ward Winning News al A pa
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Special Kids to get iPads by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer The iPad might be the latest and greatest in electronic gadgetry, but one East County group is hoping Apple’s newest technology is more than a passing fad. Over the next few months, the Special Kids Foundation (SKF) will begin launching the Assistive Technology Assistance Program, a local endeavor designed to provide special-needs students with a fully loaded iPad or iTouch system for use in the classroom. With its user-friendly design and variety of educational applications, the lightweight, easily toteable products seem tailor made for the special-needs population. “Many of our (SKF) members have experienced first hand the amazing advances our children have made with the aid of several of these devices and the applications meant specifically to help them maneuver and communicate in our confusing world,” said Lisa McBride, SKF founder and director. “And now we want to share it with as many students and children as we can.” Across the nation, much of the iPad/iTouch technology has already replaced bulkier laptop computers for special-needs and regular students alike. But for many families and school districts hard hit by the economy, the technology is costprohibitive, and so McBride and her board of directors decided to step up. “We are painfully aware of the major cutbacks in both state and federal programs for special-needs children,” said McBride. “And in
The Special Kids Foundation is launching a technologyassistance program designed to provide iPads and iTouch devices to students with special needs.
Photo courtesy of Apple
order to maintain our vision of educating and supporting those who are most critically hit by these budgetary restrictions, we are allocating a portion of our proceeds to funding the purchase of a number of iTouch and iPad systems, loading them with applications and distributing them to students in need through our loaner program.” Here’s how it works. Children with a communications disability and a school site aide or assistant who can help them with the device at school qualify for the program. The device would be on loan to the students for as long as they continue to benefit from the program, and parents would be required to sign an agreement that the devices would not be used by family members beyond the purposes of educational or communication needs.
Getaway Crab Feed Sponsored by
Discovery Bay Lions Club And other local Lions Clubs
To Beneﬁt Lions Center for the Visually Impaired
Saturday, February 26, 2011 6:00pm Cocktails • 7:00pm Dinner
American Legion Hall Post 202 757 First Street, Brentwood $40/person • only 300 tickets will be sold
Crab • Pasta • Salad • Garlic Bread No-Host Bar • Rafﬂe Contest for Best Decorated Table Grand Prize: 4-Day Carnival Cruise to Baja! $10 Corkage Fee • No Flames Permitted in Hall
For Tickets Please Contact: Chairman Lion Dave Ciruli 634-0980, Lion LeeAnn 634-5087 or Lion Bob 634-7454
No Tickets Will Be Sold At The Door!
Funding for the technology program, said McBride, would come from the SKF’s funds, which are designed to enhance, among other things, the education of East County’s specialneeds population. “We’re excited to be able to do something now to help, and this is the perfect thing,” said McBride. “We can’t wait to get started. We expect this to be a wildly successful program.” For more information or donation opportunities, call 925-516-9690, fax 925-516-6999 or log on to www.spkids.org. Special Kids Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the education, success and wellbeing of special-needs children and their families throughout East County. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
Snuff out smoking Liberty Union High School District’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Education (TUPE) Program has begun holding intervention and cessation classes to educate students about the dangers of using tobacco of any kind. Funded by a grant from the California Department of Education, students share their stories about how tobacco has impacted their families and friends, learn about how the tobacco advertising targets youth, and gather hard facts about tobacco use with instructors from the Center for Human Development. The grant has provided professional development, workshops and training opportunities for teachers, staff and students. Peer education workshops and classes have also begun in the district, which allows students to learn about refusal-skills development, mediation strategies and conflict resolution. For more information about the TUPE Program, call 925-634-2166, ext. 2047. – Contributed by Sarah Singrin
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Grey unveils gift of the here and now It drifted in like a tide, in silence. I never saw it coming. At dawn I awoke from one dream world only to be seized in the grey and damp grip of another. No caffeine ritual could dispel the effect of this fog; only wind or a searing sun. Or a hike. The steep and TAKE IT narrow snake known UTSIDE as Marsh Creek Road between Brentwood and Mt. Diablo does wonders for a motorist’s attention to the task at hand, even in clear air. In fog, the task is tinged with the flavor of GER fear. Headlights that ERICKSON materialize a mere 40 yards away are powerful deterrents to iPhone/Starbuck’s multitasking. If you’re not alert to the present, your future could be brief. As Steven Wright put it, if everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. It was Saturday, Jan. 29. As my car plowed the opaque morning moisture on its way to the mountain, I wondered how my journey on Diablo’s trails would resemble my journey to the trailhead. A hike in the fog can be an exercise in aesthetic awe – or just exercise. When you can’t see more than 40 yards ahead, the assault of a 4,000-foot peak is the scenic equivalent of a traipse down your neighborhood sidewalk. As I motored up into Clayton, the fog’s underbelly began to lift, revealing
Saturday, Jan. 29 at Mt. Diablo. A ﬁssure in the fog reveals the shadow of Meridian Ridge. the wizened face of North Peak, its apex still shrouded in mist. A minute later the 1,400-foot knob of Meridian Point came into view, barely beneath the bottom of the fog bank. In the foreground, Donner Canyon’s oak-clad contours lay half-
cloaked in a gossamer veil. I struck out south on Donner Canyon Road and swung up Meridian Ridge toward the 3,000-foot crest of Bald Ridge, where I’d take stock of the atmosphere and head up to the Summit or back down by way of North
Photo by Ger Erickson
Peak. No need to haul butt to a pinnacle that provides only a sea-level vista. For all its palpable mystery and peril, fog is a form of optical illusion. You know see Outside page 7A
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Outside from page 6A how it goes: the fog ahead seems blindingly solid. But with each step through it, you’re able to resolve nearby images with surprising clarity. As I climbed the narrow spine of Meridian Ridge, the canyons called Donner and Back Creek to my left and right faded into haze below. Above, the fog thinned and Bald Ridge came into focus. Suddenly I was transported from the now of nearby images to the then of a smoky height – an object one mile, one thousand feet of elevation and onehalf hour in my future. Tendrils of fog lacing the ridge’s northern face like steam from a kettle swirled and coalesced into waves. A northeast breeze drove the waves up to the crest, where they collided with a southwest wind streaming in from the ocean and shattered like breakers against coastal cliffs. Just as suddenly a tsunami of fog washed over the ridge and the vision vanished. I was alone again in the company of objects small and nearby – sage and chamise, clusters of bell-shaped blossoms dotting manzanita branches like snow – objects I could reach out and touch, objects whose scent I could catch if I paused long enough to accept the gift of the fog: the eternal here and now. I never made it to the mountaintop. Brief glances through gashes in the ashen gauze crystallized the fact that no grand vistas would be commandeered today. Ransome Point, 400 feet beneath the Summit, was smothered. North Peak was nowhere. I was condemned to embrace the proximate and the present – a fitting sentence for one who spends an alarming share of his
energy inhabiting an imagined future. I mark my calendar, set my alarm and turn my gaze upward and outward, confident the river of time will deliver me to my destination, if not my destiny. On my traverse down North Peak I came across a boulder robed in mosses of dense and deep green flecked with tiny ferns. What archipelagos, I wondered, what continents, what worlds of strange and tireless life grace the boulders of this one mountain in Northern California? There isn’t enough time in the lifespan of our universe to exhaust the marvels of this one place. There isn’t enough future, I thought – and caught myself straining once again to imagine an existence on the far side of the fog. No, it was more than enough to have seen less than enough. Farther down the mountain I crossed paths with a pair of hikers on the way up. It was their first time on these trails and they were lost, oblivious of the rough road ahead. I chimed in with factoids – distance, elevation, terrain – but recalling the mosses, reliving the vision of a vapor-wreathed ridge, I offered no advice. Despite my knowledge of precisely where I stood and where I was going, I was lost, too. “You won’t see anything from the peak past 40 yards,” I told the lead hiker. “That’s OK. It’s a good day to be out here,” she said. “Knowing where you’re going takes all the mystery out of life.” I pinched the brim of my hat, they waved, and the three of us disappeared into the mist. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
I’LL REVIEW YOUR LOAN MOD FOR FREE! I’d like to offer a free service to the community, if it’s of benefit to any of you. I’m willing to review any loan modification offer you receive from your lender. They can be quite confusing. I’ve reviewed quite a few already, so I’m pretty comfortable deciphering them. If you bring your loan modification papers to me, I promise not to try to “sell” you anything. I’ll just give you my honest opinion about whether you should move forward with the proposed loan modification, or refuse it and keep negotiating. We’ll sit down and go over your budget and see how this new loan fits into it. I’ve seen many loan modifications where the borrower is WORSE off after the modification, and that makes no sense. In other cases, the loan modification truly is the answer to your mortgage situation, and if so, I’ll tell you. One of the first things we need to determine is whether this is a permanent modification, or just a temporary one. I’ve seen many loan modifications that are only for a year or two, and then they bounce right
back up to what it is now. If you are experiencing a temporary drop in income, this may be acceptable to you. Another key component is whether the modification is truly dropping your effective interest rate, or are they only dropping the payment, and all the interest that’s not being paid is being tacked onto your balance. Lastly, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of modifications that drop your interest rate instead of dropping your principal balance. I’ve had many clients tell me unconditionally that they won’t accept a loan mod unless the lender drops their balance. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic, and my conclusion may surprise you. (By the way, if you are currently working with another real estate agent, I won’t be able to review your mod for you as it would be interfering with that relationship.) 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
10th Annual Brentwood PAL BBQ King Cookoff & Fundraiser
You’ve seen him on ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network and Raiders’ games.
Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
Now you can see The GorillaRilla in person on Super Bowl Sunday at the Cookoff!
Serving from 1-3pm
At Harvest Park Bowling Center Tri Tip • Ribs • Chicken & All the Fixings Straight from the chefs
Try the Dessert Contest Entries Too!
$25 per person in advance or $30 the day of the event Kids 12 & under $15 Family Pass only $60 (Family = 2 adults & up to 3 kids) Let us do the cooking for your Super Bowl Party! Take-out available on Super Bowl Sunday: 2+ lb. Whole tri-tips . . . . . $26 6 Chicken breasts . . . . . . . $24 Rack of ribs . . . . . . . . . . . . $20 Pre-orders only call Bill – 513-0595
Bowling Special Super Bowl Sunday only $2.00 per game and FREE shoe rental!
Games & 50/50 Rafﬂes
All Proceeds go to:
Brentwood Police Activities League East C.C.C. Historical Society
Tickets available at: Harvest Park Bowling Center 5000 Balfour Rd. • 516-1221
$2.00 Domestic Draft Beer
Brentwood Press 248 Oak St. • 634-1441 Brentwood Fine Meats 3877 Walnut Blvd. • 513-0595
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
New chief, familiar face Housing Element Workshop Your Input Is Important! The City of Brentwood will be holding a workshop in conjunction with the update of the Housing Element of the General Plan. The workshop will focus on the Goals, Policies and Action Programs contained in the Housing Element. The workshop is scheduled for:
Saturday, February 5, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. at the Brentwood Police Department 9100 Brentwood Boulevard The Housing Element is one of seven elements that are required in the Cityâ€™s General Plan. The primary goals of the Housing Element are to identify and analyze existing and projected housing needs in an effort to preserve, improve and develop housing for all economic segments of the community. If you have any questions regarding the Housing Element or the update process, you may address them to: City of Brentwood Community Development Department Attn: Debbie Hill, Associate Planner 118 Oak Street Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 516-5405 or email: email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Walter Ruehlig
ntioch UniďŹ ed School District Trustee Walter Ruehlig Trustee, left, and district Superintendent Don Gill, center, congratulate newly elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at his inaugural celebration at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord last month. The new school chief, an Antioch resident, is a former high school science teacher and track coach who has served on the Antioch City Council, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, state Assembly and state Senate.
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Ranked in the Top 5% of Hospitals Nationwide The Quality Care you Need . . .
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
It’s more than the fresh meals we serve. More than the friendly environment we’ve created for our residents. It’s the personal care we provide for those who need some help with the activities of daily living, along with a comfortable environment with trained and friendly staff. We call it Personalized Assisted Living. And it goes a long way toward optimizing the daily quality of life for our residents. If you have a loved one that needs a friendly environment with a personalized care plan designed just for them, call or visit our community. Because caring for our residents is what we do. And it’s always personal to us.
Call today to schedule your personal visit.
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Independent Living Personalized Assisted Living Exceptional Experiences Every DaySM 150 Cortona Way, Brentwood, CA 94513
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Falcons help teens in need by Samie Hartley Staff Writer
In an effort to raise awareness of teen homelessness, students at Freedom High are teaming up with Aéropostale stores and DoSomething.org for the fourth annual Teens For Jeans charity drive. High school students across the country are joining the project, gathering gently used jeans to be donated to homeless teens in their communities. In Oakley, Freedom students will be collecting jeans through Sunday, Feb. 13. The jeans (which needn’t carry the Aéropostale brand) will be donated to local shelters. Freedom Activities Coordinator Dana Johnston said Aéropostale approached the school about joining the project, and the students were anxious to take part: “I think one of the strengths we have at Freedom is that our students always want to help out the community at school and in town.” According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, one out of every three homeless people are under the age of 18. The organization estimates that 1.6 to 1.7 million teens are homeless every year. Aéropostale Senior Vice President of Marketing Scott Birnbaum said the clothing company was happy to join the effort for the fourth year: “In 2008, Teens for Jeans started as a simple idea to enable teens to donate in their local communities.
Three years later, it is a national campaign poised to collect its one millionth pair of jeans for homeless teens. “This initiative has raised awareness of the homeless epidemic and provided jeans to teens in need in every state and throughout Canada and Puerto Rico. Aéropostale is proud to support the fight against teen homelessness.” “We are incredibly excited to partner with Aéropostale again this year for the annual Teens for Jeans campaign,” said DoSomething.org’s Business Development Representative Brittany Castaneda. “This campaign is really what DoSomething.org is all about – teens joining a huge movement while helping real people
right in their own communities.” Schools whose students gather more than 500 pairs of jeans receive a banner for their school and recognition on the Teens for Jeans website. The school that collects the most jeans will receive $5,000 and a party will be held on campus for all the students. Aéropostale is located at The Streets of Brentwood, 2565 Sand Creek Road, Suite C4, between Mainland Skate and Surf and dELiA*s. All community donations are welcome. Participants who bring in a pair of jeans will receive 25 percent off their next purchase of Aéro jeans. For more information, visit www. teensforjeans.org.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Love that open mic Celebrate love in all its forms – true love, old love, young love, unrequited love, even love gone mad or love gone bad – Thursday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 at The Game Sports Pub ’N Pizza, 235 Oak St. in downtown Brentwood. All short work – poetry, short story, nonfiction, or any other creative work – is welcome. Attendees are encouraged to bring any work on any subject, their own or that of another writer, as long as it’s neither insulting nor abusive. All are invited, whether performing or simply listening and enjoying. This event is free; however, all are encouraged to support The Game with a purchase of food or drink. Hosted by Poet Laureate Kati Short and Poet Laureate Emeritus Diane Lando, Open Mic is presented by Brentwood Writes, an adjunct of the Brentwood Art Society and the Brentwood Community Library. Parking is available in the lot behind the restaurant. For further information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 925634-6655.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Don’t let your business be invisible online.
Are you a business owner? Do you know if consumers are ﬁnding your website? Do you even have a website or an online presence? Having a website and online presence is critical for business success in today’s technology-driven world. However, being invisible on the world-wide web can quickly lead to lost business revenue!
Morning Session Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 9:30am
ThePress.net is offering FREE training seminars to teach business owners how to overcome “Online Invisibility.”
Evening Session Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 5:30pm
Come to the beautiful downtown ofﬁce location of the Brentwood Press to learn the Five Best Ways To Make Your Business Visible Online.
Light refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP to email@example.com or call 634-1441 by Monday, February 14 to secure your spot for one of the FREE training sessions. If you are unable to attend one of the above dates, but are interested in learning more about improving or creating on-line visibility for your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free personal training visit.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Resignation opens school board seat by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer The Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) is currently accepting applications to fill an open seat on the district’s governing board, following the resignation this week of trustee Andrew Coffman. Coffman, who ran unopposed for one of three empty seats on the board of trustees in November, resigned Feb. 3, citing personal reasons. The Oakley resident, who has been working out of state since becoming a member of the school board, said that due to the circumstances of his job, he believed it was in the best interest of the board – and the district – to step aside. “Because of the issues the board is facing at this time, mainly its fiscal ones, they need a full board right now,” said Coffman. “I am disappointed, but I can still attend board meetings and remain active in the district.” OUESD Superintendent Rick Rogers said the district was sorry to lose its newest board member, but understood his decision and wished him well. “We’re sorry it didn’t work out with Mr. Coffman,” said Rogers. “But to his credit he recognized that it was in the best interest of the district to resign from his position and take care of his personal business.” R MEDA VE AWARD
The board will now seek to fill Coffman’s position by appointment, which by law must be made within the next 60 days, although Rogers said the board hoped to make a decision by early March. In the event there are no applications for the seat, the district must hold a special election. “I don’t see that happening,” said Rogers. “We’ve had vacancies in the past due to resignations and we’ve always be able to fill them. I expect we will get some great, qualified folks interested in the school district and the board, applying for the seat.” In the meantime it will be business as usual for the remaining four board members, who can still operate with a quorum or a unanimous vote in the event only three members are present. Those interested in running for a seat on the OUESD board should submit their applications to the district office by Feb. 25. Qualified applicants must be residents of Oakley and registered voters. The appointment will run through the end of Coffman’s term, November of 2012. The OUESD board meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the library at O’Hara Park Middle School, 1100 O’Hara Avenue. The OUESD office is located 91 Mercedes Lane. For additional information, call 925-625-0700. To comment, visit www.thepress.net. MEDA L LD AWARD
Super Bowl Sunday Special $10 Off any Come Extra Large Pizza enjoy the game with us! 1/2 Off any 2-liter Soda
$25.99+tax 14” one-topping Pizza with 8 -pc Wings or Large Salad, an order of Cheese Bread and a 2-liter Soda Must present coupon. Expires 2/28/11
Photo courtesy of Christina Wilkins
y Turn Preschool in Oakley was recently recognized as a nationally accredited preschool. The My Turn staff has been working for more than three years to meet and exceed the rigorous program standards required by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. My Turn Preschool is located at 5300 Main St. Congratulations to the staff and directors!
