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Updated: 40 weeks 1 day ago

UPDATE: Injured Motorcyclist Still in Critical Condition After Head-On Collision in Clayton

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 21:00

The man who was injured during the head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver in Clayton last week is still in critical condition, but he’s improving, according to family.

The man, whose name is Mark, has a lot of work ahead of him to resume his active lifestyle, his family said.

He has many broken bones and internal injuries, but fortunately, he’s still alive.

Jessica Mercurio, the 21-year-old Concord resident who was arrested on at the scene of the collision for allegedly drinking & driving and causing the crash, is no longer in jail, but could still be charged.

If you’d like to donate any amount of money to help Mark with his recovery, you can click on THIS LINK.

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CONCORD: Alleged Child Molesting Teacher Enters Plea During Wednesday Morning Arraignment

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 20:53

Joe Martin, the alleged child molesting teacher from Woodside Elementary School in Concord entered a plea of “not guilty” during his arraignment in a Contra Costa County courtroom on Wednesday morning, according to Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts.

Martin is being charged with 91 felonies for allegedly molesting a dozen students at the Concord Elementary School.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a criminal complaint was filed against Joe Martin alleging 89 felony charges of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor under 14 years and two felony charges of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor age 14-15 years, with an enhancement charging that the defendant committed these acts against more than one minor child.

Martin faces life in prison if convicted of all the charges.

His bail has been set at $10,000,000.

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Reminder – Contra Costa County is a Fireworks-Free Zone

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 20:15

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff would like to remind all county residents about fireworks during the 4th of July holiday.

The following information is from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff:

Contra Costa County is a ‘fireworks-free zone’; the sale, possession or use of fireworks of all types and sizes (including Safe & Sane fireworks) are banned in the county (County ordinance 44-2.002). This includes the unincorporated areas as well as the cities.

Deputy Sheriffs and officers on patrol will confiscate all fireworks. Typical fireworks problems in the past have included aerial skyrockets of varying sizes, from bottle rockets to three inch mortar launched shells. Fireworks purchased in neighboring counties, other states, or over the internet are illegal to use or possess in Contra Costa County.

Offenders could also face up to $500 in fines. Possession of dangerous fireworks, like M-80’s or cherry bombs, constitute a felony and could result in fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment.

Violators may either receive a citation in the case of a misdemeanor, or they could be booked at the jail for felony use or possession of fireworks.

The Water Cooler – Fireworks on the 4th

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 19:00

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 in the noon hour.

Where is the best place in Claycord to watch fireworks on the 4th of July?

Talk about it….

BART Workers Still Striking – Talks Between Union & BART to Resume Today

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 17:26

BART labor negotiations ended unsuccessfully early this morning and are scheduled to resume this afternoon, according to a BART spokesman.

Contract talks ended at 3 a.m. and are scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. today, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

How Long Did the MDUSD Know About the Child Molestation Allegations Against Elementary School Teacher Joe Martin?

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 16:28

Ever since Claycord.com exclusively reported on the arrest of Woodside Elementary teacher Joe Martin for child molestation, many commenters on Claycord, who are familiar with Martin, have been saying they had a bad feeling about the long-time teacher, and even told the district about their suspicions several years ago.

It is unclear when the Mt. Diablo Unified School District was notified about Martin’s alleged abuse, if at all, but one commenter says “The teachers did report these suspicions, starting several years ago, there was even an investigation several years ago by MDUSD (according to them) and nothing ever happened.”

Another person said she wants answers, too. “What is the responsibility of the MDUSD and Woodside now to contact all former students and parents? The news report states that the investigation has been on-going since April. As I stated before by child was in Mr. Martins class. I have not been contacted and can’t find anything on Woodside’s or MDUSD’s websites. I would not have known of this if it wasn’t for my older child seeing this on Claycord.com. I have a very strong feeling that there are more victims and children who have information. Should not every parent and/or student be notified immediately?

In an effort to try and get some answers and clarification, Claycord.com emailed Interim MDUSD Superintendent Bernard & the MDUSD Board (Linda Mayo, Cheryl Hansen, Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks and Lynn Dennler), asking them if they could confirm that a complaint, or more than one complaint was made against Joe Martin. We also asked them when the alleged complaint was made, what the outcome was, and if the authorities were contacted?

So far, nobody has responded. If the public school district decides to talk, we’ll let you know.

As of right now, Joe Martin is still listed as a teacher on the website of Woodside Elementary, and the MDUSD hasn’t made a statement to say whether or not Joe Martin is still getting a paycheck from the district.

