patient volumes, like those at many hospitals across the country, have not returned to pre-pandemic levels and are not expected to in 2021.”

“Added to this difficult environment, the birthrate and the demand for neonatal intensive care services have both declined in the Delta region for the past three years. Births at SDMC have declined about 32% since 2016,” Binkley Smith continued. “Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) discharges at SDMC follow a similar pattern. This year, SDMC’s special care nursery has had an average census of less than one baby per day. In fact, many days there are no babies in the SDMC NICU. In the face of significant volume loss for the hospital overall and the declining demand for neonatal intensive care services, SDMC has made the difficult decision to close its special care nursery, also called a Level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), by December 31, 2020.

“It is important to note that all affected staff members have been offered roles at SDMC or within the Sutter Health integrated network of care, and these staff members will also be provided with retraining if needed. Sutter Health and SDMC value and support the unique talents and strengths that each employee brings to our organization,” she stated. “SDMC will continue to provide high-quality Labor and Delivery services to the Delta community. Additionally, in order to ensure the highest quality of care for any baby that needs a higher level of care, all SDMC Labor and Delivery nurses will receive additional training as required.”

Transfers to Alta Bates Not New

Binkley Smith confirmed that patients will be transferred to Alta Bates, but that it’s not a new practice.

“As has been the practice for years, babies born at SDMC that require a higher level of care will continue to be transferred to the Level III NICU at sister hospital Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, or to another appropriate hospital,” she shared. “This is common practice; many community hospitals do not offer NICU services. The vast majority of babies born at SDMC do not require NICU services and stay in-room with their parents after they are born.”

“SDMC is proud of the exceptional level of care provided families and their newborns by its staff, nurses and affiliated physicians,” Binkley Smith offered. “SDMC will continue to evolve its services to reflect the Delta community and meet the needs of its patients.”

She also added a note about Level II NICU/Special Care Nurseries: “A special care nursery or Level II NICU provides the lowest level of NICU care for newborns. Typically, the babies in a Level II NICU are premature infants born after 32 weeks gestation or who are moderately ill with problems such as jaundice that are expected to resolve rapidly.”

California Nurses Association Responds

In response, California Nurses Association labor representative, Robert Heaster who was in attendance at Tuesday’s protest, wrote, “This closure would be a loss for this community, which depends on this hospital to have resources of specially-trained personnel like NICU nurses to address any complications that may occur during birth or after. A few examples of complications include: emergency deliveries outside the unit (ie the hospital parking lot), internal ‘high risk’ births, and resuscitation/stabilization of the tiniest of pre-term babies known as ‘micropremies.’

Closing this hospital’s NICU also threatens families. There’s a chance a mother could be separated from her newborn who would have to be transferred (up to 40 miles) if NICU services are needed. This short-sighted decision by the hospital is placing profits over patient safety. Placing financial line items and profit over ensuring that these critically ill infants remain alive and healthy. As Union nurses it is their duty to speak publicly about these failures, just as it is their duty to care for the patients at the bedside. We call on the Employer to immediately rescind this decision to close the NICU. Thank you.”

 

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Brentwood woman arrested at Antioch motel, charged with murder for death of her 2-year-old child from fentanyl intoxication

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

By Brentwood Police Department

It was the call that every officer dreads to hear…

On September 20, 2020, at around 2:54 AM, Brentwood officers responded to a residence in the 50 block of Havenwood Ave. to investigate a report of an unresponsive 2 year-old child, later identified as Jasani Kerry. His mother, 22-year-old Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, had found him unresponsive and telephoned emergency personnel.

When officers and emergency personnel arrived on scene, they performed CPR for several minutes, however, Jasani was ultimately declared deceased. The preliminary investigation revealed drug paraphernalia and illicit drugs that later tested positive for fentanyl in the presence of Jasani preceding his death. Weeks later, a Contra Costa County Coroner’s pathologist determined Jasani’s cause of death was due to acute fentanyl intoxication.

Following an extensive follow-up investigation, Brentwood investigators prepared an arrest warrant for Genesis charging her with murder.