Can’t Afford Your Real Property Taxes? by Joan Grimes, Esq. As the mortgage crisis enters its third year and unemployment rises above 10% in many areas of California, more and more people are unable to pay their property taxes. If you are in default on your property taxes or considering a default, here is the law you should know. First, property taxes are a secured claim against the real property. They are not a personal debt and there is no criminal penalty if you cannot pay your property taxes. If your home forecloses and there are delinquent property taxes at the time of the sale, it will not follow you. Therefore, if you do not have the money to pay the taxes, do not borrow the money from a credit card or 401k account/ 401k loan to make the payment. In the event the home is lost in a foreclosure and you borrowed the money, you will still be required to repay the credit card debt (even potentially in bankruptcy because taxes paid with a credit card may be non-dischargeable) or through the 401k loan. Second, if you cannot pay your property taxes when due, the County cannot immediately foreclose on your property. In fact, it is very rare for a county to foreclose on real property for non-payment. In most places in California, real property must remains in tax defaulted status for five or more years before it will become subject to the Tax Collector’s power of sale. Third, if you cannot afford to pay your property taxes, you have several options. A good option is to enter into an Installment Plan of Redemption which is a 5 year plan that allows a taxpayer to pay defaulted taxes in five installments. However, prior to applying for an Installment Plan you should contact your mortgage lender to make sure they will allow the payment plan to pay taxes in default. Sometimes, mortgage lender will automatically advance for the past due taxes and establish an impound account for past due taxes and as well as establishing an impound account for future taxes
and insurance. The negative consequence of a lender paying the taxes is that they usually require the past due taxes to be repaid over 1 year versus the 5 years allowed by the County. However, the positive consequence is that the accrual of interest by the County is stopped and if you qualify for a loan modification, the past due taxes are in most instances paid through the modification. Another option is to see if you qualify for tax payer assistance. The common form of assistance is through the Property Tax Postponement for Senior, blind and disabled persons which allows qualified homeowners to postpone payment of all or a portion of the property tax due on their home. Fourth, make sure your property is being taxed at the it’s current fair market value. If you feel that your current assessed value is not the current market value, you may request a review by the County. This process is commonly referred to as a Proposition 8 review. In conclusion, there is no free lunch if you are late on your property taxes. However, there are options available to you. This is a complicated area of the law. You are in the deep end of the pool. Do not swim alone. The buddy system is essential. Seek a buddy in legal counsel prior to taking any action. I see people every day for a FREE 30 minute consultation in my offices located in Walnut Creek, Antioch and Brentwood. WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY. WE HELP PEOPLE FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY. 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. GRIMESBKLAW.COM © 2011 Joan Grimes 323-7772
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Registration to begin For BUSD kindergarten Appointments for kindergarten registration in the Brentwood Union School District will open on Feb. 16.
Age requirements Your child must be 5 years old on or before Dec. 2, 2011 and must have a complete and up-to-date immunization record.
immunization records as described above, and 3) Proof of residency. A physical examination is requested for kindergarten and is required before the start of first grade. An oral examination is requested for kindergarten as well, and is required by May 31 of the kindergarten year.
Proof of residency requirements
Polio: Four (4) doses of polio vaccine regardless of age when the last dose was given, or (2) s/he received 3 doses of polio with at least one dose after the fourth birthday. If the 3rd dose was before the 4th birthday then a fourth dose is needed. DTP: A child will be fully immunized against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis with 5 doses of DTP (DT or DtaP) vaccine regardless of age when the last dose was given or (2) s/he received 4 doses of DTP (DT or DtaP) with at least one dose after the fourth birthday. If the 4th dose was before the 4th birthday then a fifth dose is needed. MMR: Two (2) doses of measles containing vaccine received on or after the first birthday and given at least 1-3 months apart. One of these doses must be MMR vaccine. HEP B: Three (3) doses of Hepatitis B vaccine. Varicella: One (1) dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or proof from a doctor that the student has had chickenpox disease. Please bring: 1) Proof of birth: birth certificate (certified copy), passport or baptismal certificate, 2) Complete
Picture ID, AND 2 of the following original documents with parent/guardian’s name and current address: Note: Proof of residency is required for all new students, even those with siblings already attending BUSD. Proof can include: Valid vehicle registration; property tax bill indicating homeowner’s exemption; rental/lease agreement with parent/guardian’s name, student’s name and address, as well as manager or owner’s name and phone number; payroll stubs/checks; State or Federal Tax Return filed within the past 12 months with W-2 forms attached; other forms of communication from a government agency. Appointments will be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 1, 2 and 3, 2011. To make an appointment, call the school in your area: Brentwood School: 5136360, Garin School: 513-6370, Ron Nunn School: 513-6380, Loma Vista School: 513-6390, Krey School: 513-6400, Pioneer School: 513-6410, and Marsh Creek School: 513-6420.
Lauded at Loma Vista Congratulations to the following students at Loma Vista Elementary in Brentwood for being named Students of the Month for January: Kindergarten: Gabriella Alves, Jadyen Cabihi, Brandon Chung, Alexandra Cutonilli, Andrew Del Purgatorio, Paige Gibaut, Joshua Lieber, Jadyn McCombs, Aubrey McNabb, Brydan Meinecke, Byanca Paniagua, Julia Ramey, Jerome Ramos and Cayden Van Name. First grade: Noah Brooks, Emily Bustillos, Kylie Dourgarian, Joseph Fazzio, Aamir Haq, Ella Huesman, Adaku Iheme, Logan Johnston, Broderick Kadlec, Dawson Mariscal, Mylie Misquez, Abigail Smith, Aidan Spencer, Samuel Stone and Jose Zepeda Lopez. Second grade: Emaline Becerra, Aidan Belyea, Mavrick Bethea, Danielle Cardoza, Jordan Cattolico, Josue Covarrubias, Victoria Delgado, Alyssa Elness, Carson Glavich, Bailee Henry, Parker Judy, Anh Thy Le, Aydan McNabb, Katie Murnane, Jalen Quesada, Britney Smookler and Jason Tastard.
Third grade: Sandra Adly, Sobhan Ahmadzai, Rylee Cagle, Alexander Campos, Gabrielle Koch, Joseph Madrigal Burkett, Jaidyn Marden, Camron Matthews, Jonah Myers, Zachary Norris, Gabriella Patino, Senai Robinson, Jasmine Sacco, Daniel Tolentino and Elizabeth Weil. Fourth grade: Dalilah Annotti Izumi, Ashley Cervantes, Alexis Cruz, Nesta Dugbartey, Jack Flanery, Egan Francischetti, Joshua Hartman, Katey Hartwig, Skylar Jaromay, Ali Kiantaj, Justin Mazzola, Kendyll McHenry, Alexis Misquez, Riley Moles, Sarah Packer, Ian Panela, Garrett Pratt, Alyssa Ramirez, Faith Williams and Peyton Wood. Fifth grade: Emily Andrews, Teodora Barnes, Emily Bernamonti, Riley Bosler, McKenna Canavan, Brandon Craven, Skylar Henry, Lindsay Keller, Tatiana Martinez, Sophia McDade, Jordan McIntosh, Ryan Nabas, Samantha Sacco, Leighanna Sanchez, Sydney Schaefer, Cole Scordelis, Devin Stone and Alexandra Tomicich.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Pittsburg muddies regional road plan Pittsburg city ofďŹ cials have been dismayed at the lack of progress of projects such as a bypass for Buchanan Road, an especially congested route during rush hour.
