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Your hometown weekly newspaper

Transcript of Antioch Press_3.20.09


    Vol. 9, No. 12 Antioch, California March 20, 2009


    nalAwardWinning Newspapers


    Small stature, big hearts

    These Diablo Vista students really care and theyve got the documents to prove it.

    Page 9A

    Local soccer scores grant

    The nurturing alliance on the sidelines forged by parents and coaches earned a local league some much-needed funds.

    Page 4B

    Curtain goes up on Proof An award-winning and timely play explores the dynamics of hope and despair.

    Page 4A


    This is the second of a three-part series on the efforts of two far East County towns to retain their heritage and remain rural and small in the face of regional growth and changing lo-cal politics. Part one (last week): Setting the stage (log on to; this week: The changes play out; part three: Looking ahead.

    The East Contra Costa towns of Byron and Knightsen are both more than 100 years old, small, and like it that way. Residents of both feel threatened by nearby develop-ment and are alarmed that the area they represent has been recently cut in half and their representative councils replaced. Theyre suspi-cious of county government, of their neighbors in Discovery Bay and of District III Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who falls into both categories. And they each recently

    packed a local meeting room, bring-ing together for the fi rst time some disconcerted residents, their recently displaced representatives, their new-ly appointed representatives, and

    Piepho.Back in 2005, Piepho, along

    with District V Supervisor Federal Glover, had been directed by the full county Board of Supervisors

    (BOS) to form an ad hoc commit-tee to improve consistency among the countys 11 municipal advisory councils (MACs). Most were set up in the late 1980s and early 1990s to provide the county supervisor in their district with recommendations on matters of concern in their unin-corporated communities.

    The MACs were a hodgepodge of roughly similar organizations ranging in size from fi ve to nine members. Some had elected repre-sentatives; others were appointed. Some got administrative assistance from the county; others didnt. And there were no consistent criteria for drawing boundaries.

    Over the next two and a half years, new policies, procedures and boundary guidelines were created, discussed in public meetings and adopted by the full BOS on Dec. 16, 2008. Most MAC boundaries were untouched, Knightsen and

    Residents of the small East County town of Byron are con-cerned that their towns heritage and ambience is threatened by future development.

    Photo by Stacey Chance/Discovery Bay

    by Rick LemyreStaff Writer

    see MACs page 21A

    Emotion, commotion and the metamorphosis of two local MACs

    Council urged to support DeltaBill Worrell, an Antioch resident

    with the Sportsman Yacht Club, this week asked the City Council to attend a meeting Monday night in Brentwood concerning the Bay Delta Conserva-tion Plan, which, he said, will be our last chance to stop the Peripheral Canal. Once this is approved, our governor, also known as the Delta Terminator, will ram the canal down our throats. Im appalled at the lack of (local) politi-cal opposition to the canal.

    Councilwoman Martha Parsons agreed with Worrells concerns about the canal hurting local water quality. It seemed that someone drank the Kool-Aid, she said. The governor took us out the equation. He may do whatever he wants by making the declaration of the drought as he did. I have written let-ters. But beyond that, Im not sure what we can do other than storm Sacramento.

    I do feel your pain.The meeting will take place 6-10

    p.m. Monday, March 23 in the Brent-wood Community Center, 730 Third St. For more information, go online to

    In other business at Tuesdays meet-ing: Former City Councilman Allen Payton told the council Tuesday night that a city creek in the vicinity of A Street and Wilbur Avenue has become severely pol-luted. He provided photos to the council showing gray, brackish water contain-ing litter and debris and told the council that, fortunately, the photos dont con-vey the sewage-like stench rising from the creek.

    When you see this, its rather dis-turbing, said Payton. I encourage you to go down there and check out what this is. Theres an old truck torn apart and a huge pile of trash. Something The City Council has been asked to look into con-

    ditions in this creek off Wilbur Avenue, which reportedly smells as bad as it looks.

