e
MyMerced.com Your #1 source for News, Events & Information in Merced!

COMMUNITY NEWS
EVENTS CALENDAR
SPORTS & RECREATION

RESTAURANTS
ENTERTAINMENT
TRIPS WITHIN A DAY

NETWORK OF BUSINESSES
BUSINESS DIRECTORY
CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS

COMMUNITY SERVICES
SCHOOLS
CHURCHES



 

COMMUNITY NEWS

September 21 2018

Travis Credit Union Offers 9th Annual Free Young Adult Financial Boot Camp
Updated Live Budgeting Simulation

 

VACAVILLE, CA- “A lack of basic financial knowledge contributes to the uphill battle many youth face when entering adulthood,” says Barry Nelson, President and CEO of Travis Credit Union. “Through our ‘Awesome Cause’ of financial education, financial literacy, and financial advocacy, we strive to be a part of the solution for our members and the communities we serve.”
Travis Credit Union aims to reach 1,000 young adults this year through financial education efforts. That is why it invested in revamping its Mad City Money Young Adult Financial Boot Camp for 2018! Here are some updates:
* Interactive, app-based learning
* 50 Amazon Kindle Fires for any attendee to use
* Hosted Wi-Fi
* A fresh look and logo
These eco-friendly and tech-focused improvements are the perfect compliments to today’s generation and its love of mobile banking.
At Mad City Money, participants leap forward into the shoes of adulthood, experiencing today’s fast paced society with all the obligations that will come their way! From a pushy car salesperson, to a commission-based realtor, to a credit union for financial services, attendees must decipher between their wants and needs, all while attempting to stay on an assigned budget. And if this were not enough, the fickle Finger of Fate is always on the lookout, ready to remind attendees how life can happen at the most inconvenient times.

Thanks to this whirlwind of reality, overspending is a common theme, as


highlighted by the reflections of one young adult: “If I choose to purchase an expensive car and a house, I end up struggling to provide for basic needs like food and clothing.” Our goal for the program is for attendees to make financial mistakes with us, before they make them in the real world.
By learning about budgeting, savings, debt, and the importance of credit worthiness, young adults are able to achieve long-term financial health. Through an informal study, Travis Credit Union discovered every $1 invested in Mad City Money creates $52 of value in the communities it serves. This is due to the central realization attendees leave with: “One way or another, my choices with money will impact my life.”
Mad City Money is scheduled for Saturday, October 6th from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at UC Merced, 5200 Lake Road, Merced, CA 95340. If you wish to register an attendee, or are interested in volunteering as a sales merchant, please visit www.traviscu.org/mcm.
Refreshments, prizes and a drawing for an Apple Watch will be provided at all Mad City Moneys open to the community.
Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live or work in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, it is the 14th largest credit union in California with more than 203,000 members and more than $3 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo, and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members and the community, its solid, secure history, and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.

back to top

September 18 , 2018

Atwater High School Students Get Connected with Club Rush

Written by: Atwater FFA


The 2018-2019 school year is off to a great start at Atwater High School with over 1900 students participating in the
Annual Atwater High School Club Rush last week. The purpose of this event was to promote and recruit programs, events, and students to the numerous activities and opportunities available at Atwater High School.

“Club Rush was an amazing event,” says Chapter President Emmanuel Mejia, “We were able to join other organizations and clubs on campus and expose the various opportunities available to all students.” With over thirty-six active clubs and youth organizations at the high school, students created various promotional activities in the quad during lunch. This event was organized by the Atwater High School Leadership class. Some of the highlighted clubs/organizations included AVID, Ballet Folklórico, Book Club, CSF, Debate Club, DECA, FCA, Hip Hop Academy, HYLA, Key Club, Trap Shooting and the FFA organization.

“It was a great turnout overall, with a lot of kids having fun with genuine school spirit,” said Atwater High School Director of Activities Nathan Braga. “We feel it is especially valuable for the new 9th grade students as it helps them get connected with Atwater High School.”


Atwater High School freshman students Reagan Puthuff and Alyssa Wilson meet with Atwater FFA chapter officers Luz Soto and Emmanuel Mejia during the annual Club Rush event held at the high school.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

For more information on the Atwater High School
Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA,
please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .

back to top

September 18 , 2018

Atwater FFA Chapter Officers Attend Local Leadership Conference

Written by: Atwater FFA


The 2018-2019 Atwater FFA chapter officer team joined thirteen other FFA chapters from the Merced-Mariposa section
at the annual FFA Sectional Officer Leadership Conference (SOLC) held at Merced College September 11th.

The annual leadership conference is held each year to help students develop and strengthen leadership skills and the responsibilities within their offices. The 2018-2019 Atwater FFA officer team is composed of Emmanuel Mejia, President; Cristal Venegas, Vice President; Elisabeth Garner, Secretary; Kaya Briscoe, Treasurer; Alyssa Carrillo, Reporter; Alfredo Elizarraraz, Sentinel; and Luz Soto, Historian.

This year the theme for the Merced Mariposa Sectional FFA is “Connect the Moments”. Various activities were held at the conference which included understanding body language, proper etiquette, chapter fundraising, public speaking, facilitating a meeting, analytical skills, and finding team strengths. “I learned how to communicate with my team and to not be afraid to speak up,” said Elisabeth Garner. This conference was the first of two leadership conferences the officer team will be attending this year. Later in the month, the officers will be attending a regional FFA leadership conference in Modesto. Nearly 200 chapter officers from the Central Region and the 2018-2019 California FFA Association State
Officer Team will be attending the leadership conference. The skills that the students learn will be taken back to the high school and shared throughout the 2018-2019 school year.



Members of the Atwater High School Chapter Officer team comprised of Emmanuel Mejia, Cristal Venegas, Kaya Briscoe, Elisabeth Garner, Luz Soto, Alyssa Carrillo, and Alfredo Elizarraraz joined other county agriculture program FFA officers at Merced College for an annual leadership conference.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other FFA chapters that attended the conference included Buhach Colony, Delhi, Pacheco, Livingston, Merced, Golden
Valley, Hilmar, Gustine, Dos Palos, El Capitán, Los Banos, LeGrand, Stone Ridge Christian, and Mariposa FFA.

 

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .

back to top

September 15 , 2018

Head Start, Merced County Library Partner to Boost Literacy

A collaborative effort is under way between the Merced County Library and the Merced County Office of Education’s Head Start and early education programs to increase library patronage and boost literacy as well.
Christie Hendricks, assistant superintendent of MCOE’s Early Education Department, said there are 1,200 Head Start and Early Head Start children at 16 sites across Merced County, covering children from birth to five years of age. The library has branches in Atwater, Delhi, Dos Palos, Gustine, Hilmar, Le Grand, Livingston, Los Banos, Santa Nella, Snelling and Merced.
Hendricks said she has fond memories of the library when she was a child. She recently met with Sara Brown, deputy county librarian, to determine how Head Start families could get connected to the library system.
Hendricks said they spoke about their common goal of early literacy and boosting lagging patronage at the libraries. She said families don’t have to drive to Merced; often services are available in their own community.
This push includes giving families library card applications which can be filled out and returned to the Head Start centers. This has set in motion opportunities where librarians have read to children in their Head Start classes.
“We’re forming that partnership between the local library and the Head Start center,” Hendricks said. “These are all great opportunities. We have a chance to provide families with very positive connections to all programs and services the library offers. If we don’t get families connected to the library, they will be a thing of the past.”
Most importantly, Hendricks said they are trying to dispel the myth that libraries are places where you can’t have fun. It’s not just about books on the shelves. There are other services being offered.
Brown said a library card is the smartest card in your wallet. It gives access to online resources, consumer health information and the start of lifelong learning.


“This is a natural partnership with MCOE. We are striving to do the same thing. By the end of September, Head Start parents will have their very own library card and that’s very exciting,” Brown said.
She hopes the library-MCOE partnership extends beyond its September rollout to a year-long thing.
During National Library Card Sign Up Month in September, open houses have been planned Sept. 15 in Delhi, Hilmar and Livingston and Sept. 22 at Dos Palos, Gustine, Los Banos and Santa Nella. Sessions were held earlier this month in Atwater, Le Grand, Merced, Snelling and Winton.
Ongoing story times are planned at sites in Atwater, Delhi, Dos Palos, Gustine, Hilmar, Le Grand, Livingston, Los Banos, Merced and Snelling.
Hendricks pointed out children’s early literacy computers in libraries have curriculum-based programs. Libraries have computers for use. There are toddler, preschool and bilingual Spanish storytimes, along with crafts, Lego Time, reading to dogs, performers and reading programs and Book to Movie clubs.
“We know young children with competent skills in literacy do better in school. We have never done a partnership with the library in this manner. Literacy is always a focus of all early learners including Head Start,” Hendricks said.

back to top

September14, 2018

 

Valley Wins Big in House Water Resources Measure

Washington, D.C. – The San Joaquin Valley could see significant increases in water storage capacity due to water resources legislation that passed today in the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan and bicameral support.

Thanks to the leadership of Valley Congressmen Jim Costa (CA-16) and Jeff Denham (CA-10), America’s Water Infrastructure Act(AWIA) includes provisions that will support local irrigation districts and water agencies in their efforts to raise spillway gates, build new water storage facilities, and repair and expand dams, reservoirs, and other water projects.

Specifically, AWIA includes legislation introduced by Rep. Costa and co-led by Denham that will enable Merced Irrigation District to take the first steps forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. This would enlarge the storage capacity of Lake McClure, increasing water supplies for eastern Merced County up to 57,000 acre-feet.

The bill also extends funding for a program that is being used to restore the seismic stability and eventual expansion of the San Luis Reservoir, and it creates a pilot program in the Russian River Basin to develop a system for incorporating weather forecast into reservoir operations.


Congressman Jim Costa

“This legislation creates a pathway for the first new surface water storage in the Valley in decades,” Costa said. “This is a victory for Merced County and the people of the Valley.”

Additionally, AWIA includes another provision led by Congressmen Denham and Costa that expands financing options for water storage projects and incentivizes investment in new water storage.

back to top

September14, 2018

Merced Youth Council Park Cleanup

Merced Youth Council will be hosting another year full of cleanups and park renovations. This includes picking up debris around the park, minor landscaping, and painting. Supporting our neighborhood parks will leave an everlasting impact in our community and will have a great effect on the youth who lives amongst these areas.

Additional Information:
Just a reminder, please wear any old clothing that you don't mind getting paint on. The majority of the work will be painting so please plan to wear old sneakers, and long sleeves if needed. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Event Meeting Location:
Gilbert Macias Park (Registration table will be near the playground)
G St & Childs Ave Merced, Ca 95340

Please follow these instructions to register online for this event:
1. Visit the City of Merced event registration page: http://cerv.is/m?0188g5fvksA
2. Click on the "Register" button at the bottom of the page.
3. Follow the on screen instructions to access the CERVIS registration system. If this is your first time using the CERVIS online registration system, you will be prompted to create a Volunteer Profile.
4. Once you have successfully signed into the system (or created a profile, if needed) you will automatically be registered for this event and receive a confirmation E-mail.

 

5. If you would like to register additional individuals for this event, please select their name from the list and enter the code below into the "Event Registration Code" field. Next, click the "Register for selected event" button to complete the additional registration.

 

Event Registration Code: 5fvksA

http://www.cityofmerced.org -#

 

Youth Council Park Cleanup
Sat, Sep 22, 2018 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

back to top

September14, 2018

Walk With Ease
(A City of Merced & Dignity Health Partnership)

The City of Merced with Dignity Heath is offering Walk With Ease, a program for managing arthritis or other chronic pain. The free program also increases balance, strength, walking pace, builds confidence and improves overall health. The 6 week long, 1 hour program is offered 3 times a week beginning Monday, September 24th at the Merced Senior Center, 755 W. 15th Street, Merced, CA 95340. Classes are every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10-11am. Register at City of Merced Parks and Recreation, 632 W. 18th Street. Call 209-385-6235 for more information.

 

back to top

September13, 2018

Valley Congressmen Costa, Denham, and McClintock Continue Fighting the Water Grab

Fresno, CA – Valley Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), and Tom McClintock (R-CA-4) continue their fight to protect San Joaquin Valley water from the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) “Water Grab.”

“I will use every option I have to fight the Water Grab,” Costa said. “This is about fighting bad science used to justify taking water from one region of California. This is about the future of the Valley and protecting our way of life.”

“Sacramento’s water grab is in violation of federal law,” Denham said. “We will not allow them to take our water; the future of the Valley depends on it.”

“The proposal to regularly drain our reservoirs for the sole purpose of dumping water into the ocean is lunacy,” McClintock said. “Common sense will prevail.”

This week, the Congressmen sent a joint message to the Acting Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging him to enforce the requirement in the Clean Water Act that water quality criteria be supported by “rigorous, sound science.” The EPA has notified the Board that the science supporting Phase I of the Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay-Delta (WQCP) is deficient.

This is just the latest action by the Valley Congressmen, who have been working in a bipartisan fashion to help protect Valley water.


Congressman Jim Costa

Last month, the members sent a strong message to the Chair of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus, stating they would intervene if the Board took action that interfered with water projects or processes managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, including the Central Valley Project, the New Melones Dam, and the water rights permits for the State Water Project.

Last week, the members called on U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to prioritize a provision in this year’s Department of Interior appropriations bill that will prevent federal dollars from being used to implement the WQCP. Congressmen Denham and Costa spearheaded the provision in the House’s version of the spending bill, which passed the House on July 18th.

back to top

September 12, 2018

“VALLEY VOICE” DELEGATION FROM THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY TRAVELLING TO WASHINGTON D.C.

Elected officials from all eight San Joaquin Valley counties will be meeting with the White House administration, and federal legislators, during the annual “Valley Voice” advocacy trip to Washington D.C. on September 12 and 13, 2018. The delegation traveling to the nation’s capital is known as the San Joaquin Valley Regional Planning Agencies Policy Council (Policy Council), and represents the boards of each metropolitan planning organization (MPO or COG), and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
The Policy Council is advocating for major federal investments to our highway system, increased funding for air quality initiatives, passenger rail improvements, and additional policy requests. The attached document highlights the funding, policy and legislative requests for Valley Voice 2018.
Valley Voice 2018 will include meetings with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Senators Feinstein and Harris, House Majority Leader McCarthy, Congressmen Costa, Denham, McNerney, Nunes, Valadao, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the US Department of Agriculture.


Valley Voice 2018 Delegation:
Daron McDaniel, Merced County Supervisor
Waseem Ahmed, City of Chowchilla Councilmember
Mike Villalta, City of Los Banos Mayor
Amarpreet Dhaliwal, City of San Joaquin Mayor
Chuck Winn, San Joaquin County Supervisor
Gary Yep, City of Kerman Mayor Pro Tem
Elbert Holman, City of Stockton Vice Mayor
David Ayers, City of Hanford Mayor
Vito Chiesa, Stanislaus County Supervisor
Rudy Mendoza, City of Woodlake Mayor
Bill Zoslocki, City of Modesto Councilmember
Kuyler Crocker, Tulare County Supervisor
Andrew Medellin, City of Madera Mayor

back to top

September 12, 2018

2018 Bloodless Bullfight Fundraiser for Autism and Cancer was a Success

\Livingston, CA. August 30, 2018
On August 4, 2018, the Carlos Vieira Foundation and the California Portuguese Bloodless Bullfight Organization hosted their 7th Annual Bloodless Bullfight fundraiser for autism and cancer in Stevinson, California. The event raised a total of $31,102.54 to help families in need. Both organizations are proud to donate $15,551.27 to Valley Children’s Hospital to help children with cancer and $15,551.27 to the Carlos Vieira Foundation’s Race for Autism campaign.
We would like to thank everyone who put in time, money, or work to make this fundraiser a success: volunteers, sponsors, horsemen, suicide squads, bullfighters, bull owners, bullfight support crew, Merced County Sheriff Explorers, Stevinson Pentecost Association, Filarmónica Lira Açoriana De


Livingston, and all other community members and businesses who contributed. We would also like to thank the public for coming out to support both causes. This support allows Valley Children’s Hospital to continue helping children living with cancer and the Race for Autism campaign to continue helping and providing grants to families living with autism within 21 counties of central California.
We look forward to continuing this annual fundraiser in August of 2019. If you would like more information about the Carlos Vieira Foundation or would like to make a charitable donation, please visit www.carlosvieirafoundation.org.

back to top

September 12, 2018

California Small Business Owners Back Rob Poythress for Senate
California Small Business Association and National Federation of Independent Business Announce Support For Rob Poythress

Today, Rob Poythress announced that he has been endorsed by both the National Federation of Independent Business and the California Small Business Association.

"Rob is a farmer, business owner, and County Supervisor who cut red tape to bring more high paying jobs to the Valley" said CSBA President Betty Jo Tocolli.

NFIB CA PAC Chiar Sunder Ramani stated "[Rob Poythress] reflects the clearest choice for small business...on the November general ballot. We have full confidence that [Rob] will bring a unique and powerful voice for small business under the Capitol dome in Sacramento."

Poythress, who owns an Ag hardware store and family farm, said he was thrilled that NFIB, CSBA and small business owners are uniting behind him.

back to top

September 11 , 2018

MCSD Students Can Now “Spice Up” Their Meals

Students in the Merced City School District are enjoying a new addition to their cafeterias. All four middle schools (Cruickshank, Hoover, Rivera, and Tenaya) have added “flavor stations” where students can shake a variety of spices onto their food. All of the district’s 14 elementary schools will also have their own flavor stations by the end of September.

The current options are: cinnamon sugar, low-sodium Tajin, salt-free lemon pepper, and garlic jalapeno. MCSD will introduce different flavors throughout the year to expand the selections and provide ethnically diverse choices. Students will have a chance to vote on their favorites.

These stations are a way to add more flavor to school meals while still meeting strict nutrition guidelines. In 2010, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was signed into law. In 2012, as required by this legislation, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule to overhaul the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs and promote the health of America’s schoolchildren. It increased the availability of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy while also requiring less sugar, no trans fats, and grade-specific limits on calories and sodium. While these changes were made to support good nutrition, they have made it more challenging for districts to provide meals that are appealing to children. That’s why MCSD is getting creative.

MCSD Nutrition Services Supervisor Mary Williams says, “Our flavor stations are an area where students can self-select low-to-no sodium spices and sauces to add pizzazz to their food. Students love having the ability to personalize their meals, and the stations also actively encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables.”

The Merced City School District serves an average of 8,000 lunches, 4,600 breakfasts, and 1,100 after school “Super Snacks” each day. Breakfast is free for all children and always includes fresh fruit. Lunch options always include fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and the company that provides all of the district’s produce uses dozens of Central Valley farms.





back to top

September 11 , 2018

Atwater Ag Program Welcomes a New Ag Teacher

Written by: Atwater FFA


The Atwater High School Agriculture Department has welcomed its ninth agriculture teacher to its agriculture and FFA program. Madera native Taylor Helton joined the agriculture team after graduating from Fresno State University and earning her teaching credential.

“I am excited about being given the opportunity to teach and work with students at Atwater High School,” said newly added agriculture instructor Taylor Helton, “This small community provides the students with a family-like atmosphere that I admire and hope to become a part of.”

Ms. Helton will be teaching Ag Soil & Chemistry, Ag Biology, Vet Science, and Animal Anatomy & Physiology during the 2018-2019 school year. “I not only want to expand my students’ knowledge and skills in agriculture, but also learn and take lessons from my students as well.” says Helton.

Atwater High School has over 1100 individual agriculture students which makes it the largest single high school agriculture program in the nation. “The challenge agriculture education faces is the stereotype that agriculture education is for agriculture students only,” says Atwater High School agriculture instructor Dave Gossman. “The reality is that agriculture education and the FFA has value for all students in terms of academics, personal growth, leadership, skills, experiences, and career exploration that benefits all students regardless of their academic and career interests.”

The Atwater High School agriculture education program and FFA focuses on academic success, personal growth, leadership, and career exploration for students. The Atwater and California FFA is a high school youth leadership and career development organization that is a state association of the National FFA Organization, a federally charted corporation under Public Law 105-225. The California Association currently serves over 89,000 student members in over 330 high schools, from urban schools in Los Angeles and the Bay Area to rural schools all across the state.

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .


Atwater High School agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Taylor Helton engages with Atwater High School sophomores Evelyn Sanabria and Jessica Garcia during their Google Classroom assignment in their Ag Soil and Chemistry class.


New Atwater High School agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Taylor Helton works with Atwater High School junior Melissa Mendoza as she showcases her "egg drop" laboratory project that focuses on engineering and the scientific method.

back to top

September 11 , 2018


Comic Con Returns to Merced for Its Third Year

September 10th, 2018, MERCED, CALIF., - California Republic Comic Con, Merced's own comic convention, returns to the Merced County Fairgrounds for its third year on September 15th, 2018. This year the biggest pop culture event in Merced COunty bring fans a unique opportunity to meet one of the Hollywood's most prolific actors and a living movie legend, Eric Roberts.


Eric Roberts has over 500 film credits, an Oscar nomination for his performance in "Runaway Train", and three Golden Globe nods including his 1978 big screen debut role in "King of the Gypsies". He is widely known to pop culture fans for his roles as the Master in "Doctor Who" TV movie (1996), the gangster Maroni in "The Dark Knight" (2008). With hundreds of roles, and over fifteen acting awards, Eric Roberts is a Hollywood legend, and a very sought-after actor who rarely makes convention appearances.


At California Republic Comic Con Eric Roberts will be joined by his wife, actress and casting director Eliza Roberts, best-known for her role in the 70's classic "Animal House". Also appearing at the Merced show are Carlena Britch ("X-Files", "Supernatural"), France Nuyen ("Star Trek", "Battle for the Planet of the Apes", "South Pacific", "Diamond Head"), Brennan Mejia (Red Ranger in "Power Rangers Dino Charge"), and Richard Oldfield, known for his infamous line 'Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?' in "Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back", who travels all the way from the UK to meet his American fans.

Anime and video games fans will get a chance to meet Chris Niosi who is known for playing the role of Haruo in the animated Godzilla film "Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters" (2017), and Kira Buckland, who gave her voice to 2B in the hit video game "NieR: Automata", as well as many anime including "Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans" and "Pokemon Generations".

 


California Republic Comic Con brings pop culture fun to fans of all ages. The program features an international independent film festival hosted by Violette Films, a local film production company, a concert on the green, video games, cosplay contest, and activities for kids and adults alike.


The event is open 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 15th, 2018, at the Merced County Fairgrounds in Merced, CA. Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult.


