By Allen Payton
According to Interim Battalion Chief Ross Macumber, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District personnel responded to a small kitchen stove fire at Cortona Park senior living facility at 150 Cortona Way in Brentwood, Sunday, July 23 at 4:18 p.m. It was extinguished by a dry chemical extinguisher. Firefighters also manually pulled the fire suppression system above the stove. The fire was contained to the area of origin and resulted in only damage to the stove and stove area.
However, during this incident, two of the three ECCFPD engines were already on the motor vehicle accident with extrication at Highway 4/Vasco Road and Marsh Creek Road. (See related article). Only one ECCFPD unit was available for the fire. As a result, both ConFire and CalFire responded, as well.
With the assistance of Brentwood police, residents were evacuated to the front courtyard. As a precautionary measure, three code-two ambulances were called for the residents who were in the heat outside. Once the fire was out all residents were let back in to the building.
Grease was the probable cause of the fire and there were no civilian or firefighter injuries. See the incident report, here: CortonaFireIncidentReportRead More
Sunday, July 23 at about 4:11 p.m., Contra Costa CHP was advised of a collision at the intersection of Vasco Road/Highway 4 and Marsh Creek Road in Brentwood. Upon CHP and emergency personnel arrival, it was determined that three vehicles in total were involved and several parties were transported to local hospitals for injuries. Unfortunately, a 95-year-old female passenger succumbed to her injuries while at the hospital.
In the initial investigation, it appears that a red Cadillac sedan was traveling on southbound SR-4 Bypass, approaching the intersection of Marsh Creek Road, and continuing south to Vasco Road.
Meanwhile a white Hyundai sedan was on Marsh Creek Road and preparing to make a left turn onto southbound Vasco Road at the intersection. Both vehicles entered the intersection and the red Cadillac struck the side of the white Hyundai. The Hyundai careened through the intersection and collided with a light pole. The Cadillac then collided with a black Honda that was stopped on the other side of the intersection, only causing minor damage.
According to East Contra Costa Fire (ECCFD) Interim Battalion Chief Ross Macumber, firefighters extricated a victim from one of the vehicles, and established a “helispot”.
The female driver and female passenger of the Cadillac were both transported for minor injuries to Sutter Delta hospital in Antioch. The driver of the black Honda was uninjured.
The male driver and 95-year-old passenger from the Hyundai were both transported to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek with injuries. One patient was transported by CALSTAR helicopter. Unfortunately, while at the hospital, the 95-year-old passenger’s condition worsened and she succumbed to her injuries and died at 7:13 p.m. The male driver of the Hyundai is in stable condition.
Alcohol or drugs are not a factor in this collision. The cause of this intersection collision and the status of green light vs. red light is still under investigation. If anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, or was at the intersection at the time of the collision, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez and Officer Smith, the investigating officer, at (925) 646-4980.
See the ECCFD incident report, here: HWY4-MarshCreekMVARead More
On Saturday, July 22, 2017 at about 10:14 a.m., Contra Costa CHP was advised of a two-vehicle traffic collision on southbound Taylor Boulevard, just north of Withers Avenue. Upon CHP and emergency personnel arrival, it was determined that a Toyota minivan collided with a Lexus sedan, which caused the Lexus to overturn. A male passenger in the front right seat of the Lexus was partially ejected and pronounced deceased at the scene. The deceased passenger has not yet been identified.
In the initial investigation, it appears that the solo female driver of the Toyota minivan was traveling southbound on Taylor Boulevard and for unknown reasons, the driver veered from her lane to the left and her Toyota collided with the Lexus sedan, subsequently causing the Lexus to overturn. The male passenger of the Lexus was partially ejected from the Lexus. The driver and another passenger of the Lexus both sustain non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to John Muir Walnut Creek Hospital. The driver of the Toyota minivan was uninjured.
Alcohol or drugs are not a factor in this collision. This collision is still under investigation and if anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980.Read More
SACRAMENTO – Clearing another major milestone toward the modernization of the state’s water delivery system, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today certified the environmental analysis of the California WaterFix, also known as the Delta tunnels. Friday’s announcement follows recent federal biological opinions that confirm the project is consistent with environmental and wildlife protection standards.
“Today, we have reached our next important benchmark in moving California towards a more reliable water supply,” said DWR Acting Director Cindy Messer. “With this certification, our state is now closer to modernizing our aging water delivery system in a way that improves reliability and protects the environment.”
The WaterFix will modernize a 50-year-old water delivery system that is increasingly vulnerable to disruption by natural disaster and climate change. With new intakes along the Sacramento River, the project also would give water project operators the flexibility to divert water at times of high flow when the risk to native fish at the new diversion facilities is minimal, thus better balancing water supply and environmental protection needs.
