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COMMUNITY NEWS

July 26, 2017

Three officers sworn in to Merced PD

Merced Police Chief Norman Andrade swore in three new officers Friday afternoon during ceremonies held before family and friends in the City Council Chambers.

The new officers are :

Taylor Rocha, 25, from Merced. Badge No. 258. He’s a father, stepfather and brother. In 2011 he was a College All-American in water polo. A former Marine Corps sergeant, he won a heavy machine gun competition.

Spencer Aguire, 24, from Merced. Badge No. 259 He’s a graduate of the Fresno Police Academy. Aguire is married and the father of two sons. The former Marine Corps corporal enjoys quadcopters and playing Xbox and PlayStation games in his off hours.

Myles Richter, 27, from Atwater. Badge No. 260. He’s an Atwater High School graduate who also graduated from the Fresno Police Academy. He is married with one son.

The Department now has 91 sworn personnel and is budgeted for 98. The pay for police officers is $5,42 to $6,129 a month.

 

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July 26, 2017

Students Learn to Lift While They Lead

Dozens of students are celebrating the completion of a program that aims to change lives through positive experiences, meaningful mentorships, and strong support systems. It’s called the Lift While You Lead Empowerment Project and is part of the Merced City School District’s Summer Academy. This is the third group of girls to complete the program and the first year it has been offered for boys. On Thursday, the participants took part in a closing ceremony at UC Merced, but their journey is just beginning.
The program helps students increase their self-esteem and improve academics, discipline, and attendance. It also promotes higher education and encourages the students to become leaders in their schools and community. The four week course included classroom activities at Reyes Elementary School and excursions to places such as UC Santa Cruz. The group also took a trip to Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch in Mariposa, where the students conquered a ropes course more than 30 feet above the ground by supporting one another.
The Lift While You Lead Empowerment Project is made possible thanks to collaboration between multiple agencies. The participants are all Merced City School District middle school students. Their teachers, Annie Delgado and Sam Parker, work for the Merced Union High School District and will continue to interact with the students and track their progress throughout their high school years. The participants are also mentored by students from UC Merced and Golden Valley High School. Field trips are funded through the Educational Employees Credit Union.
This program has had proven success in a number of ways. The inaugural class members raised their combined grade point average from 2.8 to 3.26. Several of the participants have also gone on to shine individually. Ms. Delgado says, “We have two young ladies who just graduated from Hoover Middle School who delivered their commencement speeches. We had one student who was recognized as the ‘Comeback Kid’ because she completely turned it around. We had two other ladies at Tenaya Middle School deliver their commencement speeches, and another student recognized as the ‘Ultimate Warrior.’”
During Thursday’s closing ceremony, the students each spoke about the impact Lift While You Lead has had on their lives, and they performed an uplifting dance for their family and friends.








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July 26, 2017

FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM CHILDS AVENUE TO STATE ROUTE 59/MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR WAY IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close northbound State Route 99 (SR-99) SR-99/Martin Luther King Junior Way for sign work.
Crews will work beginning Monday, July 24 through Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Motorist should expect 20 minute delays.
Additional construction activities include:
• Full highway closure on southbound SR-99 from Martin Luther King Junior Way to SR-140/V Street in Merced beginning Thursday, July 27, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work;
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Shaffer Road in Atwater will close beginning Wednesday, July 26, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work and striping;
• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue at Atwater Boulevard will close beginning Wednesday, July 26, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

• A moving closure on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to the Merced/Stanislaus County line beginning Monday, July 24, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for lane striping.

Motorists should expect 10-20 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken where 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
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT TO THE DELTA MENDOTA CANAL IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 from the California Aqueduct near the San Luis Reservoir to the Delta Mendota Canal for maintenance work.
One-way traffic control will be in effect on northbound and southbound SR-33 at both the California Aqueduct and the Delta Mendota Canal beginning Sunday, July 23, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for maintenance.

Motorists should expect 15 minute delays at each location. 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.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN GUSTINE

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, July 23, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for striping;
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Virginia Street in the City of Merced to SR-33 in Gustine beginning Monday, July 24, 2017, through Friday, July 28, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for pavement work;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes of eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Street in the City of Merced will alternately close beginning Sunday, July 23, 2017, through Friday, July 28 , 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for pavement marker replacement.

Motorists should expect 10-15 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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.

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July 26 , 2017

MERCED COLLEGE’S FISHMAN NAMED
STATE’S OUTSTANDING AG TEACHER FOR 2017

In his 20 years teaching at Merced College, Darol Fishman said he’s never missed one of the California Agriculture Teachers Association’s annual conferences.
The Ag community is a small, tight-knit group and the conference affords Fishman the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. As special as the event has been to Fishman, the 2017 version promises to be one he’ll never forget.
Fishman, who teaches mechanized agriculture, diesel technology and welding technology at Merced College, received the Don Wilson Memorial award as the state’s Outstanding Ag Teacher. The award is presented annually to outstanding agricultural education teachers with at least 20 years of experience for their participation and leadership in civic, community, agriculture/agribusiness and professional activities.
“If you look at the list of people presented this award over the years, it’s very humbling,” Fishman said. “They hold it at our annual Ag Teachers Conference in San Luis Obispo. I was up on the stage and they were talking about their usual mumbo jumbo and I received a standing ovation. I was deeply touched. It brought tears to my eyes.”
Fishman was accompanied by his wife, Teresa, and sons, Daniel and David, as well as the entire Merced College Agriculture Department. He just completed his 34th year of teaching and 20th at the College.
While being singled out by his peers was special enough, Fishman’s tie to the award’s namesake made it even more sentimental.
“It’s named the Don Wilson award, because he was a very instrumental person in our profession,” Fishman said. “What’s really kind of cool about that, is I do what I do because of my high school Ag teacher (Bill King). Well, Don Wilson was my Ag teacher’s Ag teacher out at Petaluma High School. So things have kind of come full circle.”


Darol Fishman


It’s a big month for Fishman, who is about to participate in Iron Man Santa Rosa at the end of July.
“I have a great gig,” Fishman said. “Students pay money to come here learn some fun things and the school pays me to go out and play with big Tonka toys while teaching them. I’m so thankful in 1997 that I made the choice to come here.”

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July 26, 2017

Scott McBride to head up City’s Development Services

Scott McBride has been named the City of Merced’s Director of Development Services effective Aug. 14. He will oversee the Planning, Housing and the Building Divisions.

“Scott is a heavy hitter who will consistently knock it out of the park,” said City Manager Steve Carrigan. “He has more than two decades of experience in planning, economic development and city administration. We have a fantastic team, and Scott is a great addition.”

McBride will be leaving the City of Atwater as the Community Development Director. Over the past six months, he has served as the Director as well as the Interim City Manager. In that period he also oversaw Recreation and Community Services.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Merced. There are a lot of exciting, transformative projects that are on-going, projects like High Speed Rail, ACE (Altamont Commuter Express), UC Merced collaborations, new Downtown developments” McBride said.

“It’s not often that one gets an opportunity to work on so many unique projects like these in a career.”
“My wife and I have roots here in Merced County, this is our home,” he said. “We have a strong sense of community pride. I am happy to be able to offer my skills and abilities to help make the community even better.”

The Ferrari Ranch Project, an annexation of 359 acres and a 160-acre business park master plan, was a project he guided from the draft environmental review process through the application stage for annexation approval by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

He led the Atwater City-County Property Tax Sharing Agreement negotiations and implementation, and implemented a Sales Tax Sharing ordinance. He also worked with Public Safety and the Council to acquire two fire command vehicles, two police vehicles and replacement firearms for Atwater.

McBride has experience working on the Housing Element required by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. He previously acquired 10 acres of property for low and moderate income affordable housing.
To encourage development in Atwater to continue, McBride implemented a system that deferred developer impact fees. He also assisted on grants and studies to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the community.

McBride facilitated the refinancing of waste water bonds that will help ratepayers save approximately $13 million.
The debt of a Mello-Roos District was retired after McBride helped sell 29 acres of commercial property to a private developer.
That same land was later entitled for a 249,000 sf shopping center. He also worked to transfer two parking lots from the former Atwater Redevelopment Agency to the City so that there would continue to be adequate parking in the downtown.

The Atwater ordinance supporting commercial marijuana activities and Proposition 64 workshops were conducted under his direction.

He has served as a director of economic development and special projects, administrative analyst, economic development coordinator, enterprise zone coordinator, and planning technician.


Scott McBride


An Atwater High graduate, he has a Master’s of Public Administration with distinction from CSU Stanislaus and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

He has previously served on the Atwater Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has participated in Leadership Merced – Class 16.

McBride and his wife, Jennifer have two daughters, Gwynne - 17 and Erin - 16. His wife is a full time faculty member at Merced College teaching English Composition. His oldest daughter is headed to CSU Monterey Bay and will be playing DII water polo for the Otters. His youngest will start her Junior year at Buhach Colony High School.

In his spare time he supports his daughters’ aquatics adventures taking them to practices, going to meets, and tournaments.
He also is president of the Merced Skimmers Board of Directors and the Buhach Colony High School Aquatics Boosters.
He like to play golf and is an avid home brewer.

McBride will make $146,000 annually.

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July 26 , 2017

MERCED COLLEGE AND THE NAACP TEAM UP FOR COLLEGE NIGHT

Merced College and the Merced NAACP branch are teaming up to host a College Night for the residents of South Merced on July 27.
NAACP President Darryl Davis said that Merced College has served the Merced area for more than 50 years and has been the backbone of this community for years, and it’s one of the reasons he wanted the two organizations to team up.
“One of the things I heard when I took over as president was that the NAACP wasn’t involved enough in the community,” Davis said. “So the last few years, we’ve been focused on teaming up with like-minded organizations, such as Merced College, that understand the importance of education.
“One of the things we’re really pushing is literacy, because too many kids in this community can’t read at the level that they should. Hopefully this is an event that the community will be interested in and will help spread that message.”
The event is open to anyone interested in attending college now or in the future and will run from 5-7 p.m. at McNamara Park. The College will provide snacks, information on the many programs it offers, how to register and will provide financial aid information.
The Associated Students of Merced College (ASMC) will also be in attendance, offering free game tickets to Merced College football’s home tilt with San Jose City on September 9. Participants will also receive a free meal voucher for the concession stand on the day of the game.
“We were approached by the NAACP about hosting an event,” said Acting Dean of Student Services Raul Alcalá. “Our hope is to take Merced College out into the community and show kids, both young and old, that it’s accessible.

“The event is open to all ages, but those who are considering attending in the fall will be given free bus passes to our Extreme Registration event, which is happening on July 29.”
Extreme Registration is a one-stop enrollment program that provides prospective students with an opportunity to fill out an application, go through orientation, take an assessment test, get an ID card, meet with a counselor, and select and register for classes in one day. Extreme Registration is set for July 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both the Merced and Los Banos campuses.
Alcalá said the events are among the first that Merced College intends to host in partnership with a number of community groups throughout the Merced area.
For more information on College Night, call Anne Dicarlo, director of the Office of Relations with Schools, at 209.386.6608. For information about Extreme Registration, call 209.384.6030.


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July 26, 2017

Assemblyman Gray Opposes Tax Plagued Cap-and-Trade Proposal

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) issued the following statement today after opposing renewal of the State Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade program:

“Climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our planet, but AB 398 disproportionately impacts the poorest Californians, many of whom live in my district, while leaving clean energy sources like hydro out of the equation.

If you live and work in the Central Valley, you have a different attitude toward rising fuel and energy costs than our neighbors along the coast. Studies have demonstrated that our fuel and housing costs as a proportion of income are already greater than even the Bay Area. The Assembly, Senate, and the Administration had the opportunity to address some of these inequities but failed to do so.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Office, the renewed Cap-and-Trade plan will raise gas prices by nearly $1 per gallon. My constituents are tired of bearing the brunt of policies that leave the most economically disadvantaged behind.


Since Assembly Bill 32 was passed more than ten years ago, Sacramento has failed to make good on promises to invest in disadvantaged communities. Instead, Cap-and-Trade has served as a tax on the working families of Merced, Ceres, Los Banos and communities like them. It has increased the price of gasoline and energy which has a disproportionate impact on people living in the hot summers and cold winters of inland California. All the while, the temperate coast is spared higher utility bills while driving electric cars subsidized by the state.

I will continue to fight for the Valley to receive its fair share. As a region, we must continue to make our voices heard. We cannot, and will not, sit idly by as special interests let political ideology trump good policy. California has promised to be a leader on climate change, but we are leading down a path no one will follow.”

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July 26, 2017


Costa Supports Defense Authorization Act

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, by a vote of 344 to 81. The legislation outlines the budget and authorizes expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense for the upcoming fiscal year. The Energy and State Departments also have defense-related programs authorized in the bill.

Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who voted for the legislation, said shortly after the vote, “Keeping Americans safe is a goal we all share in the House of Representatives, and we saw that today with the overwhelming bipartisan support for the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s no secret that we in Congress have been struggling to pass, or even vote on, spending, authorization, and budget bills, and I am glad that we were able to come together today to pass this very important piece of legislation.”

Included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 is $141.9 billion for troop pay, bonuses, and benefits, which includes $206.4 million to cover a 2.4 percent pay increase for military personnel.


Congressman Jim Costa

“It’s imperative that we provide our servicemen, servicewomen, and their families the resources they need,” Rep. Costa continued. “They sacrifice so much to protect our country and our freedom, and we must honor their commitment to our nation.”

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July 13, 2017

MERCED COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS TO HOLD PUBLIC WORKSHOPS FOR
MERCED COUNTY REGIONAL VISION

MERCED, CA: The Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) will hold a series of workshops to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the Merced County Regional Vision – a collaborative effort between the County of Merced and the Cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced. Merced County Regional Vision will provide the framework for investment in roads, freeways, public transit like buses, bike trails and other ways people move around our County through 2042. It will also include a plan to accommodate the region's future housing needs and comply with the State mandated legislation to reduce greenhouse gases (SB375).
“We have a great opportunity to plan for our how we will move people and goods throughout the County – especially now that we have successfully passed Measure V,” said MCAG Deputy Executive Director Stacie Dabbs. “The workshops will give participants an opportunity to learn more about the planning process and weigh in on priorities for investments.”

 

Workshops

Los Banos
Monday, July 17, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 PM
City of Los Banos
City Council Chambers
520 J Street, Los Banos

Livingston
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 PM
City of Livingston
City Council Chambers
1416 C Street, Livingston

Merced
Thursday, July 20, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 PM
City of Merced
City Council Chambers
678 West 18th St, Merced

For more information please visit our project website www.MercedRegionalVision.com or the Merced County Association of Governments website www.MCAGov.org

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July 13, 2017

Costa Joins Valadao in Continuing Efforts to Secure Water for California

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. R. 23, the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, by a vote of 230 to 190. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), aims at increasing the amount, quality, and reliability of water available to communities in the Central Valley of California. A large portion of the bill focuses on modifying policies regarding the operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project and the implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement.

Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) was the only Democrat to cosponsor the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, although he raised concerns regarding specific provisions contained within the legislation. “I support moving this legislation through the House as an important first step for addressing California’s broken water system,” Congressman Costa stated. “However, improvements to this bill need to be made if it is going to provide the long-term solutions we so badly need in the San Joaquin Valley and other parts of California. We must protect the Grasslands Ecological Area, an area that contributes nearly $73,000,000 to Merced County’s economy, and we cannot allow drastic cuts to the Central Valley Project’s Restoration Fund as currently proposed in the bill.”

In addition to cosponsoring the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, Costa proposed two amendments to strengthen the bill coming out of the House, both of which also passed today. The first amendment authorizes a study for increasing the amount of mountain runoff water captured by Central Valley Project reservoirs, and the second authorizes a study to evaluate the natural groundwater system in California to identify areas with the greatest recharge potential. Rep. Costa explained, “In order to fix California’s water system, we must approach the issue from multiple angles, which includes using more effectively the resources and tools we already have, such as forest management, watershed restoration, increased surface and subsurface storage, and increased groundwater recharge.


Congressman Jim Costa

 

Costa continued, “After decades of working to secure water for California’s Central Valley, I can say with certainty that the only way we are going to continue to make progress towards a long-term solution here is by working together – All of us: both parties, both chambers. I stand ready to work with my fellow members of Congress in the House and Senate to improve this bill so we can get a bipartisan solution signed into law.”

Congressman Costa has been working on California water issues since his time in the California State Legislature, where he was first elected in 1978. Costa serves on the Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and he was a key player in getting the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) passed in the House of Representatives in December 2016.

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July 12 , 2017

ENROLL IN CLASSES AT MERCED COLLEGE
THROUGH ‘EXTREME REGISTRATION’

Students wishing to enroll for fall semester classes at Merced College will have a unique opportunity to complete the registration process with the convenience of “one-stop shopping.”
The Extreme Registration event will be held on Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at both the Merced and Los Banos campuses. The College will provide lunch and beverages for all participants.
Prospective students will be able to complete any of the steps to registration, including filing out an application, going through orientation, taking the assessment test, getting an ID card, meeting with a counselor, and getting help to select and register for classes.
Participants will also be able to talk to Financial Aid advisers, buy their books, and explore various specialized programs such as, EOPS, services for individuals with disabilities (DSPS), foster youth, tutorial programs, programs for parents on aid (CalWORKs), and get student health information.
Some informational services may not be available at the Los Banos Campus during Extreme Registration. Call 209.826.3495 for information on the specialized programs offered there.

The Fall 2017 Semester at Merced College begins on August 14.
For more information about Extreme Registration, call 209.384.6030.

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Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment
on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry,
national origin, sex, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

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July 11, 2017

Stakeholders meeting on cannabis businesses Wednesday

The City of Merced will be holding a stakeholders and community meeting regarding cannabis businesses in the City on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room in the Merced Civic Center at 678 W. 18th St.

The City has hired SCI Consulting to draft regulations and a selection process for the four future medical marijuana dispensaries that the City Council has authorized.

SCI will be giving an overview of recent changes in State law and recent direction given by the City Council and Planning Commission. The direction

covered issues associated with the regulations that are currently being drafted and other cannabis-related businesses that the City may consider allowing to locate here.

The City and SCI will also be seeking comments on these issues from local stakeholders, which include representatives from local law enforcement, various City Departments, Merced County, and the school districts, as well as from the general public and representatives from the cannabis industry.

The public is invited to the meeting.

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July 11, 2017

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

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various off and on-ramps and perform other construction activities on State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue in Merced to the Merced/Stanislaus County line. Work will occur as follows:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work;
• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for traffic signal work as part of a project on SR-140;
• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to 16th Street in Merced will close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Monday, July 10, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

• The #1 (left) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to the Merced/Stanislaus County line will close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for lane striping.

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
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT TO THE DELTA MENDOTA CANAL IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 from the California Aqueduct near the San Luis Reservoir to the Delta Mendota Canal for maintenance work.
One-way traffic control will be in effect on northbound and southbound SR-33 at both the California Aqueduct and the Delta Mendota Canal beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for maintenance.

Motorists should expect 15 minute delays at each location. 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.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN GUSTINE (MERCED COUNTY)

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for traffic signal work as part of a project on SR-140;
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Virginia Street in the City of Merced to SR-33 in Gustine beginning Monday, July 10, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for pavement work;

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Sydney Lane to Virginia Street in the City of Merced beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 14, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for traffic signal work;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes of eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Street in the City of Merced will alternately close beginning Sunday, July 9, 2017, through Friday, July 10, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for traffic signal work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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July 6, 2017

Students Enjoy MCSD Summer Academy

Hundreds of 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 program robots, build marshmallow catapults, launch paper towel roll rockets, make ice cream, design Rube Goldberg machines, and create their own instruments. There are also special performances, assemblies, and learning excursions to places such as local zoos, performing arts centers, colleges, and universities.

All of the activities and other classroom instruction are based around integrated STEAM learning – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. This approach is designed to help students develop 21st century skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

The five week session started June 12 and will continue through July 14. The classes are open to children who were in transitional kindergarten through seventh grade during the 2016-2017 school year. They are being held at Reyes Elementary, Rivera Elementary, and Rivera Middle School.

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.

Fourth grader Lily Tupuanai says, “My favorite part about coming to Summer Academy is to learn new things, and Summer Academy helps me go over the things I just learned in the recent grade.”

Eighth grader Jade Velasquez adds, “I enjoy the activities that they have us do, our art projects, and the experience we have in our science classes.”






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July 6, 2017

Golfing for Good Health: Golden Valley Health Centers announces Inaugural Golf Tournament with
Celebrity Guest Hall of Famer Rick Barry

MODESTO, CALIFORNIA – June 23, 2017
GVHC Inaugural 45th Anniversary Gala and Inaugural Golf Tournament with Honorary Chairperson & NBA All-Star, Rick Barry
We are pleased to announce a first of its kind for Golden Valley Health Centers, a weekend of fun and celebration of our lifesaving mission. The weekend is kicked off by a 45th Anniversary Gala on October 28, 2017 and the Inaugural Golf Tournament on October 30th. We are celebrating 45 years of serving the underserved in our communities. Whether you enjoy attending an upscale gala or spending your afternoon with friends and playing golf on one of the central valley’s finest golf courses, we have the event for you! Your participation helps support Golden Valley Health Centers and the vital services they provide. We are also excited to announce that Hall of Famer Rick Barry has agreed to be the honorary chair of the weekend of events and will be highlighting the mission and amazing work Golden Valley does here in the Central Valley. Rick will be joining us at the gala as our featured speaker; as well as golfing and joining us for dinner and offering closing remarks. Rick Barry is an eight-time NBA All-Star who was a prolific scorer in both the ABA and NBA. He was named Finals MVP in 1975 after leading the Golden State Warriors to an NBA Championship.
Join GVHC and Rick Barry in celebrating 45 years of serving the underserved in our communities. Your participation helps support Golden Valley Health Centers and the vital services we provide.
The Inaugural Golf tournament will be held at the Turlock Golf and Country Club. It will include lunch at noon, an 18-hole scramble, and dinner with Honorary Chairperson Rick Barry.
The foundation welcomes any and all businesses and organizations to participate and sponsor the event. It is part of the foundation's largest fundraiser weekend with all proceeds raised directly benefiting all of GVHC’s lifesaving efforts. More information about the weekend events including the 45th Anniversary Gala, Inaugural Tournament, including online registration and sponsorships can be found here (www.gvhc.org).

 

 

 

ABOUT GOLDEN VALLEY HEALTH CENTERS
Golden Valley Health Centers is a private, nonprofit, Federally Qualified health center system that has served California’s Central Valley for over 45 years. Golden Valley is accredited by The Joint Commission and recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Golden Valley has developed a system of 29 clinical sites and 11 dental sites, including two freestanding women’s health centers, four school-based centers, a homeless healthcare program and a Senior Health Center at Golden Valley’s main Merced campus. Golden Valley Health Centers serves patients who might otherwise have no place to receive health care. What began as one health center in 1972 has grown over the past four decades into an organization of 29 health centers serving Merced and Stanislaus Counties. It is the largest service of its kind in the entire region. No patient is turned away because of inability to pay. When everyone, regardless of financial means, has access to excellent health care, it enhances the well-being of the whole community.
Through their community health centers, they provide comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral health services as well as health education and eligibility screening to an ethnically diverse population, including migrant and seasonal farm workers, Southeast Asian refugees and the homeless population of Merced and Stanislaus Counties.

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July 6, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM STATE ROUTE 99 TO SYDNEY LANE
IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-99 to Sydney Lane. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street in the City of Merced will close beginning Wednesday, July 5, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for grinding and paving;

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Sydney Lane to Virginia Avenue beginning Thursday, July 6, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding and paving;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Avenue will alternately close beginning Thursday, July 6, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding and paving.

Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. (Due to Fourth of July holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, July 2; Monday, July 3, 2017; or Tuesday, July 4, 2017.)

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start

near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT STATE ROUTE 140/V STREET IN MERCED

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound off-ramp from State Route 99 (SR-99) to SR-140/V Street in Merced for grinding and paving.
Work will begin Wednesday, July 5, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. as part of a project on SR-140.

Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. (Due to Fourth of July holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, July 2; Monday, July 3, 2017; or Tuesday, July 4, 2017.)

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.


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July 6, 2017

Merced gets two more days of swimming a week

Get more swim time this summer as the City of Merced extends pools days at McNamara Pool starting July 5.
“The Council wanted to offer more recreational opportunities for the City’s youth, and more ways to stay cool in the summer heat,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “Adding extra days gives more kids more summer fun.”
The City Council voted June 19 to add two more days of recreational swim this summer, so the pool will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 3 to 6.
However, next week, the pool will be closed Tuesday, July 4, for the holiday.
McNamara Pool, located at 1040 Canal St., will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through Aug. 13.

 

 

The Golden Valley High School Pool, 2121 E. Childs Ave., is open from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Aug. 13.
Admission is $1 for youths under 18 and $2 for adults. Fridays swimming is free for the first 70 youngsters courtesy of the Merced Satellite Rotary.

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June 28 , 2017

ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED FOR MERCED COLLEGE

Merced College’s accreditation status has been reaffirmed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).
“It is my pleasure to announce that Merced College’s accreditation status has been reaffirmed,” said Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli.
Based on a comprehensive evaluation by ACCJC, Merced College’s accreditation was reaffirmed for 18 months with a follow-up report to address the team’s findings and recommendations.
“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the campus community, as well as its tireless dedication to student learning,” President Vitelli said.
In its June 23 letter to President Vitelli, ACCJC thanked the college for “sharing the values and the work of accreditation to ensure educational quality and to support student success."
ACCJC further noted that the peer review process by which colleges are accredited “are most effective when the College and ACCJC work together to focus on student outcomes and continuous quality improvement in higher education.”
Merced College received numerous commendations, recognizing the College’s outstanding work on developing a comprehensive program review process, the development of multiple measures, progress toward an accelerated pathway to college-level English, a robust professional development program, use of institutional planning handbooks, and the comprehensive student services program at the Los Banos Campus.
ACCJC’s findings followed the College’s year-long process of preparing its accreditation self-study report. President Vitelli noted that this process included institutional dialogue, as well as collection and analysis of data that sought to determine whether the College had met all of ACCJC’s eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and commission policies.
An accreditation team visit was held in March with evaluators spending three days on the Merced and Los Banos campuses and at the Business Resource Center. The team analyzed data, conducted interviews and open forums, and reviewed the College’s reports and operations.
“I am grateful to those college staff members who contributed countless hours in preparation of our comprehensive self-evaluation report and the team visit, and I’m proud of the work they continue to do to ensure sustainable continuous quality improvement across the District,” President Vitelli said.
ACCJC issued six recommendations for improvement, which the College is expected to address in its follow-up report.

 

“The Commission’s recommendations are not insurmountable, but rather our challenges in crystallizing policies and practices that will improve the college’s functionality,” President Vitelli said.
“We have already begun to address these recommendations and are excited about the prospect of improving operations through these recommendations. While the work ahead is not easy, it will be fulfilling and will pay great dividends in student achievement.”
President Vitelli noted that accreditation is an important and vital component of ensuring both the quality and the relevancy of the College’s programs and services. The accreditation process provides colleges and universities with an opportunity to improve their educational programs and services.
After receiving the visiting evaluation team’s report, Merced College began work to address the recommendations.
“Accreditation is more than compliance, it is a mechanism to help ensure our students and our community that we are committed to high standards and excellence in our instructional programs and student support services,” President Vitelli said.
“I am confident that we will address all of ACCJC’s recommendations in a thorough and timely manner, but more importantly I am confident that we will take this opportunity to improve the student experience at Merced College.”

 

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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June 27 , 2017

VSArts Merced Receives Grant from California Arts Council, Performance on Friday

Students from the Merced County Office of Education will host a very special performance for family, friends and the community at Golden Valley High School on Friday, June 30.
The performance is the culmination of the summer arts program, which includes the Merced County Office of Education’s Orthopedically Handicapped and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs, and other local agencies serving individuals with special needs.
As part of its Artists in Schools program, the California Arts Council has awarded the summer program $2,363 to help with the provision of professional artists assisting the individuals with special needs discover their unique skills to showcase to the community.
MCOE is one of 136 grantees chosen for this highly competitive program, which received applications from 168 organizations statewide. The news of MCOE’s grant was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, which can be viewed online at http://arts.ca.gov/news/pressreleases.php.
“This is our 20th year offering a unique summer intensive arts program, which specifically targets the discovery of the creative spirit within those diagnosed with some sort of disability,” said program organizer and MCOE itinerant teacher of orthopedically impaired John Russell-Curry. “Without our partnership with the Merced County Arts Council, the support from the

 

California Arts Council, and other local agencies such as the Cerebral Palsy Association of Merced County, we wouldn’t be able to offer this truly one-of-a-kind program.”
The performance will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, June 30 at the Golden Valley High School Theater.
Hands-on art activities for the young-at-heart, sponsored by the Merced County Arts Council, will be available at 8:45 a.m.outside the theater main doors.
For more information about the event, call John Russell-Curry at (209) 381-6744 or email him at jrussell@mcoe.org.

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June 24, 2017

Cooling zone closes after Friday as hot spell weakens

The National Weather Service predicts the triple digit temperatures will end starting Saturday, so the City will close its cooling zone after this evening. Staff will be monitoring the weather in case temperatures spike again and there is a need to reopen the cooling zone.

 

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June 24, 2017

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

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various off and on-ramps and perform other construction activites on State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue in Merced to the Merced/Stanislaus county line. Work will occur as follows:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work;
• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for utility work, grinding and paving as part of a project on SR-140;
• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to Atwater Boulevard will close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

• The #1 (left), #2 (middle) and #3 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from East Gerard Avenue to the Merced/Stanislaus County Line will alternately close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for grinding operations;

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.

FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 EAST OF STATE ROUTE
33 IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform a full highway closure oneastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) just east of SR-33 for railroad repair.

Work will occur beginning Friday, June 23, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. until Monday, June 26, 2017, at 5:00 p.m.

A local detour will be marked with signage. 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.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street in the City of Merced will close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for utility work, grinding and paving;

• A full highway closure on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) just east of SR-33 will be in effect beginning Friday, June 23, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. until Monday, June 26, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. for railroad repair. A local detour will be marked with signage;

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Sydney Lane to Virginia Avenue beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding and paving;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Avenue will alternately close beginning Sunday, June 25, 2017, through Friday, June 30, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding and paving.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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


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June 24, 2017

Costa Joins in Bipartisan Support for Strengthening Career and Technical Education

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States House of Representatives passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act on Thursday afternoon. The bill focuses on career and technical education (CTE) programs, funding grants for these programs through fiscal year 2023. In addition to other provisions, the legislation calls for more input from teachers and school administrators at the state and local level in the development of these programs, and it promotes an increased collaboration with industry representatives when designing programs to train students in the industry sector.

“By supporting and improving career and technical education programs, this legislation supports and improves the chances of so many of our young people to find gainful employment and to develop a career,” said Rep. Costa, a longtime advocate of career and technical education programs. “We have seen these programs benefit our students across the country, and these programs have been especially critical in increasing opportunity and growth in our rural and underserved communities. In our San Joaquin Valley, for example, Madera Unified School District has twenty-two – twenty-two – career pathways which include on-the-job training and education in multiple industry sectors. We have also heard widespread support for these programs from companies and organizations across numerous industry sectors. This legislation does more than just strengthen our educational programs; It also strengthens our communities, now and into the future. I hope to see this bill find similar bipartisan support in the Senate, and for the President to sign it into law.”

Coming from both sides of the aisle, 40 House members cosponsored the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century. The legislation has received support from both educational and industry organizations from various sectors, ranging from construction, to information and computing technologies, to engineers. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. If enacted, the law will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Costa Supports Measure to Reduce Wildfire Risk

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) urged the United States House of Representatives to pass the Electricity Reliability and Forest


Congressman Jim Costa

Protection Act on Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, the House approved the legislation by a vote of 300 to 118. The bill aims at reducing wildfires by streamlining the process for managing trees and vegetation growing near power lines and electric distribution lines. The new process proposed in the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act will promote “federal consistency, accountability, and timely decision-making,” according to the House Natural Resources Committee’s report.

Rep. Costa, who is an original cosponsor of the bill, said shortly after the House vote, “Wildfires can be utterly devastating to surrounding communities, as we have seen all too well in our California mountains recently. Clearly, we must do whatever we can to prevent wildfires and reduce the damage of the wildfires that do occur, and one logical way to do this is to remove the trees and other plants that can easily spark wildfires when they come in contact with power lines. This legislation expedites the process for removing the trees that have a high chance of coming in contact with power lines, so it is a straightforward, commonsense way to help prevent wildfires. I hope to see the bipartisan support for this bill continue in the Senate and for the President to sign it into law.”

The Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on April 27th, with both Democratic and Republican committee members supporting the bill. The legislation has been sent to the United States Senate for Senate consideration.

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June 23, 2017

Heat wave fades, Merced cooling zone open Friday

The City’s cooling zone will be open Friday, but then temperatures are expected to begin dropping as the heat wave starts to fade away.

“We are glad that temperatures are finally starting to decrease and give people a break,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “This weather has been hard on everyone, but especially our vulnerable populations.”

The City opened its cooling zone on Sunday and will keep it open through Friday.
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.

“We are glad we’ve been able to help out people,” Dietz said. “We had 27 people who came in Wednesday, including a number of families.”

People can bring their pets as long as they don’t disturb other people or pets.

People are reminded to stay hydrated during the heat wave, wear loose clothes and light colored fabrics. Don’t leave children or pets inside vehicles, where temperatures can reach lethal levels in minutes.

There will be free bus rides to the Merced cooling zone provided by The Bus.

As always, Dietz asked City residents to check on their neighbors to make sure they are coping with the hot weather. “Look out for each other, it’s the right thing to do,” Dietz said. “Don’t forget our at-risk residents and make sure the seniors around you are OK.”

Opening of the cooling zones is subject to changes in the temperatures.
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.

 

June 22 , 2017

Assemblymember Adam Gray Honors Veteran of the Year

Assemblymember Adam Gray honored First Class Petty Officer John Ceccoli of Merced as the Veteran of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. First Class Petty Officer Ceccoli was honored today at a luncheon in Sacramento.

