Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) is offering reduced cost adoptions for dogs and cats between now and September 30th to help find forever homes for the hundreds of animals at the County’s shelters. During this period, the adoption fee for dogs over 25lbs and black cats/kittens, or partially black cats/kittens, will be reduced to $20. Interested adopters can take advantage of this adoption promotion by visiting CCAS’ Martinez and Pinole adoption centers to meet animals and adopt their new family member.
“Typical adoption costs range from $86-$264 at CCAS, depending on the animal, which makes this promotion a huge incentive for potential adopters,” says CCAS spokesperson, Steve Burdo. “Our hope is that the community will take advantage of this great opportunity and help us find forever homes for the animals in our care.”
The reduced cost adoption fee includes the cost of adoption, spay/neuter surgery, microchip and vaccinations. The discounted adoption fee does not include licensing or any refundable deposits that may be required for spay/neuter surgery.
To view animals available for adoption, visit www.ccasd.org.
CCAS Adoption Locations
Martinez Adoption Center – 4800 Imhoff Pl., Martinez, CA 94553
Pinole Adoption Center – 910 San Pablo Ave., Pinole, CA 94564
For more information, contact Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Media and Community Relations Manager Steve Burdo at 925-393-6836, or by email at email@example.com.
The “up-and-coming player” also makes it to second round of U.S. Open Junior Championship
By Allen Payton
In the first round of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, local tennis standout, Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, faced the eventual champion, Bianca Andreescu of Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, August 27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City. She lost the match 2-6, 4-6 but according to Andreescu played “really well”. (See video highlights of their match, here.)
Andreescu went on to beat six-time U.S. Open Women’s Singles Champion, Serena Williams in the finals on Saturday, Sept. 7 to win the tournament.
Volynets received a wild card into the women’s draw after winning the Billie Jean King USTA National Championships Girls’ 18s singles title earlier, last month. (See related Herald article)
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Volynets was also able to advance to the second round of the US Open Junior Championships, after defeating Carole Monnet of France, 6-1, 6-3. She failed to advance in that tournament losing the match to No. 4 seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia 6-4, 6-4, who faces American qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova of Florida, in the championship, later today, Sunday, Sept. 8.
In her match against Andreescu, which lasted 1 hour and 29 minutes, Volynets held her own on many, multiple volley points, forcing the ultimate champion to work hard, running back and forth across the court. Volynets was up 4-3 in the second set, but, Andreescu rallied to bring it to deuce point and then won the game, breaking Volynets’ serve and tying the set at 4-4. She went on to win the next two games against Volynets, securing her victory.
According to the Sporting News, Andreescu had to overcome “32 unforced errors – twice as many as the American Volynets – to win in straight sets.” Another Sporting News article claimed “it was hardly a walk in the park for Andreescu. The Canadian had to overcome some early jitters and sloppy play to claim victory in her first-ever match in the main draw at Flushing Meadows.”
“Committing 16 unforced errors in the opening set, Andreescu gave Volynets plenty of opportunity to stick around in the early goings of a match-up that pitted the 15th-seeded Canuck against the World No. 473 from Walnut Creek, Calif. Fortunately for Andreescu, Volynets’ inexperience shone through and the Mississauga, Ont., native was able to successfully convert three break points en route to a 6-2 first-set win that was more impressive on the scoreboard than the court.”
According to that same article, Andreescu “was visibly frustrated at times, especially with 17-year-old Volynets growing in confidence with each passing point. The young American matched her more fancied opponent for most of the second frame, with both women holding serve through the first eight games without giving up a single break point opportunity.”
In a post-match press conference, the 2019 champion had very positive things to say about Volynets.
“It’s my first round, first match of the tournament, so maybe I was a bit rusty at the beginning,” Andreescu said. “I’m also playing someone younger than me, so, that’s not the best scenario. I’m usually the young one. But, it’s nice to see these up-and-coming players play on big stages like this.”
Andreescu is 19 and Volynets, who started playing tennis when she was just five, is 17.
“Katie, my opponent, she was playing really well. She was getting to a lot of balls. She’s an incredible fighter,” Andreescu continued. “That’s what I told her after the match and I’m sure it’s going to get her places.”
“There were long rallies. I was a little bit nervous coming into the match, too. So, I think, maybe that kind of showed,” she said.
When asked by a reporter to “take a moment and talk more about” Katie, Andreescu responded, “I think she has a very bright future. If she works hard and keeps improving her game, I think she can be very dangerous to a lot of the players. She moves really well. She doesn’t show any negative emotion, which is very impressive. Yeah, I think she can do very big things.”
“Because she gets to so many balls, I wanted to hit the right ball at the right time,” she added about playing Volynets.
“Ever heard of a better tennis name?” a reporter asked.
“Oh, volley nets. Oh, yeah. I never even, like put two and two together. Yeah, that’s crazy, Andreescu responded with a laugh. “She has a very nice name. Very ironic.”