by Justin Lafferty Staff Writer
Pittsburg officials, angered by the lack of construction on their roads, have stopped contributing to a local transportation planning committeeâ€™s pool of money. But the committeeâ€™s recent vote to reject Pittsburgâ€™s proposal to start its own funding source in lieu of the regional one could cost the city about $500,000 annually. Last summer, Pittsburg pulled out of the East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority (ECCRFFA). City officials felt that while they were chipping in money each year, Pittsburg was ignored when it came time for improvements. At the most recent meeting of TRANSPLAN, a group of East County officials who plan the construction funded by money from ECCRFFA, Pittsburg was shot down in its effort to operate on its own funding source instead of contribute to the authority. This move could hurt not only Pittsburg, but the rest of East County. Until last year, the city contributed $2.5 million annually to ECCRFFA. That money, along with cash from Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood, paid for projects such as the Highway 4 Bypass, the widening of Highway 4 between Pittsburg and Antioch and the potential eBART station at Hillcrest Road in An-
Photo by Justin Lafferty
tioch. Pittsburg Assistant City Manager Joe Sbranti said at that meeting that the proposed fee program should be a valid substitute, as it was based on ECCRFFA standards and is identical to the regional program. Sbranti sent a letter on Jan. 27 to TRANSPLAN officials, noting that he would like to continue working amicably with the committee despite his cityâ€™s withdrawal from ECCRFFA. Pittsburgâ€™s membership in the authority began in August of 1994. â€œIt has the exact same list of 26 projects that all of us here have a goal of getting completed,â€? Sbranti said, pitch-
Trevorâ€™s Weekly Mortgage Matters NASCAR Have you ever wondered just what it takes to become a NASCAR driver? I have. Before doing my research I thought, â€œJust how hard can it be to hold the pedal to the floor and the wheel to the left?â€? Well, as it turns out there is much more to the competitive sport and NASCAR has truly evolved from its down south origins: a disorganized competitive outlet for illegal whiskey traffickers in the south, where guys honed their driving skills by evading law enforcement and tax collectors. Drivers in the twenty first century have to be in excellent physical condition, intelligent enough to communicate with their crew, and dedicated enough to excel in many lower levels â€“ the Busch Cup and the Nationwide Series â€“ before being allowed to compete at NASCARâ€™s highest level, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. So just like NASCAR wouldnâ€™t allow a Busch Cup driver onto a super speed way such as Daytona for a Sprint Cup Series race, you shouldnâ€™t let a bank teller, or a bankâ€™s registered loan officer into the driverâ€™s seat of your homeâ€™s financial future. A bankâ€™s registered loan officer, in the mortgage world, is equivalent to a Busch Cup driver. They go through routine background checks â€“ preformed by the bank they work for â€“ and thatâ€™s it. It is as simple as â€œtodayâ€™s rate is xyz.â€? They handle your mortgage, your bank account(s), and in some cases your car loan. That would be as if a stock car driver was responsible for
MEDA L LD AWARD
By Trevor Frey
driving the car, wrenching on the car, and at the same time somehow maintaining his or her own lap times. Although they could be great at what they do, overall they are still learning their craft and do not dedicate 100% of their focus on the home loan side of things. On the other hand, a licensed mortgage loan originator could be compared to a Sprint Cup Series caliper driver. They have put their time in, taken on an extensive program to earn their credentials, and truly earned the privilege of assisting with your mortgage. Theyâ€™re required to take on twenty hours of nationally sanctioned classes, pass a national exam and a separate state exam, as well as subject themselves to a FBI criminal background check. From there an annual credit report is pulled to ensure theyâ€™re not mishandling their own credit and theyâ€™re listed on a national website for all consumers to see. Overall they truly respect you, the consumer, their profession, and themselves. To check the track record of your mortgage loan originator visit www. nmlsconsumeraccess.org. My â€œdriverâ€™s licenseâ€? number is 240131 and I encourage you to view the stats of any potential mortgage loan originator, or â€œdriver,â€? youâ€™ll be allowing to drive for your family. If you have any real estate lending related questions or concerns please donâ€™t hesitate to write me at tfreymortgages@ yahoo.com, or call me directly on my cell phone. (925) 726-1444.
would be a â€œgrave mistakeâ€? for Pittsburg to operate on an independent funding source yet still contribute to a regional decision-making board. Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor echoed Weberâ€™s feelings, fearing that if Pittsburg splits, conflicting motivations could arise on the committee. â€œWeâ€™ve been working on this a long time,â€? Taylor said. â€œThere is a voice and a power in all together and one for all. If we break into segments, we become weaker. After much thought, I appreciate everything Pittsburg is trying to do, but I think we
ing his cityâ€™s funding plan. â€œEvery dollar that comes into Pittsburgâ€™s regional fee, just like every dollar that comes into ECCRFFAâ€™s regional fee, must be spent on those projects. Thereâ€™s no question that that is exactly what Pittsburgâ€™s intention is.â€? TRANSPLAN members worried that splitting off would weaken the overall strength of the committee. Joseph Weber, the TRANSPLAN representative from the Brentwood Planning Commission, pointed out that all four cities have worked well together in the past and this schism could cause major trouble down the road. He felt that it
see Road Plan page 26A
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Editor: It’s been almost four months since the Antioch school board election, where candidates ran on a transparency-ofgovernment platforms, and yet there has not been any effort to put the budget up on the website of the district or publish it in the local press. The parents and taxpayers need to see how this budget will affect their students and what services may not be available. The board of education will be making cuts to cover a deficit. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how public input would influence those decisions, since they were elected and responsible to the public? Openness would allow all sides to see what there is to work with and together agree on solutions to fix it. Jack Yeager Antioch
Control crime, not guns
Editor: We do not need more gun control laws. What we need is more punishment for those that use guns in crimes. Why punish the law-abiding citizens? Criminals do not obey the law anyhow, hence the name, so how is one more law, or a dozen more laws, going to do anything to prevent a criminal act? 13,400 convicted felons will be released early from prison into society between now and the end of 2011. Since 2009, over 1,000 police officers have been laid off due to budget cuts. More will follow this year. Police are overworked and spread too thin to help. They will only be there to draw the white line around your body and write the report. As good as they are, they cannot be everywhere. That they are not duty-bound to protect you is another issue. Yes, you read that right. The police do not have a duty to protect you. The Supreme Court has ruled many times. No one wants a felon or a crazed person to get a gun. But they will always be
able to get one. No amount of gun control will stop this fact. Now is not the time to take the power away from the law-abiding citizen to protect him/herself. Crime control, not gun control. Dale Paris Oakley President, Contra Costa Open Carry
Pope’s a prince
Editor: Oakley has the best city council! And our newest councilmember, Randy Pope, is one of the best. We moved to Oakley a little over a year ago, purchasing a house along Marsh Creek Trail, south of Laurel Road and directly across from Creekside Park. The house had an anomaly – our backyard fence (and that of a few neighbors) bowed inward toward our houses, rather than running parallel alongside the trail. The inward jutting of our backyard fences (with the apex ending directly in our backyard) decreased all of our backyard spaces, and resulted in an abandoned 2,500-square-foot triangular piece of weed-filled land between our backyards and the trail. Why was this ugly unused fenced-off area intruding into what should have been our backyards? No one knew, and no one knew who owned this piece of land. We finally discovered that the City of Oakley owned it – it was “orphaned” some 50 years ago, after the City bought Creekside Park (on the west) and the Flood Control District took control of the creek and trail land that ran through the east side. The leftover triangular remnant east of the creek was promptly forgotten by all. We told the city that the homeowners wanted to purchase it and extend their backyards to the trail (like all the other houses). The city agreed to sell it to us, but then the Flood Control District asserted rights to it, and the city told us we couldn’t have it. That’s when Councilman Pope stepped in to help the homeowners. Randy Pope had just been elected to the City Council when we first contacted
ward Winning News al A pa
him. He immediately responded to our email and agreed to meet with us. We asked if he would accompany us to a meeting we set up with Flood Control, and he said yes! He came to the meeting and spoke forcefully on behalf of the homeowners. Flood Control was still being resistant, so Councilman Pope suggested we talk with the other City Council members to solicit their support. We sent out e-mails to the other councilmembers, and then met personally with both Mayor Jim Frazier and former Mayor Pat Anderson. Both offered suggestions and support for us. With three councilmembers now supporting the homeowners, and talking to both the city manager and the Flood Control District, the Flood Control District decided to forgo its position and allow the homeowners to purchase the land behind their backyards. This would not have happened without the immediate attention and support of our terrific City Council members: Jim Frazier, Pat Anderson and spearheaded by Randy Pope. We are new to Oakley, and didn’t know any of these people – they just jumped in when we asked for help, and got the job done for the homeowners. Oakley is a wonderful city, and we are all very fortunate to have such a terrific group of City Council members, including our newest member, councilman Randy Pope. Susan Morgan Oakley