UPDATE: About 40 minutes after this story was posted, Claycord.com received an email from a person with knowledge of this case, who said the district did receive at least one complaint six years ago, and they claim the mandatory reporting to CPS and the police department was not done.

The MDUSD has yet to respond.

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East Bay Parks Pact Calls for 9.5% Salary Increase Over Four Years

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 16:00

A tentative agreement between the East Bay Regional Park District and the union that represents most of its employees averts a two-day strike that had been planned for Thursday and Friday, district and union officials said today.

Carol Johnson, the park district’s assistant general manager, said the pact means “the public can fully enjoy the holiday weekend in our parks this weekend.”

Cliff Rocha, a park ranger who is president of Local 2428 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said union negotiators are recommending that members approve the new four-year contract in a vote that will take place soon.

The union represents more than 600 rangers, naturalists, supervisors, firefighters, lifeguards, clerical workers and other employees.

The park district has 65 regional parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Johnson said the two sides have been in contract talks since February and finally reached the tentative agreement about 9 p.m. Monday after what she described as “quite a long discussion” in what was to be the last mediation session.

Johnson said the contract provides a 9.5 percent salary increase to park district over four years, which she said is more than double management’s original salary offer to employees in February.

She said the district initially had asked employees to contribute to their health care costs but ultimately agreed to continue paying for full family medical coverage.

However, Johnson said the union agreed to have employees contribute an additional 4 percent of their wages to help pay for their pensions, bringing their total contribution to 8 percent of their wages. Rocha declined to comment on the specifics of the tentative agreement because the union hasn’t yet presented it to its members.

But he said he believes it’s a fair agreement that addresses the union’s goals for wage increases and retirement and health care contributions. Rocha said employees’ take-home pay has “eroded” during the economic downturn but the new contract will allow them to “share in the recovery” that is bringing more revenue to the park district.

The union’s threat to strike on Thursday and Friday wouldn’t have shut down the district’s parks but it would have disrupted swimming, boating and other activities at some of the parks.

The union’s previous contract expired on March 31. The park district declared an impasse in contract talks two weeks later and a mediator was called in to assist the two sides.

The new contract will be retroactive to April 1. Park District General Manager Robert Doyle said in a statement that the tentative agreement is “a fair contract that provides meaningful wage increases to our employees and employee contributions to retirement costs.”

Doyle said, “We’ve averted a strike on the Fourth of July and can assure the public that the regional parks, campgrounds and water facilities will be open and fully-staffed.”

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

PHOTO: Alleged Child Molester & Current Elementary School Teacher on Halloween in 2012

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 07:15

Well, this is ironic.

Pictured above is alleged child molester & current Woodside Elementary School teacher Joe Martin (the MDUSD refuses to respond to any questions regarding Martin and he’s still listed as a teacher on the school’s site, so we’re guessing he’s still employed and still getting paid by the MDUSD).

The picture was taken on Halloween in 2012.

The anonymous Claycordian who sent the photos says “it seems like he was gloating in front of the entire school”.

As we told you on Tuesday, Martin was charged with 91 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor for allegedly molesting 12 students on the campus of Woodside Elementary in Concord. Martin’s bail has been set at $10,000,000, and he faces life in prison.

To read more about Martin, please click ON THIS LINK.

Long-Time Concord Elementary School Teacher Charged with 91 Felonies – Faces Life in Prison for Alleged Molestation

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 02:52

Joe Martin, the long-time Woodside Elementary School teacher who was arrested late last week for allegedly sexual-assaulting a dozen students, will be in court on Wednesday morning for his arraignment, and according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Nancy Georgiou, he’s being charged with 91 felonies for allegedly molesting students at the Concord Elementary School.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a criminal complaint was filed against Joe Martin alleging 89 felony charges of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor under 14 years and two felony charges of Lewd and Lascivious Acts on a Minor age 14-15 years, with an enhancement charging that the defendant committed these acts against more than one minor child.

Martin faces life in prison if convicted of all the charges, his bail has been set at $10,000,000.

As Claycord.com exclusively reported last Friday night, Martin was arrested at his home on Starflower Drive in Martinez while authorities searched his house and his classroom at Woodside Elementary, where most of the alleged acts are believed to have occurred.

Concord Police say the investigation involved multiple witness interviews and the identification and interviews of 12 juvenile victims who were current or former students of Martin.

Police say victims may now feel they are not alone in their complaint and circumstance, and police encourage anyone who has been treated in an inappropriate manner by Joe Martin to contact the Concord Police Department Special Victims Unit.

A hotline has been established to bank incoming calls for appropriate follow up by Concord Police Detectives. That number is (925) 603-5836.