Washington, DC – Today, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced the introduction of a private bill (H.R. 4225) to allow Maria Isabel Bueso, a resident of Concord, California, to remain in the United States to continue to receive treatment for her rare, life-threatening disease. Following a Trump Administration change, Isabel and her family face deportation. Yesterday, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it will re-open deferred action cases that received denials like Isabel’s but, did not say whether it would reverse the policy change that led to the cancellation of deferred action.
“A few weeks ago, families were blindsided when they received notification from USCIS that they were being forced to leave the country within 33 days. Re-opening cases is no guarantee they will be allowed to stay, and it is not a permanent solution. These families need and deserve decisive action,” said DeSaulnier. “I am introducing legislation that would provide Isabel and her family with permanent resident status so they can remain in the United States without fear of removal. The Bueso family has followed every rule – they came here legally, paid their taxes, and Isabel’s participation in groundbreaking clinical trials has given hope to Americans with rare diseases. I will do everything in my power to help Isabel and her family remain here.”
“While I am thrilled that my deferred action status is being reconsidered, I was born with MPS 6; so, neither my condition nor my critical need for lifelong, weekly treatment will change in another two years’ time,” said Isabel Bueso. “We need to work together to find a more permanent solution that gives families like mine the guarantee that our lives won’t continue to be threatened. Congressman DeSaulnier and Senator Feinstein’s bill to give my family permanent status is part of that solution,” said Isabel.
“We are encouraged to hear that the administration is willing to reconsider our medical deferred action case,” the Bueso family stated. “We see this as a first step in revisiting our status as U.S. residents and will be working with lawmakers to find a more permanent solution that guarantees Isabel’s life is never put at risk again. Our hearts go out to all of the families involved in this sudden policy change and we won’t rest until they also have continued access to the life-saving medical care they deserve. Thank you to everyone who supported our family during this time – our hearts are overflowing with gratitude,” the Bueso family concluded.
Isabel came to the United States legally from Guatemala to receive treatment for Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, also known as Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI. Her participation in drug trials helped identify an effective, life-saving treatment, which the drug manufacturer says Isabel cannot receive in her home country of Guatemala. Isabel and her family have lawfully resided in the East Bay since then, where she recently graduated summa cum laude from Cal State Easy Bay. Before her treatment was discovered, Isabel’s life expectancy was seven years old. She is now 24.
In a comment with a video posted on his Congressional Facebook page on Saturday, DeSaulnier wrote, “We have a sociopath in the White House who acts more like a mobster than the President. Our office is working hard to #SaveIsabel and stand up for immigrants with medical conditions that the #Trump Administration has targeted.”
In addition to introducing a private bill, Congressman DeSaulnier was joined by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in sending a letter petitioning the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, to re-review the cases of the Bueso family. He also co-led an effort with Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Lou Correa (D-CA), and Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to DHS, ICE, and USCIS demanding answers on USCIS’s decision to end consideration of non-military deferred action requests, including medical deferred action. In the letter, which was joined by over 100 additional lawmakers, he called on the agencies to reverse this decision and turn over any documents discussing the policy change by September 13, 2019.
Martinez, Calif. – Yesterday, Tues., August 27, 2019, a grand jury indictment was unsealed against defendant William Cashell, a 44-year-old resident of Walnut Creek, California and Johnson County, Kansas. He was indicted for two counts of possession of child pornography.
Cashell appeared in Martinez, California for an arraignment in Department 263 before the Honorable David Flynn. Cashell pleaded not guilty to the charges alleged in the indictment. Cashell remains out of custody on his own recognizance. Deputy District Attorney Scott Prosser is the prosecutor assigned to the case on behalf of the People. DDA Prosser is with our Sexual Assault Unit.
On May 2, 2019, investigators from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a warrant at Cashell’s residence after it was discovered he was storing child pornography in his e-mail account. Investigators also located child pornography on a smartphone belonging to Cashell. Cashell was initially charged in a criminal complaint on June 11, 2019 and remained at large until July 20, 2019 when was arrested in Johnson County, Kansas and extradited back to Contra Costa County.
The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.
Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website www.kidsmartz.org for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact the District Attorney’s Office at DA-Commentary-Feedback@contracostada.org.
Case information: People v. Cashell Docket Number 05-191603-0
Last week, defendant Curtis Hill, a 59-year-old Concord resident, was convicted, by a Contra Costa County jury, of first degree residential burglary. On August 16, 2019, the jury returned findings that the Defendant had been convicted of three prior strike offenses – two prior residential robberies and a residential burglary. In his prior residential robbery conviction, he committed great bodily injury on a person over the age of 60.
The charges stem from the evening of August 3, 2018, when Hill entered the victim’s Concord home. He selected jewelry from a bedroom in the home and then fled the scene. Later that same evening, he was arrested by the Concord Police Department.
Hill has a long history of theft, violence, and disorderly conduct in the downtown Concord area. His behavior has made him a longstanding nuisance and danger to the residents of Concord and law enforcement in the area.
This conviction constitutes a third strike for the defendant. He is next in court on September 27, 2019, to set a sentencing before Judge Christopher Bowen.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Sansoe prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. DDA Sansoe is assigned to our Office’s Victims of Violent Crime Unit. The trial lasted 14 days in Department 40 before Judge Bowen.
