ward Winning News al A pa
JUNE 11, 2010
Fire station closures move forward by Rick Lemyre Staff Writer The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District this week set the stage for closing two fire stations as soon as next month. In a meeting attended by about 100 members of the public Monday, the ECCFPD board ordered staff to prepare a budget that includes 48 firefighters and six stations. The current service model includes 45 firefighters (an additional five vacant positions are covered by overtime) and eight stations. Currently, six of the eight stations are staffed with two firefighters (the industry standard is three) while two are staffed with three. The budget the ECCFPD board has requested would staff four stations with three firefighters and two stations with two. The district covers 250 square miles of far East Contra Costa, including Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen. Many of those in attendance Tuesday implored the district to “look under every rock” to find a way to keep all the stations open. Many echoed the words of Board Member Chris Finetti of Discovery Bay, who read a statement at the beginning of the meeting. It said, in part: “I’d like to state for the record that I’m not going to be able to support any options that include station closure at this time. I believe
Photo by Richard Wisdom
ECCFPD Station 95 on Bethel Island is one of the stations that could be closed by next month because of declining district revenue. it would be reckless to remove fire protection from the public just as we enter fire season, and while we fortunately have reserves that can still protect us during the next fiscal year while we address this problem in a more informed, less reactive way. “I think that the worst thing we can do is put the communities we serve at risk by making the drastic decision to close stations without considering other options, and especially without allowing the public the opportunity to support a revenue enhancement.” Because district funding was established when far East County fire protection was provided largely by paid-on-call volunteers, and because the current reces-
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sion has decimated property tax revenues, the district is operating at a deficit. Over the last two years, revenue has fallen nearly 25 percent, and another 10-percent drop is expected next year. This year the shortfall amounts to $1.7 million; next year’s is expected to be $2.3 million. Before the 2012-13 fiscal year ends, cash reserves being used to make up the shortfall will be exhausted and the district could face bankruptcy. The 48 firefighter/six station plan would save the district $814,000 in personnel costs. Dropping a contract with CalFire to staff an additional station on Marsh Creek Road (CalFire pays to keep the station open during the fire season) saves $366,000, and shuttering two sta-
tions cuts $70,000 from the operations budget. The total savings in the plan are $1.25 million. Acting Fire Chief Hugh Henderson told the board that cuts alone cannot solve the district’s financial woes. Even the most severe option examined – eliminating six firefighters and three stations – would stave off the potential bankruptcy only one year longer. A number of possible actions were brought up at the meeting, including charging out-of-area people for emergency services, contracting with CalFire to run the district, borrowing, selling the district’s fire boat and going to the cities within the district and asking for money. Board members said that those options had been looked at before, and were either impractical or did not make enough of a difference to stave off the inevitable: a tax increase. Several board members said they did not believe residents of the district would support a new tax unless the board, which took control of the district from the County Board of Supervisors earlier this year, proved it could produce a budget for this year given the resources it has, and showed it could make difficult and possibly unpopular decisions needed to ultimately resolve the problem. “We can’t go out and ask the citizens see Closures page 22A
JUNE 11, 2010
Lunch is served at new Oakley address by Samie Hartley Staff Writer
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa (LFCC) has been feeding the hungry in Oakley for more than eight years at St. Anthony Catholic Church, but now the program has a new home. Due to a renovation project at St. Anthony, Loaves and Fishes needed a new venue for its Oakley operation. The Redman Pocahontas Hall, also in Oakley, seemed like an ideal fit, according to LFCC Operations Manager Carol Babcock. “As the church was being renovated, we began to look for a new location, and this hall is absolutely wonderful,” Babcock said. “The members of the hall have been so gracious to invite us here to serve the hungry each week, and this facility is gorgeous. We love it here, and so do our guests.” LFCC is run by community volunteers and donations from Safeway, Lucky, Trader Joe’s, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and The Cheesecake Factory. LFCC doesn’t offer scraps and stale bread. Every Monday through Friday, the program offers people warm, nutritious meals complete with fruit salad, bread, green salad, dessert and an entrée such as chicken curry, Mexican casserole or creamy pasta primavera with chicken. “We pride ourselves in serving hot, nutritious meals five days a week,” Babcock said. “We serve everyone, but the jobless,
Photo by Samie Hartley
Oakley Loaves and Fishes Manager Thurston Brice and volunteer Mary Johnannes offer welcoming smiles and warm nutritious meals at Loaves and Fishes’ new location at the Redman Pocahontas Hall. the working poor, seniors and families with children are the ones who are really in need right now. We don’t ask for identification or proof of residence. We don’t discriminate. We welcome everyone. “And for many of our guests, this may be the only warm meal they have all day, so guests are welcome to seconds and thirds. It’s all-you-can-eat from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Guest can’t take the leftovers home, but we do offer a ‘free’ table which is stocked with breads, muffins, bagels, cookies and any other overflow from the
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kitchen that didn’t appear on the serving table. People are welcome to take as much as they need. We don’t limit them or judge them. We just want to keep people from going hungry.” Oakley LFCC Manager Thurston Brice said that despite announcements of the program’s relocation, only about 40 percent of the St. Anthony regulars have followed the program to Main Street. “We average about 30 to 40 people each day, but a lot of our regulars haven’t followed us yet,” Brice said. “It could be
a transportation issue. St. Anthony’s was imbedded in the community, so a lot of people were able to walk to the church, but this new location is about two and a half miles away, so some people, especially the seniors, may not want to walk that far.” Babcock expects more guests in the next coming weeks since school is out for summer and children who get free lunches at school will need a place to go to fill that void. “We see a lot of children during the summer when school’s out,” Babcock said. “We see mothers bringing in their children because they have no way to provide a warm meal for their kids and they have nowhere else to go. But like I said, we don’t judge or discriminate. We just want to help.” Added Brice, “If you’re human, we’ll feed you. Race, gender, religion … that doesn’t matter here. We just want to make sure you have at least one warm meal today.” Redman Pocahontas Hall is located at 1403 Main St., next to Live Oak Church. The site is accessible through the Tri-Delta Transit Route 383 Oakley Loop. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. All meals are free. Those interested in volunteering to help prepare meals or serve food are invited to contact Volunteer Services Manager Rodger Jensen at 925-708-4257 or visit www.loavesfishescc.org. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
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JUNE 11, 2010
La Paloma graduates fly toward future by Dave Roberts Staff Writer La Paloma High Principal Lorenzo Rodriguez began his speech at the June 3 graduation ceremony by discussing how the students had been transformed, but followed it with a slip that made it seem like nothing had changed after all. “Their hard work, determination and perseverance helped them attain their goal tonight. The faculty and staff have done a great job of molding these young men and women into students we are proud of,” he said. “You all started as young men and women, and leave today as young men and women.” As many in the audience at the Liberty Performing Arts Center started to laugh, Rodriguez smiled and said, “My bad. I’m going to rephrase that. You all started high school as young teens, and leave today as young men and women.” That was met with cheers and applause. He wrapped it up by saying, “After today you will enter into the next phase of your lives. Congratulations.” In his speech, Jerry Glenn, superintendent of the Liberty Union High School District, chose to celebrate two other groups in addition to the graduates assembled in several rows on stage. “The first is the staff members and management team at La Paloma,” he said. “They have dedicated their careers
Photo by Dave Roberts
A La Paloma High graduate acknowledges a member of the audience as she advances to receive her diploma. to working with students who in some places have found school to be difficult at this time in their lives and have come to La Paloma to find a safe haven and a comforting place and a way to get through to get their diploma. I did my master’s degree on continuation schools. And I can assure you: I never ran into a staff anywhere else
as good as the one assembled here in our district.” The La Paloma teachers, staff and management stood and accepted the applause. “Secondly, there’s another important group sitting down here: and that’s the parents, the legal guardians, the aunts and uncles, grandmas who stepped in when
times were tough, and anyone else who helped bring these people to this stage tonight,” said Glenn, then asking them to stand and receive applause, the strongest of which came from the students. “Finally to the graduates: Your place on the stage is a very important milestone in your life,” said Glenn. “Even here at the start of the 21st century, over 25 percent of the students who began high school four years ago with these people as ninthgraders are not walking a stage somewhere in the state this month. There’s an infinite number of roads a young person can take after completing compulsory education. And by meeting here tonight and getting that diploma, a lot of doors to those potential paths open to these young people. “Where you go from here is truly up to you. But you’ve already shown you’ve got what it takes to get the job done, sometimes overcoming some tremendous obstacles. My only word of advice: Don’t let this time in high school get interrupted. Continue to study and learn in whatever you do, whether college or trade school or going in the military or just pick a career in some field. Continuing to learn and study and expand your mind is going to be the secret to your success. Keep that lifelong learning going. You can achieve your dreams. Go for it. Good luck, Class of 2010.” To view a list of graduates, visit www. thepress.net.