For more on California Republic Comic Con, visit www.californiarepubliccomiccon.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


About California Republic Comic Con:
California Republic Comic Con (CRCC) is Merced's official comic con, the biggest annual pop culture event in Merced County. Produced by the fan-run Colossus Girl Entertainment LLC, it caters to the fans who want to enjoy the comforts of fandom without the corporate hustle and bustle, high prices and the need to travel far for a good show, and also without sacrificing quality. Each CRCC show is filled with film and TV stars, artists, comic books, toys, games, everything science fiction, fantasy, and anime, as well as video games, music, live entertainment, food, and much much more. A family friendly environment, and the perfect place to enjoy everything from cosplay to game tournaments.

back to top

September 11 , 2018

Town Hall cancelled so public can go to cannabis hearings

In order to give the public an opportunity to participate in the cannabis discussions taking place the same night, a Neighborhood/Town Hall meeting scheduled for Sept. 19 at Chenoweth School has been cancelled.
The top four dispensary applications are scheduled for public hearings before the Planning Commission at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 and Wednesday, Sept. 19 in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.
The City received 22 complete applications for retail cannabis dispensaries and only four can be approved under the City’s ordinance. The applications undergo a thorough examination and all proposed business owners are subject to a detailed police background check.
The dispensary applications are Blue Fire, 1975 W. Olive Ave., Green Door, 811 W. Main St., Manzanita, 1594 W. 18th St., and Harvest of Merced, 863 W. 15thSt.
The Planning Commission has already approved 10 cannabis business permits for manufacturing, cultivation and distribution operations.
The Neighborhood/Town Hall meeting will be rescheduled, and other town halls are being scheduled throughout the City. Staff will give presentations on a variety of issues including housing, economic development, the Downtown, roads and public works updates. The public will be asked to provide input on future projects in Merced, including those with Measure V transportation funding.

 

Neighborhood meeting at Chenoweth School

A Neighborhood Town Hall meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Weds., Sept. 19 at Chenoweth School by Merced Mayor Mike Murphy and District 4 Council Member Kevin Blake.
The meeting is intended to let people in the area share their thoughts and concerns about what is going on in their District and City. The meeting will include staff presentations on a variety of neighborhood issues including housing, economic development, the Downtown and public works updates.
District 4 includes an area with the eastern edge of the City limit, along Yosemite Avenue to Parsons Avenue, south to Black Rascal Creek, west to G Street and south to Bear Creek until it connects to the BNSF railroad tracks.
Chenoweth School is located at 3200 Parsons Ave., Merced. For more information on the meeting call, 388-8668.

back to top

September 11 , 2018

 

TWO MEN CONVICTED OF 2015 DOUBLE HOMICIDE

On Wednesday, September 5, a Merced County jury found Norteno criminal street gang members Jose Hernandez and David Zamora, both 23, guilty of two counts of murder for the April 2015 shooting that killed 36-year-old Salvador Medina and 18-year-old Jose Zamora, announced the Merced County District Attorney’s office.
Evidence against both defendants was obtained from a 2015 wiretap operation entitled, "Operation Red Right Hand," which targeted violent Norteno criminal street gang members. The operation was conducted jointly by the Department of Justice and local law enforcement agencies.
On April 6, 2015 the defendants drove to Winton, a known rival criminal street gang territory, intending to kill a rival gang member. Defendant David Zamora was the driver, Defendant Jose Hernandez was the front seat passenger, and in the backseat were Mr. Zamora’s 18-year-old brother, Jose Zamora, and Mr. Hernandez’s 13-year-old brother. The two younger brothers were both armed with loaded guns.

After arriving in Winton, the two armed younger brothers exited the backseat of the car, and confronted Salvador Medina, as both defendants waited down the street as lookouts and a getaway driver. After the confrontation, Mr. Medina produced a handgun and a shootout ensued, killing both Mr. Medina and Jose Zamora. The defendants fled the scene with their younger brothers.
Defendant David Zamora was captured heavily on the wiretap as he made numerous phone calls following the murder attempting to destroy evidence with the assistance of fellow gang members.
Mr. Medina did not have any known ties to criminal street gangs.
The defendants will be sentenced October 24 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 6. Both men face life without the possibility of parole.

back to top

September 5 , 2018


Rep. Costa Ensures Valley Representation in Farm Bill Conference Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) brought San Joaquin Valley concerns front and center during the Farm Bill Conference Committee’s first meeting, focusing on trade, specialty crops, farming sustainability, dairy, and nutrition programs.

Trade is a critical issue for agriculture producers, with California producers earning $21 billion from trade in 2016 alone. “It’s imperative that we expand foreign markets for U.S. products. Forty-four percent of California’s agriculture production is dependent on foreign trade,” noted Costa during today’s meeting. Farm Bill support for producers’ ability to sell their food in foreign markets is especially crucial now, given the negative impacts and longer term uncertainty producers are facing due to the Administration’s escalating trade war. “That is why the language in the Senate bill for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, I think, is so important,” said Rep. Costa.

With regards to specialty crops, California farmers grown over one-third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts produced in the U.S. “California is the nation’s leading producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are staples of nutrient-dense and healthy meals. The equitable treatment of specialty crops in the Farm Bill is very important to our nation,” Rep. Costa told the Committee. “I support fully funding the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and to provide separate funding to combat citrus greening.” Costa then noted the importance of funding for organic research and organic certification cost-sharing.

Congressman Costa also called on the Committee to make conservation programs which are vital for helping Valley farmers“sustainably farm their land and confront the ever-increasing water demands they face” a priority, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

In addition, Rep. Costa stated strong support for the provisions in the Senate Farm Bill which increase risk management levels for dairy producers for when markets crash or they are struck by other catastrophes. “We know our dairy industry has suffered across the country. I hope we can retain this provision – and even enhance it – in our final report.”

The final issue Costa raised was the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an anti-hunger program included in the Farm Bill. “Hunger is


Congressman Jim Costa

a real crisis in the San Joaquin Valley,” he told the Committee. “Removing people from SNAP to pay for an unproven workforce training program – as is in the House bill – is the wrong thing to do.” Instead, Costa advocated for continued support for the SNAP education and training pilot programs currently operating in ten states. “They will help us find solutions and pathways to work, as shown in California’s pilot project at the Fresno Bridge Academy.”

Rep. Costa has been working for commonsense farm and food policy that addresses the needs of Valley farmers and families for decades, frequently stressing that “America’s ability to grow our own food is a national security issue.” During this Congress, Costa has led legislation in the U.S. House to strengthen the RCPP, support education and work training programs for SNAP recipients, and protect livestock producers from unintended and unnecessary regulatory burden. Significant portions of his RCPP improvement bill have been incorporated into the Senate version of the Farm Bill, and his measure protecting livestock producers became law as a provision in the 2018 omnibus spending bill. Since March, Costa has been leading bipartisan coalitions in their efforts to ensure California agriculture stays competitive as the country navigates through the Administration’s tariff-based approach to addressing trade imbalances.

Congressman Costa and his fellow appointees to the Farm Bill Conference Committee must reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill in order to move the legislation forward. The 2014 Farm Bill, which is currently in effect, is due to expire on September 30th.

back to top

September 5, 2018

Hundreds Attend FFA Ice Cream Social

Written by: Atwater FFA

Over 500 Atwater High School agriculture students and FFA members participated in the annual FFA Ice Cream Social FFA meeting last week. The purpose of this events was to promote the high school’s agriculture program and the numerous academic, personal growth, leadership, and social activities and events scheduled for the upcoming school year.

Later this month, Atwater High School will have over twenty active club and youth organizations on display with the annual high school Club Rush with students promoting various clubs and organizations that get kids involved outside the classroom. The event is organized by the Atwater High School Leadership class. Some of the highlighted clubs/organizations included Asian Youth Club, Art, Band, Chess Club, Choir, Drama, DECA/ROP, FCA, FFA, GSA, Hip Hop Academy, Interact, Images and Vision, Key Club, Leadership, Link Crew, Percussion.

“The Ice Cream Social was a tremendous turnout overall, with many students engaged and interested in FFA activities,” said Atwater High School FFA Advisor Kim Macintosh. “We feel the event is especially valuable for the new 9th grade students as it helps them get connected with AHS and the agriculture program.”

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


Atwater High School agriculture students Daniel Valencia and Adrian Valencia get served ice cream by Viviana Cebrero and Celeste Chargoy-Velasco during the recent Atwater FFA "Ice Cream" Social event.


Atwater High School agriculture students Arly Gonzalez-Castro, Vanessa Martinez, Janell Gonzalez-Castro, Lizette Vargas, Erika Gonzalez, and Monserrat Juarez gather with enthusiasm during the annual Atwater FFA "Ice Cream" social event.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

picture to left

2018-2019 Atwater FFA Chapter Officers Luz Soto, Emmanuel Mejia, Elisabeth Garner, Alyssa Carrillo, Alfredo Elizarraraz, Kaya Brisco, and Cristal Venegas organized and prepared this year's FFA social event held after school at the high school.

back to top

September 5, 2018

BIKE VALET AT THE LODI GRAPE FESTIVAL

LODI, CA – The Lodi Grape Festival is excited to offer a new bike valet area at the Festival this year. The all new safe and secure bike parking area will be hosted and managed by Take Back Lodi volunteers and is located in Chardonnay Hall, just west of the main gate. There is no charge to check your bike, but donations for Take Back Lodi will be accepted.
The Bike Valet will be open 30 minutes before the Festival opens and will 30 minutes before the Festival closes.
The Lodi Grape Festival is September 13-16, 2018. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.grapefestival.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @lodigrapefestival.

 

back to top

September 5, 2018


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
SPECIAL EVENT – FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM STATE ROUTE 33
TO 4TH STREET IN GUSTINE

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 to 4th Street in Gustine for a special event/parade.
The closure is scheduled for Saturday, September 8, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

 



For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

September 1, 2018

Annexation update, Corporation Yard Satellite on agenda

 

An overview of the annexation process and a review of the bid process on the Yosemite Avenue Corporation Yard Satellite are on the agenda for the Merced City Council Tuesday.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. It will be held at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St. The Council meets the first and third Mondays of the month, except when there is a holiday, when it meets the following day.

Staff will be giving Council a look at the annexation process, since there hasn’t been an annexation in the City since 2009. Currently there are two active annexation applications in the process and a number of inquiries about annexation.

Staff is looking at an area of approximately 7,000 acres generally east of G Street and north of Yosemite Avenue as a study area. A Request for Proposals has been sent out seeking a consultant that would conduct a series of meetings, poll landowners, conduct community workshops and information meetings to determine support for annexation before reporting back to Council. It’s expected the work would take four to six months.
The Public Works Department plans to establish a Corporation Yard Satellite facility on property it owns at Yosemite Avenue and Highway 59. The site would be used for fleet maintenance, leaf collection and as a disposal transfer site. Two bids received for the project were above what was budgeted for the work, so Council is being asked to reject the bids while staff evaluates how to reduce the scope of work at the site.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing reintroducing an ordinance that would revise some speed limits in the City following a speed zone study. The study measured the speed of drivers on the roads and followed state regulations in modifying the speed limits. Changes were made to the ordinance after it was first introduced requiring to be re-introduced.

There will be a special presentation on a needle exchange program being conducted to reduce the incidence of communicable diseases and the improper disposal of syringes.

The Council will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to discuss public employment of a city attorney, confer with labor negotiators and discuss anticipated litigation and potential litigation.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City’s web site at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. Those services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast’s Government Channel 96.

The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council. Hmong and Spanish translators are available at all Council meetings.

back to top

August 31, 2018

Ground broken thanks to Merced Breakfast Lions

Ground was broken for a set of concrete bleachers at the Merced Youth Sports Complex Thursday, with members of the Merced Breakfast Lions Club turning the first shovel full of dirt.
It was $35,000 of money donated by the Club that made it possible for the City to begin construction of the bleachers, which will replace two sets of aging aluminum bleachers that were subject to vandals and wear.
“The Merced Breakfast Lions are happy to make this donation to the City of Merced,” said Michael Belluomini, the Club’s second vice president, who said the bleachers were one of the Club’s “legacy projects.” He said one of the Club’s goals was promoting youth.
The Club brings in money for its projects through a variety of community-based fundraising efforts including events like its Nov. 3 annual fall dinner.
The bleachers will be on the home and away sides of the main baseball field at the Complex. It is the only lighted field, and is considered the premiere field at the complex.
Every spring and summer more than 500 young players in Merced hit the Sports Complex fields to run the bases, soak in the sunshine and learn discipline as part of Merced Youth Baseball.
Merced Youth Baseball serves players between the ages of 5 and 16 at the 1800 Wardrobe Ave site. The Complex also is used by local high schools and the area junior highs are considering using the fields. The fields also are used on weekends by families and neighborhood kids for pick-up games.
The other two fields at the Sports Complex already have concrete bleachers.


Photo by Mike Conway, City of Merced
Identification, left to right, Mark Seivert, Celeste Sharp, Michael Belluomini, Ken Harrison, Ray Wenham, Toby Masterson, Bill Halpin, Kent Christensen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The new bleachers are expected to be able to seat more than 100 people, where the old ones would hold fewer than 50. The new bleachers will be easy to maintain since there are no parts to replace and the concrete is easy to wash and clean. It also improves the security and sanitation for the site.
Nick Vargas Construction is the contractor for the project.

back to top

August 31, 2018

City Announces Cannabis Dispensary Application Rankings

The City of Merced received 22 complete applications for retail cannabis dispensaries in March 2018. Only four dispensaries may be approved under the City’s cannabis ordinance.
The Planning Commission has already approved 10 cannabis business permits for manufacturing, cultivation and distribution operations.
A Selection Committee of City Manager Steve Carrigan, Police Chief Chris Goodwin and Director of Development Services Scott McBride reviewed the applications and scored them based on criteria established by the Council.
All the proposed business owners were subject to a detailed background check by the Police Department.
A total score of 100 points was possible for each application. Points were awarded based on non-discretionary facts, such as public/neighborhood outreach programs, parking, business hours, previous experience and qualifications of the owners, access to capital, inclusion of certain safety features and local residency. There were 29 points awarded at the discretion of the Selection Committee based on enhanced security measures, community benefits and other outstanding features above the minimum requirements of the applications.
The total scores of the reviewers were divided by three for an average score. The applications were ranked based on that average score.
The top four applications will be scheduled for public hearings before the Planning Commission at 7 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 18 and Weds., Sept. 19 in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.
The scores and rankings are as follows:

Commercial Cannabis Business Permit Applications for Dispensaries TOTAL SCORE AVERAGE SCORE RANKING
CCBP #18-06R ("Blue Fire") at 1975 W Olive Ave - 295 - 98.333 1
CCBP #18-10R ("Green Door") at 811 W Main St - 292 - 97.333 2
CCBP #18-17R ("Manzanita") at 1594 W 18th St - 289 - 96.333 3
CCBP #18-14R ("Harvest of Merced") at 863 W 15th St - 285 - 95.000 4

 

 

CCBP #18-21R ("Medallion Wellness") at 808 W 16th St 269 89.667 5
CCBP #18-30R ("Jiva Life") at 1020 W Main St 255 85.000 6
CCBP #18-22R ("7 Fingers Cannabissary") at 1220-30 Martin Luther King Jr Wy 254 84.667 7
CCBP #18-11R ("Merced Pharmers Market") at 1112 W 16th St 246 82.000 8
CCBP #18-29R ("Nourish Health Merced") at 221 W Main St 244 81.333 9
CCBP #18-08R ("Bang Mingo") at 1850 Yosemite Pkwy 240 80.000 10 (Tie)
CCBP #18-05R ("Elev8 Wellness") at 235 W Main St 240 80.000 10 (Tie)
CCBP #18-13R ("Empire Health & Wellness") at 245 W 16th St 224 74.667 12
CCBP #18-09R ("Natural Supplements") at 127 W El Portal Dr 216 72.000 13
CCBP #18-07R ("Gateway Wellness") at 145 Riggs, Ste A 213 71.000 14
CCBP #18-25R ("Valley Pure") at 1180 Olivewood Ave 202 67.333 15
CCBP #18-26R ("Tamcu Investments") at 227 W Main St 201 67.000 16
CCBP #18-23R ("Kings Valley Wellness") at 850 W Main, Ste A 199 66.333 17
CCBP #18-12R ("Merced Healing Center") at 948 W 15thSt 187 62.333 18
CCBP #18-24R ("Earth Source Healing") at 1035 W 14thSt 179 59.667 19
CCBP #18-16R ("Sierra Gold Cannabis Co.") at 35 W 23rdSt 168 56.000 20
CCBP #18-20R ("Veteran Medication 22") at 3317 M St 157 52.333 21 (Tie)
CCBP #18-18R ("Merced Pain Relief") at 946 W Main St 157 52.333 21 (Tie)

The Following application was disqualified:
CCBP #18-15R ("Aleafiate") at 1471 Yosemite Pkwy 213 71.000 DQ

For more information about the City’s Commercial Cannabis Business Permit applications, please contact the City Planning Division at 209-385-6858.

back to top

August 31, 2018

City offices close for Labor Day

The offices of the City of Merced will be closed Monday, Sept. 3, for the Labor Day holiday.
The regularly scheduled Merced City Council meeting will be moved to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept 4, in the Council Chambers in the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.
There will be no refuse collection on Monday. Trash pick-up for all residents will be delayed one day throughout the week.

 

 

back to top

August 31, 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
INTERSTATE 5 FROM STATE ROUTE 152
TO GARZAS CREEK IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — Caltrans will perform ramp closures on northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from State Route 152 (SR-152) to Garzas Creek in Merced County.

This work is part of a project funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This project will rehabilitate 18 bridge locations on I-5 and State Route 152 (SR-152) in Merced County.

• Full closure of the connector ramp from northbound I-5 to eastbound SR-152 for bridge work beginning Wednesday, September 5, 2018, through Friday, September 7, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.

• Full on-ramp closure of the connector ramp from westbound SR-152 to northbound I-5 for slope repair on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

• Full off-ramp closure from northbound I-5 to Garzas Creek Full beginning Tuesday, September 4, 2018, through Friday, September 7, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

Motorists can expect 10-minute delays, and alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. Work began the week of July 1, and crews will also work on SR-152 at the San Luis Dam Forebay and California Aqueduct bridges as part of this project.

 


There are no current plans for full highway closures on I-5 or SR-152. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, use alternate routes, and Be Work Zone Alert.

The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

August 30, 2018

Rep. Costa and California Food Banks Host Community Leaders to Fight Valley Hunger

Fresno, CA – Yesterday Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and the California Association of Food Banks brought together community leaders for an anti-hunger workshop.

Over 100 thousand individuals suffer from food insecurity in California’s 16th Congressional District alone, according to the most recent USDA data. There are numerous organizations throughout the Valley actively fighting hunger in their communities, with food banks and the support from local, state, and federal government programs all playing pivotal roles in successful anti-hunger efforts.

The purpose of yesterday’s workshop was to discuss the realities surrounding food insecurity in the Valley and how to best collaborate and coordinate resources to most effectively combat hunger.

The Central California Food Bank – where yesterday’s anti-hunger workshop was held – provides food to more than 220 agencies fighting hunger in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern, and Tulare counties. “Every day we see first-hand the devastating effect of hunger in our Valley. With one out of every three children at risk of having to go to sleep hungry, we are committed to doing all that we can to end this hidden epidemic,” said Andy Souza, President/CEO of Central California Food Bank.

During the workshop, local leaders voiced concern over how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be affected by this year’s Farm Bill. SNAP is a crucial anti-hunger program, serving roughly 4 million Californians each month, including 25% of the individuals living in California’s 16th Congressional District.

“SNAP helps 4 million low-income Californians put food on the table and supports our local economy so that struggling households in the Valley have enough money to buy groceries for their families,” shared Rachel Tucker, Senior Policy Associate at California Association of Food Banks.




Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and the California Association of Food Banks brought together community leaders for an anti-hunger workshop.

Dramatic reductions to the number of food-insecure Americans served by SNAP was a key factor in the House rejecting its version of the Farm Bill in May.

“Hunger is all too real for far too many in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Congressman Costa. “The most effective way to address challenges in our communities is by local leaders and all levels of government working together and doing their part, which is why I joined with California Food Banks to hold this workshop. We must ensure that the people of the Valley – including children, seniors, and veterans – have food, and I will continue to work with our Valley leaders, anti-hunger organizations, and members of Congress on a bipartisan basis to make sure they do.”

As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Costa has been appointed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Costa and his colleagues on the Conference Committee must reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill – including vast differences in the treatment of SNAP – in order to move the legislation forward. The Committee’s first meeting is scheduled for September 5th.

back to top

August 30, 2018

City Firefighters support Breast Cancer Awareness

MERCED CA. AUGUST 29 2018: In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Merced City Firefighters will wear T-shirts with pink writing and pink ribbons showing support for those battling breast cancer during October.

“This year our T-shirt design reminds those close to us who are fighting breast cancer, they are not fighting along,” said Capt. Morgan Madruga, who is heading up the campaign.

A commemorative T-shirt is available through the Merced City Firefighters Local 1479 at a cost of $20. All proceeds from the fundraiser stay here in the community with every dollar donated to the Dignity Health UC Davis Cancer Center. The money raised helps purchase treatment chairs, real hair wigs for patients who lose their hair during treatment, as well as a ride-sharing program for patients too sick to drive.

“Our goal is to get individuals from our community involved and create relationships with businesses in our community willing to involve their employees,” Madruga said.

Information on the T-shirts and ordering can be placed at the Merced Firefighters Facebook. Orders received by Sept. 10 will be delivered by Oct.


If you have been impacted by cancer and want to be a part of the movement to help, please email Madruga at MadrugaM@cityofmerced.org or call 209-385-6244 with questions.

back to top

August 28, 2018

Merced officials tell State Water Board to leave Valley water where it belongs: in the Valley
Contacts:

MERCED, CA – As the State Water Board neared a final decision on its Bay Delta Plan SED, significant opposition was carried to the state capitol from the local Merced area this week.
Last Monday, more than 1,500 people opposed the State Water Board’s Bay Delta Plan SED during a rally at the steps of the State Capitol. More opposition was delivered to the State Board during a two-day hearing at the State Water Resources Control Board.

Among those opposing the plan were Merced Mayor Mike Murphy, Merced County Supervisors Daron McDaniel and Lloyd Pareira. State and federal representatives – including Assembly Member Adam Gray, Senator Anthony Cannella and Congress Member Jim Costa – also offered opposition. On behalf of Merced Irrigation District, General Manager John Sweigard testified about multiple flaws in the Bay Delta Plan SED. The Merced Farm Bureau also had a strong showing at the Capitol.