Viral canine column
Editor: Last month I shared a bone of contention about increasing numbers of unleashed dogs roaming about. I was surprised by the number of national pet publications that picked up the column. I was even more surprised by the numbers of people who took the effort of digging up my contact information to call or e-mail me their own canine confessions. Seems the story hit a collective nerve. Frankly, it reminds me of the time my car was stolen from my driveway. As a Good Samaritan I went around several
blocks of the neighborhood warning neighbors to be on guard. I was amazed to discover just how many others had had their vehicles likewise stolen. Seems, too, dog attacks are more commonplace than I would have imagined. Sadly, some folks even told me they now hesitate walking their own neighborhoods. Here’s some newly garnered tips sent to me. A number of dog owners claimed that their pets had been saved from possible demise by leather or nylon collars that impeded a deadly neck hold. One fellow suggested carrying a lighter, which, guaranteed, will send any creature, four legged or two legged, running. For the tender amongst you, there is the ultrasound dazer, which works at 15 feet and leaves no permanent harm. Disclaimer, though: even the ads disclose that they don’t work with all dogs, including deaf, docile, infirm and highly trained ones. Note, I previously mentioned the idea of carrying an expandable billy club. I heard, though, from a police officer that they are legal in 49 other states but are not sold in California. I also would like to clarify that pepper spray is limited to 3 ounces of individual possession, which might be a limited amount if you got attacked by a pack. Incidentally, one person related the story of a pit bull springing from a group of drifters hanging out behind the gas station adjacent to Starbucks on A Street. The dog had seized his pet’s neck and was close to a kill before the owner was able to unload his can of mace pepper gel. The attacker went scurrying. It was grabbed by the vagrants, who hastily jumped into a truck and sped off. Interestingly, this fellow had used pepper gel twice on humans; once with a mugger and once when he interrupted a teen who was attacking an Oakland librarian. Feeling squeamish? I assure you, the discomfort of analyzing protection strategies is tame compared to seeing your beloved pet, or your own fond body, torn to shreds. An ounce of prevention – or in the case of spray, 3 – is worth a pound of cure. Walter Ruehlig Antioch
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County Supervisor, Dist. III Mary N. Piepho 181 Sand Creek Road, Suite L Brentwood, CA 94513 Phone: 925-240-7260 firstname.lastname@example.org County Supervisor, Dist. V Federal Glover 315 E. Leland Ave. Pittsburg, CA 94565 Phone: 925-427-8138 email@example.com State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier Seventh State Senate District
State Capitol Room 2054 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-651-4007 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 240 Walnut Creek, CA 94597 Phone: 925-942-6082 www.dist07.casen.govoffice.com Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan 15th District P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249 3231 Main St., Oakley, CA 94561 Phone: 925-679-2715
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
FROM EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH LOGS
A sampling of recent law enforcement activity reported by East County police departments. BRENTWOOD Jan. 24, 9:49 a.m. While engaged in an argument over a shopping cart at a business on Lone Tree Way, a subject was struck by the cart. Jan. 24, 3:50 p.m. An unidentified person stole 500 feet of copper wire from the vicinity of St. Regis Avenue at St. Augustine Drive. Jan. 24, 3:53 p.m. An unidentified person stole tools from a locked toolbox in the rear of a vehicle parked on Wintergreen Drive. Jan. 24, 11:20 p.m. An unidentified person stole two bottles of soda from a business on Walnut Boulevard. Jan. 25, 12:38 a.m. On Lone Tree Way at Fairview Avenue, a subject stopped for a vehicle code violation was found to be driving on a suspended license. A passenger in the vehicle who was found to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest was taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. Jan. 25, 8:20 a.m. An unidentified person stole golf clubs from the open garage of a residence on Valley Green Drive. Loss: $2,950. Jan. 25, 11:42 a.m. An unidentified person used the debit card information of a resident of Cortona Drive to make several online purchases. Jan. 25, 2:22 p.m. A subject involved in a collision with injuries on Dainty Avenue at Griffith Lane was found to be driving without a license. Jan. 25, 4:03 p.m. An unidentified person broke into a vehicle parked on Brentwood Boulevard and stole a radio and hand tools. Jan. 25, 6:41 p.m. A subject who stole jewelry from two victims on Griffith Lane and sold the jewelry at a pawn shop was apprehended, arrested and released on a Juvenile Affidavit. Jan. 25, 10:32 p.m. An abandoned bicycle was found on Berkshire Lane and stored at police headquarters. Jan. 25, 11:29 p.m. On Brentwood
LOGS Boulevard at Lone Tree Way, a subject stopped for a vehicle code violation was found to be driving on a suspended license for DUI. He was arrested and released on a Notice To Appear. Jan. 26, Midnight At a business on Lone Tree Way, a subject was battered by three juvenile shoplifters upon contacting them outside the store. The victim was transported to a local hospital. Jan. 26, 1:52 a.m. On Sycamore Avenue, a subject was arrested for public intoxication and booked at the Martinez Detention Facility. Jan. 26, 12:07 p.m. A tire and rim were stolen from a vehicle parked on Chestnut Street. Jan. 26, 6:23 p.m. At a business on Lone Tree Way, a subject who was found to have stolen energy drinks from the employer over a two-year period was arrested and released on a Promise To Appear. Jan. 26, 6:44 p.m. A subject placed under citizen’s arrest for shoplifting at a business on Sand Creek Road was released on a Promise To Appear. Jan. 26, 9:32 p.m. A subject used Facebook to threaten assault against a resident of Torrey Pines Drive. Jan. 27, 3:12 a.m. On Central Boulevard at Fairview Avenue, 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. Jan. 27, 11:22 p.m. A subject entered a residence on Waterville Drive in violation of a domestic-violence restraining order. Jan. 28, 11:08 p.m. On Broderick Drive at Brentwood Boulevard, a subject found in possession of suspected cocaine was arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. Jan. 28, 11:13 p.m. Security was called regarding a red warning light at a residence on Central Park Place. Prior medical calls had been made from the residence. There was no answer at the residence. As officers received no
A subject used Facebook to threaten assault against a resident of Torrey Pines Drive in Brentwood. Jan. 26, 9:32 p.m. response from inside the residence, they forced entry to conduct a welfare check, but no one was home. Jan. 29, 11:25 a.m. An unidentified person stole a bicycle from the open garage of a residence on Mill Creek Way. Jan. 29, 3:20 p.m. A driver struck a sound wall on O’Hara Avenue at Adams Lane. Jan. 30, Midnight During a verbal altercation on Brentwood Boulevard, a subject who threw a beer bottle at another subject and struck him in the face was found to be intoxicated. Both were arrested and taken to the Martinez Detention Facility. Jan. 30, 1:10 p.m. On Balfour Road at Brentwood Boulevard, a subject stopped for a vehicle code violation was found to be driving a vehicle with expired registration. Jan. 30, 1:40 p.m. An unidentified person stole propane tanks from a storage area on Brentwood Boulevard. Jan. 30, 7:44 p.m. A resident of Sawyer Court reported that a firearm was missing from his residence. 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. OAKLEY Jan. 17 – On Second Street at East Ruby Street, a subject was found to be under the influence of drugs. Jan. 17 – A death by suicide occurred on East Cypress Road at Main Street. Jan. 17 – On Laurel Road at Neroly Road, a subject was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Jan. 17 – Domestic battery was reported on the 300 block of Fall Circle. Jan. 17 – A residence on the 5300 block of Live Oak Avenue was vandalized. Jan. 18 – A vehicle accident with property damage occurred on Del Antico Avenue at Main Street. Jan. 18 – Credit card fraud was reported on the 200 block of Honey Lane. Jan. 19 – A vehicle accident with property damage occurred on Empire
Avenue at Gateway Drive. Jan. 19 – Vehicles were towed from Carrington Drive at La Vista Drive and Third Street at Main Street. Jan. 19 – An arrest warrant was served on the 1700 block of Fairhaven Court. Jan. 19 – A subject was in violation of a custody order on the 200 block of West Ruby Avenue. Jan. 19 – Residences on the 3900 block of Holmes Road and the 1900 block of West Summerfield Court were vandalized. Jan. 20 – On Gateway Drive at Sequoia Drive, a subject was arrested for DUI. Jan. 20 – A court order for domestic violence was served on the 4500 block of Burgundy Drive. Jan. 20 – A subject was found in possession of a counterfeit bill on the 2500 block of Main Street. Jan. 20 – A residence on the 5700 block of Bridgehead Road was vandalized. Jan. 21 – A juvenile was reported as a runway from the 4500 block of Hagar Lane. Jan. 21 – An arrest warrant was served on West Acme Street at O’Hara Avenue. Jan. 21 – On Bridgehead Road at Main Street and on Seventh Street at Main Street, subjects were arrested for DUI. Jan. 21 – Domestic battery was reported on the 4500 block of Hagar Lane. Jan. 22 – A subject was caught selling dangerous drugs on Harvest Drive at Laurel Road. Jan. 22 – A subject was found to be under the influence of drugs on the 4300 block of Mehaffey Way. Jan. 22 – A vehicle was towed from the 4300 block of Mehaffey Way. Jan. 22 – An arrest warrant was served on Lariat Lane at Saddle Drive. Jan. 23 – A vehicle accident with property damage occurred on the 500 block of O’Hara Avenue. Jan. 23 – On the 200 block of Yellow Rose Circle, a subject was arrested for public intoxication.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
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Photo courtesy of Catherine Arthur
ntioch’s Quail Lodge Senior Community recently held a spelling bee that tested its residents’ wordcraftiness. Jewell Powell, 88, far left, took home ﬁrst place by spelling “xylograph,” a print made from an engraved wooden block. Connie Shananabarger, 73, earned second place. Third place went to Barbara French, 70.