Martin, who has been a teacher in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District since 1991, has been described as “the cool & fun teacher” by former students. They say he would always let his students watch movies, and would always goof around with the kids. He was placed on paid administrative leave shortly before the school year ended while the police investigated the claims against him.

BART Says No Service is Likely Wednesday

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 02:50

BART announced tonight that a strike that has paralyzed the Bay Area commute for two days now will likely continue Wednesday.

The transit agency has received “no indication” that two striking unions will return to work Wednesday morning and there will likely be no BART service.

BART also announced that it will continue to run charter bus service from select BART stations to San Francisco.

The stations are West Oakland, El Cerrito Del Norte, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont stations. It is recommended to arrive early as the buses fill up quickly, according to BART.

Negotiators from BART, Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union 1555 reentered negotiations this evening for the first time since the strike began.

The renewed talks came at the request of California Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern and with the assistance of two state mediators.

The strike, which began Monday morning, stems from disputes over issues including wages, health benefits, pension plans and safety.

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

StarDate on Claycord – July 2, 2013

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 02:00

Click on the logo above to listen to today’s episode of StarDate on Claycord.com.

BART Negotiations to Resume Tonight

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 23:42

BART labor talks will resume this evening, BART management announced this afternoon.

“The district has been notified by state mediators that negotiations will resume at 6 p.m. tonight,” BART spokesman Rick Rice said in a statement. “After one full day of no meetings, we are eager to get back to the table,” he said.

The talks will take place at the Caltrans building on Grand Avenue in Oakland, Rice said.

The announcement comes on the second day of a strike by BART workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555.

Earlier today, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Controller John Chiang and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent a letter to BART management and union leaders calling on them to start talking again.

“We are acutely aware of the widespread personal hardship and severe economic disruption caused even by a short interruption in BART service,” the state officials wrote.

They said they were disappointed with the progress in the days leading up to the strike.

“Given the massive dislocation a protracted strike will cause, you owe the people of the Bay Area your time, your concentration and your best good-faith effort at reaching a bargained agreement,” they said. “It is our collective opinion that so far, you have fallen short.”

Negotiations were halted after union representatives left the table on Sunday, hours before their contracts expired at midnight, Rice said.

SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Leah Berlanga and ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant said this morning that leaders of the two unions were meeting with each other. Bryant said workers were hopeful talks will resume soon.

“We want to get back to the table,” she said. The strike, which began Monday morning, stems from disputes over issues including wages, health benefits, pension plans and safety.

Rice said management has offered to double salary increases from 4 percent over four years to 8 percent over the same period. He said management has also lowered the amount it was initially asking workers to contribute to pension and health care plans.

Rice said Saturday that the unions had come down from demanding a 23 percent salary increase to a 21 percent increase over a three-year period. “We had some conversation Sunday night, but we’ve not been able to have a real conversation about our response and our proposal,” Rice said. Bryant said the workers are asking for a 4.5 percent wage increase annually for three consecutive years. The unions have agreed to contribute half a percent more to their pension each year, she said.

She said union workers’ pension funds are 92 percent funded by BART, but that BART does not contribute to social security. She said workers contribute $92 a month toward medical benefits.

Rice said the average annual compensation for workers represented by the two unions, including base salary, benefits and overtime, is about $134,000.

Bryant, a station agent herself, said the average salary of workers in her union is about $60,000 a year.

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

The Claycord Online Museum – Opening Day at Concord BART in 1972

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 21:00

Since we’re talking about BART so much this week, we thought we’d feature some photos from when BART was actually running.

These photos show the opening of Concord BART in 1972.

The top one shows Concord City Councilman (and current Mayor in 2013) Dan Helix, standing beside Reporter Steve Davis from Channel 7 News.

The bottom photo shows the opening day parade.

Both photos are courtesy of our friend “Radar”.

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: news@claycord.com. It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!

The Water Cooler – Edward Snowden – Hero or Traitor?

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 19:00

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 in the noon hour.

NSA information leaker Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

Talk about it….

Senator Mark DeSaulnier Issues Statement on BART Strike

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 18:17

The following statement is from Senator Mark DeSaulnier:

BART does not just ensure that nearly 200,000 riders get from point A to point B every day—BART plays a key role in the Bay Area economy,” Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said.

“I am urging BART workers and management get back to the table to resume negotiations as soon as possible. When a strike of this magnitude occurs everyone loses—the commuters, the rank and file workers, and management. BART is too important for Bay Area commuters and the continued economic recovery of our region to be shut down for an extended period of time.”