John Ceccoli began his reserve career with the United States Navy in 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in October 2011 with the Joint Task Force to Bagram Airbase. During his tour of duty he was advanced to First Class Petty Officer. In May 2013, Officer Ceccoli returned to California and was assigned to the Cargo Afloat Rig Team Detachment Charlie in Lemoore and named Leading Petty Officer for the 27 Sailor detachment. He was responsible for the training and operational readiness of his Sailors in their support of Naval Operations around the globe. In May 2016, Officer Ceccoli was deployed to the Horn of Africa in support of counter-terrorism efforts.

Since 2013, Officer Ceccoli has worked for Merced County first as an employment training worker, but was later named the County Veterans Service Officer where he continues his service. Officer Ceccoli’s goal is that uphold our nation’s commitments to our citizen warriors and their dependents.

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


Photo features Scott Pettygrove, Director, Human Services Agency, County of Merced, First Class Petty Officer John Ceccoli, and Assemblymember Adam Gray

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June 22 , 2017


THE MERCED DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
GETS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office launched their Facebook account earlier this month, with the hopes gaining the ability to reach out to a larger portion of Merced County citizens with significant news pertaining to their office.
“Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate as a society. Newspapers and television are no longer are primary sources of information. We need to be more resourceful in our efforts to communicate and hope our Facebook page will help illuminate the work that we do as prosecutors and provide useful information to help keep Merced safe,” said District Attorney Larry D. Morse II.
The page was created and will be maintained by Amanda McCoy, who was hired to be their Communications Specialist in January.
By liking the District Attorney’s page, you can expect to see daily posts that will include: updates on high-profile convictions and sentencings, general informational pieces such as safety reminders, and news about what the District Attorney’s office and its employees are involved in within the community.

The District Attorney’s office is also in the process of upgrading their website and making it more user friendly. The new website will have updated information about the office and what we do, provide the answers to our most frequently asked questions, as well as providing links to additional resources you may need. The new website will be launched towards the end of July.
“It is an exciting time for us at the District Attorney’s office because we have the chance to reach out to more members of our community than ever before,” said McCoy. “We encourage every person in our community to like our page so that you can see for yourselves what we do at the District Attorney’s office.”
To like their Facebook you can search Merced County District Attorney in the search bar.

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June 21 , 2017

Measure V and The Bus to provide free service for
Veterans, seniors and ADA eligible passengers

Merced – The Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County (TJPAMC) will provide free service on the countywide fixed route bus system to veterans, seniors and ADA eligible passengers effective July 1, 2017. This new program is sponsored by Measure V, the transportation sales tax measure that was passed by Merced County voters last year. To qualify for this program, individuals must present valid photo identification.
To ride The Bus for free, veterans and active service members may use a government issued ID, active military identification card, veteran’s health identification card, or retired military identification card. Seniors may use a government issued ID displaying their date of birth, and ADA eligible passengers can use an ADA Paratransit card or a Medicare card with a photo ID to ride the fixed route system throughout Merced County without charge.

 

This new free service program is funded by Measure V, Merced County’s ½ cent transportation sales tax which was passed by voters in November 2016. “We are very excited that Measure V gives us this opportunity to further support our seniors, veterans and ADA eligible passengers by providing free trips instead of half-fares on all of our fixed routes, ” said Rich Green, Transit Manager.
For more information about The Bus or to check route schedules please visit: www.mercedthebus.com or contact The Bus Administration at (209)723-3100.
The Bus is the single public transportation service provider for all of Merced County. It is administered by the TJPAMC and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). For more information, please visit www.mercedthebus.com and www.mcagov.org.

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June 21 , 2017

Food Personality Simon Majumdar Leads Discussion With
Central California Restaurateurs & Chefs About Expanding Locally-Sourced Menus

Dialog aims to transform “The Food Capital Of The World”
beyond farming and production into a vibrant and prideful foodie destination

Fresno, California – June 20, 2017… Food Writer, Cook, Food Network TV Personality, and champion of the Fresno Food Expo Foodie Movement, Simon Majumdar, joined Central California’s 8-County San Joaquin Valley’s food community of restaurateurs and chefs Tuesday, June 20, 2017 to lead a discussion highlighting the importance of working together to put a spotlight on the region’s thriving food industry. Participating restaurateurs and chefs heard how restaurants from around the globe are embracing the “locally-sourced” food trend and how local restaurants can greatly benefit from this trend with their prime location to some of the largest varieties of both fresh and produced food in the nation. The conversation also included concepts on how to improve menus with locally-sourced food and its benefits in elevating the region as a leader in food and food production.

“As restaurants increase locally-crafted cuisine, more conversations will occur regarding the region’s rich food and agricultural region,” stated Simon Majumdar, Food Writer and Food Network TV Personality. “This food movement will help expand the region’s position as the ‘Food Capital of the World’ beyond farming and production – to a prideful food community and destination for the world to admire and savor.”

Simon reviewed the concepts of hyper local sourcing (a term used when restaurants serve primarily locally-sourced food on their menu), the advantages of food communities and how to build them and table side presentations. He also added his thoughts on natural wines and the rediscovery of brandy.

Among some of the locally-sourced food benefits discussed included: local foods are fresher, taste better, support local economies and foster relationships with other businesses, and they allow restaurant chefs to expand their menu creativity with seasonal varieties. With the national restaurant industry projected to make an estimated $798.7 billion in sales in 2017, partnerships between the foodservice industry and the Fresno Food Expo is essential.

More than 35 restaurateurs and chefs from throughout the Valley were in attendance including: Colton Social House, The Gastro Grill and Trelio in Clovis; Limon, The Annex Kitchen, Max’s Bistro, Pardini’s and Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Fresno; The Range in Lodi; The Vineyard Restaurant in Madera; Bella Luna Bistro in Merced; Erna’s Elderberry House in Oakhurst; School House Restaurant in Sanger; La Piazza Ristorante in Tulare; and Tazzaria in Visalia.

“It would be great to see restaurants throughout the Valley work together to ‘celebrate food’ by elevating the use of locally-sourced fresh and produced products on their menus,” said Vinnie DeAngelo, Head Chef of the Bella Luna Bistro. “This is exactly what ‘foodies’ are looking for and this kind of movement will encourage others to become more familiar with the benefits of locally-produced ingredients.”

“While the Expo is highly focused on connecting Central California’s food and beverage companies with retail and foodservice buyers, in the past few years, we have also started putting a spotlight on our region’s chefs and restaurateurs,” said David Nalchajian, General Manager of the Fresno Food Expo. “They are a critical component to the Expo’s mission of creating a regional identity centered around the celebration of food production because they serve as a catalyst in stimulating regional pride by elevating locally-sourced food into their daily businesses, and celebrating the variety of foods that make us the ‘Food Capital of the World’.”

 

Through its expanded exhibitor platform, the Fresno Food Expo aims to foster business growth opportunities year-round for participating Central California food and beverage companies by offering numerous business-to-business occasions to help fine-tune and inspire this important industry whose growth will serve to expand economic opportunities.

The 2017 Fresno Food Expo will take place July 26-27, 2017. The agenda includes exhibitor-hosted site tours; featured keynote speaker, Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru; returning Food Writer and Food Network Personality, Simon Majumdar; followed by the Expo’s opening reception, Pairings, on July 26. The business-to-business tradeshow portion will take place on Thursday, July 27 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. followed by Expolicious, the Expo’s public evening celebration from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Registration is currently open for buyers and exhibitors. More than 150 exhibitors and 950 key pre-qualified international and domestic buyers are expected to participate.

Tickets to Expolicious are available to the public for $50 and can be purchased at any Ticketmaster Box Office (fees apply), online at www.FresnoFoodExpo.com or at Cumulus Broadcasting for $40 while supplies last. For discount ticket information, be sure to “Like” the Fresno Food Expo page on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram and Twitter. For more information on the Fresno Food Expo, visit www.FresnoFoodExpo.com.

About Fresno Food Expo
Originally developed as an economic development initiative by the City of Fresno in 2011, the Expo has since emerged as the nation’s only exclusively regional food show bringing together growers, processors, manufacturers and industry service providers with buyers from around the world. Since its debut, the Expo has brought heightened awareness to the region’s food production industry as new, innovative businesses emerge and industry collaborations form as a direct result of the show. The Expo has introduced 305 different food and beverage companies to new customers and hosted 2,680 different qualified buyers, including over 100 strategically recruited international buyers. The Fresno Food Expo is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization led by a 14-member Board of Directors, with current daily management services provided by David Nalchajian, Inc.

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June 21, 2017

Heat wave continues, Merced cooling zone open through Friday

The heat wave continues to blanket the Valley, with triple digit temperatures stretching into the weekend.

“It’s critical we open our cooling zone at least through Friday,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “We need to provide a safe haven for people to escape the searing heat.”

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.

“We’ve got lots of cold water, snacks, and we want people to take advantage of it,” she said. “Don’t stay at home if you can’t stay cool and comfortable.”

People are reminded to stay hydrated during the heat wave, wear loose clothes and light colored fabrics. Don’t leave children or pets inside vehicles, where temperatures can reach lethal levels in minutes.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area through Friday. Wednesday and Thursday’s forecast high is 108, and then the temperature is predicted to drop to 104 on Friday.
There will be free bus rides to the Merced cooling zone provided by The Bus.

Dietz also asked City residents to check on their neighbors to make sure they are coping with the hot weather. “The heat is hard on a lot of people, and we have to look out for each other,” Dietz said. “Check in on your neighbors and friends, make sure the seniors around you are OK, and don’t forget our at-risk residents.”

Opening of the cooling zones is subject to changes in the temperatures.
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.

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June 20, 2017

Merced cooling zone is open through Thursday

The intense heat continues to grip the Valley, so the City of Merced has extended its cooling zone today through Thursday to offer residents an escape from the hot temperatures.

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. There will be water, snacks and other supplies available in the room.

“Be careful out in the heat. Remember to stay hydrated and try to stay cool,” said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “Above all don’t leave children or pets inside a car. Vehicles get hot quickly and it’s too dangerous.”

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area through Thursday as the heat wave lingers. Today’s forecast high is 108, and then the temperature is predicted to stay are 107 through Thursday.

There will be free bus rides to the Merced cooling zone provided by The Bus.

“Take advantage of our cooling zone, especially if you don’t have air conditioning or if you are relying on a swamp cooler,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz.

She also asked City residents to check on their neighbors to make sure they are coping with the hot weather.

“The heat is hard on a lot of people, and we have to look out for each other,” Dietz said. “Check in on your neighbors and friends, make sure the seniors around you are OK, and don’t forget our at-risk residents.”

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.

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June 20, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM FORESTA ROAD TO EL PORTAL ROAD NEAR YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform a full highway closure oneastbound and westbound State Route 140 from Foresta Road to El Portal Road for maintenance activities.

Work will occur beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, until Thursday, June 22, 2017, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Detour routes will be marked with signage. Motorists should expect 15-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.


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June 20, 2017

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June 17, 2017

Merced opens cooling zones starting Sunday

The City of Merced will open its cooling zone Sunday through Wednesday because of the heat wave sweeping through the San Joaquin Valley.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area through Tuesday night because of the temperatures. Sunday’s forecast high is 107 and Monday and Tuesday temperature’s are expected to reach 108 degrees. The high for Wednesday is currently forecast for 107.

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. There will be water, snacks and other supplies available in the room.

There will be free bus rides to the Merced cooling zone provided by The Bus. (Bus service does end at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.)

“This is a good time to check on your neighbors to make sure they are OK, especially seniors and our at-risk populations,” said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “Some people have a harder time adapting to the hot weather, and they may require an extra hand.”


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.

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June 17, 2017

YARTS to run temporary express service to Yosemite

MERCED – The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) will run an express bus service on Highway 140 to Yosemite Valley starting June 17, 2017. The El Portal Road and Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite National Park on Highway 140 have been closed since earlier this week due to a rock slide. YARTS will operate on the following schedule daily to Yosemite Valley from Hwy 140 until the road reopens. The service will run as follows:

Depart: Yosemite View Lodge at 7:00 am
Arrive: Cedar Lodge at 7:15 am
Arrive: Bug Hostel: 7:40 am
Arrive: KOA: 7:50 am
Arrive: Mariposa Roadside Rest Stop: 8:06 am
(All passengers are to transfer to Bus 2 at Mariposa Roadside Rest Stop)
Arrive: Yosemite Valley Visitor Center: 11:06 am
Depart: Yosemite Valley Visitor Center: 3:15 pm
Arrive: Mariposa Roadside Rest Stop: 6:15 pm
(All passengers transfer to Hwy 140 Run 6 at the Mariposa Roadside Rest Stop)

Passengers must be on the bus when it departs the Visitor Center at 3:15 pm to travel back to Mariposa, Midpines and El Portal. Passengers not on the bus leaving the Visitors Center will be responsible for their own travel back to their accommodations.
For more information about YARTS or the seasonal schedules, please visit www.yarts.com or contact Cindy Kelly at cynthia.kelly@yarts.com

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


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.

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June 17, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM FORESTA ROAD TO EL PORTAL ROAD NEAR YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform a full highway closure on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 from Foresta Road to El Portal Road for slide removal work.

Work will occur beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, until Thursday, June 22, 2017, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Motorists should expect 15-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
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM EAST GERARD AVENUE IN MERCED
TO THE MERCED/STANISLAUS COUNTY LINE

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various off and on-ramps and perform other construction activites on State Route 99 (SR-99) from East Gerard Avenue in Merced to the Merced/Stanislaus county line. Work will occur as follows:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work;
• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, June 18, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for utility work as part of a paving project on SR-140;
• The #1 (left) and #3 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from East Gerard Avenue to the Merced/Stanislaus County Line will alternately close beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for grinding operations;

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound SR-99 from Buhach Road to the Merced/Stanislaus County Line will close beginning Sunday, June 18, 2017, through Monday, June 19, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for pavement repair;

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to Atwater Boulevard will close beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

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
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT APPLEGATE ROAD IN ATWATER

Atwater – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a long-term closure of the on and off-ramps of southbound State Route 99 at Applegate Road to repair damage due to an accident. The closure is anticipated to remain in effect until June 24, 2017.
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.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street in the City of Merced will close beginning Sunday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for utility work;
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Virginia Avenue in Merced to the Gustine railroad crossing beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for grinding and paving operations;

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Sydney Lane to Virginia Avenue beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for utility work;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Avenue will alternately close beginning Sunday, June 18, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for utility work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT TO THE DELTA MENDOTA CANAL 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 the California Aqueduct near the San Luis Reservoir to the Delta Mendota Canal for maintenance work. Work will occur as follows:
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on northbound and southbound SR-33 at both the California Aqueduct and the Delta Mendota Canal beginning Sunday, June 18, 2017, through Friday, June 23, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for maintenance.

Motorists should expect 10-minute delays at each location. 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.

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June 17, 2017

Budget adoption, assessment ballots on agenda

Adoption of the City’s $218 million budget and four assessment district elections are on the City Council agenda for Monday.
The regular City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.
The continued public hearing on the budget will be held during the meeting before Council adopts it. The budget, which includes $41 million for the General Fund, is online for public viewing.
The budget was developed after three town hall meetings and a priority session were held, along with a budget workshop. The budget serves as the blueprint for the City for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Monday night there will be an opportunity for Council and the public to comment on the budget.
Also on the agenda is a public hearing on proposed increases for the Pleasanton Park, Olivewood, Mansionette and Hanson Park Maintenance Districts. Ballots on the increases can be cast at the meeting and they will be counted during the Council meeting with the results made public later in the session.


Also on the agenda is a report on industrial park land in Merced. Staff is asking Council to select one of two sites in southeastern Merced for future industrial development.
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.

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June 16, 2017

Gray Applauds Passage of State Budget with Funding to Combat Homelessness in Merced and Stanislaus County

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) praised the passage of the 2017-18 California State Budget and highlighted a number of local investments vital to the success of working families in the San Joaquin Valley including $5 million in dedicated funding to Merced and Stanislaus County to combat homelessness.

Balanced and On-Time
“The days of delayed and deficit-ridden budgets continue to be behind us. Today I am proud to support a budget which is on-time, balanced, and invests in many of the priorities of the San Joaquin Valley.”

Allocates $5 million to Combat Homelessness
“The budget contains $2.5 million each for Merced and Stanislaus County to address the problem of homelessness in the 21st District. This funding will expedite local planning and boost local resources to put a roof over the heads of this vulnerable population. I look forward to working with local leaders to identify solutions and ways to use this funding as an opportunity to leverage public and private funding to make these dollars go even further. This is a historic investment in our community and will have lasting implications for years to come.”

Fully Funds FFA
“After early versions of the budget placed funding for career tech and FFA on the chopping block, a chorus of blue jackets from throughout the state descended upon the Capitol to remind lawmakers of the importance of these vital programs. FFA, and other career technical education courses like it, are some of the very few remaining opportunities for young adults to leave school workforce ready. It is time Sacramento stop trying to cut the very programs that most benefit the workforce of rural California and the San Joaquin Valley.”

Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit

“The expansion of the earned income tax credit to the self-employed and those with incomes up to $22,000 is a major victory for disadvantaged

communities throughout California. In Merced and Stanislaus County we expect a boost of nearly 25% in eligible filers. This is not a handout. This is a tax credit that targets the most in need and rewards hardworking families by letting them keep more of the money they earned in the first place.”
Boosts Medi-Cal Reimbursements and Healthcare Workforce Training
“California has cut the number of people without health insurance in half since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, but emergency rooms in the San Joaquin Valley continue to be overcrowded. Without an adequate number of doctors and nurses serving the community, a health insurance card offers a false promise. The budget devotes over $500 million to boost Medi-Cal reimbursements rewarding doctors who see high rates of Medi-Cal patients.

The budget also safeguards a $100 million investment in the Song-Brown program we fought for last year to support and expand residency programs in health professional shortage areas. We know that health professionals tend to practice where they are trained. By expanding residency slots, we can train more doctors in the communities that need them most.

Finally, the budget fully restores the cuts made to dental benefits made during the Great Recession and puts us on track to restore optical benefits as well. We have waited far too long to restore these vital services. I am happy to report the wait is over.”

Supports Voluntary Bay-Delta Plan Settlements
“With the threat of the State Water Board’s plan to create a permanent regulatory drought throughout our community looming, the budget largely kicks the can down the road. If adopted in its current form, the board’s plan will devastate our agricultural economy and cause a ripple effect throughout the region. I am happy to see $1.1 million in the budget to support voluntary settlement negotiations currently taking place between the state and local water users. Voluntary agreements provide the only path forward that avoids decades of litigation.”

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June 16, 2017

Costa Supports Legislation to Improve VA Accountability

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, by a vote of 368 to 55on Tuesday. The bill, which passed in the U.S. Senate by a voice vote earlier this month, uses two different approaches to strengthen the ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hold department employees accountable when their misconduct, negligence, or incompetence jeopardizes the well-being of veterans. The first general approach focuses on methods for disciplining VA employees for misconduct or failure to perform their job, and the second on protecting employees from retaliation if they report the misconduct of other employees.

S. 1094 has similar goals to the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, a bill that passed in the House on March 16th but was never considered by the Senate. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, as passed by both the House and Senate, directly addresses some of the concerns regarding how the House’s bill modifies protections for the VA’s labor force.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 is supported by numerous veterans and military organizations, including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Military Officers Association of America, and the Reserve Officers Association. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin also supports the legislation, stating, “It’s common sense – we need to hold our employees accountable for their actions if they violate the public trust, and at the same time protect whistleblowers from retaliation. This legislation will help us do just that.”
Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) voted in favor of the bill and said shortly after it passed in the House of Representatives, “Our servicemen, servicewomen, and their families sacrifice so much for our nation. They


Congressman Jim Costa

deserve the best we can provide, which means we must make dramatic improvements to veterans programs, VA facilities, and the process veterans and their families go through to gain access to their benefits. While this may not be the bill that I would have drafted, addressing how the Department of Veterans Affairs is run is an important part of ensuring that our veterans and their families get what they need and what they have earned. Although more must be done for our veterans and their families, I am pleased to see this bill pass through both chambers of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. Supporting our veterans, active servicemen and servicewomen, and military families is one of our highest duties, both in Congress and throughout our nation.”

The bill passed in identical form in both congressional chambers and is being sent to the President to sign.

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June 15 , 2017

McSwain Father Named Father of the Year; Superintendent's Award Honors Father

Twenty-five fathers and father figures were honored along with the student who nominated them on June 13 at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Essay Awards Banquet at El Capitan High School in Merced.
Eric Gieling was named Merced County Father of the Year for an essay his daughter Anya, a first grader at McSwain Elementary School, wrote.
For the first time, a father whose child could not write an essay due to a disability was honored with the Superintendent’s Award. Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen awarded Jonathan Whitaker with the accolade for an essay from the perspective of his autistic daughter, Sierra. The letter was penned by longtime colleague Mike Conway. Whitaker is the editor of the Merced County Times.
In its 16th year, the essay contest is open to all kindergarten through 12th grade students in Merced County and highlights the special role fathers and father figures play in a child’s life.
Students are asked to write a 300-word essay titled, “What My Father Means To Me,” and a team of Merced County volunteers read each essay and choose the top three essays from each grade level. Fathers are given the option of writing a response, which may be submitted along with their child’s essay. Past Father of the Year recipients interview the winning students’ fathers and father figures to determine who will be named the new Merced County Father of the Year.
Nearly14,000 essays have been written in the previous 15 years of the competition and more than 300 fathers have been honored.
Students can write the essay about their father, stepfather, grandfather, or a father-like figure in their life.


Anya Gieling and her father Eric pose for a photo at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.

 


Anya Gieling receives certificates and congratulations from local officials at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.


More than 150 fathers, father figures and their guests attended the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.



McSwain Elementary School first grader Anya Gieling reads her award-winning essay about her father Eric, in back of her, at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.

Anya Gieling and her father Eric approach the lectern after it was announced that Eric won Father of the Year at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.



For the first time, a father whose child could not write an essay due to a disability was honored with the Superintendent's Award. Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen awarded Jonathan Whitaker with the accolade for an essay from the perspective of his autistic daughter, Sierra at the 2017 Merced County Father of the Year Awards Banquet on June 13 at El Capitan High School in Merced.

PHOTOS COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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June 15 , 2017

LOCAL EXHIBITORS GET YOUR ENTRIES IN NOW!

Lodi Grape Festival Premium Book and Entry Guides are Available
LODI – What can your photos and home grown tomatoes do for you? They can win you some money! The 2017 Lodi Grape Festival Premium Book and Entry Guide is available now with divisions ranging from produce to photography, fine arts to floriculture, and so much more. Prize money is available in all division and entries are displayed all four days of the Lodi Grape Festival, September 14-17, 2017.
“The local exhibits add so much to the Lodi Grape Festival,” says Mark A. Armstrong, Festival General Manager. “This year is our 80th birthday and it would be great to see our long standing exhibitors’ entries mixed in with entries from some new people with new perspective.”
Entry deadlines begin as early as August 18 and some categories fill up quickly, so start planning now and get your projects perfected to have on display.
To receive a premium book visit www.grapefestival.com or send a request to info@grapefestival.com.



Click here to see Flyer

Click here to get Premium Book and Entry Guide

The Lodi Grape Festival and Harvest Fair is September 14-17, 2017. For more information visit www.grapefestival.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter at @lodigrapefest and Instagram at @lodigrapefestival.

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June 15 , 2017

Costa Statement on Shooting at Republican Team’s Congressional Baseball Practice

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) denounced the shooting that occurred this morning during the Republican congressional baseball team’s practice. Rep. Costa referred to the incident as a “cowardly attack” and released the following statement:

“It is a sad day in our nation’s capital. We all learned early this morning of the horrific shooting that took place while Republican members of Congress and staff practiced for the annual bipartisan congressional baseball game to be played tomorrow night. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Scalise, congressional staff member Zack Barth, lobbyist and former staffer Matt Mika, and the two police officers, Krystal Griner and David Bailey, who were wounded as a result of this horrendous act of violence.

“The congressional baseball game at National’s Park raises tens of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations each year, and has been an annual tradition for decades. Just as importantly, it creates opportunities for bipartisan engagement for members of Congress and staff. So, the game must go on. Regardless of our differences and disagreements, we are one House. And, as a country, we are one nation. As our nation comes together


Congressman Jim Costa


in solidarity today, we are reminded of how vulnerable we all are to those who wish harm to our American way of life. We must peacefully unite in strength in the face of this hatred.”

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June 14 , 2017

The Special Olympics torch comes to Merced today Wednesday the 14th, as law enforcement officers start their run at 7 a.m. at the UC Merced campus. They will run along Bellevue, then down M Street to the police station, arriving at approximately 8:30 a.m. After a break, the torch and officers heads north to Atwater.


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

Summer at City Hall

The City of Merced is offering opportunities for students who would like to learn more about local government and get a look inside City Hall. This summer program is looking to increase youth knowledge of how local government operates and gain first-hand knowledge about it.

There will be guest speakers and field trips throughout the city in the 2-week period. Students who live in the city or attend a high school in Merced are eligible to apply. Registration is for students who will be in the 9th, 10th, 11th grade and incoming seniors.


This is last year's runners and supporters.

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

Students will receive a $100 stipend for completing the program. The program will take place July 10 through 21 at City Hall. For more information, please log onto our website at Cityofmerced.org or call 385-6855.

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June 14 , 2017

El Portal Road in Yosemite National Park Remains Closed
Highway 140 closed at Parkline at least through the weekend

The El Portal Road and Arch Rock Entrance into Yosemite National Park remain closed due to a rockslide that occurred yesterday around Noon. Yosemite National Park staff are assessing the area and the road will remain closed at least through the weekend of June 17-18, 2017. After the assessment is complete, crews will begin to remove rock debris and repair the road to make it safe for visitors to travel on. There is no estimate for when the road will reopen.

Around Noon yesterday, a large rockslide occurred from the "Parkline Slab" cliff, about 1 mile east of the park boundary on Highway 140.The rockslide originated from a point mid-way up the cliff, approximately 400 feet above the base of the cliff and 600 feet above the El Portal Road.

Roughly 4,000 tons of rock detached from the cliff along a cliff-parallel exfoliation joint; the approximate dimensions of the slab are 50 x 80 x 15 feet. This massive slab of rock slid down the cliff, hit a ledge, and broke into many pieces; these pieces fragmented further on hitting the base of the cliff, fanning out over an area more than 1,000 feet wide. The bulk of the debris slid and rolled down the slope at the base of the cliff, piling up on the El Portal Road, and continuing down to (and into) the Merced River.


Of the total volume of material that fell, roughly 1/3 of that landed on the El Portal Road, covering an area of road about 150 feet long under up to 15-20 feet of rock debris. The largest boulder on the road is about 130 tons, and there are several other boulders that are only somewhat smaller. Boulders and smaller "flyrock" fragments covered a section of road nearly 1,000 feet long. The road sustained damage, both to the paved surface and the retaining wall.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) buses will run on a modified schedule. To see the schedule, please visit www.yarts.com

A news release will be issued with updates as repairs progress on the El Portal Road.

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

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June 14 , 2017

MERCED COLLEGE ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO TAKE
15 UNITS A SMESTER TO COMPLETE ON TIME

If Merced College students were to enroll in 15 transferable units per semester, research shows they would complete their community college program in two years.
According to national data provided by Complete College America, only 4 to 5 percent of community college students nationwide complete in two years. Dr. Michael McCandless, vice president of Student Services, notices a similar trend with Merced College students.
“Local data correlates with national data in regard to student course-taking behavior. Students enrolling in fewer than 15 units per semester are completing their educational goals in 3-6 years; whereas, students enrolling in 15 units per semester, for a total of 30 units per year, are much more likely to complete in the preferred two-year window.
The 15 to Finish model is proven, effective, and great pathway for on-time student completion.”
15 to Finish is a national initiative designed to increase student educational goal completion. While the emphasis of the initiative is on-time goal completion, the data demonstrates that there is a correlation between units and success. In all success indicators (course success, retention, and grade point average), studies demonstrated that the higher the number of units students were registered the higher the levels of success.
A Merced College task force went to work in fall 2016 to determine the feasibility of the 15 to Finish initiative. This task force looked in depth at both national data, Merced College data, and proven practices. The task force met to discuss the 15 to Finish program and whether it would be a good fit for the campus. The taskforce forwarded several recommendations to the Vice President of Student Services.
“The 15 to Finish taskforce dispelled a popular myth regarding the initiative, namely, that student GPA suffers under the strain of increased course load.” McCandless said “This common assumption is, in fact, inaccurate as students enrolled in 15 or more units carry higher GPAs than the average GPA of students enrolled in 1-14 units.”
The data demonstrated that students who were enrolled in 15 units perform on average three tenths of a grade point higher than those registered for 12 units (the traditional marker for full-time enrollment).

 

As students enroll for the 2017 summer and fall semesters, Merced College counselors are encouraging them to follow the 15 to Finish path to success. Currently, only about 15 percent of students enroll in 15 units.
In most cases, if community college students enrolled in just one additional course per semester, they would be on track to graduate in two years. While skepticism has been expressed about the initiative in community colleges nationwide, once the program is promoted and students add an additional class, data clearly shows it works.
“Merced College understand and is supportive of all students, some students may have obstacles preventing embracing the 15 to Finish model,” McCandless said. “At the same time, we would like to challenge all students to reflect on their course-taking behavior and challenge themselves to stretch their limits. While taking 15 units may not be feasible for all students, setting completion goals needs to be a part of the planning process and a real consideration for each student when they begin their educational journey.”
There are long-term advantages to 15 to Finish as well. Moving students more quickly toward graduation helps students enter the work force earlier, often creating financial benefits such as longer careers which result in more retirement earnings.
“Merced College is excited to support the 15 to Finish initiative and begin the conversation with students. This model will challenge both students and the institution to provide clear pathways for success,” McCandless said.

 

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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June 14 , 2017

Notice of Availability: ACEforward Draft Environmental Impact Report

About the Project
The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), acting as lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for ACEforward. The full Notice of Availability (NOA) and the DEIR provide a full description of the project and can be viewed online at:www.aceforward.com.
ACEforward is a phased improvement plan proposed by the SJRRC to increase service reliability and frequency, enhance passenger facilities, reduce travel times along the existing ACE service corridor from San Jose to Stockton and extend ACE service to Manteca, Modesto, Ceres, Turlock and Merced. This plan would provide the foundation for SJRRC’s near-term and longer-term vision of intercity and commuter passenger rail services.
SJRRC has prepared a DEIR studying potential environmental effects of the proposed enhancements and identifying ways to avoid or mitigate them. This DEIR will be available for a 60-day public review period beginning on May 31, 2017.
To view the NOA and the DEIR, or to view a list of the 26 libraries where hardcopies of the DEIR will be available, please visit www.aceforward.com.

 

Public Meetings
Learn more about ACEforward and the DEIR, ask questions, and provide written comments at one of six open houses. Open houses will be held at central locations along the corridor. Please drop by an open house anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Please visit www.aceforward.com for meeting dates and locations.
Comment Period
The comment period for the ACEforward DEIR is May 31, 2017 – July 31, 2017. Please submit your comments before the end of the comment period. Comments can be submitted via email to aceforwardEIR@acerail.comwith subject line “ACEforward DEIR.”
Written comments can be mailed to:
San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission ATTN: ACEforward DEIR 949 E. Channel Street Stockton, CA 95202

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June 13 , 2017

“Let’s Talk” Forums

Healthy House Within a MATCH Coalition (H.H.) is hosting an Community Health Fair in Santa Nella on June 20th, 2017 from 1:00pm-5:00pm at Romero Elementary School. Immediately following, Healthy House is partnering with The Children’s Partnership for a “Let’s Talk” forum, 5 pm to 7:30 pm at the same location, bringing the undocumented and/or mixed immigration communities together for an informal conversation answering questions and sharing concerns around health care. Below are the dates, places and times of the complete series of the “Let’s Talk” Forums.

