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Established in 1858

Friday, February 14, 2020

Volume 162 Issue 41

After 105 years Martinez refinery gets new owner

BRIEFS Join the Rankin Team

The Aquatic Center will hold a job fair on March 14 for several positions, including lifeguards, swim instructors, pool managers, recreation leaders, ball field maintenance, counselors in training, and junior lifeguards. If you are interested in any of these positions, stop by the Recreation Office at 525 Henrietta Street to fill out an application. For more information, please contact the Recreation Office at (925) 372-3510 or email recreation@ cityofmartinez.org.

$2.00 TAX included

INSIDE THIS EDITION

SCHOOLS

St. Catherine of Siena School kicked off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 26 with exciting news. Mrs. Griswold, proud principal of St. Catherine of Siena School...

See RENOVATION on page A2

City of Martinez news

Picnic Season

Martinez residents may begin making picnic reservations on February 21. Nonresidents can make reservations on March 2. The official picnic season begins April 18 through October 31.

NEWS

City of Martinez news

Youth Sports

The Baseball Parade will be Saturday, March 7, and feature the Athletes of Martinez Baseball & Softball Association. One of the largest youth organizations in the city, the Martinez Youth Baseball and Softball League (or Little League), has one of the largest girls softball program in Northern California. Plans are underway to make the day memorable for hundreds of athletes. A picnic will follow at the Waterfront Park.

MNG photo

Martinez BSA Troop 429 lost camping gear and supplies when their storage locker was burglarized last month. The Troop storage unit at Public Storage on Pacheco Ave. was vandalized...

PBF personnel and Martinez community leaders “cut the ribbon” on the new company.

See BSA TROOP on page A3

Martinez Refinery Co. takes over from Shell RICK JONES | EDITOR

F

City of Martinez news

or over a century the refinery in Martinez has been owned by Shell. The company is intertwined in the Martinez community, an ongoing partner in events big and small. On February 1 a new owner officially

took over. PBF Energy Inc., headquartered in New Jersey, will now operate the facility on the Carquinez Strait. The facility will now be called the Martinez Refining Co. LLC, after the $1.2 billion acquisition cleared federal scrutiny. The deal was struck in mid-2019.

On Monday, February 3 city, county and state officials gathered with PBF representatives for a ribbon cutting to christen the new era in Martinez. In honor of the occasion, Mayor

See REFINERY on page B9

When you buy a refinery, you buy the people as well. And that was one of the reasons we bought this refinery, we know it has a lot of talented people.”

JERRY FORSTELL

REFINERY MANAGER FOR THE MARTINEZ REFINERY

CHP officer charged with sexual assault of 16-year-old girl FREMONT, CA. - A California Highway Patrol officer was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the San Francisco Bay Area after a monthslong investigation, authorities said. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Monday

See BRIEFS on page A3

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID MARTINEZ, CA PERMIT NO. 235 94553-9998

MUSD Superintendent’s News and Notes CJ CAMMACK | CONTRIBUTED

normal operations and/or schedules. Should there be any changes required/ mandated I will be in communication with our community immediately. For your reference, I have included a letter from Chris Farnitano, MD, Health Officer, Contra Costa County, linked here: Letter - Coronavirus, in addition, if you are interested you can find more information from the County Health Services Department here: https:// cchealth.org/coronavirus/

Dear MUSD Community, For all the 49er Faithful, I am sorry your team didn’t win the big game. Even as a lifelong Raider fan myself, I would have preferred to see the 49ers win the Superbowl. February is here and that means just four months left this school year! With our earlier August start, the last student day will be May 29th. There is so much good news to celebrate in this newsletter, but we also have some very serious topics to review as well. The celebrations, which can be found in the bottom sections of this newsletter, include highlights ranging from awards for John Muir Elementary, AHS, design plans for a new Las Juntas Elementary School, and the Martinez Education Foundation annual grant awards. Please be sure to review those sections below. Before we move to celebrations, I want to share information with you on two important topics. First, as a parent of school-aged children and as Superintendent of MUSD, I am watching the developments of the coronavirus very closely. MUSD is working with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) to reduce the risk of anyone getting sick from coronavirus in our community. Even though there are some cases in the Bay Area, the risk of becoming ill from the coronavirus in Contra Cos-

Courtesy Photo MUSD Superintendent CJ Cammack.

ta County remains very low. CCHS does not recommend the exclusion of healthy students, families, teachers, or school staff. The best ways to reduce the risk of getting or spreading any respiratory disease, including this virus, are: Stay home from school or work if you are sick. Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. Cover with an elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth and limit close contact with people who are sick. CCHS is not currently recommending the use of masks, so we are not providing or requiring them at school. At this time, there are no changes in our

Connolly & Taylor Funeral Chapel – Serving the Martinez area since 1921 –

Important Information on MUSD Fiscal Forecast The second important topic is related to our financial circumstances in MUSD. Many media outlets reported in January that the Governor’s proposed budget provides more money than ever for public education. Well, that may be true in a factual sense, but it certainly creates a false narrative around school funding. Here’s an example, if your monthly income increased by $200 per month, technically you would have an increase in revenue. However, if along with that $200 per month increase, your mortgage/rent increased by $500 dollars a month, you would, in fact, have $300 less in your monthly budget. That is the reality schools are facing across all of California. Any increases we are getting in funding is not enough to cover the base level increased costs, man-

See MUSD on page A5

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

And so 2016 finally draws to a close. It’s been the longest election year in American history. It ran from Feb. 1, 2016, the date of the Iowa caucuses, to the Senate vote...

See LOWRY on page B7

POLITICS

The Martinez City Council approved a 5-year program of city street maintenance and rehabilitation program, which included a list of street work for 2020...

See MEASURE D on page B8

ENTERTAINMENT

Every once in a while, a very special theatrical production is really worth a little trip out of the immediate area, and one is worthy of your consideration right now! Steel Magnolias...

See STEEL MAGNOLIAS on page B10

MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE

“Honesty, Integrity, and Quality in all we do.”

4000 Alhambra Ave. Martinez, CA 94553

The End of 2016

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SCHOOLS

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SCHOOLS

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LOCAL NEWS

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CRIME

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

Renovation grant awarded to St. Catherine School STEPHANIE MOORE | CONTRIBUTOR

S

t. Catherine of Siena School kicked off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 26 with exciting news. Mrs. Griswold, proud principal of St. Catherine of Siena School, A Lumen Christi Academy, announced that Shea Family Charities has awarded a grant to renovate the school facilities, originally built in 1948. Shea Family Charities is working closely with the Principal to finalize renovation plans, which will include improvements to the interior and exterior of the building and site itself, as well as technology enhancement to support the school’s curriculum. It has been the goal of the school, as well as Lumen Christi Academies, to create innovative studentcentered environments, and this grant has turned that goal into reality. The improvements are scheduled to be completed for the 20202021 school year. Thru this grant, Shea Family Charities is showing true faith in the momentum of the school, and the work St. Catherine’s is doing to excel in their commitment to academic excellence and build community. “We are grateful for the Shea Family Charities who believe in us, who believe in the story we are creating together,” says Mrs. Griswold. In just two short years since she first became Principal in 2018, Mrs. Griswold has proven that she is not only committed to the school’s mission, but

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POLITICS

New Marathon STEM Center unveiled at Boys and Girls Clubs of Contra Costa

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Moore SCS Student Leadership Team hosting lunch for Martinez local leaders.

fully capable of leading the change needed to continue growing and transforming learning at St. Catherine’s, “We are excited to have this opportunity to renovate our school this summer, because it will benefit not only the students of 2020, but beyond.” As part of the LCA (Lumen Christi Academies) network, St. Catherine of Siena has been able to adopt new programs, provide students workshops for social/ emotional learning, shift instructional practices thru rigorous professional development, and bring academic rigor to the forefront. The school has evolved its curriculum to one that strives to meet the individual needs of all students. “I am hopeful, grateful, and energized to share with everyone that St. Catherine of Siena truly is a beacon of light as we continue to share Christ’s love with others,” says the Principal, “I want to invite everyone into our special community.” In addition to sharing

MNG photo From center holding scissors, Michael Dunn, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Contra Costa, Tom Lu, Refinery Manager at Marathon Petroleum, and Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Moore Rhyan Ramirez leading Social-Emotional Learning workshop in Kindergarten.leaders.

this announcement, Catholic Schools Week activities included an Open House, buddy classes reading together to promote Annual Literacy Day, a Faith Family STEM Challenge, a local leader lunch hosted by the Student Leadership Team, Jr. High Science Fair, and Service Day where all students

went out to the Martinez community to show “service towards others”, one of the school’s Student Learning Expectations. To learn more about enrollment for Preschool thru 8th grade for the 2020-2021 school year, call the office at 925-228-4140 or email Mrs. Griswold jgriswold@csdo.org.

MNG photo Kaila Rose, 8 years-old, works at a computer station. Kaila is the daughter of Julian Rose, Port Captain for Marathon Petroleum.