Friday’s certification comes after more than a decade of analysis, review, and public comment. State and federal water and wildlife agencies have been working since 2006 to find the best way to improve how the State Water Project and Central Valley Project obtain water from the channels of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Together, the projects supply 25 million Californians with some or all of their drinking water supply and help irrigate three million acres of farmland.
The Notice of Determination and decision documents signed by Acting Director Messer approve WaterFix as the proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The project helps ensure stable water supplies for millions of Californians. CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. See the Notice Of Determination, here: WaterFix Notice of Determination
DWR, which operates the State Water Project, screened more than 100 different proposals before analyzing 18 alternatives in depth in the final 50,000-page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under CEQA. The combined public comment period on these environmental analyses lasted nearly a year.
The project was refined several times to shrink its footprint, minimize impacts to Delta landowners, and make other changes.
The CEQA certification, Notice of Determination, and decision documents put WaterFix a step closer to construction, which could begin as early as 2018. As both a modern and ambitious infrastructure project, WaterFix will require world-class engineering, efficient construction management, aggressive cost containment, and transparent business operations.
In addition to the certification, DWR also filed a “validation action” today with the Sacramento County Superior Court to affirm the department’s authority to, among other things, issue revenue bonds to finance the planning, design, construction and other capital costs of California WaterFix. A validation action is necessary to provide assurances to the financial community for the sale of the California WaterFix revenue bonds.
Meantime, DWR and the federal Bureau of Reclamation have completed a substantial portion of the proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board to change the point of diversion for the state and federal water projects to allow operation of the WaterFix.
For more information, including fact sheets about project costs, cost allocation, project delivery and environmental benefits, visit www.californiawaterfix.com.Read More
On Thursday morning, July 21, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District hosted a public ceremony at the Training and Education Division to mark the ten-year anniversary of the Line-of-Duty Deaths of Captain Matt Burton and Engineer Scott Desmond. The two firefighters lost their lives as they tried unsuccessfully to rescue a couple from their burning home in unincorporated San Pablo, July 21, 2007.
A seemingly routine call for help quickly turned disastrous with four lives lost, and left the 300-member Contra Costa County Fire Protection District reeling from the first on-duty deaths in its history. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Capt. Matt Burton, 34, of Concord, Fire Engineer Scott Desmond, 37, of Brentwood, and residents Delbert Moore, 67, and Gayle Moore, 62, died in the blaze.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the District produced a comprehensive report of the factors that lead to the deaths of Burton and Desmond. This report has guided the operations and training of the department, and led to many changes that have improved firefighter safety for current and future firefighters. Now ten years later, the District is drafting a second report reviewing each of the original 115 recommendations, providing an honest assessment of the progress and improvements the department has made, while at the same time identifying remaining items to be addressed.
Contra Costa County is a very culturally diverse community. Many cultures celebrate life and death in their respective ways.
In Polynesian, the Maori culture from New Zealand dances the HAKA. Originally a war dance calling on the spirit of ancestors for strength, the HAKA has evolved into a dance that promotes morale in a community. It is performed at weddings, graduations and celebrations of all occasions.
During the ceremony firefighters honored their family members with the Contra Costa County Fire HAKA.
To see video of the dance, visit the ConFire Facebook page by clicking, here.Read More
The 34th Annual National Night Out (NNO) for unincorporated Contra Costa County residents is set for Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
NNO is a community-building campaign started by the National Association of Town Watch that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods a safer, better place to live. NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
NNO is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for (and participation in) local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and establish police-community partnerships. We encourage you to get involved and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Neighborhoods can participate by having block parties, cookouts, flashlight walks, and youth programs. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office will try to stop by some neighborhoods to interact with residents and share crime prevention tips. These events are fun, effective, and inexpensive ways to interact with your neighbors and law enforcement while strengthening those relationships and learning about crime prevention.
If you are planning a National Night Out event in the unincorporated areas, we would like to try to stop by and say hello.
Please register your event at https://natw.org/registration and email Specialist Carlye Slover at email@example.com with the street location and time of your event and we will do our best to pay you a visit.Read More
On Thursday, July 20, 2017, at about 6:22 PM, Office of the Sheriff dispatch received a report of a gunshot victim on the ground near Truman Street and Chesley Avenue in North Richmond. Deputy Sheriffs arrived to find a 12-year-old boy who was shot. He was airlifted to a local hospital and is said to be in stable condition.
The suspect vehicle was seen leaving the area and was stopped by Deputy Sheriffs. The suspect was arrested. He is identified as 20-year-old Javier Flores of San Pablo. He was later booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and participating in a gang. He is being held in lieu of $570,000 bail.