JUNE 11, 2010
ANTI-DEFICIENCY RULES IN CA
Photo by Dave Roberts
Thomas Mitose is one of Independence High’s many success stories.
Independence gained by Dave Roberts Staff Writer
All high school students are eager to finally reach graduation day. But the students at Independence High might be more eager than most because they never wanted to be in high school in the first place – or at least not the usual high school where you can feel like just another seat in a crowded classroom. Independence is a little different. One student – Elena Myers, 16, of Discovery Bay – is currently one of the hottest properties in the world of
motorcycle racing. She had hoped to graduate at last week’s raucous ceremony in the packed Liberty High gym. But lately she has devoted more time to her career since recently becoming the first female motorcyclist to win a race in the 76-year history of American Motorcyclist Association Pro Racing. She’s now being called the Danica Patrick of motorcycles. Independence is “designed for people like Elena, people who do not fit into the regular 8-to-3 mold,” said science teacher Paul Lindeman in an see Independence page 8A
There is a website (that I won’t name, don’t want to give them any free press) promoting walking away from your home when you are underwater, and they make it sound so EASY, like a mulligan in golf. To paraphrase from their website, “California has laws which bar the lender by law from coming after the borrower for a deficiency judgment.” Time for a fact-check. Their statement about California law is mostly true, except they need to finish the thought. California Civil Code Section 580 does give some antideficiency protection, but it only applies to 1-4 unit residential properties, and it only applies in certain circumstances: [Sec. 580(b)] If the loan(s) were used to purchase the property, and they have never been refinanced. This is called “Purchase Money.” [Sec. 580(d)] If the lender forecloses through a Trustee’s Sale. (Doesn’t matter if loan is Purchase Money or Recourse.) So if the loan was in place when you bought the home, and/or your lender forecloses on it through a Trustee’s Sale, there is no
right for the lender to pursue you after for the deficiency. This means that if your loan has ever been refinanced, or if you put a 2nd loan on the property AFTER you bought it, then the anti-deficiency rules may not protect you. I can tell you that 80-90% of the people who walk through my doors have either refinanced their loan(s), or put a 2nd mortgage on after they bought the property. So, no, most of the time you can’t just “walk away.” However, the California Senate just approved a bill (SB 1178) that would add antideficiency status to loans that have been refinanced. The bill now heads to the Assembly, and then to the Governor. If you like this bill, please let your representatives know. I’ll update you if it passes. DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney. Please seek legal advice for specifics to your situation. If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240MOVE (6683). To search the MLS for free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty – Advertisement
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NECK PAIN AND PINCHED NERVES “I woke up yesterday morning with severe neck pain that radiates down my right arm to my hand and I can barely move my neck without producing the shooting arm pain.” Or, “…for the last few months, I’ve had this nagging pain in my neck and when I look up, my arm goes numb.” Or, “Every time I bend my head to the left, my left arm goes numb. I’ve noticed when I lift weights, I can only curl 15 lbs with my left arm compared to 35 lbs with the right.” These are common histories describing a classic “pinched nerve in the neck.” So, what is a “pinched nerve?” To answer this, let’s first look at what a “nerve” is. In the diagram to the left, the nerves come off the spinal cord. Those in the neck region go down the arm and those in the low back go down the legs. The spinal cord is the “highway” that brings information from the nerves in the arms, legs, trunk, etc., to the brain where information is processed. The bony spine houses and protects the spinal cord and skull protects the brain but there is no bony protection for the nerves. Nerves bring information to the brain allowing us to feel, taste, smell, see, and move our legs and arms to perform complex movements like dancing, running, gymnastics, and so on. Information is constantly going to and from the brain to allow us to function normally. The nerve can get “pinched” anywhere along its course, including the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome), elbow (cubital tunnel syndrome), shoulder (thoracic outlet syndrome), and/or neck (herniated disk and/or arthritis). This results in a slowing down of information transmission to/from the brain and numbness, pain, throbbing, as well as weakness in strength can occur.
There are two types of conditions that commonly pinch nerves, which generally occur at different times of life – those with a herniated disk (younger > older patients) and those with arthritis (older > younger patients). A combination of the two conditions producing the pinching effect on the nerve can also occur making the diagnosis process a little trickier. The following diagram helps explain these conditions: The nerves exit the spine through holes that can be narrowed if the jelly central part of the disk herniates outward and into the nerve pushing it against the bone that makes up the hole through which it exits the spine. A “bone spur” (as shown in the diagram to the left, coming off the left facet joint) pushing into the nerve or the thickening of the ligaments that run inside the spinal canal (eg., ligamentum flavum) can also crowd these sensitive nerve structures and cause similar symptoms.
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JUNE 11, 2010
Independence from page 7A interview. “She’s working on her professional career. We have had professional ice skaters, several professional motorcycle riders come through. They are training and traveling a lot. They couldn’t do that and go to a traditional school. It gives them an opportunity to learn independently.” One of those who prefers learning independently is Thomas Mitose, who told several hundred Independence faithful on June 2 that he had tried Heritage twice, and it didn’t work out: “I came to Independence at the beginning of my sophomore year. I had earned almost no credits (at Heritage) and was essentially a year behind in all of my subjects. I managed to earn back all of my missing credits (at Photo by Dave Roberts Independence) and transferred back to Heritage my junior An Independence High graduate is clearly year. After a quarter there I re- happy about her independence. alized I missed Independence and knew that I could do better here from high school, make it through colacademically than I can do at Heri- lege and find myself a good job.” Mitose concluded by reading the tage. “I don’t think that comprehen- poem “Invictus” by William Ernest sive sites are for everyone. I’m one of Henley, which ends, “I am the masthose people who perform better when ter of my fate/I am the captain of my working to their own schedule. I’ve soul.” To view a list of graduates, visit heard that nobody can make me succeed. And it is up to me to graduate www.thepress.net.
