Concord Police are searching for three armed carjacking suspects who violently stole a vehicle at gunpoint from a person on Tyler Ct., which is off Via Montanas, near San Miguel Rd.

The suspects are described as three Hispanic males.

The carjacking occurred a little before 8pm.

It is unknown if the vehicle was located, but police are still in the area searching for the suspects.

No further information is available at this time. Check back for updates.

UPDATE, 9pm: The vehicle was located, abandoned, on San Miguel at Bonnie Clare Dr.

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A fifth suspect was arrested in connection with a high-speed chase that started in the Sacramento area and ended in Martinez on Wednesday, a California Highway Patrol officer said today.

Officers arrested Anthony Dewayne Domino, 21, and Anthony James Tyree, 23, both of San Francisco, Sharde Shenay Suwannabart-Smith, 24, and Sean Donyell McCullough II, 23, both of Oakland, and Summer Pavielle Sawyer, 30, of San Mateo, following the early morning chase, CHP Officer John Fransen said.

The chase exceeded speeds of 100 mph with suspects considered armed and dangerous. Officers later found a “considerable amount of jewelry” and weapons associated with the pursuit, Fransen said.

He declined to say what kind of weapons were inside the car, saying the matter was under investigation and that it could turn into a federal case.

Fransen said the Contra Costa County CHP office is coordinating the investigation into the potentially stolen items with the Denver Police Department out of Colorado, as well as the Folsom and Chico police departments.

Contra Costa County CHP officers started following a Cadillac SRX around 2:55 a.m. Wednesday after CHP officers had been trailing the car from the Sacramento area, Fransen said.

CHP officers deployed a spike strip on southbound Interstate Highway 680 near Bayshore Road in Benicia before the bridge, according to the CHP.

The Cadillac hit the spike strip and then continued across the bridge before exiting on Arthur Road in an unincorporated area near Martinez, Fransen said.

Officers initially said they were searching for two men and two women who had fled on foot after the car veered off of the roadway and crashed into a fence, Fransen said.

Fransen said a fifth suspect, a man, was later located as a result of the pursuit.

One of the two women suffered injuries related to being bitten by a police dog, Fransen said. She was treated at a hospital and later cleared for booking, he said.

The five suspects were booked into county jail in Martinez, Fransen said.

A Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said no charges had been filed because prosecutors had not yet received any information from law enforcement agencies investigating the case.

RELATED STORY: Vehicle Pursuit Starts in Sacramento, Ends in Martinez After Spike Strips Deployed

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Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, has introduced legislation that would ban strikes by BART employees such as the two walkouts that crippled Bay Area commuters in 2013.

Baker’s chief of staff, Nanette Farag, said that Baker’s bill takes a different approach than a bill by introduced by state Senator Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, last year that would have banned strikes by public transit employees.

Huff’s bill was killed by the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee in January 2014.

Farag said Baker’s bill, AB 528, which was introduced on Tuesday, wouldn’t impose an outright ban on transit strikes and would simply enforce no-strike clauses in contracts for BART employees and other public transit workers.

Farag said the walkouts by BART employees in July and October of 2013 exposed a loophole in current law.

She said after the contract for BART workers expired they went on strike even though management had honored the lapsed contract by paying benefits and wages during contract negotiations.

Union leaders argued that they weren’t bound by the no-strike clause because the contract had expired, according to Farag.

She said the bill by Baker, who just took office last month, would prevent strikes by providing that if the transit district honors its part of the expired contract, employees must do the same and honor their no-strike clause.

Farag said, “This is not an all-out ban on strikes and would provide more equity to workers and BART riders.”

Pete Castelli, the executive director for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents more than 1,400 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers at BART, said Baker’s bill is “very damaging” because BART’s management and unions have been working hard on building a better relationship and preventing future strikes.

“This opens up old wounds and makes both workers and management think about a difficult time,” Castelli said.

