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

COMMUNITY NEWS
EVENTS CALENDAR
SPORTS & RECREATION

RESTAURANTS
ENTERTAINMENT
TRIPS WITHIN A DAY

NETWORK OF BUSINESSES
BUSINESS DIRECTORY
CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS

COMMUNITY SERVICES
SCHOOLS
CHURCHES

 



 

COMMUNITY NEWS

August 19, 2017

Public safety items highlight Council agenda

Agreement for an Urban Search and Rescue trailer and a whitewater rescue boat, plus an update on the police station are on the Merced City Council agenda for Monday night.
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 Merced Fire Department has staff trained in urban search and rescue techniques where they can recover people from buildings that have collapsed from earthquakes, explosions or other disasters. Council is being asked to approve an agreement with the California Office of Emergency Services to accept a trailer and specialized equipment to help the Department fulfill that rescue mission.
The Merced Fire Department also is extensively trained in white water rescue techniques, to pluck people who have gotten themselves in trouble in local creeks, rivers or other waterways. Council is being asked to enter into an agreement with Merced County to temporarily transfer a Zodiac boat, outboard engine and trailer from the Sheriff’s Office to the Fire Department. In exchange, the City agrees to provide rescue services in the City and the County.
Staff will also provide an update to Council on progress moving forward with a ballot measure in November 2018 to fund the building of a police station, fire station and fleet shop.

 

 

The Council will meet at 5 p.m. to discuss existing litigation and to hold a study session on water.
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.

back to top

August 19, 2017

B-58 Hustler Strategic Bomber Arrives at Castle Air Museum

The long awaited arrival of the B-58 Hustler Strategic Bomber's ETA to the Castle Air Museum, 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater was 2:30 PM today. The Transport convoy of three (3) large semi trucks hauling this historic Col War icon left Fernley, Nevada approximately an hour and 20 minutes ago westbound on Interstate 80 through Reno and heading westward towards Sacramento. Once in Sacramento the convoy will head south on Interstate 5 to Stockton where it will traverse the Freeway 4 cross town Freeway to Highway 99 south for it's final approach in to Atwater and it's destination the Castle Air Museum!

For additional information contact the museum

 

 

A very significant note is that one of the trailers is hauling this aircraft is 120 feet in length and is a state of the art piece of equipment that in itself is a $350,000 trailer!!!

back to top

August 19, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM MISSION AVENUE TO ATWATER BOULEVARD
IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on State Route 99 (SR-99) from Mission Avenue to Atwater Boulevard for sign work. Work will occur as follows:

• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to East Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Sunday, August 20, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to 16th Street will close beginning Sunday, August 20, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound SR-99 at Atwater Boulevard will close from Sunday, August 20, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.

Additional ramp closure may be needed depending on the completion of work during planned nighttime closures. Additional ramp closures may occur as indicated below:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to East Atwater Boulevard in Atwater may close beginning Monday, August 21, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 5-10 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
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM THE CITY OF MERCED
TO STATE ROUTE 33 IN THE CITY OF GUSTINE

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various road construction activities on State Route 140 (SR-140).Work will occur as follows:

• 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, August 21, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for pavement 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 59 FROM RED TOP ROAD TO VASSAR AVENUE
IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 59 from Red Top Road to Vassar Avenue for pavement work.

Work will begin Tuesday, August 22, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Motorists should expect 10 minute delays.

This 13 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. The project is expected to be completed October 2017.

Teichert Corporation of Sacramento, CA, is performing the work.

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 UPPER COTTONWOOD ROAD
TO SAN LUIS DAM SERVICE ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 152 from Upper Cottonwood Road to San Luis Dam Service Road near Dinosaur Point for median barrier work.

Work will begin Monday, August 25, 2017, through Friday, August 25, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

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

The work at this location is part of a project that will install a median barrier on SR-152 and is scheduled to be completed in November 2017. Dreambuilder Construction Corporation of Placentia, CA, is performing the work on this $4 million project.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and construction related issues.


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

 

back to top

August 18 , 2017

YARTS to offer free service to Yosemite
on free National Park Service Gate Days

MERCED – Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) announced today that it will provide free transit service to Yosemite National Park on all free National Park Service (NPS) gate days for the next three years. YARTS will receive funding through the Federal Lands Access Program for a three-year demonstration project to operate free buses to Yosemite on all free NPS gate days. The grant will fund thirty free service days through September 2020.
YARTS staff expects the demonstration project to be highly successful. “We are excited to assist the park with the management of vehicle congestion by offering an alternative to driving and parking” said Cindy Kelly, YARTS Staff Analyst. “We want to give Californians and other visitors the opportunity to experience our nation’s jewel without adding to the congestion problem,” Kelly said.
The Highway 140 service through Merced and Mariposa Counties will be the first corridor to offer free service with this new program on November 11 and 12, 2017. Reservations will not be accepted on free service days which

means the service will be based on a first-come, first-served policy. Seasonal free services from Mammoth Lakes, Fresno and Sonora are planned for summer of 2018.
Free service events will be posted on the YARTS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rideyarts and website at www.yarts.com. Free gate days for 2018 have not yet been released.
YARTS is the only public transit to Yosemite National Park, with buses entering Yosemite Valley from Merced, Mammoth Lakes, Sonora and Fresno---as well as many different towns along the way. YARTS began service in May 2000, and now provides an alternative to driving to over 120,000 riders per year. More information can be found online at www.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.

back to top

August 18 , 2017

Assembly Select Committee on Rail Hearing scheduled for August 30, 2017 at 2:30PM
State Capitol | Room 4202 | Sacramento.

The Assembly Select Committee is Chaired by Assemblymember Gray. The hearing is expected to include a presentation of the key findings of the new State Rail Plan and presentations on the improvement programs of California’s intercity and commuter passenger rail services (including the Amtrak San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) services). The members of the Select Committee are expected to discuss funding opportunities for service expansion. There will be an opportunity for public comments at the end of the hearing. This is a public hearing and those interested are welcome to attend.

 

What: Assembly Select Committee on Rail Hearing
When: August 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Where: State Capitol, Room 4202

www.acerail.com

back to top

June 17, 2017

Calling All Volunteers for the Merced Great Sierra River Cleanup
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Merced California, August 16, 2017: On Saturday, September 16th from 9-12pm volunteers are invited to join the East Merced Resource Conservation District (EMRCD) to help remove trash from the Merced River.
The Great Sierra River Cleanup is the premier volunteer event focused on removing trash and restoring the health of waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada Region. This cleanup is an annual event coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and held in conjunction with California Coastal Cleanup Day.
The EMRCD will be performing cleanups at Shaffer Bridge, Santé Fe Trestle, and McConnel Park. You can clean up on shore, or on the river in canoes and kayaks. Volunteering just 3 hours of your time with family, friends, or co-workers will make a big difference in the health of the Merced River. All participants will receive a volunteer service certificate.
The EMRCD will provide cleanup bags, canoes, kayaks, and safety equipment. Volunteers should bring water, gloves, refreshments, and friends.
Contact us if your group or organization would like to adopt a site!
For more information and to sign up, visit www.eastmercedrcd.org

Contact: Jean Okuye
East Merced Resource
Conservation District
Phone 209-756-2421
admin@eastmercedrcd.org

back to top

August 16, 2017

Merced’s Official Comic Con Returns for Its Second Year

MERCED, CALIF. - California Republic Comic Con, Merced’s official comic con, returns to the Merced County Fairgrounds September 16th for its second annual show. With three buildings, and over 40,000 square feet, it makes California Republic Comic Con (CRCC) the largest convention south of Stockton.


This year’s celebrity guest lineup includes Gary Lockwood, the star of Stanley Kubrick’s timeless masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2008 will mark the 50th anniversary of the film that is considered by many to be the best science fiction movie ever made, and the attendees will be able to celebrate early with Dr. Frank Poole himself in this very rare Central Valley appearance.


Gary Lockwood also credited with playing Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell in the Star Trek pilot episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before". At the convention, Gary Lockwood will be joined by Sean Kenney, best known for his role in Star Trek as the crippled Christopher Pike in "The Menagerie", and as Lieutenant DePaul in "Arena" and "A Taste of Armageddon."


Star Wars fans will get a rare chance to meet Julie Dolan who has voiced Princess Leia Organa for Star Wars Rebels, Star Tours - The Adventure Continues and numerous Star Wars videogames, and Stephen Costantino who who portrayed one of Jabba's Gamorrean Guards in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.


Also appearing at California Republic Comic Con actors Jimmy Hunt (Invaders from Mars), Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) and Steven Skyler (Power Rangers Samurai), as well as renowned comic book artists and creators Chris Marrinan (Excalibur, Wonder Woman), Matt Haley (Wonder Woman 77, Judge Dredd, Superman), Tobe Daranouvong (Villain Comic) and Omar Morales (CruZader: Agent of the Vatican).


 

Attendees will also be able to shop from various exhibitors and creators, meet local cosplayers and fan groups. The program also features Violette Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in Merced County, a cosplay contest with a trophy and cash prize for the winner, a retro video game room with more than 4,000 games to play, free Street Fighter Tournament, laser tag, and a live concert with performances by Steven Skyler, Stephen Costantino and La La Lando the Musical.


Show open 10 am - 5 pm at the Merced County Fairgrounds. All ages are welcome. Tickets available online at www.californiarepubliccomiccon.com (adult 13+ $10, kids 5-12 $5, kids under 5 y.o. free) or at the door (adult 13+ $15, kids 5-12 $8, kids under 5 y.o. free).

back to top

August 15, 2017

 

Atwater FFA Students Remained Engaged Throughout the Summer

Written by: Atwater FFA

For most high school students, the school year ends the first week of June. For most high school agriculture students, the summer season extends beyond vacation with various agriculture and FFA related events and activities keeping them active and involved.