June 15th, 2017
6:30 PM-8:00 PM
Planada Elementary School (multipurpose room)
9525 Brodrick Ave
Planada, CA

June 20th, 2017(The Health Fair is 1:00pm-5:00pm)
5:00 PM-7:30 PM
Romero Elementary School
13500 W Luis Rd
Santa Nella, CA

 

June 21st, 2017
6:30 PM- 8:00 PM
George Washington Carver Center
21475 So. Reynolds Rd
Dos Palos, CA

June 22nd, 2017
6:30 PM-8:00 PM
Merced Soccer Academy
640 T St.
Merced, CA

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June 12 , 2017

In Small School Districts Like Snelling, the Superintendent Wears Many Hats

Sometimes Alison Kahl wonders if she is stretched too far.
No wonder, since Kahl is the superintendent-principal and go-to person for the Snelling-Merced Falls School District. The only thing she doesn’t do is drive the school bus — although she went through the complicated process of ordering a new one recently.
“I do question myself a lot,” Kahl says. “It comes down to good time management. As soon as you feel you have got things under control there’s a state change, new requirements. Changes are constantly occurring in our school district.”
Kahl, 44, has been the superintendent-principal and eighth grade teacher at Snelling-Merced Falls for eight years and taught there for two years before that.
The district has 80 transitional kindergarten through eighth grade students. Its staff includes five teachers, a part-time custodian, one maintenance person who is also the bus driver, the kitchen director and an administrative assistant. Two aides divide their time among the five classrooms and a technology coordinator runs the computer lab.
She may have to jump from teaching an algebra lesson to her eighth-graders to fielding a telephone call from a disgruntled parent or tending to a student’s first aid needs.
“I am switching my mental gears all the time,” Kahl says. “Every single day is different and I have no idea how my day is going to go. It’s that way every day, every day!”
Kahl’s day includes yard duty, and filling in currently as cafeteria manager while the regular employee is on medical leave. That involves meal planning and cooking — Kahl isn’t worried since she says she knows her way around the kitchen.
As superintendent, Kahl is responsible for preparing for all board meetings and submitting state and federal reports to the State Department of Education. It means going through the Local Control Accountability Program process where all the district’s stakeholders — parents, community members, staff and students, make their wishes known for future programs. She supervises the payroll and plans professional development activities for the teachers. Kahl also oversees the school’s after-school ASSETS program, which honored her with administrator of the year.
As the district testing coordinator, she conducts the yearly assessments that determine how students are progressing. She also teaches and runs the school’s annual summer school program.
“There’s no money to hire a principal or an extra position. The money is needed elsewhere. We save up for things for years. It’s only a small pot and we have to make it last,” Kahl says.
She concedes it’s not always fun being the boss and she has to know how to conduct “difficult conversations.”
Still Kahl remarks she tries to reflect before she responds. She says she can’t forget what it’s all about —making school fun for the students.
Her administrative assistant, Terry Gasper, answers the phones, greets parents and students, pays the bills and handles the payroll, does yard duty and occasionally shops for groceries. She has been with the district nine years.
“We do what needs to be done,” Gasper says. “It can be stressful, that’s for sure. Every day is a different day because we wear so many hats. We work well together and I do what I can to help her.”
Kahl believes people don’t realize what it takes to run a school district. Still she says she enjoys what she does — most of the time. Sometimes she feels beat down but recharges her batteries by spending time with the children and doing “fun stuff.” That includes directing the Christmas program, Halloween activities, movie nights, a dance-off and the end-of-the-year barbecue.
It’s important to be involved with the community and the students. She is the leader of the Snelling 4-H club and says the fun things are an opportunity to interact with the students and build a positive rapport.
If a substitute teacher can’t be found, Kahl and other teachers will inherit the missing teacher’s class for that day. Sometimes Kahl may have three grades in her class when another teacher is sick.
“It’s hard to ask for help and delegate. If someone calls in sick, you have to make do. There are challenges learning to delegate and sometimes it can’t be done,” Kahl says.
As the superintendent, Kahl is in charge of facilities. That includes developing and seeking bids for the remodeling of two restroom and part of the office. It means going through the 3,000 pages of the district policy manual and making periodic revisions.
While admitting she is hands-on with everything, if there’s a question she has no hesitation in calling the district’s attorney for advice.
Born and raised in Merced, Kahl went to Merced College and then California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock. She loves what she does and has no plans to leave.
“My heart’s in Merced County,” Kahl says.

Photos By Dylan McMullen Courtesy
Merced County Office of Education





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June 12 , 2017

Summer Performing Arts Program Accepting Registration


The sixth annual Summer Performing Arts Program involving incoming fourth through eighth graders will run June 19 to July 20 at El Capitan High School in Merced. The collaboration between the Merced County Education Foundation, Merced County Office of Education and the Merced Union High School District will see performances of the classic "Alice in Wonderland."
Crystal Langley, theater production manager for the high school district, said young participants will have an exciting and busy summer learning many aspects of a theatrical production.
"This will be an amazing experience for your child, one that will stay with him or her for a lifetime," Langley said.
About 60 students are expected for the shows, which will be performed at El Capitan Theatre.
About 20 high school students also will be assisting as camp counselors during the production.
Lunch will be provided each day, free of charge to all student participants. Students may bring nutritional snacks and water bottles.
A mandatory parent meeting is planned June 19 at 9 a.m. in the El Capitan Theatre. Students will give performances July 20-21 at 7 p.m.

 

Student sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. most days except for the Fourth of July holiday. A $75 registration fee will be due June 19, with checks payable to "MUHSD." All forms must be filled out and signed by a parent/guardian.
Students are expected to be on time and bring a pencil, binder and their script.
Turn in registration forms and the registration fee to 3430 A St., Atwater, 95301, in care of Heidi Wilson.

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June 12 , 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT APPLEGATE ROAD IN ATWATER

Atwater – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a long-term closure of the on and off-ramps of southbound State Route 99 at Applegate Road to repair damage due to an accident. The long-term closure is anticipated to remain in effect until June 24, 2017.
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
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM CHILDS AVENUE IN MERCED
TO THE MERCED/STANISLAUS COUNTY LINE

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various off and on-ramps and perform other construction activites on State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue in Merced to the Merced/Stanislaus county line. Work will occur as follows:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140/SR-59 will close beginning Sunday, June 11, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for grinding operations as part of a paving project on SR-140;
• The #2 (right) lane on northbound SR-99 from Black Rascal Canal to Bert Crane Road will close beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for pavement repair;

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to Atwater Boulevard will close beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

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
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140/SR-59 will close beginning Sunday, June 11, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work;
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Virginia Avenue in Merced to the Gustine railroad crossing beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for grinding operations;

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Sydney Lane to Virginia Avenue beginning Sunday, June 11, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding operations;

• The #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Virginia Avenue will alternately close beginning Sunday, June 11, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for grinding operations.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the City of Merced to SR-33 in the City of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the City of Merced and move toward the City of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed in December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM THE FRESNO/MERCED COUNTY LINE TO AZUSA ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 from the Fresno/Merced county line to Azusa Road for maintenance work. Work will occur as follows:
Work will occur beginning beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for maintenance.
Motorists should expect 15-minute delays at each location. 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
STATE ROUTE 33 FROM THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT TO THE DELTA MENDOTA CANAL 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 the California Aqueduct near the San Luis Reservoir to the Delta Mendota Canal for maintenance work. Work will occur as follows:
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on northbound and southbound SR-33 at both the California Aqueduct and the Delta Mendota Canal beginning Monday, June 12, 2017, through Friday, June 16, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for maintenance.

Motorists should expect 10-minute delays at each location. 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
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM OWENS CREEK ROAD TO CATHEYS VALLEY PARK
IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 from Owens Creek Road to the Catheys Valley Park for guardrail work.

Work will occur on Sunday, June 11, 2017, from 6:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.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.

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

 

 


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June 12 , 2017

Assemblymember Adam Gray Names
“Do Good Distillery” as 2017 Small Business of the Year

Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) named Do Good Distillery of Modesto as the 2017 Small Business of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. Jim and Liz Harrelson, owners of the Do Good Distillery, were honored today at a luncheon in Sacramento.
Since the beginning, Do Good Distillery has been a place of innovation. The Harrelsons are pioneers in locally-sourced distilling; with over 90% of their grain being grown within 100 miles of their facility. In addition to making craft spirits, Jim and the Do Good team regularly host distilling classes for the American Distilling Institute, Gallo University, and private clients. Jim also serves as president of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild. As their production has continued to increase, they have been fortunate to find a green solution to effluent disposal, shipping their wastewater to the anaerobic digester at nearby Fiscalini Cheese Company.
“Do Good’s commitment to excellence and sustainability has allowed them to provide a quality product as well as encourage growth in a craft industry. It is my distinct honor and privilege to recognize their efforts and name them as the Small Business of the Year,” said Gray.

Assembly Advances Gray’s State Fair Funding Bill

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) announced today that the California State Assembly overwhelmingly approved his bill to create an ongoing source of funding to California’s financially strapped network of fairs. AB 1499 would provide annual funding of approximately $15 million for reinvestment back into the state’s 78 fairs.

“State fairs are economic engines, creating jobs, attracting investments, and serving as a place to stage agricultural, educational, and charitable events,” said Gray. “In Merced and Stanislaus County, we know just how important the fairgrounds are to the community. They are far too valuable for our state to continue to ignore. Fairs have struggled to stay open since the state eliminated funding during the recession. This legislation restores a portion of that funding to keep these valuable assets open and thriving.”

AB 1499 now heads to the California State Senate for consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

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June 12 , 2017

MCAG Announces New Executive Director

MERCED – Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Pittenger of Carson City, Nevada as its new executive director effective June 30, 2017. Pittenger will fill the vacancy created by Marjie Kirn’s departure in December. The selection was made after a national search and selection process lead by CPS HR Consulting.
Pittenger has over 20 years of experience in regional transportation planning, transit system administration, and public works management. Most recently, he has served as the Transportation Manager for Carson City, Nevada, since 2006. In that capacity he serves as the Director of the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and is responsible for all aspects of transportation in the Carson City area including transit and public works administration.
“We are pleased to welcome Patrick to MCAG and look forward to developing an effective and productive relationship,” said Mike Villalta, Chair of the MCAG Governing Board. “His many years of experience with planning, funding and management of multimodal transportation systems, particularly in rural areas, makes him well suited for this new role.”

 

A native of Wisconsin, Pittenger earned a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and a master's degree in transportation planning from Iowa State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a certified Professional Transportation Planner.
MCAG is the Local Transportation Authority for Merced County, as well as, the regional transportation planning agency and metropolitan planning organization. In addition to regional transportation planning, MCAG also manages The Bus, YARTS and the Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority.

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June 12 , 2017

MCAG to hold public hearing on the draft short range transit plan

MERCED- The Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) has initiated a public review and comment period regarding the 2017-18 to 2021-22 Short Range Transit Plan. As part of the public review process, MCAG will host a public hearing to receive comments on the draft plan. The hearing is scheduled as follows:
June 15, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Merced County Administration Building
Board of Supervisors Council Chambers
2222 M Street, Merced, CA 95340
The Short Range Transit Plan (SRTP) is the primary planning document for administering public transit and paratransit services in Merced County. The plan identifies capital and operating needs based on data and public outreach and pinpoints service inefficiencies and opportunities for expansion. Included in the plan is an up-to-date marketing plan for increasing ridership which will ultimately reduce travel by single-occupant vehicles and air pollution. The plan also provides policy guidance to the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County Governing Board.
Residents in Merced County are encouraged to attend the public hearing to provide input on the draft plan. To request translation services or special accommodations for individuals with disabilities, please contact MCAG at (209)723-3153 at least three (3) days prior to the meeting.
A 30-day public review and comment period began on May 30, 2017 and will conclude on June 29, 2017. The draft document is available for review at the MCAG office, located at 369 West 18th St., Merced CA 95340, and on the MCAG website at www.mcagov.org.
In addition to the public hearing, members of the public may also submit written comments no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 29, 2017. Comments can be emailed to
natalia.austin@mcagov.org or mailed to:
Natalia Austin
MCAG
369 W 18th Street
Merced, CA 95340
After considering the comments, the Draft Short Range Transit Plan will be considered for adoption by the Merced County Association of Governments Governing Board on August 17, 2017.

 

Ride the bus for free on National “Dump the Pump” Day!

MERCED - The Bus invites members of the community to “Dump the Pump” on June 15, 2017 and ride The Bus for free all day on all fixed routes. By riding public transit, residents can help reduce congestion, minimize their carbon footprint, and save money.
On June 15, 2017, public transportation systems across the country will celebrate the 12th Annual National Dump the Pump Day. This annual event encourages people to ride public transportation instead of driving to save money and spare the air.
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).

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June 12 , 2017

Recreation swimming started Friday

Recreational swimming starts today at McNamara Pool and continues through Aug. 13.
The pool is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The Golden Valley High School Pool is open from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. for recreational swimming Saturdays and Sundays. The cost at both pools is $1 for youths under 18 and $2 for adults.


Fridays are free swimming for the first 70 youngsters. Adults must pay the $2. Free Friday Swimming is sponsored by the Merced Satellite Rotary Club.
McNamara Pool is located at 1040 Canal Street. The Golden Valley pool is located at 2121 E. Childs Ave.

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June 12 , 2017

Costa Statement on Introduction of Wildfire Disaster Funding Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Jim Costa (CA-16) joined Representatives Mike Simpson (ID-2) and Kurt Schrader (OR-5) to introduce the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017. The legislation addresses the budgeting process for fighting wildfires, aiming at fixing the escalating costs of wildfire suppression crowding out funding for forest management.

Currently, Congress provides the Forest Service and other land management agencies funds to suppress wildfires based on the average cost for fighting these fires over the past ten years. When the costs for suppressing wildfires exceed the amount budgeted, the agencies must pay for firefighting with money allocated for other purposes. This budgetary process within the agencies is referred to as “fire borrowing.” Fire borrowing ultimately means that the Forest Service and other land management agencies have fewer resources for forest maintenance, the removal of hazardous fuels, and other practices that prevent fires from sparking.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would end fire borrowing by changing the budget process for wildfire suppression. Under the act, once the funds budgeted for wildfire suppression have been exhausted, continuing to fight wildfires will be paid for like other natural disasters. As a result, the Forest Service and other land management agencies can use the resources allocated for maintenance and other practices that prevent wildfires for their intended preventative purposes.

“Recent wildfires have caused incredible hardship to California’s mountain communities,” said Rep. Costa. “What’s more, it’s estimated that there are over 100 million dead trees in California’s forests right now. This is unprecedented, and is a result of a combination of the effects of a 5-year long drought and an increasing pace of bark beetle infestation. Our forest managers, as hard as they have tried, simply cannot do their jobs effectively while arcane Congressional budget rules divert funds needed for active management of our forests to combatting wildfires. It’s time to treat wildfires like the natural disaster they are and stop the never-ending cycle of taking money needed for forest management. This legislation will do exactly that, in a commonsense way, and I urge Congress to bring this to the President’s desk as rapidly as possible.”

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017 has 16 original cosponsors, including Congressman Costa, and has strong bipartisan support. Similar legislation was also introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses, and Rep. Costa cosponsored both of those bills as well.

Poe and Cohen Introduce Jane’s Law, Costa Cosponsors

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), along with Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), introduced H.R. 2829, “Jane’s Law.” This bipartisan legislation works to close loopholes that allow individuals to cross state lines after a divorce or separation proceeding in order to avoid paying court-ordered distributions.


Congressman Jim Costa




The bill’s namesake, Jane Maharam, knew the realities of this all too well. Her husband of 31 years, Robert Maharam, raided their New York home and stole marital assets like money, investments, and furnishings. After a 15-year court battle, the court ordered that Robert return millions of dollars to Jane. However, instead of returning the assets, Robert fled across state lines. As long as he did not return to New York, Jane would never see any of what he owed her because the warrant for Robert’s arrest could not be enforced over state lines.

“Jane Maharam was left with nothing when her husband snuck off into the night, forcing her to rely on public assistance,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “There are many spouses, like Jane, who find themselves victims of such injustice. Jane’s Law takes a much-needed step forward providing Federal enforcement to retrieve stolen marital property, illegally taken across state lines. No longer will lowlifes be allowed to outrun the law. Much like the ways child support legislation works, under Jane’s Law, fleeing to avoid payment is a federal crime. It is time to put a stop to this shameful practice.”

“Too many Americans find themselves in the same shoes Jane Maharam was in more than two decades ago,” said Congressman Cohen. “By fleeing the state, her ex-husband escaped his legal responsibilities and the courts were unable to enforce the law. It is time we close that loophole and ensure women in similar situations get the justice they deserve.”

Co-Chairman of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) also co-sponsored the legislation. “Ex-spouses who intentionally and deliberately flee their state to evade payment are breaking the law, plain and simple,” said Congressman Costa. “We cannot let these offenders evade justice as well. Jane’s Law is an important step in dismantling the wall of legal technicalities offenders have been hiding behind for years.”

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May 31, 2017

Town Hall Meeting to Answer Assessment District Questions

Wondering about the ballot you got in the mail for an assessment district? Not sure what the district does?

There will be a Town Hall meeting to answer questions from the public regarding the ballots for the Mansionette, Pleasanton Park, Olivewood and Hansen Park assessment districts Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room at City Hall, 678 West 18th Street.

City staff will be on hand to answer questions that people may have regarding the ballots they received in the mail.

Energy and service costs for the districts have increased. Those four districts don’t have enough funding to pay for the costs of landscaping, irrigation, pumps, and other maintenance. Residents are being asked to increase how much they pay per year towards those fees.

All money collected by the assessment district can only be spent within the district.

Depending on the district, maintenance can include litter pickup, plant pruning, tree replacement, fertilizing, landscape irrigation, mowing and edging and weed control. It can also include pump and motor repair and parts replacement and other work as needed.

Ballots are in prepaid envelopes and must be returned by June 19. A public hearing will be held at the City Council meeting that night.

People with questions about their assessment district can call Michael Miller at 385-6800.

Click here to see Assssment District Maps

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May 31, 2017

Assembly Passes Fair Water Rights Legislation

SACRAMENTO – California lawmakers acted decisively Tuesday to make fixes to the state’s broken water management structure. Assembly Bill 313, introduced by Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), overwhelmingly passed the California Assembly with an initial 55-0 vote. The bill makes necessary reforms to how the state manages water rights.
“Anyone who deals with California water knows the system is broken,” Gray said. “Today’s vote sends a clear message that we realize it’s time to get to work, starting with restoring the fairness our water rights holders expect and deserve.”
AB 313 establishes a new water rights management structure, creating a new Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to handle all water rights matters. The shift removes conflicts of interest and built-in biases in the current system. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) currently exercises vast control over California’s water rights. The SWRCB has the power to write regulations, initiate enforcement actions, and conduct hearings in its own courtroom in which Board staff act as the prosecution and Board members act as judge and jury.
“There’s a reason why that structure is extremely unusual: it just isn’t good government,” Gray said. “State agencies aren’t supposed to have unchecked power. They shouldn’t be able to act with impunity and little accountability to the public. Creating a level playing field, as this bill does, ensures water rights holders receive the same due process and objectivity that our justice system promises everyone – nothing more, nothing less.”

 

Under AB 313, administrative law judges in the new Water Rights Division would handle all water rights matters, providing a neutral body for hearings regarding those complicated, and often controversial, issues. The bill ensures an efficient, productive transfer of power to the new Water Rights Division, preventing any duplication of work or similar responsibility to fall under the SWRCB.
Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) provided technical support in crafting the bill, which previously passed through the Assembly policy and fiscal committees without a single “no” vote.
“The District applauds Assemblyman Gray for taking on this essential issue impacting communities across California,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “It speaks to his vision and foresight as a legislator, and his purposeful effectiveness as a policymaker. California’s water and irrigation districts – and, by extension, the people we all serve – will have a more secure water supply when this bill becomes law.”
AB 313 now moves to the Senate, where it will be considered in the coming weeks.

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May 29, 2017

 

Peterson Staff Supports Student Fundraiser

Staff members at Peterson Elementary in Merced are showing just how far they'll go to support their students.

More than two dozen teachers, administrators, and other school employees kissed pigs that were brought to the campus from Generation X Farms in El Nido today.

This silly swine moment served as an incentive for a fundraising effort by the student council and their classmates over the past two weeks. The children collected money in piggy banks provided by Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union to purchase some extra P.E. equipment for their playground.

Staff members volunteered to kiss real pigs based on the number of piggy banks that were filled. The students quickly raised more than six hundred dollars, and they loved every minute of their reward, which was evident from their chanting and cheering!

 






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May 29, 2017

Fresno Food Expo New Product And Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Awards Now Open
Central California’s Innovative and Entrepreneurial Food Companies Gain Market Exposure and
Buyer Access through Fresno Food Expo Award Programs

Fresno, California – May 24, 2017…Food and beverage innovators and entrepreneurs from throughout Central California are encouraged to submit applications for the fifth annual Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin, CPA, LLP, and the third annual Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award. Applications can be submitted at www.FresnoFoodExpo.com and the deadline for submission is Friday, June 30, 2017 at 5 p.m.
Designed to build buyer and consumer awareness, the New Product Awards serve as a strategic platform to launch new products and packaging concepts debuted at the Expo’s annual trade show, putting a spotlight on the innovation and collaboration happening in Central California, and helping exhibitors establish product placement in stores, restaurants and through foodservice distribution channels. With more than 160 new products launched since the program began in 2013, the Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards include two distinctive awards: the Buyer’s Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award.
New this year, the Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, who will lead the Expo’s featured keynote speech on July 26, will also serve on the celebrity judging panel for the Buyer’s Choice Award, along with Erna Kubin-Clanin, Owner, Erna’s Elderberry House and Chateau du Sureau, Sean Topping, Local Marketing Leader, Albertsons – Safeway, Northern California and Jim Jarosz, Division Manager, Landsberg Orora.
“The New Product Awards add a critical element to the Expo, highlighting the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Central California, and helps us tell the story about what makes our region truly unique,” said David Nalchajian, General Manager of the Fresno Food Expo. “Since the inception of the Awards in 2013, participants have benefitted from invaluable marketing exposure, helping to launch and position their new products, increase company sales overall and have opened the door to domestic and international distribution.”
Last year Aubrey’s Jerky from SnackMaster’s took home first place for the Buyer’s Choice Award, followed by Tioga-Sequoia’s 99 Golden Ale in second place and Lanna Coffee Co.’s Cold Brew in third place. ARO Pistachio took home the People’s Choice Award with 1,003 out of 3,954 total votes for their Grower's Reserve with Himalayan Pink Salt.
The Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award also recognizes innovation in business, honoring companies who have the same vision and qualities that took Ruiz Foods from a small, family start-up to the largest frozen Mexican food manufacturer in the United States. The 2016 Entrepreneurial Award recipient was Lanna Coffee Co., a Fresno-based coffee company who sources its beans from Thailand to support economic stability in the villages where the beans are grown. After receiving this award and through connections made


 

at the 2016 Expo, Lanna Coffee expanded distribution of their award-winning product, Cold Brew, through JD Food, a California regional foodservice distributor. A testament to the great relationships and opportunities made at the Expo, Lanna Coffee is also currently working on a special new product with 2013 People’s Choice Award Winner, Rosa Brothers Milk Company, that will be unveiled at this year’s Expo.
"It is our pleasure to recognize the hard work and dedicated spirit of entrepreneurs through this annual award,” said Kim Ruiz Beck, Chairman, Ruiz Food Products, Inc., “As my father and grandfather demonstrated when they started Ruiz Foods in 1964, entrepreneurs are the foundation of America’s future – they are dreamers and innovators, hard workers and risk takers – providing jobs and opportunities for others.”
Food Writer, Cook and Food Network TV Personality, Simon Majumdar also returns this July to continue exploring the innovation, creativity and regional food movement taking place in our region. “I said it last year when I was here and I will say it again, Central California is a hidden gem with a rising food scene that people absolutely need to take notice,” stated Simon Majumdar. “The quality and array of products I discovered was incredible and the talent among chefs in the region is on par with San Francisco and Los Angeles. I am excited to return this year, connect with these companies to see how their products are doing and continue to be part of telling the story of the incredible food culture brewing in this vibrant region.”
The 2017 Fresno Food Expo will take place July 26-27, 2017. The agenda includes exhibitor-hosted site tours, the featured keynote speaker, Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, followed by the Expo’s opening reception, Pairings, on July 26. The tradeshow portion will take place on Thursday, July 27 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., followed by Expolicious, the Expo’s evening celebration from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Registration is currently open for buyers and exhibitors. More than 150 exhibitors and 950 key pre-qualified international and domestic buyers are expected to participate.
Tickets to Expolicious, will be available to the public starting June 1 for $50 and can be purchased at any Ticketmaster Box Office, online at www.FresnoFoodExpo.com or at Cumulus Broadcasting, while supplies last. For discount ticket information, you can Like the Fresno Food Expo on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram and Twitter. For more information on the Fresno Food Expo, visit www.FresnoFoodExpo.com.

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May 29, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
State Route 99 From MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAY
TO EAST STATE ROUTE 140 in Merced County

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the off-ramps from State Route 99 (SR-99) to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and eastbound SR-140 for irrigation work.
Work will occur as follows:
· The off-ramp from SR-99 to Martin Luther King Jr. Way will close Wednesday, May 31, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
· The off-ramp from SR-99 to eastbound SR-140 will close Thursday, June 1, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 5 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
STATE ROUTE 165 AT WESTSIDE BOULEVARD
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 165 (SR-165) from First Avenue north of Stevinson to River Road for shoulder work. (Due to Memorial Day holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, 2017.)

Crews will be working Tuesday, May 30, 2017, through Thursday, June 1, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project designed to realign a segment of SR-165 south of the Merced River Bridge at Westside Boulevard to improve safety and increase the efficiency of the intersection.

In addition to realigning the intersection, the shoulder is being widened with rumble strips ground into the pavement to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. The project will improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 from the city of Merced
to State route 33 in merced county

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced. (Due to Memorial Day holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, 2017.) Work will occur as follows:

One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Virginia Avenue in Merced to the Gustine Railroad crossing beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, through Friday, June 2, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for grinding operations.

One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from SR-99 to Sydney Lane beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, through Friday, June 2, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 will close beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, though Friday, June 2, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move toward the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
state route 140 AT South Fork Merced River Bridge
in mariposa County

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 at the South Fork Merced River Bridge for maintenance activities. (Due to Memorial Day holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, 2017.)

Work will occur on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.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.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LONG-TERM RAMP CLOSURE
state route 99 at APPLEGATE ROAD in ATWATER

Atwater – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a long-term closure of the on and off-ramps of southbound State Route 99 at Applegate Road to repair damage due to an accident at that location.
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
RAMP CLOSURES
State Route 99 From Childs Avenue
to Applegate road in Merced County

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various construction activities on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue in Merced to Applegate Road in Atwater. (Due to Memorial Day holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, 2017.) Work will occur as follows:
A long-term closure of the on and off-ramps of southbound SR-99 at Applegate Road is in effect to repair damage due to an accident at that location.
The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 will close beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, though Friday, June 2, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.Various on and off-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close for guardrail work. No consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time.
Various on and off-ramps from SR-99 to SR-140 will close beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2017, though Friday, June 2, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

The #1 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to 16th Street in Merced will close beginning Tuesday, May 30, 2017, through Friday, June 2, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.The #1 (right) and #2 (left) lanes on northbound on SR-99 at M Street in Merced will alternately close on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. for maintenance.

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.

 

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

 

 

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May 29, 2017

MCAG Announces Measure V Citizens Oversight Committee Appointments

MERCED – Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) is pleased to announce the Measure V Citizens Oversight Committee appointments. Measure V – Merced County’s local transportation sales tax program – was passed by Merced County voters with 71% support in November 2016.
The following individuals were appointed by the MCAG Governing Board to serve on the Measure V Citizens Oversight Committee:
City of Atwater – Jose Alfredo Moran
City of Gustine – Derek Alexander
City of Los Banos – Paul Parreira
City of Merced – Karla Seijas
City of Dos Palos – Jerry Antonetti
County of Merced – Jim Cunningham
Building Industry Representative – Josh Lepper
Agriculture Industry Representative – Dennis Brazil
Ethnic Community Group Representative – John Cates
Major Private Sector Employer Representative – Vinton Thengvall
Bike/Pedestrian or Transit Representative – David Dees
Audit, Finance or Budget Professional – Demitrios Tatum
Environmental Advocacy Group Representative – Jean Okuye

 

The Citizens Oversight Committee is comprised of 14 seats – seven representatives were selected by the local jurisdictions and seven were selected through a countywide application process. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure that the measure program is implemented as outlined in the voter-approved Transportation Expenditure Plan. The Committee will also prepare an annual report to inform the public on how Measure V funds were spent throughout Merced County.
MCAG is the Local Transportation Authority for Merced County, as well as, the regional transportation planning agency and metropolitan planning organization. In addition to regional transportation planning, MCAG also manages The Bus, YARTS and the Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority.

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May 29 , 2017

Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) Partners with California’s Great America to Offer Discounted Park Tickets to Passengers

Stockton (CA) – Starting June 5th, 2017 California’s Great America will be offering $30 off the general admission price into the park for guests who ride the ACE train to the Great America station in Santa Clara.
About the Offer
The discounted park tickets are valid starting June 5th through August 11th, Monday through Friday (not valid on weekends or June 16th, 28th, July 3rd, & 4th). When riders purchase their ACE ticket, they are automatically qualified to receive the discounted park admission rate of $39. Guests simply show their ACE ticket at the admission gate. For additional information, ACE tickets, and schedules for ACE train 07 (Westbound) and 10 (Eastbound), visit www.acerail.com/fun.


About ACE
ACE, started in 1998 and serving over one million riders annually, runs four daily round trips starting at the Cabral Station in Downtown Stockton and stops in Lathrop/Manteca, Tracy, Vasco Road, Livermore, Pleasanton, Fremont, Great America, Santa Clara and San Jose’s Diridon station. For more information on ACE, please visit www.acerail.com.

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May 29, 2017

UC Merced Launches Countywide Food and Ag Exchange
The university is partnering with CropMobster to connect farmers and small businesses with consumers
and hunger relief organizations to help grow the local food economy

MERCED, Calif. — The University of California, Merced, is taking steps to fight hunger and tackle food waste on campus and across Merced County.
UC Merced has launched CropMobster Merced County, an online food and agricultural exchange and community engagement program to help address issues ranging from food waste and growing local food economies to food insecurity and resource scarcity.
“It’s like an online version of the town square from times past,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said. “It’s a place where anyone in the community can sell, share, barter and exchange to help each other, and ultimately, help the community.”
The online platform, licensed and supported by CropMobster, was introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013 to bring together farmers, producers, hunger relief organizations and community members. The Sacramento region CropMobster exchange started in 2016.
The Merced County hub, managed by UC Merced staff and students in collaboration with CropMobster, will build on existing successes.
“UC Merced is the first university to take on this innovative social venture and have its staff and students moderate the exchange and work with the community,” CropMobster CEO and co-founder Nick Papadoupulos said. “The campus is playing a pioneering role in this idea that will help reap results for the community and economy today while also growing future leaders.”
Although UC Merced offers a monthly food pantry distribution in a partnership with the USDA, the United Way and the Merced Food Bank, there is still more that needs to be done.
A Student Food Access and Security survey of the 10 UC campuses revealed four in 10 UC students do not have a consistent source of high-quality, nutritious food. At UC Merced, 57 percent of students reported having low to very low food security.

To help reduce those numbers and improve food security across all its campuses, the UC Office of the President, as part of the ongoing UC Global Food Initiative (GFI), has allocated $3.3 million to assist all UCs in such endeavors.
UC Merced is using part of its GFI funds to support CropMobster in an effort to get students, staff and faculty involved and help make a difference on campus and in Merced County, where the overall food insecurity rate is 15.5 percent — compared to the state average of 13.9 percent — according to a 2016 report by the Merced County Food Bank.
Anyone — such as farmers, food businesses and gardeners — can sign up for a free CropMobster account and post alerts ranging from sales and donations to jobs, events and other community action. Once published, the alerts are broadcast via email and social media. The goal is to drive visibility through sharing by word-of-mouth, email or social media with friends and family that may be interested in an alert and in order to produce tangible results for participants.
For information or to sign up for the CropMobster Merced County exchange, visit Merced.CropMobster.com.
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About UC Merced (ucmerced.edu)
UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports highly qualified first-generation and underserved students from the 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.
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About CropMobster (www.cropmobster.com)
CropMobster partners with regional leaders to launch and facilitate local food networks and community exchanges. Once launched, communities are equipped with tools and practices that encourage local economic development, support hunger relievers and promote resource efficiency and waste reduction.

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May 29 , 2017

MCOE to Host Dyslexia Expert for Parents, Educators and Psychologists

A San Francisco Bay Area educational psychologist will be presenting a two-day program in Merced on May 25 and May 30 to help identify and treat dyslexia in children.
Dr. James Bylund, who has offices in Brentwood and Walnut Creek, will be giving morning and afternoon programs at the Merced County Office of Education, 632 W. 13th St., in the J-2 conference room. Sessions are intended for school psychologists, elementary and secondary teachers, speech-language pathologists and parents.
Susan Coston, assistant superintendent for special education at the Merced County Office of Education, said parents will learn how to identify and learn about various programs to deal with dyslexia. About 30 educational professionals are expected for sessions, which will run from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Each session will have a different focus depending upon the group attending.

Bylund runs Bylund Neuro-Educational Services in the Bay Area and is a licensed educational psychologist specializing in assessment and intervention in students with learning or behavioral difficulties. He has a doctorate in educational psychology where he now instructs doctoral-level students as an adjunct instructor.
For more information, contact Mary Farmer of MCOE at (209) 381-5988.

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May 29 , 2017

Costa Speaks in Favor of Preventing Social Security Fraud, Bill Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H. R. 624, the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, which Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) cosponsored. Congressman Costa spoke on the House floor before members voted on the bill, urging his colleagues to support the legislation. Rep. Costa released the following statement after the bill passed by a voice vote:
“I am pleased the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act passed the House today. If it becomes law, this legislation will enact measures to help protect Americans – especially children, veterans, and seniors – from identity theft and fraud. Simply put, the bill requires the federal government be stricter with when and how it includes social security numbers on documents it mails to individuals. Although there is no silver bullet to stopping identity theft, this measure is a commonsense way to reduce identity theft and resulting fraud. And we must reduce it. An estimated 13 million Americans experienced financial identity theft in 2014, resulting in $16 billion lost to fraud.
“Also very important here is our need to protect Americans’ Social Security. Social Security is a promise made to those who have worked to contribute to the system, and provides dignity and additional security for hardworking Americans during their golden years. As a result, Congress must do what it can to reduce strains on the program, particularly from fraud and theft.
“This legislation is a bipartisan effort to help protect Americans and our Social Security program from fraud and theft. I hope to see the Senate take up the bill on a bipartisan basis, and then see it signed into law.”
Now that the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 has passed in the House of Representatives, it will be sent to the Senate where Senators can debate, amend, and ultimately vote on the bill. If the legislation passes in both chambers of Congress, it will be sent to the President for him to sign into law
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Costa Advocates for Reducing Regulatory Burden, Bill Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H. R. 953, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017. Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) cosponsored the legislation and urged his colleagues to support the measure on the House floor before the final vote was taken. Rep. Costa released the following statement after the bill passed 256 to 165:


Congressman Jim Costa


“This is commonsense legislation, and I am happy to see it pass the House. It will eliminate the requirement of getting two permits for the same pesticide application. Not only will this streamline the regulatory process for our farmers – getting rid of the unnecessary second permits and the paperwork that comes with them – but it will also save people money, as some of these permits can cost over $150,000. Government regulations need to serve Americans, not unnecessarily burden them.
“This bill is an example of what we can do when we come together on a bipartisan basis to solve the daily problems facing Americans. Redundancy in government regulations is a very real challenge facing our farmers and small business owners in the Valley, and across our country. We came together today to begin to address this problem. We must continue these bipartisan efforts if we want to see further changes to regulatory policy, changes that make our regulations appropriate and effective.”
After passing in the House of Representatives today, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 will be sent to the Senate where Senators can debate, amend, and ultimately vote on the bill. If the legislation passes in both chambers of Congress, it will be sent to the President for him to sign into law.