He said SEIU Local 1021 opposes any bill that would take away workers’ collective bargaining rights and he thinks it’s “very unlikely” that Baker’s bill will pass.

Farag said the next step for the bill is for it to be assigned to a committee, most likely the Labor Committee or the Transportation Committee.

Baker represents the 16th assembly district, which includes Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.

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highlands

Want to try and win $1K? If so, read below about the “Ping Pong Drop”.

The following info is from Highlands Elementary School in Concord:

What is a Ping Pong Drop? Purchase a $10 ticket and your name/phone number will be registered to a numbered ball, and then, on March 20th the Contra Costa Fire Dept. Ladder truck will hoist up all the registered balls and launch them onto a giant bullseye. The hole in one or closest to it wins $1,000. The winner will be phoned and name posted onto the Highlands website.

Highlands Ping Pong Drop tickets are available now for $10 each.

You can purchase your ticket at the free Home Expo event hosted by the Nancy Bennett Team this Saturday Feb. 28th in the Crossings neighborhood behind the clubhouse building located at 4498 Lawson Ct. Look for the big white tent beyond the pool and near the playground, from 9am – 2pm.

Our group can accept credit/debit cards on this day.

If you can’t make this event and still want to purchase tickets: please mail a check to Highlands PTA – 1326 Pennsylvania Blvd. Concord, CA 94521 ATTN: PING PONG DROP. This must be RECEIVED by March 6th and needs to include your name and phone number.

The actual PING PONG DROP takes place on March 20th, 2015.

The week prior to the drop check the Highlands Elementary school website to see all the registered contestants and their assigned ball #. Highlands website >>> http://highlands.mdusd.org/

The Ping Pong Drop is a one time event in honor of Highlands 50th Birthday celebration. Any alumni from decades past with photos, newsclippings, etc… please email: PTAhighlands@yahoo.com or mail to the school address above.

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CCA_Postcard_Front_Final_Corrected smaller

Concord Community of Artists is proud to announce their first group art show and sale – Concord Arts Alive! Emerge – on display in March at aRt Cottage.

This show features the work of 21 CCofA members who all live in Concord, plus 16 art students from Clayton Valley Charter High School. The mediums are diverse, including sculpture, mixed media, painting, drawing and photography.

IdryoDiablo1

CCofA is a multi-discipline collective of artists, artisans and crafters who have come together to increase exposure for the visual and performing arts in Concord.  “A strong arts scene strengthens a city like Concord through education, economic development and civic pride – it enhances the overall vitality of our community,” says CCofA founder, Sylvia Nuzzo Philis. “Including students in this show is an important part of the community-building aspect of our mission. We want to create a bridge between generations of artists and we want students to know that art opportunities do exist in Concord. We are committed to building a thriving arts scene, and everyone can help by supporting our local artists. We’re here to tell you…the arts are alive in Concord!”

california springtime strout

The public is welcome to attend a wine and cheese reception for the artists on Saturday, March 7th (2-5pm), and various artists will be on-hand at the gallery each Friday and Saturday in March to talk to the public about their work.

If you’re an artist, performer, artisan, crafter or arts supporter living in Concord or the surrounding areas – you can become a member of CCofA (100+ and counting!) for free by joining their MeetUp and/or Facebook groups.

Photo credits:

– Postcard design by Emily Stepp

California Springtime by Pat Strout  (watercolor)

Mount Diablo by Ryan Idryo  (chipboard on wood)

Creative Space is a bimonthly column written by Lisa Fulmer that features local artists and other creative movers and makers, Concord area art and craft events, as well as fun DIY craft projects for you and your family. Creative Space will be on Claycord.com every other Thursday at 2pm.

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The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

What is one state in the U.S. you WOULD NOT want to live in?

Talk about it….

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bart

BART Police arrested a man for Bicycle Theft, Possession of a Burglary Tools and Probation Violation late last week at the downtown Concord BART station.