    Photo by Allen Payton

    by Dave RobertsStaff Writer

    see Council page 13A

    Business ...........................14ACalendar ..........................23BClassifieds ........................17BCop Logs ..........................17AEntertainment ................14BFood .................................12BHealth & Beauty .............11BMilestones .........................9BOpinion ...........................16ASports .................................1BWebExtras! .......................1B


    Save a bundle! Print coupons.Coupons To Go! and Deals of the Day, nd them on our home page at


    Scout aids alma mater

    A plan to upgrade the Delta, which some local offi cials and residents fear will lead to a peripheral canal that will hurt local water quality, will be unveiled from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, March 23 in the Brentwood Community Center, 730 Third St.

    The focus of the meeting, one of 12

    held throughout California, is to get pub-lic input on the environmental impact of the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The open-house format features issue-focused information booths and re-corder stations for submitting comments.

    For more information, go online to

    Delta meeting Monday

    Its no secret that Eagle Scouts are all about honor, responsibility and build-ing character, and Oakley resident Mike Lumsden is no exception. But this week-end as the Eagle Scout candidate puts the fi nishing touches on some items he con-structed for Laurel Elementary School, hell be building something else as well; a permanent place in the hearts of a grate-ful staff.

    The value of what Mike is doing for us is huge, said Anne Allen, principal at Laurel Elementary. And the funny part is that the project he chose, he felt wasnt big enough. But for us, especially at this time with the budget and everything, its really big for us. Hes done a beautiful job.

    Mikes take on the project is a little

    less verbose. Its been a pretty cool thing, said the Freedom High School se-nior. When I chose my project, I wanted to do something to give back to Oakley, to my community, to make it more local. So I went to Laurel, since I went to school there. It was fun to go back and Im glad I was able to help.

    The job that Mike took on for his Eagle Scout project was constructing two new equipment boxes for the kindergar-ten playground. Complete with screens in the bottom to weed out sand and dirt, the current boxes are 15 years old and be-ginning to show their age. The new boxes will provide plenty of room for balls and other outdoor toys.

    Mike also built four bookshelves for the school library, which little by little has

    by Ruth RobertsStaff Writer

    Marion Merrill had always toyed with the idea of writing a book, but it wasnt until a dog bit her in the face that she realized there was no better time than the present to make her dream a reality.

    As a groomer and lifelong pet lover, Mer-rill was accustomed to working with animals, but for whatever reason, a rottweiler snapped at her during a grooming session, leaving bite marks on her left cheek and a gash near her left eye.

    While the incident was terrifying, the Knightsen resident decided to use the ex-perience as an opportunity for a story. Ive always been curious about animals and why they behave the way they do. Im not sure what that dog was thinking that day, but I used my curiosity to fuel my imagination and use that experience to enhance my writing.

    Merrill has dabbled in creative writing for many years. When she was young, she dreamed of writing a book, only to be dis-couraged by a teacher in high school who said her writing wasnt worth publishing. While she was temporarily discouraged, Merrill took a creative writing course in college, which reig-nited her passion for the written word.

    She put her college career on hold to raise a family, but she never gave up on her love of writing. As she explored avenues to improve her skill, she came across a Web site for aspir-ing writers,

    Within the cyber community, Merrill be-

    gan posting some of her works. She took the feedback from her Web friends and continued to hone her craft. While some colleagues had suggested she compile her work into a book, she never gave it serious thought until she was attacked by the dog at work.

    It was a scary moment for me, she said. I took some time away from work and writ-ing, but it made me realize that you dont know what will happen tomorrow. I was lucky. I had a bite mark right near my eye. It could have been much worse. It made me want to write the book while I knew I had the chance. I wanted to have something for my daughter.

    At the suggestions of her supporters in

    Taking writing for a ride

    see Scout page 20A

    by Samie HartleyStaff Writer

    see Ride page 22A

    First-time author Marion Merrill of Knightsen will host a book signing for her book Notes of an Everyday Cowgirl on March 28 at Horsetown Tack in Brentwood.

    Photo by Samie H