JUNE 11, 2010
Friends raise funds with fun in the sun The Friends of Oakley is hosting its second annual summer fundraiser on Saturday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at O’Hara Park. This year’s event features a car show, a bounce house, police dog demonstrations, a meet-and-greet with local law enforcement, a raffle, games and activities for the whole family, and a barbecue lunch showcasing Chili de Frazier made by Oakley Vice Mayor Jim Frazier. All proceeds are tax deductible and go toward building an auxiliary vehicle coverage structure to protect the Oakley Police Department’s motorcycle unit, and toward the creation of an animal detention area at the police station to safely hold animals until county animal control comes to collect them. The car show runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the registration fee is $15. Awards and trophies will be handed out at 2:30. Lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m. The menu offers chicken, corn, chili and dessert. Tickets are $15 each or $25 for a couple. Kids’ meals are $8 each or $15 for two. Water and soft drinks will be available for $1, and beer will be sold for $4. Tickets are available at Mike’s Beef ’N Brew, 2083 Main St.; Oak Tree Embroidery, 2049 Main St.; Black Bear Din-
East Bay Regional Park District The East Bay Regional Park District will hold its next board meeting in Brentwood on Wednesday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Senior Activity Center, 193 Griffith Lane.
er, 3201 Main St.; and Kit and Caboodle Hobby Shop, 3675 Main St. Games with prizes will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Last year the Friends of Oakley raised approximately $4,600, which the organization used to buy gift cards for teachers of the Oakley School District to purchase instructional supplies. For more information, call 925-6255745 or visit www.friendsofoakley.com.
Press file photo
Breaking up is easy to do “I’m so tired of hearing people moan about how bad the banks are. Anyone who is sick of lousy bank service and hidden fees should bring all their accounts to Travis Credit Union. Everyone in my family has an account, including my 5-year-old. We’re all making money now.”
The public is invited to attend and comments are welcome.
For more information, call
Friends of Oakley founders Kevin Romick, Pat Anderson and Jim Frazier dig into a cake at last year’s Friends event.
Gib, TCU member since 2008
Agenda items include: ict tr s Byron Vernal Pools Regional Preserve, East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy, Delta Science Center Construction Update, 2010/11 Engineer’s Report for East Contra Costa County Landscaping and Lighting Assessment District.
Yes. You can join.® (800) 877-8328 www.traviscu.org Brentwood: 3111 Balfour Road, Suite N Antioch: 5819 Lone Tree Way Clayton Valley: 5442 Ygnacio Valley Road Concord: 1257 Willow Pass Road NCUA—Your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Everyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in our 12-county area is eligible to join. Certain membership requirements may apply.
JUNE 11, 2010
Freedom Class of 2010 takes wing by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer
Political commentary and commencement ceremonies don’t typically go handin-hand, but at Freedom High School’s graduation last weekend, LUHSD Superintendent Jerry Glenn couldn’t resist the temptation. “I have a message for Sacramento,” Glenn told the audience. “And that is that there is nothing wrong with public education. I say just give us what we need in funding and support and get the heck out of our way.” Glenn’s comments were met with wild applause by an already enthusiastic crowd of friends, family and supporters assembled to celebrate Freedom High School’s graduating class of 2010. Freedom’s 12th gathering of graduates at Falcon Stadium was a celebration of speeches, well-wishers, flying beach balls and a colorful array of bouquets and balloons. But the real proclamation of the morning was a simple message of pride. “This is my first graduation as principal of Freedom High and I can tell you all that you have much to be proud of,” said Principal Erik Faulkner. “You are one of the highest performing schools in East County … and Freedom is a better place because of you. I am more than proud of this class.”
Photos by Kyndl Buzas
The Freedom High School class of 2010 listens to speakers during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, June 5. Valedictorian Trevor Pels is introduced to the audience by Principal Erik Faulkner. Salutatorians Samuel Carey and Elizabeth Franco echoed Faulkner, thanking their families, teachers and classmates for what Carey jokingly referred to as “Our emancipation from the jailhouse we call Freedom High … it’s finally over.” Franco was a little more sentimental. “We can look back on this day and not forget those who have meant so much to us during our high school lives,” she said. “and look forward to what lies ahead.”
Valedictorian Trevor Pel urged his fellow graduates to step outside their sphere of safety, take chances and be true to themselves. “In the end, I guess it’s the valedictorian’s job to look toward the future,” said Pel, who will attend Stanford in the fall. “So make it a great future … take out your student ID card and burn it. Take risks and don’t be afraid, ever, to be you.” Student speaker Leikin Poppino gave
an emotional speech to the student body, remembering the loss of classmate Aaron Griffin, who died in 2008. “Aaron always emphasized living life to the fullest,” said Poppino. “Let’s take that lesson and live our lives the best we can … make the most of your futures and know that we will always be the class of 2010.” To view a list of graduates, visit www. thepress.net.
JUNE 11, 2010
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JUNE 11, 2010
Saint Peter Kimber stands with his mother Cecelia after receiving the Byron Delta Lions Club Rudy Award. The Excelsior Middle School eighth-grader was honored for displaying the indomitable spirit depicted by the title character in the movie “Rudy.”
Kids Summer Camp Keep your kids busy and active this Summer at Camp!