The following information is from BART Police:

An officer arrested a male subject for stealing a men’s Trek brand bike from the concourse area racks after seeing him cut its cable lock; a sergeant approved the arrest. Initially, the subject claimed ownership of the bike, but when interviewed by a detective he claimed to have purchased the bike two weeks prior while knowing it was stolen.

The bike’s legitimate owner eventually arrived at the station and filed a formal police report. A wants/warrants check of the subject revealed he was on four (4) separate and active narcotics related probations, through Contra Costa County, which included a clause allowing for the search of his residence.

Based upon the circumstances of the case and the subject’s probationary search clause, officers attempted to search the subject’s residence in the city of Walnut Creek.

This attempt, however, ended with negative results.

The subject was booked into the county jail for petty theft, possessing a burglary tool and for violating the terms of his probation.

CLAYCORD NOTE: The man’s identity was not released by BART Police.

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An 18-year-old male was stabbed during an altercation with an unknown number of individuals on Willow Pass Rd. near Sixth St. just after 1:30pm on Wednesday, according to Concord Police.

After he was stabbed, he went home, then was driven to the hospital by a family member.

The man was stabbed in the upper body, and his injuries are not life-threatening.

Concord Police did not release a description of the suspect(s).

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doctors

The embattled Doctor’s Medical Center got a lifeline, albeit a short one, this evening with the approval of a proposed sale of three of the institution’s parcels to the city of San Pablo.

The West Contra Costa Healthcare District voted unanimously to approve the terms of an agreement to sell two medical office buildings at 2023 and 2023A Vale Road, a residential condominium at 2121 Vale Road and a parking lot at 2000 Vale Road for $7.5 million. It will officially sign the purchase and sale agreement next week, according to Board Chairman Eric Zell.

The sale will allow the district’s board just enough time to decide what to do next, but without a significant infusion of cash, Zell said the board will have no choice left but to close the hospital.

“It will give us a little breathing room to decide if we have to use that money to close or if a miracle happens and somebody walks in with another $10 million to $20 million, then that money could be used for operations,” Zell said. “As of this moment, we don’t have any money past this $7.5 million. So, this money as of today will most likely be used to close.”

At the board’s meeting tonight, financial consultant Harold Emahiser displayed Excel spreadsheets projecting the hospital’s operating budget week by week. Without the sale going through, the hospital will be unable to pay its employees past the first week of March, he said.

“What that (sale) would do is allow us to make payroll and get us to the next installment of payroll and take us to the first week of April,” Emahiser said.

But even with the sale, Emahiser said the hospital’s prospects may be short-lived.

It will cost somewhere between $4 million to $6 million just to close the hospital, since the organization will have to pay employees’ pensions and unused vacation time and pay vendors and service debts, among a host of other items, Emahiser said.

If the hospital uses that money to continue operating, Zell said that when the money runs out, there would be no way to close the hospital without borrowing against the value of the buildings.

“We can’t take money and then give away assets,” Zell said. “We would be trading operating money for assets and then we would spend that operating money and we’d have nothing left. We’d have no way to address our debts, no way to address our employee pensions, our expenses, our vacation pay, nothing.”

The hospital’s cash-flow problems stem from the fact that 80 percent of its patients are on Medi-Cal or Medicare, 10 percent are uninsured and only 10 percent pay commercial rates. Because Medi-Cal and Medicare reimburses hospitals at lower rates, the hospital has not been able to make up the $18 million annual budget shortfall, Zell said.

Without a philanthropist walking in and signing over a large check, Zell said there could be no other options.

The hospital still sees some 100 patients in its emergency room each day. Zell said the board is in talks with the city of San Pablo to operate an urgent care center across the street from the hospital in one of the buildings the board is selling to the city, should the hospital close.

Many who currently go to the emergency room at Doctor’s Medical will be able to get treatment at the urgent care center, Zell said. The others will have to find other healthcare facilities.

Still, some were hopeful.