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May 22, 2017

MERCED COLLEGE ANNOUNCES 54TH COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES

Merced College will award more than 1,640 degrees and certificates to students graduating during the current 2016-2017 academic year. Many of these graduates will walk across the stage to receive their awards during Merced College’s 54th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Stadium ‘76/Don Odishoo Field.
A total of 1,140 degrees and 501 certificates of achievement will be conferred during the ceremony. Seven students will be recognized with the Superintendent Honors for having completed at least 36 units of study with a 4.0 grade point average. In addition, 134 students are graduating with honors and 221 students will be graduating from the Los Banos Campus.
Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli will introduce CSU Fresno President Dr. Joseph Castro, who will deliver his Commencement Address titled “A Bold and Bright Future.”
Katherine Rojas Davis, who is graduating with associate of science degrees in General Agriculture and Landscape Horticulture, will deliver the student address. Her speech is titled “Dreams do Come True.”
The ceremony will also feature members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society announcing the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. A special recognition is also reserved for graduates who are veterans of the US Armed Forces.


Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.
President, California State University, Fresno

Joseph I. Castro was appointed as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno in 2013. He is the first Central Valley native to serve in this leadership position. Dr. Castro is also Professor of Educational Leadership in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.
Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, he served as Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Affairs, and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. Earlier in his career, he held faculty and/or administrative leadership positions at four other University of California campuses -- Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Barbara.
He received a B.A. in political science and M.P.P. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University.
In 2016, Dr. Castro was awarded the Ohtli Medal, which is the highest honor granted by the Government of Mexico to Mexican-American leaders in the United States. He was selected as the 2014 Alumnus of the Year by the University of California, Berkeley Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. Dr. Castro is also the recipient of the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at UCSF and the 2010 University of California Student Association’s Administrator of the Year Award.
Dr. Castro is the grandson of farmworkers from Mexico. He was born and raised in Hanford, CA and is the first person in his family to graduate from a university. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.


Merced College Superintendent\President Chris Vitelli Biography

Mr. Chris Vitelli is Merced College’s seventh Superintendent/President. His selection was announced by the Merced Community College District Board of Trustees in December 2016 and he began officially serving in this role in January 2017.
President Vitelli had previously served as the College’s Vice President of Student Services. He has more than 12 years’ experience in management and administration, including senior administration-level experience serving in various capacities, including Chief Student Services Officer (CSSO), Chief Instructional Officer (CIO), and Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO).
President Vitelli has also served as Dean of Instruction and interim Vice President of Student Services at Columbia College in Sonora, California. Other professional experiences include Director of Student Services for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida and Director of Business, Industry, and Community Services at Merced College.
He has a demonstrated history of collaborative leadership required to implement educational and instructional programs, special projects, and budget management. These experiences have shaped Vitelli’s career trajectory as a “can do” innovative leader with strong vision, and have prepared him to lead the college by providing a deep knowledge base and familiarity with all aspects of a community college organization.
Vitelli’s value of education is derived from a broad perspective of its benefits, as well as from personal experience. As a first-generation college graduate, he earned a bachelor’s of science in Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida, and a master’s of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. He is currently working toward a doctorate degree at Arizona State University.
Vitelli has led efforts to make “students first” while at Merced College. Since his arrival as Vice President of Student Services, the College has expanded outreach efforts in the community and strengthened relationships with high school partners and four-year institutions, increased student equity and success initiatives, supported efforts to grow special services and programs such as veterans’ resources and foster youth, and enhanced student support services through technology and data.

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Following is a list of candidates for graduation by city:

 

 

Atwater
Akahori, Kary (A.A. /Honors Graduate/Addiction Studies and Social and Behavioral Science/Certificate of Achievement in Addiction Studies/Psychology Transfer); Alamilla-Cruz, Adrian (Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Electrical Technician); Arnold, Jonathan Daniel (Certificate of Achievement/Diagnostic Radiologic Technology); Barragan, Rosezett F. (Certificate of Achievement/Vocational Nursing); Bazan, Gladys I. (A.A./Criminal Justice; Social and Behavioral Science); Broughton, Devyn Renee (A.A./Sociology Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Bustamante, Lucinda (A.S./Business Administration Transfer); Ceja, Maricela (A.A./Psychology; Social and Behavioral Science); Christiansen, Steven Miles (Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Electrical Technician); D'Heilly, Nicolette (Certificate of Achievement/Diagnostic Radiologic Technology); Duran, Daniel (Certificate of Achievement/CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design and CAD Draftsman – Mechanical); Engel, Samantha Lauren (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.S./Agriculture Business and Agriculture Business Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Estrada, Evrett Jacob (A.A./Psychology Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education and Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum); Figueroa, LeAnne M. (A.S./Early Childhood Education Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Garcia, Abel (A.S./Diesel Equipment Technology and Mechanized Ag Technology) Garcia, Abel (Certificate of Achievement/Compact Power Equipment); Garcia Gonzalez, Gabriela (A.A./Psychology Transfer/Certificate of Achievement /CSU General Education); Gonzalez, Zoraya Jazmin (A.A./Honors Graduate/Administrative Medical Office and Administrative Office Professional); Guerrero, Miguel A. (A.S./Business Administration Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum); Guevara, Gerardo (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science and Welding Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Advanced Welding and Metal Fabrication); Guthrie, Sarah D. (A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology/Social and Behavioral Science/Psychology Transfer); Hakola; Jeffrey M./Certificate of Achievement /Fire Technology); Higareda, Francisco (A.A./Accounting/Certificate of Achievement/Accounting); Hoover, James Gabriel Gerrard (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science); Hoyle, Cynthia S. (A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology); Hoyle, Cynthia S. (A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/Psychology Transfer); Lor, Kevin F. (A.A./Psychology; Social and Behavioral Science/A.S./Business Administration Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Luna, Eduardo Rodriguez (A.S. Administration of Justice Transfer); Madrid, Sarah M. (A.S./Business Administration Transfer); Marshall, Crystal D. (A.S./Registered Nursing); Mata, Omar J. (A.S./Business Administration Transfer); Mata, Roxanne (Certificate of Achievement/Addiction Studies); Mendoza, Arturo (Certificate of Achievement/Electronics Technician; Mechatronics/Automated Systems Technology); Mendoza, Julianna (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/Psychology Transfer); Mercado Garcia, Monica Mari (A.S./Administration of Justice Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Minor, Jacob (Certificate of Achievement/Diesel Equipment Technology and Mechanized Ag Technology); Moua, Maigaoquanlian (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.S./Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Oates, Melanie Ann (A.A./Honors Graduate/Administrative Office Professional and General Business); Oestreich, Tracie (A.A./Honors Graduate/Administrative Office Professional and General Business); Ortiz, John (A.A./Industrial Maintenance Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Maintenance Technology);Pacheco, Cassidy Hope (A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.S./Honors Graduate/Agriculture Business and Science/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education and IGETC); Perez Sanchez, Giovanni (A.S./Honors Graduate/Computer Science Transfer); Quevedo-Rangel, Ivonee (A.A./Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation); Ramirez, Fernando A. (Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Electrical Technician); Ramirez, Sayira (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.S./Business Administration Transfer); Reynaga, Adam Jaramillo (A.S./ Business Administration Transfer); Sarmiento, Angelica Kay-Marie (A.A./Psychology /Social and Behavioral Science/Psychology Transfer /Certificate of Achievement/Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum); Sarmiento, Jennifer Kay (A.S./Registered Nursing);Silva, Kyle Patrick (A.S./Honors Graduate/Agriculture Business Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Silva, Tammy Marie(A.S./Registered Nursing); Smith, Casandra(A.A./Honors Graduate/General Agriculture/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Solorzano, Jazmin(A.A./Social and Behavioral Science);Tinoco, Anthony (A.S./Administration of Justice Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Torres, Zachery (A.S./Administration of Justice Transfer); Trujillo Sanchez, Maria Martha (A.A./Human Services/Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/Social and Behavioral Science/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Urzua, Albert (A.A./Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/Social and Behavioral Science/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education);Williams, Michelle Christina (A.S./Social and Behavioral Science); Wright, Keith A. (Certificate of Achievement/Compact Power Equipment; Diesel Equipment Technology and Mechanized Ag Technology)
Canton
Lowe, Troy Lavane (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science)
Ceres
Martinez, Francisco O. Jr. (Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Electrical Technician); Ruiz, Jose (A.S./CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/Certificate of Achievement/CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design/CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design/CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/Computer-Aided Drafting - Mechanical Level II); Valdes Fulgentes, Kalina Mae (A.A./English Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education)
Carlucci, Garon M. (Certificate of Achievement/CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design; CAD Draftsman – Mechanical Davison); Jared, Anthony Wayne (A.A./Criminal Justice); Granados Zaragoza, Alejandra (A.A./Honors Graduate/Health Sciences); Lee, Kristen A. (A.S./Honors Graduate/Administration of Justice Transfer); Lopez, Brayan Gamero (A.S./Administration of Justice Transfer); Martinez, Kyle Anthony (A.S./History Transfer); McNamara, Steven James (A.S./Photography); Ochoa, Stephany (A.A./Sociology Transfer/A.S./Administration of Justice Transfer); Ovatt, Paulette (A.A./Honors Graduate/Computer and Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Computer & Networking Technology); Winters, Jennifer L. (A.A/Psychology/Psychology Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education)
Clovis
Sweeney, Micah Daniel (A.S./Registered Nursing)

Delhi
Amador Ambriz, Hugo (A.A./General Agriculture); Carrillo, Felix A. (A.S. Administration of Justice Transfer); Mejia, Alexandra (A.A./Theatre Arts Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Mejia, Lorena Idee (A.A./English Transfer and Psychology Transfer); Olivares, Isaac Ceja (A.A./Criminal Justice); Paulson, Philip Douglas (A.S./Health Sciences); Perez, Alexis A. (Certificate of Achievement/Industrial Electrical Technician); Romero, Carlos F. (A.A./Studio Arts Transfer); Rubio Hernandez, Cynthia Anabel (A.A./Child Development); Speairs, Jessica Montebon (A.A./Administrative Medical Office/Administrative Office Professional); Vargas-Urena, Andreina (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science); Warda, Susan Martha (A.S./Landscape Horticulture); Zamora, Pedro (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science)
Denair
Sanders, Nicole Leeanne (A.A./Social and Behavioral Science)
Dos Palos
Garcia-Ramirez, Eduardo (A.A./Computer and Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Computer & Networking Technology); Guzman, Edwardo (A.A./Electrical Technology); Hernandez, Francisco Javier (A.A./Spanish); Najera, Adam (Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Roldan, Jessica Balbuena (Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Sousa, Talina R. (A.A./Psychology Transfer/Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education)
El Nido
Hidalgo-Munoz, Nathaly (A.A./Foods and Nutrition); Ontiveros, Diego Pacheco (A.A./Computer and Networking Technology); Ontiveros, Diego Pacheco (A.S./Business Administration Transfer)
Gustine
Kloepfer, Stevie (A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer); Lewis, Lacey Lynn (A.S./Diagnostic Radiologic Technology); Magana, Ruben (Certificate of Achievement/CSU General Education); Vega, Jose Jr. (A.A./Criminal Justice)
Hilmar
Cabral, Brittany (A.A./Psychology and Social and Behavioral Science); Morais, Judy M. (A.A./Honors Graduate/Health Sciences); Suner, Alam Singh (Certificate of Achievement/Diesel Equipment Technology and Mechanized Ag Technology)
Hughson
Cornejo, Daniel Alex ( A.A./Kinesiology Transfer); Ford, Robin Lynn (A.A./Honors Graduate/Communication Studies Transfer/Psychology Transfer)
Fujisawa, Japan
Kawagoe, Takeru (A.A./Honors Graduate/General Business)
Japan
Iwashita,Takako (A.A./Honors Graduate/Communication Studies Transfer/Psychology Transfer); Masaki, Ryota (A.A./Foods and Nutrition); Naka, Miyuki (A.A./International Studies/Social and Behavioral Science); Nakahira, Haruka (A.A./International Studies); Yagi, Rinka (A.A./International Studies)
LaGrange
Thompson, Ashley Marie (A.S./Registered Nursing)
LeGrand
Leon Rodriguez, Elias A. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Marquez Campos, Giovanni (Agriculture Business/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Mujica, Angeles (English Transfer/A.A.); Castaneda-Zurita, Oscar (Computer & Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Verdusco, Erika Iris (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Villalobos, Maria Guadalupe (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.)
Livingston
Aguilar Juana, Rose (Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Alvarez-Franco, Rosio (Child Development/A.A./Child Development: Early Intervention Assistant Specialization/Certificate of Achievement/Child Development: Infant/Toddler Care Specialization Certificate of Achievement); Benitez, Genesis S. (Psychology Transfer/A.A. /Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Cervantes, Sara Grace (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Flores, Mayra (Administrative Office Professional/Associate in Arts); Garibay, Jacqueline (Psychology Transfer/Associate in Arts); Jesus, Kyle (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Juarez, Jose Alfredo (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Kailey, Mandeep (Honors Graduate/Psychology/A.A.); Kaur, Gurpreet (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Lomeli, David Alejandro (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Mendoza Moreno, Magdali (Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Ochoa, Rafael (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Pabla, Sumit (Computer Science Transfer/A.S. /Mathematics Transfer/A.S.); Rajania, Sukhvir Singh (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Reyes, Alma A. (Theatre Arts Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Rios, Juan Luis (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Ruiz-Cruz, Abigail (Administrative Office Professional/Certificate of Achievement/Medical Office /Certificate of Achievement); Torres, Jorge Muniz (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Valerio, Allain (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Vargas Najera, Maria Guadalupe (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Spanish/A.A.); Zurita Morales, Dalila (Criminal Justice/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Magallon, Victor A. (Electrical Technology/A.A./Electrical Technology/Certificate of Achievement)

 

 

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Los Banos
Alvarenga, Virginia (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Arellanes-Higuera, Siclaly (Honors Graduate/History Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Ascencio Torres, Alejandrina (Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Avila, Ana Patricia (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Barco Zabala, David (Compact Power Equipment/Certificate of Achievement); Blackmon, Terryisha (Child Development/A.A.); Bracamonte, Gissell (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Campos, Rosalinda (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Carmo, Jeanna M. (General Business /A.A.); Chapa, Abraham III (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Contreras Isaola, Iliana Natali (Honors Graduate/Child Development/A.A.); Corchado, Samuel (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Eubank, Mainaz (General Business/A.A.); Eubank, Stephen G. (General Business/A.A.); Frontella, Aaron (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Garcia Francisco (Computer & Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Garcia, Mark (Honors Graduate/Mathematics Transfer/A.S.); Garcia, Stephen F. (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); George, Elizabeth (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Goins, Jennifer Subia (Superintendent's Honors/Child Development/A.A./Superintendent's Honors/Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Gomes, Raymond Mitchell (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Gomez, Mariana (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Gonzalez Mora, Gladys (Mathematics Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Grijalva, Alyssa (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Haro, Andrea Arzate (Communication Studies Transfer, A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Hernandez, Gabriella (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Hernandez, Shari A. (Honors Graduate/Health Sciences/A.A.); Isas-Hurtado, Miryam (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Jimenez, Veronica N. (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Jordan, Erin Delaney (Psychology/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Kousha, Chelsea (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/A.S.); Landeros, Jazmin D. (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Lopez Lopez, Horacio (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Lopez Mayo, Lis Magale (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Marshall, Royce (Studio Arts Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Martin, Mariyah (Health Sciences/A.A./Kinesiology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Martinez, Lisette (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Monroe, Clarke (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Orozco, Joshua Alexander (Art/A.A.); Orozco, Richard Alcaraz (Honors Graduate/Automotive Technology/A.A./Honors Graduate/Master Auto Technology/Engine Performance/Certificate of Achievement/Suspension and Brakes/Certificate of Achievement/Transmissions Certificate of Achievement); Orozco Iniguez, Maria D. Carmen (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/A.S.); Oseguera, Elizabeth Baez (Child Development/A.A.); Perez, Lorena R. (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Phommavanh, Alexis Thounsavath (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Ramirez, Delia Yvonne (Vocational Nursing/A.A./Certificate of Achievement); Ramirez, Jazmin (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Ruiz, Barbara Eve (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Ruiz Aguilera, Pamela (Human Services/A.A.); Saldana, Francisco J. (Geology Transfer/A.A.); Sanchez, Theodore (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Sandoval, Patricia (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Schmidt, Edgar Joseph (Kinesiology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Talamantes, Luis (Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Tevis, Tiffiny M. (Honors Graduate Accounting/A.A.); Tiscareno, Elizabeth Estela (History Transfer/A.A.); Torres , Angelina Olivia (Child Development/A.A.); Torres, Guadalupe Quiroz (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Tuitele, Fenunuivao (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Valenzuela, Rosario Angelica (Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A.); Vazquez, Ana R. (Honors Graduate/Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A.)
Madera
Aguilar, Heriberto (Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Cuevas, Elizabeth (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Pulido, Miguel A. (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement)
Manteca
Cordova, Berenice (Psychology Transfer/A.A.)
Mariposa
Gamble, Deanna (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S.); Gomes, Olga (Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Legge, Jennifer (Honors Graduate/Psychology/A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Parks, Warren Neil (Accounting/A.A.)
Merced
Allen, Seth Garrison (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Anderson, Colby Jeen (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Andresen, Garrett Leland (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Atkins, Joseph Tyler (Honors Graduate/Computer and Networking Technology/A.A.); Baker, Emily C. (Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Honors Graduate/Agriculture Business Transfer/A.S.); Banda, Ambrosia Nicole (Health Sciences/A.A.); Barajas, Andrea (Honors Graduate/Child Development/A.A./Child Development: Infant/Toddler Care Specialization/Certificate of Achievement); Barrera, Christine (Small Business Entrepreneurship/A.A./Small Business Entrepreneurship/Certificate of Achievement); Barriga-Pimentel, Cristina (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Beardsley, Elspeth Hannah (Superintendent's Honors/Spanish Transfer /A.A./Intersegmental General Education/Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Bejarano, Samantha Ann (Honors Graduate/Human Services/A.A.); Benefield, Brandy (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Bernal, Isai J. (Compact Power Equipment/Certificate of Achievement/Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Bernal, Victor (Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Bonilla, Joey (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Briseno, Evelyn (Honors Graduate/Registered Nursing/A.S.); Cadsap, Caryn Micah (Kinesiology Transfer/A.A.); Campos, Jimmy Rey (Psychology/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Sociology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Carlos, Ryan Anthony (Criminal Justice/A.A.); Ceja, Alexandria L. (Corrections/A.A./Criminal Justice/A.A.); Ceja-Robles, Ana Maria (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S.); Cervantes, Jamie Le Ann (Honors Graduate/Psychology/A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Chairez, Salvador Alonso (Corrections/A.A.); Chang, Eng (Biological Science, A.S.); Claude, Jeremy Bryan (Compact Power Equipment/Certificate of Achievement/Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Collazo, Denise S. (Superintendent's Honors/Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Collazo, Manuel (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Cooksey, Ceslie (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Covarrubias-Martinez, Paz (Computer and Networking Technology/A.A./Computer & Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Cowperthwaite, Robert C. (Honors Graduate/History Transfer/A.A.); Cozzitorto, Stephanie (Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A.); Croninger, Noah (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Davidson, Dalyah Serena (Accounting/A.A.); De La O, Emmanuel Casillas (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Delgermurun, Enkhmandakh (CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design/Certificate of Achievement/CAD Draftsman – Mechanical Certificate of Achievement); Dempsey-Villa, Yvette (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Diaz Gutierrez, Silvia A. (Human Services/A.A.); Driscoll, Colton Quaid (Honors Graduate/Mathematics Transfer/A.S./Honors Graduate/Physics Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Duarte, Maira (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Elder. Marc R. (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Fagundes, Marrisa Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Fedora, Elizabeth Edna (Honors Graduate/Accounting/A.A./Honors Graduate/Art/A.A./Honors Graduate/Studio Arts Transfer/A.A./Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S./Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Feliciano, Ashley (Psychology/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Educatio/Certificate of Achievement); Figueroa, Greta Casandra (General Agriculture/A.A.); Figueroa, Greta Casandra (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Flansburg, Danielle (Honors Graduate/Biotechnology – Industry/A.S./Biotechnology/Certificate of Achievement); Flores, Ana A. (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Flores, Javier Daniel (Accounting/A.A.); Flowers, Joseph F. (Art/A.A.); Fong, Ricky K. (Compact Power Equipment/Certificate of Achievement/Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Franco, Angie M. (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A); Franco, Tristina (General Agriculture/A.A./Agriculture Business/A.S./Animal Science/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Garcia, Jonathan Robert (Anthropology Transfer/A.A./History Transfer/A.A./International Studies/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Garcia-Ramos, Leticia (Fire Technology/A.A.); Gill, Mariah Xichelle (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Govea, Hector (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Govea-Torres, Lourdes (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A.); Gudino-Garcia, Jaquelin (Honors Graduate/Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Guyette, Monica R. (Child Development/A.A.); Guzman, Jessica P. (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Guzman, Juanita M. (Vocational Nursing/A.A./Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Guzman-Delgado, Patricia (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Harvey, Michele D. (Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Hashimoto, Asuka (Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Hatcher, Derek Paul (International Studies/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A); Hawkins, Jennifer R. (Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Hernandez, Daisy Yadira (Psychology/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Hicks, William Edward (CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/A.A.); Howley, Kimberly D. (Child Development: Infant/Toddler Care Specialization/Certificate of Achievement); Howley, Robert J. (Diesel Equipment Technology/A.S./Mechanized Ag Technology/A.S./Diesel Equipment Technology/Certificate of Achievement/Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Jiang, Austin (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Johnson, Dante (English Transfer/A.A./Music Transfer/A.A.); Jones, Nelina Guillen (Accounting/A.A.); Jones, Teri Lee (Psychology/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Kaler, Rachel Leann (Honors Graduate/Health Sciences/A.A.); Keitel, Sydney N. (Biological Science/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement/Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Key, Chrissy (Registered Nursing/A.S.); King, Chelsea Rose (Music: Instrumental, A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Kist, Nathan (Advanced Welding and Metal Fabrication Certificate of Achievement); Larios, Kristine (Early Childhood Education Transfer /A.S. ); Lewis, Paula Anne (Accounting/A.A.); Locke, Michael (Psychology/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Lomeli, Pablo (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Lopez, Andrade, Yadira Ruby (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Lopez Arellano, Penelope S. (Spanish Transfer/A.A.); Lowe, Rachel Shay (Honors Graduate/Psychology/A.A./Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A./Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Lowry, Shawnay Jewel (Psychology/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Lujan, Ashley Lorraine (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Maldonado, Veronica J. (Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Martinez, Cynthia (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Martinez, Jorge R. (Health Sciences/A.A.); Mattos, Taylor (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Mattu, Gurman Singh (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Mayo, Christopher (Psychology/A.A.); McKain, Tenisha S. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Mendoza, Aurelia Regina (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Millen, Lindsay Jane (Human Services/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Miranda, Abigail G. (Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Miranda, Victor Raymond (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Moore, Amber Lee (Psychology/A.A.); Morgan, Bryn N. (History/A.A.); Moua, Pang Nhia (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Muratore, Danielle Marie (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Musquiz, Jessika V. (Criminal Justice/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Nakphouminh, Danny (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Nelson, Jasmine Shonte' (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Nishibe, Arisa (Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Ornelas, Isaac Angelo Felix (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Ortegon, Rene (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Ortiz Gonzalez, Dania Elizabeth (Honors Graduate/Art/A.A./Honors Graduate/Studio Arts Transfer/A.A.); Oseguera, Sandra Marie (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Paramore, Erica Aries (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Pavey, Phillip (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Pena, Marilyn (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Perez, Bryan (Fire Technology/A.A.); Perez, Desiree R. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Perez Osorio, Veronica (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education Certificate of Achievement); Perez-Tovar, Stephanie (Biological Science/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Pickinpaugh, Adrian M. (Honors Graduate/Fire Technology /A.A.); Pineda, Francisco M. (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Prieto Quevedo, Jorge Oswaldo (Criminal Justice, A.A.); Ramirez, Priscilla (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Rangel, Brittany (Kinesiology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Rangel, Vanessa (Health Sciences/A.A.); Rios, Gabriel C. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Rivero, Trinity Theresa (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Rodriguez, Erika Jasmine (Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Rodriguez-Parra, Melissa Libertad (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Rodriguez-Sandoval, Crystal (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Rojas Davis, Katherine L. (Honors Graduate/General Agriculture: Advanced/A.S./Honors Graduate/Landscape Horticulture/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Ros, Tiphanie L. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Rosa, Meghan Lorraine (Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A.); Rutherford, Mandy Jo (Administrative Medical Office/A.A./Administrative Office Professional/A.A.); Saeteurn, John (Accounting, Certificate of Achievement); Saito, Hayato (Honors Graduate/Management/Supervisory Training/A.A.); Salas, Jose Antonio (Honors Graduate/History Transfer/A.A.); Salazar, Karina (Kinesiology Transfer/A.A.); Salgado, Monica (Psychology/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Salim, Safia M. (Child Development/A.A./Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Sanchez, Tania (Corrections/A.A.); Sanchez Bautista, Erick Brayan (History Transfer/A.A.); Sanchez-Hernandez, Said De J. (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Serena, Frank T. (HVAC Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Short, Darlene (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Sigala, Brittney Taylor (Health Sciences/A.A.); Silva Andrade, Jesus (Computer & Networking Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Simpson, Taylor Nicole (Administrative Office Professional/A.A./Administrative Office Professional/Certificate of Achievement); Slate, John (Fire Technology, A.A.); Solis, Kevin A. (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Soriano-Martinez, Mayra Carmen (Human Services/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Spain, Lexus Beatrice (Life Science/A.S./Biological Science/A.S./Chemistry/A.S./Chemistry Pre-Professional/A.S.); Stanley Miranda, Kristal (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Taber, Jared (Computer and Networking Technology/A.A.); Taber, Kirk L. (CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/A.S./CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design/Certificate of Achievement/CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/Certificate of Achievement); Talania, Ma. Fides C. (Honors Graduate/Arts and Humanities/A.A./Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement); Tapia Tirado, Estefany (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Thurston, Natasha Alyxandrya Rash (Honors Graduate/English Transfer/A.A./Honors Graduate/Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./Child Development: Infant/Toddler Care Specialization/Certificate of Achievement); Torrence. Madelyn (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S.); Torres, Hector Enrique (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Torres, Ricardo Christian (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A.); Torres-Pena, Patricia (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Tsou, Lucas (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Ueki, Sae (Honors Graduate/Animal Science/A.S./Administrative Office Professional/Certificate of Achievement/Medical Office/Certificate of Achievement); Valencia, Breeana G. (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Valenzuela, Karen Michelle (Psychology; A.A./Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Vang, Chersa S. (Business Administration Transfer, A.S.); Vang, Taylor Walue (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Vargas, Miriam Yvette (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Vargas Perez, Isabel (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Vasquez Chavez, Nayeli C. (Health Sciences/A.A./Psychology/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Vega, Federico J. (Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Volk, Jessica L. (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Ward, Madelene (Physical Education/A.A.); Williams, Sashay D. (Child Development/A.A.); Xiong, Robert T. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Yanez, Simara Albuquerque (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Zaragoza-Ceja, Itzel (Corrections/A.A.)
Modesto
Casero, Gabrielle Alexandria (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Iverson, Dayna Lavonne (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Najera, Irvin (Master Auto Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Namrood, Yousif (HVAC Technician/Certificate of Achievement); Ramirez, Edith (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Riojas, Jessica (Health Sciences/A.A.); Salgado, Michelle Ann (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Smith, Christina Elizabeth Anne (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement)
Montgomery AL
Chambers, Earl I. (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.)
Morgan Hill
Thomas, Beau James (Early Childhood Education Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement)
Newman
Baker, Jason (Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Barajas , Danielle Frances (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Castillo-Garcia, Yasmin (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Sociology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Freitas, Kelsey Seegmiller (Music/A.A.)
Okinawa, Japan
Tomori, Yoshiya (Foods and Nutrition/A.A.)
Osaka, Japan
Umeno, Katsuaki (International Studies/A.A.)
Otari, Japan
Suzuki, Terumi (Honors Graduate/Small Business Entrepreneurship/A.A)

Patterson
Meza-Martinez, Mayra (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Quevedo-Ayala, Joshua (CAD Drafting - Mechanical Design/Certificate of Achievement/CAD Draftsman – Mechanical/Certificate of Achievement); Williams, Brandon Lantavio (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.)
Pine Grove
Lang, Dana Rochelle (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.)
Planada
Estrada, Jazmine (Mathematics Transfer/A.S.); Granados, Marcos (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Rios-Villarreal, Ignacio (Criminal Justice/A.A.); Rodriguez, Trinidad J. (Psychology/A.A.); Rosas Velazquez, Uriel (Industrial Electrical Technician/Certificate of Achievement)
Ripon
Yang, Christine D. (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/A.S.)
Riverbank
Foren, Valerie N. (Vocational Nursing/Certificate of Achievement); Shlemon, Atran (Commercial Refrigeration Technician/Certificate of Achievement/HVAC Technician/Certificate of Achievement)
Santa Nella
Lopez, Celeste Marivi (Honors Graduate/Psychology Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement)
Snelling
Barajas, Claudia (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.)
Stockton
Jackson, Nih-Jer (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Sor, Brandon Sokvanak (History Transfer/A.A./Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum/Certificate of Achievement)
Turlock
Amarillas, Michael Jr. (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Avila, Kellie (Social and Behavioral Science/A.S.); Barron, Alexis Kira Marie (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Batth, Gursimran (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Beckler, Rochelle (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Carr, Colton N. (Mechanized Ag Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Damas, Shannon (Registered Nursing/A.S.); Delacruz, Suleima (Psychology Transfer/A.A./Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Administration of Justice Transfer Associate in Science); Eisavi, Eilbron (Diagnostic Radiologic Technology/Certificate of Achievement); Esquivel, Jose M. (Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Hieber, Regina Darline (Honors Graduate/Health Sciences/A.A.); Hieber, Steffani Ann Kacee (Communication Studies Transfer/A.A.); Lencioni, Paul Anthony Jr. (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Ngo, Julia Le (Elementary Teacher Education Transfer/A.A.); Okaro, Michael (Body and Fender/Certificate of Achievement/Transmissions/Certificate of Achievement); Pallios, Alex (Honors Graduate/Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education Certificate of Achievement); Stoesser, Joshua (History Transfer/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Warmsley, Avion (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A.); Wichman, Zach (CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement)
Winton
Chavez, Virginia (Honors Graduate/Administrative Medical Office/A.A./Honors Graduate/Administrative Office Professional/A.A.); Cosio, Maria De Jesus (Child Development/A.A.); Covarrubias, Victor M. (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Gallaga Negrete, Lucero Geraldine (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Garibay, Juan J. (Electrical Technology/A.A./Electrical Technology Certificate of Achievement); Hernandez, Marisol C. (Small Business Entrepreneurship/A.A.); Lor, Chong (Honors Graduate/Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Magana-Lopez, Elizabeth (Honors Graduate/Health Sciences/A.A.); Martinez, Salatiel (Administration of Justice Transfer/A.S.); Polk, Cheyenne Rae (Mathematics Transfer/A.S.); Pulido, Diana (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./Business Administration Transfer/A.S.); Sabine, Kimberlie (Business Administration Transfer/A.S./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Soto, Deanna Jessica (Social and Behavioral Science/A.A./CSU General Education/Certificate of Achievement); Jimenez, Beatrice (Liberal Studies - Teaching Preparation/A.A.)


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May 22, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
State Route 99 FROM CHILDS AVENUE TO
ATWATER BOULEVARD IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various southbound and northbound on and off-ramps on State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue to Atwater Boulevard for sign work. No two consecutive ramps will be closed.

Crews will be working from Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. through Monday, May 22, 2017, at 6:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m.

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
RAMP CLOSURE
State Route 99 AT STATE ROUTE 140
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound off-ramp from State Route 99 (SR-99) to SR-140 for curb and sidewalk work.

Crews will be working Sunday, May 21, 2017, through Friday, May 26, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

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
STATE ROUTE 140 from the city of Merced
to State route 33 in merced county

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced beginning Sunday, May 22, 2017, through Friday, May 26, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for grinding, curb, and sidewalk work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move towards the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
state route 140 AT EL PORTAL ROAD
in mariposa County

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 at El Portal Road for utility work.

Work will begin Monday, May 22, 2017, through Friday, May 26, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.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.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
state route 33 from MEDEIROS RECREATIONAL AREA
to santa nella village in merced County

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 33 from the Medeiros Recreational Area (San Luis Reservoir) to Santa Nella Village for pavement work.

Work will begin Monday, May 22, 2017, through Friday, May 29, 2017, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.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.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
state route 59 ON THE
SOUTH INGALSBE SLOUGH BRIDGE
in merced County

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 59 on the South Ingalsbe Slough Bridge for bridge work.

Work will begin Sunday, May 21, 2017, through Tuesday, May 23, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 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.


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

 


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May 22, 2017

Summer at City Hall

The City of Merced is offering opportunities for students who would like to learn more about local government and the 21st Century workforce skills. This summer program is looking to increase youth knowledge of how local government operates and to strengthen intergenerational relationships. There will be guest speakers and field trips throughout the city in the 2-week period. Students who live in the city or attend a high school in Merced are eligible to

apply. Registration is for students who will be in the 9th, 10th, 11th grade and incoming seniors. Students will receive a $100 stipend for completing the program. The program will take place July 10 through 21 at City Hall. For more information, please log onto our website at Cityofmerced.org or call 385-6855.


