Offers part-time employment
The Workforce Development Program at St. Vincent de Paul is a paid job training program aimed at helping the unemployed re-enter the workforce and find stable employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen millions suddenly find themselves out of work. In these hard times, it is more important than ever that job applicants understand workplace expectations and have the soft skills to be a contributing employee. The 24-week program teaches participants the skills and techniques to find a job and be successful in the workplace, offering training in resume development, interviewing, and organizational skills in a supportive & compassionate environment.
Mandatory orientation sessions, applicants should choose either the Pittsburg or Brentwood sessions, will take place on Wednesday, 4/21/21 & Saturday, 4/24/21 from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at 2210 Gladstone Drive, Pittsburg, and on Wednesday 4/28/21 & Saturday 5/1/21 from 2- 5PM at 8890 Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood. To register call (925) 439-5060. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
The Workforce Development Program aims to help tear down the barriers that stand in the way of employment for individuals who have struggled to obtain and maintain employment. Participants work with mentors and take weekly classes to develop workplace skills. A new class of participants is selected every three months.
Participants gain paid, part-time, (22.5 hours per week), work experience in a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store or SVdP’s trucking and transportation department. Additional training in retail operations including cash register operations, inventory display and optimization, and warehouse operations is also provided.
James Neitte, a graduate from SVdP’s 2017 WFD cycle, said, “SVdP was kind of a last ditch effort for me. Going through that program really changed my life.” Convicted of multiple felonies in 2011, Neitte has maintained a steady job since his graduation.
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County has provided safety-net services in the county for over 57 years, serving 100,000 people annually and distributing over $1M of direct financial assistance and over $1.5M of in-kind aid. Over 750 SVdP volunteers and a small staff lead operations in Contra Costa including the SVdP Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, 28 branches, and 3 Thrift Stores. One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, St. Vincent de Paul is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 155 countries on five continents.
By Karen Ferriere, Development Director, Save Mt. Diablo
This coming Monday, April 12, 2021, will mark the one-year anniversary and conclusion of Save Mount Diablo’s weekly Mount Diablo Beacon lightings in response to the pandemic.
On Sunday, April 11th, the Mount Diablo Summit Beacon will be lit by Save Mount Diablo personnel shortly after sunset. Then on Monday, April 12th, Save Mount Diablo personnel will rest the Beacon shortly after sunrise – and that will mark the one-year anniversary and conclusion of Save Mount Diablo’s weekly Beacon lighting efforts.
The decision to conclude these efforts is based on the COVID-19 vaccines becoming increasingly well distributed. Furthermore, there have been tier-level improvements in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the pandemic is not over, we have turned the corner for the better.
In response to the pandemic, for the past year, since April 12, 2020, Save Mount Diablo volunteers and staff have lit the Mount Diablo Beacon, the “Eye of Diablo,” from sunset on Sunday night until sunrise on Monday morning when the Beacon is rested.
Describing why Save Mount Diablo has been lighting the Mount Diablo Beacon in response to the pandemic, Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director, stated, “We light the Mount Diablo Beacon to thank our heroes, to honor those who have passed and are suffering, to bring our communities together, and to remind people to look up to the light and the healing power of nature.”
“I want to thank two special Save Mount Diablo volunteers, John Gallagher and Dick Heron, who helped me with this year-long effort,” said Ted Clement.
Though Save Mount Diablo is concluding its weekly Beacon lightings in response to the pandemic, the organization will continue its regular care and maintenance of the historic “Eye of Diablo,” as it has done for years.
The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shone from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was not relit until December 7, 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit in commemoration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested that the Beacon be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.
Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7th in honor of the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
About Save Mount Diablo
SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed murder and attempted murder charges against 23-year-old Pierre Patrick Jackson of Antioch/Brentwood in connection with a shooting of two men and resulted in a homicide that occurred on March 31, 2021 in El Sobrante. (See related article)
On March 31, 2021, at about 8:41 PM, Bay Station Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 4500 block of Appian Way. Deputies arrived on the scene, located two victims with gunshot wounds, and provided lifesaving measures until the fire department and ambulance arrived. One of the victims, identified as 25-year-old Dejante “Dj” Kennedy of Pittsburg, was pronounced deceased. The second victim was transported to a local hospital.