At specific issue is the State’s Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan SED. The plan would divert up to 50 percent of the water flowing into Lake McClure, sending it away from eastern Merced County and into the San Francisco Bay Delta. The water in Lake McClure provides water for local agriculture, the environment, groundwater replenishment, recreation, local wildlife refuges and more.

Lake McClure currently experiences water shortages about two out of five years. Under the State Water Board’s Bay Delta Plan SED, water shortages in Lake McClure are predicted to occur every other year.“The Water Board’s proposal to send more of our surface water out to the ocean would decimate the Central Valley’s economy, water quality and quality of life,” said Jerry O’Banion, Chairman of the Merced County Board of Supervisors. “Alternatives have been proposed to the Water Board that would improve salmon populations while avoiding this unprecedented water grab – they’ve gone unheeded. We will continue to fight for our water and our Valley.”

Merced Mayor Mike Murphy also took issue with the plan.

“If the state takes Merced River water it will have a crushing effect on the Central Valley,” said Murphy. “For a disadvantaged community like Merced, it will mean the loss of more than 3,000 jobs and $29 million to the local economy.”


In testimony before the State Water Board, MID’s John Sweigard pointed out numerous flaws in the Bay Delta Plan SED, including noting the document assumes salmon would benefit from floodplain habitat. In fact, that habitat no longer exists along vast stretches of the Merced River and the San Joaquin River. Further, significant amounts of salmon-rearing habitat in the Bay Delta has been completely taken over by cities and farms created by reclaiming floodplain. Sweigard noted that the plan includes multiple false assumptions, including that the region could depend on currently-dwindling supplies of groundwater to offset the losses of Merced River water.
“This issue has deliberately been cast as a false choice between salmon or farmers. This is, in fact, a choice between bad environmental assumptions and an entire community,” MID’s Sweigard said after the hearing.
“The consequences of this plan will harm children, senior citizens and everyone in between. And it will do so in one of the already poorest and most disadvantaged communities in the state. We can produce more salmon – we know how to do that already. If this plan is implemented it will devastate our local agriculture, our economy and our drinking water.”

According to the state Bay Delta Plan SED document, the water diversions would result in an annual increase in salmon ranging 2,059 to 7,637. That number includes salmon on the Merced River, as well as on the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers. Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 169,400 salmon were caught in California, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Full report here).

The State Water Board had initially intended to consider adoption of the final Bay Delta Plan SED during the hearings last week. However, the State Water Board received a request from Secretary of Natural Resources Agency John Laird requesting action be delayed in pursuit of finding compromise solutions between the State and irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley. The hearings continued this week but no action was taken.

Merced Irrigation District has established and promoted an alternative since 2016, the Merced River S.A.F.E. Plan (Salmon, Agriculture, Flows and Environment). The plan calls for immediate increases in Merced River flows during key spawning times; increased salmon production at the Merced River hatchery; restoration of habitat on the Merced River destroyed by dredge mining decades ago and addressing non-native bass predation of migrating juvenile salmon. The plan has so far been dismissed by the state.

back to top

August 28, 2018

MCAG GOVERNING BOARD ADOPTS
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES STRATEGY

MERCED- The Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Governing Board adopted the Merced County Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) at the August Governing Board meeting. The RTP/SCS is a collaborative effort between MCAG, the County of Merced, and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced and serves as the blueprint for investments in roads, freeways, public transit, bike trails and other ways people move around the county over the next 25 years.
Over the past year MCAG staff worked to prepare the 2018 update to the RTP to address current regional goals and priorities for our growing and evolving communities. Ultimately, the RTP seeks to ensure that the Merced County transportation system will continue to operate efficiently with sufficient capacity to meet demand and that mobility options are available for all of Merced County’s residents. Growth in Merced County is expected to be driven in part by lower housing costs relative to neighboring regions, with people choosing longer commutes in exchange for affordability. While agribusiness is expected to continue as the leading job provider in the county, health care and service jobs are also on the rise.
The RTP includes comprehensive improvements to the regional and local transportation networks, referred to as the Tier I Project List and focuses on


infill development in downtowns and centers in close proximity to jobs and services. In addition, the RTP emphasizes transportation investments in active transportation facilities to improve bicycle and pedestrian mobility.
The goals for the 2018 RTP/SCS were established to meet the regulatory requirements of the FAST Act, the Clean Air Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, SB 375, the California Complete Streets Act, and the California Environmental Quality Act. They were tailored specifically to the unique needs of Merced County and the feedback that was received from the public during the planning process. This RTP was developed in accordance with state and federal requirements, including the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375), which is intended to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which requires a performance-based approach to the Plan’s development.
For more information please visit the project website www.mercedregionalvision.com or the Merced County Association Of Governments website www.mcagov.org

back to top

August 28, 2018

Bleacher project groundbreaking Thursday

There will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Merced Youth Sports Complex 1800 Wardrobe Ave., (Wardrobe and West Ave.) to kick off construction of concrete bleachers made possible by a $35,000 grant from the Merced Breakfast Lions Club.
The concrete bleachers will replace aging aluminum bleachers that had been repeatedly vandalized. The bleachers will at the main, lighted ball field, which

is the last field to get concrete bleachers at the complex. The new seating arrangement is expected to hold about 100 people.
Nick Vargas Construction is the contractor for the project.

back to top

August 28, 2018

CASTLE AIR MUSEUM HOSTS IT'S OPPEN COCKPIT

CASTLE AIR MUSEUM LOCATED AT 5050 SANTA FE DRIVE IN ATWATER WILL BE HOSTING IT'S FALL OPEN COCKPIT DAY EVENT ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 2 FROM 9 AM TO 5 PM. THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME THE PUBLIC WILL SEE THE INTERIORS OF THESE FABULOUS AND RARE AIRCRAFT FOR THE REST OF 2018!!
THERE WILL BE OTHER FUN AMENITIES SUCH AS A F-14 FIGHTER SIMULATOR IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY YOUR HAND AT BEING A TOP GUN!! LAW ENFORCEMENT DISPLAYS, VINTAGE MILITARY VEHICLES, FOOD COURT AND 40 OF THE MUSEUM'S 70 VINTAGE MILITARY AIRCRAFT OPEN FOR VIEWING!! BUT THERE'S MORE! RIDE THE COMPLIMENTARY SHUTTLE BUS TO SEE AIRCRAFT OF THE HIDDEN COLLECTION THAT WERE BUILT FROM WOOD AND COVERED WITH CLOTH, AMONG AIRCRAFT ENGINE DISPLAYS WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE TOUR GUIDES! DON'T FORGET TO ALSO THINK OF SEEING OUR PRESIDENTIAL AIRCRAFT AS WELL WHERE AT LEAST TWO PRESIDENTS HAVE CALLED AIR FORCE ONE!!
PLEASE GO TO www.castleairmuseum.org for more information regarding admission pricing to the event.


back to top

August 28, 2018

Atwater FFA Students Attend Water Rally at the State Capitol

Written by: Atwater FFA

Nearly fifty Atwater High School agriculture and FFA students joined hundreds of farmers, farm employees, community leaders, state and federal lawmakers, the Atwater High School Band, and other Merced Union High School agriculture program and FFA students in Sacramento last week to rally against what is described as a “state water grab”. The opportunity for students to take part in the event was organized through the Merced County Farm Bureau, Assemblyman Adam Gray’s (D-Merced) office, and Alan Peterson, Superintendent of Merced Union High School District.

“This was an opportunity for our agriculture students to experience legislative and government policy among their community and agriculture industry partners,” said Atwater High School FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. “The organizers provided the students with a first-class opportunity to attend, participate, and experience the event along with a tour of the Capitol.”

The rally involved numerous speakers who shared what the effects of a new water policy would have on water resources for farmers and the Central Valley. The issue continues to be a hot topic statewide. “This experience provided our students with a topic that is hotly debated and opened many of the students to politics and government which directly relates to their Agriculture Government and Economics course at Atwater High School,” said Macintosh. “This experience by the students will enhance the relevancy of their education and curriculum this school year.”

For many students, it was the first time in Sacramento and the Capitol. “I learned that the water issue expands beyond just farmers and has an effect on all of us,” said Atwater High School agriculture student Jennifer Velazquez.

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .

Nearly fifty Atwater High School agriculture and FFA students joined hundreds of farmers, community members, state and federal lawmakers, and other FFA students throughout the region at the state Capitol Building during the "State Water Rally".

Atwater High School agriculture and FFA students Garrett Creighton, Nick Giesbrecht, and Mikeal Duran gathered with hundreds of other California residents at the Capitol Building during the "State Water Rally".


back to top

August 28, 2018

Atwater High School FFA Freshman Attend Leadership Conference

Written by: Atwater FFA

 

Twenty-six 9th grade agriculture students representing the Atwater High School FFA chapter joined over 1000 9th grade agriculture students from the Central FFA Region at the annual FFA Greenhand Leadership Conference. The conference was held August 22nd at the Modesto Junior College Ag Pavilion. Under the direction of the California FFA Association, this unique conference is designed to assist students with career information and a personal plan towards accomplishing the educational requirements and skills to accomplish each student’s career objective. I had a terrific time as I got to meet new people from other schools while learning about FFA and leadership opportunities,” said Atwater FFA member Jose Vazquez.

The conference provided students various workshops and activities geared towards careers in agriculture, opportunities in the FFA, motivation to get involved, and developing a personal plan. “The conference theme was centered on laying a solid foundation for students to identify educational and personal skills needed to accomplish their career interest,” said Atwater FFA advisor Shelby West. “The students really became enthused with the program and activities, while leaving with a better understanding of what they need to accomplish during their high school years.”

The FFA establishes various levels or “degrees” during one’s FFA experience in high school. The “Greenhand” degree is the first level a student can obtain as a first-year high school agriculture student/FFA member. The FFA provides more extensive leadership conferences for sophomores, juniors, and seniors based on the level and degree earned by each student. The Atwater FFA will be recognizing over 450 students for their FFA Greenhand and Chapter Farmer (2nd year FFA members) degrees in November.

“I was introduced to the numerous academic, leadership, agriculture, and FFA opportunities agriculture education and FFA have to offer, said Atwater High School freshman Lilian Boesch.


Participants at this year’s Greenhand Leadership Conference included: Alyssa Gentry, Anthony Pitchford, Ariana Payton, Caleb Fitzgerald, Crystal Santoyo, Daniel Junez, Eryka Lepper, Ethan Slate, Gariela Soto, Gurkirath Gandhok, Hunter Boyenga, Julia Callahan, Kate Brigham, Kaylie Helm, Klarithsa Cruz Hernandez, Kyle Walsh, Lexi Garcia, Lilian Boesch, Luke Mahy, Mackenzie Maloney, Michelle Chavez Perez, Preston Tucker, Rowen Summerton , Thomas Garner, Tristan Cardey, and Yazmine Rojas.

Twenty-six Atwater High School agriculture freshman students attended the state sponsored FFA Greenhand Leadership Conference in Modesto where leadership, personal growth, and career exploration opportunities and skills were shared and implemented.

Atwater High School agriculture freshman Lillian Boesch takes part in a team building exercise among other 9th grade students from other area high schools during the state sponsored FFA Greenhand Conference in Modesto.

 

 

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .


back to top

August 28, 2018


Merced PD rises to the (Lip Sync) Challenge

The Merced Police Department was recently challenged by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department to a lip sync challenge.

In true Merced Police Department fashion, department members teamed up with the community to create a response. Here’s the result: https://youtu.be/VP7XKcGDRJ0

We hope you enjoy this video as we thank the men and women of the police department for the work they do every day, and to the Merced community for their ongoing support.

We also want to take this opportunity to remind the public that we are currently recruiting for police officer positions.
https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/mercedca/jobs/2152595/police-officer-entry-level-lateral

A special thank you goes out to Carlos Garcia for donating his time in filming and editing the Merced Police Department lip sync challenge video. You can find him here:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1045499149


back to top

August 28, 2018

City seeking arts and culture commissioners

The City of Merced is seeking applicants for the new Arts and Culture Advisory Commission. There are seven voting seats on the Commission, with six of them selected by Council District residency. The seventh member will be selected at-large. Members must be registered to vote in the City.

Among the duties of the Commission are making recommendations to the City Council on public art, art and cultural programs, acting as a resource, recommending funding options and coordinating with local arts and cultural groups.

Commission members are expected to have knowledge, expertise or experience in one or more of these areas: visual, performing, literary, music or other types of art; planning, historical, preservation, architectural background; economic development, business, marketing, public relations; or by being a member of an artistic, cultural, community organization or educational partner.

 

 

In addition, the Commission may have an additional four ex-officio, non-voting, members, appointed because of their special expertise or qualifications. One of the ex-officio members will be a member of the City Council. The others can be non-City residents but must resident within the City’s sphere of influence.

People interested in the joining the Commission can find an application online at the homepage at www.cityofmerced.org or by calling the City Clerk at 388-7122.


back to top

August 28, 2018

Lane and Shoulder Closures in Merced and Madera Counties

MERCED & MADERA COUNTIES, CALIF. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), in cooperation with geotechnical consultant, Kleinfelder Inc., announces lane and shoulder closures in Merced and Madera counties to conduct soil tests and underground utility identification work. This work is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Aug. 28 and last through September 7.

This work is part of the preliminary design of the Silicon Valley to Central Valley High-Speed Rail Line. Exploratory borings and other tests will be conducted to help designers understand geologic and hydrogeologic conditions around proposed alignment alternatives currently under consideration.

A final alignment location through this area has not yet been selected, but will be chosen through a public environmental review process.


Lane and Shoulder Closures planned for Aug. 28 – Aug. 31

In Madera County:

August 28
• Shoulder work on southbound (SB) Hemlock Rd. (Road 9) at State Route 152 (SR 152).
August 29
• Shoulder work on northbound (NB) Lincoln Rd. (Road 4) just north of SR 152.
• Shoulder work on NB Kingwood Rd. (Road 6) just north of SR 152.
August 30
• Shoulder work on westbound (WB) Avenue 23½ between Road 10 and Road 11.
• Shoulder work on eastbound (EB) Avenue 25½ just east of Road 11
• Shoulder work on WB SR 152 between Hemlock Rd. & Kingwood Rd.
• Shoulder work on WB SR 152 between Road 11 & Hemlock Rd.
August 31
• Shoulder work on WB Avenue 24 between Road 10 & Road 11.
• Shoulder work on SB Road 11 at Avenue 24 ½.
• Shoulder work on SB Road 11 between Avenue 24 & Avenue 25.
In Merced County:


August 28
• Shoulder work on NB Elgin Ave. between Henry Miller Rd. and Hutchins Rd.
• Work within the NB travel lane on Indiana Road between W. Washington Rd. and Hutchins Rd.
September 7
• Shoulder work on SB Harmon Rd. between W. Washington Rd. and SR 152

Signage will be in place to direct traffic. Drivers should watch for field vehicles and personnel.

This schedule is subject to change. For up-to-date information please visit BuildHSR.com or the Caltrans Quickmap. Traffic laws will be fully enforced and commuters are expected to be aware of the surrounding activities, remain alert and watch for construction vehicles and personnel. The public is asked to drive carefully and be extra cautious while traveling through construction areas.


For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.


back to top

August 28, 2018

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTY LINE
TO WHITLOCK ROAD

MARIPOSA COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing one-way traffic control at various locations on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140). Work will occur as follows:

• One-way traffic control will be in effect from the Merced/Mariposa County line to Catheys Valley Park beginning Monday, August 27, 2018, through Thursday, August 30, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. for tree work.

• One-way traffic control will be in effect from Catheys Valley Drive to Grosjean Road beginning Monday, August 27, 2018, through Thursday, August 30, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for pavement striping.

• One-way traffic control will be in effect from State Route 49 to Whitlock Road beginning Monday, August 27, 2018, through Thursday, August 30, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. for paving work.


Motorists should expect 10 minute delays at each location. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.
Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

 


 

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

 

 


back to top

August 24 , 2018

Merced WWII Veteran Awarded Congressional Gold Medal by Valley Congressman Costa

Merced, CA – Today, Donald Heran received the Congressional Gold Medal in Merced for his World War II service to the United States as a pilot with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor to the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Heran, a retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, was a member of the OSS 801st/492nd Bombardment Group, known as the “Carpetbaggers.” Beginning January of 1945, Heran piloted secret nighttime missions into Denmark, Norway, and Germany, dropping supplies, equipment, and OSS agents to resistance forces in Nazi-occupied areas.

“I am very honored to receive this prestigious Congressional Gold Medal for my World War II Operation Carpetbagger missions and USAF military service,” shared Heran. “I am proud to share this award with my former World War II Carpetbagger crew members, my fellow veterans for their distinguished service, and our brave troops who put their lives on the line for our country every day.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’s highest civilian honor, and was awarded to the OSS and its members in March of this year at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Heran did not travel to Washington for the ceremony, and Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) awarded the Medal to the Merced hero today.

“It is with deep gratitude and respect that I award Lieutenant Colonel Heran the Congressional Gold Medal today,” said Rep. C
osta. “His courage, his valor, and his willingness to sacrifice everything for our country make him a true American hero. On behalf of a grateful nation, I can never say thank you enough.”

Congressman Costa was joined by Merced County Veterans Service Officer Ricky Pal and Gene Hamill from Merced’s American Legion District 12 in honoring Heran. “Our country is forever indebted to veterans like Mr. Heran for their selfless service,”Pal said of Heran. He continued, “It was truly an honor to be present in such a special moment.” Hamill reflected with, “It’s an honor to be here to present this award to such a distinguished veteran. The American Legion is dedicated to honoring our veterans.”

Following WWII, Heran accepted a commission in the United States Air Force in 1949, where he flew for the Strategic Air Command until he retired from the military in 1969. He is a life member of the Castle Air Museum Association, Military Officers of America Association, Order of the Daedalians, and the Eighth Air Force Historical Society.

Note: Photographs of the Carpetbagger crews provided by Lt. Col. Heran’s family. Caption information for crew photographs is provided in attached word documents. Photographs of today’s ceremony provided by the Office of Congressman Jim Costa.


Heran Crew – Topeka, KS (Crew Pictured)
The crew pictured are in Topeka, KS, before overseas departure.
Standing,L-R:
Donald F. Heran - Pilot
Donald A. Fischer - Bombardier
William T. Wright - Copilot
Clayton S. Berger - Navigator
Kneeling,L-R:
J.C. McBrayer - Gunner
Donald J. McHale - R.O.
Calvin D. Johnson - Gunner
Archie W. Vernon - Gunner
Alfred W. Nowaczyk - Engineer
Edward L. Schmitten - Gunner


Donald Heran


RAF Harrington - July 1945 (Crew Pictured)

Departing Royal Air Force Harrington, Station 179, to go home at the end of WWII.
Back Row, L-R:
Unidentified
Unidentified
Calvin D. Johnson - Tailgunner
Unidentified
J.C. McBrayer - Dispatcher
Middle Row, L-R:
Horace D. Smith - Crew Chief
Unidentified
Archie Vernon - Gunner
Two unidentified - barracks caps
Two unidentified - fatigue caps
Front Row, L-R:
Edward L. Schmitten - Gunner
William T. Wright - Copilot
Donald A. Fischer - Bombardier
Donald F. Heran - Pilot
Donald J. McHale - R.O.
Not in the Picture/Unidentified:
Clayton S. Berger - Navigator
Alfred W. Nowaszyk - Engineer


back to top

August 21 , 2018

Yosemite National Park Announces Temporary Closure of El Portal Road
(Highway 140)
El Portal Road Will Be Closed 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Friday, August 24
Through Sunday, August 26, 2018

Yosemite National Park announces that there will be a temporary closure on the El Portal Road (Highway 140) inside Yosemite National Park from the Parkline in El Portal to the El Portal Road/Big Oak Flat Road Junction (Highway 140/Highway 120 junction). This closure will be in effect between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm Friday, August 24 through Sunday, August 26, 2018. Visitors will have access to drive through the work zone from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm each day. The closure may not be in effect on Sunday pending the completion of the work.

These closures are necessary to replace high voltage powerlines that service Yosemite Valley, which were burned and damaged during the Ferguson Fire. The work will involve helicopters and heavy equipment, making it unsafe for vehicles to be on the road. Completion of this project will restore full commercial power to Yosemite Valley.



For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose and on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.

-NPS-

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.


August 23 , 2018

Merced County Elected Officials Endorse Rob Poythress for Senate District 12

Last week, Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel, Supervisor Lloyd Pareira, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, and Atwater City Councilmembers Brian Raymond and Paul Creighton stood on the steps of the Old Merced County Courthouse to announce their enthusiastic support for Rob Poythress in the Senate District 12 race.

"I'm endorsing Rob because he is from the Valley and for the Valley, we are so tired in Merced County of folks from Los Angles or Sacramento trying to tell us how to do things here" Said Supervisor Daron McDaniel

"The reason why I'm endorsing Rob Poythress for State Senate is my background is Ag, our community's background is Ag, and [Rob's] background is Ag. [Rob] understands us, he fights for us, and we need that.... Water is vital for us and Rob wants to protect our water'' added Supervisor Lloyd Pareira.

"I'm supporting Rob because of his stance in helping law endorsement. I've been in the Sheriff's Office 39 years we have got to have someone in Sacramento that gets it. We're tired of the bureaucrats reducing punishments

for crimes that are causing our quality of life to go down. I'm Supporting Rob because I believe that he will be strong voice for law endorsement in Merced County" Said Sheriff Vern Warnke.

"This is a fight for the heart and soul of the Valley. Rob has Valley Values, Anna Caballero does not. Rob supports the farmer, Anna Caballero does not. ...We need someone who loves the Valley, who loves agriculture. Rob is that man" concluded Atwater City Councilman Bran Raymond

The race for the 12th Senate District is the most hotly contested California legislative race of 2018 and the outcome will determine if Democratic legislators will regain a super-majority in the State Senate. Merced County is home to nearly 1/3 of Senate District 12 residents.

Rob Poythress is a Madera County Supervisor, farmer, and small business owner. For more information on Rob Poythress and his campaign for the 12th Senate District, please visit PoythressForSenate.com.

back to top

Augudt 22 , 2018

MCOE, EECU to Host 13th Annual Excellence in Education Awards

Parents, students, educators and the community are invited to celebrate with educators, school employees and school administrators from across the county as the Merced County Office of Education and Educational Employees Credit Union host the annual Excellence in Education awards ceremony on Sept. 26 at the Merced Theatre.
The program, formerly Teacher of the Year, now has three categories: one for teachers, one for administrators and one for other school employees.
The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Merced Theatre, 301 W. Main St. in Downtown Merced.
There are two nominees for administrator of the year, six nominees for school employee of the year and six nominees for teacher of the year.
Honorees and their guests will enjoy videos produced by Merced Educational Television (METV) in the historic theater along with the announcement of winners in all categories. The winner of the Merced County Teacher of the Year and School Employee of the Year will move on to apply at the state awards program.