Board member Deborah Campbell said there were at least three organizations willing to make a proposal that would infuse the hospital with the cash it needs to stabilize its current deficits, support operations and help build new facilities since the aging hospital is seismically unsound.

She declined to name the proponents of the proposals because she said doing so could jeopardize their ability to make the offers to the board.

But, she said she expects them to come through as early as next week.

Irene Thompson, who described herself as grateful former patient urged the board to think positively.

“We’ve heard the words of cynicism and despair. We’ve heard the words of cautious optimism, and so I would like to offer a word of encouragement,” Thompson said.

“We’re in the 21st Century and everything is impossible,” Thompson said. “It’s impossible to deal with transportation. It’s impossible to deal with healthcare. It’s impossible to deal with home ownership, you name it, global warming. And yet, we will deal with these things because we have to and I trust you will keep the hospital open simply because we have to.”

RELATED STORIES:

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sunset

Thanks to Mike T. for this picture of Wednesday night’s beautiful sunset in Claycord.

Appreciate the little things in life, Claycordians.

Thanks again, Mike.

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fire

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A homeowner suffered minor burns as he escaped a fire in his Martinez home that destroyed his garage and part of his attic, a Contra Costa County fire marshal said.

The one-alarm fire in the 700 block of Ulfinian Way was reported at 1:10 p.m., according to a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District dispatcher.

Arriving crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from the garage side of the single-family home, fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

The homeowner and a hired maid were upstairs when the fire broke out. The homeowner heard popping noises coming from downstairs and when he went to investigate, he found the garage already burning, Marshall said.

He suffered minor burns before he escaped the house, but did not require hospitalization.

Firefighters controlled the blaze by 1:46 p.m., according to a fire dispatcher.

The fire destroyed the garage, part of the home’s attic, and the sheet rock below the attic, Marshall said. A wooden deck above the garage was destroyed as well.

Marshall estimated the damage was $50,000 to the home itself and $40,000 to possessions inside, including a BMW in the garage.

The fire may have started in the BMW and appears to be accidental, Marshall said.

photo credit: Craig Cannon – for use only on Claycord.com

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A report released on Monday studying how to improve late-night transportation options in the Bay Area offers some short-term solutions but substantial improvements could be decades away.

While steps have already been taken to improve late-night San Francisco Municipal Railway service and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit transbay bus service, a study by the Late Night Transportation Working Group found
that the biggest impediment to late-night travelers was the lack of overnight BART service.

BART service, however, must shut down overnight for necessary maintenance work. The working group in its report recommended further study of the challenges to overnight BART service, but recognized that ultimately a second Transbay Tube may be necessary to ever have truly overnight transbay rail service.

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY....]

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A Contra Costa County coroner’s inquest jury ruled Tuesday that an officer-involved shooting last May in Concord was a suicide, according to sheriff’s officials.

On May 15, Valeri Lee Hawkins, 57, pointed a gun at officers before an officer shot and killed her, police said.

Around 5:30 p.m. that day, Concord police were responding to a report of a suicidal woman who was armed with a handgun in the 2700 block of Pacheco Street, police said.

When officers arrived on scene, Hawkins was at the front of the residence and reportedly refused officers’ commands to put the gun down.

Instead, she pointed the gun at police and one of the officers fired a single shot, striking Hawkins in the chest, according to sheriff’s officials.

Police tried to perform CPR on Hawkins, but she was later pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Sheriff’s officials said Hawkins had a history of mental health problems.

Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes coroner’s inquests whenever there is an officer-involved shooting. Jurors must decide whether the death should be ruled an accident, suicide, at the hands of another person other than by accident, or a result of natural causes.

RELATED STORY: Woman Armed with Handgun, Fatally Shot by Officer Identified

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bath

Home Improvements that Sell – 8 Smart Interior Updates!

We’re well into an exciting spring real estate market, and for many of us, spring is also “remodeling season.” We purge clutter, deep clean, make repairs, and tackle exciting (and sometimes intimidating) home updates.