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May 19 , 2017

Costa Statement on Turkish Security Guards’ Violence TowardsDemonstrators

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement regarding members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security force attacking demonstrators outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC:
“Given Turkey’s movement towards an authoritarian government, President Erdogan’s visit with the President in the West Wing is unsettling. President Erdogan’s recent elimination of individual freedoms and jailing members of the press should not be rewarded by a visit to the Oval Office.
“To add injury to insult, it appears that a contingent of President Erdogan’s security team unilaterally took violent action against peaceful demonstrators who were raising awareness of Turkey’s violations of human rights. The Turkish security guards clearly attacked the Armenian, Kurdish, Yezidi, and other human rights demonstrators, sending nine to the hospital.
“Sadly, it appears that history may be repeating itself. Many of us in recent weeks have seen the movie “The Promise,” which is an accurate historical portrayal of the Armenian genocide that took place beginning in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In the movie, we witnessed the beginnings of these acts of atrocity with the depiction of young, Turkish men beating innocent people. As we know, modern-day Turkey has been unwilling as a country to acknowledge the genocide ever happened. We cannot allow Tuesday’s violent and illegal behavior by the Turkish security guards to go unaddressed.


Congressman Jim Costa

“The actions of the Turkish security guards are outrageous, and I condemn them. They violate both American law and deeply-held American values. The Turkish security guards must be held accountable.
“Our American President should take appropriate diplomatic and legal action against these Turkish thugs for their violence towards the Armenian, Kurdish, Yezidi, and other human rights demonstrators. If he does so, I believe he will find overwhelming bipartisan support in the US Congress.”

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May 16, 2017


City’s budget for next year is $218 million

The City of Merced has a preliminary budget of $218.4 million for the Fiscal Year that begins July 1. The budget was presented to the City Council during a workshop Monday.
The budget was based on the public comments from three Town Hall meetings, a budget Priority session and internal staff needs, according to City Manager Steve Carrigan. More than two dozen positions were added to the budget, with the majority in the Public Works Department to improve service and address community needs.
“Residents see that our City is heading in the right direction and this budget helps move us there,” said Mayor Mike Murphy. “Our budget includes more for police and fire, more for our parks, more for our youth and more for improving our City services. We even have a Quiet Zone Study in this budget. All of these are services that are needed and wanted by the community.”
The budget includes $60,000 for a Quiet Zone Study to address the noise complaints caused by train horns. It also has $50,000 set aside to tackle problems with blighted housing.
The budget contains an additional two police officers and a police lieutenant, a fire marshal, and more training for firefighters.
There is a position for a Director of Parks and Recreation to guide the Parks and Recreation Department. Youth programming gets a boost with $20,000 for the Boys and Girls Club funding for a $20,000 Saturday program and $8,500 for a Summer Arts Program through the MultiCultural Arts Center.
“We are in some good times,” said City Manager Steve Carrigan. “We have a booming Downtown, UC Merced is expanding, we have 10 homebuilders active in town and lots of new businesses coming in. We are blessed with a good economy and our budget shows it.”
"This is a balanced budget, but more importantly, it is sustainable," said Interim
Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. "We looked at long range forecasts and at our historical trends. This is a budget that uses solid accounting and economic principals and still enables the City to set aside funds for a rainy day."

The City added $997,500 to the Revenue Stabilization Fund, the so-called “rainy day fund”, that can be used to help out during tough economic times. The addition boosts the fund up to $2.9 million.
The Economic Opportunity Fund has $427,500 added to it. The fund to attract and retain businesses, will now have $2.2 million in it.
There is funding to send staff out to collect trash that is dumped in alleys and streets on a regular basis. It also creates a satellite collection site for residents to bring their trash to Yosemite Avenue and Highway 59 in the hopes that it will alleviate dumping in the City.
Public works is growing and it has the largest investment of personnel, mostly in the sewer and water divisions. The City will be hiring a public works lead in sewer, a mechanic in Fleet, a finance liaison, a custodian, two storm drain workers, two sewer collection system workers, a fabrication technician, a cross connection control specialist and two more refuse equipment trainees for the regular refuse routes. There also are two tree trimmers in the budget.
The City’s computer system is a legacy from the Eighties. There is $350,000 for Phase I of the Enterprise Resource Planning System to update the AS 400 and its software and to determine the best replacement system.
The budget added a Legislative Director to advocate on the City’s behalf, pursue grants, monitor bills and help develop policies and legislations for the City. The budget also contains $20,000 for a firm to assist in state and federal advocacy.
The budget will formally be introduced to the Council at its June 5 meeting. It is scheduled for adoption June 19.

Click here to see the 2017 Budget Message that accompanies the preliminary budget. It provides more detail on the budget. The preliminary budget is online at the City’s website www.cityofmerced.org

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May 16, 2017


Thousands of local residents, businesses, school officials, and elected leaders of our area have signed letters and petitions, attended meetings, and joined together to speak out against the proposed state water grab. I made a commitment to you to keep you informed on water issues impacting our area and wanted to update you on the latest developments.

- Assemblyman Adam Gray.



Unimpaired Flows Proposal


Public comments on the State Water Board's proposal to increase unimpaired flows from the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers were due March 17, 2017. Those comments, which can be found at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/public_notices/comments/2016_baydelta_plan_amendment, are now being reviewed by Water Board staff and are supposed to be addressed in a final report to be released in the late spring or summer. After an additional comment period, the Board could take final action by end of 2017. I will keep you updated as the Water Board continues its review process and schedules any additional hearings.


Voluntary Settlement Discussions



Recent Meetings


In mid-April, I met with Governor Babbitt to discuss the flows issue. I provided Babbitt with a packet of videos, letters and articles that strongly argued against the state's unimpaired



Water Legislation Update


I currently have two bills working through the Assembly that aim to restore some fairness and accountability to our water policies here in the state.
AB 313 - Currently, the Water Board exercises quasi-judicial authority to hold water rights hearings. The Board writes regulations, initiates enforcement actions, and conducts hearings in which Board staff act as prosecutors and the Board itself acts as the judge and jury. AB 313 would restructure water rights hearings by creating a new Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings that could act as a neutral decision maker in the process. The bill was approved by the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife with a 13-0 vote to send the bill on to the next committee.

AB 1490 - AB 1490 requires that the Water Board evaluate the potential adverse impacts that implementation of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan would have on drinking water supply and quality in schools in disadvantaged communities. The Board would have to include information describing any measures that could be implemented to address any adverse impacts identified in the report. The Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials voted 5-0 to send the bill on to the next committee.
I will keep you informed as these bills continue to move through the legislature.

 

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flows proposal. The information I provided him is included below. In our meeting, I emphasized the significant negative impacts to the economy, groundwater sustainability, disadvantaged communities and drinking water quality of over one million Californians living in the most impacted areas. I also stressed that the Water Board report either dismissed or ignored these impacts. In regards to potential settlements, I noted that most of the local community supported the voluntary settlement discussions, but stressed that any agreement needs to be equitable and free from loopholes that could allow it to be overturned at a later date.
In late-April, I traveled to Washington, D.C. with a bipartisan group of my Assembly colleagues. We met with congressional leaders, as well as with heads of several key departments, including Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. We had productive discussions about adding water storage in California and having a balanced approach to water management. I plan to continue working toward water solutions for our area on both the state and federal level.

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May 16, 2017

California Agricultural Teachers’ Association
Comments on Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal Eliminating
Future Farmers of America and other CTE Funding

In his 2017-18 State Budget released earlier in the year, Governor Brown proposed the complete elimination of funding for the Future Farmers of America program and other programs in Career Technical Education serving students throughout California. Also included in these cuts were the elimination of Partnership Academy Programs, the University of California Curriculum Institute for recognizing CTE courses for admission purposes, and Professional Development Activities for CTE instructors.

These programs have been funded by $15 million in CTE Pathway monies that were provided to the California Department of Education for supporting statewide Career Technical Education activities and programs. The Governor’s proposal for this year would eliminate this source of funds, directly them instead to the Community College Chancellor’s Office to supplement other workforce development funds already in existence.

 

“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Brown has proposed eliminating Career Technical Student Organizations like the Future Farmers of America and other CTE funding in California” said Jim Aschwanden, Executive Director of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association. “The loss of these components of Career Technical Education will have a devastating effect on programs and teachers statewide. CTE programs remain vitally important to the economic well-being of our state, and this proposal eliminates highly effective programs that have proven their worth over time. We think this is a terrible mistake.”

The California Agricultural Teachers’ Association is a professional education association, representing over 850 instructors in Agricultural Education at the Middle School through University levels in California, with headquarters located in Galt, California.

#####

California Agricultural Teachers’ Association
P.O. Box 186
Galt, CA 95632

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May 15, 2017

Budget workshop set for 4 p.m. Monday

The City’s budget for the upcoming year will be presented to the City Council during a 4 p.m. workshop Monday.

The regular City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.

The $218,424,029 budget includes $41,869,459 for the General Fund. The budget will be online Monday for public review.

Staff will make a presentation to the Council outlining programs and positions that have been added to the budget that serves as the blueprint for the City for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. There will be time for questions from the Council and the public during the workshop.

The budget will be introduced for adoption at the June 5 Council meeting.

On the regular Council agenda is a request to award a $226,782 a year contract to MCE Corporation of Dublin for mowing and edging services in City parks. The next highest proposal was from Odyssey Landscape for $420,876



Also on the agenda is a public hearing to change the general plan designation of 4.54 acres at Yosemite Avenue and Mansionette Drive from police station to neighborhood commercial. A second public hearing will be held to declare the City-owned property surplus. The City had originally considered using the land for a police station before deciding to purchase the site of the Merced Sun-Star building for the new police station.

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.

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May 15, 2017

Merced announces Welcome Sign and Slogan Contest

From the City of Merced Welcome Sign Subcommittee

The Merced City Council announced a contest to propose welcome signs with slogans at the entryways to the city on Highways 99, 59, and 140.

There are no welcome signs declaring to visitors, prospective residents, and business investors who we are or what we stand for. A subcommittee of the city council working with many service clubs organized the contest.

The City of Merced seeks to deliver Merced the best Welcome Signs in California and opens this challenge to local residents and other stakeholders to submit their ideas, art, logos, mottos, and vision to brand Merced great. The City wants all Mercedians to have a voice and ownership in marketing Merced, its people, values, location, and future with new Welcome

Signs located at the entrances/exits of the City. Merced is already widely known as the "Gateway to Yosemite."

Our City of rich diversity already uses a stylized Merced Theater tower symbol. Merced County is an agricultural powerhouse and home to UC Merced, a unique Basic Sciences Research University. But there is room for more exciting ideas from Merced's people.

The City is having a contest to develop new welcome sign concepts as part of building a grassroots community of belonging. Participants may submit five (5) theme/slogan/motto entries for our new welcome signs. Five (5) entries may also be submitted for the design of new signs, or other unique landmark structures. Alternatively, submittals may incorporate all ideas, themes, and structure designs.

To enter the contest, submit a statement about what is important to you/your group and your official entries in 8 1/2 X 11 inch format by mail to Welcome Sign c/o Mike Conway, City Manager’s Office, 678 W 18th St. Merced, CA 95348 OR electronically, in downloadable format, to the City of Merced at https://merced.seamlessdocs.com/f/WelcomeSignMerced.


All entries are due by Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, and become the property of the City of Merced. The winning entries may be altered by the City. The City reserves the right to reject any or all submittals. Submissions should include the entrants name, address, phone number and email address. Winners will be honored at a City Council meeting. The award for the winning theme/branding entry will be $300 and for the winning structure design also $300. Because there are multiple locations for Welcome Signs, there may be multiple winners. For more information, email welcomesign@cityofmerced.org, or call Mike Conway, at 209-385-6232.

The Committee also is exploring the idea of adding arches inside the City, similar to the arches that spanned 16th Street. Erected in 1927, those arches were electrified and read, “Merced: Gateway to Yosemite.” They were torn down when Highway 99 was widened in 1940.

Announcing this new direction, Michael Belluomini, City Council Member, said: "Everyone acknowledges the need for Merced to have new Welcome Signs. However it was apparent early on that some longer term thinking is necessary to effectively brand and celebrate Merced's competitive advantages as an Agriculture Powerhouse and a Sciences Research Community. The City starts an important process of sharing information and making Merced memorable with its welcome signs and slogans."

Commenting on the City Council's role, Steven Carrigan, City Manager said "With the rapid growth of UC Merced and the State's recent commitment to support vital local infrastructure, residents, visitors and new investors all have an important role to play in making Merced a smart commercially important and culturally vibrant international city going forward. That starts with new Welcome Signs. Everyone is tremendously excited about Merced's future."

Mike Murphy, Mayor of Merced, said: "Merced has enjoyed some extraordinary attention in a very short time period. I ran for office to incrementally improve the quality of life for all Merced's people. Our first steps toward branding with welcome signs an empowered community and people will truly make Merced a distinct, attractive and progressive City in the Western United States. We're a City on the rise! We look forward to attracting and embracing new ideas, resources, leaders, and opportunities under City in the near future."

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May 15, 2017


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
State Route 99 From Childs Avenue
to Applegate road in Merced County

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various on-ramps and off-ramps on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue in Merced to Applegate Road in Atwater for guardrail work.
Crews will work Monday, May 15, 2017, though Friday, May 19, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

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
STATE ROUTE 140 from Briceburg Road
to El Portal Road in mariposa county

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on State Route 140 (SR-140) from Briceburg Road to El Portal Road. Work will occur as follows:
One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from Briceburg Road to Foresta Road beginning Tuesday, May 16, 2017, through Friday, May 19, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for grinding and paving.

One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 at El Portal Road beginning Monday, May 15, 2017, through Friday, May 19, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for utility work.

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
STATE ROUTE 165 AT WESTSIDE BOULEVARD
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 165 (SR-165) from First Avenue north of Stevinson to River Road for grinding and paving.

Crews will be working Monday, May 15, 2017, through Friday, May 19, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project designed to realign a segment of SR-165 south of the Merced River Bridge at Westside Boulevard, to improve safety and increase the efficiency of the intersection.

In addition to realigning the intersection, the shoulder is being widened with rumble strips ground into the pavement to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. The project will improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 from the city of Merced
to State route 33 in merced county

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from from SR-33 in Gustine to SR-99 in Merced beginning Sunday, May 15, 2017, through Friday, May 19, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for grinding, curb, and sidewalk work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move towards the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.


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

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May 15, 2017

Campus Marks Largest Class, Year of Growth With 2017 Commencement

UC Merced will celebrate more than 1,200 candidates for graduation during ceremonies

May 13 and 14, bringing the university’s alumni total to nearly 8,000

MERCED, Calif. — More than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in the University of California, Merced’s 12th commencement ceremonies this weekend — its largest class since opening in September 2005 — bringing the university’s alumni total to nearly 8,000.

“This year's commencement commemorates another extraordinary year of progress for the campus,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “But even more important, it honors our record number of outstanding graduates who we are sending out into the world to embrace the future and shape it."

UC Merced’s commencement participants hail from 42 counties in California, two other states and seven other countries — Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico and Pakistan. They range in age from 20 to 61 years old.

Jocelyne Fadiga, a chemical sciences major from Abidjan,
Ivory Coast, will represent the Class of 2017 as the student speaker at Saturday’s ceremony. In her time at UC Merced, Fadiga served as a scholar in the Degree Attainment for Returning and Transfer Scholars program, the California Alliance for Minority Participation program and the Summer Cardio-Renal Undergraduate Research Experience program; a volunteer for Merced County Project 10%; and editor for the UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal.

Santa Cruz native Havilliah “Jake” Malsbury will represent
the class at Sunday’s ceremony. Malsbury, a history major, served as an intern for the campus’s Civic Leadership program, editor-in-chief of the Undergraduate Historical Journal, a member of the Native American Tribe Conservation Project, and president of the Historical and Current Affairs Society.

Two graduates will sing the national anthem: Carlos Nunez, a mechanical engineering major from Union City, at the Saturday ceremony; and Rebecca Henke, a cognitive science major from Merced, at the Sunday ceremony.
HP Inc. Chief Diversity Officer Lesley Slaton Brown will speak to the candidates of the School of Engineering and School of Natural Sciences and their families at 9 a.m. May13.

Slaton Brown, a Merced native, has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. She is responsible for leading HP’s global diversity and inclusion
strategy, programs, partnerships, reporting and operations.

Quick Facts • UC Merced holds commencement exercises at 9 a.m. May 13 and 14 in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad. • HP Inc. executive Lesley Slaton Brown and author Héctor Tobar will address this year’s class and their guests. • The campus expects to confer 1,224 bachelor’s degrees, 24 master’s degrees and 39 doctoral degrees.

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Award-winning journalist and author Héctor Tobar will address the candidates of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and their families at 9 a.m. May 14.

Tobar is the author of four books, including the novel “The Barbarian Nurseries” and his nonfiction book “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of Thirty-Three Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free.”

Tobar was part of the Los Angeles Times reporting team that earned a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

The number of graduates is not the only area where the campus is seeing growth.

The 2016-17 academic year has produced a host of awards, accolades and milestones — including record numbers of student applications, breaking ground on an international award-winning expansion project and being named one of the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for the very first time.

In its debut on the U.S. News rankings, UC Merced showed particular strength in graduation rates. According to the report’s model, the campus’s predicted 6-year graduation rate was 52 percent, but the actual rate was 66 percent. The 14-point difference ranked UC Merced No. 8 among 298 universities in that category.

For those who are unable to attend commencement, a livestream of the ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. each day.

###

UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports highly qualified first-generation and underserved students from the 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.

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May 15 , 2017

 

Costa, Fresno High Administrators Congratulate Student for West Point Appointment

Fresno, CA - Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) and Fresno High School Principal Elisa Messing will join Fresno High School student, Constance McMichaels, her family, Fresno High School staff, and local veterans for a luncheon celebration to recognize the appointment of Constance to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Constance is the first female from Fresno High to be appointed to West Point.

“I am honored to join with my Academy Selection Committee in congratulating Constance on her acceptance to West Point,” said Rep. Jim Costa. “Constance greatly impressed my selection committee with her maturity and leadership skills. We all are extremely proud of Constance and look forward to following her successes at the academy.”

“We wish Miss McMichaels the best of luck as she embarks on this exciting new journey. Her Fresno Unified family is extremely proud of all that she has accomplished,” said Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson.

Jimmie Rodgers, School Counselor at Fresno High, shared, “Transformational leaders are not only naturally-born but also intentionally developed. Discipline, desire, and dedication to further her potential and leave a lasting legacy for her family, Fresno High School and the Fresno Unified School District, the city of Fresno, and her nation have brought Constance McMichaels to this moment. She


Congressman Jim Costa

possesses and demonstrates the characteristics that will lend themselves to the molding, mentoring, and rigorous intellectual, mental, and physical demands placed on a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Simply put: We are proud of her and especially grateful to be a part of her educational and military career development.”

In addition to demonstrating exceptional academic and leadership skills, prospective West Point students must be officially nominated by a member of Congress. To earn her nomination from Congressman Costa, Constance had to submit an application to the Academy Selection Committee for California’s 16th congressional district, a panel comprised of community leaders from Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties. The committee only chooses highly-qualified students for nomination. Once nominated, students then compete on a national level for appointment to one of our nation’s military academies.

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May 10, 2017

Costa Recognizes High School Students for Participating in Congressional Art Competition

MERCED, CA - Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) and the Merced County Arts Council hosted an awards ceremony for Merced County high school students who participated in the 2017 Congressional Art Competition. 34 students from El Capitan High School, Merced High School, Chowchilla High School, Los Banos High School, Pacheco High School, and Atwater High School submitted original artwork for consideration.

“The Congressional Art Competition provides an opportunity for high school students to exercise their creativity and get engaged in the arts,” said Rep. Costa. “I am proud of this year’s winner, Atwater High School student, Daniela Ornelas, and all the students who submitted artwork in the Congressional Art Competition to share their artistic talent with our community.”

Daniela’s artwork will hang in the Cannon Tunnel in the United States Capitol building. The second and third place winners’ artwork will hang in Congressman Costa’s district offices.

"We have some amazing young talent here in Merced,” said Colton Dennis, Executive Director of the Merced County Arts Council. “They show us something unique, beautiful, and thoughtful through their art! I'm so happy that Congress has this art competition to highlight the best in our student artists."

Thousands of high school students across the nation are honored for their creative talents by the annual Congressional Art Competition, which first began in 1982. Local competitions are voluntarily hosted by Members of Congress in their home districts, and Congressman Costa enjoys hosting the Congressional Art Competition every year. In June, the winning artwork is sent to Washington, where it hangs in the Cannon Tunnel to be viewed by the millions who visit the Capitol each year. Winners are also invited to the Capitol for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and congressional reception.


Jim Costa, Daniela Ornelas


Jim Costa, Merced Congressional Art Competition


Jim Costa, Merced County High School Teachers

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May 10 , 2017

 

Atwater FFA Dominates State FFA Team Championships at Cal Poly

Written by: Atwater FFA

Atwater FFA will be heading to the National FFA Finals as three FFA judging teams won the FFA state championships at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on May 6th. With over 3000 California high school agriculture students throughout the state competing, the Atwater FFA Agronomy, Floriculture, and Nursery & Landscape teams placed first overall and will be representing the Atwater/Winton community, Merced County, and the state of California at the National FFA Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana this October. Atwater FFA sent nine individual agriculture Career development Event (CDE) teams to Cal Poly, SLO with all nine teams placing in the “Top 5” overall in the state. “When you combine great kids and dedicated teachers with the tremendous support of one’s school, district, community, and local agriculture industry, you get positive results and tremendous success as demonstrated this past weekend,” said FFA advisor Dave Gossman.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy team consisted of Belinda Espinoza, Dillon Guillen, Kelsi Kamesch, and Jasmine Flores. The contest involved students creating and presenting a marketing plan for an agriculture related business and product. The Floriculture team consisted of Jasmine Sandoval, Samantha Theodozio, Mai Yang Vang, and Jennifer Zavala and involved a contest that included plant identification, the making of floral related arrangements, and floral skills. The Nursery and Landscape team consisted of (Dayana Argueta, Jeff Clark, Daryl Dorsey, and Amanjot Ganhoke) and involved a contest with knowledge and skills in the nursery, landscape, and horticulture industry.

In addition to the three championship teams, Atwater FFA was one of the most recognized programs at the 2017 state finals competitive CDE teams were represented at the state finals competition. The Atwater FFA Meats team (Courtney Creighton, Daisy Flores, Emily Junez, and Bailey Weimer) and the Poultry team (Briana Diaz, Ana Lozano, Sayra Ramos, and Stephania Valdovinos-Burgueno) placed 2nd overall in the state. The Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team (Kendyll Cruz, Natalie Frontella, Callie Norton, and Luke van Warmerdam), the Marketing Plan team (Kayalynn Briscoe-Mattis, and Jessica Prado) and the Agriculture Mechanics team (Nathaniel Cavallero, Eric Favela, Daniel Mesa, and Joel Rojas) placed 4th overall in the state. The Land team (Michael Bray, Audrey Esau, Jose Ruiz Marquez, and Arturo Valdovinos) placed 5th overall in the state.

There are over 85,000 high school agriculture students in California representing over 375 high school agriculture programs, and the success of the Atwater FFA agriculture program can be attributed to the agriculture pathway sequence of courses at Atwater High School, the increased student involvement/participation outside of the classroom, and the tremendous support from the school/district, community, and agriculture industry. “We will say it time and time again,” says FFA advisor Kaylyn Davenport, “We are seeing a positive return on everyone’s investment with our students, and we all should take tremendous pride in their accomplishments.”


The 2017 California FFA State Champion Agronomy team is Atwater High School's Kim Macintosh (coach), Belinda Espinoza, Kelsi Kamesch, Dillon Guillen, and Jasmine Flores.


The 2017 California FFA State Champion Floriculture team is Atwater High School's Kaylyn Davenport (coach), Samantha Theodozio, Jennifer Zavala, Mai Yang Vang, and Jasmine Sandoval.


The 2017 California FFA State Champion Nursery and Landscape team is Atwater High School's Dave Gossman (coach), Jeff Clark, Daryl Dorsey, Dayana Argueta, and Amanjot Gandhoke.

For more information on this event, upcoming events, and information on the Atwater FFA, log on their website at www.AtwaterFFA.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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May 10, 2017

2017 Anna Maria Fuentes Scholarship Recipient Announced

Merced, Calif., – Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) is pleased to announce Steven Yeung of Merced as the 2017 Anna Maria Fuentes Scholarship recipient.
Steven, a senior at Merced High School, has demonstrated tremendous achievement in academics, as well as, extracurricular activities such as Junior Leadership Merced, Academic Decathlon, Mentor Club, the California Scholarship Federation and an impressive 4,100 plus hours of community service. He also participated in a Psychology and Neuroscience program at Harvard University in the summer of 2016. Steven plans to attend UC Berkeley this fall and pursue a career in medicine.
As the 2017 Anna Maria Fuentes Scholarship recipient, Steven will receive $1,000 and will be eligible to receive additional awards of $1,000 each year for three years based on scholastic performance. The MCAG Governing Board and staff established this scholarship program in 2010 to honor the memory of Anna Maria Fuentes, Grants


Program Manager at MCAG. The scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating high school senior in Merced County with a grade point average of 3.8 or higher who has demonstrated a high level of participation in extracurricular activities including positions of leadership.
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. For more information, visit www.mcagov.org.

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May 10 , 2017

Costa Statement on Dismissal of FBI Director James Comey

FRESNO, CA - Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after President Donald Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:

“I find the President's decision to fire Director James Comey today deeply troubling.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the middle of a critical investigation to determine the extent of Russia's attempt to disrupt U.S. elections last year, as they have been negatively influencing democratic elections in recent years. Regardless of one’s political party affiliation, I believe all Americans agree that Russia – or any other country – should not be meddling in our elections. We must investigate fully Russia’s involvement in our election process, regardless of where the evidence leads.

“Months ago I stated that an independent commission should be named to investigate and determine the extent Russia influenced our election process, like we did during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks


Congressman Jim Costa

 

on the United States. As we begin the process of appointing and confirming a new FBI director, I feel more strongly than ever that we need an independent commission to get to the bottom of this and ensure that no country in the future will ever affect U.S. elections.”

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May 9 , 2017

MERCED COLLEGE ANNOUNCES STUDENT OF THE YEAR

Merced College’s student of the year has her education goal set on obtaining a master’s degree in Intercultural Communications. With an overall grade point average of 4.0, Ilyra Pope will graduate this spring with associate of art transfer degrees in Communications and Psychology.
The Chowchilla resident acknowledges her instructors for helping her to discover “how my passions fit into education.
“Merced College not only helped me get these degrees, but it also introduced me to amazing professors who guided me as I searched for what I wanted to do with my education,” the 20-year-old said.
Professor Chris Gaugler nominated Pope for the student of the month award in March. The Academic Senate then selected Pope from among the year’s student of the month recipients as the College’s student of the year.
“This is an outstanding young woman,” Professor Gaugler said, noting that she earned an A for work in one of his anthropology classes. “I am not an easy A” he pointed out.
After graduating from Merced College, Pope plans to continue her education at the University of Washington in Seattle, where they offer a master’s degree program in Intercultural Communications. She would eventually like to teach.
“I chose Merced College because of its proximity to Chowchilla,” she said. This way, I could take different classes and find what I really liked while living at home to help take care of my younger sisters.
This also gave me the flexibility to be a part of the college group at my church and continue to serve. With these skills and my connections in my community, I have been a part of many beautification projects here in Chowchilla as well as in Madera.”
Professor Gaugler said he is impressed with Pope’s “mental and ethical maturity.
“This is a woman on a mission,” he said. “No matter what happens down the line, she will be a success.”


Ilyra Pope

 

 

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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May 9 , 2017

 

Atwater FFA Prepares for Spring Plant Sale

Written by: Atwater FFA

Atwater High School horticulture students have spent the past couple months preparing for the 12th annual Atwater FFA Spring/Summer Plant Sale scheduled for May 12th and 13th from 8am to 4pm at the Atwater High School Agriculture Department. Over 5000 annual and perennial plants, ferns, succulents, and fruit trees will be available. The plants have been grown and maintained by the students and all the funds generated from the sale go back into the horticulture program to cover supplies, equipment, and facility maintenance expenses.

“This is a hands-on approach towards learning plant/horticulture skills, responsibility, and the opportunity to strengthen communication and customer service skills during the sale,” said Atwater FFA instructor Dave Gossman. “The students have put in numerous hours towards in preparation and gain a tremendous amount of pride through the experience.”

Atwater High School became the state’s first certified high school horticulture program through the California Association of Nurseries


Atwater High School horticulture students Chantal Marron, Allison Frias, and Jennifer Villalobos inspect the greenhouse flowers that will be available to the public during the annual FFA Spring Plant Sale held at the high school on Friday and Saturday.

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

and Garden Centers (CANGC). The school’s nursery is a student run operation whose bi-annual plants sales help cover the costs of supplies, materials, equipment, and facility upgrades for the program.

For more information on this event, upcoming events, and information on the Atwater FFA, log on their website at www.AtwaterFFA.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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May 9 , 2017

GOOGLE GRANT WILL PROVIDE COMPUTER SCIENCE
TRAINING FOR AREA HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS

Merced College is partnering with area high schools to create pathways for success in computer science with a $20,000 grant from Google.
According to Merced College Computer Science Professor Kathy Kanemoto, the Google CS[4]HS grant will fund a professional development program for area computer science instructors in Merced County schools.
“This is a great training opportunity for the current eight computer science teachers at six local high schools,” Kanemoto said. “We will mentor these high school teachers in instructional design, which will help their students learn computer science so that they can pass the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles exam.”
In addition, the program will create interactive instructional materials for use in local high schools, while delivering methodologies to effectively teach algorithms to students for problem solving. Lesson plans will be created, and skill sets will be enhanced, she said.
“We will be utilizing programming languages and computational tools to develop the high school teachers’ own skills as they also learn how to teach effectively,” Kanemoto said.
Kanemoto noted that complex problems in computer science also involve the students’ inability to comprehend topics such as recursion and sorting algorithms.
“Algorithms are hard for students to understand . . . and most students will have a hard time learning the material,” she said. “Most students are visual learners and need to have a visualization of the code in order to understand it. Sometimes this visualization is just drawn on the board, but utilizing multimedia tools makes the comprehension quicker and easier.
“Having the teachers use these tools effectively will give them confidence in teaching because students will be able to understand the material.”
The program will measure its success by having the teachers create at least 10 complete learning modules for their classes, organizing lesson plans and keeping digital archives. Also, the program will track a cohort of students as successive classes take and pass the AP CS Principles exam.
“By seeing the results, which will be how well the students are learning computer science, the confidence of the teachers will build and by enhancing their skills, their students will become more successful,” Kanemoto said.
The teacher development program will be conducted from September to November.

 

MERCED COLLEGE ANNOUNCES APRIL STUDENT OF THE MONTH

Chong Xiong is so dedicated to her college education that she only missed two days of class after giving birth.
“She delivered her third child in the second week of the semester,” said Professor Halin Issavi, “and just two days later she showed up in the class. Honestly, I was surprised.”
Xiong, 28, Merced College’s student of the month for April, was born in Thailand. Her family was relocated to Minnesota in 1993 and Xiong later graduated Highland Park Senior High School. After high school she earned a medical assistant certificate from Minneapolis Business College.
“On August 2010, I made the biggest decision of my life,” she said. “I got married, moved to California, and started my own little family.
“Being a stay at home mom for the last five years made me realize that I need to further my education; therefore, I am now back in school at Merced College.”
Xiong is majoring in nursing with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
“I want to better my life with a career that I can rely on and be a good role model to my children,” she said. “Education plays an important role in one’s life and will benefit a person’s future?”
A dedicated student, wife and mother, Xiong said Merced College is helping her succeed.
“Others may have different opinions about community college, but community college is sometimes where dreams began. Merced College is full of hope and knowledge . . . The instructors are all great, and they put their students ahead of them.. . .”

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May 6, 2017

Lots of summer fun from Merced City Parks and Rec

 

Cha Cha Cha dance lessons
The Merced Senior Community Center will be offering free Cha Cha Cha dance lessons on Mondays through May 22, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. No partner is required. Classes will be held at the Senior Community Center, 755 West 15th street. For more information or to sign up please call 209-628-0683 or 209-723-0839.

Movies in the Park
The City of Merced will be providing another summer of family nights for the “Summer Movies in the Park.” These free movies nights are open to anyone and will be held in different parks throughout Merced. This year there will even be a movie at a pool. These movies will play throughout the summer and end in fall. Come out and join us for a night of fun, bring your family, friends and neighbors. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and a blanket to stay cozy. Movies begins when the sun sets.
Movie Lineup:
May 19th: Moana @ Applegate Park
June 2nd: Fantastic Beasts @ Rahilly Park
June 16th: Star Wars: Rogue One @ Joe Herb Park
June 30th: The Wizard of Oz @ Rudolph Merino Park
July 7th: Marvel’s Doctor Strange @ McNamara Park
July 14th: SING @ Stephen Leonard Park
July 28th: Finding Dory @ El Capitan High School Pool.
August 4th: The Lego Batman @ Applegate Park

Summer Playground Program sign-ups start
Make summer memorable for your youngster with the “Summer Playground Program at Rahilly Park.”
The eight-week program by the City of Merced’s Parks and Recreation Department offers a summer of fun for kids ages K-6th grade in a great outdoor setting. Activities include arts and crafts, science projects, themed days, special events, guest appearances, field trips, and other fun.
The camp runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 5 through July 28. The cost is $15 a week, and $10 for additional family members. The program will take place at the Rahilly Park Outdoor Shelter, 3400 N. Parsons Ave. For more information or to register, call 385-6855.