Martinez Education Foundation (MEF) announces grant awards DIANE BECK | CONTRIBUTOR

M

artinez Education Foundation (MEF) recently awarded grants in the amount of $185,572 to teachers and staff throughout the Martinez Unified School District schools. Schools receiving grants include Alhambra High School ($36,156), Martinez Junior High School

($51,152), Morello Park Elementary ($24,872), Las Juntas Elementary ($16,327),

John Swett Elementary ($28,703), John Muir Elementary ($21,120), and Vicente Martinez High School/ Briones School ($7,242). Additional information about the grants can be found at MEF’s website at www. martinezedfoundation.org. MEF thanks and appreciates all of its contributors especially Shell Oil Products, PBF Holding, Lippow

Development and the Cameron-Baird Foundation for their generous support this year to make these grants possible. Thanks to all for great support from the community throughout the year that allows MEF the opportunity to make our schools better! Save the date for next year’s Run For Education – Sunday September 27, 2020.

MNG photo A Marathon Petroleum employee tests a virtual reality headset.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Contra Costa held the grand opening of the Martinez Clubhouse Marathon STEM Center. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Contra Costa received a major grant from Marathon Petroleum, Martinez, California that helped fund the renovation. Michael Dunn, CEO of BGCCC, showed invited guests a new 3D printer, virtual reality headsets, dozen new computers, and makers space.

RE-ELECT SUPERVISOR

FEDERAL

Dear Martinez

Supervisor Federal Glover is Proudly Endorsed by:

Residents:

Building Trades & Local Unions

Martinez Vice Mayor Mark Ross

It has been my greatest honor to represent yo County Board u on the Contra of Supervisors. Costa Together, we ha ve: Made significa nt improvemen ts to Hwy 4, I-6 the Caldicott Tu 80 and nnel Strengthened our Industrial Safety Ordinanc higher safety st e to require andards at oil refineries Opened three Family Justice Centers to supp domestic violen ort victims of ce, elder abus e and human tra fficking Started plans fo r a new ferry se rvice to/from M San Francisco artinez and

Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder

Congressman George Miller (Ret.)

Martinez is a un ique, beautiful city in which to support on Elec live. I ask for yo tion Day, March ur 3rd, so we can work for our co continue this go mmunity. od Warmest regard s,

Recommended by the

Federal Glover , Supervisor -

District 5

EAST BAY TIMES

Martinez Firefighters & 911 Personnel

Martinez Councilwoman Lara DeLaney

Police Officers & Deputy Sheriffs

www.FederalGlover.com Paid for by Federal Glover for Supervisor 2020 - ID No. 991595

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Friday, February 14 - 20, 2020

www.martinezgazette.com


SCHOOLS

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LOCAL NEWS

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Citizen of the Year

The Martinez Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for “Citizen of the Year�

STAFF REPORTER | MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE

T

he Martinez Chamber of Commerce is now accepting letters of nomination for the 2019 Citizen of the Year Awards. The awards are given in the following categories: Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Young Man of the Year, Young Woman of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Service Without Borders, and Educator/ Teacher of the Year. To nominate someone for any of these categories, visit

www.martinezchamber.com or contact the Martinez Chamber of Commerce for a Citizen of the Year Guideline Form. Then, write a letter stating why you believe the person deserves the award. The more information that you provide gives your nominee a better chance of being an awardee. Your contact information and nominees contact information including address and telephone number on the letter is required for the

nomination to be accepted. The Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 6 pm - 9 pm. The deadline for all nominations is Friday, February 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Please send letters of nomination or any inquiries to the Martinez Chamber of Commerce, 603 Marina Vista Avenue, Martinez, CA 94553, (925) 228-2345. Letters can be faxed to (925) 228-2356 At-

Courtesy Photo Martinez Chamber of Commerce.

tention: Citizen of the Year Nomination, or e-mailed to info@martinezchamber. com Attention: Citizen of the Year Nomination.

Martinez Scouts lose camping equipment to thieves RICK JONES | EDITOR

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artinez BSA Troop 429 lost camping gear and supplies when their storage locker was burglarized last month. The Troop storage unit at Public Storage on Pacheco Ave. was vandalized and thieves took a Camp Chef camp stove, propane tank, several tents, tarps, and other camping gear. “The Scouts use this equipment on a monthly basis and now will have to raise the money to replace these items,� Melodee Terry said. The Troop estimates $1,500 worth of equipment will need to be replaced, including four tents that were valued at $500.

Photo courtesy of BSA Troop Four tents were stolen from the Troop’s storage unit.

The Troop includes young boys and girls and has 15 active members. The Scouts try to camp once a month, Terry said. Recent trips have been to Kirby Cove, under the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount

Diablo, Advance Camp at Vallejo fairgrounds. “At each camp the troop members learn important skills like how to set up camp, cook, respect the outdoors, nature hikes, teamwork, safety skills with camp

equipment like knives and axes, plus many more important skills,� Terry said. The Troop also participates in community service projects such as making Easter baskets for less fortunate children, stuffing stockings for Christmas, filling and distributing backpacks to the 2nd graders in Martinez. Donations of new or used, good condition gear can be made to the Troop’s charter organization, the Morello Hills Christian Church. There is also a gofundme account set up for money donations at www.gofundme. com/f/help-troop-429-replace-stolen-camping-gear “Getting our gear replaced before Scout Camp in the summer will be a huge task,� Terry said

CRIME

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

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POLITICS

BRIEFS charged Brian Watkins, 34, of Fremont, with three counts of unlawful sexual assault against a minor, after Fremont police arrested him last week following a monthslong investigation. Fremont police began investigating Watkins in July 2019, after receiving a report of “alleged sexual misconduct involving Watkins� and a teenage girl, the East Bay Times reported. Watkins “began communicating and having a sexual relationship with the victim when she was 16 years old,� Fremont police said in a statement. Court charging documents say the alleged assaults happened on three separate dates between September and November of 2018. Police said that the activity “has been ongoing and continued after Watkins learned he was being investigated,� but recent unspecified developments allowed investigators to arrest Watkins. It was not immediately known if Watkins has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. CHP San Jose area commander Capt. Jason Reardon said in a statement that Watkins had been placed on administrative leave and stripped of his peace-officer powers. “The CHP continues to fully cooperate with the investigating agency and we are conducting our own investigation into the allegations,� Reardon said. “I want to assure the public that we take any allegation of misconduct by our employees, whether on or off duty, very seriously.�AP News

Parents of boy who drowned in school pool settle for $8M SAN RAMON, CA. — A San Francisco Bay Area school district has reached a $8 million settlement with the family of a boy who drowned during his high school swim class, an attorney said Tuesday. Andrew Schwartz, the attorney for the parents of Benjamin Curry, said that the San Ramon Valley Unified School District filed the monetary settlement Friday. Schwartz said the trial was set to begin Feb. 18 in Contra Costa County Superior Court, the East Bay Times reported. “I’m relieved for the family that the litigation is over, but their pain and suffering are never going to go away,� Schwartz said of Karen and Thomas Curry. The district was not immediately available for a statement regarding the settlement. Benjamin Curry drowned May 8, 2018, as he and 56 classmates were told to tread water for three minutes at the end of their physical education class at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville. Police and coroner’s officials determined that Curry died from an accidental drowning, but his family was upset, alleging school officials allowed a rumor that he killed himself to linger too long. In its apology letter to the community, Superintendent Rick Schmitt said the district discouraged such “inaccurate and hurtful rumors� after the drowning, including in an email it sent to parents shortly after Ben’s death.

AP News

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CRIME & INCIDENTS

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

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POLITICS

NTSB releases details in 2 crashes involving Tesla Autopilot POLICE BLOTTER TOM KRISHER AND OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ | AP NEWS

SAN FRANCISCO — An Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X slammed into a concrete barrier had previously complained about the SUV malfunctioning on that same stretch of Silicon Valley freeway. His complaints were detailed in a trove of documents released Tuesday by federal investigators in two Tesla crashes involving Autopilot, one in California and the other in Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the March 2018 crash that killed Walter Huang near Mountain View, California. It’s also probing a crash in Delray Beach, Florida, that happened about a year later and killed driver Jeremy Banner. The documents say Huang told his wife that Autopilot had previously veered his SUV toward the same barrier on U.S. 101 near Mountain View where he later crashed. Huang died at a hospital from his injuries. “Walter said the car would veer toward the barrier in the mornings when he went to work,” the Huang family’s attorney wrote in a response to NTSB questions. Records from an iPhone recovered from the crash site showed that Huang may have been using it before the accident. Records obtained from AT&T showed that data had been used while the vehicle was in motion, but the source of the transmissions couldn’t be determined, the NTSB wrote. One transmission was less than a minute before the crash. Huang had described Autopilot’s previous malfunctioning to his brother, the Huang family attorney wrote, in addition to talking with a friend who owns a Model X. Huang, a software engineer, discussed with the friend how a patch to the Autopilot software affected its performance and made the Model X veer, according to the attorney. The Huang family is suing Tesla and California’s Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to maintain the highway. Autopilot is a partially automated system designed to keep a vehicle in its lane and keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of it. It also can change lanes with driver approval. Tesla says Autopilot is intended to be used for driver assistance and that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times. The full NTSB board is