District nominees this year are:

TEACHERS:
Heather Arnold Atwater Elementary School District
Rochelle Cotta Gustine Unified School District
Sonia Falaschi Los Banos Unified School District
Carolyn Rodriguez Merced County Office of Education – Educational Services
Janis Edwards Merced Union High School District
Leticia Villa Weaver Union School District


 

SCHOOL EMPLOYEES:
Jennifer Rivera Atwater Elementary School District
Suzanne Greenwood Delhi Unified School District
Lisa Chavez Miske Gustine Unified School District
Tina Marie Sanchez Los Banos Unified School District
Maribell Perez-Aguilar Merced County Office of Education – Special Education
Daron Gregston Merced Union High School District

ADMINISTRATORS:
Rosa Barragan Merced County Office of Education – Early Education
Jennifer L. Euker Merced Union High School District

To RSVP for the event or for more information on the Excellence in Education program, call Stacie Arancibia at (209) 381-5910 or email events@mcoe.org.

back to top

August 21 , 2018

Hundreds Rally to “Stop the State Water Grab”
as Talks Heat Up Over Fate of Farms, Jobs, and
Drinking Water

SACRAMENTO, CA – More than 500 farmers, laborers, students, and concerned citizens held a massive rally at the State Capitol today, demonstrating growing opposition to a state plan that would disrupt the water supply of more than three million northern Californians. Besides threatening drinking water supplies, the plan would jeopardize the state’s multibillion-dollar farming industry, while providing little proof of environmental benefit.

The massive “Stop the State Water Grab” rally comes the day before the State Water Resources Control Board considers a plan to sharply curtail water flows to nearly 3 million people from the North San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area. For months, public pressure has been building on the Brown Administration to shelve the Boards’ plan and instead work in cooperation with valley residents, farmers, laborers, and other stakeholders to avert a crisis for families and businesses.

“Calls to ‘Stop the State Water Grab’ are growing louder as our message spreads both north and south,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray. “Communities throughout the state are taking notice of this water grab and calling foul on the state’s sorry excuse for a plan. If regulators would admit their current proposal relies on unfounded selective science, they would see that there are balanced alternatives which offer really environmental benefits without decimating local communities.”

The Water Board’s plan would initially divert 40 percent of flows from the Tuolumne, Merced, and Stanislaus rivers despite dozens of scientific studies showing there are alternatives that would do more to help native fish populations.

Families, businesses owners, water officials, and others who depend on Northern California rivers for drinking water and jobs highlighted the far-reaching and devastating impacts of this misguided State Water Grab and urge the state to reject the proposal as currently written.
“The State Water Board needs to start over,” said Assemblymember Gray. “Despite their misguided plan, irrigation districts and water rights holders remain at the table willing to negotiate voluntary settlements. The only alternative to reasonable settlement is a decade’s worth of litigation. While that might make the lawyers happy, it will do nothing to improve environmental conditions. The choice is simple.”

Read Asm. Adam Gray’s August 15 op-ed in the Modesto Bee here: https://www.modbee.com/opinion/state-issues/article216750525.html

For more information, contact the office of California Assemblyman Adam Gray at (209) 726-5465.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Assemblymember Adam C. Gray represents the 21st Assembly District which includes all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Others Are Saying

“I am perplexed and dismayed that the State Water Board continues to ignore a science based approach.” Vito Chiesa, District 2 Supervisor, Stanislaus County

“Our community has tried to work cooperatively with the State Water Board for over six years to understand their approach, make sure they understand our concerns, and seek a resolution. At every turn, they have refused to listen. They shut down legitimate questions. And they continue to push a proposal that has no basis in science or data and that will devastate our area’s water supply and economy. Cooperation hasn’t worked; it’s time to fight back against the Board’s sinister, arrogant, and dishonest approach and demand a proposal that will help both people and fisheries.” Kristin Olsen, Stanislaus County Supervisor and former Assembly Minority Leader

“We teach our students to be creative, think critically, and be collaborative. We ask that the SWRCB model these skills. We simply ask for equitable decision making.” Alan Peterson, Superintendent, Merced Union High School District (209-325-2020

“With the State Water Board Proposal and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act we can expect to see drinking water quality issues throughout the Valley!! I say NO to the Water Grab!!” Terry Withrow, District 3 Supervisor, Stanislaus County

“Water is the life blood of the Central Valley and drives our agriculture based economy. Reducing our water will crush our economy and lead to an increase in poverty, homelessness and crime. Water is vital to our public safety.” Jeff Dirkse, Sheriff-Elect, Stanislaus County (209-277-6414)


Assemblymember Adam C. Gray

“Modesto has developed a successful conjunctive use program with groundwater and surface water. Our ratepayers spent millions making this system work, from paying for the reservoir to building the water plant. The California Water Board would undermine and sabotage those efforts. It wrong for California to penalize a region that helps itself in order to benefit other areas.” Mani Grewal, Modesto City Councilman (209-404-7795)

“The adoption of the water grab plan will have serious, irrevocable impacts on our task of providing for the public’s safety. The quality of life in our community will be significantly undermined by adoption of this plan. Our job of providing for public safety will be much more difficult.” Tony Arguelles, President, Modesto Police Association (209-491-4800)

“This change to divert more of our water will have a destabilizing effect on our economy”. Cecil Russell, President, Modesto Chamber of Commerce (209-577-5757)

“It is monstrously unfair for Central Valley residents to have to pay to fill the extravagant swimming pools of Beverly Hills.” Tom Hallinan, Trustee, Yosemite Community College Board (209-324-6205)

“We are one Valley united with one voice, to say ‘this is our Water, our choice!’
Somos un Valley unidos con una voz, para decir ‘esta es nuestra Agua, nuestra decisión!” Tony Madrigal, Modesto City Councilman (209-579-4776)

“The City of Merced continues to battle an unemployment rate typically double that of the State of California. If the state takes Merced River water it will have a crushing effect on the Central Valley. For Merced, it will mean the loss of more than 3,000 jobs and $29 million to the local economy.” Merced Mayor Mike Murphy (209-355-9700)

“Our cities and our farms will suffer government caused drought, forever. You think your water bill is high now; just wait after they take almost half away and make us pay the consequences!” Bill Zoslocki, Modesto City Councilman (209-571-5597)

"The economic impact study the State Water Board used to determine potential economic impact to our region was seriously flawed. They only considered impact to farmers and did not consider what the impact would be to manufacturers, distributors, residences, institutions, schools, etc. This water grab will be devastating to our regional economy and would impact us just at the time when we are starting to gain some traction coming out of the last economic downturn." David White, CEO, Opportunity Stanislaus (209-422-6420)

“We don’t deserve this. This water grab would devastate the Central Valley’s economy, and experts are already saying that it won’t do much to save fish in the Delta. This madness needs to end.” Daron McDaniel, Merced County Supervisor (209-495-7086)

“As the daughter of a small walnut grower in the valley, this situation with the water grab is truly troubling. A water shortage would be devastating in the future as it will damage our crops, reduce the amount of jobs available in agriculture, and reduce the value of our ag land. The work that so many families such as my parents who rely on agriculture and their land will definitely be affected.” – Yamilet Valladolid, farmer’s daughter and President, Hispanic Leadership Council (209-614-8327)

“Our schools depend solely on groundwater. We have almost one thousand students from kindergarten to eighth grade. 97% of the students are Latino and 93% of them are economically disadvantaged. Our district can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making sure threatened wells are still usable. We can’t afford to spend money on bottled water and port-o-potties because the restrooms are shut down due to lack of water. And we can’t afford to move the school. But Felicia Marcus and the state water board don’t care.” Jose Gonzalez, Superintendent Planada Elementary District (209-382-0756)

“Phase 1 of the Water Board’s Bay-Delta plan will have a devastating effect on the economies of Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties. Each of those counties independently have larger agricultural economies than many states in this country. Loss of agricultural land means a loss of jobs – jobs of hardworking Californians who live in an area that is already economically depressed.” Bill Lyons Jr., Former Secretary of Agriculture (209-522-1762)

back to top

August 21 , 2018

State Senate Candidate Rob Poythress Calls to Stop the Sacramento Water Grab at the State Capitol

Today, Rob Poythress (R - Madera) joined Assemblyman Adam Grey (D-Merced), Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon), U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), and State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) on the steps of the State Capitol to speak out against the State Water Resources Control Board's plan to decrease water flows from the Tuolumne, Merced, and Stanislaus Rivers for Valley farms and families.

"Today, my message is for the [State Water Resources Control Board Members]. Please hear the voices of all those who have sacrificed their time to drive as much as four hours or more to speak out against this plan. ...Your plan will add poverty to a region that has too much of it, your plan will destroy hope in a region that needs more of it. We will produce less food and food will be more expensive. Take our water and you tell our farmers and our farm-workers... that you don't value or care about their work or their ability to take care of their families." said Poythress to the crowd of over 300 citizens

rallied at the Capitol. "You must find a better way, one that puts people before fish. A plan that won't lead to costly litigation, one that considers our point of view. Hear our voices and consider the humans who live and work in the Central Valley as part of the environment." concluded Poythress.

The race for the 12th Senate District is the most hotly contested California legislative race of 2018 and the outcome will determine if Democratic legislators will regain a super-majority in the State Senate.

Rob Poythress is a Madera County Supervisor, farmer, and small business owner. For more information on Rob Poythress and his campaign for the 12th Senate District, please visit PoythressForSenate.com.

back to top

August 21 , 2018

UC Merced Opens First Buildings of Massive Campus Expansion
The University of California’s newest campus continues to grow, with Phase 1 of an unprecedented $1.3 billion public-private partnership that will allow the university to grow to 10,000 students.

MERCED, Calif. — Less than two years after breaking ground on its unprecedented campus expansion, the University of California, Merced, last week celebrated the opening of the first three buildings of the Merced 2020 Project.
More than 400 people were on hand for an opening celebration Thursday, including UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and UC President Janet Napolitano. Leland and Napolitano also met with students Friday, and visited with more students and their families during move-in.
On Saturday, students moved into two brand-new, mixed-use residence halls, which feature more than 700 beds in addition to classrooms and retail space.
“The capacity we are building right now will enable our future,” Leland said. “We will provide world-class education to more of the best and brightest students from California and beyond. We will grow our faculty thoughtfully and strategically to have the greatest possible impact in our areas of research excellence. We will become a powerhouse of innovation and transformation for the San Joaquin Valley.”
UC Merced’s Journey Continues
At final delivery in 2020, the $1.3 billion initiative will comprise 13 new buildings featuring new classrooms, research labs and student life facilities that will allow the university to accommodate up to 10,000 students.
The centerpiece of the project, and the site of last week’s celebration, is the Pavilion — an iconic 600-seat dining facility overlooking Little Lake. The Pavilion is complemented by two new residence halls that have been strategically designed to form a pedestrian-friendly corridor that blends housing with classrooms, study lounges and student activities.
The first phase expands UC Merced’s ability to provide access to a world-class education to more of California’s best and brightest students, and future phases will include state-of-the-art laboratories to help further the university’s research mission.
“We believe in the power of education to change lives and change the world for the better,” Napolitano said. “There is no better example of that than UC Merced, and this step tonight marks a new chapter in the expansion of that opportunity.”
Winning Awards and Transforming Lives
The unique public-private partnership UC Merced is using to develop the project has garnered numerous awards and recognition from across the country, including being named Social Infrastructure Project of the year at last year’s P3 Awards. The agreement provides the university with contractual assurance that the buildings will be well maintained for decades.
With 600 employees on site every day, the project is expected to generate a total of $1.9 billion in regional economic impact and $2.4 billion statewide through its completion. Development partner Plenary Properties Merced (PPM) and lead contractor Webcor Construction joined the university in commemmorating the completion of the project’s first phase.

 

“We are well on our way to meeting our delivery and sustainability goals for the UC Merced 2020 Project, and this milestone marks a tremendous occasion for the university and our PPM team,” said Dale Bonner, Executive Chairman of Plenary Concessions. “We are incredibly proud to see this project setting the standard for P3 partnerships in the higher education sector.”
Webcor has placed a strong emphasis on hiring local workers, including 17 San Joaquin Valley subcontractors. Seven UC Merced students honed their analytical, engineering and communication skills as interns on the project, and Webcor has since hired them as full-time employees.
“This momentous milestone for UC Merced brings to light the unwavering efforts of the design-build team and the success and innovation a true P3 partnership can bring,” Webcor President and CEO Jes Pedersen said. “This project is also a great example of how Webcor seeks to improve communities and local economies. We’ve made it our mission to utilize the regional subcontracting community, provide education and on-the-job training for UC Merced students, and assist local nonprofits with various projects and support throughout the region.”
The Future Has Arrived
Thousands of students moved in at UC Merced last weekend, and classes are set to begin Wednesday. As construction continues on the 10 additional buildings that will open over the next two years, the university’s research enterprise and academic profile continue to evolve and mature.
Among the other changes at UC Merced this year are a new general education program that emphasizes the university’s values and mission, Living Learning Communities in the new residence halls, a new research center for nicotine and cannabis policy, and a new philosophy major.
The university also has substantial programming planned to promote diversity and inclusion, and to create opportunities for members of the campus community to connect.
“The UC Merced experience is one in which members of our community can set aside their differences, and connect and collaborate with shared goals and values,” Leland said. “We are coming of age as a university at a time of great challenges, but also great opportunity. We are at our best when we focus on the success of our students, come together as a community and support each other.”
###
UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest member of the University of California system, and is the youngest university to earn a Carnegie research classification. The fastest-growing public university in the nation, UC Merced enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in campus construction and design, and supports high-achieving and dedicated students from the underserved San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The Merced 2020 Project, a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education, will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students.

back to top

August 21 , 2018

Caltrans Accelerates Repairs on State Route 140 in Mariposa County Due to SB 1 Funds
Pavement Project Will Improve Six Lane Miles Providing a Safer
& Smoother Commute for Motorists

MARIPOSA COUNTY – Caltrans will repair more than six lane miles of State Route 140 (SR-140) from the SR-49/SR-140 junction to Whitlock Road in Mariposa County, due to the funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

“SR-140 is one of the main gateways into Yosemite National Park and the highway is an essential link in supplying goods and services to the Mariposa, El Portal, and Yosemite communities,” Caltrans Director Laurie Berman said. “This SB 1 project will provide a safer and smoother commute for tourists, commercial traffic and locals, whose livelihood depends on the good condition of the highway.”

SR-140 is the only all-weather route into Yosemite National Park and is a critical asset for both tourists and the local economy. Tourism is the county’s main industry and area’s largest employer. In 2016, visitors spent $520.6 million in communities near the park, supporting 7,883 jobs in the local area, which had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $686.3 million. More than five million people visit Yosemite National Park annually, and nearly 8,500 vehicles per day use this section of SR-140.

“SR-140 is the primary transportation corridor that connects the town of Mariposa to Yosemite National Park,” Caltrans District Director Dennis T. Agar said. “Since the state route is open year-round, commercial trucks use the roadway

to transport agriculture products, livestock, logs and other goods, causing significant wear and tear to the highway. Without this SB 1 funded project, the pavement would continue to deteriorate, having a direct impact on travelers and resulting in costly maintenance repairs in the future. Providing a smooth roadway is critical for the region due to the many people who depend on this scenic rural highway.”


This $4.1 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction, Inc., of Sacramento. Crews will upgrade structures used to keep water off the highway, re-stripe the roadway and increase the size of the stripes from 4 to 6 inches, and repair and repave damaged pavement to restore the roadway and improve traffic safety.

Construction began the week of August 20. Crews are scheduled to work during the day, Monday through Friday, and perform one-way traffic control. Motorists are encouraged to Be Work Zone Alert.

The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. More information and updates on projects can be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov/d10/projects.html or on Twitter via @CaltransDist10.

SB 1 provides an ongoing funding increase of approximately $1.8 billion annually for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system. SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027.

Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

August 18 , 2018

Entry signs, joint committee and art on agenda

Hiring a consultant on entry signs, combining two tax oversight committees and starting to populate an arts commission are on the agenda for the Merced City Council Monday.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. due to a special event in Sacramento earlier in the day. It will be held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St. The Council meets the first and third Mondays of the month, except when there is a holiday, when it meets the following day.

Staff is asking the Council to consider hiring a consultant to help in the design of entry signs for the City’s gateways. The suggested consultant is familiar with the City having designed the wayfinding signs used to direct people around the City.

If the contract is awarded, he would use the results of the recent contest in creating preliminary concept designs and specifications for the proposed signs. There are six potential locations for the signs.

The Council is being presented with the idea of combining the existing Measure C Oversight Committee with the Measure Y Oversight Committee into one Tax Transparency Oversight Committee. Measure C is a half-cent sales tax that has been collected since 2006 and Measure Y is the recently passed cannabis business tax. Both require a citizen oversight committee to make sure funds are spent according to the ballot measure language.

The ordinance establishing the Arts and Culture Commission has gone into effect and Council is being asked how they would like staff to seek applicants for the new body. The voting members have to be City residents,

 

and the non-voting members must reside within the City’s sphere-of-influence. Voting members will come from Council districts and the seventh will be at-large. Members will have knowledge, expertise or experience in a range of area including art, architecture or being a member of a cultural organization.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing on an ordinance that would revise some speed limits in the City following a speed zone study. The study measured the speed of drivers on the roads and followed state regulations in modifying the speed limits.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City’s web site at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. Those services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast’s Government Channel 96.

The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council. Hmong and Spanish translators are available at all Council meetings.

back to top

August 18 , 2018

Felicia’s fish are just red herrings; we know the real objective

BY ADAM GRAY

In a recent letter to The Sacramento Bee, Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, wrote “hundreds of thousands of Californians lack access to clean water for drinking, bathing, and cooking.” She goes on to say that it is her “job to champion the concerns of ordinary Californians and deliver life’s basic necessities.”
She has failed.
As chair of the state’s primary water regulatory body, Marcus oversees a staff of thousands and a budget of over $1 billion each year. Despite her promises to the contrary, she and her board have used their immense authority to jeopardize – not protect – the economy and drinking water supplies of the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Marcus and the State Water Resources Control Board are finalizing plans to double the amount of water they take from communities in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Instead of being used for drinking water and farmland irrigation, the board wants the water to flow out into the Pacific Ocean.
Why?
Because without our water Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels project – designed to ship billions of gallons of water south each year – is dead on arrival. It is no coincidence that the amount of water the board want from us happens to match the amount expected to be diverted south thr1ough the tunnels. It is also no surprise that despite initially rejecting financial agreements to fund the construction of the twin tunnels, Los Angeles and Bay Area water agencies finally agreed to pay up – but only after their favorite water storage projects were 100 percent funded through the Prop 1 Water Bonds. A project to create additional storage, Temperance Flat, got almost no bond funding.
The State Water Board claims it needs the water to help restore fish populations, but an earlier version of their own report suggested their plan would result in little more than an additional 1,000 fish per year.
After significant public criticism, the latest version of the report openly questions the validity of its own findings and suggests the benefits to fish are much greater while offering no evidence to support that claim.
Excuse the pun, but fish are just a red herring.


Assemblymember Adam C. Gray

No good water plan trades benefits for one user at the expense of another.
Irrigation districts in Merced, Turlock and Modesto have all proposed responsible alternatives that call for a combination of increased water flows, habitat restoration and predation controls. Unsurprisingly, the State Water Board has rejected those proposals out of hand while continuing to preach a preference for voluntary settlements.
The truth is, the board will never be happy until it gets our water – no matter the consequence to our economy or our drinking water supplies.
If there is a reasonable deal to be reached, I will support it. But right now this is nothing more than another state-supported water grab.
We will continue to fight for our region and our water using every available avenue.
I am hosting a rally on the north steps of the State Capitol on Monday, Aug. 20th and hope you will join me in standing up against this water grab.
Adam Gray represents the 21st Assembly District, which includes Merced and part of Stanislaus counties. He wrote this for the Merced Sun-Star.

 

back to top

August 18 , 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 59 FROM THE BLACK RASCAL CANAL
TO OAKDALE ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is performing grinding and paving work on northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59) from the south fork of the Black Rascal Canal to Oakdale Road in Merced.
One-way traffic control is scheduled beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
This work is part of a project designed to restore the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement and to limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, both for motorists and taxpayers. An overlay of rubberized asphalt concrete will be used to enhance this section of SR-59/Snelling Highway – a pivotal roadway for local motorists and agricultural traffic.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

 

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP AND LANE CLOSURES
INTERSTATE 5 FROM ORTIGALITA CREEK BRIDGE
TO WEST BANK ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — Caltrans will perform a ramp closure and alternating lane and shoulder closures on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from the Ortigalita Creek Bridge to West Bank Road.

This work is part of a project funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This project will rehabilitate 18 bridge locations on I-5 and State Route 152 (SR-152) in Merced County.

There is a scheduled full closure of the connector ramp from northbound I-5 to eastbound SR-152 for bridge work beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.

Motorists can expect 10 minute delays, and alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. Work began the week of July 1, and crews will also work on SR-152 at the San Luis Dam Forebay and California Aqueduct bridges as part of this project.

There are no current plans for full highway closures on I-5 or SR-152. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, use alternate routes, and Be Work Zone Alert.

The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP AND LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 152 FROM THE SAN LUIS FOREBAY
TO THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — Caltrans will perform a ramp closure and alternating lane and shoulder closures on eastbound and westbound State Route 152 (SR-152) from the San Luis Forebay to the California Aqueduct west of Los Banos for bridge work.

This work is part of a project funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This project will rehabilitate 18 bridge locations on SR-152 and Interstate 5 (I-5).

Work is scheduled as follows:

• Full connector ramp closure from westbound SR-152 to northbound I-5 beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• #1 (left) lane and left shoulder closures on eastbound SR-152 at the San Luis Forebay beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• #1 (left) lane and left shoulder closures on westbound SR-152 at the San Luis Forebay beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.

• #1 (left) lane and left shoulder closures on eastbound SR-152 from I-5 to the California Aqueduct beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.

Motorists can expect 15 minute delays for each bridge location’s work, and alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, use alternate routes, and Be Work Zone Alert.

The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.



CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
LONG-TERM RAMP AND REST AREA CLOSURE
TURLOCK REST AREA OFF SOUTHBOUND STATE ROUTE 99

TURLOCK – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed the Turlock Rest Area off southbound State Route 99 (SR-99), and the on and off-ramps at this location, until October 2018 for highway construction.