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ongratulations to all of Timber Point Elementary’s 2011 Spelling Bee contestants. Fifth-grader Meghan Frasier won the competition and Paige Prybylinski took second place. This year’s competitors included fourth-graders Aliah Gaotaote, Reese Watkins Nelson, Caden Norman, Stephanie Burks, Kurosh Aryen, and ﬁfth-graders Thriya Vaisha, Ben Smith, Mitchell Bradley, Connor Shanahan and Nolan Spjut. Meghan’s winning word was “preferable.” She will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee to be held in Walnut Creek in March.
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Marrying in May ongratulations to Daniel Arthur Brandt of Brentwood and Antoniette Crystal Gallo on their engagement. Daniel proposed to Antoniette on Oct. 9, 2010 at beautiful Sutter Creek. Daniel’s family, owners of Bill Brandt Ford in Brentwood, was in attendance. Antoniette’s 6-year-old son Steven was included in Daniel’s proposal to his mom. When Daniel made his speech to Steven, he then got down on one knee and proposed to Antoniette. The couple has not been able to set a wedding date due to Daniel being stationed at the Air Force base in Japan, and is not sure when he will be sent home. Antoniette is currently working in the medical ﬁeld. Best of luck to them both and we hope for Daniel’s safe return!
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ohn and Mary McDonnell of Oakley are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Marcella Tiphani Spring McDonnell, a Freedom High School graduate of 2004, to Matthew Montez of San Leandro, son of Daniel and Laurie Montez, formerly of San Leandro, now residing in Tracy. A 1999 graduate of San Leandro High School, Matthew proposed to Marcella at a huge family picnic last Easter Sunday, presenting a beautiful black diamond ring in a plastic Easter egg. The bride-to-be is a proud nanny in Oakley, works as a freelance hair and makeup artist and loves to entertain at home in Pittsburg. The groom-to-be is a successful warehouse supervisor who also enjoys entertaining at home. Marcella and Matthew have been together for six years after meeting online in 2005 and are excited to join their lives as husband and wife. The wedding is planned for May 21 in Lodi.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
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what can be in the announcement. You cannot, however, use the information that you received from your previous employer to give you an advantage in determining what the “special needs and characteristics” of a potential client are. This is the area of the law that is most litigated. Unimportant facts to the average person about their situation can alter the outcome. It’s important for you to seek legal counsel to review those facts to determine if they will affect what you are allowed to do at your new job. Employers can be sued as well, if they hire a competitor’s employee without knowing what’s permitted. Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
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I noticed the other day that a rather large corporation had “gone under” leaving thousands of people unemployed. Most of the people will find jobs elsewhere, but will probably not be doing the same job. However, there are a select few who while working develop a special set of skills, or specific knowledge about their employer. Where can these people go and what can they take with them? There are some basic rules that everyone in this situation should know. There are two distinct sets of laws that affect what is legal and what is not. The first set of laws relate to whether or not an employee can compete against his previous employer. The laws in each state can be different, but in California, there is a strong public policy for “gainful employment”, and recent high court cases have stated that as a matter of course, you can quit one day or be terminated, and start your own business or work for someone else the next. You cannot solicit your friends to come with you until after you have left your employment. You must not contact your friends during work hours. Finally, if your employer is willing to pay you a salary comparable to what you were earning with them, then as long as you accept that money after you are gone, your non-competition agreement with your previous employer is valid. The second set of laws relate to “intellectual property.” This includes trade secrets, special processes, procedures and customer data bases among other things. You have the right to use your previous employer’s customer data base to make “an announcement” of your new place of employment. There are severe restrictions on
5087 Lone Tree Way | Antioch, CA 94531 | 925-778-9445
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Spotlight on Business, provided each week by The Press, presents news and information about our business community. To contribute to this section, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Game is on
Photos courtesy of DDSD
Joaquin Gonzalez, left, and Juan Arevalo of Delta Diablo Sanitation District in Antioch have been honored for their work by the California Water Environment Association.
Antioch wastewater C staff recognized Delta Diablo Sanitation District (DDSD) has announced that two of its operations staff have been honored as outstanding wastewater professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area by the California Water Environment Association. Juan Arevalo, a member of the DDSD team since 2007, was presented with the 2010 Operator of the Year Award for outstanding performance in the field of wastewater plant operations. He was specifically recognized for his role drafting new Standard Operating Procedures for training purposes, ensuring consistency in the operation of the wastewater treatment plant – the lead role he took in
DDSD’s internship program, which provides real-world experiences to complement the academic training received in the classroom. Arevalo also undertook complex work on the computerized Supervisory Control and Data System, which had developed flaws leading to several false alarms. Joaquin Gonzalez, an 18-year employee at DDSD, was named Supervisor of the Year. Responsible for scheduling and planning all work tasks and coordinating maintenance repairs by DDSD’s 15 operations staff, Gonzalez’s win reflects his collaborative leadership style of promoting teamwork before personal aspirations. Under his leader-
Press file photo
heck out www.thepress.net every Tuesday for a new Spotlight on Business video feature. This week, learn more about one of Brentwood’s newest restaurants The Game Sports Pub ‘n Pizza. Each night The Game is bustling with activity as friends gather to catch a game on one of the restaurant’s 13 TVs, or families treat themselves to a night out where the kids can eat pizza and play videos while the adults indulge in one of the 14 beers on tap. If you would like to see your business proﬁled in a video feature, contact, Rick@brentwoodpress.com.
ship, the plant has recorded seven years of “zero violations” and has received several local, state and national awards such as Plant of the Year and Safety Plant of the Year. Wastewater operators are entrusted with the job of protecting the environment with the utmost integrity, optimizing the treatment process so it runs efficiently, while ensuring discharge permit regulations are met – and formally reporting if they are not. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, DDSD is located on the
Pittsburg-Antioch border and serves nearly 200,000 residents in the communities of Antioch, Bay Point and Pittsburg. In addition to its 16.5-million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant, DDSD also operates one of the largest industrial recycled water plants in California. Arevalo and Gonzalez now compete against other regional winners for the California Water Environment Association’s State award in April. – Contributed by Angela Lowrey
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
East County leaves money on the Table “ Tax refunds can act as our own economic stimulus.
Supervisor Federal Glover approximately 16,000 eligible Contra Costa County residents failed to claim close to $20 million in EITC refunds in 2007. All of the information about the sites in Contra Costa County can be found at the website, www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org. The following are VITA locations:
ANTIOCH • Antioch Senior Center 415 W. Second St., 925-778-1158 • Opportunity Junction 3102 Delta Fair Blvd., 925-776-1133 • East Bay Works Career Center 4545 Delta Fair Blvd., 925-706-4830 • Brighter Beginnings 418 W. Fourth St., 925-427-8516
BAY POINT • Bay Point Works 3105 Willow Pass Road #3, 925-252-2332
PITTSBURG • Pittsburg Senior Center 300 Presidio Ave., 925-252-4890
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“Anytime we can return money to the residents of District 5, that’s good,” said Supervisor Federal Glover. “Tax refunds can act as our own economic stimulus.” A report presented Jan. 25 to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors stated that communities such as Pittsburg could get an infusion of about $6 million in refunds. To help people with their income tax forms, five Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites will be available for all East Contra Costa County residents in order to raise awareness for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Every year, California fails to claim more than $1.2 billion EITC dollars that can contribute to increased economic activity and the creation of thousands of jobs. There is also the I-CAN program, a do-it-yourself software program that lowincome taxpayers can use for free. A study entitled Left on the Table in Contra Costa County, commissioned by the Family Economic Security Partnership and prepared by Dr. Antonio Avalos of the California State University in Fresno, estimated that Contra Costa County residents claimed more than $77 million in EITC payments in 2007. However, the study also found that
Fire from page 1A ly elected member, now is not the time to pursue that plan. “The issue right now isn’t that this board isn’t being run right; it’s that we have a revenue problem,” said Director Jim Frazier, also the mayor of Oakley. “How does spending taxpayer’s money (on a board election) help with the budget?” Moving to an elected board would cost up to $190,000 and require two elections. The first would ask residents if they want an elected board. Following voter approval, the second election would choose the directors. Election law timelines would require the first vote to come before the vote on an assessment. The vote to elect the directors would come after the assessment vote, leaving open the possibility that, if the tax were rejected, new directors with little background on the district would immediately be faced with a broken financial picture and bleak prospects for fixing it. Directors Chris Finetti (Discovery Bay) and Bob Brockman (Brentwood) noted that the intention to institute an elected board had been a major point as the district’s current administrative setup was being crafted. Finetti also said he did not feel the current arrangement served the unincorporated areas of the district well, and was hopeful that a reconstituted board, perhaps with fewer directors, might be better. But with the anticipated difficulty of convincing district residents to pass an additional assessment, coupled with the possibility that a statewide tax measure would also soon be put to a vote, the directors reached a consensus that a two-part board election would create confusion and diminish the prospects of a successful vote on an assessment. Also, Director Kevin Romick (Oakley) said that although establishing an elected board was discussed at length,
Road Plan from page 17A could have our own agendas. … I think we need to be together.” Contra Costa County District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover has a similar view. “We knew a number of years back that the only way we were going to be successful is to speak with one force,” he said. “It was very difficult to get to that place where we could agree on some concepts to get us moving and to bring revenue in.” According to TRANSPLAN documents, the widening of Highway 4 – estimated at $705.9 million – is the committee’s top priority at the moment. The first project exclusive to Pittsburg isn’t found until No. 14 on the list, a widening of California Avenue, estimated at $19.8 million. Work on the PittsburgAntioch Highway, a $13 million project, is No. 12 on the list. “You have three voters who vote on these projects – we have one,” Pittsburg City Councilman Ben Johnson said. “We talk about regional camaraderie. Well, the regional camaraderie is three cities to the east of us that get to vote
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
“ The issue right now isn’t that this board isn’t being run right; it’s that we have a revenue problem. How does spending taxpayer’s money (on a board election) help with the budget?