DanceBiz Camp This class will educate your child to all the backstage secrets starting with Broadway to Hollywood work. Learn about the MGM Stars to the Disney Stars!!! If you have tap or ballet shoes bring them along. This class is filled with high energy movements to keep your feet tapping. Please bring your child a lunch and we will provide a midmorning snack and a pizza lunch on Friday at no extra cost. Date: June 14 – June 18 Rainforest Camp: Join us for a fun week where we will explore one of nature’s wonders, the rainforest. We will learn about the plants and animals that live there and what we can do to protect our rainforests. A fun nature walk, rock climbing, swimming (on Friday) and art projects are some of our planned activities. Please bring your child a lunch and we will provide a mid-morning snack and a pizza lunch on Friday at no extra cost. Date: June 21 – June 25 Sports Conditioning Camp Camp will focus on sports conditioning, getting your child ready to play any sport. Children will work on cardio fitness, strength training, endurance, stretching and balance. They will participate in many activities including, basketball, volleyball, kickboxing, etc. Please bring your child a lunch and we will provide a pizza lunch on Friday at no extra cost. Date: June 28 – July 2
SWIM LESSONS Accelerated Summer Sessions June 21-July 1 and July 5-July 16
Ocean Animals Camp: Join us for a week of fun exploring the animals that live in the ocean. We will also learn about what we can do to protect these wonderful animals. A fun nature walk, rock climbing, swimming (on Friday) and art projects are some of our planned activities. Please bring your child a lunch and we will provide a midmorning snack and a pizza lunch on Friday at no extra cost. Date: July 5 – July 9 Mixed Martial Arts Camp: Your child will learn the basics of karate, kenpo, boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu, and wrestling in a friendly but strict environment. Days in camp will consist of physical training, stretching, warm ups, technical workouts and sparring. A lesson at the end of the day will stress such topics such as respect, self defense, stranger danger, etc. Tuesday, July 13 we have I.D. cards made for the children by a professional. Date: July 12 – July 16 Hawaii Camp: Aloha! Come enjoy and learn about the amazing islands of Hawaii. We will do arts and crafts such as Hawaiian necklaces and fun activities including making a volcano, eating coconut, rock climbing and swimming (on Friday). Please bring your child a lunch and we will provide a mid-morning snack. A pizza luau on Friday will be included at no extra cost. Date: July 19 – July 23
Info & Sign-Up | Delta Valley Kids Front Desk Call to Register | 925-755-9111 ext 250 140 Guthrie Lane, Brentwood
Photo courtesy of the Byron Delta Lions Club
Byron-Delta Lions honor local ‘Rudy’ by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer
When Cecelia Kimber and her son emigrated from Africa seven years ago, the Discovery Bay resident hoped to give her only child a chance at a better life. “My son was born in Africa and I left with him to escape (the war) and that kind of life,” said Kimber. “And we came to America, where a person can be whatever they want to be. I have always told him that he must do his
best and work hard.” Last week, the fruits of Kimber’s labor began to pay off when 14-yearold Saint Peter –named for Kimber’s father Peter (the “Saint” added for good luck) – was presented with the inaugural Byron Delta Lions Club Rudy Award. The Rudy Award – based on the true story of Notre Dame football player Rudy Ruettiger, who overcame numerous academic and physical obstacles see Lions page 20A
JUNE 11, 2010
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Trevor’s Weekly Mortgage Matters By Trevor Frey
Mirabilis Jalapa Otherwise known as the four o’clock flower tends to open later in the afternoon (hence the name) while at the same time omitting a sweet-smelling fragrance. And although this flower might not be your favorite or even anything you have in your garden, since 1994 the flower has played a huge role in the life’s of those affected by cancer…being considered a “symbol of hope” for survivors in both the United States and over 100 countries world-wide. With spring 2010 playing host to both Brentwood and Antioch/ Pittsburg’s respective Relay for Life events why not take a few minutes and smell the “purple jasmine”. On June 12-13 in Brentwood, and June 26-27 in Antioch/Pittsburg, teams of 8-15 people will “paint the town purple” and participate in a 24 hour event with at least one team member on the track at all times – because cancer never sleeps – in what has become the American Cancer Society’s single largest activity. Dating back to 1985 and Dr. Gordon Klatt’s Tacoma Washington grassroots effort, Relay for Life has evolved into this nation’s largest fundraising event of any kind, raising over 400 million dollars in 2009! Brentwood alone helped to raise $307,657 in funds during the 24 hour event and is looking to make it an even $325,000.00 in 2010. And while the money donated to the
1946 founded American Cancer Society helps with patient support, decease prevention/risk reduction, and detection/ treatment, it is truly the experience itself that communities as a whole remember. Often referred to as “24 hours that you’ll never forget” Relay for Life is much more than the money - both survivors and participants alike are able to draw strength from one another, while all coming together to help fight back against cancer. Celebrate. Remember. Fight back is the motto for the individuals and families involved during this emotional 24 hour fund raiser. I am honored to say this year I will be participating through team Brentwood Rotary, and as such welcome any questions regarding Relay for Life or the American Cancer Society in my inbox at email@example.com. While I always try to keep the community updated on the latest real estate happenings, sometimes we all have to put ourselves to the side, smell the Mirabilis Jalapa, and realize there are larger things out there. Cancer does not know we are in a recession and does not care that these are tough economic times. As always, I welcome all questions and or concerns pertaining to real estate lending on my cell phone, 925.726.1444, or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. – Advertisement
JUNE 11, 2010
Screech is coming to town Dustin Diamond, better known as Screech from “Saved By the Bell,” will drop by Cap’s restaurant in Brentwood to deliver a unique comedy show on Friday, June 18. Diamond, a native of San Jose, has appeared in several films, including “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “Made.” Most recently he’s served as a commentator on “Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest,” which airs weekly on truTV. Tickets for the comedy show are $15. Cocktails will be served at 8 p.m. and the
show starts at 9. Cap’s Oak Street Bar & Grill is located at 144 Oak St. in downtown Brentwood. For more information or to make a reservation, call 925-634-1025.
Free summer lunches for kids The Brentwood Union School District (BUSD) is offering free lunches to all children and teens from now until July 16 at Marsh Creek Elementary School. There will be no lunches on July 5. “The USDA program is open to any child under the age of 18 from our community and surrounding communities,” said BUSD Food Services Coordinator Phylllis Thivierge. “All
children are given a free lunch – no questions asked.” The lunches will be made available Mondays through Fridays from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Marsh Creek Elementary, 601 Grant Ave. There are no enrollment, paperwork or income qualifications required to participate. For more information, call the BUSD Food Service Department at 925-513-6338.
Poetry plaques poised for placement The Brentwood Arts Commission will unveil its latest public artwork in a ceremony set for Tuesday, June 15 from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at Veterans Park, 3841 Balfour Road. Artist Eric Powell designed and fabricated a stainless steel poetry plaque display for the winners of the “critter” poetry contest. Five metal sculptural displays are anchored securely into the ground. Each display integrates two plaques, each with an engraved poem by the poetry winners in their own written script.
Each will also feature a three-dimensional sculpture of the animal on the top middle platform between the poem plaques. The displays are made of darkened stainless steel to deter the theft and vandalism suffered after the original bronze versions of the sculptures were installed. Five surveillance cameras have also been installed and will record 24/7. For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 925-516-5444.