MARTINEZ POLICE BLOTTER FOR DECEMBER 16 - 31

KTVU-TV via AP, File FILE - In this March 23, 2018, file photo provided by KTVU, emergency personnel work a the scene where a Tesla electric SUV crashed into a barrier on U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif. The Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X crashed into the concrete barrier complained before his death that the SUV’s Autopilot system would malfunction in the area where the crash happened. The complaints were detailed in a trove of documents released Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the March, 2018 crash that killed engineer Walter Huang.

scheduled to hold a hearing on the Mountain View crash on Feb. 25. At that time, it will determine a cause and make safety recommendations. NTSB staff members have already recommended that California transportation officials move faster to repair highway safety barriers damaged by vehicles. A report from the agency says California officials failed to fix the barrier that was damaged in a crash 11 days before Huang was killed. In that incident, a 2010 Toyota Prius traveling over 75 mph (120 kmh) crashed against the attenuator, a cushion that protects vehicles from hitting the end of concrete lane dividers. The California Highway Patrol responded to the March 12 crash but did not notify the state Department of Transportation of the damage as required, the NTSB said. Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X was traveling at 71 mph (114 kph) when it crashed against the same attenuator, which the NTSB determined had been damaged and repaired more frequently than any other leftexit in Caltrans’ District 4, which includes all of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the three years before the Tesla crash, the device was struck at least five times, including one crash that resulted in fatalities. A car struck it again on May 20, 2018, about two months after the Tesla crash, the NTSB said. NTSB first released some details from its investigation in September. The California Department of Transportation said in a statement Tuesday that it has “identified and is implementing several steps to enhance monitoring and tracking of the repair of damage” to highway infrastructure. “These efforts include updates to its policies and mainte-

nance manual, training of staff, and enhanced reporting on the timely repair of high priority traffic safety devices,” Caltrans said. In the Florida crash, Banner turned on the Autopilot function of his Model 3 sedan 10 seconds before the crash, then took his hands off the steering wheel, NTSB documents said. The car then drove underneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing in front of it, sheering off the car’s roof and killing Banner. It was eerily similar to another Florida crash in 2016 in which a Tesla on Autopilot went beneath a semi trailer. The NTSB said in a preliminary report that it still hasn’t determined the cause of the crash. According to the report, traffic was light on the fourlane highway and dawn was breaking when Banner, 50, set his speed at 69 mph (111 kph) and activated the autopilot as he headed to work. The speed limit was 55 mph (88 kph). Seconds later, a tractor-trailer driven by Richard Wood, 45, pulled from a driveway and began to cross to the other side of the highway. Wood said he saw two sets of car headlights coming toward him, but he thought he had time to make it across. “It was dark and it looked like the cars was back further than they was,” Wood told NTSB investigators four days after the crash. A photo taken by the NTSB from Tesla’s front-end video camera showed Wood’s trailer fully blocking the road 1.5 seconds before the crash. Data from the Tesla’s computer shows that Banner hit his brakes less than a second before the crash, but the car went under the trailer. Wood says he saw a second car but it didn’t hit the trailer. Krisher reported from Detroit. Terry Spencer contributed from Orlando, Florida.

A10 Networks: 4Q Earnings Snapshot AP NEWS | CONTRIBUTED

SAN JOSE, CA - A10 Networks Inc. (ATEN) on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $51,000, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the San Jose, California-based company said it had profit of less than 1 cent. Earnings, adjusted for stock option ex-

pense and restructuring costs, were 10 cents per share. The provider of networking technologies posted revenue of $60.3 million in the period. For the year, the company reported that its loss narrowed to $17.8 million, or 23 cents per share. Revenue was reported as $212.6 million. For the current quarter ending in April, A10 Networks expects its per-share

DON’T SETTLE FOR FAKE NEWS.

earnings to range from 1 cent to 3 cents. The company said it expects revenue in the range of $51 million to $53 million for the fiscal first quarter. A10 Networks shares have climbed 7% since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $7.35, an increase of 11% in the last 12 months.

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On December 16th at 12:18 am, Officer Green was on foot patrol when he observed a subject staggering in the 700 block of Ferry Street. Officer Green made contact with the man and determined he was too intoxicated to care for his own welfare. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and booked into MDF. Case# 19-3337. At 2:14 pm, Sergeant Busciglio contacted a male in the 400 block of Ferry Street for possessing an open container of alcohol. The male was arrested for public intoxication. While handcuffed, the male tried to pull away, kick and spit at officers. The male was secured in a WRAP restraint device and a spit hood was applied. Additional charges included resisting officers and probation violation. Case# 193340. At 2:51 pm, Officer Molina investigated an abandoned vehicle in the 300 block of Via Cordova Lane. The vehicle was reported as stolen. Case# 19-3341. At 6:21 pm, Officer Ramos responded to Alhambra Hills Court and Alhambra Hills Drive for the theft of a FedEx van. Case# 19-3344. At 6:51 pm, Officer Murray responded to the 1000 block of Merrithew Drive for a suspicious vehicle. The male occupant was contacted and arrested for warrants. Case# 19-3345. On December 17th at 1:46 am, officers received an LPR stolen vehicle alert on Alhambra Avenue. Officer Ramos located the vehicle in the 4100 block. The male driver was arrested. Case# 19-3346. At 3:10 pm, Officer Winslett took a burglary report from a resident on Barber Lane, where a shed was broken into and items were stolen. Case# 19-3351. At 6:28 pm, Officer Murray responded to Rite Aid for a theft. The female suspect was contacted and arrested in the parking lot. Case# 19-3352. On December 18th at 12:26 am, officers received an LPR stolen vehicle alert. Officer Parsons located the vehicle travelling eastbound on HWY 4. Officer Parsons initiated a traffic enforcement stop and the driver did not yield. A short pursuit ensued until it was terminated for safety concerns. Case# 193354. On December 18th at 3:17 am, Officer Murray responded to the 5700 block of Likins Court for two subjects entering a neighbor’s work truck. One male was contacted and arrested for tampering with a vehicle and probation violation. Case# 193355. At 8:34 am, Sergeant Busciglio conducted a traffic enforcement stop. The male driver was arrested for a warrant. Case# 193357.

Friday, February 14 - 20, 2020

At 1:42 pm, Officer Molina arrested a female for a warrant in the 300 block of Berrellesa Street. Case# 19-3358. At 1:48 pm, Officer Winslett stopped a vehicle and detained a male after learning the male kicked a passing vehicle in the Walmart parking lot during an argument with a female. The victim did not remain on scene. A vandalism case was forward to the district attorney’s office. Case# 19-3359. On December 19th at 12:04 am, Officer Ramos responded to a residence in the 100 block of Kevin Place for an unruly male who was drunk and throwing objects around the house. The male was arrested for public intoxication. Case# 19-3361. At 6:57 am, Officer Weems responded to the Virginia Hills shopping center for a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision. Case# 19-3362. At 7:11 pm, Officer Murray responded to a physical altercation at a residence in the 400 block of Richardson Street. One of the two involved males was arrested for battery. Case# 19-3368. On December 20th at 12:23 am, Officer Parsons contacted a disoriented elderly female in the area of Marina Vista Avenue and Castro Street. The female only spoke Russian. Shortly after contacting the female a “BOLO” (Be On the Look Out) for a missing person was received from a local agency. The description of the missing person matched that of the female with Officer Parsons. The female’s identity was confirmed as the missing person and she was transported back to her home city. Case# 19-3370. At 3:30 pm, Officer Wah arrested a male for a warrant on Alhambra Avenue at D Street. Case# 19-3294. At 11:00 am, Officer Wah responded to a collision in the 100 block of Gilrix Drive. A female was arrested for DUI. Case# 19-3376. At 12:15 pm, Sergeant Gaul responded to the area of Amtrak for a theft investigation. A witness observed a male steal alcohol from Marina Market. The male fled through the park before being contacted and arrested. Case# 19-3377. At 2:00 pm, Officer Weems arrested a male at Safeway (downtown) for theft of alcohol. Case# 193378. At 5:00 pm, Officer Wah arrested a male in the 3700 block of Alhambra Avenue for attempted burglary into a building. Case# 193379. At 7:47 pm, Officer Angoco contacted a male during a traffic enforcement stop on Pacheco Boulevard at Morello Avenue. The male was arrested for driving with marijuana. Case# 19-3380.