Concord Celebrates July 4th with Fire Truck Pull, Run, Parade & Entertainment

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 17:17

Concord’s 4th of July Jubilee at Todos Santos Plaza has a new addition this year. Organizers have announced a benefit Fire Truck Pull competition on Salvio Street next to Todos Santos Plaza to benefit Special Olympics. Ten person teams with lots of heart will pull sponsor Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery’s fire truck weighing 44,000 pounds for 20 feet to claim bragging rights as the fastest and strongest team. Start time is 10:15 a.m.

Festivities begin at 6:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast hosted by Concord Diablo Rotary Club. Breakfast will be served until 11 a.m., followed by hot dogs until 3 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. for the Concord Police Association’s annual Stars & Stripes 5K Run/Walk and the Kid’s Fun Run. Stomper, the Oakland A’s mascot, will be on hand for the kid’s run at 8:15 a.m. The adults have an 8:30 a.m. start. The run/walk benefits the Monument Crisis Center and the Concord Police Association’s Community Fund that supports local charities and community programs.

The 4th of July Parade starts at 10 a.m. at Mt. Diablo High School. The parade travels down Grant Street, turns right on Willow Pass Road, right on Mt. Diablo Street and left on Almond Street to finish at the Mt. Diablo High School rear parking lot.

The Concord 4th of July Jubilee continues until 3 p.m. Entertainment on the main stage will feature Diablo Valley College’s Rock Rhythm & Blues Revue in a showcase presentation.

Todos Santos Plaza is located in downtown Concord on Willow Pass Road between Mt. Diablo and Grant streets. Ample free parking is available in the municipal parking garage on Salvio Street between Grant and Colfax streets and in the Todos Santos Parking Center at the corner of Concord Avenue and Salvio.

For more information about the Jubilee, fire truck pull, parade or the Stars & Stripes Run, visit www.concordjuly4th.com.

When It’s 100-Degrees Outside – How Hot Is It In Your Vehicle?

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 15:00

As Claycord.com first reported, a local woman was arrested over the weekend for leaving her dog in her vehicle when the temperature was about 100-degrees outside. Her dog ended up dying a very long & miserable death. It was found by an alert citizen, and then died at the emergency vet on Monument.

Our good friend “Flash” did a little experiment for us on Monday afternoon after he shut off his vehicle and turned off the air-conditioning.

“Flash” took his wireless digital thermometer and placed the sensor on the passenger’s seat of his vehicle. He then placed the part inside his garage that displays the current temperature, just a few feet away from his sensor.

Here’s what happened after he rolled each window down about one-inch and shut the doors.

He said the first picture was taken exactly five minutes after the doors were shut.

Photo #2 shows it only took about three-minutes for the temperature to go up about four-degrees.

And then, it only took 40-minutes for the temperature to go up 20-degrees, to an unlivable 130-degrees at 1:54 in the afternoon.

Then, about three-hours later, it reached 137-degrees inside the vehicle with the windows rolled down one-inch.

If you wouldn’t leave your groceries in your vehicle for five minutes in the hot sun, then don’t leave your kids or animals, because they’ll die a horrible death.

Thanks to “Flash” for conducting the little experiment!

PICTURES: The Beautiful Claycord Sky on Monday Night

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 06:49

Thanks to Tyler for the picture on the top, and Lyndsie for the photo on the bottom of the beautiful Claycord sky on Monday night.

UPDATE: Kirker Pass Fire Now 100% Extinguished – Half of Road Still Closed

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 05:59

The Kirker Pass fire at Hess Road is now 100% extinguished.

The blaze, which started just after 1pm on Monday afternoon, grew to over 400 acres and burned three buildings (sheds & barns).

No injuries were reported, and no animals were hurt or killed.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Half of Kirker has reopened. If you’re coming to Concord from Pittsburg, you’ll have no problems, but if you’re going to Pittsburg from Concord, you can expect the road to remain closed until at least 5am while firefighters continue to mop-up.

To view more pictures from the fire, as well as the updates throughout the day, please click ON THIS LINK.

BART Strike Expected to Continue Tuesday

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 04:04

A BART strike looks likely to continue for a second day, BART officials said.

Union leaders have given on indication they intend to return to work on Tuesday, and BART riders should make alternate plans for their commute, BART officials said.

No further bargaining sessions have occurred since representatives from Service Employees International Union Local 1221 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 left the table on Sunday, and none are currently scheduled.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said earlier today that management has conveyed to mediators the hope that talks can be scheduled “very soon” and that BART is “prepared to negotiate the significantly improved proposal we delivered on Saturday.”

Employees announced their intention to strike midnight Sunday, just after their contract expired.

The key issues in the talks, which began on April 1 but broke off Sunday night, are pensions, health benefits, salaries and safety.

© 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.



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