JUNE 11, 2010
Liberty grads turn the tassels by Samie Hartley Staff Writer
Graduation is an exciting time for young adults as they close the chapter of their school days and move into a world of endless possibility. Some graduates celebrate this milestone by decorating their mortarboards or wearing leis of colorful flowers, candy or delicately folded dollar bills, but some members of Liberty High School’s Class of 2010 decided to celebrate with tortillas. “Tortillas!” a student cheered as he tossed flecks of tortillas into the air like confetti. Others used the tortillas as Frisbees, while other students preferred to launch beach balls or toss water balloons – one last chance to leave their mark on Liberty. Now that the fun is over, graduates are left to contemplate the next step in the journey of life. But before they left high school, some of their peers offered words of encouragement and advice before the ceremonial turning of the tassels. Co-valedictorian Jacqueline Schindler reflected on her time in high school and what makes the Class of 2010’s generation unique, but she said while it might be scary to move into the unknown of the future, it’s important to remember that high school provides graduates with the tools to build a strong foundation once they get out into the real world. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Schindler reminded her peers: “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
Photo by Samie Harley
Liberty High School’s Class of 2010 got creative with cap designs, bidding a fond farewell to high school. Jessica Guerrero, right, races to catch up with her friends following the Liberty High School Class of 2010 graduation ceremony. Liberty’s other co-valedictorian, Darya Zmachynskaya, opted to challenge her peers rather than offer sage words of wisdom. Instead of seeking fame and fortune, Zmachynskaya urged her classmates to become active in the community. “Go change someone’s life. Go help someone in a worse situation than you. And don’t tell me about your hard life. We’ve all had it hard, but there is always someone less fortunate.” Salutatorian Stacy Hamby said she wished her contribution could have been an interpretive dance, but to be more politically
correct, she dished out advice that the Class of 2010 has known for years, such as “Look both ways before you cross the street” and “Never take candy from strangers – you don’t know where it’s been.” She told her classmates that if the simple advice they’d received as children helped them get this far in life, and if they continue to use common sense and make good decisions, the future is going to be alright. Felix Navarro, who was joined by Elizabeth Day for the senior speaker honor, advised his classmates not to watch life pass you by; instead, follow your heart and fight for what
you want. “Just remember that the architect of your destiny is yourself. It is up to you to make your own trail.” Before the Class of 2010 received diplomas, Jenny Lind Vocal Recipient Jake Tickner, along with the help of some of his friends, serenaded the crowd with a rendition of Jason Mraz’s “Make it Mine,” taking the audience on a trip to the gratitude café, where dreams will soon become reality as they march into the next chapter of their lives. To view a complete list of graduates, visit www.thepress.net.
Patriot grads grow Heritage of their own by Rick Lemyre Staff Writer
As the newest school in the Liberty Union High School District, it’s only natural that the traditions surrounding graduation at Heritage High School are still taking shape. It follows, then, that last weekend’s commencement contained a few unexpected elements as more than 450 students collected their diplomas and moved eagerly into the future. There were also traditional elements: The pomp and ceremony, advice from Principal Andy Parsons to “Get up when you fall, and then move on,” and dozens of graduates bedecked with laurels signifying their exceptional scholastic achievements. There was the changing of tassels, the flinging of mortarboards (as well as a few beach balls and tortillas) and the stands packed to overflowing with proud family members. But there was plenty of off-beat activity as well. It began near the beginning of the ceremony with the arrival of thousands of tiny, airborne spiders that had students and audience members flailing about and brushing each other off. Salutatorian Fasiha Khan, who said it was her responsibility to provide some advice to the class, drew laughter and applause when she offered “Never accept chocolate from a little kid” – if the kid also happened to have a dog. Senior Class President Lauren Howard announced that the class gift, rather than selfaggrandizing (as many such gifts are) would be practical: money to improve the parking lot, and cash donations for future graduating
Photo by Rick Lemyre
classes. Crossing her forearms in the shape of the Roman numeral “X” (which stands for “10”) she drew cheers by telling her peers that “You will always be X-rated.” Senior Spokesperson Brian Kiar drew perhaps the loudest cheer with the proud statement that, for this one day, “The world truly revolves around us.” Fittingly for this technological age, he added that life was not like a DVD. “There is only ‘play,’” he said. “There is no rewind, fast-forward, or even chapter selection.” But perhaps the most lasting of the unique aspects of the day was the debut of the school’s new alma mater, featuring text by Elysia Cook and Roxanne Hopkins, and music by Ross Bronzan:
Heritage Valedictorian Danielle Hicks, left, addresses her classmates during the school’s graduation ceremony Saturday. Above, students rock to the Natasha Beddingﬁeld song “Unwritten” performed by Alexa Visconti. Hail Heritage Hail to Heritage The vibrant blue and gold And all the memories That have yet to be told The steps we climbed each day To end up where we are The lessons on the way Are what brought us this far And from the very start To graduation day The pride stays in our hearts The goals that we pursue
Reflect our time spent here Our love for Heritage Will always remain true According to Cook, “The lines ‘The steps we climbed each day/to end up where we are’ is a metaphor for the challenges people go through to complete high school, as well as a literal representation of the many flights of stairs at Heritage. The song also serves to express pride for Heritage – our school is very accomplished after only five years of existence, and we have some of the best test scores, sport teams and educational opportunities in the area.” To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
JUNE 11, 2010
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EDITORIALS, LETTERS & COMMENTARY
Transparency needed when asking for tax hike Antioch is in a pickle. After slashing $11 million from last year’s budget, resulting in layoffs, service cuts, closure of City Hall on Fridays and 73 positions remaining unfilled – including 20 police officer positions – city officials are now looking at cutting millions of dollars more in the coming year. The casualties have included funding for the Fourth of July fesDITORIAL tivities, which have been canceled, the city’s support for the Delta Blues Festival, which may go on without that support, support for operating the Antioch Historical Society Museum and limited arts funding, which may close the Lynn House Gallery in January. With city officials considering City Manager Jim Jakel’s “doomsday scenario” of providing only the city services mandated by law, there is the potential for cuts in funding for the animal shelter, recreation programs, Prewett Water Park
and elimination of the Holiday DeLites and Veteran’s Day parades, among other events. City Hall is likely to continue to remain closed on Fridays. Because most of the General Fund budget goes for police and public works, there is potential for further cuts in those areas as well, which could affect public safety and lead to deterioration of streets and parks. The City Council is, understandably, reluctant to make such drastic cuts affecting the quality of life in Antioch. So the council members are discussing the possibility of asking residents to support a tax hike. A survey might be conducted to determine residents’ support for a range of tax hikes, based on the level of city services they would provide. A tax hike might be necessary, and residents might be willing to support some level of extra taxation, particularly if it fills the 20 vacant police officer positions. But residents have already been hit hard by the recession, by last year’s state tax hike and by a recent city trash
LETTERS Cavalcade of ominous communiqués Editor: As a senior citizen, most of my equity being in my home, it’s been a discouraging month. Despite a huge drop in property value, my mortgage company informed me I have a shortage in my escrow account and my monthly payment was being increased. Scrutinizing my 2009-10 tax bill, which arrived at the same time, I discovered the trigger for my increased taxes; i.e., an increase in the Delta Diablo sewer charge, an increase in the East Bay Regional Park bond fee, and the Antioch school district facilities improvement bond (which did not exempt senior citizens, although six local school bond measures in other districts did). Audaciously, the AUSD board is again discussing a new district parcel tax measure for the November ballot. I also received notification in the mail from Allied Waste, which increased rates for 64- and 96-gallon can pickup, a postcard from Delta Diablo Sanitation District informing me about a June 9 public hearing to discuss an increase in sewer service charges for tax year 2010-11, and a postcard from the
& PUBLISHING CORPORATION National Award Winning Newspapers The Press Newspapers are adjudicated in the the cities of Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, and the Delta Judicial District of Contra Costa County.
Founder & President Jimmy Chamoures Publisher & General Manager Greg Robinson Executive Editor Rick Lemyre Production Manager & Webmaster Lonnie de Lambert Business Manager Heather Reid Advertising Manager Ed Feldman Advertising 925-634-1441, ext. 115 Classifieds 925-634-1441, ext. 142 Editorial 925-634-1441, ext. 111 Circulation 925-250-1405 Editorial e-mail email@example.com Main Office / Brentwood 248 Oak St. Brentwood, CA 94513 Phone 925-634-1441 Fax 925-634-1975 Web site: www.thepress.net No part of this publication may be reproduced for commerce or trade without written permission from the publisher.