At 11:11 pm, Officer Montano made a traffic enforcement stop. The vehicle had two stolen license plates on it. The investigation revealed that the vehicle was purchased a week prior. Case# 193382. On December 22nd at 8:40 am, Officer Weems responded to a three vehicle collision on Alhambra Avenue at Haven Street. Case# 19-3385. At 10:30 am, Officer Weems responded to Barrelista for a female trespasser. The female fled from Officer Weems, but was soon apprehended and arrested for trespassing and resisting/delaying a police officer. Case# 193386. At 7:24 pm, Officer Angoco arrested a male for a warrant in a parking garage on Douglas Drive. Case# 19-3331. At 10:04 pm, Officer Green arrested a male for public intoxication at Whiskey Lane. The male was involved in a physical altercation after punching another patron. The patron desired no prosecution. Case# 19-3393. At 11:20 pm, Officer Montano conducted a traffic stop on Pacheco Boulevard at Sodaro Drive. The female driver was arrested for being an unlicensed driver and possession of a controlled substance. Case# 19-3394. On December 23rd at 7:37 am, Officer Molina responded to Berrellesa Street and Mellus Street for a vehicle collision involving two vehicles. Case# 19-3395. At 11:24 am, Officer Molina responded to Pine Street @ HWY 4 for a vehicle collision involving three vehicles. Case# 193397. At 9:32 p.m., Officer Ramos responded to Mt. View park to meet with a male victim of a drug related robbery. The victim stated he went to Morello Park Elementary to buy marijuana from another male known to him. The male punched the victim in the face and stole a firearm from the victim’s vehicle. The suspect pointed the firearm at the victim before fleeing in a vehicle. Case# 19-3403. On December 24th at 8:03 a.m., Officer Molina arrested a female for public intoxication in the 300 block of Embarcadero. Case# 19-3404. At 5:34 pm, Officer Murray took a vehicle burglary report from a resident in the 900 block of Roanoke Drive. The vehicle window was smashed and over $1,000 in property was taken. Case# 19-3411. At 7:13 pm, Officer Murray arrested a female at Walgreen’s for trespassing and theft. Case# 19-3412. See POLICE BLOTTER on page A5 www.martinezgazette.com


SCHOOLS

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LOCAL NEWS

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Winners of the 2020 Eco Awards RICK JONES | EDITOR

EDITORIAL & OPINION

The winners were local businesses: Martinez Early Childhood Center, Homage eatery, and a local civic group, Martinez Kiwanis. Presented Wednesday by

Photo by MNG Winners of the 2020 Eco Awards with the Martinez City Council.

MUSD from A1

Photo courtesy of MUSD Construction continues at John Muir Elementary.

MUSD has made budget cuts estimated at two million dollars ($2,000,000). Despite those efforts, mandated expenditures from the state have increased significantly as have expenditures related to special education programs. In June, our Board of Education committed to reducing expenditures by $1.4 million for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. As MUSD worked toward planning for those difficult reductions, the state has provided a smaller increase (by providing a lower COLA for next year than projected) for next year than was previously projected. This means the required amount of budget reductions will need to increase beyond the earlier identified number in order to maintain fiscal solvency. Over the next two months, we will engage in many discussions regarding budget development for 2020-2021 while working hard to create the most accurate projections based on all available information provided by the state and the federal government. We don’t have any “excess” expenditures that can simply be removed. Any reductions to

our current operations across MUSD are fundamentally in conflict with providing the best teaching and learning environment possible. It is for these reasons that you will see MUSD engage in messaging over the next week, in conjunction with other local districts in the Bay Area, to raise our collective voices around the need to Fund Education Now. Over this next week, MUSD will share information to help highlight the need for increased funding in education, especially in the Bay Area, with the intent of making our state-level elected leaders take notice of our student needs. Our MUSD students and employees deserve more than the state is currently allocating for schools and we want to make sure that the message is heard. Keep an eye out for our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more information on this important effort. Don’t forget to check all the awesome news and announcements below! Sincerely, CJ Cammack, Superintendent, Martinez Unified School District

Illustration courtesy of MUSD New Las Juntas Elementary campus.

Do you see what I see? Check out these pics of the new John Muir Campus. Things are moving along quickly in the construction of their new campus and we are excited to keep watching the campus develop! You can see more of these developments by following our MUSD Facebook, our MUSD Instagram, or our MUSD Twitter. Speaking of John Muir, did you hear they are being recognized next week in Anaheim as a California Distinguished School for 2020! Way to go Timberwolve students, families, and staff! We are all proud of your success Thanks to our community for supporting Measure R. I am pleased to announce that MUSD is entering into contracts for the complete reconstruction of Las Juntas Elementary School! This project will be moving forward as soon as approval is received from the state’s Department of School Architecture. Similar to the current John Muir Elementary project, the new Las Juntas School will be constructed directly adjacent to the current buildings of Las Juntas (on their current playground space). If you would like to see a current design of the new campus you can check it out on our incredible website for our facility improvements (Building a Better Tomorrow, https://sites.google. com/a/martinez.k12.ca.us/ musd/home ) Congratulations to AHS for two major awards in the past week! Our Bulldogs earned the College Board’s AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for attaining female student representation in both AP Computer Science A (CSA) and AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) for 2019. Out of 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 have earned the award. AHS is one of only 36 to be recognized for achieving this important result in both courses. Thanks to Andrea Salas and Chris McKibben for their leadership in this area. I know my 4th-grade daughter would love to try courses like this when she is in high school, maybe your daughter would be interested too! In addition, our AHS Bulldogs Auto Program is celebrating! Two AHS students and their incredible teacher, Mr. Wheeler, were awarded a $10,000 Tuition Scholarship and some awesome gear for finishing in 1st place at the 2020 Top Tech Challenge! Go Dogs!

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POLITICS

POLICE BLOTTER POLICE BLOTTER At 10:14 pm, Officer Espinoza arrested a male for public intoxication in the rear lot of the police department. The male also matched the description of a subject creating a disturbance at Amtrak earlier in the shift. Case# 19-3413.

o encourage businesses to use sustainable business practices, Republic Services along with the City of Martinez, CA presented their 2020 Eco Awards to top achievers.

dated costs, and inflation each year. School budgets can be very complex in terms of their legal requirements and mandated three-year projection cycles. Here is short summary of a very complex issue: Our community passed Measure R, a $120,000,000 general obligation bond for facilities. This allows MUSD to engage in projects like rebuilding and renovating our school facilities. MUSD is so thankful to the community for supporting Measure R. However, none of that $120,000,000 can be used for the normal operations of the district. Measure R funds can only be spent on facility improvements/upgrades. Our community also passed Measure Q which provides for parcel tax revenue of roughly $725,000 per year. This money is so helpful in supporting our music, arts, and library programs and counseling support can remain. Yet those funds, as promised to our voters, are restricted to those specific areas and cannot offset other aspects of our operational costs. MUSD has worked really hard through courageous leadership and difficult conversations to prioritize our current funding for student programs and services while also providing compensation increases for employees to the best of our ability given limited funding from the state. MUSD has also worked diligently in addressing structural deficits in our budgets by making significant reductions in expenditures, including reducing positions/programs over the last years. In the last three years,

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from A4

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See ECO AWARDS on page B11

CRIME

On December 25th at 7:55 a.m., Officer Molina arrested a male at the River House for violating a restraining order. Case# 19-3415. At 4:10 pm, officers responded to a clothing donation box in the 2800 block of Howe Road for a male stuck in the box. ConFire responded and freed the man by cutting the lock off the clothing box. Incident 1912250034. At 6:09 pm, Officer Murray took a residential burglary report in the 1400 block of Franklin Canyon Road. Case# 19-3418. At 4:00 pm, officers responded to a structure fire in the 700 block of Vine Hill Way. Incident 1912260046. At 4:00 pm, Officer Weems took a vehicle burglary report at the marina. A cell phone was taken from the vehicle. Case# 193419. At 5:13 pm, officers received an LPR stolen vehicle alert travelling on Alhambra Avenue. Officer Lucido located the vehicle, unoccupied, in the 1700 block of Richardson Street. Case# 19-3420. At 8:25 pm, Officer Green arrested a male at Amtrak for public intoxication. Case# 19- 3423. At 11:10 pm, Officer Lucido arrested a male at 7-11 on Pacheco Boulevard for a warrant and possession of a controlled substance. Case# 19-3425. On December 27th at 9:00 am, Officer Wah took a stolen trailer report from the 4800 block of Pacheco Boulevard. Case# 19-3426. At 10:10 am, Officer Buda took a stolen vehicle report from a resident in the 400 block of Holiday Hills Drive. It was learned the vehicle was towed by CHP during a hit-and-run collision on HWY 4, where the driver fled. The vehicle owner denied involvement. Case# 19-3428. At 2:15 pm, Officer Voyvodich arrested a male at a residence in the 400 block of Richardson Street for a parole violation warrant. Case# 19-3430. At 4:00 pm, Officer Weems took a vehicle burglary report at the marina. The victim lost his keys,

believing that’s how entry was made. A firearm was stolen from the vehicle. Case# 19-3431. At 4:10 pm, Officer Lucido took a stolen vehicle report from Amtrak. The vehicle was located by Concord PD. Case# 193432. On December 28th at 9:20 am, Sergeant Gaul made a traffic enforcement stop on Minaret Drive, near Platt Drive. He arrested the female driver for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Case# 19-3434. At 10:45 am, Officer Weems arrested a male for a warrant at Amtrak. The male was also in possession of drug paraphernalia. Case# 19-3436. At 3:10 pm, Officer Lucido arrested a male near Safeway, 3334 Alhambra Avenue, for theft of alcohol and violating probation. Case# 19-3441. At 7:48 pm, Officer Green arrested a male for warrants during a traffic enforcement stop in the 2500 block of Pacheco Boulevard. Case# 19-3443. At 10:23 pm, Officer Green arrested a male for public intoxication in the 2200 block of Castro Street. The male was attempting to fight another male at the location. Case# 19- 3444. On December 29th at 5:15 am, Officer Montano responded to Round Table Pizza for an alarm. The manager cleared the building prior to officers’ arrival, and the officers left. The manager called back after locating a female inside the business. Officer Montano contacted the female. While speaking with her, the female charged toward Officer Montano. Officer Montano gained control of the female on the ground. The female was taken into custody without further incident. The female was booked into MDF. Case# 19- 3448. At 9:52 am, Officer Molina contacted a male in a parking lot on the corner of Court Street and Pine Street. The male was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Case# 19-3458. At 11:10 am, Officer Molina took a vandalism report at the marina. Case# 19-3459. At 2:43 pm, Officer Molina responded to a three car collision on Alhambra Avenue at Brown Street. Case# 19-3461. Special thanks to Chief Manjit Sappal, Renee Jacobs and the Martinez Police Department

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Friday, February 14 - 20, 2020

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What Happened?