Case information: People v. Curtis Lee Hill, Docket Number 05-181909-3
Girlfriend and co-defendant who also pleaded guilty, to be sentenced in September
By United States Attorneys Office, Northern District of California
Tyler Goforth was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from a mail theft scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and United States Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez. The Honorable Maxine M. Chesney, U.S. District Judge, handed down the sentence.
Goforth, 35, of Walnut Creek, Calif., pleaded guilty to the charge on May 29, 2019. According to his plea agreement, Goforth admitted that he and his co-defendant, Jesslyn Felix, 35, also of Walnut Creek, traveled repeatedly to the Beacon Apartment Complex, a large apartment building in San Francisco, to steal mail from Beacon residents. The defendants visited the Beacon more than a dozen times between August 2017 and February 2018. Goforth and Felix entered one of the mailrooms at the Beacon, forced open mailboxes, and then stole mail. They then used personal information and documents found in the stolen mail to steal money from Beacon residents, which they spent for personal gain. Specifically, Goforth and Felix activated credit and debit cards in the victims’ names, stole checks and gift cards, accessed bank accounts belonging to Beacon residents, and stole photo identifications which they then used to carry out their scheme to steal money. In total, Goforth and Felix stole mail from more than 80 residents of the Beacon and stole more than $40,000 from them.
A federal grand jury indicted Goforth and Felix on January 15, 2019. The 14-count indictment charged each defendant with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; five counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343; six counts of theft of mail, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1708; one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1028A; and one count of possession with intent to use or transfer five or more documents or authentication features, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1028(a)(3). Goforth and Felix both pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge on May 29, 2019.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesney ordered Goforth to serve a three-year period of supervised release to begin at the completion of the prison term. Goforth has been in custody since May 6, 2019.
Judge Chesney scheduled Felix’s sentencing for September 18, 2019. Like Goforth, if Felix complies with the plea agreement, the remaining counts pending against her will be dismissed at sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Last Friday, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Lewis Davis sentenced defendant John Benny Gomez of Concord to 70 years to life in state prison. Last year, a jury found defendant Gomez guilty of nine felonies, including the molestation of a female victim, Jane Doe, under the age of 10.
The criminal conduct by Gomez also included forcible oral copulation against Jane Doe and showing the victim pornographic images on his phone. The District Attorney’s Office does not disclose the age or victim’s name in a sexual assault case to protect the confidentiality of the victim.
The criminal conduct occurred in January 2018 at a residence in Concord. The defendant was in a position of trust with the victim. He committed the attack in a remote location at the residence and used force multiple times against Jane Doe. Fortunately, a mandated reporter at the victim’s school conveyed the attack to authorities, which promoted a criminal investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Diana Weiss with the Office’s Sexual Assault Unit. Concord Police Department was the lead law enforcement agency during the investigation. The trial lasted 24 days in June and July of 2018.
“The victim in this case is an innocent young girl. She did not ask for this. She was incredibly brave during this entire process. The defendant continues to this very day to not show any remorse or admit any responsibility for the horrific crimes he committed. I also want to express my deep appreciation for the jury in this case. The jurors heard ample evidence that the defendant was the sole person responsible for his criminal conduct,” said DDA Weiss.
Case information: People v. John Benny Gomez, Docket Number 05-180331-1
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Sunday, August 18, 2019, at about 11:20 PM, a Deputy Sheriff escorted a nurse to the cell of an inmate at the Martinez Detention Facility (MDF). They discovered the male inmate unresponsive on his bed.
Medical aid was immediately rendered. Additional medical staff at the jail responded and continued life saving measures until the fire department arrived.
The inmate was later pronounced deceased at the scene. He is identified as 35-year-old Benito Carrasco of Clayton.
He was arrested by the Clayton Police Department and booked into MDF on August 15, 2019. Carrasco was being held on charges that include burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen goods, possession of burglary tools, shoplifting, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail.
The in-custody death protocol was invoked. The investigation is ongoing by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff.
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that he will host an Immigration Town Hall on August 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Meadow Homes Elementary School in Concord.
This is the second in a series of town halls Congressman DeSaulnier is hosting on immigration. During the town hall, Mark will provide a firsthand account of what he witnessed at detention facilities on his two visits to the southern border and discuss the work he is doing in Congress to protect immigrant rights and ensure detainees are treated with the dignity they deserve. He will also discuss the Administration’s attacks on immigrant communities including its changes to asylum law, fight to put a citizenship question in the Census, and recently launched raids.
A variety of organizations will be on hand to provide legal resources, services, and information about protecting your rights—regardless of immigration status. Translation services will be available during the event.
This will be Congressman DeSaulnier’s 89th town hall and mobile district office hour since coming to Congress four years ago.
Immigration Town Hall
Thursday, August 22nd
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Meadow Homes Elementary School
1371 Detroit Avenue, Concord
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
This event is open to the public, press, and photographers.
To confirm your attendance, please RSVP online at https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or call 925-933-2660. To request ADA accommodations or for more information contact one of Congressman DeSaulnier’s offices in either Walnut Creek or Richmond.