During the investigation, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit identified Jackson as the suspect in the shooting. A warrant was obtained for his arrest. Homicide detectives arrested Jackson on April 5, 2021. He is currently being held at the Martinez Detention Facility in lieu of $3.5 million bail.
According to mylife.com, Jackson’s current residence is in Brentwood and previously lived in Antioch.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or through Sheriff’s Office dispatch at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, email: email@example.com or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.Read More
Approve bylaws, but has COVID-19 put a dent in county’s finances?
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors appointed 17 applicants to the Measure X Community Advisory Board on Tuesday that will oversee the disbursement of $81 million in new annual sales tax revenue county officials are counting on to fund vital operations.
Passed by 58.45% of the vote of Contra Costa voters, last November, Measure X increased the county’s sales taxes from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent on everything except food sales. The additional annual revenue aims to support county services intended for the regional hospital, community health centers, emergency response, childhood services and protective services of vulnerable populations. (See related articles here and here) CCC_2021MeasureX_FullText
There was no public comment aired for either the 17 appointments or the bylaws established for the Proposition X Community Advisory Board.
But this observer questions if the newly formed Measure X Advisory Board will be put to the test at a time the county’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. What if the panel learns that instead of the $81 million that the county counts on to be generated from the half-cent sales tax increase, that in the first year it might be only $50 million or $60 million because people are not spending like they used to?
The $81 million figure was generated before COVID-19 popped onto the global landscape and the county’s economy was in much better shape at a 3.2 percent unemployment rate compared to a 7.7 percent unemployment rate today.
The supervisors’ Finance Committee, comprised of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, interviewed more than 130 applicants for the Measure X panel.
“We had a high number of high-quality people apply for this board,” said Gioia. “It wasn’t easy to choose candidates.”
District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen concurred with Gioia commenting, “We had amazing candidates!”
Each supervisor selected two Community Advisory Board members and one alternate. Seven at-large representatives were selected as well as five at-large seat alternatives.
Housing advocates Brenda Williams and Edith Pastrano, both of Richmond were selected by Supervisor Gioia to serve on the Community Advisory Board. El Cerrito psychotherapist Cathy Hanville was selected to serve as an alternate by Gioia.
District 2 Supervisor Andersen selected real estate expert Kathryn Chiverton of Alamo and investment banker Jim Cervantes of Lafayette to serve on the Community Advisory Board. Supervisor Andersen picked Walnut Creek retired housing consultant Donna Colombo as an alternate.
NAACP East County Branch Past President Odessa Le Francois of Antioch and transitional housing agent David Cruise of Brentwood were named by District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis to serve on the advisory board. The board chair also selected housing expert Sandro Trujillo of Antioch as an alternate.
Supervisor Mitchoff selected to represent District IV, psychologist Dr. Michelle Hernandez of Concord and Meals on Wheels executive Sharon Quesada Jenkins of Concord. Pello Walker of Concord was named an alternate. He is owner/organizer of the annual sustainable enterprise conferences in Contra Costa County.
District 5 Supervisor Glover picked work force specialist Michelle Stewart of Pittsburg and attorney Ali Saidi of Pinole to serve on the advisory panel. Antioch resident Gigi Crowder, a mental health professional, was selected by Glover as an alternate.
Selected as at-large members are founder and executive director of RYSE Kimberly Aceves-Inguez of Oakland, Dr. Ruth Fernandez of Concord who is director of First 5, senior citizen advocate Debbie Toth of Fairfield, social service expert Sandra Wall of American Canyon, executive legal assistant at UnCommon Law Susan Kim of Berkeley, and Senior Director of Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa Mariana Moore of Benicia, and Rodeo Hercules Fire Captain and Local 1230 Vice President Jerry Short of El Sobrante.
Named as at large alternates are San Pablo Mayor Genovea Colloway, First 5 Association Executive Director Melissa Stafford Jones of Walnut Creek, pediatrician Dr. Diana Hong of Orinda, East Bay Leadership Council policy director Lindy Lavender of Pacheco and physician Dr. Peter Benson of Alamo.