Getting students involved outside the classroom is a primary focus with the Atwater High School agriculture program. Throughout the spring and summer this past year, over one hundred students raised livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, and swine) at the Merced County Fair. An additional forty students raised and exhibited rabbit and poultry projects, while hundreds of agriculture mechanics (shop) students showcased hundreds of shop projects at the fair. The experience and skills obtained go beyond the animals and the shop. “This is about ‘responsibility’ and a ‘work ethic’,” said FFA advisor Sam Meredith. “For many students, this is a taste of what it’s like in the real world and as an adult.”

During the summer, the Atwater FFA recognizes each year’s most active, hardworking students from the previous school year with an incentive trip centered on recreation and fun. Twenty-six students spent at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. “It’s always rewarding to share a new experience with students involving travel to somewhere they have never gone,” said Atwater FFA advisor Shelby West. Atwater High School students who attended the summer trip included Alyssa Carrillo, Ana Lozano, Anessa Cardenas, Audrey Esau, Callie Norton, Colby Flatt, Courtney Creighton, Cristal Venegas, Daisy Flores, Emily Junez, Emmanuel Mejia, Jasmine Flores, Jeff Clark, Joel Rojas, Jose Montanez, Kaya Briscoe, Kelsi Kamesch, Madison Hall, Makenna Caldie, Micheal Bray, Natalie Frontella, Nathaniel Cavallero, Sidney Miller, Sidney Ramos, Stephania Valdovinos , and Zion Brigham.

Earlier this month, the new 2017-2018 chapter officers as well as students who were elected as sectional and regional officers went to Lake Tahoe, CA and Reno, NV for a leadership retreat. The trip involved various team building and leadership activities and provided the students and program with a strong foundation for students to be engaged in leadership roles to help inspire, encourage, and motivate this year’s group of new and continuing agriculture education students at Atwater High School.

The Atwater High School Agriculture program continues to be recognized throughout the state and nation as a model education program. “We believe


Atwater High School agriculture student Kendyll Cruz poses with her dairy heifer project during the 2017 Merced County Fair as she was one of hundreds of Atwater High School FFA members that participated in a variety of agriculture related projects this summer.


Twenty-six Atwater High School agriculture students were rewarded with a summer trip to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for their academic, personal growth, leadership, and FFA participation efforts during the 2016-2017 school year.

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

agriculture education and FFA is a quality product people continue to invest in because they see the positive return on their investment through student success,” said FFA advisor Kaylyn Davenport. “We look forward to increasing the quality of the product this upcoming school year!”

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

back to top

August 15, 2017

Outreach, Vet Connect aim to help homeless Vets

A dual approach is underway to identify and assist homeless veterans in Merced County. An outreach campaign is going on this week to locate homeless vets and connect them to services and housing. The following week a Vet Connect event is being held to provide a one-stop shop of services for homeless and needy vets.
The county-wide “No More Homeless Veterans” Task Force, is working to find homeless veterans. The group consists of representatives from several organizations, including the Veterans Administration in Merced County and Fresno County, United Way of Merced County, WestCare San Joaquin Valley Vets (SJVV), Merced County Human Services Agency Veteran Services Office and the Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

Carol Bowman of United Way said the Merced Continuum of Care accepted the Mayor’s challenge to end veteran homelessness in Merced County.

“Housing veterans is our priority and always will be,” Bowman said. “Through effective collaboration and commitment of organizations and staff, we now clearly see that, while in the future there may be veterans who are homeless in Merced County, we have processes and procedures in place to locate them and provide services and housing within a short period of time.”

Homeless Task Force members walk the encampments, parks, streets and other locations where persons experiencing homelessness are known to gather, searching for homeless veterans. Once identified, the veterans are referred to the VA or San Joaquin Valley Vets for intake, assessment and determination of eligibility for benefits. Referrals to services, including housing, resulted in a reduction in the number of homeless veterans in Merced County over the last several years.

In 2015, there were 88 homeless veterans in the County. By 2016 the number was down to 25 homeless vets. This year the number has been reduced to 17.

Throughout this year, United Way, through a grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development, employs two full time Outreach Workers who are working to locate all persons experiencing homelessness, including veterans. Once located, an intake and assessment process

 

 

identifies service and housing needs so that people may be housed. Since January, 2017 an additional 20 veterans have been housed -- on average -- within 60 days or less.
Now, case workers know of nine recently identified homeless veterans and each one is being assisted in locating housing. The Task Force will be making one more effort to locate homeless veterans, by conducting intensive outreach the week of Aug. 14, followed by the Vet Connect event Aug. 24.

The goal is to rapidly rehouse any new homeless veterans who show up on the streets. The effort is being made County-wide to identify veterans, provide the services and housing they need as quickly as possible.

Merced Vet Connect Day will bring a variety of services and resources together for veterans in need. Thursday, Aug. 24 is intended to help homeless veterans and other struggling veterans receive the services that will give them a hand up out of poverty, despair and homelessness.

Among the free services available are:
• Intake and assessment for housing and employment services
• Community resources, veterans services, benefit enrollment
• Lunch, refreshments, giveaways and more

The Vet Connect Day will be held at the Merced County Veterans Services Office, 3376 N. Highway 59, Suite D., Merced, starting at 9 a.m. There will be free bus transportation for all veterans.

Veterans Connect is part of the on-going outreach efforts for homeless veterans.
For more information about Vet Connect and other efforts to end veteran homelessness, call the Veterans Services Office at 209-385-7588 or the United Way of Merced County at 209-383-4242.

back to top

August 15, 2017

Costa Statement on White Supremacist Attack in Charlottesville


FRESNO, CA – Today Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement about the white supremacist attack that occurred yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia:

“The hatred and violence in Charlottesville yesterday are devastating and unacceptable.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals we lost, those who were injured, and their loved ones.

“As Americans, the protests that turned deadly in Charlottesville sadden all of us and should serve as a call to action. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and their defining ideas and beliefs are disgusting and are directly opposed to our American values. The individuals who belong to these groups are not American patriots. They are cowards and bigots, and their ideas have been a plague on our country for far too long.

“We must condemn actions by white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and all groups who preach hate and advocate violence. It is truly awful that racism and hatred live in the hearts of some in America. We all have a responsibility – as individuals and collectively – to do our part to address racism, other forms of prejudice, and hate.

“We must remember that we are far more similar than we are different, and only by standing together will we be able to successfully overcome the


Congressman Jim Costa

challenges we all face together. Although it can be difficult at times, I call on all of us to pause for a moment, reach out to one another, and reverse hate by conveying understanding and solidarity founded on the basis of love and humanity.

“In addition, the President, with our nation's justice department, must take firm and decisive action to aggressively go after these hate groups, using all legal means available. These groups' violence is outrageous and illegal, and we cannot allow them to continue to target and attack our fellow Americans.

“Lastly, I would like to thank our law enforcement officers for risking their lives yesterday, and every day, to keep us safe.”

back to top

August 12, 2017

Friday procession honored fallen firefighter from Merced

Merced resident Clayton Charles Ogden III, husband, father, Santa Cruz firefighter/paramedic and true hero was honored with a procession through the streets of Merced Friday afternoon.

Ogden died Aug. 1 from cancer at age 47.

Between 2 and 3 p.m. Friday, streets in Downtown Merced and near the Merced County Fairgrounds was be filled with fire trucks as an honor procession escorts his remains from the Stratford Evans Funeral home on B Street to the fairgrounds. There was be some disruptions in traffic as Ogden takes one last ride on a Santa Cruz Fire Department ladder truck.

The late firefighter received the Medal of Valor from the City of Santa Cruz for his actions on Feb. 23, 2013 when two police officers were murdered. While responding to the call, gunfire from the suspect erupted and Ogden threw his body on a civilian to protect her from a hail of gunfire at the scene.

“Bullets were flying,” Ogden told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “I laid on top of her and told her to keep calm and stay down – don’t move.”

Following the shooting, he was part of an initial team training as a Tac-Medic for those kinds of incidents.

Odgen served in the Santa Cruz Fire Department for 18 years. Before working in Santa Cruz, Ogden worked for Riggs Ambulance in Merced.

Born and raised in Dos Palos, he started his public service as a volunteer for the Dos Palos Fire Department and was a firefighter for the Merced County Fire Department. He worked for the California Highway Patrol and was in the Emergency Services Unit for the SWAT Team.

He leaves behind his wife, Rebekah, and three children, Colby, Sam and Lily.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Yosemite Hall at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Before the service there was a procession of fire apparatus and other emergency vehicles to honor the fallen firefighter. It begin at the Stratford Evans Funeral Home at 1490 B St., and past Fire Station 51 at 99 E. 16th St., went down Main Street from G to M streets, and down Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 16th to 11th St.

The family requested: “In lieu of flowers, smell the flowers.”

A scholarship has been set up in his name:
Clayton Ogden Scholarship Fund
Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union
1021 Olivewood Dr, Merced CA 95348
Account number 22457–35 in the memo field.

The Santa Cruz Fire Department said expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family can be sent to:
Santa Cruz Firefighters
Local 1716
PO Box 1477
Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1477.

Donations for Firefighter Ogden’s family can be sent to:
Firefighters First Credit Union
C/O Clayton Ogden
5700 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 250
Pleasanton, CA 94588

 

Clayton Charles Ogden III

back to top

August 12, 2017

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
STATE ROUTE 59 FROM RED TOP ROAD TO VASSAR AVENUE
IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 59 from Red Top Road to Vassar Avenue for pavement work.

Work will begin Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Motorists should expect 10 minute delays.

This 13 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. The project is expected to be completed October 2017.