The investigation into this case is ongoing. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 313-2500. For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More
Contra Costa health officials and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board advise people and pets in the Discovery Bay community to avoid contact with local bodies of water because of blue-green algae blooms.
Contra Costa Health Services Environmental Health Division (CCEH) received results this week for several water samples taken in late June from the southwestern section of Discovery Bay. Results found elevated levels of a natural toxin produced by blue-green algae blooms.
“We are advising residents to stay out of the water and keep their pets out of the water in the southwestern portion of Discovery Bay,” said CCEH Director, Dr. Marilyn C Underwood, “However, water circulates throughout the community, so the algae can also move and spread and therefore it is prudent to be cautious and to stay out of the water if you see scum or algae blooms.”
Exposure to the toxin can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset and other symptoms.
“It’s important to know that dogs are especially vulnerable to getting sick from this toxin. There have been reports from past incidents of dogs dying after drinking the water or licking algae from their fur after swimming in water with blue-green algae blooms. If your pet gets ill after swimming in water with an algae bloom, take them to the vet immediately,” said Christine Joab, Cyanobacteria Coordinator for the Central Valley Water Board.
For a fact sheet to help veterinarians diagnose illness related blue-green algae exposure, visit www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/what/vet_habs_factsheet.pdf
Blooms of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can look like green, blue-green, white or brown foam or scum floating on top of water, or suspended in the water. Warm water temperatures and nutrients contribute to blooms, but these will eventually subside under cooler conditions.
CCEH will regularly test bodies of water throughout Discovery Bay and update the community while these conditions persist.
“Anyone who had contact with blue-green algae and has now developed symptoms or believes they may have consumed contaminated water should contact their healthcare provider immediately or call California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222,” said Underwood.
No illnesses linked to Discovery Bay algae blooms have been reported in 2017. A child became sick after swimming in Discovery Bay during a similar event in 2016. Only recreational water areas are affected. Tap water in Discovery Bay is unaffected by the algal bloom.
Is it safe for me to go in the water in Discovery Bay?
It depends where you are and if there are advisories posted in the area.
A CAUTION sign means:
Do not swim or wade near algae or scum
Keep your children away from algae in the water or on the shore
Do not drink the water or use it for cooking
Do not let pets or livestock go into or drink the water or eat scum on the shoreline
Do not eat shellfish from the water
A WARNING sign means:
Stay away from scum, and cloudy or discolored water
Do not use these waters for drinking or cooking
Do not let pets or livestock go into or drink the water, or go near the scum
Do not eat shellfish from these waters
For fish caught here, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking
A DANGER sign means:
Stay out of the water until further notice. Do not touch scum in the water or on shore.
Do not let pets or livestock drink or go into the water or go near the scum
Do not eat fish or shellfish from these waters
Do not use the water for drinking or cooking. Boiling or filtering will not make the water safe.
Exposure to blue-green algae can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset, and other effects. At high levels, exposure can result in serious illness or death, according to the California Department of Public Health.
What about my pets?
Keep pets out of water with blue-green algae blooms. Dogs are especially vulnerable to getting sick and there have been reports through the years of dogs dying following exposure associated with drinking the water and licking algae from their fur after wading/swimming in water with blue-green algae blooms.
Is there an issue with drinking water?
No, contamination only affects recreational water areas, not drinking water from the tap in Discovery Bay.
Who should I contact if I swam in the water and now have symptoms?
If you think you or someone else is displaying symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, contact your health care provider or the California Poison Center Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
What can I do to get rid of blue-green algae in Discovery Bay?
We do not recommend attempting to treat or remove the algae. Blue-green algae blooms are natural to the environment’s food chain, and eventually dissipate on their own. Chemical treatment is often ineffective and can result in more toxins being released into the water as algae cells die, as well as unintended effects on other species in the area.
Algae blooms result from changes in water conditions that encourage sudden growth of the species. The best way to reduce and prevent blooms is to reduce water pollution, particularly from runoff containing fertilizers or pesticides. Pick up trash dumped in waterways, and make sure all household sewer systems are working properly.
Treating aquariums with a hydrogen peroxide solution is a common way to get rid of some kinds of algae. But the Delta is not a closed system like an aquarium, so the results would be unpredictable, both in terms of efficacy and impact on the environment.
For updates, detailed explanations of posted advisories, a map of sampling sites and other information, visit cchealth.org/eh/blue-green-algae.Read More
By Captain S. Albanese, Pittsburg Police Department
Pittsburg Police Detectives have been working throughout the evening and have identified Larry Daryl Neal, Jr., a 19-year-old Antioch resident, as the shooter in this incident. Neal is considered armed and dangerous and investigators have secured a warrant for his arrest related to this homicide. (See related article)
At this time, the victim’s name is being withheld pending notification to family members. Detectives were able to quickly identify Neal as the suspect in this case due to overwhelming cooperation by the community throughout the investigation.