The Turlock Rest Area off northbound SR-99 – also known as the Enoch Christoffersen Northbound Rest Area – will be open during this time.

This work is part of a project that is replacing the two outside lanes and shoulder on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Bradbury Road in Merced County to just north of the Merced/Stanislaus County line.
This is the second phase of the project, where the #2 (center) and #3 (right) lanes and outside shoulder are being restored with reinforced concrete pavement. The closure of the Turlock Rest Area – also known as the Enoch Christoffersen Southbound Rest Area – is scheduled to alleviate traffic congestion.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP AND LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM THE WEBBER CANAL
TO GOLDEN STATE BOULEVARD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various full on and off-ramp closures and intermittent lane closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Webber Canal to Golden State Boulevard in Turlock.

This work is part of a project that is re-striping 27 miles of northbound and southbound SR-99 in Merced County.
No two consecutive ramps will be closed simultaneously.

Work is scheduled as follows:

• Various full on and off-ramp closures on southbound SR-99 from Applegate Road in Atwater to Shanks Road in Delhi beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• Intermittent closures of the #1 (left), #2 (middle), and #3 (right) lanes of northbound and southbound SR-99 from Webber Canal to Golden State Boulevard beginning Sunday, August 19, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM ARBOLEDA ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY
TO WHITLOCK ROAD IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction and maintenance activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Arboleda Road in Merced County to Whitlock Road in Mariposa.

Work is scheduled as follows:

• One-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Arboleda Road to the Merced/Mariposa County line for tree work beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, through Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

• One-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Owens Creek Dam Road to Trower Road in Catheys Valley for tree work on Friday, August 24, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

• One-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from two miles east of Trower Road to the south junction of SR-49/140 in Mariposa for tree work beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, through Thursday, August 23, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

• One-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from the north junction of SR-49/140 to Whitlock Road for pavement work beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, through Thursday, August 23, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and again on Friday, August 24, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Motorists should expect 10 minute delays at each work location.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

August 17 , 2018

High-Speed Rail Continues to Lead California and the Nation in Building a Clean and Green Transportation System

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) issued its annual Sustainability Report, which details how the Authority is already putting sustainability into action. The report updates the progress made in 2017 and the results of our comprehensive approach to designing, constructing and operating high-speed rail in a sustainable manner. The report highlights accomplishments in each aspect of the Authority’s Sustainability Framework.

"Our goal is to create the greenest infrastructure project in the nation, both in its operations and its construction,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Sustainability is at the core of our mission and is one of the values that guide our work. Sustainability is integral to our policies and to how we conduct our day-to-day business.”

“As a first mover in benchmarking its sustainability actions and performance, the Authority has demonstrated its commitment to ambitious leadership in helping the State accelerate the transition to a low carbon future,” said Rick Walters, GRESB Director Infrastructure.


This year’s report highlights the Authority’s actions to offset emissions, such as working with Tree Fresno and Cal Fire to launch the Authority’s Urban Forestry Program – elementary and middle-school students planted 200 trees at the West Fresno Middle School this year in the Central Valley. The Authority continues to follow green construction practices, such as requiring contractors to use clean diesel engines, recycling steel and concrete from construction and demolition materials, and diverting construction and demolition waste from landfills. This year’s report also highlights the key roles that California small businesses from disadvantaged communities play in planning, designing and building the high-speed rail system.

 

Key sustainability accomplishments are presented in the report:
• Recycled 99 percent of all construction materials, including 100 percent of all concrete and steel, keeping 118,000 tons of waste material out of landfills.
• Continued use of Tier 4 equipment on our construction sites, reducing nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, and avoiding black carbon, leading to site emissions that are 60 percent lower than the state average for construction.
• Continued to engage small businesses, with 115 of the 427 small businesses under contract located in disadvantaged communities.
• Preserved more than 2,500 acres of natural habitat.
• Continued working with local governments and our federal partners to prepare for future high-speed rail stations by completing station area plans that are consistent with and supportive of local and regional planning efforts required by SB 375 and our Station Area Development Policies. To date, we have executed planning with the cities of Gilroy, Merced, Fresno, San José, Bakersfield, Palmdale and Burbank, and with the Tulare County Association of Governments and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

back to top

August 16 , 2018

Broadway’s A Night With Janis Joplin Rocks!
Merced Theatre
October 10th at 8 PM
Tickets on sale 7/31 @ 10 AM
Online at tickets.mercedtheatre.org or call (209) 381-0500

Merced, CA – The Tony® Award-nominated Broadway musical A Night With Janis Joplin rocks Merced Theatre
on Wednesday, October 10th at 8 PM. Tickets are available on line at tickets.mercedtheatre.org and or call (209)
381-0500.
The Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical, A Night With Janis Joplin is a musical journey celebrating Janis
Joplin and the genesis of her musical genius through encounters with her seminal musical influences — Aretha
Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith. After each encounter, we hear an explosive Joplin
song incorporating those who inspired her into what became her legendary rock & roll style.
Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost
overnight, became the Queen of Rock n Roll. Her unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with
Southern Comfort, made Joplin a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. Audiences will enjoy Joplin’s
favorites, including Piece of My Heart, Cry Baby, Me and Bobby McGee and many others

 

Quotes:
“A ROCKIN’ GOOD TIME! A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is a loud, colorful, high-caliber spectacle.” – Associated Press
“LUSTY, POWERFUL, AND UNDENIABLY CROWD-PLEASING. The Audience rose to their feet!" – The Huffington Post
"A stage show REMARKABLE IN EVERY WAY imaginable!" – Eric Marchese, The Orange County Register
"FASCINATING, ENTERTAINING!" – Eric Marchese, The Orange County Register
“MIND-BLOWING…a psychedelic flashback to the glory days of the Haight-Ashbury.” – Bay Area News Group

back to top

August 16 , 2018

 

Hollywood Legend Eric Roberts to Appear at California Republic Comic Con in Merced

Northern California and Central Valley movie fans are in for a special treat as Eric Roberts, who has over 500 film credits, an Oscar nomination for his performance in "Runaway Train", and three Golden Globe nods including his 1978 big screen debut role in "King of the Gypsies", will appear at California Republic Comic Con in Merced, California September 15th, will greet fans, sign autographs and pose for photo ops.

One of the most prolific actors in American history, Eric Roberts is widely known to pop culture fans for his roles as the Master in "Doctor Who" TV movie (1996), the gangster Maroni in "The Dark Knight" (2008). With hundreds of roles, and over fifteen acting awards, Eric Roberts is a Hollywood legend, and a very sought-after actor who rarely makes convention appearances.

At California Republic Comic Con Eric Roberts will be joined by his wife, actress and producer Eliza Roberts, best-known for her role in the 70's classic "Animal House". Also appearing at the Merced show are Carlena Britch ("X-Files", "Supernatural"), France Nuyen ("Star Trek", "Battle for the Planet of the Apes", "South Pacific", "Diamond Head"), Jimmy Hunt ("Invaders from Mars"), and Richard Oldfield, known for his infamous line 'Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?' in "Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back", who travels all the way from the UK to meet his American fans.

Brennan Mejia and Davi Santos, stars of 'Power Rangers Dino Charge" will be meeting convention-goers for autograph and photo op sessions, with Mejia appearing in his Red Power Ranger suit. Anime and video games fans will get a chance to meet Chris Niosi who is known for playing the role of Haruo in the animated Godzilla film "Godzilla: Monster Planet" (2017), and Kira Buckland, who gave her voice to 2B in the hit video game "NieR: Automata", as well as many anime including "Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans" and "Pokemon Generations".

California Republic Comic Con brings pop culture fun to fans of all ages. The program features an international independent film festival hosted by Violette Films, a local film production company, a concert on the green, video games, cosplay contest, and activities for kids and adults alike.

The event is open 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 15th, 2018, at the Merced County Fairgrounds in Merced, CA. Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult.

For more on California Republic Comic Con, visit www.californiarepubliccomiccon.com

About California Republic Comic Con:
California Republic Comic Con (CRCC) is Merced's official comic con, the biggest annual pop culture event in Merced County. Produced by the fan-run Colossus Girl Entertainment LLC, it caters to the fans who want to enjoy the comforts of fandom without the corporate hustle and bustle, high prices and the need to travel far for a good show, and also without sacrificing quality. Each CRCC show is filled with film and TV stars, artists, comic books, toys, games, everything science fiction, fantasy, and anime, as well as video games, music, live entertainment, food, and much much more. A family friendly environment, and the perfect place to enjoy everything from cosplay to game tournaments.

2018 CONVENTION SEASON:

May 12th - Meadowlark Comic Con | Medford, OR
www.meadowlarkcomiccon.com

July 28th - Powerhouse Comic Con | Pleasanton, CA
www.powerhousecomiccon.com

September 15th - California Republic Comic Con | Merced, CA
www.californiarepubliccomiccon.com

October 20th - Campbell Con | Saratoga, CA NEW VENUE!
www.campbellcon.com

back to top

August 16 , 2018

STANISLAUS COUNTY FARM BUREAU VOTES TO ENDORSE
ROB POYTHRESS FOR SENATE DISTRICT 12

Today, Rob Poythress (R - Madera) announced that he has been endorsed for State Senate District 12 by the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. The Stanislaus Farm Bureau joins the growing list of SD 12 farmers, Ag groups, and Ag workers to support Poythress for State Senate.

"As a farmer in the Central Valley it means a lot to me to have the backing of the Stanislaus Farm Bureau" said Poythress, " The [Stanislaus] Farm Bureau has been standing up for farmers and their employees for over 100 years and I am honored to have their support to fight for Senate District 12 in Sacramento" concluded Poythress.

The 12th Senate District represents parts of Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, Monterey and San Benito counties. It is currently represented by Republican Anthony Cannella, who will be terming out this year.

Rob Poythress is a Madera County Supervisor, farmer, and small business owner. For more information on Rob Poythress and his campaign for the 12thSenate District, please visit PoythressForSenate.com.

back to top

August 14 , 2018

YARTS to offer reduced fare to Yosemite for Merced County Residents

MERCED – Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) announced this week that it will offer reduced round-trip fares to Yosemite National Park starting, August 15, 2018 for all Merced County residents. Passengers will be able to purchase their tickets at The Bus/YARTS Administration Office, 1810 K Street, Merced.
Reduced Fares
Adults: $5.00
Children 13-17: $2.50
Children 12 and under: Free

“We are excited to offer the reduced fare service to Merced County residents,” said Assistant Transit Manager, Cindy Kelly. “We hope to encourage people who’ve never ridden YARTS to give it a try, and experience our nation’s jewel without adding to the congestion problem.” This reduced fare program is made possible through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP). LCTOP is provided to transit agencies to improve mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grant will fund reduced fares through June 30, 2019.
YARTS is a regional public transit service that provides a year-round alternative to driving to Yosemite from Merced and Mariposa along Highway 140, and from Highways 120, 395 and 41 during summer months. YARTS schedules make connections with all intercity transportation providers in Merced: Amtrak, Greyhound and Boutique Air at the Merced Airport, and also connects to transit providers in Mono, Tuolumne and Fresno Counties during summer operations.


For more information about YARTS or the seasonal schedules, please visit www.yarts.com or call (877)989-2787.
YARTS is a California Joint Powers Authority comprised of Merced, Mariposa and Mono Counties in partnership with Caltrans, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service and the United States Forest Service. MCAG provides staff services and operational support for YARTS.

 

back to top

August 14 , 2018

 

Rep. Costa and Valley Agriculture Leaders Raise Concerns with Secretary Perdue

Fresno, CA – Today, Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hosted two events with local Valley producers to hear their concerns and explore ways to improve Valley agriculture.

Both events included tours of the farms and sessions designed for local producers to share their concerns and priorities with the officials. Many issues critical to San Joaquin Valley communities were brought to the attention of the Secretary, including the impacts of tariffs on Valley agriculture producers and the local economy, the need for an accessible agricultural labor force, the need to improve the reliability of Valley water supplies and the importance of immigration reform to Valley communities.

“I want to thank Secretary Perdue for coming to the Valley and hearing from our local farmers. As a third-generation family farmer, I know first-hand how vitally important trade, water and access to labor are to our Valley’s agricultural system,” said Congressman Costa. “Agriculture is different in every region of the country and it is important to understand these differences. California exports over 40 percent of its products and tariffs are already beginning to negatively affect access to foreign markets. No one wins a trade war and this one will hurt Valley communities and our families. I look forward to working with the Secretary to address these concerns.”


Congressman Jim Costa

Costa continued, “There is no issue more important to the future of the San Joaquin Valley than ensuring reliable water supplies. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and the Administration in a bipartisan way to bring more water to our Valley.”

Congressman Costa has worked on food policy for decades, both in the California state legislature and the U.S. Congress. As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, Costa has been appointed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee. The Committee is made up of House members and Senators tasked with reconciling the differences between the two chambers’ versions of the Farm Bill in order to move the policy forward.

back to top

August 14, 2018

Yosemite Valley to Reopen to Visitors on Tuesday, August 14th, at 9:00 a.m.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to reopen on Monday, August 13th

Yosemite National Park is pleased to announce that Yosemite Valley will reopen to visitors on Tuesday, August 14th, at 9:00 a.m. Yosemite Valley has been closed to visitors since Wednesday, July 25th, due to impacts from the Ferguson Fire. Visitors can access Yosemite Valley from the El Portal Road (Highway 140), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or the Tioga Road (Highway 120).

The Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed from Wawona to Yosemite Valley for at least another week due to ongoing fire activity and firefighter operations. Park visitors should be aware that there is still active fire and smoke on the roads and people should drive with extreme caution. Delays on the roads are possible due to fire activity and ongoing firefighter operations. There will be limited hours and limited visitor services at park facilities as the park returns to normal operations.

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will reopen to the public on Monday, August 13th, at 9:00 a.m. Visitors can access the Mariposa Grove via the South Entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly constructed parking area. The free shuttle buses to the Mariposa Grove will begin at 9:00 am. and take visitors to the newly restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Mariposa Grove reopened to visitors on June 14th, after a 3 year restoration project conducted in partnership with Yosemite Conservancy. Visitors will be able to travel to the Wawona area via the South Entrance (Highway 41). However, there is no access to Yosemite Valley via HIghway 41.

The Glacier Point Road remains closed and is expected to open when the Wawona Road (Highway 41) reopens. The Hetch Hetchy Area remains closed due to smoke impacts but is expected to reopen soon.

"We'd like to express our sincere gratitude to the firefighters and, Incident command teams for their great efforts in suppressing the Ferguson Fire. We'd also like to express our gratitude and thanks to our gateway communites who tirelessly helped visitors to the area while they were being impacted by the fire", stated Michael Reynolds, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. "This is truly a historic and unprecedented event in park history, and we are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove."

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose and on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.

For the latest information on the Ferguson Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/.
For updated maps of the Ferguson Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/5927/.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

August 14, 2018

 

Four promoted, one sworn in at Merced PD

It was a busy day for the Merced Police Department Friday as four officers were promoted and one new officer joined the ranks.
Police Chief Christopher Goodwin presided over the ceremonies calling it a “great day” for the Department when it gets to promote so many within its ranks. One new captain, a lieutenant and two new sergeants were promoted.
Don King started working at the Merced Police Department in 1994 as a patrol officer. He has worked as a K-9 officer, in the Traffic Division and served as a Field Training Officer. He was assigned to the Investigations Division in 2001 and promoted to sergeant in 2007. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2016. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
He spent eight years as a SWAT operator and supervised the Crime Scene Response Team, Defensive Tactics Unit and the Disruptive Area Response Team (DART).
Joseph Weiss has been with the Depart for 20 year. Originally from Fresno, he came to Merced in 1996, He’s been a patrol officer, detective, and sergeant. He’s been on the SWAT team, Crime Scene Response Team, High Tech Crimes Unit, the Bomb Squad and the Terrorism Liaison Officer. He holds a degree in criminology and is currently in a master’s degree program. Weiss and his wife, Shauna, have a daughter, Sidney, 21, and a son, Jacob, 16.
Emily Foster is a Modesto native and has lived in Merced for the past 16 years. She started at the Department as a management analyst and was a reserve officer before becoming a police officer 11 years ago. She served as a School Resource Officer and a Field Training Officer and has been on the Crime Scene Response Team and the Hostage Negotiations Team. She holds bachelor’s degrees in organization communications and business administration and a master’s degree in business administration. In her free time she enjoys traveling, gardening, playing roller derby and spending time with her 10 nieces and nephews. She volunteers as the chair of the Junior Leadership Merced Committer through the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce.
Christopher Russell, a Merced native and Merced High graduate, was hired by the Merced Police Department in 1998 and was a Field Training Officer and served on the Street Crimes Unit. He’s been a major crimes investigator for the past 11 years. He has a bachelor’s degree.
Logan Cunning is from Fresno and will be sworn in as a police officer. He holds an Associate’s degree in criminology and a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Fresno State where he was on the President’s List with a 4.0 GPA. In his spare time he likes playing men’s league baseball, spending time with his girlfriend, Kersten McLain, and playing with his dog.
The Department has filled 90 of the 98 budgeted positions. Goodwin has made recruitment and retention a Department priority when he took over the Department as acting chief at the beginning of the year, and has continued that effort after becoming permanent Chief in June.
The Department is continuing its recruitment efforts. The City is currently recruiting for both police officers and police officer trainees. The position of police officer pays $62,169.36 to $75,566.88 a year. Trainees can earn from $40,264.08 to $48,941.04. More information on the jobs can be found at the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org.


Don King is sworn in as a captain by Police Chief Christopher Goodwin Friday.


New Merced Police Officer Logan Cunning gets his badge pinned on by family members.]


New Sgts. Emily Foster and Christopher Russell are sworn in by Police Chief Christopher Goodwin Friday.

After she pinned the badge on her son, Lt. Joseph Weiss, Susan Weiss cheered.

back to top

August 14, 2018

Atwater FFA Officers Attend Leadership Retreat

Written by: Atwater FFA

 

“It Starts Now” was selected as the 2018-2019 Atwater FFA theme as advisors and chapter officers gathered at South Lake Tahoe, CA for their annual Atwater FFA Chapter Officer Leadership Retreat. “This year’s theme correlates with numerous academic, personal growth, leadership, and career exploration opportunities students will have through their enrollment and involvement in FFA and agriculture education this upcoming school year,” said Atwater FFA President Emmanuel Mejia. The primary goals of the annual three day retreat was to plan the calendar, identify yearly objectives to help strengthen and continue the growth of its members and program, and strengthen team building skills.

“Our officer team starts the school year with focus, vision, and enthusiasm in leading their organization and our students,” said FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. This year’s officer team hopes to inspire student leadership, expand personal success, increase participation from current members, and strengthen recruitment of new members.

Highlights from the leadership retreat included visiting the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park to participate in aerial trekking courses, such as zip lines and other treetop obstacles. This was the first time on a ropes course for all the students. “The experience made me face my fear of heights, overcome challenges, and gain self-confidence through the experience,” said FFA officer Luz Soto. “I experience was exhilarating!” Personality tests, team-building activities, and various recreational lake activities also took place among the students during the retreat.

The Atwater High School agriculture program has been recognized as one of the state’s most productive agriculture programs by the California Agricultural Teacher’s Association (CATA) and the National Association of Agriculture Educators (NAAE). “We have tremendous support from our school


The 2018-2019 Atwater FFA Chapter Officer Team's Emmanuel Mejia (President), Cristal Venegas (Vice President), Kaya Briscoe (Treasurer), Elisabeth Garner (Secretary), Luz Soto (Historian), Alyssa Carrillo (Reporter), and Alfredo Elirraraz (Sentinel) gathered at South lake Tahoe for the annual chapter leadership retreat.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

administration, school district, and our community in supporting FFA and agriculture education as a way to get students involved and provide individuals with purpose, direction and self-confidence in life,” said agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Shelby West.

The new officer team is looking forward to the challenges and rewards that the upcoming 2018-2019 school year holds for them. This year’s officer team includes Emmanuel Mejia, President; Cristal Venegas, Vice President; Elisabeth Garner, Secretary; Kaya Briscoe, Treasurer; Alyssa Carrillo, Reporter; Alfredo Elizarraraz, Sentinel; and Luz Soto, Historian. In addition to the Atwater FFA chapter officers, one other Atwater FFA member (Michael Bray) joined the leadership retreat as he will be serving as a sectional FFA officer within the Merced-Mariposa section.

For more information on the Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .

 

back to top

August 10 , 2018

RED CROSS BRINGS COMFORT TO MARIPOSA IN WAKE OF FERGUSON FIRE

Mariposa, Calif., August 9, 2018 — In coordination with local government officials, the American Red Cross of the Central Valley has transitioned all shelter relief operations as mandatory evacuations were announced. Yesterday at 2pm, all residents returned home after days and weeks of being evacuated from the Ferguson Fire.

Since July 15, 2018, over 50 Red Cross workers have:
• Served 5,315 meals and snacks
• Distributed nearly 6,000 relief supplies including comfort kits with hygiene items and clean-up kits
• Provided 493 overnight stays in shelters over 24 days
• Made over 630 mental health or health-related contacts

Returning Home and Recovering After a Wildfire
The Red Cross offers the following safety tips for families as they begin to return home and recover from wildfires:
1. Do not enter your home until fire officials say it is safe.
2. Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.
3. Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles and downed wires.
4. Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn your pets’ paws or hooves.
5. Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
6. Take precautions while cleaning your property. You may be exposed to potential health risks from hazardous materials.

Find these and other wildfire safety tips online at redcross.org or in the Red Cross Emergency App. Download the Red Cross Emergency App for preparedness information and shelter locations at your fingertips. Look for it in your app store, or text GETEMERGENCY to 90999.

HOW TO HELP

countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help

 

 

You can help people affected by disasters big and small, like wildfires and people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER
The Red Cross is accepting new volunteers who are interested in supporting wildfire relief efforts. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to begin an application. Once submitted, Red Cross representatives will contact the applicants regarding orientation and volunteer opportunities.

LEARN MORE
Follow the local Red Cross on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates. Visit our website at redcross.org/centralcalifornia.


