It's time to take out the trash. Or, in this case -- pick it up and pack it up during the California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state's largest volunteer event. The 29th annual event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, is expected to draw more than 70,000 volunteers at more than 800 locations throughout the Golden State.
There are three locations in Antioch: The Marina, Prewett Park and Fulton Shipyard (near the Red Caboose restaurant). Last year more than 100 participants came together along the Delta to clean and raise awareness about the damage that litter does to our aquatic and coastal areas.
"This is a great event and I am very proud of the community for their efforts to (help) our coastline, local waterways and neighborhoods," said Julie Haas-Wajdowicz, environmental resource coordinator with the city of Antioch.
Haas-Wajdowicz said the event goes beyond the actual clean-up date.
"Litter not only affects the esthetics of our community and diminishes our enjoyment of the natural beauty of our open spaces, but it also poses a significant health threat to the natural environment.
"Cigarette butts, food packaging, plastic bags and other commonly littered items .... break down and can be confused by wildlife as food and eaten." For some 20 years, the city has supported the event, giving residents a perfect opportunity to remove trash and show how to be responsible by reducing, preventing and cleaning up trash.
Haas-Wajdowicz said participants can help cut down waste from the clean-up by bringing their own buckets and gloves. For more information and to register, visit www.art4antioch.org/Coastal-Cleanup.asp, or email Diane@Art4Antioch.org or call 925-325-9897 or 925-779-7097.
In Brentwood, join Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed at multiple locations to help volunteers clean up more than 15 miles of creek.
To register for any of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed locations, visit: http://creekcleanup2013.eventbrite.com/
For more information go to: www.fomcw.org/creekcleanup
or call 925-325-2908.
Not many folks stick with something for, say, 10 years let alone 50. But, that's exactly what Larry Dowell has done with the local Mason group.
Earlier this season, Dowell was honored for his 50-plus years of service and membership, An Antioch resident since 1947, Dowell joined the lodge when he was about 26 years old.
More than 100 people, including family, friends and community members, joined the celebration, which featured a lunch and the Mason pin ceremony.
"It was great; it was a complete day just for me," said Dowell, comparing it to a "This is Your Life" type of event.
"I was introduced by Archie Gore, whom I've been friends with since we were 10."
Members Greg and Bernice Smith hosted the special day, said Dowell, adding that "it was well done and a special memory" he won't soon forget.
Dowell has loads of other memories to go with that day, including being the lodge Master (president) in 1969, mentoring students, hosting installations and visiting lodge-sponsored orphans.
Aside from the lodge, Dowell is also well known for his decades on the job at Al Eames Ford, once located on 10th Street in Antioch.
The Antioch Masonic Lodge was established in 1865, and is on Second Street in Antioch. It currently has about 170 members.
"It's such a nice organization," he said of the Masons. "It bases itself on making you a better (person). We do a lot to benefit our members and the community." For more info on the lodge, call 925-757-5561.
WALKING WITH PURPOSE: Come Sept. 21 Brandi Coffman and her family will join thousands in the Donate Life Run/Walk at Santa Clara's California Great America.
Coffman and company will be walking with a great sense of purpose -- and sadness. Last spring, she lost her son, Blake. He was eight weeks old.
Once it became clear to the family that Blake wasn't going to make it, they decided to donate his organs.
"It was an absolute tragedy," Coffman said. "But if he could give hope to others through his organs, I was in no way against it." Baby Blake was able to save and enhance the life of a young girl in New York. She received his heart valves.
Team B.A.M. will participate in the event to help put a focus on the 10,000 Northern Californians unable to receive a life-saving transplant because there are not enough organ donors.
In East County alone, there are about 200 in need of help.
Coffman's wish is that others will follow the example of organ donations.
"Even though it's hard losing a son, (I hope) his story inspires others to become donors as well."
Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net