THE LOWRY COLUMN

BILL SHARKEY III | MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE COLUMNIST

The End of 2016 RICH LOWRY | COLUMNIST

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nd so 2016 finally draws to a close. It’s been the longest election year in American history. It ran from Feb. 1, 2016, the date of the Iowa caucuses, to the Senate vote to acquit President Donald Trump in early February 2020. It’s true that Nov. 6, 2016, was a signal event in this long election year, but it didn’t really conclude anything, even though the result wasn’t in doubt. Usually, contested elections are ties or near-ties. This is the first time an election has gone into overtime, with repeated attempts at what were in effect recounts, despite the winner comfortably prevailing (Donald Trump won handily in electoral votes, the measure that determines the outcome, 304-227). Immediately Democrats concluded that they’d been robbed, and Hillary Clinton did indeed get some bad breaks during the campaign, most consequently at the hands of then-FBI director James Comey. Such is life in the arena. But no one on the left was in a mood to move on. Rather taking stock and recalibrating as warranted, Democrats remained fixated on 2016. Rather than simply mobilizing opposition to Trump’s agenda and reelection, as any opposition always does, they mused about how to reverse the 2016 result. Rather than acknowledging the near-impossibility of removing a duly elected president, they indulged in fantasies about how to do exactly that.

See LOWRY on page B11

HAT HAPPENED? You tell me! Whatever it was, it was mighty fast. And, here we are again. No longer an unemployed volunteer columnist. Hardly a day off to consider my future. Perhaps, just as well! Reflecting on my past keeps me well occupied; it’s been such a long past. Maybe good for a cheap autobiography? It seems there was an ‘obituary’ notice in the old Morning News-Gazette on Page One announcing in advance the pending demise of the 161-year-old newspaper which had its founding in September 1858, and continued under a variety of names until the planned death on December 29, 2019. Strange, stating a specific date of a death of something in advance? Oh, well! So, after the Page One shocker announcement hit the streets (newspaper talk), people were definitely shocked. What would we do for local news? How would we keep apprised of upcoming events? How would Martinez P.D. tell us if there were bad guys lurking in our neighborhoods? What music groups would be playing at Armando’s next week? Where are the beavers? Who is planning to run for political office? What is the legal profession doing if we don’t have Barbara Cetko’s legal advertising to keep us current? When is the next crab feed fund-raiser which we certainly can’t afford to miss? No wonder there was distress, concern, mourning in the community. It would be like losing a dear friend, or favorite aunt, or worse. Wow!! Then, talk began to filter through the gloom. There might be something cooking to continue the Gazette or, as Harriett Burt has always fondly called it, “The Gazoo”. However, the publisher, known for a lack of communication technique, any conversation regarding speculations of things to come was not coming forth. So, plans moved ahead for the final day’s publication. Many news writers, civic leaders, readers, business folks gathered their forces and provided an historic final edition of the Morning News-Gazette, the 161-year-old purveyor of news and advertising (never fake news!!), maybe a rumor or tad of gossip along the way. As a famous news-

paper has stated, “All the news fit to print”. THEN, as the old story line which has been used in plays, etc., a strange thing happened on the way to the funeral for the beloved publication. The grave diggers had completed their grave digging chores, and were standing by for the procession. Their grave site was prepared according to specifications. A large crowd of mourners had gathered to be part of the services. Anything reaching the venerable age of 161 years deserved proper mourning and respect. They were ready with hankies, tissues and dark glasses. It was a beautiful day in Martinez, a place be happy and safe. But, now a place without a newspaper. How could it be true? As the gathering of friends, mourners and longtime subscribers waited for the procession to arrive, some began to be restless, began to fidget. Has something happened, they wondered? What could possibly delay a funeral for such an important member of the community? Than, ‘the word’ came down from out there some place… there would be no funeral today. What?? Why not?? Answer: The reported demise of The Gazette (for Harriett, the Gazoo) had been apparently premature (not fake news) but, certainly official sounding on Page One the day it appeared. Was it a ‘played closed to the vest’ move, or was it a case of saved by the bell? Hopefully, we will hear the story one day soon. All of us are most anxious to know what is ahead. Meanwhile, how about a cup of coffee and a print newspaper to read? I will buy! Wish to comment? bjsharkeyiii36@gmail.com

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The Martinez News-Gazette would like to thank Roy Jeans for his support of the paper over the years. more importantly thanks to Armando's for bringing music, art, culture and thousands of visitors to Martinez for the last 15 years.

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POLITICS

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

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POLITICS

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NEWS

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ENTERTAINMENT

Council approves Measure D street repair list

Sanders’ narrow win ups pressure on moderates to coalesce

STAFF REPORTER | MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE

WASHINGTON — For Bernie Sanders, not all victories are created equal. In 2016, Sanders carried New Hampshire by 22 points, pummeling Hillary Clinton and setting the stage for a protracted fight over the Democratic presidential nomination. On Tuesday, he won the state’s primary by less than 2 points, raising questions about his ability to broaden his coalition beyond his most loyal supporters. But the Vermont senator is benefiting from a crowded and fractured primary field, with several moderate candidates dividing up the rest of the vote. Taken together, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden drew support from more than 50 percent of New Hampshire voters — twice as much as Sanders. “It’s clear that a majority of Democrats do not want Bernie Sanders to be the nominee,” said Ben LaBolt, who advised President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. “But if the more pragmatic candidates do not consolidate in the weeks ahead — especially those hanging by a thread in the single digits — Sanders has a very real chance of winning the nomination.” Sanders has energized young voters and liberals with his calls for a Medicare for All health care system and free college tuition. Yet his pricey policy proposals and his standing as a self-described democratic socialist have some in the party on edge, fearful he would struggle to defeat President Donald Trump and damage Democrats’ prospects of holding or picking up congressional seats in more moderate parts of the country. Yet the top tier of the Democratic field shows no signs of shrinking as the primary shifts to more diverse states. And it will only get more crowded as Mike Bloomberg, who is blanketing the delegate-rich states that vote March 3 with hundreds of millions of dollars in advertisements, starts showing up on ballots. If anything, questions about Sanders’ strength, and uncertainty about which moderate is best to take him on, seem to be giving candidates incentive to stay in as long as they have money to fund their campaigns. That fundraising challenge becomes more urgent for Biden, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive candidate who finished a disappointing fourth in New Hampshire. Though the Democratic race is in its early stages — just two states have voted and the vast majority of delegates are still in play — the primary has echoes of the 2016 Republican primary. Trump consistently won contests with about onethird of the vote, while his competitors split up the rest of the electorate. In the 2016 New Hampshire primary, for example, Trump carried 35% of the vote, while

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he Martinez City Council approved a 5-year program of city street maintenance and rehabilitation program, which included a list of street work for 2020. The 5-year work plan was assembled based on an average overall funding stream of $5 Million per year. The $5 Million includes Measure D, Measure J, Highway Users Trust Account (H.U.T.A.) gas tax and SB1 Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (R.M.R.A.) annual contributions. Accounting for construction contingencies, design and inspection of the work, leaves approximately $4 Million per year on-thestreet in hard City Council Staff Report Meeting Date: February 5, 2020 Page 6 of 6 construction costs. The Acting City Engineer used this $4 Million per year figure in planning and preparing the work plan. The 5-year plan proposes to treat approximately 9,161,694 SF of asphalt with

MNG file photo

a variety of differing treatments including overlays, cape seal, microsurface and crack sealing. The overall project will also include access ramp upgrades at intersections where rehabilitated streets intersect, and existing access ramps are not up to current Caltrans standard. The work will also include restriping the treated street surfaces. Some of the larger expen-

ditures approved for 2020 include varying portions of the following roadways: Muir Avenue Sunrise Drive Kelly Avenue Morello Avenue Pine Strett Augustine Drive All streets on the project list are subject to change. Complete list and details available at martinezgazette. com/martinez-street-preservation-plan/

City officials highlight Martinez year in review

Courtesy Photo State Senator Bill Dodd (Napa), Mayor Rob Schroder, Martinez Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Julie Johnston, and Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn at the annual State of the City breakfast Tuesday morning.