Tennis H.I.T.S.
The City of Merced is offering a free tennis program for this summer called H.I.T.S., a program developed by the U.S. Tennis Association. H.I.T.S (Honesty, Inspiration, Teamwork, Sportsmanship) focuses on playing, learning and having fun. This program will help build friendships and engages kids in physical activity. It combines learning tennis with life skills. There will be 4 sessions offered throughout summer beginning on June 6 and ending on July 27th. Each session is 2 weeks long, Monday-Thursday. The H.I.T.S. program will be hosted in different parks throughout Merced and all sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Youth 6 to 10 are free, 11 and up have a $20 registration fee. For more information or to register, please call 385-6235 or visit our office 678 W. 18th St.
Summer at City Hall
The City of Merced is offering opportunities for students who would like to learn more about local government and the 21st Century workforce skills. This summer program is looking to increase youth knowledge of how local government operates and to strengthen intergenerational relationships. There will be guest speakers and field trips throughout the city in the 2-week period. Students who live in the city or attend a high school in Merced are eligible to apply. Registration is for students who will be in the 9th, 10th, 11th grade and incoming seniors. Students will receive a $100 stipend for completing the program. The program will take place July 10 through 21 at City Hall. For more information, please log onto our website at Cityofmerced.org or call 385-6855.

Youth Council vacancies
The City of Merced Youth Council is looking for motivated youth ages 13-18 years who would be interested in representing youth in the community. Youths who have the desire to engage with the community, create change, promote the livelihood of young people and raise up awareness or concerns that impact youth should take this opportunity. The Merced Youth Council act as a liaison between the youth and City Council and hold their public meetings on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at City Hall located at 678 W. 18th St in the Council Chambers. For more information on how to apply, check out our website at CityofMerced.org.

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May 6 , 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AND STATE ROUTE 140
IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound off-ramp from State Route 99 (SR-99) to SR-140 for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

The ramp closure will be in effect beginning Sunday, May 7, 2017, at 11:00 p.m. through Friday, May 12, 2017, at 6:00 a.m.

Motorists should expect 5 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

Work is expected to be completed December 2017. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move toward the city of Gustine as the project progresses.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE SOUTH FORK MERCED RIVER BRIDGE
TO EL PORTAL ROAD IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on State Route 140 (SR-140) from the South Fork Merced River bridge to El Portal Road. Work will occur as follows:
• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 at the South Fork Merced River Bridge beginning Tuesday, May 9, 2017, through Wednesday, May 10, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for maintenance.

• One-way traffic control will be in effect on eastbound and westbound SR-140 just west of El Portal Road beginning Monday, May 8, 2017, through Friday, May 12, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for utility work.

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
STATE ROUTE 165 AT WESTSIDE BOULEVARD
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 165 (SR-165) at Westside Boulevard for K-rail removal/repair.

Crews will be working Wednesday, May 10, 2017, through Friday, May 12, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 10 minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project designed to realign a segment of SR-165 south of the Merced River Bridge at Westside Boulevard, to improve safety and increase the efficiency of the intersection.

In addition to realigning the intersection, the shoulder is being widened with rumble strips ground into the pavement to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. The project will improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.
George Reed, Inc. of Modesto, is performing the work under a $1.22 million contract.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM STATE ROUTE 99 TO SYDNEY LANE
IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from SR-99 to Sydney Lane beginning Sunday, May 7, 2017, through Friday, May 12, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move towards the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.


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

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May 5 , 2017

With Nearly 40 Years of Experience, Tietjen is Ready for the Challenge

After 37 years in public education, Steve Tietjen is facing perhaps the most challenging period in his professional life.
Tietjen is just over four months into his new role as Merced County superintendent of schools. He is involved in major projects associated with development of land surrounding UC Merced, changing test expectations and greater student achievement goals, a push to keep students in class and sustaining long-term projects that fall under the county school's realm.
In January, the 61-year-old superintendent and Fresno native replaced the retiring Steve Gomes to head the Merced County Office of Education, an agency with more than 1,500 employees, a multitude of programs and services and a more than $100 million annual budget. His term of office winds up at the end of next year.
Tietjen isn’t daunted by the tasks ahead. He said public support for education is at an all-time high and people realize education is the way to create mobility for their children. He also said the Merced County area has many good things going for it.
“I am glad to be here,” Tietjen said. “This community is a great place to raise your children. Merced has incredible advantages over other Valley communities. You want your kids to do better than their parents did. Merced is a really wonderful community with a lot of good things going for it.”
A significant project is looking at ways to develop the Virginia Smith Trust lands next to UC Merced. The county schools office just got back 655 acres near the university and revenues from the land will continue to be used for college and university scholarships.
Tietjen said a six-month feasibility study is under way to determine the highest and best use of the undeveloped land near the university. Most likely crops such as almonds or pistachios will be recommended for part of the land, which now is used solely for grazing. Part of the land may be reserved for a business park, conference center and graduate housing. A final report on the six-month planning process is due in July, with an update expected next month.
“This is an exciting project to think about putting into action,” Tietjen said.
Previously a school superintendent in Woodlake and Los Banos, Tietjen said he has watched over more than $100 million in school building projects in nearly 20 years time. That includes four new schools and other major facilities.
Tietjen spent six months as a deputy superintendent under Gomes learning the services MCOE offers. He is particularly pleased with the MCOE Special Events Department, which puts on programs like the mock trial, pentathlon and decathlon, speech festival, a science fair, and writing festival. He also lauds the Regional Occupational Program, which stresses vocational careers.
“They do a wonderful job highlighting how students achieve beyond expectations. There are so many things our office offers to the schools,” Tietjen said.
He also called attention to a new partnership emerging with Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse III that will try to increase student attendance in schools and drop truancy rates. The District Attorney’s Office is adding an investigator to help prosecute parents who keep their children from attending school.
“If they are not in school, they can’t learn,” Tietjen said. “We need a stronger set of consequences for parents. Every day they miss, they fall farther behind. Those protracted absences most likely will result in more dropouts.”
A new process to cut truancies is likely to be in place by August.
Tietjen said the county schools office continues to provide high-quality services to school districts to help them meet their goals. For many of Merced County’s 20 school districts, MCOE offers back-office functions for business along with staff development.
“My particular vision is to make sure we provide services to school districts and appropriate follow-up, with ongoing coaching and support. You have to have ongoing coaching to stay sharp, so good ideas get implemented and they stick,” Tietjen said.
Tietjen also wants to see the tradition of outdoor education at Camp Green Meadows near Fish Camp is maintained. He is concerned about initial rumblings that President Trump’s administration wants to cut Head Start programs and programs for the youngest of children. This could amount to an $8 billion cut, with professional development, after-school programs and English language services impacted.
“My sense is Congress in pulling back and won’t accept all these cuts,” Tietjen said.
Key challenges to education? The new state assessment/testing system sets higher expectations for student achievement and is more rigorous. Testing is much more complex and more stringent than the previous “No Child Left Behind” program. Today’s students will have to be prepared to work in this environment, Tietjen said.
More work needs to be done to ensure that all Merced County students have access to 1:1 computer learning devices and achieve at higher levels, he said.
The superintendent also is excited about the farm-to-school movement that has been started in the county’s smaller districts. This will see more fresh food available for students and partnerships with local farmers.
Despite all the challenges and issues facing education, Tietjen said he has no regrets stepping into his most demanding role yet.

PHOTOS COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen has spent 37 years in public education and is now at the helm of the Merced County Office of Education.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen talks to attendees after his oath of office was administered in December, 2016.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen congratulates a student at the Seal of Biliteracy Proficiency event in March at El Capitan High School.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen talks with students about their project at Merced County's first-ever STEM Fair at the Merced County Fairgrounds in March.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen addresses the crowd at the annual Report on Our Schools event in February in Merced.

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May 5, 2017

Virtual Run raises money for Special Olympics

A fundraiser for the Special Olympics Games this summer helps people with busy schedules or a fear of crowds. The “Spark the Torch Run 1st Annual Virtual 5K/10K Run” is held any time, any day, anywhere between May 14 through May 21.

The event sponsors are the Merced Police Department and the Merced County Probation Department and it raises money for local Special Olympic athletes who travel to Davis to take part in the annual games.

A virtual run is when a person completes the event on his or her own terms, picking the route, date and start times.

Register for the event online at onyourmarkevents.com. The cost is $25 and all proceeds go to the athletes. All participants get a “Spark the Torch” tech shirt. To get a look at the shirt go to Code3Ink.com or Facebook or Instagram Code3Ink.

For more information contact the race directors, Krista Stokes, 209-631-5678 or Christie Zwart, 209-988-3090.


The two Departments and other local public safety officers will be taking part in the June 14 “Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics” to show support and raise funds for the Special Olympics Games in Davis.

Look for the Facebook event on Code3Ink. Organizers say sweaty selfies are welcome.

For anyone who would like to donate on-line, there is a team page on www.sonc.orgSteps to navigate the page:

1. Click “get involved”
2. Pick Law Enforcement Torch Run
3. Click “learn more and register”
4. Click “donate to the Event”
5. Enter team name – Merced Police / Merced Probation Chapter
6. You will be directed to the page and can make an on-line donation

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May 5 , 2017

Costa Statement on House Passage of American Health Care Act

Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The legislation passed on a vote of 217 to 213. The AHCA makes significant changes to our nation’s health care system.

“Congressional Republican leaders and the Trump Administration have spent several weeks negotiating, and the end result of those negotiations made a disastrous health care bill even worse,” said Rep. Costa. “The American people have demanded solutions that improve their health care outcomes from Congress, and this legislation fails to meet that test. If the American Health Care Act is enacted into law, then millions of Americans, including many of our friends and neighbors in the San Joaquin Valley, will either see their health care costs rise substantially or they will completely lose their coverage. Unconscionably, this legislation will also reduce the health care options available to our nation’s veterans, betraying our nation’s heroes after they have served our country.”

On March 24, the U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on the American Health Care Act, but due to lack of support from Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, Republican leadership was forced to pull the legislation from the House floor.

Costa continued, “The fact is that hundreds of thousands of Valley residents have gained health care coverage, and the uninsured rate in my district alone has been cut in half due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is not perfect, and I’ve always been clear in saying that the law needs to be fixed, but the American Health Care Act, in its current form, is not the solution.

“We must come together to find a bipartisan way to improve our health care system. I have been saying this for years, and I believe it now as much as ever. Only by working across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats together, can we address the challenges with our health care system to provide Americans – all Americans – access to quality and affordable health care coverage.


Congressman Jim Costa

 

“I sincerely hope that our U.S. Senators take a serious look at how this legislation would negatively impact our country’s health care system and either substantially change, or simply oppose, this bill. It is time to stop this needless partisan bickering and make the changes necessary in our health care system to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs for all Americans.”

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of uninsured individuals living in California’s 16th Congressional District has gone from 22% to 11%. Over 140,000 of Rep. Costa’s constituents have gained health care coverage since the ACA’s implementation.

The American Health Care Act would cut Medicaid spending by $880 billion. It gives states the option to obtain a waiver allowing insurance providers to no longer cover essential health benefits and charge those with pre-existing conditions more. Essential health benefits include maternity care, emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, preventative services, pediatric services, and outpatient care.

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May 5, 2017


CPUC TO HOLD COMMUNITY MEETING IN MERCED

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3, 2017 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) invites Merced County residents to a community meeting to learn more about the CPUC.

When: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Merced County Board Chambers, 2222 M St., 3rd Floor, Merced, CA 95340

What: The CPUC’s Commissioners will discuss the role of the CPUC and how the agency impacts the lives of Californians, the role of
Commissioners, helpful consumer programs, how to get involved in CPUC proceedings, and more.

Said CPUC President Michael Picker, “I look forward to our community meeting in Merced, and I hope that Merced County residents will come out and learn about the CPUC and how to make their voices heard about issues that affect their lives. From energy to telecommunications to water to railroads, the CPUC regulates essential services that people use every day.”

The CPUC will hold its May 11, 2017, Voting Meeting in Merced at 9:30 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at 678 W. 18th St. Merced. The agenda for the meeting includes items on Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) rate case, and on the CPUC’s efforts to identify disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley and determine options to increase access to affordable energy in those communities.

The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC protects consumers and ensures the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at just and reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.

If specialized accommodations are needed to attend, such as non-English language interpreters, please contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office at public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov or toll free at 866-849-8390 at least five business days in advance of the meeting.

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May 4, 2017

Garden Club Helps Merced Students Grow

Several students at Charles Wright Elementary in Merced are enjoying a hands-on science activity and reaping the rewards of their hard work. They are part of the Garden Club, which is offered as an extended day activity for kindergarten through sixth grade students.

With the help of teacher Jaime Enriquez, they are growing marigolds, petunias, onions, tomatoes, and peppers in a garden on their campus. The students planted the seeds themselves and have been tending to their flowers, fruits, and vegetables after school. Some are also able to work on the garden during recess if they choose.

The garden helps the children see firsthand the life cycle of various plants, the impact of sun, soil, and water, and many other science concepts. It also teaches them teamwork, responsibility, and even economics because they will be selling the flowers to their fellow students ahead of Mother’s Day.

Mr. Enriquez says, “Oh they love it…It’s a self-sustainable garden so they’re learning that if we produce some money from the garden it helps us buy more product for the future.”

The students have also had an opportunity to enjoy the “fruits” of their labor. They recently harvested several onions, which they were able to take home.

Student Julieta Juarez Cruz says she loves seeing the seeds she’s planted blossom into something beautiful and enjoys having her efforts pay off in more ways than one. She adds, “I like it because you do learn a lot, and it’s hands-on science.”

The Garden Club currently has approximately 25 students. It is one of many extended day programs offered at campuses throughout the Merced City School District, which are made possible through the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plan.

 

Photos all show students working on the garden with help
from their teacher, Jaime Enriquez.






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May 4, 2017

May is Bike Month in Merced

May is National Bike Month, and the City of Merced has designated May 4, 2017, as Bike to Work and School Day in Merced.

Riding a bike is a great way to stay healthy, help clean the air, and just have fun. Remember to follow all the same traffic rules as cars when you ride your bike, like riding on the right side of the road and obeying all traffic signals. And wear your helmet -- if you're under 18 it's the law!

In celebration of Bike Month the Merced Bicycle Coalition will be hosting the following events in partnership with the Bicycle Advisory Commission, the City of Merced and community partners:

Thursday, May 4 -- Bike to Work and School Day Energizer Stations: During morning commute hours booths will be set up around town to give free refreshments, t-shirts, and goodies to bicycling commuters. Team up with a friend and find out how easy it can be to bike to work or school!


Sunday, May 7 -- 8th Annual All Merced Road Ride: Road riders of all skill levels are invited to join this fully supported ride.

Saturday, May 20 -- Ride with the Mayor: Starting downtown at the Mercy Gulch Days festival Mayor Mike Murphy will be the leader of the pack on a tour of Merced’s bicycle friendly streets and paths.

For more information visitwww.mercedbicyclecoalition.org, facebook.com/mercedbicyclecoalition, or call 209-769-2233.

And check out:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bi2tbgtr9c2x4pp/Ride_With_The_Mayor_2017.mp4?dl=0

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May 4 , 2017

Flying the B-52 Bomber Lecture

Saturday May 6 at 10 AM the Castle Air Museum located at 5050 Santa Fe Drive in Atwater will be hosting a Lecture on the topic of "Flying the B-52 Stratofortress."

The presenters will be former B-52 Instructor Pilot Lt. Col. Al Osborn USAF ( Ret.) and Radar Navigator Lt. Col. Fred Pillsbury USAF ( Ret.). These two gentlemen have amassed thousands of hours flying and training future aircrews during the Cold War. Both are combat veterans of the Vietnam War and flew into some of the most heavily defended skies above Hanoi during that conflict. This promises to be an extremely informative insight into the longest serving strategic bomber in history.

For more information please check the Museum's website at: www.castleairmuseum.org, or call the Museum offices at (209) 723-2178.

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May 4 , 2017

Merced 4th Graders Advance Legislation Creating Official State Nut

SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) was joined at the State Capitol today by the 4thGrade GATE class of Margaret Sheehy Elementary School in Merced. The class of gifted and talented 4thgraders served as Gray’s expert witnesses in support of a bill, AB 1067, to designate the almond as the state’s official state nut.

“These exceptional students began the school year studying all things California,” said Gray. “After learning about the numerous other state symbols that exist, they were surprised to find out that California lacks an official state nut. They wrote to me requesting introduction of this bill and came to Sacramento today to advocate for the passage of this legislation.”

Approximately 25 students made the trip to Sacramento. Each student testified in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee of which Gray is the chairman. They were joined by representatives from the Modesto Nuts baseball team including team mascots Al the almond, Wally the walnut, and Shelly the pistachio.
“We should be very proud of California’s agricultural heritage and the important role nuts play,” said Gray. “We grow a large percentage of the world’s supply of nuts right here in California. It is very fitting that

it is the kids growing up in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley who noticed the lack of recognition nuts receive. They see every day how vital the production of nuts is to their community and how many families depend, in some way, on the nut economy.”

After the students finished their statements, the committee heard testimony about the importance of California’s other commercial nuts; the walnut, pistachio, and pecan. With Wally and Shelly cheering, Gray and the students agreed each nut was worthy of recognition and decided to amend the bill to include all four.

“The more the merrier,” said Gray. “This is about highlighting the importance of agriculture and all of these nuts are worthy of recognition. Having this conversation today has made nuts the number one topic of conversation today at the Capitol.”

AB 1067 now moves on to the Assembly Floor for a vote in the coming weeks.

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May 4 , 2017

 

Costa Statement on House Passage of Bipartisan Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.

“Funding the government so it can fulfill its promises to the American people is one of Congress’s most basic responsibilities. This legislation is a bipartisan compromise that provides vital funding for water and transportation infrastructure, veterans services, education, and community safety through the end of September 2017. This funding creates more certainty for our Valley’s families and business owners, diversifies California’s water supply, increases public safety and provides more opportunities to plan for the near-term future. However, this legislation is not a long-term solution to put our country on a more sustainable fiscal path. It’s been over four years since Congress has passed a bill directing longer-term spending, which creates uncertainty for families and businesses and impacts their ability to plan for the future. Congress cannot continue this irresponsible governance. We must come together and have bipartisan negotiations to pass a long-term budget bill later this year.

“This legislation has wins for the Valley, including a critical investment to update and build California water projects. It's the funding we need to build water storage above and below ground. The bill also provides vital dollars for job training and community development in regions like the San Joaquin Valley. Furthermore, it does not provide wasteful spending to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.”

In April 2017, Costa was a lead author on a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriationsrequesting that funding be provided for the California and west-wide drought-related authorizations included in Subtitle J of last year’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WINN Act).


Congressman Jim Costa

Funding highlights of the spending bill include:

$90 million for California water projects.
$481.5 million for the Violence Against Women programs.
$403 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.
$248 million for community development in underserved areas.
$1.7 billion for Job Corps.
$279 million for Veterans Employment and Training Service.
$51 million to help provide housing for homeless and low-income veterans and $43 million in new resources to target assistance to homeless youth.
$1.5 million for Community Health Centers, with at least $50 million dedicated to expand mental health services and $50 million to prevent and treat opioid abuse.
$300 million for freestanding children’s hospitals to use to train doctors, for research, and to care for vulnerable and underserved children.
$1.38 billion for medical research that helps our warfighters and veterans as well as their families and all Americans.
$43.2 billion for the Federal-Aid Highway program, which provides grants to state and local governments for investments in roads, bridges and public transit systems.

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May 2, 2017

MPD, Probation is bagging for bucks today

Officers from the Merced Police Department and Merced County Probation Department are bagging groceries at Save Mart Supermarket, 150 W. Olive Ave. from 2 to 6 p.m. today as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. The officers are bagging groceries for tips and selling t-shirts to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The two organizations are helping local Special Olympians travel to UC Davis to take part in the annual games at the school.

If you can’t make it shopping today there are other ways to help out -- a virtual run or an online donation.

The “Spark the Torch Run 1st Annual Virtual 5K/10K Run” is held any time, any day, anywhere between May 14 through May 21. A virtual run is when a person completes the event on his or her own terms, picking the route, date and start times.
Register for the event online at onyourmarkevents.com. The cost is

$25 and all proceeds go to the athletes. All participants get a “Spark the Torch” tech shirt. To get a look at the shirt go to Code3Ink.com or Facebook or Instagram Code3Ink.
For more information contact the race directors, Krista Stokes, 209-631-5678 or Christie Zwart, 209-988-3090. Look for the Facebook event on Code3Ink. Organizers say sweaty selfies are welcome.

For anyone who would like to donate on-line, there is a team page on www.sonc.orgSteps to navigate the page:

1. Click “get involved”
2. Pick Law Enforcement Torch Run
3. Click “learn more and register”
4. Click “donate to the Event”
5. Enter team name – Merced Police / Merced Probation Chapter
6. You will be directed to the page and can make an on-line donation

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May 2 , 2017

Students Plant Trees for Arbor Day

Hundreds of Merced City School District students celebrated Arbor Day by assisting in tree planting ceremonies Friday morning.

This has become an annual tradition for the district, which collaborates with the City of Merced to help “spruce” up the community.

This year, the trees were planted at Muir Elementary, Stowell Elementary, Chenoweth Elementary, and Burbank Elementary. The campuses received either red sunset maples or purple ash trees, which were both selected for their ability to adapt to our locale and thrive in our climate.

According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, “Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.”


The photos are all from Muir Elementary.






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May 2, 2017

The state Department of Finance has issued its new population estimates and the City of Merced’s estimated population for 2017 is 84,464, an increase of 502 residents.

Click here for City Population estimates

Click here for County Population estimates

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May 2 , 2017

New Democrats Form Executive Committee and Name Assemblymember Gray as Convener

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) today announced that Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) has been named the convener of the informal caucus of moderate Democrat Assemblymembers known as the New Democrats, effective immediately.

“I am honored to have been selected as convener by my colleagues and look forward to working to find common ground and real solutions to the problems facing our state,” said Assemblymember Gray. “The New Democrats are committed to a pragmatic approach that promotes the interests of hard-working Californians alienated by the extreme partisanship of both the left and the right.”

In addition, the New Democrats today announced the creation of an executive committee that will collaboratively set policy discussion.
"With 37 million residents in California, it takes a collaborative approach from each of our members to tackle the myriad of issues facing Californian families and businesses everyday,” said Assemblymember Salas. “The restructuring of the New Democrats



will allow each of our members to utilize their strengths in tackling these issues."

“It has been a privilege to serve as one of the leaders of the New Democrats for nearly two years,” said Assemblymember Jim Cooper. “I’m confident that the new executive committee structure will work collaboratively to build a stronger middle-class and create more good-paying jobs for Californians.”

Originally formed in 1997 by an ad-hoc group of centrist Assembly Democrats, nearly two-dozen Assemblymembers carry on their spirit and traditions today by affiliating with the informal caucus. A series of bi-partisan voter-approved election reforms, including the Top-Two Primary, fair redistricting by a citizen’s commission, and extended term limits have helped grow the ranks of the group in recent years.

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May 2 , 2017

CALTRANS INSTALLS INNOVATIVE PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL
AT STATE ROUTE 165 AND SCRIPPS DRIVE IN LOS BANOS

Los Banos – Caltrans has completed the installation of an innovative project to upgrade pedestrian crossings at State Route 165 and Scripps Avenue. This intersection is heavily used by businesses and residents, with two schools in close proximity.

The project will improve safety and mobility for residents and businesses, and bolster California’s Active Transportation Program. The ATP is designed to increase the number of walking and cycling trips, improve safety and mobility for pedestrians and non-motorized users, enhance public health and reduce greenhouse gases.

Caltrans installed a high intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) beacon system, which uses an overhead traffic light-style warning to alert drivers that pedestrians are present. The yellow light flashes when triggered by a pedestrian, followed by a solid yellow and then a red light – with the red light requiring motorists to stop at the crosswalk.

While slightly different in appearance, the beacon’s function is very similar to the traditional traffic light in that it stops traffic and allows pedestrians to cross safely. The beacon is inactive unless it is triggered.

The $95,000 project was completed by Traffic Development Services of Moorpark, CA.

 


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

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May 1 , 2017

Council meetings now start at 6 p.m.

Merced City Council meetings will start at 6 p.m. beginning with the Monday, May 1 meeting. Council decided to begin its meetings an hour earlier so that the public would get out of the sessions in a timely manner. Some Council meetings have lasted until 11 p.m. or midnight.
On the agenda Council will consider establishing a groundwater sustainability agency and hear a report on the high-speed rail.
Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.
The Council will hold a public hearing on whether to join with other local agencies in forming a groundwater sustainability agency. The agency would develop a plan to manage groundwater resources in the local groundwater sub basin roughly conforming to the Merced Irrigation District boundaries.
The requirement to form the agency came about after the state passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014. The cost to the City to create the agency in the first year is approximately $250,000.
Central Valley Regional Director Diana Gomez will update the Council on the California High Speed Rail project. The High Speed Rail send

the so-called bullet train from the Bay Area to Los Angeles through the Central Valley.
Merced is a scheduled stop on the first leg of the train, and the City has funds to study the impacts of the Downtown station.
Also on the agenda is a Real estate update presented by Loren Gonella of Coldwell Banker/Gonella Realty.
The Council will meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. to confer with property negotiators regarding property at 725 W. 18th St.
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.

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April 28 , 2017

Costa Applauds Passage of Legislation that Supports Merced County Association of Governments

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 496 - “To repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled “Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform.” The legislation would help local associations like the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) with their ability to plan and implement regional projects and preserve local control in transportation project planning and funding. Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) is an original co-cosponsor of similar House legislation, H.R. 1346.

“The rule would have ultimately made local associations like MCAG expendable and ineffective,” said Rep. Jim Costa. “I applaud the House and Senate passage of this commonsense legislation to repeal the rule to ensure that MCAG can continue its efforts to make a positive difference in Merced County. Our local agencies know best how to direct transportation dollars to serve areas of the highest need, and this rule, if not repealed, would have likely resulted in less local control over our transportation dollars and a less effective transportation system for Merced County. I hope President Trump promptly signs and enacts this bipartisan legislation into law.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Costa and his colleagues to successfully repeal this rule, said Stacie Dabbs, Interim Executive Director, Merced County Association of Governments. MCAG has a long history of voluntary and effective collaboration with the other valley transportation planning agencies. This rule would have threatened decades of progress and our ability to serve all communities in Merced County.”


Congressman Jim Costa

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly published the Final Rule on Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform in the Federal Register on December 20, 2016. The final rule became effective on January 19, 2017. The rule was implemented to streamline decision making procedures, but it would have left Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) like MCAG with less control. Repealing the rule would ensure that local MPOs maintain control over regional projects.

In August 2016, Reps. Costa and Jeff Denham (CA-10) sent a joint letter to the USDOT expressing strong opposition to the Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform Proposed Rulemaking.

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April 28 , 2017

Costa Statement on San Luis Unit Drainage Resolution Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee held a mark-up on H.R. 1769, the San Luis Unit Drainage Resolution Act. Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) offered one amendment during the committee mark-up and gave remarks. H.R. 1769 passed out of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

“Passage of the San Luis Unit Drainage Resolution Act would provide Congressional authorization of the negotiated settlement agreement reached between the Obama Administration and Westlands Water District,” said Rep. Costa. “The agreement, which took over two years of negotiating, ensures that the water district will use efficient irrigation practices, reuse shallow groundwater, and will be subject to all drainage and environmental laws. Additionally, authorization of the agreement would eliminate the $3.8 billion tax burden that Americans are currently obligated to pay and would move the responsibilities of drainage obligations from federal to local control.”

Costa continued saying, “Agriculture is the backbone of the San Joaquin Valley’s economy, and this legislation will help ensure that agricultural land in the San Joaquin Valley continues to produce the healthiest fruits and vegetables in the world. The San Luis Unit Drainage Resolution Act is a solution ensuring that the land in the


Congressman Jim Costa

Westlands Water District of the Central Valley Project remains productive, but we still must continue to work together to advance legislation that includes the northerly districts of the San Luis Unit, including the San Luis Water District.”

On April 25, 2017 the United States and the San Luis Water District entered a drainage agreement and needs Congressional authorization.

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April 27 , 2017

MCSD Montessori Program Accepting Applications

The Merced City School District is now accepting applications for the only public Montessori program in Merced County. This program is a free educational alternative offered to the district’s elementary students.

The Montessori Method was developed in Italy by Dr. Maria Montessori more than a century ago and has had proven success among diverse groups of students both in Merced and around the world. According to the American Montessori Society, Montessori education is: “The view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.”
Montessori teachers use a prudently prepared environment to guide children in their studies of language, mathematics, world cultures, technology, art, music, and practical life. They also focus on fostering characteristics such as self-confidence, self-discipline, and a sense of community as well as kindness, respect, grace, and courtesy. While the instructional techniques vary from a traditional classroom, the standards and assessments are the same.
The MCSD Montessori program was located at John Muir Elementary for more than a decade, but due to space constraints it will be moving to Ada Givens Elementary starting in the fall of 2017. There is currently one class for kindergarten and first grade students and another for second and third graders. This allows the younger children to learn from their peers, while the older children strengthen their academic and social skills through teaching and mentoring. Montessori teachers also enjoy the opportunity to observe and guide their students for two consecutive years.

Those who are interested in applying for the Montessori program should have their children enrolled in their home school. If that is anywhere other than Ada Givens Elementary, they must complete a School of Choice application with a request for the Montessori program by May 8. School of Choice applications are available at the MCSD Pupil Services Department, located at 601 Mercy Avenue (corner of Mercy Ave. and Dominican Dr.).

In addition to the current offerings, the district is gathering information to determine the feasibility of adding a Montessori class for students in grades four through six. Anyone who is interested in this option for their child, or those who are interested in an inter-district transfer application, can contact Teri Verdin at 209-381-2817 or at TVerdin@mcsd.k12.ca.us.






The photos all show students who are currently in the program

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April 27, 2017

MERCED COLLEGE ANNOUNCES SELECTION
OF NEW VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT SERVICES

The Merced Community College District Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dr. Michael McCandless as the College’s vice president of Student Services during its regular meeting on Tuesday. Dr. McCandless was previously the College’s interim vice president of Student Services.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. McCandless to the senior leadership team for Merced College and am confident in his abilities to lead the Student Services Division,” Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli said. “He is an outstanding leader, administrator, and visionary with broad experience in higher education.”
Dr. McCandless began his career at Merced College in 2005, teaching English at the Los Banos Campus. He later assumed duties as a faculty lead from 2007-2013.
In 2015, Dr. McCandless was appointed dean of Student Equity and Success for the newly formed Office of Student Equity, helping to implement campus initiatives to eliminate obstacles to student success for disproportionately impacted student groups. In 2013-2014, he served as the interim dean of English, Child Development, and Basic Skills.

 

He earned his bachelor of arts degree in English from UC Santa Barbara and his master of arts degree in English Literature from CSU Stanislaus, where he also earned his doctor of education degree in Educational Leadership.
As vice president of Student Services, Dr. McCandless will oversee operations that include Financial Aid, Admissions & Records, Guidance and Counseling, Office of Relations with Schools, and Student Health, and Disabled Student Services.

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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April 26 , 2017

Legislation Restoring Fairness to California Water Management One Step Closer to Becoming Law

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 313, introduced by Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) to provide solutions for California’s broken water management structure, cleared an important hurdle Tuesday. AB 313 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife at its regular hearing. Committee members voted 13-0 to send the bill onto the next step.

“It’s time to bring some fairness back to the equation for California’s water rights holders,” said Gray. “Time and again, we’ve seen state agencies act with unchecked power, with little accountability to the communities they’re supposed to serve. The current system isn’t just inadequate – it’s imbalanced. This bill begins a critically necessary reform of the state’s water management, removing inherent biases and conflicts of interest.”

AB 313 proposes to restructure water rights hearings, creating a new Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Currently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) exercises quasi-judicial authority to hold water rights hearings. The SWRCB writes regulations, initiates enforcement actions, and conducts hearings in which Board staff act as prosecutors and the SWRCB itself acts as the judge and jury.

“The end result of the current system is like the State Water Board asking the State Water Board if it agrees with itself,” Gray said.


“There’s a reason there are umpires in baseball: we need a neutral party to enforce water rights so everybody gets a fair shot.”
Under the legislation’s newly-created Water Rights Division, administrative law judges would preside over water rights matters. The new Division would conduct hearings and make a recommendation to the Executive Director of the SWRCB that the Executive Director can accept, reject or modify. The change ensures objectivity, while still allowing state water agency experts to give input.

At Tuesday’s Committee hearing, Assemblyman Gray was joined by Rick Gilmore, general manager of Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID). BBID provided technical support in crafting AB 313, which was amended after its original introduction in February. After hearing testimony, the Committee voted in favor of sending the bill to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, which will consider the bill in the coming weeks.

“These changes won’t fix all that ails California water management, but we have to start somewhere – and the time is now,” Gray said.
More information is available at www.asmdc.org/gray.

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April 26 , 2017

Costa Urges Congress to Work Together to Avoid a Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement in support of a Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill that does not include any ideological riders in order to avoid a government shutdown.

“Holding government spending hostage and threatening to shut down the government for political purposes is completely irresponsible,” said Rep. Costa. “Providing funding to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is a nonstarter for Democrats, including myself, and I am cautiously optimistic to hear from the Trump Administration that they are shifting their focus away from the wall and working to keep government funded.”

Costa continued saying, “Similar to communities throughout the nation, in the San Joaquin Valley, thousands of federal employees are at risk of going unpaid if the government shuts down, and that creates a ripple effect in our local, state, and national economies. Additionally, a government shutdown would suspend critical services that Americans rely on, like those provided by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. I urge members of the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, to come together on a bipartisan basis to keep government funded and build consensus on a long-term budget.”
Costa is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1779, the No Budget, No Pay Act. This bipartisan legislation would hold Members of Congress more


Congressman Jim Costa

accountable for doing their job by withholding their paycheck if Congress does not pass a budget and shuts down the government.

Costa is co-chair of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition which is composed of 18 Democrats who strive to work across the aisle and find areas of compromise. Costa is also a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus which is composed of 40 Members of Congress, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, who are committed to working together on a bipartisan basis to get past the gridlock and get things done on the issues that matter to the American people.

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April 22 , 2017

 

Three new officers join Merced PD

Three new officers joined the ranks of the Merced Police Department Friday afternoon during swearing in ceremonies conducted by Chief Norman Andrade.

With the additional officers, the Department now has 91 sworn personnel. There remain three budgeted positions to be filled.