City of Antioch in regard to a June 22 hearing to discuss potential water and sewer rate increases. (Council has already had discussion about a special property tax to be placed on a future ballot, although no hearing has been held in this regard.) To top it all off, on Sunday, May 23 I spotted in the newspaper a legal announcement from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority inviting the public to a workshop in regard to placing a local vehicle registration fee on the Nov. 2 ballot. Note the workshop was being held on May 24, the day after I spotted the published notification. Residents not only need to keep an eye on what’s going on in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento; they need to watch what’s going on in our own backyard. I won’t be voting in favor of any new fee or tax measures nor will I vote for any legislator, supervisor, council or board member who approves any new taxes or fees. Barbara Zivica Antioch
DB community center saga revisited Editor: For approximately 12 years the Hofmann Company (the developers of DB) have been obligated by a Condition of Approval to provide land and a portion of the building cost for a community center to be located within the town of DB. Considering the comparatively low development fees to build in DB and minimal developer requirements for infrastructure, in my opinion, Hoffmann was let off easy. Unfortunately, the town of DB has never been able to execute its responsibilities to make the community center a reality. The last time the DBCSD’s Community Center Committee met publicly was at least 18 months ago. Since that time there have been non-public meetings and through a non-direct disclosure it was learned that Hofmann is proposing to in
rate hike on the large containers that is transferring an extra $1 million into city coffers over the next two years. And too many Antioch residents remain unemployed and are struggling to hold onto their homes. Before residents are asked to make an additional sacrifice, they should know exactly where their money would be going. To provide full transparency, city officials should post on the city Web site a listing of the salary and benefits for each city position (including an itemization of the cost of each benefit) from top management down. There has been justifiable concern from many in the private sector that public sector employees’ salary/benefit packages have become overly generous, especially in comparison with what most employees receive outside of government. If city officials do not provide that openness and transparency, residents might justifiably wonder what they are hiding and why, and that’s a tough climate in which to ask for more. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
some way make the existing office building at 1520 Discovery Bay Blvd. the community center. This intent was only discovered because it was noted on a drawing that was submitted and then withdrawn, detailing a proposal for high-density housing tract to be built by Hofmann on vacant land in the center of DB. For several months public inquiries have been made into why all the secrecy surrounding the topic of a DB community center. A common answer supplied by the CSD is that it is a “county issue.” Yet when the county was asked if it had done the necessary due diligence to determine the financial feasibility of BD operating a community center, the response was that is was not a county responsibility. At this time I am asking all involved (Hofmann, the county, the DBCSD) to bring the issue of a DB community center completely out into the open and to: • Perform the proper level of due diligence to determine the financial feasibility so to not saddle the town with an ongoing financial obligation disproportionate to its utility. • Not allow this to become a quid pro quo whereby Hofmann is allowed to use any aspect of the existing obligation to obtain approval for a new housing tract in the center of DB. • Establish a new and legitimate community center steering committee that includes individuals from the community that have real world experience that would aid this project. • Determine and state publicly what aspects of this project are town responsibilities and which are county responsibilities. This quest for a new community center should not become just a new town office building that will foster typical government sprawl. This entire matter is supposed to be on the next CSD agenda and I would suggest
all interested persons attend Wednesday June 16 at 7 p.m. at the town office. Jeff Barber Discovery Bay
Oakley soldier traveled The Pathway Home Editor: The Pathway Home, a residential treatment program for our nation’s “New Warriors” returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and who suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury, has an important connection to Oakley. Billy Hyder, a former resident of Oakley, went through the half-year program at Pathway after serving in Iraq with the National Guard, and he puts it this way: “Pathway saved my life!” This is a refrain that many other servicemen who have graduated from this program, besides Hyder, have said of The Pathway Home. Pathway is an independent, privatelyfunded, nonprofit organization that has treated nearly 200 warriors from around the country using innovative, state-of-the-art techniques that incorporate interaction with the surrounding community. But for The Pathway Home to continue doing its job, it needs the support of communities like Oakley – and of cities and towns all across the United States. Pathway’s operation depends on private donations to fund the clinical staff and treatment programs, and making our wounded warriors whole again is everyone’s responsibility. Donations can be made through the official Web site, www.thepathwayhome.org, where more information about the program can also be found. Donations by check can be made out to and mailed to The Pathway Home, P.O. Box 3930, Yountville, CA 94599. John Dunbar Chairperson, The Pathway Home Napa Valley Advisory Council
JUNE 11, 2010
FROM EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH LOGS
A sampling of recent law enforcement activity reported by East County police departments. BRENTWOOD June 2, 12:23 p.m. A resident of Valdry Court purchased a vehicle online, only to discover that the vehicle was reported as stolen. June 4, 1:35 p.m. An unidentified person cut electrical wires to a light pole on Presidio Drive at Capilano Drive. June 4, 6:19 p.m. During a road rage incident on Lone Tree Way at Empire Avenue, an unidentified driver threw a hammer through the front windshield of another vehicle. June 4, 7:25 p.m. A probation search conducted at a residence on Sycamore Avenue discovered suspected methamphetamine on premises. The resident was arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. June 4, 10:33 p.m. On O’Hara Avenue at Grant Street, a subject stopped for vehicle code violations was found in possession of a loaded revolver. The subject resisted arrest, and he and a passenger admitted to being gang members. Another passenger provided false identification to officers. All were arrested. June 4, 11:15 p.m. On Brentwood Boulevard at Sand Creek Road, a subject stopped for vehicle code violations was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. June 5, 12:50 a.m. On Sand Creek Road at Fairview Avenue, a subject contacted during a traffic stop was found in possession of brass knuckles. He was arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. June 5, 6:30 p.m. A subject contacted during an investigation on Grovewood Loop was found to be too intoxicated to care for her own safety. She was arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. June 6, 3:13 a.m. On Balfour Road at John Muir Parkway, a subject contacted during a traffic stop was found to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest. June 6, 9:24 p.m. On Brentwood Boulevard at Village Drive, a subject stopped for vehicle code violations was found to be in possession of methamphetamine for sale. A probation search of his residence revealed an additional 11 grams of methamphetamine. He was ar-
LOGS rested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. To view the Brentwood Police Department’s public logs on the city’s Web site, visit www.ci.brentwood.ca.us/department/ pd/reports/index.cfm. ANTIOCH June 4, 8:38 p.m. Officers of the Antioch Police Department arrived at a residence on Rockspring Way on the report of a 2-year-old child who had fallen into a swimming pool during a family barbecue and drowned. Officers and medical personnel made all efforts to resuscitate the victim, who was transported to Sutter Delta Medical Center and pronounced dead. At this point it is unknown how long the child was out of sight, but it is believed to be only a short period of time. The case is still under investigation. June 8, 4:37 a.m. Officers were dispatched to the 1300 block Aster Drive on the report of a home break-in. Upon arrival, officers found the homeowner detaining one suspect at gunpoint. A juvenile male suspect was taken into custody by officers and is being interviewed by investigators. Officers discovered that the homeowner, his wife and a 15-year-old male suspect had been shot. All three were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The juvenile suspect died and the homeowners are listed in critical condition. Officers found evidence of a third suspect, who fled from a rear window and might have been injured. SWAT officers and Police K-9 units are in the process of conducting a neighborhood yard-to-yard search for the remaining suspect. Officers found a marijuana growing operation inside two bedrooms of the home, which provides a motive for the home invasion. A confrontation between the suspects and homeowners might have occurred after the suspects entered the residence through a rear bedroom window, leading to an exchange of gunfire. One of the suspects did shoot the female resident as she fled down the hallway. The exact circumstances of the shooting and who was armed has yet to be determined. A 2-year-old child and 10-month-old child in the home at the time escaped injury. The children have been turned over to their grandparents. For information on law enforcement in Antioch, visit www.ci.antioch.ca.us/citygov/police.