ECCFPD Director Jim Frazier nothing in the district’s formation documents “dictates, asks or even suggests” that an elected board was required. Vince Wells, the president of firefighter union Local 1230, said he also believes pursuing both goals simultaneously is a bad idea. He asked the board to either go after the assessment or the elected board first. That strategy would reduce confusion, he said, and give the board the ability to frame the tax issue carefully enough to increase its chances of success. The board agreed to continue its work on solving the financial crisis, and if the assessment is passed, to immediately begin the process of installing an elected board. The decision was partly due to the current board’s reluctance to pass the crisis along to another group of people, who would then need to get ramped up on the issues even as the district’s financial house collapsed. “That’s a little frightening,” said Pat Anderson (Oakley). “I don’t want to pass this along. I’m not done trying to make this work.” The board will meet again next week to further discuss the details of the needed revenue enhancement. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
and they have the votes to make whatever changes they want to make. Pittsburg doesn’t have the vote to do that. We’re here. We want to work together as a team, but the bottom line is, we don’t see the money.” Pittsburg officials such as Sbranti would like to see the major project of a Buchanan Road Bypass bumped up toward the front of the line. After the Highway 4 widening and Bypass projects, other improvements projected include a Laurel Road extension benefiting Antioch and Oakley, and work on Main Street/Brentwood Boulevard, which enhances the commute in Oakley and Brentwood. ECCRFFA project manager Dale Dennis admitted that it could take a few years before any work starts on projects exclusively in Pittsburg. Despite its withdrawal from ECCRFFA, Pittsburg is still a member of TRANSPLAN, though its action does cloud the future for both parties, according to committee chair Brian Kalinowski, an Antioch City Councilman. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
Massage from page 1A will ensure that all persons practicing in Brentwood meet minimum criteria. But not everyone agrees with the new provisions. “I know there have been some seedy characters moving into town and doing my business, and I have no problem whatsoever with permits; that should be an automatic,” said Veronica Buckley, an Oakley resident and Brentwood massage therapist. “But I am having a problem with the fact that you are treated like a prostitute until proven otherwise.” The ordinance, which goes into effect this month, allows current establishments up to six months to comply with the new criteria, but the timeline may be extended for businesses with legitimate, extenuating circumstances. The criteria will encompass massage therapy, acupuncture and acupressure
Suicide from page 3A depressed doesn’t mean they’re not feeling pressured and anxious. It’s important that kids have an outlet, a person to confide in, whether it’s a family member, a friend, teacher or counselor. Despite the stigma associated with counseling and therapy, Taylor said some teens need to speak with a professional to help them work through their feelings and stress. A few sessions might help start the teen on a new path, or it might be that the young adult needs medication or a more specific form of treatment. Colton Fink, 15, the Freedom sophomore who committed suicide on Jan. 17 and prompted Monday’s gathering, was battling a mental illness. Colton’s aunt Jennie Gisslow posted on the Facebook page We Love You Colton Fink R.I.P. that Colton suffered from rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. He thought that ending his life was the best way to protect those he loved. Gisslow wrote, “(The disease) escalated into paranoia and violence. By taking his life, it was an act of utter love, to save those around him from further hurt and harm.” According to a 2007 study by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Violence Prevention, 28 percent of teenagers considered suicide during a 12-month period, 22 percent planned a suicide and 13 percent attempted suicide. The study also found that teenage girls are more likely to consider suicide,
services, and allow establishments to be open only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Last November, the Brentwood police made five prostitution arrests at Brentwood massage parlors. Complying with the new Brentwood statute should not be difficult, Brentwood Police Captain Brian Strock told the council. “The city standards are lower than the state certification,” Strock said, adding that unlike the state law, the city ordinance mandates compliance. Brentwood now joins nearby communities such as Oakley, Antioch and Livermore in officially discouraging illegitimate massage operations from setting up shop. “I don’t think it (the ordinance) is a limiting factor,” said Councilman Steve Barr. “It’s a move toward a standard of care expected in Brentwood.” Rick Lemyre contributed to this story. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
citing that 18.7 percent of girls polled said they’d thought about suicide while only 10.3 percent of boys considered it. Taylor advised parents to look for warning signs in order to intervene before it’s too late. Teens considering suicide are often depressed, irritable, aggressive and display sudden changes in behavior. A teen suddenly losing interest in hobbies or friends, dressing and acting differently and talking pessimistically about life and the future, focusing on assumed worthlessness and hopelessness, is waving a big red flag that shouldn’t be ignored. Teens planning to attempt suicide will often give away prized possessions as a way to “settle their affairs” and say a final goodbye. Taylor said this behavior should not be ignored. Many attendees of the seminar expressed gratitude for the information. “I just want to thank you for this information,” one parent said during the questionand-answer session. “This is all stuff we’ve heard before, but we don’t always internalize it and realize what types of stresses our kids are dealing with every day. We do need to trust our intuition and take that extra step to make sure that we are connecting with our kids and reassuring them that we are here to help them.” For more information about how to prevent teen suicide, visit www.crisis.center.org. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
LEGAL NOTICES FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT File #F-0000201-00 The name of the business (es): Stonecrest Lending Located at: 2005C Main Street In: Oakley, CA 94561 Mailing: 16520 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Suite 250, Portland, OR 97224 Is hereby registered by the following owner(s): Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corporation, 1620 E. Roseville Parkway, Suite 248, Roseville, CA 95661. This business is conducted by: a Corporation The registrant commenced to transact business under the ﬁctitious business name or names listed above on: N/A. Signature of registrant: Patrick R. Palmer, Vice President This statement was ﬁled with Stephen L Weir, County Clerk of Contra Costa County on: January 11, 2011 By: H. Franklin, Deputy Expires: January 11, 2016 Brentwood Press No. 02-1273 Publish Dates: February 4, 11, 18, 25, 2011 NOTICE OF TRUSTEE’S SALE TS No. 08-0082953 Title Order No. Investor/ Insurer No. 158513374 APN No. 075-600-0105. YOU ARE IN DEFAULT UNDER A DEED OF TRUST, DATED 02/20/2007. UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY, IT MAY BE SOLD AT A PUBLIC SALE. IF YOU NEED AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF THE PROCEEDING AGAINST YOU, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A LAWYER.” Notice
is hereby given that RECONTRUST COMPANY, as duly appointed trustee pursuant to the Deed of Trust executed by: MARILU C SHIEH, A MARRIED WOMAN AS HER SOLE AND SEPARATE PROPERTY, dated 02/20/2007 and recorded 02/28/07, as Instrument No. 20070059482-00, in Book , Page ), of Ofﬁcial Records in the ofﬁce of the County Recorder of Contra Costa County, State of California, will sell on 03/04/2011 at 10:00AM, At the Court Street entrance to the County Courthouse (corner of Main and Court Street), 725 Court Street Martinez, CA 94553 at public auction, to the highest bidder for cash or check as described below, payable in full at time of sale, all right, title, and interest conveyed to and now held by it under said Deed of Trust, in the property situated in said County and State and as more fully described in the above referenced Deed of Trust. The street address and other common designation, if any, of the real property described above is purported to be: 5306 JUDSONVILLE DRIVE, ANTIOCH, CA, 945318588. The undersigned Trustee disclaims any liability for any incorrectness of the street address and other common designation, if any, shown herein. The total amount of the unpaid balance with interest thereon of the obligation secured by the property to be sold plus reasonable estimated costs, expenses and advances at the time of the initial publication of the Notice
of Sale is $907,642.99. It is possible that at the time of sale the opening bid may be less than the total indebtedness due. In addition to cash, the Trustee will accept cashier’s checks drawn on a state or national bank, a check drawn by a state or federal credit union, or a check drawn by a state or federal savings and loan association, savings association, or savings bank speciﬁed in Section 5102 of the Financial Code and authorized to do business in this state. Said sale will be made, in an ‘’AS IS’’ condition, but without covenant or warranty, express or implied, regarding title, possession or encumbrances, to satisfy the indebtedness secured by said Deed of Trust, advances thereunder, with interest as provided, and the unpaid principal of the Note secured by said Deed of Trust with interest thereon as provided in said Note, plus fees, charges and expenses of the Trustee and of the trusts created by said Deed of Trust. DATED: 11/05/2008 RECONTRUST COMPANY 1800 Tapo Canyon Rd., SV2-202 SIMI VALLEY, CA 93063 Phone: (800) 281 8219, Sale Information (626) 927-4399 By:-- Trustee’s Sale Ofﬁcer RECONTRUST COMPANY is a debt collector attempting to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose. ASAP# 3901167 02/04/2011, 02/11/2011, 02/18/2011 Antioch Press No. 02-1273 Publish Dates: February 4, 11, 18, 2011