Teichert Corporation of Sacramento, CA, is performing the work.

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 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:

• Full off-ramp closures from northbound and southbound SR-99 to SR-140/V Street beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• 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, August 14, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for pavement 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.


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

 


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM MISSION AVENUE TO COLLIER ROAD
IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED COUNTY — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close various off-ramps on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Mission Avenue to Collier Road for sign work.

Work will occur as follows:
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 to Childs Avenue beginning Monday, August 14, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound and southbound SR-99 to 16th Street beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• Full off-ramp closures from northbound and southbound SR-99 to SR-140/V Street beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound SR-99 to G Street beginning Monday, August 14, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
• Full off-ramp closures from northbound and southbound SR-99 to SR-59/Martin Luther King Jr. Way beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
— More —
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound SR-99 to Atwater Boulevard beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Additional construction activities include:
• A moving closure on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Mission Avenue to Collier Road beginning Monday, August 14, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for a sweeping operation;

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound SR-99 will close from Childs Avenue to 16th Street beginning Monday, August 14, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

• The #1 (left) and #2 (middle) and #3 (right) lanes on northbound SR-99 at Atwater Boulevard will alternately close beginning Sunday, August 13, 2017, through Friday, August 18, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for sign work.

Motorists should expect 5-10 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.



back to top

August 12, 2017

It’s hello and farewell at Merced PD

Merced Police Chief Norman Andrade was scheduled to swear in a new officer this afternoon and say good-bye to another, during ceremonies today at 1:30 p.m. in the Merced City Council Chambers, in the Merced Civic Center (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.



Michael Neal, was to become the latest addition to the police force

Neal, 35, Badge No. 261, spent 2 ½ years in the Los Banos Police Department. He was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for efforts in reducing DUI crimes and received the MADD Award in 2015 and 2016.
Neal and his girlfriend are raising three children. In his spare time he enjoys reading, movies and traveling.

 

 


Detective Joe Deliman

Det. Joe Deliman was scheduled to retire.

Deliman worked in the Department from February 1997 to July 2017. During his 20 years of service, he worked as a detective, a patrol officer, a gang and street crimes officer, an EVOC instructor, and a member of the Crime Scene Response Team. He served under three police chiefs – Chief Patrick Lunney, Chief Mark Dossetti, and Chief Norman Andrade.

 

The Department now has 90 sworn officers and is budgeted for 97. The pay for police officers is $5,042 to $6,129 a month.

back to top

August 12, 2017

Virginia Smith Trust To Work with Local Farmer to Generate Scholarship Revenue

The Virginia Smith Trust Board agreed to lease land to a local farmer that will produce scholarship revenue for decades to benefit Merced students.
At a special board meeting on Aug. 9, the VST Board unanimously voted to lease 500 acres of land that the Trust owns south of UC Merced to Forebay Farms LLC. Forebay will plant and farm an almond orchard on the leased land.
In the lease agreement, Forebay will pay $100,000 per year for rent and a percentage of the crop when the trees mature.
“With the increased revenue from this lease agreement, the VST Board will have the ability to support more scholarships for Merced students,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve M. Tietjen. “This really is the first step moving forward with development of the VST land by UC Merced.”
VST Board President Chris Chavez agreed that this was a move in the right direction and one that will ultimately benefit students. “The VST land will now generate more scholarships for our students for many decades to come,” he said.
The Virginia Smith Trust was established in 1975 in accordance with the will of Virginia U. Smith, who was a Merced resident that spent her life in service to others. In her will, Smith specifically noted “worthy, deserving and needy” high school students in Merced were eligible for the scholarship.
In 2016, UC Merced and the VST split the 1,256-acre tract of land just south of the campus, known as University Community North. Some of the land the UC acquired in the split will be used for the university’s 2020 campus expansion.
Since the VST started distributing scholarships, more than 3,500 students have received scholarships totaling about $4.5 million.
For more information about the VST, visit http://mcoe.org/smith/Pages/Virginia-Smith-Trust.aspx.

 

back to top

August 11, 2017

Friday procession will honor fallen firefighter from Merced

Merced resident Clayton Charles Ogden III, husband, father, Santa Cruz firefighter/paramedic and true hero will be honored with a procession through the streets of Merced Friday afternoon.

Ogden died Aug. 1 from cancer at age 47.

Between 2 and 3 p.m. Friday, streets in Downtown Merced and near the Merced County Fairgrounds will be filled with fire trucks as an honor procession escorts his remains from the Stratford Evans Funeral home on B Street to the fairgrounds. There will be some disruptions in traffic as Ogden takes one last ride on a Santa Cruz Fire Department ladder truck.

The late firefighter received the Medal of Valor from the City of Santa Cruz for his actions on Feb. 23, 2013 when two police officers were murdered. While responding to the call, gunfire from the suspect erupted and Ogden threw his body on a civilian to protect her from a hail of gunfire at the scene.

“Bullets were flying,” Ogden told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “I laid on top of her and told her to keep calm and stay down – don’t move.”

Following the shooting, he was part of an initial team training as a Tac-Medic for those kinds of incidents.

Odgen served in the Santa Cruz Fire Department for 18 years. Before working in Santa Cruz, Ogden worked for Riggs Ambulance in Merced.

Born and raised in Dos Palos, he started his public service as a volunteer for the Dos Palos Fire Department and was a firefighter for the Merced County Fire Department. He worked for the California Highway Patrol and was in the Emergency Services Unit for the SWAT Team.

He leaves behind his wife, Rebekah, and three children, Colby, Sam and Lily.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Yosemite Hall at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Before the service there will be a procession of fire apparatus and other emergency vehicles to honor the fallen firefighter. It will begin at the Stratford Evans Funeral Home at 1490 B St., go past Fire Station 51 at 99 E. 16th St., go down Main Street from G to M streets, and down Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 16th to 11th St. (See map.)

The family requested: “In lieu of flowers, smell the flowers.”

A scholarship has been set up in his name:
Clayton Ogden Scholarship Fund
Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union
1021 Olivewood Dr, Merced CA 95348
Account number 22457–35 in the memo field.

The Santa Cruz Fire Department said expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family can be sent to:
Santa Cruz Firefighters
Local 1716
PO Box 1477
Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1477.

Donations for Firefighter Ogden’s family can be sent to:
Firefighters First Credit Union
C/O Clayton Ogden
5700 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 250
Pleasanton, CA 94588

Clayton Charles Ogden III

 

 

back to top

August 11, 2017

As we swear in our newest officer, Michael Neal, this Friday, August 11th, we will also present a retirement plaque to retired detective Joe Deliman in recognition of 20 years of service to the Merced Police Department and the City of Merced. Please join us in support.

City Hall –Council Chambers, 1:30 p.m. –Friday, August 11th.

Congratulations, Detective Joe Deliman #55-103
We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


Detective Joe Deliman

back to top

August 11, 2017

Reps. Panetta, Peterson, Costa Hold Agriculture Roundtable in California

SALINAS – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), along with House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) and Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), hosted an agriculture roundtable session at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. The Congressmen held the roundtable to hear the concerns and priorities of local agriculture producers, farm workers, and nutrition organizations regarding the nation's food policy, including the Farm Bill.

Congressman Panetta and Congressman Costa made the below remarks:

"The central coast of California provides families across the country with an abundance of fresh and nutritious produce. As the representative of the Salad Bowl of the World, I believe it is critical to share with my colleagues the needs and concerns of our diverse producers, farm workers, anti-hunger advocates, and local nutrition organizations. I thank my colleagues and friends, Ranking Member Peterson and Congressman Costa, for joining me in Salinas. We appreciated hearing from stakeholders on the Central Coast and look forward to taking what we learned back to Washington as we craft the next Farm Bill,” said Congressman Panetta.

“One of my highest priorities this Congress is reauthorizing the Farm Bill. This has traditionally been a bipartisan effort in the House Agriculture Committee. It was great to hear our local agriculture leaders and nutrition groups this


Congressman Jim Costa

morning let us know what their priorities are, and I look forward to listening to local voices throughout the region in the roundtables and listening sessions we will be holding in the near future,” said Congressman Costa.

The House Committee on Agricultural has been holding similar roundtables and listening sessions across the country in anticipation of the upcoming legislative work on the next Farm Bill. The provisions in the current Farm Bill are due to expire September 30, 2018.

back to top

August 10, 2017

Merced County Students Head Back to School

Classes have resumed this week for 10 of Merced County's 20 school districts with the rest of them getting under way next week.
A master schedule assembled by the Merced County Office of Education shows classes began Tuesday Aug. 8 for Delhi Unified students and Wednesday Aug. 9 for Dos Palos-Ora Loma, Gustine, Le Grand elementary and high school and Planada campuses.
Classes with Los Banos Unified School District, El Nido and Hilmar schools start this Thursday, Aug. 10. Students in the Weaver Union School District, which has a trimester system, began their year on July 20.
In the Atwater, Merced City, McSwain, Merced River, Merced Union high and Snelling school districts, classes begin Aug. 16; Winton students return to classes Aug. 14.
In the Merced City School District, 11,639 students attended classes in the school year ending in June. A 0.75 percent enrollment increase is projected for this fall.
With Merced City, a cutting-edge STEAM center is opening adjacent to Ada Givens Elementary School. It will be used by students throughout the district with 21st Century hands-on learning stressed in the 5,460-square-foot building featuring a lab classroom, two "flex" classrooms and a lobby-breakout space, along with a large outdoor amphitheater. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
In the Merced Union High School District, Assistant Superintendent Ralph Calderon said fall classes will open with 10,400 students, about the same number as last year. Thirty new teachers have been hired. Teachers are planning and developing a new schedule this year, which will provide more academic and career-technical education opportunities. This schedule will be fully implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.
Ana Boyenga, assistant superintendent of educational services for the Atwater Elementary School District, said 4,993 students attended classes through June. This fall, 5,005 have registered so far with registration continuing.
In Hilmar, enrollment is expected to stay about the same with 2,406 students from transitional kindergarten through high school. Hilmar Superintendent Isabel Cabral-Johnson anticipates fall enrollment could be up slightly or ultimately remain about even with June figures. She said the district is moving forward with academic and social support programs that were put into place recently.