A resident of Valdry Court purchased a vehicle online, only to discover that the vehicle was reported as stolen. June 2, 12:23 p.m. in Brentwood OAKLEY May 27 – A subject was found under the influence of drugs on the 2400 block of Main Street. May 27 – An adult was reported as missing from the 4900 block of Gardenia Avenue. May 27 – A vehicle accident with property damage occurred on Wildcat Way at Wildcat Court. May 27 – Arrest warrants were served on East Cypress Road at Main Street and on Main Street at Vintage Parkway. May 27 – On Carol Lane at Main Street and on the 2400 block of Main Street, subjects were arrested for DUI. May 27 – An incident of battery was reported on the 100 block of Carol Lane. May 27 – At a business on the 2500 block of Main Street, a subject was arrested for shoplifting. May 28 – A subject was found in possession of dangerous drugs on the 1500 block of Port Way. May 28 – Subjects were arrested for DUI on East Cypress Road at Main Street and on the 400 block of Hazelnut Drive. May 28 – A commercial burglary occurred on the 5500 block of Bridgehead Road. May 28 – An illegal entry was reported on the 2100 block of Megan Drive. May 29 – A vehicle was stolen from the 4800 block of Big Bear Road. May 29 – Vehicles were towed from Big Break Road and Vintage Parkway, and from the 400 block of Hazelnut Drive. May 29 – A suspicious circumstance was reported on the 500 block of O’Hara Avenue. May 29 – Death by an unknown cause occurred on the 1100 block of Deer Park Road. May 29 – Subjects were arrested for DUI on Saddleback Drive at Solitude Drive, on Alder Drive at Port Way, and on the 400 block of Hazelnut Drive. May 29 – Residential burglaries were reported on the 100 block of Monet Drive and the 100 block of Concannon Court. May 29 – Petty thefts were reported on Main Street at O’Hara Avenue and the 100 block of Monet Drive. May 30 – A hazardous materials incident occurred on Brown Road at Jasmine Circle. May 30 – A child was abandoned on Empire Avenue at Main Street.
DISCOVERY BAY May 5 – On the 1700 block of Willow Lake Road, a subject was found in violation of a court order. May 6 – Burglaries were reported on the 6900 block of New Melones Circle and the 1500 block of Discovery Bay Boulevard. May 6 – Fraudulent computer data access occurred on the 5700 block of Salmon Court. May 8 – Vandalism occurred on the 3600 block of Sailboat Drive. May 10 – A residential burglary was reported on the 5000 block of Double Point Way. May 13 – An arrest warrant was served at Double Point Way and Riverlake Road. May 14 – An adult was reported missing from the 2400 block of Aberdeen Lane. May 14 – A residential burglary was reported on the 700 block of Beaver Lane. May 15 – A subject was found in possession of dangerous drugs at Highway 4 and Porthole Drive. May 15 – Petty theft from a vehicle occurred on the 5200 block of Laguna Court. May 17 – A vehicle was towed from the 4500 block of Discovery Point. May 20 – Credit card fraud was reported on the 3000 block of Castle Rock Loop. May 21 – An assault with a deadly weapon occurred at Sailboat Drive and Yacht Drive. May 22 – Grand theft was reported on the 3300 block of Lookout Point Loop. May 23 – Trespassing occurred on the 2100 block of Bridgeport Loop. May 26 – An arrest warrant was served at Discovery Bay Boulevard and Highway 4. May 27 – On the 1800 block of Surfside Court, a subject was arrested for public intoxication. May 28 – A non-criminal death was reported on the 100 block of Discovery Bay Boulevard. May 30 – Grand theft of a boat was reported from the 5900 block of Marina Road. May 31 – Vehicles were towed from the 4900 block of South Point and from Porthole Drive at Sailboat Drive. May 31 – On the 5400 block of Emerald Court, a subject was found in violation of a custody order. May 31 – A residential burglary occurred on the 200 block of Tahoe Court. May 31 – A case of felony vandalism was reported on the 900 block of Lido Circle.
JUNE 11, 2010
Tea Party Divas
he Summerset dancing/singing group Dah’lin Divas wowed the crowd at a recent Trilogy at the Vineyards’ afternoon Tea Party event. The Divas performed routines to two ABBA songs – “Dancing Queen” and “Money, Money, Money.” After a costume change, Cathy and Gloria took center stage, backed up by the group, in a rendition of “Downtown.” The ﬁnal song was “Sisters, Sisters” from the movie “White Christmas.” All numbers were choreographed by Cathy Ashland and Marilyn Miguel. The Divas were gratiﬁed by the tumultuous applause and standing ovation. – Contributed by Linda Stanley
Hypnosis Meditation Artwork
925-759-7688 www.ZenMissy.com Dr. Chiang is a certiﬁed hypnotherapist, a founder of charitable non-proﬁts, and a facilitator of international workshops on meditation and hypnosis. Call for individual and group counseling sessions.