Mayor Rob Schroder welcomed baseball back to Martinez at the annual breakfast, held before a packed crowd at Creekside Church. Schroder also explained the city

has more than tripled its road repair budget thanks to Measure D funds. City Manager Eric Figueroa and Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal also spoke, giving

attendees updates on 2019 and a look at what’s in store for 2020. The Gazette will have a full report online at martinezgazette.com and in next week’s issue.

Board of Supervisors appoints new County Clerk-Recorder STAFF REPORTER | MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE

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he Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors today appointed Deborah Cooper as the County Clerk-Recorder to the remaining term of the office that will expire on January 2, 2023. “The Board held an open process over the past three months to find, interview, select and appoint a new County Clerk-Recorder,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen. “During this time, the Board of Supervisors has strongly affirmed the integrity and the professional work of County staff in the Clerk-RecorderElections Division. We have every confidence that Debi

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Cooper will continue to move the team forward during this important election year and beyond with the utmost integrity.” Deborah Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder, said, “Our primary purpose is to serve the public, whether conducting elections or providing Clerk and Recorder services. Maintaining the public trust while remaining impartial and neutral

is crucial. I appreciate our talented and dedicated staff. We will continue to provide great customer service to the people of Contra Costa.” Most recently, Cooper served as the Acting County Clerk-Recorder since November 1, 2019 and, prior to that, as the Deputy County Clerk-Recorder since 2012. County Administrator David J. Twa who announced the recruitment for selecting and appointing a Clerk-Recorder, remarked, “It was important to conduct a clear and transparent process with each step. The public was able to attend or watch Board of Supervisors meetings, make public comment, and see the timeline and other key information on the website.”

JULIE PACE | AP NEWS

AP Photo/Matt Rourke Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives to speak to supporters at a primary night election rally in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, center, his husband Chasten Buttigieg, right, and his mother Anne Montgomery, stand on stage together as supporters cheer at a primary night election rally at Nashua Community College, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Nashua, N.H.

more centrist competitors John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie divided up more than 40% of the electorate. Those moderate Republican moderates faced the same dilemma now in front of their Democratic counterparts: How long do they stay in the race and allow Sanders to eke out victories and potentially deepen his support? In 2016, some of the moderate candidates hung on for weeks, laboring under the expectation that Trump’s controversial candidacy would crater and some of his support might swing their way. Instead, Trump only grew stronger. “Winning begets momentum, which begets people wanting to be on your team,” said Matt Gorman, who worked for Bush’s campaign. “The more Trump won, the more people went over to him.” Gorman’s advice to Sanders’ rivals? Move on quickly if you want to stop Sanders. “For a coalescing to happen, it would need to happen immediately,” he said. There are structural differences between the way Republicans and Democrats pick their nominees that could make Sanders’ path to the nomination more difficult than Trump’s was in 2016, even if the field remains crowded. GOP primaries are winnertake-all contests, which allowed Trump to quickly amass an insurmountable lead over his rivals. Democratic contests are proportional, meaning that even if Sanders keeps winning, other candidates can stay within range and push the primary contest deep into the spring or early summer in hopes of a comeback. There are also indications

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., acknowledges applause at her election night party, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Concord, N.H.

Friday, February 14 - 20, 2020

in voter surveys that Democrats are looking for a moderate candidate to step in. According to AP VoteCast, a majority of voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire self-identified as moderate or conservative ideologically. Roughly 2 in 10 said they were “somewhat liberal” and about a quarter said they were “very liberal.” Sanders, a favorite of liberals, has struggled to meet expectations in the first two contests, even with his victory in New Hampshire and his effective tie with Buttigieg in Iowa. He is more rigid ideologically than some of his rivals and has not yet indicated he can draw new voters into his coalition. His moderate rivals still see a path to blunt his momentum, though their realistic prospects vary. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was virtually unknown nationally a year ago, is in the strongest position after the first two states. He’s proven to be a fundraising powerhouse and has energized voters with his calls for generational change. Klobuchar surged to a surprise third-place finish in New Hampshire after a standout pre-primary debate. But she’s less well-known than some other candidates and has a scant operation in the states that come next on the primary calendar. Biden is the moderate candidate who comes out of New Hampshire facing the most urgent questions about his future. After leading national polls for months, he finished a dismal fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, undermining his case that he’s the most electable candidate in November. Biden’s advisers insist he can turn his campaign around in South Carolina, the first state with a large population of black voters. But Wednesday is likely to bring questions from his financial backers and pressure from some Democrats to end his third bid for the White House. That puts moderate Democrats on uncertain footing. “Ultimately we’re going to have to coalesce around somebody,” said Matt Bennett of Third Way, a center-left think tank, one of the moderates warning against a Sanders nomination. “But we’re not quite ready to do that.”

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EDITORIAL & OPINION

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POLITICS

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ENTERTAINMENT

REFINERY from A1

Rob Schroder read a proclamation declaring February 1, 2020 “Martinez Refining Company Day.� In addition, Cora Young, District Veterans Liaison and Senior Field Representative, presented a Certificate of Congressional Recognition commemorating the grand opening of the Martinez Refining Company on behalf of Congressman Mike Thompson. Also, in attendance were District 5 County Supervisor Federal Glover, Martinez Councilmembers Debbie McKillop and Mark Ross, Martinez City Manager Eric Figueroa, Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal and a representative for state senator Bill Dodd’s office. PBF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nimbley told the gathered crowd the Martinez Refinery is one of the “most complex, sophisticated and powerful refineries in the country. It is an outstanding, world class asset with a world class work force.� The Martinez refinery employs approximately 700 people. It produces gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, petroleum coke, industrial fuel oils, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt and sulfur. It also has a “coker� unit for processing heavy crude. Jerry Forstell will take over as refinery manager. Forstell worked for Shell for 31 years and was at the Martinez refinery from 1992-2003. “I am truly thrilled to be

PBF Chairman and CEO Tom Nimbley.

MNG photo Refinery Manager Jerry Forstell shakes hands with Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder after receiving a proclamation from the city.

back at Martinez with so many of my former colleagues,� Forstell said. Working in Martinez was the “highlight of my career, it’s a great refinery. This is the gem of Bay Area refineries,� Forstell said. Forstell said PBF is aware of the community presence and relationships Shell has grown and fostered over one century. “We recognize that you have to have a good symbiotic relationship with the community for it to be successful in this business,� Forstell said. “Our intention is not to take any back steps whatsoever and continue that tradition. That has been the pattern for the refineries that we have taken over.� Shell’s ties to Martinez run deep. “(It is) Rare for a refinery o

Shell (and will remain in that position for the Martinez Refinery Company) wrote: “Our Martinez Refinery Family has seen a lot of change, but there are certain constants: our priorities remain “People, Planet, Performance,â€? and our safety mission, which we call “Goal Zeroâ€?, continues as our guiding force. Together, these programs keep us focused on working safely and operating reliably and in an environmentally responsible manner, which in turn helps us earn the right to operate in the communities that host us. This commitment to our community is another constant. We want to share with you some highlights from the past year‌as we look forward to 2020. “We had a very successful “Run for Educationâ€? in 2019,

MNG photo

have the same owner for that length of time, so people take it for granted,� Forstell said. “And we (PBF) have to earn that right and for people to continues to do business that way.� Nimbey and Forstell both were pleased there will be little turnover in the dedicated workforce. “PBF made job offers to all, and 90 plus percent are going to stay,� Forstell said. “When you buy a refinery, you buy the people as well. And that was one of the reasons we bought this refinery, we know it has a lot of talented people.� With the Shell chapter of the refinery closed the company gave a quick look back at some of the community legacy it grew. Ann Notarangelo, Community Relations Manager for

Classifieds The Martinez News-Gazette is published weekly by Martinez News-Gazette, Inc. editor@martinezgazette.com • martinezgazette.com • (925) 293-9471

which PBF also supported. Our team of volunteers are already preparing for our refinery’s signature event the, “MRC/MEF Run for Education� to be held September 27. Since 2003 our run has raised $916,000 for the Martinez Education Foundation, so we are excited to “Run to a Million� in this year’s event. We hope you’ll join us for our Family Fun Night on September 26. The Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs always host an enjoyable evening at the Clubhouse. “We congratulate 2019 Alhambra High School graduate, Jessica McCauley, who earned the Shell Martinez Refinery STEM Scholarship in May. We are also honored to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martinez in establishing a “Teen Center.� Our Martinez youth

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FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT File No. F-0000783 The name of the business: Slim Chance Circus Located at: 3060 El Cerrito Plaza #364 In: El Cerrito, CA, 94530, is hereby registered by the following owner(s): Douglas McNeely. This business is conducted by: Individual. The registrant commenced to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above on 2/5/2020. Signature of registrant: /s/ Doulas McNeely. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Contra Costa County on: February 5, 2020 by Deputy S. Alvarez Expires 2/5/2025 Martinez News-Gazette No. 2020-0214-3 Publish dates: February 14, 21, 28, March 6, 2020.