According to the Community Advisory Board’s by-laws that supervisors also approved in tandem with the selection of board appointments, meetings are to be conducted publicly and in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act and the Contra Costa County Better Governance Ordinance for Public Comment.
There is no compensation for serving on the Measure X Community Advisory Board. In addition, there is “no reimbursement to board members for any expenses incurred while conducting official business,” the bylaws state.
Faces 25 and up to 75 years to life in state prison
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
Yesterday, Monday, April 4, 2021, a Contra Costa County jury found defendant Erick Lamar Nelson (31-year-old resident of Concord) guilty of first-degree murder for the 2016 slaying of his partner 25-year-old Poinsettia Gant-Parks. The victim reported to friends and family members concerns about Nelson and his prior violent actions against her. When the victim was murdered, she was six weeks pregnant.
Nelson will be sentenced on May 7, 2021 before Judge John Cope. Nelson faces 25 years to life for the murder conviction. Due to Nelson’s two prior strikes, which the court found him guilty of yesterday, he could face a total of 75 years to life in state prison.
In May 2016, Nelson used a rock to kill the victim and he stuffed her left hand down her throat. The victim was found in the duck pond at Newhall Park in Concord. Nelson, who was described as 6’1″ and 185 lbs., fled the state and was eventually arrested in Reno, Nevada. (See related article)
Deputy District Attorney Mary Blumberg prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. DDA Blumberg is assigned to our Office’s Homicide Unit. The case was investigated by the Concord Police Department.
“Poinsettia Gant-Parks will forever be remembered for her sincere kindness to everyone she met and her smile that reached from ear to ear and touched so many hearts. This verdict finally brings justice to her family. Erick Nelson brutally took her life; she was merely 25 years old and pregnant at the time that he murdered her. Sadly, this terrible crime and the physical and mental abuse that proceeded it are not limited to Poinsettia Gant-Parks. All too often, women and men are victims of domestic violence. I hope that this verdict will encourage other victims of domestic violence to speak out and seek help. If you or someone you know suffers from domestic partner violence there are many groups in our community that can help you, including, the Family Justice Centers in Antioch, Richmond and Concord,” said DDA Blumberg.
The jury trial began on March 1, 2021 and ended last Friday. The jury began their deliberation on April 2 and concluded today with their verdict. In 2016, our Office filed a criminal complaint against Nelson. In 2017, he had a preliminary hearing, and he was held to answer.
UPDATE: The prior crimes include a felony violation for driving or taking a vehicle without consent. On or about May 23, 2016, in Contra Costa County, Nelson stole a Ford F-250 pickup owned by Joseph Silva. He was also convicted for serious and/or violent felonies of second-degree robbery committed on Sept. 28, 2010 and on Sept. 18, 2007. Filed Information Nelson April 2017
Case information: People v. Erick Lamar Nelson, Docket Number 05-170547-4
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
The State of California announced today that Contra Costa County will be able to move into the less restrictive Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Wednesday, April 7.
Contra Costa County currently has a COVID case-rate of 4.9 cases per 100,000 people and an overall testing-rate positivity of 1.8% (and 3% for the health equity metric). COVID-related hospitalizations are down to their lowest point since October. Meanwhile, nearly 500,000 county residents are at least partially vaccinated.
It has been five months since the last time the county qualified for the Orange Tier.
“This is great news for our community,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “The last few months have been difficult for everyone and it’s nice to see us make more progress in the fight against COVID.”
Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said people should not let down their guard yet. He noted that case rates have plateaued recently, suggesting a slowdown in the recovery. “We are still in a pandemic and people should continue to act accordingly: Keep wearing masks in public and get vaccinated as soon as you can. I still strongly recommend people to avoid most indoor activities with people outside of their own household until they are fully vaccinated,” Dr. Farnitano said.
Last week, Contra Costa extended vaccine eligibility to everyone ages 16 and over who lives, works or goes to school in the county. Currently, people between the ages of 16-49 must schedule appointments through Contra Costa Health Services at cchealth.org/coronavirus or by calling 833-829-2626. Other healthcare providers, including the state’s MyTurn system, do not yet offer vaccine to people below the age of 50.