Mei-Yan Chiang, Ph.D. 9701 Deer Valley Rd. Brentwood, CA 94513
Join Ms. Maureen Herrity, sponsored by GoAhead Tours, on a trip to
Seville • Madrid • Barcelona March 13 through March 22, 2011 Flight, Hotel and some Meals included: Only $3,000 Call for more information 925-209-0789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE 11, 2010
Animal magnetism a polarizing subject Call me Dr. Doolittle. For some odd reason our house has become a magnet for wayward pets. I have enough pets. They outnumber my five children: three cats, one dog, two parakeets, one fish and a partridge in a pear tree. HANGIN’ IN They are all cute, sometimes, but the HERE last thing I need is another animal. Apparently fate has other plans for me. My daughter Mary came home with her boyfriend VICKI T.J. two weeks MCKENNA ago on a cold and windy night. A big storm was coming in. They were in the garage for a long time and I finally peeked in to see what was going on, not wishing to interrupt any heavy petting. Petting was going on, but not the kind I expected. They had found a brown kitten cowering under our old van parked outside. It was a female, about three months old and very hungry. It ate an entire bowl of food, lapped down half a bowl of water, spied our litter box a few feet away and promptly hopped in and made a donation. I immediately began protesting what I knew would be a plea to keep it. “No, Mary. No more pets!” I said firmly. The kitten purred loudly, weaving her skinny little body between all of our legs, really pouring on the charm. I offered an open door to our backyard, hoping she might leave and head home after her rest stop, but instead she spotted our cat door and scurried through it into our house, sending our dog, Napoleon into a psychotic frenzy. This attracted my husband’s attention, who, up until this point had no idea what we were doing in the garage. He saw the kitten but didn’t say a thing. Perhaps the poor man has finally been beaten down. The kids and animals just keep multiplying around here, so I think he’s just given up. Mary said good-bye to T.J., but not before I begged him to take the kitten home with him. He told me we should wait a couple of days in case the owner came looking for her. No one came looking for her, even though Mary posted signs all around the neighborhood. I now believe she was dumped! What kind of person abandons a defenseless little kitten on the street on a stormy night? I guess she was meant to join our family because all the animals in the house accepted Mu-Shu immediately. Yes, I named her after a Chinese entrée. Hey, I was hungry when I named her! She cuddled with all the kids, used the litter box faithfully and entertained us all with her spastic kitten behavior. A few days later I rounded the
corner of our street to see a golden retriever wandering around the neighborhood. He looked lost but happy. Golden retrievers always look like they’re smiling, don’t they? I slowed down to see if he had a collar. A woman outside her house said he’d been hanging around all day. She called the phone number on his tag but it was disconnected. I couldn’t believe it. Could someone have dumped him, too? What is the world coming to? My 7-year-old daughter fell in love with him instantly. “Oh no,
Haley! We are not keeping this dog!” “But Mom! We can’t leave him on the street!” I stopped my truck in the middle of the street and opened the passenger door. He hopped right in! He sat there like a kid in the back seat smiling at us. Haley giggled. I drove him to our house and fed him two bowls of dog food and some water. Napoleon looked on from the living room window baring his little terrier teeth, yelping and scratching at the glass. Just then my husband drove up. This
was the end of his rope. “I’ll drive him to the pound!” he said, not even getting out of his car or asking any questions as to where Old Yeller came from. Just then an old woman came hobbling up the street waving her arms. “Chico!” she called. Thank God. The dog recognized her and took off down the street. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Perhaps I’ll come home to find a push-me-pull-you in my backyard … To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
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Vote for Antioch track
Should You File Bankruptcy? by Joan Grimes, Esq. A common question people ask me is whether they should file for bankruptcy. They don’t want to file, but they also know that they cannot continue with the status quo. Here is what I ask them: 1. Can you pay your bills as they come due and owing? 2. Can you pay off your credit card bills in full in the next 12 months? 3. If you own a house, do you have a fixed rate mortgage that you can payoff by the time you retire? Is your house worth what you owe against it? If you have answered “no” to any of these questions, you should be considering whether a fresh start through bankruptcy maybe the right decision for you. A fresh start has been provided to the Banks, the Investment Companies, and the Insurance Companies and a fresh start is available to consumers. Most home loan made between 2001-2007 could not be paid off on a person income. More than anyone, the banks knew that a person can only pay off in home loan debt of 2-21/2 times their gross household income in this lifetime and save for retirement and raise a child or two. A fresh start for a consumer is usually a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 is a straight bankruptcy also known as a liquidation case. In a Chapter 7 case, all assets and liabilities are included and the Chapter 7 Trustee will have the right to liquidate non-exempt assets for the benefit of creditors. In exchange for including all assets and liabilities, an individual’s promise to pay on most debts are forgiven through a discharge. In most cases, there are no assets available to creditors because all of the assets are exempt or encumbered by liens to the full extent of their value. Exempt assets that the Chapter 7 Trustee cannot reach include 401k, IRA, Annuity, retirement plan, equity in a car up to $3,525, most household goods and furnishing, life insurance, most personal injury actions, and then $23,250 in other assets such as motorcycles, boats, RV or
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additional equity in cars or other items. Most people who are having problems paying their bills qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy either because their income is low or because their mortgage payments and other secured loans such as car loans are too high in relation to their income. However, a person should not delay in seeking legal advice. The loss of a home prior to a bankruptcy filing either through a short sale or foreclosure may make an individual’s income too high for a Chapter 7 and the only option will be Chapter 13 repayment plan which will last between 3-5 years. In addition, there may be personal liability and tax consequences which could have been eliminated in a bankruptcy. In conclusion, if you are having financial problems, seek legal counsel. You did not make this real estate and credit card meltdown. There are serious personal liability and tax consequence of a short sale and foreclosure. Make sure you understand your legal rights prior to undertaking either a short sale or allowing your property to be foreclosed. Do not lose sleep and your sanity worrying about financial problems. Help is available to you just like it was to the Bank, Investment Companies and the Insurance Companies. WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY. WE HELP PEOPLE FILE BANKRUPTCY RELIEF UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY CODE. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT PROVIDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON IN MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING A VOLUNTARY DEFAULT, SHORT SALE, FORECLOSURE OR BANKRUPTCY. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR OBTAINING TAX & LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING AN INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. © 2010 Joan M. Grimes. 8660 Brentwood Blvd., Suite B, Brentwood, California 94513 (925) 323-7772 – Advertisement
Antioch High School is in the running to receive a $250,000 grant from PepsiCo, Inc. as part of Pepsi’s Refresh Project, a program that invites the public to choose which foundations will receive more than $1 million in grants. Antioch was ranked 42 out of more than 250 projects at press time, but only the top two causes will receive a grant. The city is seeking a half-million dollar grant to improve its track, which isn’t up to California Interscholastic Federation
Lions from page 12A to achieve his dream of playing for the legendary institution – is awarded to the student in grades five through eight who has displayed the same diligence, perseverance and teamwork as Ruettinger. For Excelsior Middle School Principal Charles Miller, who nominated Saint Peter for the award – the choice was obvious. “When I was approached by the Delta Lions, they asked me to identify a student who had overcome obstacles to achieve their best, and Saint Peter has done that,” said Miller. “We (staff) all agree that he is the most improved of all our students. He has turned himself around academically and is focused, works well with others and has come a long way. We appreciate the Lions Club supporting such positive student behavior and we look forward to this being an annual award.”
regulations. Every month, Pepsi selects worthy community projects, puts each cause on its Web site and asks the public to vote for its favorites. Voting is open for the entire month of June. The June winners will be announced July 1. Voting is free, and those registered at www.refresheverything.com may vote once a day for the cause of their choice. To vote for Antioch High School, visit www.refresheverything.com/antiochhighschooltrack.
Byron Delta Lions President Joyce Sutay called the award presentation “One of the highlights of my Lions career.” The honors were augmented by a trophy and a $50 cash award. For Kimber, the event was one of the highlights of her life; the reward for her own hard work and perseverance on behalf of Saint Peter. “I sat with my son after we got home (from the awards presentation) and explained to him what that award is and I told him why I was so happy,” said Kimber. “He said that he saw me crying at the program and asked me why I was crying. I told him that I am not the only one who believes in him. And since then we always say something about the award before the day ends. I want to thank everyone for helping me make my son see himself in a new way.” To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
JUNE 11, 2010
BRENTWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESENTS
PERFORMING LIVE! THE STARS OF
A IDOL AMEHNRS,IC N.McKIBBIN M.JO