Gustine is projecting 1,896 students this fall, 20 more than attended the last school year.
Merced River School District Superintendent Richard Lopez said the district had 170 students at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and he is hoping for about the same number of students or possibly a few more this fall.
Lopez said Merced River is in the final stages of modernizing Washington School. Four new teachers have been hired along with a new cafeteria cook and bus driver. The ASSETS after-school program offered by MCOE will be offered there for the first time.
For the first time in many years, there will be one teacher per grade level, according to Lopez.
With school resuming, area law enforcement authorities are asking drivers to be extra vigilant.
Capt. Bimley West of the Merced Police Department said he wants school children to arrive at their destinations safely and that calls for caution on the part of drivers, parents taking their children to school and pedestrians of all ages. He said the police department has increased its dedicated traffic unit to two motorcycle officers who will keep a close eye on enforcing traffic laws around school zones.
All schools will be closed Memorial Day May 28, Labor Day Sept. 4, Veteran's Day Nov. 10 and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 15.

To view the county schools schedule, visit http://mcoe.org/school/Documents/2017-2018%20School%20Year%20Schedule-Revised.pdf

back to top

August 10, 2017

 

TWO MEN CONVICTED OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER

William White, 38, of Antioch, and Victor Hernandez, 27, of Modesto, were both convicted of first degree murder and two counts of home invasion robbery, with all gun enhancements found to be true, on Tuesday by a Merced County jury, for their role in the death of Orlando Yepez on August 1, 2014 in Hilmar said Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall, who prosecuted the case.
White was also found guilty of one count of burglary that Hernandez was not charged with.
In the early morning hours of August 1, 2014, White, Hernandez, Yepez, and two other men went to Juan Carlos Alvarez’s house with the intent to commit a robbery. During the commission of the robbery Hernandez pulled a gun on Alvarez, and during the struggle for control over the gun, Yepez was fatally shot.

It was found that Hernandez and White were responsible for Yepez’s death because it occurred during the commission of the felony robbery they were attempting to commit, in Alvarez’s home.
“This conviction takes two dangerous men who have no regard for human life, off of our streets, and is a huge step in the direction of making our neighborhoods safer,” said Wall.
They will appear in court again on Thursday, August 17 for a hearing on their prior convictions.
They both face a minimum of 25 years to life.

back to top

August 9, 2017

Merced Council approves new regional shopping center

Merced will soon have a new regional shopping center with retail stores, a hotel, theater, restaurants and fast food at Campus Parkway and Highway 99.

Also planned for the 601,127-square-foot center is a 177 unit multi-family housing project. The developer said the plans included a grocery store, sporting goods store and ag supply store.

“This retail center is a big win for our residents,” said Mayor Mike Murphy. “It will provide new retail, entertainment, housing, employment, and dining options for Merced and the surrounding area.

“It is a well-designed project that we can all be proud of and represents years of work by everyone involved,” Murphy said.

The City Council unanimously approved the Environmental Impact Report and other land use documents at its Monday night meeting. The developers said they plan to break ground sometime next year.

"This is tremendous news for District 1 and the entire City of Merced,” said Council member Anthony Martinez, who represents District 1 where the shopping center is located. “This project will inject a new buzz into a community that has been ready for something like this for years.”

The project is being developed on 77-acres of land that had been part of the Pluim family dairy from 1928 through 1986. The family joined with California Gold Development Corp., a Sonora-based firm to form the Merced Gateway Development.

“The development team estimates that the $150 million project will generate 800 construction jobs and 900 full-time jobs, and a $30-million payroll by full buildout,” said Economic Development Director Frank Quintero.

It’s estimated the center will generate $30 million a year in sales tax, the developers said.

 

 

“We regularly hear developers say that Merced has great potential and you can see it with the construction taking place around the City. At City Hall, we believe it’s Merced’s time,” Quintero said.

The shopping center is intended to be a retail and entertainment hub, with 17 retail stores, 10 restaurants and a movie theater offering a mix of attractions for patrons.
“The timing is perfect for the Gateway Retail project,” Quintero said. “The face of retail and entertainment is in transition. Merced has an opportunity to develop a state of the art facility to serve our retail trade area.”

The shopping center is located at the Mission Avenue off-ramp of Highway 99. Campus Parkway runs through the middle of the project, which is bounded by Cofffee Avenue on the west and Gerard Avenue on the north and Mission Avenue on the south.

The developers plan to built the center in eight phases over 5 years. Plans also include a fire station.

“As retail anchors commit to the project, other retailers, hospitality, entertainment, and service providers will follow,” Quintero said. “An investment and project of this size will cause commercial users and developers to seek other investment opportunities in Merced such as the Downtown and Merced Mall. Retail centers rely on a mix of businesses to generate foot traffic throughout the day.”

The owners said they plan to hire local workers to build the project and area subcontractors for work on the center.


artist's rendering of what the retail center would look like

back to top

August 9, 2017

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

MERCED- The Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) will hold a second workshop in Los Banos to give the public an additional 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, 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 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 workshop will give participants an opportunity to learn more about the planning process and weigh in on priorities for investments.”

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
6:00pm
Los Banos City Council Chambers
520 J Street, Los Banos
For more information please visit our project website www.MercedRegionalVision.com or the Merced County Association of Governments website www.mcagov.org

back to top

August 9, 2017

Fundraiser Supports Continuous Improvements at Camp Green Meadows

The Merced County Education Foundation will host the second annual fundraiser to support Camp Green Meadows on Sept. 10 at the Elks Lodge in Merced.
The outdoor education facility near Fish Camp — about one mile from the Wawona entrance to Yosemite National Park — is owned and operated by the Merced County Office of Education and has served tens of thousands of students from throughout Central California for more than 50 years, providing about 2,500 Merced County students the outdoor school and camping experience annually.
Unlike traditional schools, which receive a portion of funding through average daily attendance, Camp Green Meadows relies on visiting schools and private groups for its revenue, along with community support. MCOE works to keep fees low to minimize cost to school districts, which leaves little resources for capital improvements.
MCOE has identified several areas of need at the outdoor school to ensure the facilities can serve new generations of students.
Upgrades include renovations of all boys and girls cabins and a renovated nurse’s station, which will provide easier access for wheelchairs, be a dedicated space for students who become ill and need first aid or monitor medication during their stay.

 

The fundraiser is $50 per-person and includes a prime rib dinner, entertainment and a program featuring Green Meadows students and naturalists.
There is also an online silent auction for an overnight stay at Camp Green Meadows with a private cabin on May 19-20, 2018.This unique opportunity gives the winner overnight access to a cabin that sleeps 24, with lunch and dinner provided on Saturday and breakfast provided on Sunday. Access the online silent auction at https://sites.google.com/mcoe.org/gmos/home.
Tickets can be purchased by emailing rsvp@mcoe.org, calling (209) 381-6601 or visiting https://secure.qgiv.com/for/mcefand clicking on the "Events" tab.

back to top

August 8 , 2017

 

Atwater FFA Branches Out During Leadership Retreat

Written by: Atwater FFA

“Branching Out Together” was selected as the 2017-2018 Atwater FFA theme as advisors and chapter officers gathered in Reno, NV and lake Tahoe, CA for their annual Atwater FFA Chapter Officer Leadership Retreat. The primary goals of the three day retreat was to plan the calendar, identify yearly objectives to help strengthen and continue the growth of its members and program, and strengthen team building skills.

“Our officer team starts the school year with focus, vision, and enthusiasm in leading their organization and our students,” said FFA advisor Natalie Borba. This year’s officer team hopes to inspire student leadership, expand personal success, increase participation from current members, and strengthen recruitment of new members. “This year’s theme represents the expanded opportunities and paths students can take within agriculture education and the FFA towards a journey of academic success, personal growth, leadership, and career exploration,” said Atwater FFA President Anessa Cardenas.

Leadership retreat highlights included visiting Squaw Valley Ski Resort to participate in various activities ranging from geocaching to scenic hiking and walking trails. For most of the students, this was the first time they left the state of California. “You don’t have the opportunity to travel out of state with other programs, agriculture allows us to travel throughout the state during the school year participating in competitions in various colleges and universities,” said FFA officer Jasmine Sandoval.

The Atwater High School agriculture program has been recognized as one of the state’s most productive agriculture programs by the California Agricultural Teacher’s Association (CATA) and the National Association of Agriculture Educators (NAAE). “We have tremendous support from our school administration, school district, and our community in supporting FFA and agriculture education as a way to get students involved and provide individuals with purpose, direction and self-confidence in life,” said agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Kaylyn Davenport.

The new officer team is looking forward to the challenges and rewards that the upcoming 2017-2018 school year holds for them. This year’s officer team includes Anessa Cardenas, President; Jasmine Sandoval, Vice President; Dillon Guillen, Secretary; Zion Brigham, Treasurer; Grace Reyes, Reporter; Jonathan Garcia, Sentinel; and Stephania Valdovinos, Historian. In addition to the Atwater FFA chapter officers, three other Atwater FFA members (Emily Junez, Daisy Flores, and Callie Norton) joined the leadership retreat as they will be serving as sectional and regional FFA officers within the California FFA Association.