About the American Red Cross Central California Region
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross Central California Region provides services to the ten counties across Central California that is home to more than 4 million people. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org.

back to top

August 9 , 2018

Volunteers Complete Colorful Project at Peterson Elementary

Students at Peterson Elementary in Merced will return to a blacktop play area filled with colorful new artwork and activities when school resumes on August 15. Members of the Parent Teacher Club (PTC) volunteered their time to paint a large map of the United States and a map of the continents as well as 10 foursquare courts and three hopscotch courts.
PTC vice president Robin Kuhls says it’s a project she’s been dreaming of for the past two years. She’s the mother of a current Peterson fourth grader and two freshmen who also attended the school. She says when the district did a fresh slurry seal on the blacktop last year as part of a Measure M improvement project, she knew it was time to make the vision a reality.
The PTC held a fundraiser to purchase supplies and planned the design before Kuhls and 11 other volunteers went to work on July 30. They set up small tents to help shield them from the summer heat and finished the project on August 2. Kuhls says, “I’m ecstatic that we were able to do this for all of the children at Peterson. I can’t wait to see them out there enjoying it soon!” Kulhs adds that this is just phase one of the project, and they have more exciting ideas in mind for phase two.
Peterson Elementary principal Suzanne Fagundes says, “We are so grateful for the time and effort that our PTC board and members put into this project. It will not only give our students more fun activities to enjoy outdoors, but it will also help them with geography.”
Peterson Learning Director Josy Pulido adds, “It makes Peterson look vibrant and inviting! Our PTC is incredibly hard working and dedicated to our kids.”
The Merced City School District would also like to thank all of the volunteers who helped with this project: Robin Kuhls, Kelly McKain, Christa Bruner, Silvia Linan, Amy Jimenez, Zandra Villanueva, Allison Speidel, Rocio Salazar, David Sanchez, Michelle Taylor, Jeff Chiesa, and Felix Noriega.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first two photos were taken via a drone, and I would ask that you please courtesy Tany Laguna on those.


the volunteers who worked on the project, and their names are listed at the bottom of this press release.




 

 

back to top

August 9 , 2018

Merced Police Department accepting applications for the Citizen’s Police Academy that starts September 5, 2018.

Deadline to register is Friday, August 24 @ 4 p.m. or when the class size reaches 28 participants.
Narrative:
The Citizen’s Police Academy is one of the programs that Police Chief Christopher Goodwin has in place to help residents gain understanding about the City of Merced Police Department and about the law enforcement profession. Each year the department takes 45-55 residents through the eleven week program.
Each week the participants meet with department experts to learn about the various procedures, programs and specialty units within the police department. By reaching out to the community through programs like the Citizen’s Academy, the police department strengthens the trust that the community has in the police department and the trust that the community has in the officers who are sworn to serve and protect the residents of Merced.

 

 

The next eleven week session begins on September 5, 2018. Citizen’s Academy meetings are held each Wednesday evening from 6 pm – 9 pm.
Anyone interested in applying for the Citizen’s Police Academy can pick up an application at the Police Department located at 611 W. 22nd Street.
Applications are also available online through the City of Merced website
(cityofmerced.org). Completed applications may be delivered to the department or faxed to (209) 388-8943.
For additional information contact Community Liaison Eugene Drummond at (209) 385-6297.

back to top

August 9 , 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 59 FROM THE BLACK RASCAL CANAL
TO OAKDALE ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is performing grinding and paving work on northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59) from the south fork of the Black Rascal Canal to Oakdale Road in Merced.
Work is scheduled as follows:
• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Black Rascal Canal to Oakdale Road beginning Sunday, August 5, 2018, through Saturday, August 11, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.

• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Belcher Avenue to Oakdale Road beginning Monday, August 6, 2018, through Saturday, August 11, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The purpose of this project is to restore the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement and to limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, both for motorists and taxpayers. An overlay of rubberized asphalt concrete will be used to enhance this section of SR-59/Snelling Highway – a pivotal roadway for local motorists and agricultural traffic.
Motorists should expect 15 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 33/SANTA NELLA BOULEVARD
FROM STATE ROUTE 152 TO STATE ROUTE 140 IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 (SR-33)/Santa Nella Boulevard from SR-152 to Vera Cruz Drive and from McCabe Road in Santa Nella to SR-140 in Gustine for grinding and paving work.

Work is scheduled beginning Sunday, August 5, 2018, through Friday, August 10, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

This work is part of a project that will install a slurry seal (a mixture that rejuvenates pavement) and asphalt overlays for 13.3 miles from SR-152 to SR-140 in Merced County.

Slurry seal is economical, corrects existing distresses in the roadway such as surface cracking and makes pavement waterproof to prevent further deterioration.

Motorists should expect 15 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE TO END
STATE ROUTE 49 RE-OPENING FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is scheduled to re-open northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) by the end of the day on Friday, August 3, 2018, after a long-term closure dating to the Moccasin Storm in March.

The closure is necessary for repair work due to the violent storm that included heavy rain fall in a short stretch of time, causing multiple road washouts in Mariposa County, on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
Caltrans crews and construction partners have rebuilt the slopes along the shoulders of the road; installed a new drainage system including 24-inch flumes (artificial channels for conducting water); put down fiber rolls and wattles (erosion control measures) and repaved the road. Restriping the road is scheduled in the morning on Friday, August 3.
Caltrans would like to thank motorists and local residents for their patience and cooperation during this process.

For videos on the storm repair work being done by Caltrans and our construction partners, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XAGWcbbqoV2h6LOQR7WnQ.

 

 

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
LONG-TERM RAMP AND REST AREA CLOSURE
TURLOCK REST AREA OFF SOUTHBOUND STATE ROUTE 99

TURLOCK – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed the Turlock Rest Area off southbound State Route 99 (SR-99), and the on and off-ramps at this location, until October 2018 for highway construction.

The Turlock Rest Area off northbound SR-99 – also known as the Enoch Christoffersen Northbound Rest Area – will be open during this time.

This work is part of a project that is replacing the two outside lanes and shoulder on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Bradbury Road in Merced County to just north of the Merced/Stanislaus County line.
This is the second phase of the project, where the #2 (center) and #3 (right) lanes and outside shoulder are being restored with reinforced concrete pavement. The closure of the Turlock Rest Area – also known as the Enoch Christoffersen Southbound Rest Area – is scheduled to alleviate traffic congestion.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM THE MERCED/MADERA COUNTY LINE
TO HARVARD AVENUE IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various full on and off-ramp closures and intermittent lane closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from the Madera/Merced county line to Harvard Avenue for highway construction.

No two consecutive ramps will be closed simultaneously.

Work is scheduled as follows:

• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound SR-99 at the truck inspection station just north of the county line for striping beginning Sunday, August 5, 2018, through Friday, August 10, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at Sandy Mush Road and at Le Grand Road for striping beginning Sunday, August 5, 2018, through Friday, August 10, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The ramp closures are all part of a project that is re-striping 27 miles of northbound and southbound SR-99 in Merced County. The intermittent lane closures include the #1 (left), #2 (middle) and #3 (right) lanes of the road.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.


CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
INTERSTATE 5 FROM ORTIGALITA CREEK BRIDGE
TO WEST BANK ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — Caltrans will perform ramp closures and alternating lane and shoulder closures on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from the Ortigalita Creek Bridge to West Bank Road.

This work is part of a project funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This project will rehabilitate 18 bridge locations on I-5 and State Route 152 (SR-152) in Merced County.

There is a scheduled full closure of the connector ramp from northbound I-5 to eastbound SR-152 for bridge work beginning Sunday, August 5, 2018, through Friday, August 10, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.

Motorists can expect 10 minute delays, and alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. Work began the week of July 1, and crews will also work on SR-152 at the San Luis Dam Forebay and California Aqueduct bridges as part of this project.

There are no current plans for full highway closures on I-5 or SR-152. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, use alternate routes, and Be Work Zone Alert.

The work schedule is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

back to top

August 9 , 2018

Costa on Tariffs Hurting the San Joaquin Valley

Fresno, CA – Today, Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement in response to the retaliatory tariffs China implemented today, thus continuing the escalation of the trade war between China and the United States:

“We’re all concerned about addressing imbalanced and unfair trade practices, which has to be our end-game. But we are losing this end-game. These tariffs are hurting the San Joaquin Valley and people across the nation, and it is only getting worse. We must stop this trade war before it reaches a point where it will have long-term damaging effects. Ultimately, we must work together for a resolution between the United States, Canada, Mexico, and our European and Pacific Rim allies for how to most effectively deal with China and other countries to ensure fair and balanced trade.”

Congressman Costa has been a leading advocate for ensuring that California agriculture stays competitive in the midst of the Administration’s tariff-based approach to addressing trade imbalances. Rep. Costa immediately warned of the trade war and consequences that would likely result from the tariffs since the Administration signed its initial tariffs on steel and aluminum in March, noting that “California agriculture will likely feel the most intense and direct pain from these tariffs. California farmers and ranchers earned about $21 billion from trade in 2016, which was roughly 44 percent of their total revenue.”

Since then, Costa has pressed the Administration to take a more strategic and long-term approach to trade as well as urged his colleagues to come together and reassert Congress’s constitutional authority and responsibility in U.S. trade agreements. In May he led fellow California House members in a united bipartisan message calling on United States Trade Representative Robert


Congressman Jim Costa



Lighthizer to address unfair or unbalanced trade practices “through aligned efforts with our allies across the globe and abandon the current back and forth retaliation that will ultimately impact both rural and urban businesses in California and across the nation.”

Just last week, Rep. Costa again led a bipartisan coalition message to the Administration. The coalition – led by Costa and Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10) – called on U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with members of Congress and specialty crop producers to ensure the producers receive mitigation dollars equal to the damage the specialty crop industry is already feeling from the retaliatory tariffs.

back to top

July 10 , 2018

The lobby of the Merced Civic Center was packed with family, friends, colleagues, and community leaders watching Chris Goodwin being sworn-in as Chief of Police by Mayor Mike Murphy. Chief Goodwin now serves as the leader of the City of Merced Police Department composed of 95 sworn officers and 33 non-sworn personnel.

“Serving the streets of Merced for over 22 years, Chief Goodwin brings his experience and education to the Merced Police Department,” says Mayor Mike Murphy. “He is also well anchored in the community, has an established network, and possesses institutional knowledge from the prior positions he held.”

Chief Goodwin has enthusiasm for recruiting well-qualified officers, setting a goal of integrating technology with community based policing and desire to push the department to evolve with law enforcement trends, truly sets him apart. According to City Manager Steve Carrigan, “Chief Chris Goodwin is passionate about his home and protecting those within his community.”

“I am honored to serve the City of Merced as its Police Chief. Our community expects a high Quality of Life. Council responds by assembling one of the finest Police Departments in the San Joaquin Valley,” says Chief Goodwin.

A Santa Clara native, Chief Goodwin came to the Merced Police department in 1996. He worked his way up through the ranks starting in patrol. He continued to serve as a detective and later a sergeant - both supervising patrol and the Gang Violence Suppression Unit. He was then promoted to Lieutenant and later Captain, specializing in SWAT, defense tactics and the department’s active shooter program for over 15 of his 22 years. This extensive experience coupled with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice have prepared him to take the next step in his career - as the Chief of the Merced Police Department.

Chief Chris Goodwin is married to Jackie Goodwin, and a father to his two sons – Joel and Jenson and his daughter Carolina. He enjoys working-out, is an avid duck hunter, and a college sports fan.


Chief Chris Goodwin

 

back to top

July 10 , 2018

Students enjoy hands-on STEAM lessons at MCSD Summer Academy

More than a thousand students from throughout the Merced City School District are enjoying a variety of fun and interactive learning opportunities during Summer Academy.
They’re getting a chance to create their own math games, produce videos, make instruments, conduct science experiments, and much more! There are also special performances, assemblies, and educational excursions to places such as local zoos, museums, colleges, and universities. The content is further supported through literature, computer simulations, and art projects.
All of the activities and other classroom instruction are based around integrated STEAM learning – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. This approach helps students develop 21st century skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
The session started June 18 and will continue through July 13. The classes are open to children who are going into kindergarten through 8th grade. They are being held at Sheehy Elementary, Givens Elementary, and the MCSD STEAM Center. At the end of the program, students will present their projects to their families and peers during a special showcase.
Summer Academy also offers online programs for foreign language and mathematics. Students enrolled in those courses can work from home at their own pace but also have the option of attending classes at the school sites for extra support and unique learning opportunities that incorporate art into both subjects. Those who meet certain math requirements this summer will be eligible for advanced math classes in the fall, setting them on an accelerated college/career path by completing high school requirements while still in middle school.
MCSD began offering Summer Academy in 2013 to give students more time to learn, and it has continued to evolve into an enriching experience that students, parents, and staff look forward to each year.
Please let me know if you have any questions.





back to top

July 10, 2018

City of Merced False Alarm Reduction Program
City to go live on July 1, 2018

The City of Merced will go live with their new Alarm Reduction Program on July 1, 2018. In an effort to reduce false alarms within the City of Merced, the City has updated its alarm ordinance and collaborated with PM AM Corporation to implement and administer the False Alarm Reduction Program. The partnership will also provide educational training for our citizens. PM AM is a national company with expertise in this area and will be responsible for our alarm permit registrations, false alarm billings, and educational material. Per Chief Goodwin, PM AM has a record of providing excellent customer service. As of July 1, A False Alarm Management System (FAMS) website has been established to assist City of Merced customers atwww.FAMSpermit.com/Merced . Prior to July 1, please continue to contact the Merced Police Department at 209-388-7800 for questions or permit processing.

The goal of the ordinance and the city’s partnership with PM AM is to reduce the number of false alarm activations requiring a response by the Merced Police Department. Chief Goodwin states, “This will free up police resources and reduce the fines levied on alarm customers by having a company who can reach out to the citizens of our city who may have alarm malfunctions. With this type of partnership the alarm owner should be notified quickly of any false alarms so that they can correct the malfunction.” With fewer false alarm activations the officers will be available to respond to the more urgent calls.

For current alarm permit holders, there is nothing that will need to be done. All

 

account and transaction history will be uploaded to the new system. As of July 1, 2018, users will be able to visit the citizen web portal and they will be able to request a user name and password. Once the user validates their information, the system will email back their username and password. For those citizens who are unable to complete the new account setup, you may contact PM AM at 1-888-387-1959 and a customer service representative will be able to assist you.

Initial Alarm Registration: The City of Merced Alarm Ordinance requires all residents and businesses to apply for an alarm permit by completing an online application available atwww.FAMSpermit.com/Merced. Alternatively, citizens can also complete the application by hand and send it to:

City of Merced False Alarm Reduction Program
P.O. Box 141415
Irving, TX 75014

Failure to register your alarm will result in additional penalties or fines.

For any questions related to the City of Merced Alarm Reduction Program, please call PM AM at 1-888-387-1958 Monday through Friday 6:30 AM to 3:30 PM PST.

back to top

July 10 , 2018

The Next Chapter of California’s Water Wars Has Begun


(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement condemning today’s announcement from the State Water Resources Control Board to ignore decade’s worth of science and public opinion by adopting radical new requirements to seize and waste critically needed San Joaquin Valley water supplies.

“The State Water Resources Control Board’s decision today is the first shot fired in the next chapter of California’s water wars. The board has chosen to create, in their own words, ‘a permanent regulatory drought’ and shrugged off our concerns as ‘significant but unavoidable’.

This is what theft looks like. A small group of special interests have spent years plotting one of the largest water takes in our state’s history. They attempted and failed to change the law and win in court, so instead they have infiltrated government itself. They positioned their allies to influence the process from within and spent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to prop up their house of cards. Despite entire agencies at their disposal and seemingly unlimited funds, no amount of trickery can obscure the truth – their fish first philosophy will decimate our region, poison our drinking water, and provide no environmental benefit what-so-ever.

These special interests are desperate to claim the moral high ground and demonize our entire region. They speak about the people of the San Joaquin Valley as if we are parasites on the land and demand we apologize for our very existence.

They do this because without the zealous drumbeat of environmentalism on


Assemblymember Adam C. Gray

their side, the truth would have an opportunity to surface. People would begin to question the wisdom of poisoning the drinking water of poor immigrant communities or the sense in decimating the farms that feed the nation and fields that make California’s farm-to-fork movement possible. People would question why the proponents of a plan designed to save fish cannot demonstrate any meaningful benefit to those very fish or why the questions and concerns of a million people do not deserve even a halfhearted response. People might even question whether it is really environmentally friendly to sacrifice the health of one environment for the health of another.

They have left us no alternative. We will continue to negotiate with the best interests of the Valley at heart, but, if the state continues to violate the principles of good faith, a decades worth of lawsuits are about to begin.

The final public comment period is now open until July 27th with final adoption scheduled for August 21st. Please submit your comments to tell the State Water Board exactly how their plan will impact your community. They have made the comment period short to try to keep us quiet. Let’s not let them.”

back to top

July 10, 2018

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM THE TRUCK INSPECTION STATION
TO LE GRAND ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from the truck inspection station to Le Grand Road in Merced County for striping work.

Work is scheduled as follows:

• Full on-ramp closure from the truck inspection station to northbound SR-99 beginning Sunday, July 8, 2018, through Friday, July 13, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at Sandy Mush Road and at Le Grand Road beginning Sunday, July 8, 2018, through Friday, July 13, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

This work is part of a project that is re-striping 27 miles total of SR-99 in Merced County.
The 6-inch stripes being installed improve the safety and mobility of the roadway by improving visibility and road comprehension for motorists. The reflective material used is also beneficial for emerging technology that allows autonomous vehicles to “see” the road clearly.
There will also be intermittent lane closures for 11 miles on southbound SR-99 from Harvard Avenue to the Merced/Madera County line at the same time as the ramp closures.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

 

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

 


CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 59 FROM THE BLACK RASCAL CANAL
TO OAKDALE ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is performing pavement work on northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59) from the south fork of the Black Rascal Canal to Oakdale Road in Merced.
Work is scheduled as follows:
• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Black Rascal Canal to Belcher Avenue beginning Sunday, July 8, 2018, through Monday, July 9, 2018, from 9:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. for grinding and paving.

• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Belcher Avenue to Oakdale Road beginning Tuesday, July 10, 2018, through Friday, July 13, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for grinding and paving.

This work is part of a 6.8 mile pavement improvement project on SR-59.
The purpose of this project is to restore the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement and to limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, both for motorists and taxpayers. An overlay of rubberized asphalt concrete will be used to enhance this section of SR-59/Snelling Highway – a pivotal roadway for local motorists and agricultural traffic.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) long term for approximately 15 miles from Bear Valley to the junction with SR-132. (Due to the Fourth of July holiday, there is no scheduled construction Wednesday, July 4, 2018, or Thursday, July 5, 2018.)

The closure is necessary for repair work due to the violent storm on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Caltrans crews and construction partners are working to re-open this section of SR-49 by Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
The roadway on this stretch of SR-49 was severely eroded due to the massive amount of water and must be given a new foundation and fully repaired before re-opening. This effort is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists.

The town of Coulterville is accessible via southbound SR-49 and via eastbound and westbound SR-132. SR-49 and SR-132 meet in Coulterville. Businesses are open in Coulterville.

Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues. For videos on the storm repair work being done by Caltrans and our construction partners, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XAGWcbbqoV2h6LOQR7WnQ

back to top

June 26, 2018

Turn in illegal fireworks, no questions asked

People possess illegal fireworks and want to get rid of them legally can dispose of them during the City’s Safe Surrender Day Sat., June 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re not going to ask any questions. We don’t care how you got them, we just want them off the streets and out of people’s homes,” said Merced Fire Chief Michael Wilkinson.
People can turn the fireworks in at Fire Station 51, the Fire Department’s headquarters, located at 99 E. 16th St. Fire personnel will be on hand to take them and put them in a safe container.
“This isn’t some sort of a sting operation,” Merced Police Chief Chris Goodwin said. “This is a public safety campaign. Illegal fireworks are dangerous. They can cause fires, they can hurt people, they are a public nuisance. We just want people to know how they can safely get rid of illegal fireworks without setting them off.”
The City has cracked down on illegal fireworks and so far four people were arrested for the sale of illegal fireworks. The police and fire department have plans for holiday enforcement teams to patrol City streets during the Fourth of July holidays citing people for setting off illegal fireworks. Fines can range from $1,000 to $2,000 and there is the possibility of criminal prosecution.
Illegal fireworks are generally anything that explodes or leaves the ground, and doesn’t have the California Fire Marshal’s Seal of Approval. They would include firecrackers, barrel bombs, M-80s, skyrockets and mortars. They are commonly bought out-of-state and brought into California. It’s also illegal to modify the “safe and sane” fireworks that are sold in Merced.
People with questions about Safe Surrender Day can call 209-388-SAFE (388-7233).
Call 388-SAFE to report illegal fireworks
People are encouraged to report anyone they see or know who is buying, selling, distributing, possessing or setting off illegal fireworks by calling 209-388-SAFE (388-7233). Someone will answer the line as available, but all messages will be followed up on.
Please don’t call 911 except to report a fire or injury. Part of the problem with illegal fireworks is that authorities usually receive multiple calls for any one offender. One neighbor setting off numerous skyrockets can swamp the 911 dispatchers with many calls on the same incident. The 209-388-SAFE number relieves pressure on the emergency dispatchers but still allows the illegal fireworks to get reported and acted upon.

 

On July 3 and 4 there will be a call center opened from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and operators will be answering the phones and sending reports of illegal fireworks directly to dispatchers. The information will be forwarded to teams in the field.
In addition, people can report illegal fireworks by sending an email tocelebratesafe@cityofmerced.org. Those emails will also get forwarded to authorities.
A third option is to report illegal fireworks using the Merced Connect app. The Merced Connect app is free and available at the Apple Store and Google Play. In addition to allowing you to report illegal fireworks, residents can obtain other information about City government.

back to top

June 22, 2018

A heat wave arrives, cooling zone opens over weekend

The City of Merced will open its cooling zone Saturday and Sunday as a heat wave arrives in the first days of summer. Temperatures are forecast to reach 105 degrees for Saturday and 102 Sunday before dropping to 98 degrees on Monday.

The cooling zone for the City of Merced will be in the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St. from 3 to 8 p.m. People can bring their pets to the cooling zone as long as they don’t disturb other people or pets.

“This weather doesn’t look like it will last long, but it is opening the door for a hot summer time,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “The cooling zone will give residents a cool place to go to escape the summer heat.”

“As always, we are asking people to check in on your neighbors, watch out for our vulnerable populations,” Dietz said. “Try to stay cool, and don’t leave kids or pets in your vehicles.”

People are reminded to stay hydrated during the heat wave, wear loose clothes and light colored fabrics.

Information on other cooling zones in Merced County can be found atwww.co.merced.ca.us

Below are some tips from the state Office of Emergency Services.

Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illness
• Never leave infants, children or the frail elderly unattended in a parked car.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
• Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Use a hat and sunscreen as needed.
• Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.)
• During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun.
• Use fans as needed.
• Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.
• Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.
• Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to the body. Eat frozen treats.
Read more: Division of Occupational Safety & Health (bilingual resources), Center for Disease Control and Prevention Tips for Preventing Heat-related Illness

 

 

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
Heat stroke—which occurs when the body can’t control its temperature—may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat.
Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include:
• An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally)
• Unconsciousness
• Dizziness, nausea and confusion
• Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include:
• Heavy sweating
• Muscle cramps
• Weakness
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Paleness, tiredness, dizziness

What to Do
If you see any of these signs for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should do the following:
• Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the victim.
• Get the victim to a shady area.
• Cool the victim rapidly with a cool bath or shower, or by sponging with cool water, until body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, orally.
• If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
• Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
• Again, get medical assistance as soon as possible.
If a victim’s muscles twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke, keep the victim from injuring him/herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his/her side.

back to top

June 22, 2018

Assemblymember Adam Gray Honors Veteran of the Year

Assemblymember Adam Gray honored Modesto American GI Forum Commander Steve Fimbrez as the Veteran of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. Commander Fimbrez was honored yesterday at a luncheon in Sacramento.

Steve joined the U.S. Air Force in July 1975, and he was sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas for basic training. After completing basic training he was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul Illinois where he trained to become a Fire
Protection Specialist. Later Steve received additional training at Chanute Air Force Base for Munitions and advanced Firefighter Rescue training. Steve was honorably discharged from the Air Force in July 1979.Upon returning to his home state of California, Steve continued his career as a Firefighter at the Defense Depot in Tracy, California. In January of 1982 he was hired by the Modesto Fire Department where he rose to the rank of Captain and retired after 33 years of service.

Steve is currently serving as the Commander for the American GI Forum PFC Oscar Sanchez Chapter of Modesto. He also serves as the Secretary for the State of California American GI Forum, and is the second Vice Commander for the newly formed American GI
Forum Riders, which is a veteran’s motorcycle and car club. Steve is currently serving as the veteran representative for the Stanislaus County Commission on Aging.

“Our community is fortunate to have such a dedicated individual such as Steve Fimbrez serving the needs of our veterans and their families,” said Assemblymember Gray. “Steve is a stellar example of how many in our armed forces continue their service for a lifetime.”


Modesto American GI Forum Commander Steve Fimbrez as the Veteran of the Year for the 21st Assembly District.

back to top

June 22, 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 59 FROM THE BLACK RASCAL CANAL
TO OAKDALE ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is performing pavement work on northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59) from the south fork of the Black Rascal Canal to Oakdale Road in Merced.
Work is scheduled as follows:
• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Black Rascal Canal to Belcher Avenue beginning Monday, June 25, 2018, through Friday, June 29, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. for grinding and paving.

• One-way traffic control on northbound and southbound SR-59 from Belcher Avenue to Oakdale Road beginning Monday, June 25, 2018, through Friday, June 29, 2018, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for grinding and paving.

This work is part of a 6.8 mile pavement improvement project on SR-59.
The purpose of this project is to restore the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement and to limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, both for motorists and taxpayers. An overlay of rubberized asphalt concrete will be used to enhance this section of SR-59/Snelling Highway – a pivotal roadway for local motorists and agricultural traffic.
Motorists should expect 15 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM MCCABE ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 140 IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 (SR-33) from McCabe Road in Santa Nella to SR-140 in Gustine for pavement work.

Work is scheduled beginning Sunday, June 24, 2018, through Friday, June 29, 2018, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

This work is part of a project that will install a slurry seal (a mixture that rejuvenates pavement) and asphalt overlays for 13.3 miles from SR-152 to SR-140 in Merced County.

Slurry seal is economical, corrects existing distresses in the roadway such as surface cracking and makes pavement waterproof to prevent further deterioration.

Motorists should expect 15 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 AT GOLDEN STATE BOULEVARD IN TURLOCK

TURLOCK – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform shoulder work on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) at Golden State Boulevard in Merced County.

Full on and off-ramp closures are scheduled on northbound and southbound SR-99 at Golden State Boulevard beginning Sunday, June 24, 2018, through Tuesday, June 26, 2018, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

The closures for shoulder work at Golden State Boulevard are part of a project that will replace the two outside lanes and shoulder on northbound and southbound SR-99, from just north of Bradbury Road to just north of the county line.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) long term for approximately 15 miles from Bear Valley to the junction with SR-132.

The closure is necessary for repair work due to the violent storm on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Caltrans crews and construction partners are working to re-open this section of SR-49 by Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
The roadway on this stretch of SR-49 was severely eroded due to the massive amount of water and must be given a new foundation and fully repaired before re-opening. This effort is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists.

Northbound and southbound SR-49 from the Mariposa/Tuolumne County line to Moccasin/SR-120 was re-opened on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Eastbound and westbound SR-132 from Granite Springs Road to Piney Creek Road in Mariposa County was re-opened on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues. For videos on the storm repair work being done by Caltrans and our construction partners, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XAGWcbbqoV2h6LOQR7WnQ.

 

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

June 22, 2018

Costa Continues Advocating for Bipartisan Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the House of Representative passed H.R. 2, more commonly known as the Farm Bill, with a razor-thin margin vote of 213 to 211:

“The partisan Farm Bill the House passed today abandons some of the most vulnerable people in our Valley. At the same time, it fails to build on the farm policies in previous Farm Bills that have successfully supported California producers. As I said when I voted against this exact same bill last month, it simply fails our farmers and our families. Worst of all, while the House advanced a bad Farm Bill today, it has failed to address the two largest issues currently facing California agriculture: ensuring a stable agricultural workforce and dealing with the President’s unnecessary and harmful trade war.

“While I do not support the Farm Bill the House passed, I am hopeful that the action taken today will bring us one step closer to conferencing with the U.S. Senate. I look forward to getting back to work on a bipartisan Farm Bill that serves farmers, feeds Americans, and provides our nation with food security.”


Congressman Jim Costa


back to top

June 21, 2018

Turn in illegal fireworks, no questions asked

People possess illegal fireworks and want to get rid of them legally can dispose of them during the City’s Safe Surrender Day Sat., June 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re not going to ask any questions. We don’t care how you got them, we just want them off the streets and out of people’s homes,” said Merced Fire Chief Michael Wilkinson.
People can turn the fireworks in at Fire Station 51, the Fire Department’s headquarters, located at 99 E. 16th St. Fire personnel will be on hand to take them and put them in a safe container.
“This isn’t some sort of a sting operation,” Merced Police Chief Chris Goodwin said. “This is a public safety campaign. Illegal fireworks are dangerous. They can cause fires, they can hurt people, they are a public nuisance. We just want people to know how they can safely get rid of illegal fireworks without setting them off.”
The City has cracked down on illegal fireworks and so far four people were arrested for the sale of illegal fireworks. The police and fire department have plans for holiday enforcement teams to patrol City streets during the Fourth of July holidays citing people for setting off illegal fireworks. Fines can range from $1,000 to $2,000 and there is the possibility of criminal prosecution.
Illegal fireworks are generally anything that explodes or leaves the ground, and doesn’t have the California Fire Marshal’s Seal of Approval. They would include firecrackers, barrel bombs, M-80s, skyrockets and mortars. They are commonly bought out-of-state and brought into California. It’s also illegal to modify the “safe and sane” fireworks that are sold in Merced.
People with questions about Safe Surrender Day can call 209-388-SAFE (388-7233).
Call 388-SAFE to report illegal fireworks
People are encouraged to report anyone they see or know who is buying, selling, distributing, possessing or setting off illegal fireworks by calling 209-388-SAFE (388-7233). Someone will answer the line as available, but all messages will be followed up on.
Please don’t call 911 except to report a fire or injury. Part of the problem with illegal fireworks is that authorities usually receive multiple calls for any one offender. One neighbor setting off numerous skyrockets can swamp the 911 dispatchers with many calls on the same incident. The 209-388-SAFE number relieves pressure on the emergency dispatchers but still allows the illegal fireworks to get reported and acted upon.

 

On July 3 and 4 there will be a call center opened from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and operators will be answering the phones and sending reports of illegal fireworks directly to dispatchers. The information will be forwarded to teams in the field.
In addition, people can report illegal fireworks by sending an email tocelebratesafe@cityofmerced.org. Those emails will also get forwarded to authorities.
A third option is to report illegal fireworks using the Merced Connect app. The Merced Connect app is free and available at the Apple Store and Google Play. In addition to allowing you to report illegal fireworks, residents can obtain other information about City government.

back to top

June 20, 2018

Christopher Goodwin named Merced Police Chief

(A swearing in ceremony for Merced Police Chief Christopher Goodwin will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 6 in the City Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St., Merced.)

From patrolling the streets of Merced, to managing drug informants, to supervising the SWAT team, Christopher Goodwin has pretty much done it all in the Merced Police Department.

On June 18, he will have achieved the top position in the Department as he becomes the police chief for the City of Merced.

Goodwin, a 21-year veteran of the Department, has been doing the job temporarily since the retirement of Chief Norman Andrade in December.

“Chris was the best person for the job,” City Manager Steve Carrigan said when he made the announcement Tuesday. “He knows the City, he knows the community, he knows the Department. He has everything I was looking for in a police chief.

“Chief Goodwin is the most qualified for the job. He’s been a beat cop, he’s commanded the patrol officers and command staff, he’s led SWAT and the training program,” Carrigan said. “And a big advantage he has is that Chris has been doing the chief’s job for the last seven months where he has been terrific, so it will be a seamless transition.”

“It’s a lot of work being chief, but I’m excited for this opportunity to work with the community and the City and the individuals in this Department,” Goodwin said. “I received a lot of support over the last several months from people asking me to take the job, so I feel good about that.”

“Law enforcement is a challenging profession right now,” he said. “To overcome that will take training within the Department, developing competent personnel, and listening to the community. We need to respond to their needs. The more we can get feedback and communicate with the community, the better off we will be.”

To address the challenges Goodwin is working on a body camera/video policy and increasing and enhancing the use of social media in the Department.

The chief plans to bring a policy to the City Council that would outline the release of video from officer worn body cameras and car cameras. “It comes back to being more transparent to the community, and also being able to tell our side of the story,” he said.

“That’s why I think we need to use social media more,” Goodwin said. The Department has a Facebook that is mostly used to post news releases. He plans to set up a Twitter account, and train staff to use the platforms to engage the community more.

While serving as interim chief, Goodwin took ownership of the position and focused on needs of the Department.

Recruiting and retention became one of his priorities, so Goodwin and top management went to police academies to conduct interviews with recruits who were reluctant to take a day off from classes and come to Merced to interview for a job.

“We are hiring for dispatchers and police officers” is something Goodwin seems to work into just about every conversation. The change and more aggressive recruiting resulted in numerous candidates applying for jobs in Merced, with three candidates in training and six waiting to start classes in July.

Other changes followed in the Department. A focus on promotions resulted in a new lieutenant and two new sergeants. The Department was reorganized creating better span and control, allowing for better accountability.

The City Council is in the process of evaluating the construction of a new police headquarters building, and Goodwin attended a conference in Dallas devoted to police station construction. He also is one of three top City officials reviewing stacks of cannabis dispensary applications and oversees the background checks on all cannabis business applications.


When Goodwin took over in January he also was plunged into leading the Department’s budget process for the upcoming year. Council indicated it will be adding two dispatchers and a new officer to the force, moving an officer off of Measure C funding and into the general fund and moving a police officer position up to a sergeant’s position as part of his span and control reorganization.


The City contracts with Merced College to run the campus police department. Goodwin sees that as a beneficial partnership in many ways.

“The criminal justice and reserve classes will help us with recruiting,” he said. “The arrangement let’s us know what’s going on out there because it’s almost a small city unto itself. Now we know and work with the campus officers in case we have to call on them for backup, and we’re working with the college administration on how the campus impacts the City.”

He also plans to reach out to other jurisdictions to begin working with them.

Goodwin worked his way up through the ranks of the Department starting as a patrol officer in 1996. He’s served as a field training officer, detective and sergeant on patrol and in the Gang Violence Suppression Unit. He served as a lieutenant and captain before his appointment to chief. He was in the Department’s SWAT unit and defense tactics instructor, supervisor, lieutenant and captain until he took the reins as chief. Goodwin has been involved with the Department’s active shooter program since 2000.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal science.

Born in Santa Clara and raised in Campbell, he came to Merced as a police officer in 1996. His wife, Jackie, is a local businesswoman. He has a daughter and two sons.

Goodwin is a “huge” college sports fan who became mildly obsessed with the North Carolina Tarheels basketball in the 80s and it has stuck. He also enjoys duck hunting when it is in season and working out with CrossFit.

Goodwin officially assumes the position June 18. The position of police chief pays up to $157,372 a year.

back to top

June 20, 2018

Wolfsen’s Meat and Sausage Honored at the State Capitol as 2018 Small Business of the Year for AD 21

Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) joined Vance, Donna, and Warren Wolfsen as they were honored as this year’s “Small Business of the Year” at a luncheon in Sacramento. The annual “Small Business Day” event and luncheon are organized in partnership with the California Small Business Association, and feature representatives from each of California’s 120 Legislative districts.
Wolfsen’s began as the “West Side Locker” in the 1940s offering custom butchering for wild game hunters. The current owners purchased the business in 1988 and eventually focused in on their mission of making and selling high quality meats and sausages. They are known for their “old-world style linguica,” enjoyed by many Merced County natives, and their store has attracted a regular following of customers from every corner of California. Assemblymember Gray and the Wolfsen family were surprised to encounter the honorees from the 13th Assembly District, Genova Bakery of Stockton, which provides Wolfsen’s with the artisan bread used in their deli.
“Today was a wonderful opportunity to recognize the contributions of California’s small businesses – they are the backbone of our economy,” said Gray.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray represents the 21st Assembly District which includes all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County.


Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) joined Vance, Donna, and Warren Wolfsen

back to top

June 20, 2018

Merced receives grant for physical activity program

MERCED – The City of Merced Parks and Recreation Department, in collaboration with Dignity Health, will soon be offering adults with arthritis a new way to manage pain and stay fit. Thanks to an instructor training grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the City of Merced in collaboration with Dignity Health will offer the Walk With Ease (WWE) program to the Merced community. Merced City Parks and Recreation is one of 88 park and recreation agencies to receive the WWE instructor training grant.

The WWE program, developed by the Arthritis Foundation, is scientifically proven to help reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, but also offers benefits for people managing other chronic conditions. Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina have shown that the WWE program contributes to reduced pain, increased balance and strength, increased levels of physical activity, and improved overall health.
Together, NRPA and the CDC aim to reach more people living with arthritis and other chronic conditions to improve their levels of physical activity and quality of life through this trusted and measurable program administered by local parks and recreation agencies across the country.
“Sixty percent of adults in the United States suffer from one or more chronic conditions,” said Joey Chavez, Interim Director of Parks and Recreation. “This grant from NRPA and the CDC allows us to help the

older adults in our community, and adds a new way Merced residents can work to achieve a healthy lifestyle. We are excited because this is a new type of program offering for our community, and we hope many people will take advantage of it.”

The programs provided by Parks and Recreation in collaboration with Dignity Health will be offered at the Mercy Outpatient Center located at 2740 M. Street on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 to 10 a.m. Classes run for six weeks and are taught by certified and trained instructors. The classes are ideally suited for anyone that is interested in a low-impact exercise program in their local community, especially those looking to manage their chronic condition. The first session is scheduled to begin June 25, with other sessions rolling out throughout the summer and fall. To register visit the Parks and Recreation office at 632 W. 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340.
For more information, call 385-6235 or visithttps://www.cityofmerced.org/depts/parks_n_community_services/default.asp

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 60,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication,Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

back to top

June 20, 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
CALTRANS TO BEGIN PAVEMENT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
ON STATE ROUTE 33 IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to begin a 13.3 mile pavement improvement project on State Route 33 (SR-33) from SR-152 to SR-140.

This project will include a slurry seal (a mixture which rejuvenates pavement), and hot mixed asphalt and rubberized hot mixed asphalt overlays to extend the service life of the pavement and improve the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists.

Slurry seal is economical, corrects existing distresses in the roadway like cracking in the surface and makes pavement waterproof to prevent further deterioration.

This work is scheduled to be done at night, and motorists should expect 15 minute delays. There will be lane closures, shoulder closures, and temporary on and off-ramp closures.

This $3.8 million project has been awarded to Granite Construction Company. Construction is scheduled to begin on Sunday, June 24, 2018, and to be completed in October 2018.
While this project is not funded by SB 1, many “fix-it-first” projects like this one are beginning throughout the state to improve roadways. There will be $15 billion used for “fix-it-first” highway repairs across the next decade, including smoothing pavement and filling potholes.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

June 8, 2018

Assemblymember Gray Honors CASA of Merced County
as the Nonprofit of the Year in Sacramento

Sacramento – Assemblymember Adam Gray was pleased to honor the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Merced County as the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year from his Assembly District at California Nonprofits Day at the Capitol.

Cathie Lancaster, Executive Director, Nancy Young-Bergman, Founding President, and Bette Woolstenhulme, former Board President, traveled to Sacramento to join with one hundred other nonprofit leaders to be honored by their state Senators and Assemblymembers during a celebration luncheon as part of the 2018 California Nonprofits Day.

“CASA volunteers are often the key element in improving the lives and future of children in the Dependency Court System,” according to Assemblymember Gray. “What these generous and caring members of our community do for some of our most vulnerable children cannot be overstated.”

Founded in September 2010, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Merced County is dedicated to providing quality intervention and advocacy services for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. CASA is seen nationally as a positive solution to the high volume of dependency cases, and Merced County faces one of the highest caseloads per capita in the state. CASA provides important information to the Court in order to assist the judge in making the life-changing decisions that he must make.

“Children in Merced County need our protection,” said Cathie Lancaster. “Almost 5,600 reports of child abuse or neglect in Merced County are recorded annually. As of 2017, the number of children in foster care was over 500. Many of these children are no longer able to be returned to their parents in hopes of reunification and are waiting adoption or being placed in permanent foster homes.”


Cathie Lancaster, Executive Director, Nancy Young-Bergman, Founding President, and Bette Woolstenhulme, former Board President, and Adam Gray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

California Nonprofits Day, now in its third year, was formally recognized by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 191, authored by the chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector, Assemblywoman Monique Limon (Santa Barbara), who spoke at the celebration luncheon. The day is organized by Assemblymember Limon and CalNonprofits.

According to “Causes Count,” a 2016 report commissioned by CalNonprofits, the nonprofit sector is the 4th largest industry in the state, employing nearly one million people. Each year, California nonprofits generate over $200 billion in revenue and bring in $40 billion in revenue from outside of California. The unpaid labor contributed by volunteers at nonprofits is equivalent to 450,000 full-time jobs every year.

back to top

June 8, 2018

Make a splash this summer in a pool near you

This week recreational swim is coming to a pool near you, brought to you by the Merced Parks and Recreation Department.

Recreational swimming will begin the week of June 11 at McNamara Pool, from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There also will be rec swimming at Golden Valley High School pool, 2121 E. Childs Ave., Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. Cost of recreational swimming is $1 for swimmers under 18 and $2 for adults.

But it’s Free Swim Fridays at McNamara Pool for kids thanks to the generosity of the Merced Satellite Rotary Club, which is covering the cost of swimming for youths to swim every Friday afternoon. Sorry adults, you may feel like a kid, but if you’re over 18 it will still cost two bucks to swim.

All of the aquatics programs run through Aug. 12.

back to top

June 8, 2018

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
CALTRANS TO BEGIN PAVEMENT REHABILITATION PROJECT
ON STATE ROUTE 59/SNELLING HIGHWAY IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing a project to rehabilitate pavement on northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59)/Snelling Highway in and near Merced.
This project spans 6.8 miles, from the south fork of the Black Rascal Canal to just south of Oakdale Road.
The purpose of this project is to restore the roadway, extend the service life of the pavement and to limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, both for motorists and taxpayers. An overlay of rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC) will be used to enhance this section of SR-59/Snelling Highway – a pivotal roadway for local motorists and agricultural traffic.
This $2.2 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.
Work is scheduled to begin on Sunday, June 10, 2018, and to be completed in October 2018.

This work will be done using one-way traffic control and is scheduled during both the daytime and nighttime. Motorists should expect 20 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

While this project is not funded by SB 1, many pavement-based “fix-it-first” projects are and will continue to be across the next decade.

Due to SB 1, Caltrans will allocate $15 billion for “fix-it-first” repairs, similar to the smoothing of pavement on SR-59, throughout the next 10 years. Construction is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM STATE ROUTE 140 IN MERCED
TO THE MERCED/STANISLAUS COUNTY LINE IN TURLOCK

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from SR-140 to the Merced/Stanislaus County line. Ramp closures are scheduled as follows:

• Various full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 from SR-140 to Golden State Boulevard in Turlock beginning Sunday, June 10, 2018, through Friday, June 15, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for bridge work.

• Various full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 from SR-140 to SR-140/SR-59 (V Street) in Merced beginning Tuesday, June 12, 2018, through Wednesday, June 13, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for bridge work.

• Full off-ramp closure from northbound and southbound SR-99 to Golden State Boulevard beginning Sunday, June 10, 2018, through Friday, June 15, 2018, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for shoulder work.

The full off-ramp closures at Golden State Boulevard are part of a project that will replace the two outside lanes and shoulder on both northbound and southbound SR-99, from just north of Bradbury Road to just north of the county line.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) for approximately 15 miles from Bear Valley to the junction with SR-132.

The closure is long term and is necessary for repair work due to the violent storm on March 22, 2018. Caltrans crews and construction partners are working to re-open this section of SR-49 by August 1, 2018.
The roadway on this stretch of SR-49 was severely eroded due to the massive amount of water, and must be given a new foundation and fully repaired before re-opening. This effort is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists.

Northbound and southbound SR-49 from the Mariposa/Tuolumne County line to Moccasin/SR-120 was re-opened on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Eastbound and westbound SR-132 from Granite Springs Road to Piney Creek Road in Mariposa County was re-opened on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

For videos on the storm repair work being done by Caltrans and our construction partners, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XAGWcbbqoV2h6LOQR7WnQ.

For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

June 8, 2018

Costa Advances Legislation to Improve Water Reliability and Flood Protection

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a significant piece of water infrastructure legislation – H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act – by a vote of 408 to 2. Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) worked on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation by including one provision that would increase water supply reliability in California’s San Joaquin Valley and another provision that could reduce permit compliance costs for utility ratepayers.

Rep. Costa’s first amendment incorporates into the Water Resources Development Act a bipartisan measure Costa has been leading in the House. The legislation would resolve a legal technicality that makes it more difficult to improve the structure and operations of water reservoirs than current law intends. This would have a real impact in the Valley, as it would allow Merced Irrigation District to move forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. When completed, this project will increase water supplies for eastern Merced County by 57,000 acre-feet during some years.