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT File No. F-0000753 The name of the business: Succulent and Sage Located at: 2218 Brittany Lane In: Martinez, CA, 94553, is hereby registered by the following owner(s): Jessica Suzanne Nelson. This business is conducted by: An Individual. The registrant commenced to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above on 2/4/2020. Signature of registrant: /s/ Jessica Nelson. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Contra Costa County on: February 4, 2020 by Deputy C. Garcia Expires 2/4/2025 Martinez News-Gazette No. 2020-0207-2 Publish dates: February 14, 21, 28, March 6 2020.

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FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT File No. F-0000412 The name of the business: Pathway Humanity Personnel Located at: 2043 East Street, Suite 341 In: Concord, CA, 94519, is hereby registered by the following owner(s): DeNay Ramsey and Joe Lumpkins III. This business is conducted by: Co-Partners. The registrant commenced to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above on 1/21/2020. Signature of registrant: /s/ DeNay Ramsey. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Contra Costa County on: February 5, 2020 by Deputy L0. Arosemena Expires 1/21/2025 Martinez News-Gazette No. 2020-0214-4 Publish dates: February 14, 21, 28, March 6, 2020. FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT File No. F-0000649 The name of the business: Mighty Market Located at: 729 Ferry Street In: Martinez, CA, 94553, is hereby registered by the following owner(s): Mighty Good Ventures, LLC. This business is conducted by: LLC. The registrant commenced to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above on 1/30/2020. Signature of registrant: Brownyn Kopacek. This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Contra Costa County on: January 30, 2020 by Deputy S. Smith Expires 1/30/2025 Martinez News-Gazette No. 2020-0207-1 Publish dates: February 14, 21, 28, March 6 2020.

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NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING The Martinez Zoning Administrator will hold a Public Hearing to discuss the following application: PROJECT LOCATION: 16 Robinsdale Road (APN: 377-050-069) APPLICANT/ OWNER: Joseph Serrano/Janelle and Michael Thomas ZONING: R-10 – (Family Residential District, 10,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size) DESCRIPTION: Public hearing to consider 20PLN-0006, a request for a Conditional Use Permit approval to allow the construction of a new Accessory Dwelling Unit at a height of approximately 18 feet, pursuant to MMC 22.12.265.B.2 PROPOSED ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINATION: This project is Categorically Exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section15303, for construction of small accessory structures. The Public Hearing will be held during the following meeting: DATE: February 26, 2020 TIME: 4:00 p.m. PLACE: First Floor – Conference Room 525 Henrietta Street Martinez, CA 94553 If you are interested in this application, you may come to the Public Hearing. Anyone may speak about the application at that time. If you cannot come to the hearing, you may send your comments prior to the hearing in a letter addressed to the Project Planner, Margaret Kavanaugh-Lynch at the above address or by phone at (925) 372-3518 or by email at mkavanaugh-lynch@cityofmartinez.org. If you need further information, the application may be reviewed at the Community and Economic Development Department at City Hall, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. MNG #2020-0201 Published Feb 14, 2020

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prove the future is brighter with their talents. “You may have seen our Refinery Fire Department personnel at various community events this year, including the “4th of July Hometown Parade,� “National Night Out,� and the “Holiday Frolic and Tree Lighting.� We also hope you saw the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s Holiday Food Drive donation barrels. In a span of three days, more than 30 refinery employees wrapped all the food barrels that were distributed throughout Contra Costa and Solano Counties. “And finally, “Save Mount Diablo� has published its list of free, public, guided hikes sponsored by the refinery, and all the information is on their website.�

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Steel Magnolias worth the trip Love in the regional parks PARK IT

NED MACKAY | EAST BAY REGIONAL PARK DISTRICT

Since Friday, Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, romance is the theme of several programs planned that weekend in the East Bay Regional Parks. First on the list is a naturalist-led “Valley of the Newts” walk from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon. Meet the naturalist in the parking lot at the north end of Bollinger Canyon Road off Crow Canyon Road for a 1½-mile excursion along Bollinger Creek in search of newts. A variety of salamander, newts migrate from fields to ponds and streams this time of year to mate and produce a new generation. If you miss the walk on Feb. 15, there’s another at the same time and place on Sunday, Feb. 23. Or you can experience “Amorous Amphibians,” from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Briones Regional Park near Martinez. Naturalist Virginia Delgado-Martinez will lead a walk for ages five and older to some Briones ponds, while describing the life cycle of newts, frogs and other amphibians. Meet Virginia at the top of Briones Road off Alhambra Valley Road south of Martinez. For information, call 510-544-2750. And “Romance in the Redwoods” is the theme of a two-mile stroll from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, led by naturalist Morgan Guenther. It’s a search for the parks most amorous animal and plant residents. Meet Morgan at the Canyon Meadow staging area, which is at the end of the road leading into the park from Redwood Road, about two miles east of the intersection with Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. Call 510-544-3187. Morgan also plans a “Love the Bay” beach cleanup from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Crab Cove in Alameda. Bring your own gloves and bucket or borrow from the visitor center, then help to pick up left-behind litter along the shoreline. Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

You may not always see wildlife in the parks, but you’ll often see the evidence of its presence. Naturalist Kristina Parkison will lead some fun activities that will teach how to decode animal tracks, in a program from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. The program is for ages seven and older. Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the program is free. Call 510-544-3220.

Little kids enjoy taking care of the little animals at the Little Farm in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. There are age-appropriate activities at the rabbit hutch from 10:30 to 11 a.m. every Saturday. The Little Farm is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, next to the Environmental Education Center. For information, call 510-544-2233.

The Park District Board of Directors has appointed Elizabeth Echols of Berkeley as the Director representing Ward 1, to serve the remaining term of Whitney Dotson, who retired in December after 11 years on the board. Director Echols has had an extensive career in public service. Most recently she was appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown to serve as the Director of the independent Public Advocates Office at the California Public Utilities Commission. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Yale University and a J.D. degree from Stanford Law School. Her board seat is up for election in November. Whitney Dotson died in January. He and his family were long active in efforts to preserve Richmond shoreline as open space for wildlife habitat and public access. The Dotson Family Marsh at Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline is named in their honor. There’s always something fun to do in the East Bay Regional Parks. For full information, visit the website, www.ebparks.org.

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CHARLIE JARRETT | NEWS-GAZETTE COLUMNIST

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very once in a while, a very special theatrical production is really worth a little trip out of the immediate area, and one is worthy of your consideration right now! Steel Magnolias is a funny, sweet and poignant, heart-warming story of deep friendships that formed between a small group of ladies in a southern hair salon in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Author Robert Harling lost his sister due to complications from diabetes in 1985, and in an effort to get her true story off his chest and to celebrate his sister in the process, he wrote this wonderful comedy/drama based on the people in the community where he grew up. The story opens with hairstylist Truvy (Cynthia Lagodzinski) putting a potential new employee, Annette (Anya Cherniss), through her paces before hiring her. The working interview goes well and Truvy hires the young lady on the spot, warning her that this is going to be a very busy day because one of her customers, Miss Shelby (Jamie Strube), is getting married this very day and will be in the salon shortly. The salon will also fill up with friends and customers getting ready for the big wedding. Soon, Clairee (Sally Hogarty) arrives, followed by Shelby’s mother, M’lynn (Julia Etzel), and thereafter joined by a controversial bastion of female independence, Ouiser (Eve McElheney Tieck). In discussions that follow, it becomes quite obvious that “about-to-be-married” Ms. Shelby, is an outspoken young woman who seldom follows her mother’s good guidance. In fact, it turns out that they

Courtesy Photo Charlie Jarrett.

are quite often at odds with each other, especially when it comes to the wedding plans and even Shelby’s choice of a marital partner. Further, we learn that Ms. Shelby has been warned by her doctor that she and her future husband should consider adoption and not bear their own children because Shelby has a potentially dangerous health problem brought on by dia-

betes. The following typical southern conversations are colorful, at times a bit course, and quite often humorous, such as when Clairee invites Ouiser to sit down in the salon next to her, saying, “Well, if you haven’t got anything nice to say about anyone, - come sit by me!” Or as one of the gals describes M’Lynn’s husband’s typically crude character, “you know, Drum is a real gentleman, I’ll bet he even cleans the dishes out of the sink, before he pee’s in it!” The wedding comes and goes successfully as does life in this community, but in the following months and through future discussions in this hair salon (after Shelby has successfully borne a premature boy), we learn that her body is undergoing serious ramifications, but not her mindset, which is determined

to make things work. This truly exceptional production demonstrates how important the very best in acting talent can yield the very best in theatrical enjoyment. Chanticleer’s Theater’s Director, Kendall Tieck, has nailed every aspect in making this show worthy of your inspection. His crew includes excellent sound and lighting design by Jon Gourdine and technical direction by Stephen Baker. Steel Magnolias continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM through March 1. Tickets are very reasonable $22 - $27 each and may be purchased online at https://chanticleers.org or by calling 510733-5483. Group discounts are also available. The theater is located at 3683 Quail Ave. next to the Castro Valley Community Center Park in Castro Valley, California.

Photo by Cathy Bucher Annelle (Anya Cherniss praying) & Clairee (Sally Hogarty observing Annelle).