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


The 2017 - 2018 Atwater FFA Officer Team comprised of Anessa Cardenas, Zion Brigham, Grace Reyes, Jonathan Garcia, Stephania Valdovinos, Dillon Guillen, and Jasmine Sandoval gathered together in Reno, NV for their annual Chapter Officer Leadership Retreat.


Atwater FFA's Grace Reyes (standing) works with her officer team including Anessa Cardenas (left) under the guidance of fellow officer Jonathan Garcia (center) in a team building activity that focused on working together as a team.


Ten Atwater High School FFA leadership representatives Jasmine Sandoval, Stephania Valdovinos, Emily Junez, Daisy Flores, Jonathan Garcia, Zion Brigham, Dillon Guillen, Grace Reyes, Callie Norton, and Anessa Cardenas visited Lake Tahoe's Squaw Valley Resort during Atwater FFA's annual leadership retreat.

back to top

August 5 , 2017

Shopping center, police station on agenda

A shopping center complex and the purchase of a site for a future police station are on the Merced City Council agenda for Monday night.
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.
Council will consider approval of the environmental impact report for a 77-acre regional shopping center on Mission Avenue near Highway 99.
The 601,126-square-foot complex would include retail stores, restaurants, a hotel and gas station. Also planned for the site are 178 multi-family housing units and a fire station.
The project received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission.
Council will consider the purchase of the 5.5 acre Merced Sun-Star site at 3033 G St. for $1.62 million. The City will lease back the building to McClatchy Newspaper, Inc. for $2,500 a month.
The City plans to build a new police station to replace the building on West 22ndconstructed in 1959. The current station isn’t large enough for the Department and is outdated for today’s policing. The City doesn’t have funds to build the new police station, so it will hire consultants to see what the public support for a sales tax increase would be and explore other methods of financing a station.

 

The Council will meet at 5 p.m. to confer regarding the appointment of a Finance Officer and to confer with property negotiators regarding the sale of the Merced Sun-Star site.
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.

back to top

August 5 , 2017

The Bus to Begin New Route Schedules

MERCED– The Bus will be implementing new route schedules starting Monday, August 7, 2017 as part of an ongoing commitment to improve the overall transit system and provide efficient service to the greatest number of people in Merced County. The Bus received a grant to provide free rides on the Fixed Route for the month of August to lower carbon emissions. The service changes were planned for August to help riders adjust to the route and schedule changes while the service is free.
Riders can expect changes such the removal of the M2 south loop, modifications to the south loop of the M3 to reduce duplication of service, and a restructured M6 including a new stop at Merced Transpo. Riders can also expect minor adjustments to the schedules in an effort to make better connections between routes. These changes were made based on ridership data and feedback from riders throughout the community. To review all of the new route schedules, please visit http://mercedthebus.com/228/August-7th-Schedule-Adjustments or call The Bus at (209)723-3100.
The Bus provides transit service along 17 fixed routes seven days a week serving the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced, as well as the communities of Le Grand, Planada and Winton. 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. With the passage of Measure V in 2016, seniors, veterans and ADA eligible passengers now ride the fixed route system for free with proper photo identification. Reduced rates are available for students.

The Bus is the single public transportation service provider for all of Merced County and is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). For more information, please visit www.mercedthebus.com and www.mcagov.org.

 

back to top

August 5 , 2017


FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT STATE ROUTE 140
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County— The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) at SR-140 for sign work.
Work will occur as follows:
• Full highway closure on northbound SR-99 at SR-140 beginning Tuesday, August 8, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.;
• Full highway closure on southbound SR-99 at SR-140 beginning Tuesday, August 7, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Additional construction activities include:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to East Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Sunday, August 6, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-15 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.


FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT 16TH STREET
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County— The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close northbound and southbound State Route 99 at 16th Street for sign work.
Crews will be working Sunday, August 6, 2017, through Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-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.


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

 


TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 59 AT STATE ROUTE 152
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the connector ramps between State Route 59 (SR-59) and SR-152 for pavement work.
Crews will be working Tuesday, August 8, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10 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 59 FROM RED TOP ROAD TO VASSAR AVENUE
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 59 from Red Top Road to Vassar Avenue for pavement work.

Work will begin Sunday, August 6, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Motorists should expect 10 minute delays.

This 13 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. The project is expected to be completed October 2017.

Teichert Corporation of Sacramento, CA, is performing the work.

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.

back to top

August 4 , 2017

Parks and Rec offices have moved

The City of Merced Parks and Recreation Department has moved its offices. The Department has left the Merced Civic Center (City Hall) and moved next door into the Shannon Parcade building.
The new address is 632 W. 18th St. All of the phone numbers will remain the same. The Department hours are 10 to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

 

For information about programs and activities, go to City of Merced Parks and Recreation on Facebook, or visit the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org.
For more information or to sign up for programs call 209-385-6835.

back to top

August 4 , 2017

Merced County, School Districts Throughout State, Feel Impact of Teacher Shortage

In Merced County and elsewhere, the shortage of teachers is a struggle for school districts.
Eva L. Chavez, assistant superintendent for Human Resources for the Merced County Office of Education, said it has been a struggle to recruit and fill available teaching positions.
“I won’t say we are winning the war on recruiting all positions,” Chavez said. “We are just trying to stay afloat, stay even. There is constant attrition for various reasons including retirements.” Many teachers from the Baby Boomer generation are retiring, leaving schools in need of new teachers.
Tricia Aquino, a Human Resources analyst with MCOE, said she spends about half of her time trying to recruit teachers and there always are openings. There are a number of districts giving stipends and hiring bonuses for new hires. The Fresno Unified School District has a 12-person staff just looking for new teachers.
“It takes a special person to be a teacher and you have to be creative,” Chavez said. “It is very challenging to be a teacher. You are a facilitator of learning. You hear kids are harder to teach and you (teachers) have to be skilled to keep their attention.”
The county schools office held a teacher-recruiting fair in April in Atwater where 12 school districts were represented and 80 teacher candidates attended a Saturday session.
Chavez said some thought needs to be given for either individual school districts or countywide staff focusing specifically on the teacher recruiting issue. Teachers are most needed in mathematics, science and special education areas.
Aquino said for the past four or five years she has attended university recruiting fairs or sent job postings to area colleges and universities.

 


School districts don’t have the time or resources to send people to recruiting fairs, with the expenses of flights, meals, lodging and time away from other duties.
“This is not just Merced County; San Francisco is struggling and looking to mitigate the situation. I know this is broader than California,” Chavez said.
“This (teaching) is a work of the heart. It takes a special skill and teacher pay is still an issue. Other industries pay more, especially the technology industry and bigger metropolitan areas,” Chavez said.
Teacher shortages stem back to the recession and layoffs in education during 2007 and 2008; since these times, many students didn’t go into teaching and we have to wait for the numbers to catch up, Chavez said. MCOE employs 330 certificated employees in special education, speech therapy, counseling, juvenile hall and Head Start positions.
“Finding the right individuals to take on this challenge isn’t simple. This is a giveback profession; you are not producing a product. Teachers have an opportunity to make a huge difference in a child’s life and that’s priceless,” Chavez said.

back to top

July 27 , 2017

The Bus to provide free service in August

MERCED– The Bus invites members of the community to “try The Bus on us” during the month of August! Starting August 1 through August 31, The Bus will offer FREE service on all fixed routes countywide. By riding public transit, residents can help reduce congestion and save money.
"We are excited to be able to offer free fixed route service again this year,” said Rich Green, Transit Manager. “We hope to encourage people who've never ridden the bus to give it a try to see if they can make our service work for them.” This free service program is made possible through funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP).
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 and is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). For more information, please visit www.mercedthebus.com and www.mcagov.org.

 

 

back to top

August 4 , 2017

 

CALTRANS TO SPEND SB 1 FUNDS IN MERCED COUNTY

MERCED- The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced the fast tracking of “fix it first” construction work and increased road repairs across the state including two in Merced County. Caltrans is able to jumpstart these road repairs thanks to the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1) recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
The 13 listed “fix it first” projects involve mainly resurfacing on state highways. Among the projects is State Route 152 from Los Banos to east of the Merced/Madera County line which will receive $2.8 million in repairs and replacement of various sections of pavement, as well as, a resurface of nearly 13 miles on State Route 59 near Merced.

SB 1 is a landmark transportation investment to rebuild California by fixing neighborhood streets, freeways and bridges in communities across California and targeting funds towards transit and congested trade and commute corridor improvements. With these funds, Caltrans will fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges, and 55,000 culverts by 2027. Caltrans will also fix 7,700 traffic operating systems, like ramp meters, traffic cameras and electric highway message boards that help reduce highway congestion.
To track the progress of projects funded by SB 1, Caltrans established a Rebuilding California website: rebuildingca.ca.gov.

back to top

August 3 , 2017

MCSD Preschools Earn Highest Ratings and Grant Funding

The Merced City School District’s preschool program recently received excellent ratings through the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

The California Department of Education describes QRIS as “a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs.” It considers seven comprehensive categories, including effective teacher-child interactions, program environment, and the qualifications of the lead teachers and director. The ratings are determined every two years, and the Merced County Office of Education facilitates the process for districts in Merced County.

QRIS consists of a five tier system with the following ratings in ascending order: Emerging Quality, Basic Quality, Quality, High Quality, and High Quality Plus. Eleven of MCSD’s preschool sites received the top rating of High Quality Plus, and the remaining two sites were recognized as High Quality.

Preschool Director Melanie Cole explains, “Our preschools earn these outstanding ratings because we have highly qualified staff, we provide high ratios for supervision and engagement, and we monitor children’s development and provide additional support as needed. We also score high for our safe, clean facilities.”