On October 30, 2020 at around 3:30 PM, investigators located Genesis at the Comfort Inn Hotel located at 2436 Mahogany Way in Antioch and took her into custody without incident. Genesis was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility on the outstanding arrest warrant.

Yesterday the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office formally charged Genesis with second-degree murder, possession of narcotics for sale, and child abuse resulting in death. Genesis is being held on $1.1 million dollar bail.

Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends who have been affected by this tragedy. The loss of any child is difficult for anyone to bear; we hope the arrest in this case can bring some peace to those affected.

Rest in peace Jasani.

Arraignment Scheduled For November 18

Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Scott Alonso issued the following about the case Thursday morning:

Earlier this week, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges against Genesis Barrera-Galdamez (22-year-old resident of Brentwood) for the death of her two-year-old son, Jasani Kerry, Jr. Barrera-Galdamez was also charged with felony child abuse and felony possession of Fentanyl to sell. Two enhancements were also filed tied to the child abuse charge against the defendant: willful harm causing injury and great bodily injury resulting in brain damage and paralysis. The young child consumed fentanyl under the care of Barrera-Galdamez. The child’s autopsy report later ruled the toddler’s death was caused by Acute Fentanyl Toxicity.

Brentwood Police Department investigated the case and presented it to our Office for filing. Homicide Unit Supervisor Derek Butts reviewed the investigation and filed the charges listed above.

“While the Defendant did not intend that her son Jasani die, the evidence shows that she was aware her Fentanyl possession and use was dangerous to human life and despite this knowledge, exposed Jasani to the danger which ultimately led to his death, stated Deputy District Attorney Butts. “Well known amongst abusers, Fentanyl is an exceptionally toxic and dangerous substance.  The act of exposing people to or supplying others with Fentanyl, if death results, can lead to murder charges.”

In the early morning hours of September 20, the defendant called police and stated her son was not breathing and non-responsive. She told the police that her son appeared blue and his body was very cold. CPR performed at the scene by Brentwood Police Officers and continued by American Medical Response personnel for over 30 minutes did not revive the boy. Officers at the scene located multiple items of drug paraphernalia on and around the bed the Defendant shared with Jasani, including 13 grams of powdered Fentanyl, baggies and tin foil pieces containing Fentanyl residue and a torch lighter.

After Jasani’s death, Barrera-Galdamez attempted to sell Fentanyl to multiple parties. Brentwood Police Department officers obtained a warrant for the arrest of the defendant on October 29th. The following day, Barrera-Galdamez was arrested at the Comfort Inn in Antioch, where she was engaging in Fentanyl sales.

Barrera-Galdamez made her first appearance in court yesterday and she remains in custody with bail set at $1,100,000. Her arraignment on the charges was set for November 18th.

Case information: People v. Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, Docket Number 04-200626-0.

 

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County health officials offer guidance on celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos safely

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Joint Statement by Bay Area Health Officers to prevent spreading COVID-19 among family and friends

Bay Area health officials remind residents that many commonly celebrated Halloween and Día de Los Muertos activities carry high risk for spreading COVID-19. Focusing on decorations, limiting activities to the people you live with, and virtual costume parties or contests will help keep our communities safe this season, especially our children. Together, we all need to do as much as we can to protect ourselves and those around us.

For instance, trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity, because it increases contact with people outside of your household who may not be as careful about COVID-19 prevention. Parties are high-risk because mixing among people who don’t live in the same home introduces more opportunities for the virus to pass from one person to another. Bay Area contact tracing has shown that gathering and mixing are key contributors to infection.

These holidays are no different than the rest of the year when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you feel sick or have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19; wear a face covering whenever you leave home; and keep your distance from others (even relatives) who don’t live in your household, and remember that being outside is safer than being inside, especially in combination with face covering and keeping your distance. Consider using a themed cloth mask, as a costume mask is not a substitute. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.

Contra Costa County residents are reminded that local and State Health Officer Orders are still in effect. Halloween gatherings, Día de los Muertos celebrations, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted unless they are conducted in compliance with local and State Health Orders.