The new officers are:

Chase Wilson, 30, from Merced, Badge No. 255. He was a reserve officer in with the Merced Police Department while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he rose to the rank of sergeant. He has attended college and received PME (Professional Military Education). In his spare time he enjoys playing the guitar, music and weight training.

Levi Crain, 23, from Atwater/Merced, is Badge No. 256. He is a former Atwater PD officer who served on the SWAT Team. In 2015 he received the MADD Award and Crain has been honored for his work in recovering stolen vehicles. Crain holds an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, hunting, and riding dirt and street bikes.

Israel Garcia, 32, Badge No. 257. Garcia is from Sanger and graduated from the Fresno Police Academy as a Merced Police Officer trainee. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Master of Science in Forensic Science. His hobbies include running, reading, and barbeques.

The new officers with enter several months of additional training with field training officers before going on patrol solo. Officers make $59,029.57 a year.


Officer Levi Crain gets his badge pinned on


Officer Israel Garcia gets a hug from his wife

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April 22 , 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
INTERSTATE 5 FROM THE MERCED/FRESNO COUNTY LINE
TO JOHN ERRECA REST AREA

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities, including ramp closures, on Interstate 5 (I-5) from the Merced/Fresno county line to the John Erreca Rest Area. No consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time. Work will occur as follows:

• The northbound on-ramp from Nees Avenue to Interstate 5 (I-5) will close on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for paving operations.

• The #2 (right) lane and shoulder on northbound I-5 will be closed from the Merced/Fresno County line to the John Erreca Rest Area on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.

Motorists should expect 10 minute delays and can travel on State Route 99 or other alternate routes.

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
INTERSTATE 5 FROM THE MERCED/MADERA COUNTY LINE
TO STATE ROUTE 152

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities, including ramp closures, on Interstate 5 (I-5) from the Madera/Merced county line to Allen Road. No consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time. Work will occur as follows:

• The off and on-ramps from northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) to the John Erreca Rest Area will close on Monday, April 24, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for paving operations.

• The off-ramp from I-5 to westbound SR-152 will close on Friday, April 28, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.

• The #2 (right) lane and shoulder on northbound I-5 will be closed from the Merced/Madera County line to the John Erreca Rest Area on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound I-5 from Volta Road to Allen Road will intermittently close on Sunday, April 23, 2017, until Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for striping operations.

• The #2 (right lane) on northbound I-5 at Volta Road will intermittently close on Thursday, April 27, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.

Motorists should expect 10 minute delays and can travel on State Route 99 or other alternate routes.

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 CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM BRADBURY ROAD
TO THE MERCED/STANISLAUS COUNTY LINE

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound on-ramp from Bradbury Road to State Route 99 for crack sealing operations.

The ramp closure will be in effect Tuesday, April 25, 2017 through Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Also, Caltrans will close the #3 (right) lane northbound from Golden State Boulevard to the Merced/Stanislaus county line Monday, April 24, 2017, through Friday, April 28, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for crack sealing operations.

Motorists should expect 5 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 CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AND STATE ROUTE 140
IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound off-ramp from State Route 99 (SR-99) to SR-140 for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

The ramp closure will be in effect Thursday, April 27, 2017, through Friday, April 28, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

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

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

Work is expected to be completed December 2017. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move toward the city of Gustine as the project progresses.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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 CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 152 AT INTERSTATE 5
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the westbound on-ramp from State Route 152 (SR-152) to Interstate 5 for paving operations.

The ramp closure will be in effect Friday, April 28, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Additional highway construction will occur as follows:
• The #2 (right) lane on SR-152 at the California Aqueduct will be closed Friday, April 28, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.
• The eastbound and westbound #1, #2 lanes and shoulder from Badger Flat Road to Ortigalita Road will alternately close Monday, April 24, 2017, through Tuesday, April 25, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.
Motorists should expect 5 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
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM SYDNEY LANE TO VIRGINIA STREET
IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Sydney Lane to Virginia Street beginning Monday, April 24, 2017, through Friday, April 28, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

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.

The work at this location is part of an improvement project on SR-140 that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move towards the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Work is expected to be completed December 2017.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 132 AT HORSESHOE BEND
IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 132 at Horsehoe Bend for pavement work.

Crews will be working Thursday, April 27, 2017, through Friday, April 28, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.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.


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 140 AT EL PORTAL ROAD
IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 at El Portal Road, west of Yosemite National Park, for utility work.

Crews will begin work on Monday, April 24, 2017, through Friday, April 28, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.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.


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

 

 

 

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April 21 , 2017

Castle Air Museum Super Saturday Car Show

Saturday, April 22 the Castle Air Museum at 5050 Santa Fe Drive in Atwater will be hosting its Fourth Annual Super Saturday Car Show.

This years event promises to attract 400 plus cars and trucks of all classes! Entries are coming from as far away as Tucson Arizona, Lake Tahoe, and Redding! Hundreds of Classic cars and Trucks among the 70 vintage military aircraft on the museum grounds promises to please all enthusiasts! There will be a food court, vendor booths selling car accessories, ladies jewelry, handbags and much more. There will also be Helicopter rides available as well!

Admission the entire day from 9 am to 4 pm will only be $5!! Come see what is becoming the premier car show of the West Coast, at the West Coast's premier aviation museum!

For more information, please contact the Castle Air Museum at (209) 723-2178, or visit the museum's website at:www.castleairmuseum.org

 

Click here to see Flyer

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April 21 , 2017

CALTRANS STATEWIDE LITTER PICKUP DAY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) held a statewide Litter Removal Day and Enforcement Day on Thursday, April 20, 2017, to pick up litter, trash and debris along the state highway system and to educate the public about this costly issue.
Caltrans District 10 employees picked up litter, trash and debris in its eight counties – Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne.
361 bags of litter, trash and debris were picked up in Merced County at the following locations:
• SR-99 on and off-ramps from Childs Avenue to V Street in the city of Merced;
• Along SR-99 on the right shoulders between Atwater Boulevard to Westside Boulevard in the city of Atwater;
• State Route 152 (SR-152) from the San Benito/Merced county line to the San Luis Reservoir (near Dinosaur Point);
• SR-152 from Indiana Avenue to the SR-59 junction in Merced County.

The best anti-litter campaign is to ensure trash never makes it onto the highways in the first place. Caltrans encourages you to:
• Carry a litter bag in your automobile and always dispose of trash properly;
• Never discard cigarette or cigar refuse improperly;
• Always cover and properly secure loads of trucks and pick-ups.

With everyone doing their part we can keep California clean for today and the future.
Last year, Caltrans spent $67 million to remove 166,500 cubic yards of litter, trash and debris throughout the State Highway System, collecting enough litter to fill almost 9,000 garbage trucks. Parked end-to-end, those trucks would stretch more than 50 miles.
- More -

In addition to the economic costs, litter presents a wide range of serious threats to the ecosystem and human health: Wildlife suffers from plastics in the environment; roadside vegetation is damaged by large debris; fires are started from burning cigarettes and threaten human health; harmful chemicals and biohazards cause a serious threat to human health; litter clogs roadway drainage systems and can lead to wet-weather highway flooding, congestion, and accidents. Litter aids in the spread of disease.


CALTRANS STATEWIDE LITTER PICKUP DAY

Mariposa County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) held a statewide Litter Removal Day and Enforcement Day on Thursday, April 20, 2017, to pick up litter, trash and debris along the state highway system and to educate the public about this costly issue.
Caltrans District 10 employees picked up litter, trash and debris in its eight counties – Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne.
47 bags of litter, trash and debris were picked up on State Route 49 between the Mariposa County Fairgrounds and the town of Mariposa and along SR-132 near the town of Coulterville.
The best anti-litter campaign is to ensure trash never makes it onto the highways in the first place. Caltrans encourages you to:
• Carry a litter bag in your automobile and always dispose of trash properly;
• Never discard cigarette or cigar refuse improperly;
• Always cover and properly secure loads of trucks and pick-ups.

With everyone doing their part we can keep California clean for today and the future.
Last year, Caltrans spent $76 million to remove 153,000 cubic yards of litter, trash and debris throughout the State Highway System, collecting enough litter to fill almost 10,000 garbage trucks. Parked end-to-end, those trucks would stretch more than 51 miles.
In addition to the economic costs, litter presents a wide range of serious threats to the ecosystem and human health: Wildlife suffers from plastics in the environment; roadside vegetation is damaged by large debris; fires are started from burning cigarettes and threaten human health; harmful chemicals and biohazards cause a serious threat to human health; litter clogs roadway drainage systems and can lead to wet-weather highway flooding, congestion, and accidents. Litter aids in the spread of disease.


CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
CALTRANS TO BEGIN REPAVING PROJECT ON STATE ROUTE 140
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin an improvement project on State Route 140 (SR-140) that will repave the existing roadway, shoulders and on and off-ramps, from SR-99 in the city of Merced to SR-33 in the city of Gustine.

This 33 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

Work is scheduled to begin April 24, 2017, and is expected to be completed December, 2017. Construction activities will start near the city of Merced and move towards the city of Gustine as the project progresses. Scheduled on and off-ramps, lane and shoulder closures will be used and drivers should expect 10 minute delays.

Work is scheduled to be done primarily during the daytime, Monday through Thursday, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Fridays from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

This $12.3 million project has been awarded to Teichert Construction.

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.

 

 

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

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April 21 , 2017

Costa Recognizes the Lives of Fresno Shooting Victims

Fresno, CA – Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, released the following statement to recognize the lives of Fresno shooting victims, Carl Allen Williams III, Zachary David Randalls, Mark James Gassett, and David Martin Jackson, and to express support for their families.

“I join the community in honoring the lives of Carl Allen Williams III, Zachary David Randalls, Mark James Gassett, and David Martin Jackson. During this very sad time for our city, it’s important that we come together to support the victims’ families and one another. We must ensure that the surviving family members of the homicide victims are provided with the resources they need and deserve.

“My office is working with state and local agencies to provide immediate and ongoing support to the families of the victims and connecting them with the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB). Funding comes from fines paid by offenders convicted in state or federal court and can be used to help pay for funeral expenses, mental health treatment, and other costs related to this horrific crime, in the short- and long-term.

“I want to give a big thank you to the Fresno Police Department and first responders for working every single day to help keep our city safe and for their sensitivity to and support for all crime victims and survivors.”

In September 2016, the State of California received $10.3 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) federal grant funding which was deposited into the state restitution fund along with other monies. Since 1984, the Victims of Crime Act has provided federal grants to provide essential, often life-saving services for crime victims and survivors.
Similar to the state restitution fund, the VOCA Crime Victims Fund is not financed by taxpayer dollars but by fines, forfeitures, and other


Congressman Jim Costa

penalties paid by federal criminal offenders. By statute, the Fund is dedicated solely to supporting victim services and compensation. VOCA’s victim compensation assistance provides victims with financial assistance for medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages, and funeral and burial costs.

Every year, Rep. Jim Costa leads the VOCA appropriations letter requesting that the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies support an increased cap on the money that comes out of the Crime Victims Fund.

CalVCB administers the state’s victim compensation program to local counties. In Fresno County, the Crime Victim Assistance Center provides direct assistance to eligible victims and their families to help ensure they are receiving the necessary compensation.

For more information about CalVCB, please visit www.victims.ca.gov.

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April 19 , 2017

Deadline Approaches for New Nursing Scholarships

Merced, CA - Golden Valley Health Centers will accept applications for their new nursing scholarship program until the end of the month. Named after one its founders, the Flora R. Martinez nursing scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each, will be awarded to three aspiring nurses starting this year.

Kirsten O’Brien, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Golden Valley’s center in West Modesto, believes that nursing is an essential component to all health care organizations but especially crucial to the delivery of care in Community Health Centers. Before coming to Golden Valley last year, she worked in the emergency room for seven years and saw people at their most vulnerable, which inspired her to apply to a local 13-month LVN program. When she graduated, she applied to Golden Valley because of its mission to help underserved patients in the community.

“Everyone has their own story, but ultimately we all want to be healthy and feel good. I can use my experience as a nurse to help people get to that place,” says O’Brien. “Community Health Centers are uniquely positioned to do that because of the comprehensive services we provide to all of our patients in a team environment.”

The Golden Valley Health Centers Foundation is collecting applications until the end of April from qualified individuals who are enrolled in Registered Nurse (RN), Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) programs. Applications will be judged by the non-profit’s volunteer board members and the awards will be announced in June. To be eligible, applicants must submit school transcripts that show they have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average in the last six semesters of high school and/or college. The application also requires two letters of reference and a short statement detailing the student’s commitment to nursing and furthering the healthcare ideals espoused by Mrs. Martinez such as expanding access to healthcare in underserved populations and advocating for community health centers. Applications can be found online on the organization’s website at: https://www.gvhc.org/giving-opportunities/. Those needing more information about the nursing scholarship program can contact the Golden Valley Health Centers Foundation at: gvhcfoundation@gvhc.org or (209) 342-2424.

 

 

Nurses like O’Brien complete daily tasks that consists of supporting a team of medical providers in order to ensure patients receive proper follow-up treatment such as wound care, making sure patients are taking their medications appropriately, and finding them community resources or medical supplies they may need to have available at home.

O’Brien relishes her workload as she cheerfully moves from exam room to nursing station. “I feel extremely fortunate to be in a situation where I was able to go school and get this amazing job that fulfills my passion and be completely happy. I’m just lucky I guess.”


ABOUT GOLDEN VALLEY HEALTH CENTERS
Golden Valley Health Centers is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified health center system that has served California’s Central Valley for 45 years. Golden Valley is accredited by The Joint Commission and recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. GVHC provides comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral healthcare as well as health education and eligibility screening to an ethnically diverse population, including migrant farm workers, Southeast Asian refugees and the homeless population of Merced and Stanislaus Counties. Golden Valley has developed a system of 28 sites including two freestanding women’s health centers, five school-based centers, a homeless healthcare program and a Senior Health and Wellness Center.

All of Golden Valley’s revenue comes from patient dollars and charitable sources, as well as Federal and State grants. No patient is turned away because of their inability to pay.

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April 19 , 2017

CPUC TO HOLD MAY 11 VOTING MEETING IN MERCED

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 2017 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold its May 11, 2017, Voting Meeting in Merced. The agenda for the meeting includes items on Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) rate case, and on the CPUC’s efforts to identify disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley and determine options to increase access to affordable energy in those communities.
WHEN: Thursday, May 11, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Merced Civic Center, Council Chambers, 678 W. 18th St., Merced; also available via listen-only call-in number at 1-800-857-1917, passcode 92105
WHAT: The CPUC’s Commissioners will discuss and vote on proposed policies, including PG&E’s General Rate Case, which forms the basis of customer rates for 2017-2019; and options to increase access to affordable energy in San Joaquin Valley disadvantaged communities.
The Voting Meeting begins with public comment, and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Those intending to make public comment can sign-up to speak in person before the meeting starts, or can sign-up online in advance at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/requesttocomment/.
The CPUC’s Rules for Public Comment, the Voting Meeting Agenda, a list of items that will be held over to a different meeting, presentations, remote access, and other information will be available on www.cpuc.ca.gov/Commission_Meeting.


The CPUC typically holds Voting Meetings twice a month at its headquarters in San Francisco, and also schedules Voting Meetings in other cities throughout the state. In addition, the CPUC holds many Public Participation Hearings and other events statewide in order to reach out to consumers.
If specialized accommodations are needed to attend, such as sign language interpreters, please contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office at public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov or toll free at 866-849-8390 at least three business days in advance.
To receive electronic updates on CPUC proceedings, sign-up for the CPUC’s free subscription service at http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov.
The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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April 19 , 2017

The Merced Police Department will be swearing in three new officers at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 21 in the Council Chambers, 678 W. 18th St, Merced. The new officers are: Officer Levi Crain, Officer Israel Garcia and Officer Chase Wilson.

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April 19, 2017

CHARGES FILED AGAINST MAN IN CONNECTION
WITH MERCED HOMICIDE

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges today against 50-year-old William Li of San Francisco, in connection with the murder of 30-year-old Lijun Wang, whose body was found in a dumpster in February, announced Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II.
Wang’s body was found on February 6 in a dumpster behind the Rite Aid on G Street in Merced.
According to investigators Wang came to the United States less than two years ago from China seeking a better life for herself, and instead got caught up in the human trafficking and indentured servitude trade.
“She was brutally murdered, wrapped in garbage bags and thrown in a dumpster like a piece of trash,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll.

Merced Police detectives linked the February murder to Li and arrested him on April 14 in San Mateo County. He was later transported to Merced and booked into Merced County Jail.
Li will be arraigned on Wednesday, April 19 at 3:00 p.m.
“The Merced Police Department, particularly Detective Jeff Horn, did an exceptional job of piecing together the evidence in this case. Det. Horn received some timely assistance from Dave Benoy, a criminal investigative analyst with our office, and that information helped lead Jeff and other detectives to the suspect in San Mateo County,” Morse said.

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April 18, 2017

 

FFA Burrito Bingo Meeting A Win for Students

Written by: Atwater FFA

Over 250 Atwater High School agriculture students attended the school year’s annual “Burrito Bingo” meeting on Tuesday, April 11th. The April “Burrito Bingo” meeting was held in the school cafeteria with the 2016-2017 FFA Chapter Officers performing the official FFA Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Once the business portion of the meeting concluded, students participated in playing a few rounds of bingo and then were treated with burritos they pre-ordered.

The chapter meeting consisted of committee reports which included the chapter’s upcoming events such as State Conference which is taking place in two weeks in Fresno, Drive Through BBQ, and FFA State CDE Finals taking place next month. Other items discussed on the agenda included announcements pertaining to the annual FFA Plant Sale, the Chapter Awards Banquet, and Chapter Officer Applications.

“The meeting was lots of fun,” said freshman Melissa Macias. “I am very excited to be involved with the FFA.” The Atwater FFA conducts monthly meetings that are organized, prepared, and run by the FFA chapter officers and the high school’s Ag Leadership class. “It’s great to see students pull together and work as a team in putting together such an exciting event, “FFA is a positive organization to get involved with because it is lots of fun, it keeps you interested, and everybody is a family.” said FFA advisor Natalie Borba.

For more information on this event, upcoming events, and information on the Atwater FFA, log on their website at www.AtwaterFFA.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Atwater High School FFA members Melissa Martinez, Sayra Ramos, and Leivy Craig showcase their bingo cards during the annual FFA "Burrito Bingo" meeting held at the high school.


Atwater High School agriculture students Melissa Macias, Janet barron, Abby Ramirez, Jaelyn Vang, and Felipe Garcia gather together during the annual Atwater FFA "Burrito Bingo" meeting held at the high school.

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April 18, 2017

MERCED COLLEGE TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING
WITH CSU FRESNO PRESIDENT JOSEPH CASTRO

Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli has announced that he will host CSU Fresno President Dr. Joseph I. Castro and senior members of his staff for a “community conversation” on Thursday, May 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Business Resource Center, 6320 W. 19th Street in downtown Merced.
“We invite our community to join us as we host Dr. Castro and his team, who will discuss the many opportunities at Fresno State and answer questions the public may have about their academic and athletic programs,” President Vitelli said.
The first 150 participants will have the occasion to taste many of the university’s award-wining wines and appetizers. CSU Fresno operates the first commercial winery on an American university campus.
“Our wines have won numerous national and international awards from the most prestigious organizations in the world,” Dr. Castro said. In addition, ice cream produced by the university’s dairy program will be featured.

“I want to hear from our friends in Merced,” Dr. Castro said. “This community conversation will help us discuss and answer questions people may have about Fresno State.”
Attendance is limited and reservations are requested by May 1 by going online to www.fresnostate.edu/presidentrsvp. Use the code word “Merced.”
Individuals who need special accommodations or who have questions about physical access may call 559.278.2324.

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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April 18 , 2017

Summer Playground Program sign-ups start

Make summer memorable for your youngster with the “Summer Playground Program at Rahilly Park.”

The eight-week program by the City of Merced’s Parks and Recreation Department offers a summer of fun for kids ages K-6th grade in a great outdoor setting. Activities include arts and crafts, science projects, themed days, special events, guest appearances, field trips, and other fun.

 

The camp runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 5 through July 28. The cost is $15 a week, and $10 for additional family members. The program will take place at the Rahilly Park Outdoor Shelter, 3400 N. Parsons Ave. For more information or to register call 385-6855.

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April 18 , 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 59 AT BLACK RASCAL CREEK IN THE CITY OF MERCED

Merced – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close State Route 59 (SR-59) at Black Rascal Creek for paving operations.
The highway will close beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, through Tuesday, April 18, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Motorist should expect 15 minute delays. Seek alternate route.
Also, Caltrans will also perform various road construction activities on SR-59. Work will occur as follows:
• One-way traffic control will be in effect from Bear Creek to Cooper Street on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for paving operations.

• One-way traffic control will be in effect at the South Ingalsbe Slough Bridge beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, through Friday, April 21, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for highway construction.

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
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM INTERSTATE 5 TO DELL STREET
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on State Route 140 (SR-140) from Interstate 5 (I-5) to Dell Street in the city of Merced. Work will occur as follows:
• There will be a moving closure on eastbound and westbound SR-140 from I-5 to Applegate Road beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, until Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for pavement marker replacement.

• One-way traffic control will be in effect beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, through Friday, April 21, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for landscaping.

Motorists should expect 5-15 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
STATE ROUTE 152 FROM MORAGA ROAD TO VOLTA ROAD
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the #2 (right) lane on westbound State Route 152 (SR-152) from Moraga Road to Volta Road for highway construction.

Crews will work beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, until Friday, April 21, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 5-10 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
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 to SR-140 for highway construction.

One-way traffic control will be in effect from Monday, April 17, 2017, through Friday, April 21, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Motorists should expect 10 minute delays.
The construction is part of a project that will add centerline and edgeline rumble strips to approximately 10 miles of SR-33 in Merced County. The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2017.

Rumble strips are designed to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. As tires pass over the rumble strips, drivers can hear the noise and feel the vibration produced by these rumble strips.These strips are ground into the pavement surface.

Also, one-way traffic control will be in effect on SR-33 from the California Aqueduct to the Delta-Mendota Canal beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, through Friday, April 21, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for highway construction.

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
STATE ROUTE 99 AND GOLDEN STATE BOULEVARD
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound on-ramp from Golden State Boulevard to State Route 99 for crack sealing operations.

The ramp closure will be in effect on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Also, Caltrans will close the #3 (right) lane from Golden State Boulevard to the Merced/Stanislaus county line beginning Monday, April 17, 2017, through Friday, April 21, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. for crack sealing operations.

Motorists should expect 5 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.

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

 

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April 14 , 2017

Merced PD lobby closed during Stephan Gray Memorial Service

The lobby of the Merced Police Department at 611 W. 22nd will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 14.

The Department will be holding its annual memorial service in front of the station rain or shine at 10 a.m. Friday for Officer Stephan Gray who was killed April 15, 2004.

 

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April 14 , 2017

Tenaya Middle School Hosts College & Career Night

Hundreds of students and their families had a chance to learn about several different careers, colleges, and universities across California during “College/Career Making it Happen Night” at Tenaya Middle School in Merced on Wednesday.

The parking lot was filled with firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics who brought their emergency vehicles, robots, and other equipment to give students a glimpse of their careers. In the gym, several other professionals were on hand to share information and answer questions, including attorneys, teachers, nurses, dentists, counselors, chiropractors, and military service members. Tenaya Teacher Derek Peterson commented, “Our community’s support for this event was truly inspiring and allows for our students to envision their own unlimited possibilities.” The event also featured representatives from a number of colleges and universities, including Merced College, CSU Fresno, CSU Stanislaus, CSU Sacramento, CSU Chico, San Diego State University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Cal Poly.

The evening began with an inspiring keynote speech by El Capitan High School AVID teacher, Kim Conley. The event also included raffle prizes, and one lucky winner went home with the grand prize – a PlayStation 4. Meanwhile, members of the Associated Student Body sold refreshments to support future school events. When asked about the purpose behind planning this event, Tenaya Learning Director and AVID Coordinator Mystee Schindler stated, “It is never too early for students to start planning for their futures. Our AVID Site Team works hard to host this event every year because we want to encourage our students and their families to start making those plans now. We are thankful to the community members and college representatives who took part in making this event a huge success.”

“College/Career Making it Happen Night” was organized by members of Tenaya’s AVID program, which is a college readiness system that teaches students the skills and behaviors for academic success. The site team includes the following individuals: Anthony Arista- Principal, David Bastian - Site Team/Science , Claudia Becerra - Site Team/Special Day Class, Diana DeWall - Site Team/Art/Yearbook, Linda Oldham - Site Team/Science/Leadership, Derek Peterson - 8th Grade Elective/English language arts/Social Studies, Mystee Schindler - Learning Director/ AVID Coordinator, DeeDee West - Site Team/Resource Specialist Program/California Junior Scholarship Federation, Elizabeth Whitmyre - 7th Elective/Math, and Ginger Wren – Site Team/English language arts.

“College/Career Making It Happen Night is a great way for students and parents to get information on colleges and careers. Even though the students are in middle school, it gives them a chance to start thinking about where they would like to go to college or the type of career in which they might be interested,” according to Ginger Wren. When asked why students should participate in programs such as AVID, Dave Bastian said, “I have run into several former students who are now in college, and each of them proudly declared that they were AVID students.”

 


Students speak with Merced County Deputy District Attorney Ann Hanson during Tenaya’s College/Career Making it Happen Night

 

 



Students speak with Merced dentist Dr. Andrew Propes during Tenaya’s College/Career Making it Happen Night


Students speak with representatives from CSU Fresno during Tenaya’s College/Career Making it Happen Night


Tenaya Learning Director and AVID Coordinator Mystee Schindler speaks with a student during the school’s College/Career Making it Happen Night


Students get a look inside the Merced Police Bomb Squad vehicle during Tenaya’s College/Career Making it Happen Night


An excited student wins the raffle for a PlayStation 4 during Tenaya’s College/Career Making it Happen Night

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April 14, 2017

Student-Run Credit Union Branch in Le Grand Teaches Students Real-World Skills

Le Grand doesn’t have a bank or financial institution, meaning its residents must go to Merced for their banking needs.
But now they have the Bulldog Branch.
Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union has set up a student-run satellite branch at Le Grand High School. Students, staff members — and the community — can use MSEFCU services Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30 with a third afternoon likely to be added. Summer operation also is planned.
Donna Alley, superintendent of the Le Grand Union High School District, said the branch opened March 21 in front of the school’s gym, in a space formerly used as storage for concession supplies. She says Le Grand students can open checking and savings accounts and the services are open to the community.
Alley said career-technical education programs are a high priority and the school is providing real work experiences for the students.
Principal Javier Martinez was using the credit union’s office in Merced last summer when he saw an advertisement for the Bear Branch at Merced High School. He thought that would be good for Le Grand High and set up a meeting with Nancy Deavours, the president and CEO of the credit union. The project began last October.
When he was a college student, Martinez was a bank teller for four years. Ten students are taking a two-semester finance class and four students attended teller training last summer.
Alley said we are seeing more students taking on adult responsibilities these days and the school is trying to prepare them as adults. The students are gaining marketable skills and on-the-job experience. They are also learning about finances, taking out loans and buying cars.
Deavours said the credit union is thrilled to be in the area and serving the community as well as students and staff members. She lauded the cooperation from Alley and Martinez in setting up the cooperative program.
“They are now applying what they are learning and that’s an experience of a lifetime. If we could only apply this to all kids it would be amazing,” Martinez said.
Stephanie Alvarez, 17, is a junior and one of the Bulldog Branch tellers. She said working in the branch is fun and her customers/members have been kind and understanding as she learns the ropes.
Adelina Skywalker, 17, also a Bulldog Branch teller, said she loves the experience. She hopes to go to UC Merced and become a child psychologist. She is thinking about taking marketing classes as well.
Skywalker said she loves working with people and said her customers/members have been very patient. She said being a teller has taught her a lot about money and has been a great experience. Both girls have savings accounts at the branch. Destiny Murillo and Jackie Mercado are also students/tellers.
Eleesia Zepeda is a teller at the MSEFCU branch and the supervisor at both Merced and Le Grand branches. Her daughter Faith uses the Merced Bear branch and has talked other students into joining.
“The kids are learning about bank accounts and how to manage their money and save,” Zepeda said. “I love it.”


Jackie Mercado, right, an 11th grader at Le Grand High School, works with Merced School Employee Federal Credit Union employee Eleesia Zepeda, center, to help a customer at Le Grand High School’s student-run satellite branch, also known as the Bulldog Branch. It is the only financial institution in Le Grand and open to the public.


Student tellers at Le Grand High School’s student-run satellite Merced School Employee Federal Credit Union branch help customers. Also known as the Bulldog Branch, it is the only financial institution in Le Grand and open to the public.

 

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April 14 , 2017

Chenoweth Students Involved in Act of Kindness

Chenoweth Elementary School is celebrating an act of kindness that has touched the hearts of students, staff members, and parents.

It all started last June when a fire badly damaged the Merced home of student Joe Tapetillo and his family. Burglars broke into the property days later and stole several items, including the guitar that Joe loved to play. It was a somber time for the sixth grader, but Joe’s father says his son kept a positive attitude as they dealt with finding a temporary home and living without all of the items they lost.

Joe recently wrote an essay about his hopes of becoming a professional musician, which mentioned his stolen guitar. He became emotional while reading the essay in front of his class, but he never expected what would happen next. One of his classmates, Julianna, was touched by the story and told her father, Alejandro Baez, what happened. Mr. Baez then decided to donate one of his guitars to Joe so he can continue to pursue his passion. He surprised Joe with the instrument last week. Sixth grade teacher Frank Delgado, says, “The look on Joe’s face spoke volumes when he was given the guitar, case and all. It was a priceless moment, and there is no doubt Joe will remember this act of kindness for the rest of his life.”

This thoughtful donation goes hand in hand with Chenoweth’s efforts to promote a “Community of Caring.” Principal Vance d’Escoto says all year long, students are encouraged to be “bucket fillers” and are acknowledged for random acts of kindness. The sixth graders have also adopted a motto from Tim McGraw’s song, “Humble and Kind.” He believes this situation is an inspiring example of what those words truly mean.


Joe Tapetillo III with his classmate Julianna, and her father Alejandro Baez, who donated the guitar to Joe after his was stolen



Chenoweth sixth grader Joe Tapetillo III playing the guitar he received from a classmate’s father after his was stolen


Chenoweth sixth grader Joe Tapetillo III with his father Joe Tapetillo Jr., Principal Vance d’Escoto, Joe’s classmate Julianna, and her father Alejandro Baez, who donated the guitar


Chenoweth sixth grader Joe Tapetillo III with his father Joe Tapetillo Jr., teacher Frank Delgado, Joe’s classmate Julianna, and her father Alejandro Baez, who donated the guitar

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April 14 , 2017

 

Atwater FFA Successful at Cosumnes River College Competition

Written by: Atwater FFA

Twenty-three Atwater High School FFA members representing six agriculture related Career Development Event (CDE) competitions joined various California high school agriculture students representing over 75 high schools throughout California at the Cosumnes River College and Reedley College FFA Field Days on April 11th. All of Atwater FFA’s competitive judging teams placed in the top three overall.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team of Kelsi Kamesch, Belinda Espinoza, Dillon Guillen, and Luz Soto placed 1st overall in a contest that involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Marketing Plan team composed of Julianna Dailey, Kaya Briscoe-Mattes, and Jessica Prado placed 2nd overall. Students in this contest develop and present a marketing plan for a current agricultural product, supply or service.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team of Sayra Ramos, Stephania Valdovinos, Briana Diaz, Alfredo Elizarraraz, and Emmanuel Mejia placed 2nd high team overall in a contest that blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team placed 5th overall with a team composed of Liliana Reyes, Faith Ceja, and Jasmine Sandoval. The contest involves demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry.


Members of the Atwater High School FFA Agronomy, Poultry, Marketing Plan, and Floriculture teams showcase their awards as they competed at the annual Cosumnes River College FFA Filed Day among hundreds of other high school agriculture students throughout the state of California.

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“Our students have made the commitment to get involved, improve their knowledge and skills, and make a statement with their competitive desire.” said FFA advisor Kaylyn Davenport. “We are very proud of our students and their efforts.” The field day is composed of a variety of agriculture CDE’s where students demonstrate their intellectual and “hands-on” skills in agricultural related fields and occupations.

The final state contests of the year will be held at Fresno State University on April 22nd and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on May 6th. The state winning teams in each contest will earn the opportunity to represent California at the National FFA Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana in October.

For more information on this event, upcoming events, and information on the Atwater FFA, log on their website at www.AtwaterFFA.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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April 14 , 2017

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
CALTRANS BEGINS WORK ON STATE ROUTE 165 AT WESTSIDE BOULEVARD IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun work on a project to realign a segment of State Route 165, south of the Merced River Bridge at Westside Boulevard, to improve safety and increase the efficiency of the intersection.

In addition to realigning the intersection, the shoulder will be widened with rumble strips ground into the pavement to alert drivers when their vehicles leave their traffic lane. The project will improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County.

One-way traffic control is expected to begin onMonday, April 17, 2017. Drivers should plan for 10-minute delays and seek alternative routes when possible. The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2017.

George Reed, Inc. of Modesto, is performing the work under a $1.22 million contract.
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.
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For the safety of workers and other motorists, please Slow For the Cone Zone.