Starting Wednesday, April 7 several business sectors and community services can reopen or expand capacity:
- Places of worship: 50% maximum capacity
- Restaurants: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
- Gyms, fitness centers and studios (including at hotels): 25% maximum capacity and indoor pools are permitted; Indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms continue to be closed
- Movie Theaters: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer encouraged
- Amusement parks: Overall park capacity and indoor capacity will be limited to 25%, including indoor dining.
- Bars: Outdoors with modifications; no meals required to be served
- Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries: Indoors at 25% maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; no meals required to be served
- Family entertainment centers: Indoors for naturally distanced activities like bowling, escape rooms, and billiards; 25% maximum capacity
- Outdoor sports and live performances with fans/attendees: Up to 33% and with advanced reservations only. Concession sales will be primarily in-seat (no concourse sales). Designated indoor seated dining area capacity will be limited to 25%. Attendance will be limited to in-state spectators and guests must attest their reserved seats are only for one household.
- Retail: Open indoors with modifications and food courts permitted with indoor dining restrictions
Contra Costa County must remain in the Orange Tier for at least three weeks before moving into the next, less restrictive yellow tier.
Registration for Summer has begun, Fall registration begins April 26
By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, 4CD
Campuses of the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) – Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College-Pleasant Hill Campus and San Ramon Campus, and Los Medanos College-Pittsburg Campus and the Brentwood Center – will continue offering predominantly online courses and student services for the summer 2021 term, in accordance with Contra Costa County (County) public health and safety guidelines. A limited number of students and staff will be permitted on campus to attend hard-to-convert courses, labs, student services, and special programs by following enhanced health and safety protocols.
4CD is also planning a fall 2021 schedule with significant increases of in-person offerings that maximize student opportunities for safe learning experiences and support. Course offerings will include a balance of in-person classes, hybrid, and fully online. Work also continues on assessing and making improvements to college facilities to ensure a safe learning environment.
“Our faculty, classified professionals, and managers are excited to welcome back our students and offer the quality college experience they have been missing during this pandemic,” said Chancellor Bryan Reece. “Following County public health and safety guidelines, we will be ready to increase the safe delivery of face-to-face quality instruction and support services that many of our students need to be successful.”
Registration for summer 2021 courses begin on April 5 and depends on a student’s priority status. To view what classes may be offered, students should visit their InSite account or the college website of their choice for specific details. Registration for the fall 2021 semester begins on April 26 and will also depend on a student’s priority status.
The Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The 4CD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. 4CD is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez. For more information visit www.4cd.edu.
This year’s theme: Move Our Community Forward! ¡Adelante Con Nuestra Communidad!
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors celebrated the memory of César Chávez recognizing his commitment to social justice and respect for human dignity during the 27th Annual César E. Chávez Commemorative Virtual Celebration on Tuesday, March 30.
“We honor the memory of César E. Chávez and continue his commitment to fight for social justice and for those who can’t fight for themselves,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We also recognize our 2021 Youth Hall of Fame awardees, highlighting deserving teens and their commitment to community and service.”
The theme for this year’s celebration was Move Our Community Forward – Adelante Con Nuestra Comunidad. The celebration featured three keynote speakers, including Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, Jane Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of La Clínica de La Raza, and San Pablo City Councilman Arturo Cruz. The event also included musical performances by Mariachi Monumental and Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl.
The Youth Hall of Fame Awards presentation acknowledges outstanding Contra Costa County teens who demonstrate excellence in one of six categories. The 2021 Youth Hall of Fame Awardees are (click on the link for each name to read the resolution providing the reasons for the recognition):
Good Samaritan: Chris Garcia, Antioch High School
Leadership & Civic Engagement: Ryan Raimondi, Liberty High School
Middle School Rising Star: Stephanie Boustani, Acalanes High School
Perseverance: Bianey Douglas, Carondelet High School
Teamwork: Haley Brathwaite, Carondelet High School
Volunteerism: Jonathan Castaneda, Pinole Valley High
The annual celebration honors the diversity and richness of our community and its immigrants. Visit the César E. Chávez Ceremony webpage found in the “County Celebrations” section of Contra Costa County’s website www.contracosta.ca.gov for details and a look at the previous ceremony.Read More
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
Last Friday, defendant Delon Baptiste Ward of Richmond was sentenced by Judge Leslie G. Landau to 36 years in state prison for the July 2019 rape of Jane Doe. Earlier, Ward pleaded guilty to kidnapping and forcible rape and he admitted to two enhancements since he used a gun during the attack. Ward is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life as a result of his guilty plea.