Local health officials highly recommend community members participate in lower risk activities to celebrate Halloween and Día de Los Muertos this year:

LOWER RISK: Stay home, keep it small

  • Celebrating Halloween traditions like carving pumpkins or a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in your home.
  • Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, while wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others.
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at least 6 feet apart while wearing masks, with a very small group of neighbors or friends. Fewer people with more distance is safer.
  • Having a virtual costume contest.
  • Dressing up your house, apartment, living space, yard or car with Halloween decoration or decorating homes with images and objects to honor deceased loved ones.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes with members of your household.
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed.
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased.
  • Participating in vehicle-based gatherings that comply with state and local guidance like drive-in movies and drive-through attractions, or car/bike parades where participants do not leave their vehicles.
  • Avoid driving in areas where there are many pedestrians.
  • Spectators should watch from their homes or yards and not gather with people they do not live with.

MODERATE RISK: If you must

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to physically distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • Ensure everyone is wearing an appropriate face covering and maintaining a physical distance from others.
  • Everyone participating should bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently AND wash their hands immediately after coming home.
  • Candy shouldn’t be eaten while outside the home because that would require both removing the face mask and touching wrappers.
  • Having a very small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade or movie night where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart and are wearing masks. Fewer people with more distance is safer.
  • Enjoying themed outdoor dining that complies with state and local guidance or takeout.

HIGHER RISK: Please avoid

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door. Although this activity is outdoors, it is higher risk because it brings multiple people from different households together.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19. Doing so can bring COVID-19 into the area and threaten the residents’ lives.
  • If trick-or-treating is occurring in your neighborhood and you are at home and do not want to be disturbed, you may want to post a sign or turn off your porch light.

VERY HIGH RISK: Not permitted by State and Local Orders

  • Attending a crowded party held indoors or outdoors. Large gatherings, even if they are outdoors, are high risk for spreading COVID-19 and are associated with many cases throughout the Bay Area.
  • Sharing, eating, drinking, speaking loudly or singing amongst others outside of your household.
  • Haunted houses or indoor mazes
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.

To further protect yourself and your loved ones, be sure to monitor yourself during the 14 days after these holidays and pay particular attention from days 3 – 7 after the holidays when you are most likely to develop symptoms. If you don’t feel well or you learn someone you had close contact with tested positive, get tested immediately and stay home until your appointment and while you wait for your results.

To learn more about symptoms and testing, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

 

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County’s Public Health Nursing Car Seat Project awarded grant for child safety program

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Contra Costa Health Services’ Public Health Nursing Car Seat Project will help parents and caregivers keep their children as safe as possible in the car thanks to a $83,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

The one-year grant from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021 funds a car seat education program that encourages the proper installation and use of child safety seats.

The grant funds the following activities:

  • One-on-one/virtual appointments to inspect and install car seats.
  • Child safety seat education classes for parents and caregivers.
  • Child safety seats at no-cost to nursing case management clients and low-income families following education classes.
  • Promote safety seat recycling and importance of discarding used and expired car seats
  • Work with community partners to promote child passenger safety education.

“The Public Health Nursing Program in Contra Costa County serves vulnerable, low-income families who are impacted daily by health inequities,” said Program Manager Michelle Rivero, Program. “Our families struggle with meeting the basic needs of the children. Rent, food, clothing all become priorities over car seats, and many of our families use old, expired car seats. This program is a much-needed resource to help keep children safe.”

From CA Office of Traffic Safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of car seats are misused.

“Car seats save lives,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Keeping children safe in a vehicle is as important as ever, and funding for car seat programs play a vital role in ensuring the proper use of child safety seats.”

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To find the right car seat for your child, click here.

For more information contact Rivero at (925) 608-5119 or Child Passenger Safety Technician, Jessica Recinos, at (925) 532-2152.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Drive-Thru Trick or Treat at Golden Hills Community Church Brentwood campus Saturday evening

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

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