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

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April 14, 2017

LE GRAND HIGH SCHOOL RESTORATIVE DISCIPLINE GOOD FOR STUDENTS,
GOOD FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

By Javier Martinez and Larry D. Morse II

Studies show that high school dropouts are eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison than high school graduates. Dropouts also earn less pay, pay fewer taxes and are more likely to require public assistance. That’s bad for California’s future. Keeping students in school at least through high school graduation is good for public safety and good for our economy.
But what to do when high school students are disruptive or pose disciplinary challenges to teachers or school administrators? Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, the response is often suspensions and even expulsions. That was the path Le Grand Union High School District followed until five years ago when the district began a new approach.
The Le Grand Union High School District is comprised of just over 500 students. Dissatisfied with the impact such traditional, punitive discipline was having on the school climate, educators and administrators decided to try a different approach and began to implement a “restorative” model of discipline. Rather than banishing the offending student from school, “restorative” strategies aim to help identify personal or family issues a student may be having that often are the root cause of the disciplinary problems at school.
Restorative discipline is a research based technique for handling conflict, emphasizing accountability by addressing the harm caused by disruptive behavior and providing each party to a conflict the opportunity to listen and try to find collaborative solutions to prevent future disciplinary issues. By listening and learning more about what might be going on in a disruptive student’s home or personal life rather than simply responding in a punitive fashion, a student’s negative behavior can frequently be vastly improved.
In law enforcement such strategies are sometimes derisively dismissed as “hug a thug,” and, as District Attorney, I’ve occasionally had that bias. But results can and should be persuasive and the results at Le Grand Union High School District are nothing short of startling.
In the 2010-2011 school year, before a restorative discipline model was adopted, Le Grand High School suspended 80 students and expelled eight. That meant that over ten percent of the entire student body was being either suspended or expelled and too much teaching time was being diverted to dealing with disciplinary issues.

Five years later, in the 2014-15 school year, after restorative discipline was implemented, those numbers had plummeted to 12 suspensions and zero expulsions. Test scores have improved and more students are graduating. That represents success by any definition.
Besides improving the atmosphere on campus, restorative discipline programs pay many other dividends. Researchers at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara recently concluded that over 4,600 high school students statewide drop out from each graduating class because they were suspended. This costs California an estimated $2.7 billion in increased criminal justice costs and lost revenue over the course of these dropouts’ lives. In Merced County the study estimated that suspensions were to blame for 69 students dropping out of school which will ultimately cost the county and state $41 million in criminal justice services, reduced economic productivity and higher health care costs.
Make no mistake about it. Implementing a restorative discipline model at Le Grand was a challenge. Change never comes easy. Some educators and parents initially were suspicious and we had to move hearts and minds. But the results speak for themselves and most of our teachers have enthusiastically embraced the new model.
The most common grounds for suspension in California schools are “disruption” or “defiance,” and anyone who has worked in a classroom knows just how immobilizing just one student’s conduct can be to an entire classroom. We want to support our educators in their mission to teach.
At Le Grand High we have concluded that a restorative discipline model achieves the goals we all seek for our schools: reducing expulsions and suspensions; raising graduation rates and test scores; improving student and teacher morale.
Keeping our kids in school, off the streets and on a path towards high school graduation is simply good policy for Le Grand and all of Merced County. We believe restorative discipline has helped us achieve those goals.

Javier Martinez is principal of Le Grand High School
Larry D. Morse II is Merced County District Attorney

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April 14 , 2017

UC Merced Mainstay Chou Her Named Chief of Police
Her, who joined UC Merced when it opened in 2005 and has served twice as interim chief, brings more than 18 years of experience in law enforcement to his new role

MERCED, Calif. — The University of California, Merced, announced today (April 12) the appointment of Chou Her to chief of police, effective immediately.
Her, the first person of Hmong descent to lead a UC public safety agency, brings nearly two decades of law enforcement experience and years of demonstrated leadership. He has served the UC Merced community since the campus opened in 2005 and will continue to serve students and staff and faculty members as the campus’s third police chief.
“Chief Her has played a critical role in shaping the department as it and the campus have matured over the past 12 years,” Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services Michael Reese said. “He has helped develop a policing philosophy that is appropriate for a public research university with UC Merced’s unique characteristics.”
Her has served as interim chief twice — after the departure of Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus and Public Safety and Chief of Police Albert Vasquez in September 2016. He also stepped in as

 


interim chief when founding Chief of Police Rita Spaur retired in 2015.
“It’s an honor to be selected to lead UC Merced’s police department,” Her said. “I look forward to continuing and growing our positive engagements with our campus community and the greater Merced community.”
Her has extensive police and emergency management certification and a demonstrated commitment to community involvement. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2011 and captain in 2015.
Her was born in Laos, and his family moved to the United States when he was 3. He has lived in Merced for most of his life and has built a strong connection with the campus and the local community.
Before joining UC Merced in 2005, Her was a deputy sheriff for the Merced County Sheriff’s Department for five years and a probation officer for Stanislaus County for nearly a year.
He earned received an associate’s degree in administration of justice from Merced College and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration from California State University, Stanislaus.

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April 14 , 2017

Costa Applauds CVP Water Allocations

FRESNO, CA – Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announced the Central Valley Project 2017 Water Supply Allocations for south of Delta agricultural water districts including the member agencies of the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority, like San Luis Water District, Del Puerto Water District, Pacheco Water District, Panoche Water District and Westlands Water District. South of Delta agricultural water districts will receive a 100 percent allocation for the first time since 2006.

Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement:

“It’s been a decade since Valley farmers have received their full water allocation in the federal service area. Today’s announcement is long overdue, but it is very welcome news for farmers, farm workers, and communities in the San Joaquin Valley. Agriculture is the backbone of our Valley’s economy, and this much needed water will allow farmers to plant the healthy and nutritious crops that feed our nation and world.

“While I applaud today’s announcement, there is no denying that California’s water system is broken, and further action must be taken to move California’s water system into the 21st century. Investments need to be made to build water storage and fix broken water infrastructure, so that more water can be captured during years with


Congressman Jim Costa

above average rain and snow fall. Additionally, the current policies that operate California’s water system are flawed and must be modified. Water that could be stored or used to recharge groundwater aquifers that have been depleted because of the drought is flowing out to the ocean. The status quo not only defies logic but is simply not sustainable.”

Last month, Costa condemned the Bureau’s delayed announced of the initial water allocation for the CVP, which was 65 percent.

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April 14 , 2017

UC Merced, National Park Service to Present Shakespeare in Yosemite
Inaugural event brings together nature and the arts to promote environmental stewardship

MERCED, Calif. — In partnership with the National Park Service and the University of Warwick (U.K.), the University of California, Merced, will produce “Shakespeare in Yosemite,” featuring local and student actors performing excerpts from classic works of William Shakespeare, as well as writings by naturalist John Muir, set against the dramatic backdrop of Yosemite National Park.
The free performances will take place April 22 and 23 in Yosemite’s Lower River and Half Dome Village amphitheaters in Yosemite Valley.
“Shakespeare in Yosemite” brings to life the imaginative worlds of two of the best nature writers in the English language, Shakespeare and Muir, using theatre and music to think about the natural world, and to convey the importance of art and storytelling in the battle to save the environment. The performances coincide with Earth Day on April 22 and Shakespeare’s Birthday on April 23. Admission to Yosemite National Park will be free on the weekend of the event, in honor of National Park Week.
The project is co-directed and produced by Shakespeare scholars Katherine Steele Brokaw of UC Merced and Paul Prescott of the University of Warwick (U.K.). The show features longtime John Muir portrayer and scholar Lee Stetson, National Park Service Ranger Shelton Johnson, and actors from UC Merced, Merced College, University of the Pacific, the University of Warwick, Merced Shakespearefest and other Central Valley theatre communities.
“‘Shakespeare in Yosemite’ reflects the ingenuity of UC Merced’s artistic community and the National Park Service,” UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Our partnership with Yosemite National Park is unparalleled — we conduct research dedicated to natural resource management and environmental education, we have an impressive student Yosemite Leadership Program, and now we are able to showcase the incomparable beauty of Yosemite National Park through our arts program.”
The program, which is appropriate for all ages, provides free public education about Shakespeare and Muir while highlighting themes of ecology and sustainability. Printed scripts will be available for the deaf and hard of hearing.
“Shakespeare himself never got to see Yosemite, but pairing his scenes and speeches about nature with the writing of John Muir has shown how well his words address the majesty of that place,” Brokaw said. “Bringing the great American tradition of Shakespeare in the Park to Yosemite is the perfect way to celebrate both the vitality of the arts and the beauty of our National Parks.”
Seán Hand, dean of the University of Warwick’s new graduate school in Roseville, added: “This is a fantastic initiative to make Shakespeare accessible to an international audience, and is a great



example of the rich and new partnership opportunities open to us in developing our presence in California.”
“Shakespeare in Yosemite” is supported by the National Parks Institute at UC Merced, the UC Merced Office of the Chancellor, the UC Merced Center for the Humanities, the University of Warwick, and Misfit Press.
The free, one-hour performances will take place at 2 and 5:30 p.m. on both April 22 and 23. For more information, please visit: ucmerced.edu/shakespeare.
The weekend of April 22-23 will be very busy in Yosemite National Park. Visitors are encouraged to plan trips in advance and arrive to the park before 9 a.m. Parking areas throughout the park are expected to fill early in the day. Visitor parking will be available at the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area, located near Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4, and at Half Dome Village. Visitors are encouraged to park and utilize the free park shuttle to get to the Yosemite Valley Village and Visitor Center.
Public transportation is also available via YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) buses, which run multiple times daily and provide visitors with a safe and convenient way to visit the park. Updated travel information is available here.
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About UC Merced
UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports highly qualified first-generation and underserved students from the 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.
About Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2015 and in 2016 celebrated its Centennial Anniversary with the National Park Service. The park welcomes over four million visitors from all over the world each year and serves as a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. Yosemite National Park generates $535 million in economic benefit to the local region and directly supports 6,261 jobs. The park is home to Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, iconic rock formations such as Half Dome and El Capitan, approximately 90 different mammal species, and over 1,500 plant species.

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April 14 , 2017

The Altamont Corridor Express To Receive $400 Million For Service Expansion to Stanislaus and Merced Counties

Stockton (CA) – Due to the hard work of California State Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres), California State Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and California State Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) will be receiving $400 million for service expansion as a key component of the Transportation Funding Measure (SB 1) which was approved by the Legislature last night.

“The state has continuously underinvested in the San Joaquin Valley and in rural California. ACE service to Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, and Merced will bring great economic benefit to our region – providing a safe, reliable, affordable, and comfortable alternative to driving to the Bay Area. The I-580/I-680 Altamont Corridor is certainly one of the most congested corridors in the State” said Senator Cannella.

The funds are necessary to make improvements to expand ACE service, including new track, stations, and trains. ACE is expected to extend to Ceres by no later than 2023. The ACEforward


environmental process has cleared various near term projects and is in the process of clearing the remaining sections of the project expansion.
“We are excited to expand service into Stanislaus County and ease congestion on Highway 99,” said San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission Executive Director Stacey Mortensen.

ACE, started in 1998 and now runs four daily round trips starting at the Cabral Station in Downtown Stockton, through the Tri-Valley, and into Downtown San Jose. ACE currently carries over 1.3 million riders a year, and ridership has doubled since 2011. The Bay Area Council released the Northern California Megaregion report in 2016, highlighting that over 65,000 drivers cross the Altamont Pass on Interstate 580 every single day. The expanded ACE service will enable ridership to continue to grow to better serve the region.

For more information on ACE, please visit www.acerail.com.

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April 14 , 2017

Merced County Fair Teams Up With City of Merced For Free Electronic Recycling Events
Fair’s recycling events are part of the City’s Spring Clean-Up Effort

MERCED, CALIFORNIA, April 13, 2017…The Merced County Fair has teamed up with the City of Merced to hold free electronic recycling events as part of the City’s Spring Clean Up effort! The electronic recycling events will be held at the Merced County Fairgrounds on April 29-30 and May 6-7 in the parking lot located on the corner of 11th and G streets from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Electronic waste items include TVs, computers, laptops, printers, cell phones, stereo systems and more. Items containing Freon such as refrigerators will not be accepted. There is no limit to how much electronic waste people can bring and anyone can take advantage of the Merced County Fair’s electronic waste event. More details on the Merced County Fair’s recycling events can be found at www.mercedcountyfair.com/2017-e-waste-recycling.

“We are happy to be partnering with the City of Merced once again to provide this service to our community,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair. “I highly encourage people to take advance of both the electronic recycling and disposal of other household waste as it can be costly to dispose of it on your own and electronic waste is actually not accepted at the landfills.”

The City of Merced’s Spring Clean-Up Effort also includes the collection of other waste items such as tires, yard equipment, lumber, brush/shrubs and more. Disposal of these items are free; however, this service is only available to City of Merced residents who can show proof of residency. The four City of Merced Spring Clean-Up drop off locations are: Merced County Fairgrounds, Merced College, Merced High School and Golden Valley High School. For more details on the City’s broader Spring Clean-Up effort goto: www.cityofmerced.org/depts/pw/refuse_trash_services/spring_clean_up_program.asp


About The Merced County Fair:
The Merced County Fair, first founded in 1891, represents the 35th District Agricultural Association and is celebrating 126 years of operation this year. More than 70,000 people from throughout Merced County and beyond attend the five-day Merced County Fair each June. Members of the Board of Directors include: President; Flip Hassett, First Vice President; Emily Haden, Second Vice President; Lori Gallo; Vicky Banaga; Mark Erreca; Lee Lor; Kim Rogina; Carol Sartori-Silva; and Dr. Santokh Takhar. Teresa Burrola heads up the daily operations in her role as CEO. The 2017 Merced County Fair will runJune 7 - 11. For more information about the Merced County Fair, please visit www.MercedCountyFair.com. Connect with the Fair on Facebook (@mercedfair), Twitter (@Merced_CA_Fair) and now Instagram (@mercedcountyfair).

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April 14, 2017

MAN ARRESTED ON $600,000 WARRANT ISSUED
BY MERCED COUNTY

Edward Mitchell Jr., 47, was arrested on Wednesday April 5, 2017 at his residence in Eureka, as a result of a $600,000 warrant issued out of Merced County for 14 felony counts of obtaining money, labor or property by false pretenses and 14 felony counts of diversion of construction funds, announced District Attorney Larry D. Morse II.

Mitchell is being held with a $250,000 bail amount.

Between July 2014 and October 2015, CSLB investigated complaints regarding Mitchell accepting well-drilling deposits from at least 14 victims and then never returning to complete the work, said Enforcement Supervisor Winton Horn. Horn was the lead investigator with CSLB when the accusations began.

Mitchell was chief executive officer of Mitchell Drilling Environmental Corporation and had a valid CSLB license until April 26, 2016, when it was revoked, said Horn.

Mitchell was arrested by Humboldt County’s District Attorney’s Office, Investigations Unit, with the assistance of the California Contractor’s State License Board after investigators with the Merced District Attorney’s Office learned he resided in Eureka. He was booked into the Humboldt County Jail, and has since been transported to Merced County Jail.

“It is good to see that he is going to have to explain to the homeowners where the money went,” Horn added.

According to investigators, some of his victims experienced additional hardships because their permits to drill their wells had expired and due to a change in county ordinances, their land no longer was eligible for a permit.

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April 14 , 2017

Costa Statement on U.S. Missile Attack Against the Government of Syrian President Assad

Fresno, CA – Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement regarding the United States launching a missile attack against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

“President Donald Trump’s decision to launch a limited missile strike in Syria was the correct action to take to send the message to President Bashar al-Assad that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated by the United States. Assad’s horrific actions are not only attacks on his own people, but he is putting Western civilization and the entire world at risk.

“The Trump Administration needs to come up with a comprehensive strategy to combat the Assad regime, and if the Authorization for Use of Military Force is necessary, then Congress must act. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in Congress and President on this issue.

“Chemical weapon attacks in 2013 took the lives of 1,400 Syrians and this week’s attack continues to darken the moral stain of Assad’s regime which is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of nearly 500,000 of its own people.


Congressman Jim Costa

“It’s important to highlight that Russia President Vladimir Putin supports Assad. Russia is our adversary, and the United States must remain vigilant in combatting all efforts that seek to undermine our nation’s Democracy and our democratic allies in Europe who share our freedoms and way of life.”

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April 14 , 2017

Assemblyman Gray: “Transportation Deal is a Game Changer for Merced and Stanislaus”

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) issued the following statement today after lending his support to a transportation plan to raise new revenues for road maintenance and transportation infrastructure while asking voters to constitutionally safeguard these funds:

“I have continuously highlighted the state’s underinvestment in rural California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Whether you are talking about infrastructure, doctors, jobs, poverty, or crime we have too much of the bad and not enough of the good. The state assistance and funding that flows so easily to the big cities and the coast dries to a trickle when it comes to helping the Valley.

The other parts of the state take for themselves, and leave us only what is left over the same way they drive through on Highway 99 leaving nothing but their exhaust behind. They forget about us when we fade from their rearview mirror. But when it came to mustering the votes needed to pass this transportation plan, they could not ignore us, as much as they may have wanted to.

Senator Cannella and I stood together and made it known we would not support a transportation plan that failed to invest in our underserved region. We would not support new taxes only to watch those dollars leave our community to build infrastructure somewhere else. We would not be forgotten again.

Today, I can confidently say that the rest of state remembered the Valley. This plan is truly a game changer for Merced and Stanislaus County. This comprehensive transportation plan doubles the road budget of every city in Merced and Stanislaus County. It invests $400 million to extend ACE rail to Ceres and Merced to finally make good on broken public transportation promises from the past. Finally, the plan appropriates $100 million to fully construct the Campus Parkway to connect the growing UC Merced campus to Highway 99.

Importantly, the plan includes constitutional protections so voters can ensure these funds will be dedicated solely to transportation. Too often, the state has raised taxes promising one thing, only to redirect those revenues for something else. This plan guarantees these funds will be used solely for transportation.

This will not solve all of our problems. We still need to reform the State Water Board, protect our local water supply from the Bay-Delta water grab, and lift the onerous regulations pushing agriculture out of the state. But what this has taught Sacramento is that we will not be relegated to second class. When we stand together they cannot ignore us.”

Local officials and community leaders hailed the transportation plan’s investments in local infrastructure and applauded Gray and Cannella’s leadership on the issue.

“Senator Cannella and Assemblyman Gray fought long and hard to ensure that this deal puts our region first,” said Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza. “The citizens of Merced County deserve to be a priority, and under this plan we are. I am grateful we have two state representatives who know how to stick together to get us our fair share.”

“Our roads in Stanislaus County are falling apart,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa. “The incredible investments guaranteed to our community under the plan negotiated by both Senator Cannella and Assemblyman Gray will create thousands of jobs, fix our roads, and construct a world class transit network.”

“Adam Gray and Anthony Cannella’s leadership in the State Legislature and their commitment to Merced have brought many benefits to our university,” said UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland. “These projects will be an economic boon to our region, and we are grateful for their support as we continue the incredible growth of UC Merced and the rapidly accelerating development of the Merced community.”

“The City of Merced fully supports this long overdue revamping of state transportation funding,” said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “The investments in road maintenance and transit are critical improvements Merced needs to continue to grow and expand our economy going forward.”

“No one likes new taxes, including me,” said Merced Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Blake. “But crumbling roads are not just inconvenient, they are a public safety issue. I support the plan, because our tax dollars stay here in the Valley, including the buildout of Campus Parkway, a linchpin in regional goods movement and economic develop.”

“While the legislature has had success in recent years in balancing the state budget, we can no longer afford to ignore our most basic repair and maintenance needs if we wish to avoid systematic failure of the state’s entire transportation infrastructure,” said Patterson Mayor Deborah Novelli. “There may be no better way to put Californians back to work and stimulate our economy than making the roads we and our children rely on everyday safe again.”

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April 7, 2017

Costa Honors Danielle Quiroga with Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Award

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) presented Danielle Quiroga with the Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award from the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. Danielle is a survivor of a terrorism inspired incident that took place on November 4, 2015 on the University of California, Merced campus.

“It was an honor to present Danielle Quiroga with the Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award from the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus,” said Congressman Jim Costa. “Even after experiencing a devastating trauma, Danielle has kept her spirits high. Danielle’s positive outlook on life has helped her, her family and witnesses of the horrific incident cope with the tragedy. Danielle is an inspiration to all of us, and it was truly an honor for her to be in Washington, D.C. to accept the award.”

"I am incredibly humbled and honored to have been awarded the Eva Murillo Unspoken Hero Award from the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus,” said Danielle Quiroga. “This award is such a honor for me and for my family. I was blessed to have such a supportive group of warriors behind me and I would love to share this award with them. Thank you so much to Congressman Costa for such an amazing opportunity to come out to Washington, D.C. We are looking forward to being involved in more victims’ advocacy events this week and continuing to tour our nation’s capital. The sights are breathtaking."

The Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus was founded in 2005 by the co-chairs, Representatives Jim Costa and Ted Poe. The mission of the Caucus is to elevate crime victim issues in Congress in a


Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) presented Danielle Quiroga with the Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award

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bipartisan manner without infringing on the rights of the accused, and to represent and advocate before the Administration and within the Congress on behalf of crime victims.

Since 2006, the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus has honored outstanding individuals, agencies and collaborative initiatives whose efforts directly benefit victims and survivors of crime, and promote individual and public safety. The Caucus hosts an annual awards ceremony on Capitol Hill around the annual commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (which in 2017, is scheduled for the week of April 2-8).

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April 7 , 2017


Merced County DA Visits State Capitol to Seek Support for At-Risk Youth;
Early Childhood, After-School Programs Cited as Top Priorities

 

SACRAMENTO – Merced County District Attorney Larry D. Morse II joined other members of Fight Crime/Invest in Kids, a national non-partisan anti-crime organization, at the state Capitol on Wednesday to urge legislators and administration officials to protect state-funded programs scientifically proven to steer children away from crime.

Morse, who serves on the state executive committee of Fight Crime/Invest in Kids, is one of the organization’s nearly 400 police chief, sheriff, district attorney and crime survivor members in California. Morse and other Fight Crime/Invest in Kids members met with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, members of Governor Jerry Brown’s legislative staff and state legislators to lobby for continued investment in early childhood education and after school programs designed to help kids succeed in school and become high school graduates.

“Kids who fail to graduate from high school are eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison,” Morse said. “Increased access to quality pre-school and after school care has been proven time and again to dramatically improve high school graduation rates. California’s future is much brighter if we invest in these programs for children now instead of incarceration later,” he added.

Morse has made the annual lobbying trip to Sacramento for several years and has seen a significant change in the attitude of policy makers towards programs such as quality pre-school, after school care and suspension and expulsion policies.

“There is much greater bipartisan enthusiasm in Sacramento for investing in proven strategies that increase the chances for kids to graduate high school,” Morse said. “As District Attorney of Merced County, I can make the best contribution to our long term public safety by working with other law enforcement leaders, educators and legislators to graduate as many kids as possible from high school,” he added.

Research has shown a child's early years of learning create large gains in brain development and socialization skills; one study found that at-risk kids who did not participate in a high-quality preschool program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. Another study shows that preschool saves the public more than $16 in corrections and welfare costs for every $1 invested.

Increasing funding for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) will also go a long way towards keeping kids off the streets and away from crime. Research has consistently shown that young people are more likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol and associate with gang members when left unsupervised after school.

“Law enforcement leaders are well aware that the prime-time for juvenile crime is between the hours of 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. After-school programs keep kids engaged in constructive activities that keep them out of harm’s way in the short term, and can help them graduate in the future,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Fight Crime/Invest in Kids.

Established by Proposition 49 in 2002, ASES provides $550 million to support over 4,000 programs and 400,000 students each day. However, despite rising costs, demand and expectations for after
school programs, funding has remained flat since 2007. Programs are struggling to provide high-quality programming and many are at risk of closure.

“Closing these programs would be a huge and unfortunate step in the wrong direction and away from a safer, more prosperous California,” Morse said.

(To review Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California’s complete 2017 legislative agenda, or to arrange an interview with a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, please contact Meghan Moroney at mmoroney@calfightcrime.org).

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April 6, 2017

MERCED COLLEGE CHOOSES STEM STUDENT OF THE MONTH

Merced College’s STEM Student of the Month is a Golden Valley High School graduate with a career goal of attending medical school to become a pediatrician or general practitioner.
Mikayla Whitfield is the first student to be recognized for this award by the College’s Science, Math & Engineering faculty, according to instructional Dean Dr. Doug Kain.
“Mikayla is a great choice for our first STEM Student of the Month,” Dr. Kain said. “She maintains high grades in her classes, despite a hectic schedule and volunteer activities.”
Whitfield is in her final semester at Merced College with plans to transfer to CSU Stanislaus in the fall as a Biology major. Currently, she is the president of the Pre-Medical Club on campus.
In addition to her other community volunteer activities, she has been involved with Relay for Life and Loaves and Fishes, a program that feeds the homeless.

 

FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.


Mikayla Whitfield

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April 6, 2017

SCHOLARSHIP-BASED YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM IN MERCED COUNTY NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2017

April 2017—Merced, CA – High-school students from Merced County will spend multiple exciting and educational weeks in the Sierra Nevada mountains this summer thanks to a non-profit that empowers youth through an integrated literacy and wilderness experience. The Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) summer courses introduce students to majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada, while stretching their physical, academic and personal abilities.

ARC offers two summer opportunities for Merced County students: a 40-day course in Yosemite and a 24-day course in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. On these adventures, students will explore the the Parks’ waterfalls, rivers and stunning rock formations, while backpacking, rock climbing, rafting and more. Participants study language arts and environmental science, write poetry and essays and practice public speaking. They return home having learned about stewardship, conservation and the importance of doing their best, both individually and as a team.

“I climbed mountains and hiked for miles when I previously would not have been motivated to do so,” says Gerzayr Alapizco, a 2016 ARC graduate. “I overcame my self-doubt and found a way to believe that I can triumph over every challenge I face.” Adds Linda Yang, another 2016 summer graduate: “I learned that I am my own leader.” Through their ARC experience, teens like Gerzayr and Linda become more confident and better-equipped to achieve academic and personal goals. During the past decade, 82 percent of ARC participants have attended a two- or four-year college.

Will Fassett, ARC program director, says the summer course is designed to connect underserved youth to the outdoors. “ARC works with local high school students who wouldn’t otherwise have opportunities to go on summer adventures.”


Photo of 2016 ARC Summer Course participants in Yosemite

Says Drenese McCloud, a 2016 summer graduate from Los Banos High School: “Adventure Risk Challenge prepared me to be the adult I’ve dreamed of being.”

About Adventure Risk Challenge: ARC is a scholarship-based program, providing partial- to full financial support to all accepted high-school aged students. First-generation students, English-language learners, and all students who are motivated to experience a challenging outdoor and academic adventure are encouraged to apply. The summer 2017 program is accepting applications now untilApril 21. Visit www.adventureriskchallenge.org to learn more about the program and download applications for the 2017 Summer Courses.

CONTACT: Michael Dominquez, Central Valley Outreach Coordinator, Adventure Risk Challenge
(559) 760-5024 / michael@adventureriskchallenge.org

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April 6, 2017

Student Writing Celebrated During Annual Merced County Writing Festival

About 3,000 students from throughout Merced County have submitted entries for the Merced County Writing Festival and are testing their skills in poetry and prose.
Entries will be on display April 28 through May 7 at the Merced Mall, with awards ceremonies scheduled at 9 a.m. May 1-5 to recognize the winning entries.
The event, sponsored by the Merced County Office of Education, is in its 33rd year, according to Stacie Arancibia, MCOE events planner.
Students from transitional kindergarten through 12th grade can select from topics in 40 different categories in poetry and prose. They can be short stories, letters or poems.
Arancibia said it’s important that writing skills still be encouraged and creativity needs to be fostered. Entries are judged by teachers from

participating schools. Students receive ribbons for first, second and third place and the top two entries for each grade are awarded gold medals; one for poetry and one for prose.
For more information on the Writing Festival, contact Arancibia at (209) 381-5910.

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April 6, 2017

‘There’s a Martian in the Opera House’ Theme of Annual Children’s Opera

Many children have probably never been to an opera, but a local program at UC Merced in mid-May could change their perceptions of this musical art form.
The annual Children’s Opera will be performed May 15-19 at UC Merced’s Lakireddy Auditorium. About 3,700 Merced County students from 3 to 12 years of age will get to see the operatic performances.
The event is sponsored by Arts UC Merced, the Betty Scalice Foundation and the Merced County Education Foundation, with coordination by the Merced County Office of Education.
Students will be entertained by “There’s a Martian in the Opera House,” written by Nancy Steele Brokaw, the mother of a UC Merced professor. UC students, professors and community members will be performing the 45-minute productions. There is no charge for the participating schools.

 

Stacie Arancibia, events planner for the Merced County Office of Education, said opera is a style many children have not been exposed to and the upcoming performances give them a chance to see live theater.

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April 4 , 2017

 

Atwater FFA Successful at Reedley College and El Capitan FFA Competition

Written by: Atwater FFA


Fifteen Atwater High School FFA members representing four agriculture related Career Development Event (CDE) competitions joined various California high school agriculture students representing over 65 high schools throughout California at Reedley College FFA Field Day and El Capitan High School Small Engines contests on April 1st.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team of Eric Favela (3rd overall), Daniel mesa (4th overall), Joel Rojas, (5th overall), and Nathaniel Cavalero placed 1st overall in a contest involving hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics. The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team of Callie Norton (2nd overall), Natalie Frontella, Luke van warmerdam, and Joseph Hayword placed 5th overall in a contest where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry. The Atwater FFA Land Evaluation and Soils team placed 6th overall with a team composed of Michael Bray, Audrey Esau, Katelyn Baptista, and Jose Ruiz. The contest involves the evaluation and interpretation of soils and soil profiles. Students analyze various soil pits and determine soil texture, water holding capacity, and erosion characteristics while associated the data with agriculture applications.

The Atwater FFA Small Engines team of Ricardo Ortega, Zion Brigham, Blake Brigham, and Madison Hall placed 3rd overall in a contest that challenges students with their skills and knowledge in small engine tool and part identification, engine theory, problem solving, and hands-on engine troubleshooting and repair. Thirteen high school agriculture programs throughout California attended the 1st annual FFA Small Engines contest hosted by El Capitan High School in Merced.

“Our students have made the commitment to get involved, improve their knowledge and skills, and make a statement with their competitive desire.” said FFA advisor Shelby West. “We are very proud of our students and their efforts.” The field day is composed of a variety of agriculture CDE’s where students demonstrate their intellectual and “hands-on” skills in agricultural related fields and occupations.


The Atwater High School Ag mechanics team of Daniel Mesa, Eric Favela, Nathaniel Cavallero, Joel Rojas, and (coach) Sam meredith placed 1st high team at the 50th annual Reedley College FFA Field Day contest.


The Atwater High School Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team of Luke van Warmerdam, Callie Norton, Joseph Hayward, and Natlaie Frontella placed 5th overall at the 50th annual Reedley College FFA Field Day contest.

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The final state contests of the year will be held at Fresno State University on April 22nd and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on May 6th. The state winning teams in each contest will earn the opportunity to represent California at the National FFA Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana in October.

For more information on this event, upcoming events, and information on the Atwater FFA, log on their website at www.AtwaterFFA.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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April 4, 2017

MERCED RIVER LITERARY REVIEW
SEEKS SUBMISSIONS

Editors of Merced College’s Merced River Literary Review are accepting submissions of poems, short stories, flash fiction, short plays, artwork, and creative non-fiction.
The deadline to submit original work for the fourth edition of the Review is Saturday, April 16 at noon. All submissions must be electronic and can be sent to editors@mccd.edu.

The following guidelines apply to submissions:
• Use Times New Roman, 12-point font only. Written work submitted must be in Microsoft Word, in .doc/.docx format.
• A maximum of four pages of creative work may be submitted.
• Each email must have the type of creative writing submitted in the subject line.
• By submitting to the editors at the MRLR the author gives sole one-time publication rights to the Merced River Literary Review. After publication, all rights revert to the author.
1. If the submission has ever been previously published, the author warrants that there is no legal copyright infringement with previous

 

publishers, and the author must provide the name of the
publication, the year of the publication, and publisher name.
• Submission of work in no way guarantees publication, as the journal has a limited amount of space to publish. The journal will do its best to publish as many authors as we have space for.

For more information, contact Meg Withers at 209.384.6151.


FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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April 1, 2017

MERCED COLLEGE WELCOMES
NEW POLICE OFFICER

Standing in front of his family, as well as members of the college and local community, Kenneth Braaksma was sworn in as Merced College’s newest police officer during the March 14 meeting of the Merced Community College Board of Trustees.
“We are very happy to welcome Officer Braaksma as a member of our law enforcement team,” said Merced College Police Department Chief Tom Trindad. “With his broad experience, he will be a valuable asset to our college.”
Officer Braaksma most recently served for 12 years with the Alameda Sheriff’s Department. He also was an active duty member of the U.S. Marine Corp, and had previously served in the U.S. Navy Reserves and the California National Guard.
“Merced College has provided me with a great opportunity to serve the local community,” Officer Braaksma said. “Aside from being a cop, I’m a husband to my wife, Erin, and father to our children Kaleigh and Kenna.”
The Merced College Police Department consists of Chief Trindad, a full-time administrative assistant, four full-time police officers, and 15 non-sworn citation officers, all serving the main campus in Merced and the College’s educational center in Los Banos.


Kenneth Braaksma



FOLLOW MERCED COLLEGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. AND NOW, YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR PODCASTS AT www.mcpod.podbean.com.

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April 1, 2017


Sewer master plan, police equipment on Council agenda

A study session on the sewer master plan and the purchase of new equipment for police patrol units are on the agenda for Monday night’s Merced City Council meeting.

The Council will meet at 6 p.m. for the study session on the sewer master plan. The regular Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Both sessions will be in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.

The sewer master plan is a document that studies how much sewage future development will produce in the City, how it will be transported to the wastewater treatment plant and how much it will cost. The City is in the process of developing the master plan to develop the answers.

Under state Prop. 218, each user of the City’s utilities -- such as the sewer system -- must pay for the services they use. New users to the system must pay their fair share for use of the system.

The Police Department is asking the Council to accept $75,000 in state


funding for the purchase of 13 in-car computer systems and nine modems for patrol vehicles. In addition, Council is being asked to approve the purchase of 13 laptop computer systems for $60,821 for use in vehicles.

The Council also will recognize the El Capitan High School Cheer Squad, who are the 2017 USA National Champions.

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.

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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


 

 
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