The Pittsburg Police Department asks anyone with additional information, or has knowledge of Neal’s whereabouts to please contact the Pittsburg Police Department Tip-Line at 925-252-4040 or Dispatch at 925-646-2441.Read More
Begin review of marijuana regulations
By Daniel Borsuk
Retailers of menthol and flavored tobacco products that are located within 1,000 feet of a public, private school, playground, park, or library in Contra Costa County will be required to sell off their inventory by the end of 2017 now that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve an ordinance creating tobacco sales restrictions and a cap on tobacco retail licenses.
Supervisors limited the number of tobacco retailers in unincorporated Contra Costa at 90.
Supervisors drafted the ordinance after conducting public hearings on how menthol and flavored tobacco products have serious health consequences for teenagers congregating at schools, playgrounds, parks or libraries that are within 1,000 feet from a store selling those tobacco products that are known to lead to heart and cancer health problems later on in life.
Some of the ordinance’s provisions include:
- Failure to obey the new law could mean a retail license suspension of 30 days for the first violation, up to 90 days for a second violation within two years after the first violation, and up to one year for a third and subsequent violation within two years after the first violation.
- Although the county tobacco law sets requirements on the how retailers sell cigars, including little cigars that must be sold in a package of at least 10 cigars, the ordinance states “This requirement does not apply to cigars that have a sale price of at least $5.”
- The ordinance bans retailers from posting tobacco displays on their premises.
- The law prohibits pharmacies from selling tobacco products.
- The ordinance also requires retailers to “examine the identification of a person who reasonably appears to under the age of 27 before the tobacco retailers sells tobacco products or paraphernalia to that person.”
“The National Association of Tobacco Outlets opposes this ordinance,” said Jaime Rojas, a NATO representative, “because it represents a bad case of government overreach. You are forcing retailers to sell off an inventory within six months or face consequences.”
“You are taking a big step towards improving public health,” said Dr. Phillip Gardner of the University of California at San Francisco. He hailed the supervisors action because it will help reduce the influence of menthol flavored tobacco products especially on the African American community.
During the supervisors’ meeting, nothing was disclosed about how the ordinance will be enforced between the Sheriff’s Department, Health Department and perhaps Planning Department and at what cost to county taxpayers.
“Currently we have no idea what the costs will be to enforce this ordinance,” County Administrator David Twa told the Contra Costa Herald after supervisors voted. “Just wait when the board adopts the recreational marijuana ordinance (see item below). Expenses will go up dramatically then.”
“We will not begin enforcement on whether a retailer is within the 1,000-foot buffer until Jan. 1,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville.
In the meantime, the passage of the ordinance put retailers on notice they should not be reordering flavored tobacco products if they are located within the 1,000-foot buffer zone, said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond.
Review of Marijuana Regulations
In other business, Supervisors also kickstarted the review process on how to regulate commercial cannabis enterprises in unincorporated Contra Costa County in compliance with the voter approved State Proposition 64, the legalization of recreational marijuana sales.
During the presentation, supervisors were shown eight preliminary land use maps of where outdoor and indoor cannabis enterprises could potentially operate in unincorporated county.
Planning officials were instructed to present at a future meeting revised land used maps showing other buffer configurations.
The board voted 5-0 to permit County Administrator David Twa to negotiate with the consulting firm of Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates to prepare a study with recommendations on options for taxation for various cannabis activities.
Twa did not disclose what the county will pay the Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates because the price has yet to be negotiated. Twa said information from the Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates study would be used to draft a proposed countywide cannabis tax measure that would need to go before voters at the next general election, November 2018.
“If the tax fails to pass, so does the marijuana law in the county,” Twa told supervisors.
Gita Dombroski, owner of an Oakland cannabis nursery who said he has $4 million in the bank and wants to expand his nursery operations into Contra Costa County, warned supervisors that they are heading in the wrong direction by potentially levying high taxes.
“You need to be realistic. Your taxes are going to be too be too high and they will dissuade prospective businesses from coming to your county,” he said.
Instead of investing in Contra Costa County, Dombroski said he will open up another nursery in Oakland.
Cannabis proponent Max Fogarty objected to the county proposal of establishing a 1,000-foot buffer between cannabis businesses and public and private schools, parks, playgrounds and libraries, and a 500 foot distance from existing tobacco retail establishments.
“Why 1,000 feet from a school, playground or library. It does not make sense,” said Fogarty
“Not everyone feels the way you do. We need to protect our communities” said Gioia in defense of the buffers.Read More