Jane Doe did not know the defendant. While she was on her walk during the early morning of July 19, Ward followed her and waited until she was alone to confront her with a gun. He forcibly moved Jane Doe off the public sidewalk and proceeded to sexually assault her.
The defendant fled the scene after the sexual assault. Fortunately, the Richmond Police Department conducted an intensive investigation to secure evidence and surveillance video to tie the defendant to the crime.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Prosser prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. DDA Prosser is assigned to our office’s Sexual Assault Unit.
“In this case, the Richmond Police Department immediately conducted a large-scale investigation using officers and investigators who left no stone unturned. In particular, Officer Orlando Guzman, Detective Andrew Barbara, and Detective AJ Fonseca went over and above to ensure that we brought a strong case to court,” stated DDA Prosser. “Jane Doe bravely came forward to report the crime, and through the efforts of the Richmond Police Department, the defendant was identified and taken into custody quickly.”
Case information: People v. Delon Baptiste Ward, Docket Number 05-201379-5
Previously, according to localcrimenews.com, Ward was arrested in January 2018 by San Pablo Police for receiving stolen property – motor vehicle and vehicle theft.
By Connie Woods
The biggest celebration within Christianity may be Christmas, but the most important celebration is Easter. The entire basis for the Christian faith is based on the events that occurred on the first Easter weekend. While Christmas is about how Jesus came to earth as a baby, Easter is about the reason he came. Christians believe the whole reason he came was to die and to rise again.
Most historians agree on these facts, which are the foundational events of Christianity:
- Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion on the Friday during the Jewish Passover.
- He was buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.
- Guards were posted to keep watch over the tomb.
- On the third day, the tomb was found to be empty. His body could not be found, nor could the Roman or Jewish authorities explain what had happened to it.
- Over the next forty days, his disciples plus hundreds of other people claimed to have seen Jesus, spoken with him, eaten with him, and listened to his teachings.
These disciples (and others) went to their deaths – some through torture – maintaining that their claims of seeing a resurrected Jesus were true.
Those are the historical facts. The significance is found in the interpretation of those facts. Christians maintain that the tomb was empty and that there were post-crucifixion sightings of Jesus because Jesus had physically risen from the dead. This, combined with the apparent fulfillment of centuries-old prophecies contained in the Jewish Scriptures, firmly established the belief that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he had power and authority over life and death.
This belief in the resurrection of Jesus spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire and it continues to spread today. For nearly 2000 years, Christians have placed their faith in this resurrected Jesus, believing his promise that he will someday return to take his followers to be with him throughout eternity.
Woods is the publisher of Good News Press and a resident of Antioch in Eastern Contra Costa County.
Good News Press is an outreach Christian publication, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Christian newspaper, sharing the good news of God’s love through his Son. The publication proclaims the gospel message and features News, Events, Inspiring Christian articles, and more! The website also features a Christian business directory. www.goodnewspress.us
In Good News Press Spring 2021 Issue:
Read the complete edition by clicking Good News Press Spring 2021 16 pages
Significance & Historical Facts of Easter
How the Date of Easter is Determined
Just Pray No Weekend of Prayer & Fasting
What is Good Friday?
Women at the Tomb – Jesus Is Risen
A Biblical Perspective on the Border Crisis
TBN Set to air Full Slate of New Programming to Celebrate Easter Weekend
Myanmar Massacre, GFA Calls for World Prayer Amid Military Coup
God Gives Us Hope In A Crisis
Christian Leaders Ask President Biden to Support Israel & Combat Anti-Semitism by
What is the Pre Tribulation Rapture?
Remote work has Dramatic Implications
Sen. Rick Brittans’s Capitol Report of March 29: Saying “No” to Vaccine Passports
There’s a Lot that can go wrong with Vaccine Passports
Will you ditch your PC for a QC?
Romans Road to Salvation