Bay Area Briefs

Thursday December 27, 2001

Town crier wins  



MARTINEZ — The city’s only town crier is also believed to be the first one west of the Mississippi — and the nation’s only county crier after his appointment by Contra Costa County officials. 

Redmond O’Colonies, 51 — whose real surname is O’Connell — won the American Guild of Town Criers championship in September and finished fifth in the world championships in August. 

His duties in his home town of Martinez include appearing at ceremonies and spreading good will. One cry he’s used at local events goes something like this: 

“Oyez. Oyez. Oyez. A warm welcome awaits visitors to Martinez, California. We are home to the largest bocce ball federation in the world, the mischievous martini, the model of modesty Mr. Joe DiMaggio and the magnificent marching master Mr. John Muir.” 

O’Colonies, originally from Lancashire, England, has been working with the city since 1991 and said his job is a great way to make a living. 



Party broken up by six police departments 



VACAVILLE — Thirty officers from six police agencies were needed to quell a Christmas party that turned into a near-riot. 

A woman was shot in the arm at dawn Wednesday during the brawl involving some of the more than 1,000 people who showed up Tuesday night for the festivities at the Spitfire Bar and Grill. 

Officers responding to the report early Wednesday morning were met by a hostile crowd in the parking lot. The partygoers refused to let the officers approach the injured woman and began throwing beer bottles and rocks at the officers and their cars. 

At that point — the police donned riot gear and called for help. 

Officers from the Solano County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the Fairfield, Dixon and Vallejo police departments showed up. 

Police Sergeant Jim Mayoral says the owner of the bar rented it out for a private hip-hop party and apparently was told it would be far smaller. The violence started when the owner began turning people away after the facility had reached its legal capacity. 

Police later halted an SUV after a witness reported seeing a man with a gun enter the vehicle. He was booked for investigation of brandishing a handgun and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle.  

It’s not clear if he fired the shot that injured the woman. 

She was treated at Vaca Valley Hospital and released. 

Officers say it took about two hours to control the situation.