The high ratings also earned the district a $105,300 block grant from the California State Preschool Program. Each preschool site will receive $8,100.

MCSD places a tremendous value on preschool because of the impact it can make on children for years to come. It supports their academic, social, and emotional development in a number of ways. The lessons, games, and activities are designed to boost pre-math and literacy skills, while interacting with teachers and classmates helps build trust and positive relationships. Preschool also nurtures curiosity and creativity. All of these elements help prepare the children for success not only in kindergarten, but throughout their lives.

The MCSD preschool program serves children between three and five years old. The program provides a three hour session in the morning and another three hour session in the afternoon. Class sizes range from 16-24 students, but the district always maintains a ratio of one adult for every eight children. It is a state preschool program, so participants must meet eligibility requirements, which are based on a family’s size and the gross monthly income. Applications are being accepted right now and will continue to be accepted throughout the year in case additional spaces become available.

Anyone interested in applying or learning more about the program can call (209) 385-6619 or visit Galen Clark Preschool at 211 E. 11th Street in Merced. More information is also available on the district website: http://www.mcsd.k12.ca.us/MCSDPreschool/

MCSD Preschool QRIS Ratings:

Burbank Preschool High Quality
Clark Preschool High Quality Plus
Chenoweth Preschool High Quality Plus
Franklin Preschool High Quality Plus
Fremont Preschool High Quality Plus
Givens Preschool High Quality Plus
Gracey Preschool High Quality Plus
Muir Preschool High Quality Plus
Peterson Preschool High Quality Plus
Reyes Preschool High Quality
Rivera Preschool High Quality Plus
Sheehy Preschool High Quality Plus
Wright Preschool High Quality Plus










back to top

August 2 , 2017

NEW ARTIST IS FEATURED IN MERCED COUNTY
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S LOBBY

Angela Holmes is the latest artist displaying her paintings in the Merced County District Attorney’s office lobby. Her paintings, featuring different jungle animals and abstract pieces will be on display through December.
The Merced County District Attorney’s office supports local artists by displaying their work in the main lobby in its office. Each artist’s work will remain on display for six months.
Ms. Holmes began painting in 2003 when a friend invited her to paint in her studio. It was that same friend who encouraged her to enter her Macau painting into the Kern County Fair, where she was awarded third place.
Since she began painting some 14 years ago, she has participated in three Art Hops. Merced Art Hop has been held in downtown Merced for the past eight years, and not only gives local artists a chance to display their work, but also brings business to the downtown area. Art Hop also features live music, interactive art activities and performers, so there is a little something for everyone who comes.
“I enjoy painting because it gives me a space to let my spiritual freedom have access to my heart, my mind and my body,” said Holmes in her biography that accompanies her paintings in the District Attorney lobby.
You can contact Angela by her email at lillypadstudio@hotmail.com or by phone at (209) 349-2339.
“There are so many talented artists in our community, few of whom get the exposure or recognition they deserve,” said District Attorney Larry D. Morse II. “We are pleased and honored to showcase their work in our lobby and invite the public to visit our office during business hours and see the incredible art being produced right here in Merced County,” he added.
If you are a local artist and would like to display your paintings or photographs, contact the District Attorney’s communications specialist Amanda McCoy at (209) 628-1646.

 

 

back to top

August 2 , 2017

CONSTRUCTION/TRAFFIC ADVISORY
BPMP Bridge Repairs on M Street over Bear Creek

Viking Construction Company, in partnership with the City of Merced, will be closing M Street between Rambler Road and 27th Street from midnight to 5am on Thursday, August 3rd to finish installing traffic control devices for the bridge repair work over Bear Creek. M Street will reopen with one lane in each direction. North Bear Creek Drive will remain closed to through traffic crossing M Street.
Please follow the advance warning signs and detour arrows that will guide you around the jobsite vicinity.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, construction related issues, and traffic incidents.


Should you have specific concerns or questions about the project, please contact the Project Manager or the City Engineer listed below:
Joel Svendsen, Project Manager 209-385-6820
Steven Son, City Engineer 209-385-6898
For the safety of the workers and other motorists, please slow down for the construction zone.
Viking Construction Company and the City of Merced would like to thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation during this project.

back to top

August 2 , 2017

City keeps Cooling Zone on Wednesday

The temperatures continue to be in the 105 degree range, so the City of Merced will keep open its Cooling Zone Wednesday in collaboration with the Merced County Office of Emergency Services.

The Merced City Cooling Zone will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.

People can bring their pets to the Cooling Zone as long as they don’t disturb other people or pets. Water

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.

And residents are asked look out for each other and to check in on their neighbors to make sure they are coping with the hot weather. Vulnerable populations include seniors and at-risk people who may need some extra assistance.

Opening of the City of Merced Cooling Zone is subject to changes in the temperatures.

Below is the news release from the Merced County Office of Emergency Services listing other Cooling Zones in the County.

COOLING ZONES AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY

MERCED – With temperatures expected to reach 105 degrees Wednesday (Aug. 2), several cooling zones will be open to help residents cope with the heat. The following locations will be available during specified times/hours to be used as cooling zones if needed:
• The City of Atwater’s Cooling Zone will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Atwater Community Center on 760 E. Bellevue Road
• The City of Dos Palos’ Cooling Zone will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the City-County Building (City Hall) on 1546 Golden Gate Ave.
• The City of Gustine’s Cooling Zone will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Community Room adjacent to the Library at 205 Sixth St.
• The City of Livingston’s Cooling Zone will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Police Department on 1446 C St.
• The City of Los Banos’ Cooling Zone will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Community Center at 645 Seventh St.
• The City of Merced’s Cooling Zone will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Merced Civic Center on 678 W. 18th St.

 


The following County libraries will also be available as Cooling Zones during normal hours Wednesday:
- Atwater, 1600 Third Street, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Delhi, 16881 W Schendel, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Dos Palos, 2002 Almond St., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Hilmar, 20041 W. Falke St. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Le Grand, 14949 Le Grand Rd, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Los Banos, 1312 Seventh St. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Merced, 2100 O St, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Winton, 7057 Walnut Ave., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Because of the extreme heat, The Bus will provide free rides on the existing fixed-route buses to the nearest Cooling Zone on Wednesday. The Bus will take passengers along the fixed route to a designated location near an available Cooling Zone only. The public can also take the fixed route bus back along the route to get home, as service is available. Check the fixed route schedules for exact times of availability. Transfers may be required. If you have a disability that prevents you from using the fixed route bus by yourself, please call (209) 384-3111.

Residents are advised to drink plenty of fluids, dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and keep physical activities to a minimum during the hottest parts of the day. Never leave children, pets or the elderly unattended in a parked vehicle.

Keep in contact with friends and family that may be at higher risk of heat illness, including infants and young children as well as older, sick and frail people. Common symptoms of heat-related conditions include profuse sweating, weakness, dizziness, headache, dimmed or blurred vision, cold damp skin, extreme tiredness, nausea and hot dry skin.

This news release will be updated as necessary. To hear the latest updates from the Merced County Office of Emergency Services, please call 209-385-7379.

For more information regarding Merced County, please visit our website atwww.countyofmerced.com

back to top

August 2 , 2017

MERCED COLLEGE OFFERING
SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS SPEAKING CLASS

Merced College is offering a three-week class called Successful Business Speaking for those who wish to improve their public speaking.
Taught by Business professor Jonae Pistoresi, the course will cover how to overcome stage fright, how to engage your audience, and many other tips and techniques.
The class will be held in the Allied Health Building, Room 123, on Tuesday Aug. 15, 22 and 29 and run from 5:30-8 p.m. The cost is $23 and earns half a unit of college credit.
For more information or to register, call 209.386.6733.

EMERGING LEADERS INSTITUTE
KICKS OFF WORKSHOP SERIES

The Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce and the Merced College Emerging Leaders Institute are partnering for a round of workshops beginning September 7.
The first course in the series will be “Employee Engagement: Improve Performance, Productivity, and Retention,” based on the Gallup Organization’s extensive research on how to engage employees.
The initial workshop will be held Thursdays, Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 from 8 a.m. to noon with a second class going from 1–5 p.m. An additional session will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and run from 1-5 p.m. All workshops will be held at the Merced College Business Resource Center at 630 W. 19th St. in downtown Merced.
The workshop is $23 and earns half a unit of college credit. For more information or to sign-up, call 209.386.6733.