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Fong a force in the paint for Liberty by Michael Dixon Correspondent Last season, Liberty High’s girls varsity basketball team reached the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs and finished the season 19-9. The Lions were also left with a big hole in the middle, as 6-foot4-inch Bay Valley Athletic League MVP Corinne Costa is now playing at UCLA. Junior center Bernadette Fong has stepped up this season to fill the void left by Costa. As a sophomore, the 6-2 Fong was a key part of the team, averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game. Without Costa, Fong has increased her production, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds, plus one block and one steal, per contest. “From the moment Corinne graduated, we’ve been talking about what (Fong) needed to do,” said Liberty head coach Debbi Weil. “She didn’t have shoes to fill because they’re different players. But her maturity on the court was going to be very key this year, and she has done a great job with that.” Through their Jan. 28 victory over Antioch, the Lions are 12-8 overall and 22 in league. While Liberty runs a balanced attack, Fong is the offense’s focal point. In the Lions’ win over Freedom, she scored 18 and topped that with 23 in a win against Antioch. In a loss to Heritage, she was held to nine. Fong’s goal is to play college basketball, although she, her coach and teammates
agree that to reach that level – and excel – she needs to improve her cardio and stay out of foul trouble early in the game. “I definitely want to cut down on getting in foul trouble,” Fong said, noting that success at her strong suit – defense – is dependent on good conditioning. “If I wasn’t as tired,” she said, “I wouldn’t commit as many fouls.” In the recent West Coast Jamboree, Fong was named Diamond Division MVP. She averaged more than 19 points and 13 rebounds over four games and led the team to the Diamond Division title. Included in that was a dominant 21-point, 23-rebound performance in a 43-39 come-from-behind victory against Amador Valley in the semifinals. On the court, Fong is a strong, intense player who pushes her teammates and herself to play their very best – so much so that her coaches worry that she allows frustration to affect her play. Off the court, her teammates and friends label Fong a nice girl and easy to get along with. “I don’t know how to say it, but she’s just Bernadette,” said senior guard Gabrielle Worley. “There are a lot of good things I can say about her; I just can’t put it into words. She’s just a really good friend – she’s my best friend.” Fong gets her strength on and off of the court from her mother, Joachina Fong. Joachina, as well as Fong’s cousin Brittany Harris attend every game. Whether the Li-
Liberty junior center Bernadette Fong, seen here last year against Heritage, has been outstanding as a scorer and rebounder this year for the Lions, who have eyes on another deep playoff run.
Photo by Jolly Hanson
ons are blowing out their opponent, suffering a tough loss, or anything between, Fong’s family members aren’t shy about making their presence known. “They’re my biggest fans,” said Fong. “My mom has been a backbone and a rock. Without her, I wouldn’t be what I am.” While Fong’s size goes a long way to-
ward making her a force on the court, she has been playing the game only since seventh grade. “She’s gotten stronger,” said junior guard Kelsey Hickman, who played on the junior varsity team last year but teamed with Fong as a freshman. “She encourages everyone; she pushes everyone. She always tries her hardest.”
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
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ntioch High receiver/defensive back Shamawn Wright, left, signed his letter of intent to attend UC Davis on Wednesday, as two other Bay Valley Athletic League standouts selected their colleges that day. Heritage lineman Will Oliver chose UCLA and Freedom lineman Darrell Greene decided to sign with San Diego State. All three players were ﬁrst-team all-BVAL selections. For more information, visit www.thepress.net.
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FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Shorthanded Wolverines ride second half to win by Michael Dixon Correspondent Deer Valley’s boys varsity basketball team started Friday’s game against defending Bay Valley Athletic League champion Heritage shorthanded. Their top scorer and top assist man, junior guards Olajuwon Garner and Charles Smith, were both declared ineligible. The other Wolverines picked up the slack, though, routing the Patriots 70-43. Senior center Andre McPhail led all Deer Valley scorers with 13. Joining him in double digits were sophomore guard Kendall Smith and junior guard Dylan Williams, who netted 12 each. Senior forward Obah Pope chipped in for 11 of his own. “Considering the circumstances, I liked the effort,” said Wolverines head coach LeChet Phillips. “We had to adjust, missing two starters in our backcourt.” Fans who left after the first quarter might have been surprised to learn that Deer Valley won – and certainly surprised at the Wolverines’ 70-point explosion. The Patriots led 13-9 after one quarter and made it
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hard for the Wolverines to connect on their passes. By halftime, however, Deer Valley led 29-21. Three-pointers accounted for all 12 of Williams’ points. The two he made in the second quarter helped give the Wolverines some breathing room. Another part of Deer Valley’s sluggish start was a 1-for-10 performance from the free-throw line in the first half. The Wolverines settled down in the second half, sinking 10 of 15 from the charity stripe and five of seven in the final quarter. Phillips acknowledged the poor free-throw shooting, calling it a work in progress. The fourth quarter was where the game was put away, as the Wolverines outscored the Patriots 24-8. Heritage senior guard Dorian Hardy matched McPhail’s 13 points, but none of Hardy’s teammates got to double-digits. Senior swingman Kyle Reynolds was second on the team with nine. “It was a good comeback,” said McPhail. “Everybody played as a team; everybody was unselfish and tried to make everyone better. We need that the whole season. They were the league champions last year. With them coming in here, we knew we had to play strong.” Entering the week, every team in the Bay Valley Athletic League was 1-1. The loss dropped Heritage to 2-2 in league and 12-8 overall. Deer Valley, 2-0 on the week, owns a 3-1 league record and 14-5 overall. “It should be 4-0. We had a little slip-up, but we learned from that,” said McPhail, alluding to his team’s 74-71 loss against a sub.500 Pittsburg team. “We’ve had a couple of slip-ups; they humbled us. We need to come back from them, get it rolling right off the bat, and blow out a team – early.” The night wasn’t a complete loss for Heritage. The junior varsity squad won a 59-56 thriller, climaxing in a Wolverines three-point, game-tying attempt that hit the rim but didn’t fall. The Patriots Ethan Magalei led all scorers; Robert Bershell topped the Wolverines.
Deer Valley’s Marcus Lee preps for a two-handed jam in the ﬁrst quarter of Friday’s win over Heritage.
Photo by Jolly Hanson
Freedom 80, Pittsburg 65 Three Freedom players reached doubledigits in scoring as the Falcons topped Pittsburg 80-65 last week. Senior guard Jeff Matteri and sophomore guard James O’Neal each scored 20 points. Matteri was masterful from beyond the arc, sinking six three-pointers. Senior guard Andrew Gardner contributed 16 to the Falcons’ high-scoring effort. Pirates junior forward Juwan Blakely led his team with 18 points. Randal Gory, a junior guard, came through with 17. Pittsburg’s
leading scorer, Kristopher Manning, was held to eight. The Falcons’ junior varsity team advanced to 13-7 (3-1 BVAL) with a 72-47 victory. Darrell Daniels scored a game-high 27 points. Freedom (12-8; 2-2 BVAL) hosts Heritage on Friday night; the Pirates travel to Liberty. Antioch 67, Liberty 52 Led by senior guard Jamaal Davis’ 19 see Shorthanded page 6B
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but the Colts battled back, eventually leading 3-2. The Patriots showed a lot of heart, James said, by knotting it up with a late goal. Even more impressive is the diversity of the Heritage roster. A good mix of underclassmen and upperclassmen puts the Patriots in position to succeed not just this season, but the next few. Senior midfielder Ari Gordon and sophomore forward Jamie Baron started the week leading the team with eight goals each. Augmenting the offense are junior forward Maggie Clancy’s team-high five assists and freshman midfielder Kylee Smith, senior fullback Chelsey McDonald and Griggs’ four assists. Through the first 17 games, Heritage has only allowed 10 goals, a testament to the quality of work put in by Barsanti and the rest of the Patriots defense. “I feel like we’ve really meshed together as a team,” Baron said. “Older girls are teaching younger girls and the younger girls are learning from the older girls. Even though the older girls have more experience, the younger girls still have a lot of talent. We have a lot of raw talent on the team; it’s just a matter of developing it.” To comment, visit www.thepress.net.
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