Starlight Dance Studios and Theater opens shop in Martinez CHARLIE JARRETT | NEWS-GAZETTE COLUMNIST

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number of years ago, my wife and I were completely blown away by the excitement and quality we found in a children’s theater in an old high school auditorium adjacent to the Rossmoor community in Walnut Creek. I had never seen a Belasco Theater Company show before, but as my wife and I drove home that evening, we couldn’t quit talking about what a wonderful show it was (a well-known musical), with all the adult roles played by children aged 9 to 19. That show was directed by Eddie Belasco and choreographed by his dance instructor, Larry Pech (two men who loved musical theater, dancing and children), and were like men possessed when they demonstrated that children were capable of handling adult roles convincingly. Their commitment to their love of the art encouraged them to instill in their students a love comparable to their own. Over the past 33 years that I have been writing about theater throughout the Bay Area, I have again and again experienced terrific performers who trained with Belasco and have gone on to become teachers in the arts or professional level performers themselves, several of whom are today employed by Broadway level productions, and dearly love what they do. One prime example of one making a career based on acting, music and dance, is a woman by the name of Chelsea Bardellini Gaskin. Chelsea

Photo courtesy of Starlight Dance Studios Starlight Dance Studios and Theater is located at 6648 Alhambra Avenue, Suite B in Martinez.

started doing musical theater when she was three years old in the Montclair Park and Recreation program. This was followed by ballet and musical theater, with her focus primarily on ballet for the first 10 years while dancing with the Piedmont Ballet Academy. It was here she obtained her first job working as an assistant teacher, moving up to become a full-time time dance instructor for adults when she was 15 years of age. She also worked as a student guest member of the Oakland ballet theater company as well, and while there, she met a young man

Friday, February 14 - 20, 2020

who was a member of the Belasco Theater Company in Walnut Creek. She was in her freshman year of high school, at that time when this new friend invited her to come to a dress rehearsal of Annie, the musical, at the Belasco Theater. When she saw how much fun the dancers were having in that production, she fell in love with musical theater. This type of theater was new to her and when she joined the theater and became a participant in the dancing, acting and singing, she came alive on stage. She continued to perform with the Belasco Theater Company

until her senior year in the Piedmont high school. She echoed the feelings expressed by so many Eddy Belasco students; that he was an amazing man, that she dearly loved him, and a lot of what she does now and the way she does it, was due in large part to her experience with his company. Next, she spent two full years as a professional/competitive ballroom dancer, competed in venues all around the world, and was privileged to wear very expensive ballroom gowns. Her favorite thing about that job was that one day a week she got to teach little ones coming into the program how to dance, even choreographing their routines. That experience with children motivated her to quit that job and move back to the Bay Area to teach children’s theater. That’s when she discovered YTC (Walnut Creek’s city sponsored Youth Theater Company in Walnut Creek), a program which was started and run by Rachel Pergamit and Kevin Weinert in 2000. At the time she joined them, they had between 100 and 200 students, and the shows and programs they were doing included everything she learned from Belasco theater company. However, they were more honed in on working with separate age groups. What I most loved about their program was their leadership with kindness, more than anything else. A few years ago, the city of Walnut Creek restructured that YTC program, wanting only to retain their drama pro-

See STARLIGHT on page B11 www.martinezgazette.com


EDITORIAL & OPINION

LOWRY from B7

Above all, they obsessed about Russia as the cause of their undoing in 2016. With enough investigation, all would be made plain, the Trump-Russia conspiracy would be unraveled, the walls would close in, and the world would be restored to its axis. The rightful winner of 2016

STARLIGHT from B10

grams and get rid of the musical programs. Consequently, Rachel, Kevin and Chelsea left basically at the time another revered musical theater company, the Diablo Light Opera (DLOC) found itself financially at the place where they had to terminate their company after many years of operation. They banded together briefly with DLOC, creating a new company now known as the Diablo Theater Company’s SingOut Musical Theater for Bay Area Children and Young Adults. The three leaders of the old YTC company, who now are the leaders of this new merger company agreed to operate under basically the same model that they had created 15 years earlier. This merger allowed the new organization to acquire DLOC’s 501 (c) (3) status and assure greater

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wouldn’t take office, but the wrongful winner would be vanquished. What voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin failed to do, the grinding machinery of investigation would achieve. When the Mueller probe didn’t produce the impeachment that the Democrats had expected with such fervent certainty, it seemed briefly they’d finally have to accept

the outcome of 2016, however grudgingly. Then, Ukraine emerged, and impeachment was, thankfully and gloriously, back on. Russia was a proximate cause of the impeachment over Ukraine. The Democrats charged that Trump sought Ukrainian interference in our elections, just as he had sought Russian interference (for all their interest in the

Mueller investigation, Democrats have never absorbed its conclusion that there is no evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians). Absent their conviction that Trump is an illegitimate president, Democrats would have been, understandably, outraged by Ukraine and determined to investigate it, but they wouldn’t have impeached over it.

In this sense, the Senate trial is the last act in the 2016 election. It establishes, once and for all, that he won’t leave office prior to the end of his first term. It makes it clear that another election, not some other mechanism, will be necessary to remove him. It represents the final failure of the investigatory apparatus around Trump’s alleged Russia collusion to deliver Dem-

ocrats from the consequences of their 2016 defeat. Trump, obviously, isn’t blameless in any of this. But he is not a Russian agent. He won the presidency in a free and fair election, and despite his attempted removal, will have a chance to do so again. On to 2020.

financial stability to the company, with donors being able to make tax free donations toward their new entity. They quickly moved into DLOC’s old firehouse rehearsal building on Oak Park Boulevard in Pleasant Hill for the next two years. Unfortunately, they discovered after the move that the Firehouse building was mired in expensive maintenance problems, forcing them to eventually sell and look for new housing. During the next two years, they gratefully received temporary assistance from the city of Pleasant Hill, but the city did not have an appropriate substitute building that could properly accommodate the company. Nor could the city provide a single consistent location at a reasonable cost, which caused them to move frequently. So in affect, SingOut became homeless once again. Chelsea had wanted for

some time to start her own dance studio that would provide both a rehearsal space and a place that could also be easily transformed into a theater. In other words, a facility that they could operate as a dance studio during the day and a theater at night during the week as well as on the weekends. One day, approximately one and a half years ago, while driving home from Costco with her husband, Josiah, Chelsea found herself once again searching for an empty building where a combination studio might work. As they passed an attractive empty building near the corner of Taylor Boulevard and Alhambra Avenue in the Virginia Hills shopping center, Chelsea pointed out the building that looked almost perfect to her. She paused and then asked her what he thought about putting together her own personal studio while

maintaining her deep relationship with SingOut? Josiah asked two important questions, “what’s stopping you now?” and “doesn’t SingOut need a new performance space as well?” After checking out all the costs and options, they decided that it was something they could handle if they put off buying a home for a while to instead invest in a studio facility. So, with her husband’s support, a superb contractor (Kim Van Wert), and a lot help from friends help, the acquisition and building remodeling process began. Now, nearly a year and a half from the decision to make the commitment, they, Rachel, Kevin and Chelsea, are working hard to bring that dream to fruition on the border of Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Lafayette. Their middle school company theatrical program is moving forward, doing Mary Poppins and Frozen this year.

Student auditions for these shows have been in progress under what is called the company repertory style, in which each student is cast in two shows and is guaranteed to be in both shows, but definitely not destined to be a lead character in both. In one show a particular student might be a lead character and in the other scheduled production, they may end up being an important but more minor character. This teaches children that all parts are important and are part of the teamwork necessary to make a show successful. Consequently, they learn to love, care about each other, and grow in their contribution experience. In the high school program, the work becomes more competitive and harder. They often go to Disneyland or Disney World where they do some extensive competition theatrical training. The middle school group likewise

goes up to Sacramento, where, if they work hard, they may come home with individual trophies. Starlight Dance Studios and Theater opened September 9th, 2019. Their major tenant is SingOut Musical Theater of which Chelsea is the Artistic Director. The facility is located at 6648 Alhambra Avenue, Suite B in Martinez. Chelsea and her staff may be reached at (925) 944-1565 and more information can be found at websites www.SingOutTheatre.org and www.DanceWithStarlight.com . Their production of Mary Poppins, which I observed in rehearsal, went very well. Once again, I observed excited children, young adults, and parents, loving every minute of their experience in this new theater. By all means, don’t miss this great new opportunity for your children to find “Real Heart in their Art!”

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

ECO AWARDS from A5

Marie Knutson, recycling coordinator for Republic Services, at the Martinez City Council meeting, the Eco Awards are part of Republic’s agreement with Martinez to recognize those who go “above and beyond” in environmental efforts. Knutson said the program helps divert more waste from landfill and cuts back greenhouse gasses. The winners went through multiple audits, the set-up of business was examined, and each had to be a good part of the community. Martinez Early Childhood Center staff encouraged the children to learn recycling skills. The Center doubled their recycling to 5 carts and decreased their waste from 4 cubic yards to 3 yards. The students are also learning about composting.

From Councilmember Mark Ross

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Martinez News-Gazette Feb. 14, 2020  

Martinez News-Gazette Feb. 14, 2020  

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