MERCED COLLEGE MUSIC DEPARTMENT PRESENTS
THE RETURN OF WORLD GUITAR NIGHT

Get ready for the return of renowned guitarists Francesco Buzzurro and Richard Smith to the Merced area.
Buzzurro and Smith will perform the music of Italy, the Mediterranean, and America for one night only on Friday, Sept. 22, as part of their Heart of the Immigrant Tour.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Merced Multicultural Art Center, 645 W. Main Street.
The guitarists, who played before a packed Merced audience two years ago, are touring the United States in September, and this Merced appearance may be the only opportunity local music lovers will have to see them.
“People raved about their last show here,” said John Albano, dean of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. “The audience was simply blown away. This is a world class event for Merced.”
Tickets will be available for purchase at the Merced Multicultural Art Center, the Merced College Bookstore, and at Gottschalk’s Music. General admission is $20, while tickets for students, seniors and military are $15.
For more information, call the Merced College Arts Division at 209.386.6644 or send an email to director@artsmerced.org.

back to top

August 2 , 2017

 

Red Cross to Offer Help to Victims of Detwiler Fire

FRESNO, Calif., August 1, 2017 —The American Red Cross will be at the Detwiler Fire Local Assistance Center in Coulterville on Wednesday, August 2, at the Greeley Hill Community Hall located at 10332 Fiske Road Coulterville, CA 95311 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Red Cross workers will conduct client intake for families affected by the fire. Due to space constraints, no donated items will be accepted on site. For those who wish to donate goods such as food and clothing, a drop-off location has been established at New Life Christian Fellowship located at 5089 Cole Rd, Mariposa, CA 95338. For more information contact the Red Cross public information line at 559-343-2549. STAY INFORMED A Red Cross public information line has been established for anyone looking for information on current disaster relief efforts: 559-343-2549. HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like California Wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text “RED CROSS” to 91999 to make a $10 donation to your local Red Cross region. HOW TO VOLUNTEER Trained Red Cross volunteers are currently staffing shelters and supporting evacuated residents

Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer or sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer. In order to expedite your volunteer registration for this disaster response effort, select the Detwiler Fire opportunity when prompted in the application process. Email the local Red Cross Volunteer Services team at volunteer.centralca@redcross.org for more information. LEARN MORE Follow the local Red Cross on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates. Visit our website at redcross.org/centralcalifornia.
About the American Red Cross Central California Region
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross Central California Region provides services to the ten counties across Central California that is home to more than 4 million people. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org

back to top

August 2 , 2017

FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR CHARGES FILED IN 2016 FATAL BUS CRASH NEAR LIVINGSTON

The Merced County District Attorney’s office filed four felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and five misdemeanor vehicle code violations against Mario David Vasquez of Los Angeles on Monday in connection with an early morning bus crash on August 2nd of 2016 outside Livingston that claimed four lives and resulted in serious injuries to eight passengers, District Attorney Larry D. Morse II announced.
Vasquez, age 58, was driving a bus owned by Autobuses Coordinados USA, Inc. southbound on Highway 99 just south of Hammatt Avenue around 3:18 a.m. when the bus left the roadway and collided with a sign pole on northbound Highway 99. The poll split through the middle of the bus crushing rows of seats. In addition to the four fatalities, several of the injured passengers lost limbs to amputation.
The accident was investigated by the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) from Fresno, which turned over its findings to the District Attorney’s office last week. The report indicated the defendant had been operating the motor coach since approximately 7:30 p.m. on August 1st in the area of Los Angeles. Though the report did not indicate that Vasquez was on his cell phone at the time of the accident, evidence from cellular phone records show that he used his cell phone numerous times while driving the 49-passenger motor coach through California, including a call a few minutes before the fatal crash, Morse said.
The defendant’s log book, which is required for commercial drivers, indicated he had slept only 6.5 hours the previous day although cell phone records

contradict that he even slept that many hours, Morse said, noting that fatigue is believed to be a major factor in the crash. Surviving passengers described defendant Vasquez as looking tired or drowsy during travel and multiple drivers on Highway 99 in Merced County contacted investigators after the crash to report that the bus had been observed weaving shortly before the accident.
The defendant was licensed as a California Class B commercial driver and had reportedly driven buses for 30 years, Morse said. The misdemeanor violations stem from the defendant’s falsification of his daily log book, failure to keep accurate records and violating laws relating to maximum driving time for commercial drivers.
“Given their size and the potential dangers 18-wheelers and buses pose for other motorists, commercial drivers are appropriately held to the highest standards for safety under state law. Mr. Vasquez’s extreme fatigue, violations of commercial regulations and repeated use of a cell phone while entrusted with the care of passengers demonstrated a gross dereliction of the duty he owed not just to his passengers, but to every motorist on Highway 99 that morning,” Morse said.

back to top

August 1 , 2017


Costa Joins Problem Solvers in Proposing Health Care Solutions

Washington, DC – The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of representatives working to find a path forward for responsible governance, put forward a proposal today to improve the health care system in the United States. Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) is a member of the caucus. One key component of the proposal focuses on stabilizing the individual health care market to help individuals, families, and small businesses afford high-quality care. The proposal also states the importance of improving patient choice and responsibility, creating incentives for health care providers to lower costs, and giving states more flexibility in their implementation of health care policy.

“We know that the Affordable Care Act has its problems, and in order to start fixing them, it is essential that we have predictability in our health care system,” said Congressman Costa. “We also know that the only way to provide real solutions and stable policy is through bipartisan efforts. In the Problems Solvers Caucus, we have come together – Democrats and Republicans – to provide a starting point for serious bipartisan discussions so we can provide the health care system the predictability it needs for all Americans to have stable access to high-quality, affordable health care.”


Congressman Jim Costa

The Problem Solvers Caucus wants its proposal to serve as the beginning of a bipartisan effort to address the weaknesses in the Affordable Care Act, focusing on areas where members of the caucus believe they can find a broader consensus to improve America’s health care system.

back to top

July 29, 2017

Red Cross to distribute clean-up supplies to residents in Greeley Hills

FRESNO, Calif., July 28, 2017 — The American Red Cross of Central California will distribute clean-up materials for residents affected by the Detwiler Fire on Saturday, July 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or until supplies are exhausted.

The Red Cross plays a critical role in helping families and communities get back on their feet in the weeks and months after a disaster. Trained Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to help them navigate what often can be a confusing, complicated and time-consuming world of disaster recovery.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided free of charge and is made possible by the voluntary donations of time and money from caring individuals and corporate partners.

You can help people affected by disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. For more information, contact the Red Cross public information line at 559-343-2549.

The Red Cross of the Central Valley thanks corporate partners PG&E, Wells Fargo and Chevron for their generosity and support of California Wildfire disaster relief.

HOW TO HELP

You can help people affected by disasters like California Wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text “RED CROSS” to 91999 to make a $10 donation to your local Red Cross region.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER

Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer or sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer. In order to expedite your volunteer registration for this disaster response effort, select the Detwiler Fire opportunity when prompted in the application process. Email the local Red Cross Volunteer Services team at volunteer.centralca@redcross.org for more information.

LEARN MORE

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

back to top

July 29, 2017

FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM CHILDS AVENUE
TO STATE ROUTE 140/V STREET IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County— The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Childs Avenue to SR-140/V Street for sign work. Motorists should expect 10-15 minute delays and seek alternate routes.
Work will occur as follows:
• Full highway closure on northbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to SR-59/Martin Luther King Jr. Way beginning Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for sign work;
• Full highway closure on southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to SR-140/V Street beginning Monday, July 31, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. for sign work.
Additional construction activities include:
• Various off and on-ramps on northbound and southbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue in Merced to East Atwater Boulevard in Atwater will close beginning Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work;
• The #2 (right) lane on northbound SR-99 from Childs Avenue to 16th Street in Merced will close beginning Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for sign work;

• The #2 (right) lane on northbound SR-99 at East Atwater Boulevard will close beginning Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for sign work.

Motorists should expect 10-15 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 59 FROM RED TOP ROAD TO VASSAR AVENUE
IN MERCED COUNTY

Merced County – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control on northbound and southbound State Route 59 from Red top Road to Vassar Avenue for pavement work.

Work will begin Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Thursday, August 3, 2017, from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Motorists should expect 10 minute delays.

This 13 mile-long project will extend the service life of the existing pavement and improve efficiency and safety for motorists traveling in Merced County. The project is expected to be completed October 2017.

Teichert Corporation of Sacramento, CA, is performing the work under a $2.4 million contract.

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
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 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 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.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-99 in Merced to SR-33 in Gustine. Work will occur as follows:

• The southbound off-ramp from SR-99 to SR-140 at V Street will close beginning Sunday, July 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 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 Street in the City of Merced to SR-33 in Gustine beginning Monday, July 31, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 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 30, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

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.

back to top

July 29, 2017

 

 

Costa Introduces Legislation to Support Employment Training for SNAP Recipients

Washington, DC – Today Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) introduced the Results Through Innovation Act of 2017 into the House of Representatives. If enacted, the legislation would bolster the federal funding for employment and training programs for individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP employment and training programs (E & T) aim at helping SNAP recipients secure gainful employment through work-related education, job training, and job advancement classes so they can ultimately become self-sufficient.

“For years I have been following how pairing education and training programs with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has transformed people’s lives in the San Joaquin Valley, and we have seen the success of programs that focus on helping individuals find long-term employment and start real careers,” Rep. Costa said. “These types of programs help individuals raise themselves out of poverty and become self-reliant, which is good for the individuals, good for their families, good for our communities, and good for our nation.”

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized funding for the development, implementation, and evaluation of ten SNAP E & T pilot projects for three years in order to learn how to make SNAP E & T programs as effective as possible. One of these pilot projects built on existing programs at the Fresno Bridge Academy in Fresno, California, an organization that has been helping individuals find long-term employment and become self-reliant since 2010.

“For seven years now, we have demonstrated at the Fresno Bridge Academy that we can help SNAP beneficiaries lift themselves out of poverty, and we can do so while earning very positive returns for taxpayers,” said Pete Weber, Founder and Chair of the California Bridge Academies. “Congressman Costa’s bill will help millions of Americans lift themselves out of poverty while saving taxpayers billions of dollars in outlays for public assistance.”

The funding for the E & T pilot projects authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill ends in 2018, while funds for the grant program created in the Results Through Innovation Act of 2017 would become available in 2019. To help ensure grants fund SNAP E & T programs that are as efficient and successful as possible, the Results Through Innovation Act of 2017 states the E & T projects given grants should meet certain requirements. These requirements include increasing the short-term and long-term employment as well as income earnings for households receiving SNAP benefits, supporting a range of rural and urban areas, and providing support services to individuals to help enable them to participate in the program, such as transportation reimbursement and childcare.