For those of you thinking of selling in the next 5 – or even 10 – years, I believe it pays to be aware of which remodeling projects are likely to “pay off” at the time of sale. A few weeks ago I took a look at smart exterior home improvements, and this column focuses on 8 strategic updates to the interior of your home that are likely to increase its value, and ultimately enhance your home sale.

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY....]

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crash

At approximately 2:55am today, CHP – Contra Costa became involved in a police pursuit of potentially armed and dangerous suspects fleeing in a vehicle. The pursuit began a few minutes earlier in the Sacramento area.

A CHP Officer deployed a spike strip on southbound I-680, near Bay Shore. The suspect vehicle, a Cadillac SRX, hit the spike strip and exited the freeway on to Arthur Road in Martinez, traveled off the roadway, and subsequently crashed into a fence.

Four occupants fled on foot after the crash.

An initial perimeter was established and three of the four occupants were detained. A secondary perimeter was established and the forth occupant was also taken into custody.

This incident is pending further investigation regarding crimes that may have occurred in several allied law enforcement agency jurisdictions, according to the CHP.

photo credit: Craig Cannon – for use only on Claycord.com

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The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

Today is “Would You Rather, Wednesday”on Claycord.com.

Here we go.

Would you rather?….

1. Have a rewind button in your life?

2. Have a pause button in your life?

Talk about it.

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This came from a resident in N. Concord, off Port Chicago Hwy.:

I live in the Sun View Terrace neighborhood off of Port Chicago Hwy in Concord. At about 5:45am (still in the hours of darkness) a younger African American girl that my dad described as 13-16 years old rang our doorbell twice. This woke up my entire family and before most of us could make it to the door my dad already opened it thinking it was my sister who might’ve gotten locked out by accident. When he noticed it wasn’t her he asked “what are you doing ringing my doorbell so early?” She turned around without saying anything and slowly walked down our driveway and down the street, passing our neighbor’s houses.

I can’t really get my mind wrapped around what she was doing, but regardless it was creepy.

I was wondering if anyone else ran into this girl in the area or if they have any info on what she’s up to?

Anybody else see this young woman out & about just before 6am today?

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bonilla

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) introduced legislation this week, which will allocate a percentage of cap and trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the production of biogas. Once amended, Assembly Bill 577, will ensure that a specified amount of cap and trade revenue will be used towards the development of infrastructure and purification technology for biogas.

“California pays billions of dollars annually to import natural gas when there are large quantities of renewable energy here in our own state,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “AB 577 will not only help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, but most importantly it increases investments in biogas development, which will diversify our state’s gas production and decrease our reliance on natural gas.”

With the natural gas sector now under the regulation of the cap and trade program, producers and suppliers must limit their GHG emissions or purchase carbon credits or offsets. AB 577 takes advantage of this new revenue by reinvesting it back into the gas sector. Allocating cap and trade proceeds will allow local businesses to build the infrastructure necessary to collect and purify biogas, an abundant alternative energy source. In effect, this measure protects the state from natural gas supply problems and fluctuating costs, while also keeping energy jobs in California.

The state could produce almost 300 billion cubic feet of renewable gas per year, just from organic waste. This renewable biogas, derived from food processing, livestock, agriculture, yard waste, or collected from landfills, could be used to power upwards of two million homes or generate 2.5 billion gallons of clean, ultra-low carbon transportation fuels.

“As a state, it is critical that we think of innovative, efficient, and long-term solutions to global warming, and not just the next carbon emissions limit,” continued Bonilla. “This bill creates investment and support for a sustainable alternative plan that will produce safe, cost-effective, and reliable energy.”

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radio_shack

Radio Shack, located on Willow Pass Rd. in Concord (across from Park & Shop), has closed.

This is the second Radio Shack in Claycord to close within the past three months. The other one, in the Encina Grande Shopping Center on Ygnacio Valley Rd. in Walnut Creek shut down in November of 2014.

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