The second amendment Congressman Costa helped lead would make permanent a budget-neutral solution that has been successfully helping the Army Corps of Engineers work through its backlog of project permitting. Currently, the Corps has the authority to allow utility companies to pay for additional staffing to help the Corps complete its review process on the utility’s project. The amendment, which Rep. Costa cosponsored with fellow
Valley Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), eliminates the expiration date on


Congressman Jim Costa
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the Corps’s authority to accept such staffing support when offered. Accordingly, the Corps can continue to choose this option as a way to complete project reviews more quickly without reducing the quality or thoroughness of the review.

Costa described both amendments as “straightforward, commonsense solutions that address our daily water realities and infrastructure needs in the Valley and across California.”

back to top

June 7, 2018

Fireworks blamed for grass fire

On June 4, 2018 the Merced City Fire Department responded to a vegetation fire in the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 19thstreet. Upon arrival at the fire, five separate spot fires were located. It was determined that the fires were started by fireworks.

The use of Fireworks is not permitted until June 28th, therefor the use of fireworks was Illegal as well as at least one of the fireworks was not Safe and Sane (was a mortar tube). Two Engine Companies responded and a Battalion Chief to the incident. An unreliable witness said that the fireworks were thrown from a vehicle.

The City of Merced has a Zero Tolerance for illegal fireworks. So far this year, four people have been arrested for the sales of illegal fireworks.

Call 388-SAFE to report illegal fireworks
People are encouraged to report anyone they see or know who is buying, selling, distributing, possessing or setting off illegal fireworks by calling 209-388-SAFE (388-7233). Someone will answer the line as available, but all messages will be followed up on.

Please don’t call 911 except to report a fire or injury. Part of the problem with illegal fireworks is that authorities usually receive multiple calls for any one offender. One neighbor setting off numerous skyrockets can swamp the 911 dispatchers with many calls on the same incident. The 209-388-SAFE number relieves pressure on the emergency dispatchers but still allows the illegal fireworks to get reported and acted upon.

On July 3 and 4 there will be a call center opened from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and operators will be answering the phones and sending reports of illegal fireworks directly to dispatchers. The information will be forwarded to teams in the field.

In addition, people can report illegal fireworks by sending an email tocelebratesafe@cityofmerced.org. Those emails will also get forwarded to authorities.

 


A third option is to report illegal fireworks using the Merced Connect app. The Merced Connect app is free and available at the Apple Store and Google Play. In addition to allowing you to report illegal fireworks, residents can obtain other information about City government.

Turn in illegal fireworks, no questions asked
The City also will hold a fireworks Safe Surrender Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at Station 51, 99 E. 16th St. where people can turn in illegal fireworks with no questions asked.

back to top

June 6, 2018

 

The Bus kicks off Free Fare Summer program on
National “Dump the Pump” Day

MERCED - The Bus invites members of the community to try the bus on us this summer! Starting on National Dump the Pump Day, June 21 and continuing through August 31, 2018, The Bus will offer FREE service on all fixed routes countywide. By riding public transit, residents can help reduce congestion, minimize their carbon footprint, and save money.
"We are excited to offer free fixed route service throughout summer to encourage people who've never ridden the bus to give it a try,” said Artis Smith, Transit Director. This free service program is made possible through the State of California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) which is provided to transit agencies to improve mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bus schedules and hours of operation can be found at www.mercedthebus.com or by calling The Bus at (209)723-3100. Real-time information regarding bus locations, services and arrival times can be found at www.thebuslive.com. All buses are equipped with bike racks and are wheelchair accessible.
The Bus is the single public transportation service provider for all of Merced County. It is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG).

back to top

June 6, 2018

Merced has Zero Tolerance for illegal fireworks

Three men arrested for the sale of illegal fireworks in the City
(EDITORS: For more information on the undercover operation, contact Lt. Alan Ward at 209-388-8840.)
Use a skyrocket or a barrel bomb and it could cost you up to $2,000. Keep using illegal fireworks or sell them and it could land you in court, as three men learned Friday.
Three men were arrested for sale of illegal fireworks Friday as part of the City of Merced’s Zero Tolerance campaign on illegal fireworks.
Officers from the DART team arrested two Livingston men and a Winton man on charges of selling illegal fireworks, advertisement of illegal fireworks and conspiracy to sell illegal fireworks.
Officers seized a large amount of fireworks and $666 in cash in an undercover operation. The three men were booked in the Merced County Jail.
ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY
This year the City of Merced has Zero Tolerance for illegal fireworks in an effort to cut down on fires, injuries, noise, lost pets and neighborhood disruptions.
The Zero Tolerance Policy is in effect for any fireworks not labelled “safe and sane” by the California State Fire Marshall. Basically, if it explodes or leaves the ground, it’s not safe and sane.
Extra officers will be on patrol over the Fourth of July holidays to enforce fireworks violations. There also is a special phone number and email for people to report illegal fireworks.
“The last few years Merced has looked like a battle zone with the sky lit up with skyrockets and the air filled with explosions. It’s time for that to end,” said Council Member Kevin Blake, who asked for the increased enforcement of the City ordinance’s against illegal fireworks.
“I received a number of calls from constituents who had to medicate their pets because they were traumatized due to the loud noises over the holidays,” he said.
“We want people to have a fun Fourth of July, but not a dangerous one, a Fourth that is enjoyable for everyone, including your neighbors,” Blake said.
“We want people to be good neighbors and stick with the ‘safe and sane’ fireworks,” said Mayor Mike Murphy. “Have respect for people. Some of these illegal fireworks explode and leave buildings shaking. They scare little kids, senior citizens, and our veterans and pets who may be sensitive to loud explosions. We need to show consideration for everyone.
“This is the first year of a multi-year campaign. We are expecting to build on it each year,” Murphy said. “Once word gets out that we are serious, that we will cite you, that we will take away your illegal fireworks, people will be less likely to buy them and use them.”
The City shows a definite uptick in fires around the Fourth of July season when fireworks gain in popularity. While not all fires can be attributed to illegal fireworks, last year there July 4th saw 75 percent more calls than the average day, according to Fire Department records.
FIREWORKS RULES
• “Safe and sane” fireworks with the State Fire Marshal seal of approval can only be used from noon June 28 through noon July 6.
• The non-safe and sane fireworks are illegal year-round, 24-7.
• If fireworks can leave the ground or go up in the air they are illegal. Illegal fireworks include cherry bombs, bottle rockets, mortars, aerial shells, M-80s and firecrackers.
• Illegal fireworks the lack of the seal of approval by the California State Fire Marshal.

During the Fourth of July holiday period special teams of police officers and firefighters will be patrolling the City streets tracking down fireworks violators. Once found, the fireworks will be confiscated and the owners will be cited. Repeat offenders could end up in court.
Anyone caught possessing, using or selling dangerous or illegal fireworks is subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 as well as criminal prosecution.

 


HOW TO REPORT ILLEGAL FIREWORKS
The number 209-388-SAFE became active June 1, and people are encouraged to report anyone they see or know who is buying, selling or distributing illegal fireworks. Someone will answer the line as available, but all messages will be followed up on.
Residents can report illegal fireworks displays before the holidays by calling 911.
During July 3 and 4 people are being asked to call 209-388-SAFE (7233) to report illegal fireworks displays, not 911 in order to keep the emergency dispatchers free for urgent calls.
On July 3 and 4 there will be a call center opened from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and operators will be answering the phones and sending reports of illegal fireworks directly to dispatchers. The information will be forwarded to teams in the field.
Part of the problem with illegal fireworks is that authorities usually receive multiple calls for any one offender. One neighbor setting off numerous skyrockets can swamp the 911 dispatchers with many calls on the same incident. The 209-388-SAFE number relieves pressure on the emergency dispatchers but still allows the illegal fireworks to get reported and acted upon.
In addition, people can report illegal fireworks by sending an email to celebratesafe@cityofmerced.org. Those emails will also get forwarded to authorities.
A third option is to report illegal fireworks using the Merced Connect app. The Merced Connect app is free and available at the Apple Store and Google Play. In addition to allowing you to report illegal fireworks, residents can obtain other information about City government.
The City also will hold a fireworks Safe Surrender Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at Station 51, 99 E. 16th St. where people can turn in illegal fireworks with no questions asked.

 

 

 

back to top

June 6, 2018

Hotel Tioga changes hands, getting improvements

The Hotel Tioga has changed hands and will soon be offering fully renovated and updated market rate apartments in Downtown Merced. The historic building, which opened in 1928, will have commercial spaces on the first floor.

PCG Commercial of Roseville had been marketing the building in early 2017. The property was purchased in April by Hotel Tioga Investors, LLC and will be redeveloped by the same firm. The fully renovated Hotel Tioga will bring additional multimillion dollar investments to downtown and will add to the major economic impacts of the El Capitan Hotel and Mainzer Theater projects that are currently underway.

“The Hotel Tioga was a huge boost for the town 90 years ago, and the sale and work that will be done shortly will once again be transformative,” said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “This is another big step forward for Merced and the Downtown.”

“The Hotel Tioga project fits right in with our Downtown Strategy,” Murphy said. “This will promote nightlife, and a diversified center that will include retail and hospitality.”

“This is an exciting time for Merced,” said District 3 Council member Jill McLeod, who represents Downtown area. “The sale of the Hotel Tioga, along with the renovation of the El Capitan and the Mainzer will bring so much new life and energy to the Downtown.”

A DOWNTOWN ICON
The historic building, opened in 1928, has been an icon of Downtown Merced and a social and business hub. Adding the additional market-rate housing to the Downtown housing scene adds a new dimension to the work/life potential in the City’s core. Economic Development Director Frank Quintero said a key element of the Downtown Strategy is having a strong residential base.

Hotel Tioga is strategically located close to the Merced Transportation Center and UC Merced’s Downtown Administration Building on N Street between Main and 16 streets.
“Bringing this much housing to the Downtown will help attract the restaurants and other kinds of businesses that people keep saying they want,” Quintero said. “This can be the foundation for the revitalization of the Downtown that everyone is looking for.”

“This will create the opportunity for something similar to a live-work space, ‘Quintero said. “The live-work unit is actually an idea that has been modernized to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, small businesses and professionals.

“Once revamped, the Hotel Tioga will provide another option for living in Downtown Merced,” Quintero said. “Currently, the vacancy rate in Merced is under 1 percent, so the Hotel Tioga will create new opportunities.”

 

RENOVATION PLANS
When renovated the apartment units will feature new kitchens, countertops, light fixtures, and flooring. The 73,670-square-foot building will offer a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units.

The architect for the project is Page & Turnbull, a full-service architecture, design, planning, and preservation firm that transforms the built environment.

Founded in 1973, the firm has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. It brings together architects, planners, architectural historians, and conservators to take existing structures and adapt them to meet contemporary needs.

Nine decades ago when the Hotel Tioga was built it was aimed at the Yosemite tourists. Visitors could drive up the “all-weather” Highway 140 or take the Yosemite Valley Railroad train to enjoy the natural wonder.

HISTORIC BUILDING
The building, which cost $250,000 to build, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. In its prime it had a ballroom, handcrafted tile floors, art deco ceilings and the City’s first neon sign on the roof that could be seen for miles. Also on the roof were two penthouses with legendary views of the Sierras and the Central Valley.

 

back to top

June 6, 2018

CONSTRUCTION/TRAFFIC ADVISORY
G STREET AND YOSEMITE
INTERSECTION CLOSURE

Snelson Companies, Inc., in partnership with PG&E, will be constructing a new gas main to meet future demand for the UC Merced. For this reason, Snelson Companies, Inc. will be closing westbound Yosemite Avenue at the intersection of G Street and Yosemite Avenue. The work will commence on June 4 until June 11 starting at 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Please follow the advance warning signs and detour arrows that will guide you around the jobsite.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, construction related issues, and traffic incidents.


Should you have specific concerns or questions about the project, please contact the PG&E superintendent listed below:
Jack Symonds 209-639-2994

For the safety of the workers and other motorists, please slow down for the construction zone.
Snelson Companies Inc. and PG&E would like to thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation during this project.

back to top

June 6, 2018

First Year of Measure V Exceeds Expectations

Merced- In November 2016, Merced County voters passed Measure V – a countywide ½ cent sales tax for transportation- with an overwhelming approval of 71.3%. The sales tax, which went into effect April 1, 2017, was projected to generate an estimated $15 million annually. However, with the first twelve months of revenue collected, Measure V has exceeded projections by nearly $1.8 million - totaling $16.8 million in new revenue. Per the voter-approved Measure V Expenditure Plan, 50% of the new revenue has been allocated directly to the local jurisdictions within Merced County, 44% has been allocated to regional projects on the east and west sides of the county, and 5% to transit uses. MCAG receives 1% of the revenue for administration and implementation activities.
“This is an exciting time for our region” said Patrick Pittenger, Executive Director of MCAG. “Measure V is providing local jurisdictions with the resources to address long-standing street and road maintenance issues, and as a region we are able to plan for and implement much needed improvements to our regional transportation system.”
$8.4 million has been distributed to the six cities and the County of Merced to address local transportation needs such as repairing potholes and bridges, repaving streets, replacing traffic signals and improving sidewalks and bicycle facilities. More than $7 million has been collected for regional projects with 27% dedicated to projects on the east side of the county and 17% to west side. Projects eligible for this funding have been identified by the Measure V East Side and West Side Regional Projects Committees and will go to the MCAG Governing Board for approval later this month.



Since July 2017, The Bus has utilized the Measure V program to provide free fixed route service countywide to seniors, Veterans, and ADA eligible individuals. To date, Measure V has funded over 138,700 free rides to seniors, veterans and ADA eligible individuals with disabilities in Merced County.
MCAG, is the state-designated Local Transportation Authority for Merced County responsible for the implementation and administration of overseeing Measure V. In an effort to keep the community informed about this transformative measure, MCAG features monthly updates in their electronic newsletter which can be found on the MCAG website mcagov.org. Additional information about Measure V including specific project information by jurisdiction can be found at MeasureV-mcag.com.
Merced County Association Governments (MCAG) is the regional transportation planning agency and metropolitan planning organization for Merced County. In addition to regional transportation planning, MCAG also manages The Bus, YARTS and the Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority.

back to top

June 6, 2018

 

Costa Hosts Housing Roundtable to Increase Affordable Homeownership in Merced County

Merced, CA – In his continued efforts to increase access to affordable, safe, and secure housing in the San Joaquin Valley, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) hosted a housing roundtable today to bring together key leaders to collaborate on making homeownership an affordable option in Merced County. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Jimmy Stracner, additional regional HUD officials, and nearly 20 housing leaders and local officials participated in the roundtable, which also marked this year’s launch of National Homeownership Month.

Merced County’s homeownership statistics fall well below the national average. According to 2016 Census data, the homeownership rate in Merced County is 52.2%, compared to 63.5% nationally.

“Homeownership is the foundation for a strong middle class in America,” said Rep. Jim Costa, who has long worked to make homeownership affordable in the Valley. “The single largest investment that the average American family makes in a lifetime is the purchase of a home. The values of pride of property, understanding the complexity of financing a home, and living in a house where families can flourish are all made possible by homeownership. The purpose of today’s roundtable was to have local and federal leaders sit down together and consider ways to provide more opportunities for homeownership in Merced County.”

During the roundtable, HUD officials discussed the federal agencies and programs specifically aimed at helping Americans buy and maintain safe and secure housing. These include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and a nationwide network of nearly 2,100 housing counseling agencies certified by the Office of Housing Counseling (OHC). More than 1.2 million people turned to the FHA for home financing last year alone, while the education and support provided by housing counselors reduce the likelihood homeowners at risk of default end up facing foreclosure by 30%.

“We at HUD are determined to sustain a housing market that is honest and fair for every hard working American,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jimmy Stracner. “Today, we renew our commitment to all responsible future homeowners that seek their share of the American dream.”

“Homeownership is such an integral part of the American dream and experience. We need to explore and take all creative steps necessary to best position our Valley’s residents so that everyone within our region has the opportunity to sustainably own a home,” stated Mark Hendrickson, Director of Community & Economic Development for Merced County.


Congressman Jim Costa
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kim Rogina, President of the Merced County Association of Realtors, was one of the local housing leaders who attended today’s roundtable. She shared, “The Merced County Association of Realtors supports and encourages the American dream of homeownership. We are a hardworking community that strives for an affordable and abundant supply of homes for our citizens. Our Association’s Charitable Foundation just received a grant of $25,000 from the California Association of Realtors to aid first time home buyer’s with down payment assistance. We are in the process of fundraising to match that amount. The quality of our community depends on the opportunities afforded individuals and families.

Congressman Costa hopes today is just the beginning of this collaborative effort. He reflected on today’s roundtable with, “We have had bipartisan policies for almost 100 years to encourage and make affordable homeownership. I strongly believe this is how we create healthy communities and a lasting middle class.”

back to top

June 6, 2018

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has closed northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) for approximately 15 miles from Bear Valley to the junction with SR-132.

The closure is long term and is necessary for repair work due to the violent storm on March 22, 2018. Caltrans crews and construction partners are working to re-open this section of SR-49 by August 1, 2018.
The roadway on this stretch of SR-49 was severely eroded due to the massive amount of water, and must be given a new foundation and fully repaired before re-opening. This effort is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists.

Northbound and southbound SR-49 from the Mariposa/Tuolumne County line to Moccasin/SR-120 was re-opened on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Eastbound and westbound SR-132 from Granite Springs Road to Piney Creek Road in Mariposa County was re-opened on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure.

Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.

For videos on the storm repair work being done by Caltrans and our construction partners, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XAGWcbbqoV2h6LOQR7WnQ.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM STATE ROUTE 140 TO
SOUTH TURLOCK/GOLDEN STATE BOULEVARD

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction and maintenance activities on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from SR-140 to South Turlock/Golden State Boulevard. Ramp closures are scheduled as follows:

• Various full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 from SR-140 to South Turlock/Golden State Boulevard beginning Sunday, June 3, 2018, through Friday, June 8, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for bridge work.

• Full on-ramp closure on southbound SR-99 at South Turlock/Golden State Boulevard beginning Sunday, June 3, 2018, through Friday, June 8, 2018, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for drainage work.

Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. No consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time.

This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.


For the safety of workers and other motorists,please Slow For the Cone Zone.

back to top

June 6, 2018

 

SB 1 Funding Approved for Highway 99 Widening Project in Merced County

MERCED- The Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced last week that $2.7 billion in competitive grants funded through the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1) was awarded by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to 64 projects throughout the State of California to tackle congestion, support valuable trade corridors and bolster local agency efforts to invest in transportation.
Among the projects approved was the Northbound State Route 99 (SR-99) Livingston Median Widening Project in Merced County. This $37 million project will widen northbound SR-99 to three lanes (from the two existing) through Livingston and Delhi, including widening of the bridge over the Merced River. The widening project will reduce congestion, improve goods movement, and remove a bottleneck condition where SR-99 is already three lanes to the north and south of the project. This project is a result of a partnership between the State of California and Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG), which is contributing $5.5 million of regional transportation funding. The State funding is provided by the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) which was approved by the CTC. Construction for the Livingston Median Widening Project is scheduled to break ground in the spring of 2019. The complementary Southbound State Route 99 Livingston Median Widening Project is programmed on a later construction schedule through a different funding source.


The Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, created by Senate Bill 1, will provide approximately $300 million annually throughout the state for infrastructure improvements on federally designated Trade Corridors of National and Regional Significance, on the Primary Freight Network, and along other corridors that have a high volume of freight movement. Currently, California serves as the nation’s largest gateway for international trade and domestic commerce, and freight movement which generates about a third of California’s $2.2 trillion economy. The CTC approved three years’ worth of funding (fiscal years 2017-20) totaling approximately $1.4 billion be awarded to 28 projects, valued at more than $4 billion.
Additional approved Trade Corridor Enhancement Program projects can be found at: http://catc.ca.gov/programs/sb1/tcep/docs/2018_Adopted_TCEP.pdf .
The Road Repair and Accountability Act (SB 1), the landmark transportation infrastructure bill signed by Governor Brown in April 2017, invests $54 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety. These funds will be split equally between state and local investments. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

back to top

June 6, 2018

2018 BUCKS FOR BOOKS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS CHOSEN

LODI, CA – The Lodi Grape Festival would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2018 Bucks for Books scholarship. The students receiving the award are: Gabriella Borra, Lodi High School; Benjamin Colorado, Lodi High School; Tyler Davis, Lodi High School; Sofia Demski, Lodi High School; Meagan Gonzalez, Seton Hall University (Lodi High School); Grace Hayes, St. Mary’s High School; Hayden Lewis, Lodi High School; Charlotte Magapio Suiza, Lodi High School; and Christein Wiegum, Lodi High School.
Since 2004 the Lodi Grape Festival Bucks for Books scholarship program has awarded $101,000 in scholarships to students graduating or that have graduated within the Lodi Unified School District or living in the district boundaries to be used towards the purchase of books for college classes. The money for the fund is generated solely from fundraising efforts by the Lodi Grape Festival Board of Directors through donations, the Ultimate Wine Collection raffle at the Lodi Wine and Food Festival and the annual Bucks for Books concert at Heritage Oak Winery.
Scholarship applications are available in January and are due by March 1. For more information or to receive an application please e-mail info@grapefestival.com or call (209) 369-2771 or visit www.grapefestival.com.

The Lodi Grape Festival is September 13-16, 2018. For more information visit www.grapefestival.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter at @lodigrapefest and Instagram at @lodigrapefestival.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merced Fish & Game, Inc 
proposes plans to develope
a Merced Public Range & Sporting Complex Olympic Training Center with City Council. To see proposal, go to Merced Fish & Game, Inc's website:
mfginc.org


Collyn Roper


Click picture to enlarge

The undertaking the Merced Fish & Game,Inc is proposing will be a professionally designed project consisting of:
• 40 Trap fields, 12 of which will be overlaid with Skeet fields,
• A sporting clays course in future plans,
• A meeting house,
• A registration building,
• Several bathroom facilities,
• The California Waterfowl Association Museum,
• RV parking with full hook-ups,
• Additional RV parking,
• Several storage facilities,
• One workshop,
• One pre-manufactured home for the resident manager,
• General parking for additional vehicles.

For Information or Questions:
Contact MERCED FISH & GAME, INC
by email:
mercedfishandgame@yahoo.com


 

 
Advertise With Us About Us Press Releases Contact Terms of Use
© 2004-2012 MyMerced.com. All rights reserved. Powered by  Imedia West