Congressman Jim Costa

Costa Statement on Defeat of Bill to Repeal the ACA in Senate

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), co-chair of the fiscally-responsible Blue Dog Coalition, released the following statement about the U.S. Senate’s early morning vote to defeat the passage of theHealth Care Freedom Act, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“By not passing the Health Care Freedom Act, the Senate has provided us with an opportunity to get back to the business of governing, and governing well. As I have said time and time again, the Affordable Care Act needs work, but the only way to fix the ACA is through real and workable bipartisan solutions. This means we must listen to experts in the field to identify the health care problems Americans face in their daily lives, the causes of these problems, and possible answers, and then we must work together – Democrats and Republicans – to construct a well-founded and serious policy solution. We know Congress can work this way. We saw it last December when the WIIN Act became law, and we saw it this week in the House of Representatives with the passage of the Forever GI Bill.

“We must stop the childish game of vengeful one-upmanship that has been consuming Washington for decades now, and start serious policy deliberation. I commend Senators Collins, Murkowski, and McCain for having the courage to break with their party on this highly-partisan issue, and I thank them for giving us the chance to govern well and get this right.

“As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of representatives working to find a path forward for responsible governance, I have been part of an ongoing bipartisan effort to find real solutions for the problems with our current health care system. The next version of health care legislation must, at a minimum, do the following four things. First, it must create a permanent reinsurance program. Second, it must reduce copays and deductibles for low-income Americans by properly funding cost-sharing reduction payments. Third, it must promote coverage and ensure that everyone pays their fair share. And fourth, it must create more affordable options so all Americans have access to high-quality health care.

“The next piece of health care legislation that comes before Congress should contain these four components, and it must – it must – be a bipartisan effort. Only by joining together will we be able to make real and lasting improvements to our health care system. This is the good governance the American people want and deserve.”

back to top

July 29, 2017

Central California’s Food Industry Connects with Top Buyers and Public
At Nation’s Largest Regional Food Show

Commerce Flourishes at the 2017 Fresno Food Expo, which Continues to Shape
Central California’s Food Industry, Culture and Experience

Fresno, California – July 27, 2017…The 2017 Fresno Food Expo brought together 142 of Central California’s finest food and beverage growers and manufacturers to showcase high quality local products to more than 650 pre-qualified regional, national and international foodservice and retail buyers matching products to market needs for increased sales. Additionally 16 Valley restauranteurs and celebrity chefs cooked up exhibitor-only dishes during the two-day show and over 1,100 members of the public joined the celebration of food, innovation and commerce found in Central California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The Expo’s expanded exhibitor platform supplemented the food show with a year-round network of business growth opportunities and allowed for participating companies to connect with national and international food experts who believe in Central California’s vibrant food scene including: New York Times best-selling author Greg Lederman who shared strategies for effective leadership to increase team productivity; various exhibitor training sessions with topics like food safety, business acquisitions and branding in the digital era; an exclusive meeting between food writer, cook and Food Network TV personality Simon Majumdar and 35 regional restaurateurs and chefs who discussed the benefits of coming together to increase locally-crafted cuisine to 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; and “Supermarket Guru” Phil Lempert who led this year’s keynote address with remarks on consumer trends, the new retail environment and the role of Millennials and technology in our changing marketplace.

“The Expo is all about listening to the needs of our exhibitors and making meaningful connections to grow their businesses, expand collaborations and draw focus to celebrate Central California’s thriving food industry,” said David Nalchajian, General Manager, Fresno Food Expo. “The synergy experienced this year among exhibiting companies is unlike what we’ve seen before. You’ve heard the reference ‘the seven year itch.’ In the case of the Fresno Food Expo, our seventh year has unleashed opportunity for year-round enrichment for our exhibitors where they’ve been able to immediately utilize tools and put them to work as part of overall growth strategies. The regional food industry, national and international buyers and the public are coming together at an entirely different level, which is both exciting and humbling.”

To continue providing local food and beverage companies with top-tier connections, the Expo also focused on bringing quality, high-level buyers with great purchasing power to the show floor. To do so, a new software technology was implemented that required documentation to ensure only qualified decision-makers with buying authority had access to the business-to-business portion of the show. This new program, used at national and international industry trade shows, further elevated the value of the Expo and its place as a top-tier food show. Top buyers attending this year’s Expo included: Costco, Safeway, Walmart and Whole Foods.

Complementing the domestic buyers were 21 qualified international buyers from Central America, Mexico and Southeast Asia who attended the Expo to meet one-on-one with qualified fresh produce companies from the Valley and also the Western U.S. These one-on-one meetings were made possible through a partnership with the California Centers for Trade Development and the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association in an effort to increase exporting, not only in California, but the United States as a whole. The Expo also garnered the attention of 22 international export trading firms.

“Our region is known world-wide for the quality and variety of products found right in our backyard,” said Alicia Rios, Director, Center for International Trade Development, State Center Community College District. “When we received interest from numerous buyers all across the globe to attend the Fresno Food Expo during this season, it put into perspective just how lucky we are to live in a region where food and food production have endless possibilities. We are proud to help source international buyers for the Valley and equally proud to serve as a center for export training for all those interested in expanding their international footprint.”

The distinctive 2017 New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP, returned with the debut of 28 new products from 26 different Central California companies. This awards program provided Expo exhibitors an opportunity to enter their new food product, varietal or packaging concept to compete for the “Fresno Food Expo Buyer’s Choice Award” and the “Fresno Food Expo People’s Choice Award.” Strong company partnerships and product collaborations were an emerging trend amongst participating Expo companies. Products included almond butters, flavored nuts, seasonings, infused olive oils, craft beers and liquor, healthy snack packs and more.
The Buyer’s Choice Award first narrowed down the products to 10 finalists by a panel of marketing and food industry leaders at the New Product Awards Preview event, “Taste, Tally & Tweet,” on July 12, 2017. These 10 products then advanced to the Celebrity Judging Panel, where judging took place on creativity, presentation, packaging and marketability on July 26. The judging panel was comprised of professionals from retail, restaurant, foodservice and packaging industries including: the Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, who led the Expo’s keynote address; Direct Store Delivery Receiving Manager and Local Marketing Lead of Albertsons-Safeway Northern California Division, Sean Topping; and European Division Manager at leading custom packaging solutions company Landsberg Orora, Jim Jarosz. The 2017 New Product Awards Buyer’s Choice Award winners were: Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company’s Half Dome California Wheat in first place; ENZO Olive Oil’s ENZO Fresno Chili Crush in second place; and Busseto Foods’ California PartyPack-Wine Trail Edition in third place.

“We’ve been part of the Fresno Food Expo since the beginning using it as a catalyst to launch our brewery. Along the way we have recorded many successes with buyers and grown exponentially, but this year to win the Buyer’s Choice Award with our Half Dome Californian Wheat, our highest-selling beer, is incredible and will help propel this product even further,” said Mike Cruz, President, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company. “It is such an honor to win a competition of this level, with the quality of products being showcased and remarkable innovation. Central California puts out some of the best products in the world.”
The 2017 People’s Choice Award, which is entirely determined by the public through online voting, logged 2,621 public votes during the July 13 – July 25 voting period via Facebook and the Fresno Food Expo website. The Brioche Lady received 661 total votes for their Purple Yam Brioche. The People’s Choice Award allows the public to share their thoughts as a consumer, voicing their opinion on what products standout from others in the marketplace. This year, Rosa Brothers Milk Company and Lanna Coffee Co.’s Cold Brew Coffee Milk took second; and Sun-Maid Growers of California’s Sour Strawberry Flavored Golden Raisins took third.
“We are passionate about food and creating a unique and authentic product,” said Leng Thao, Owner, The Brioche Lady. “Our Euro-Asian inspired brioche has been so well received by the public and we can’t thank everyone enough for voting. We are thrilled to turn this momentum into future growth and continue bringing a little bit of France to the Valley and even beyond.”

Returning to the Fresno Food Expo for its third year, the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award honors an innovative Valley-based food or beverage company that demonstrates exemplary leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, all while being an exceptional community steward. Named in honor of Fred Ruiz, founder of Ruiz Food Products, Inc., this award recognizes 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 2017 Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award winner, ENZO Olive Oil, will also receive advice and mentoring for one year by Fred Ruiz and a team of food industry professionals.
During Expolicious, the Expo’s public event, attendees not only tasted, discovered and purchased product from the 142 participating exhibitors, but


they were treated to a culinary experience put on by 12 Valley restaurants who were connected with 2017 Fresno Food Expo exhibitors to create fresh and exciting menu items unique to the region, further promoting the importance of restaurants as a prime catalyst in stimulating the local economy and regional pride by choosing to locally-source their menus. Food writer, cook and Food Network TV personality Simon Majumdar was back again to taste and judge the delicious bites; his selected winners for this year were: Rev’s California Cuisine Braised Short Rib Tacos Braised in Tioga Sequoia 99 Golden Ale with ENZO Fresno Chili Crush Foam, Corona Cheese and PK Farms Micro Green finished with caviar limes for Most Creative;Bella Luna’s Farmer’s Market Salad with Sunnyland Mills Bulger Wheat and Quinoa, Traina Sundried Tomatoes, Fresno State Sweet Corn, Roasted Peppers, Arugula and ENZO Olive Oil, along with and Harris Ranch Beef Slider with BBQ Aioli, Deb’s Gourmet Sweet Smokey Jalapenos and Onion Strings for Best Use of Exhibitor Products; and The Painted Table’s Pork Cheek on Spanish Potatoes Braised in Tioga Sequoia Firefall Red and Tioga Sequoia 99 Golden Ale, paired with the Hibiscus Sour from House of Pendragon for Best Food & Beverage Pairing.

“The Fresno Food Expo showcases all the Valley has to offer in terms of products both fresh and finished; Expolicious and this restaurant competition turns the spotlight on creative people, people with passion who take these products and create unique dishes. These people, the chefs showcasing local products are the backbone of this big food movement that is taking place right now,” said Vinnie DeAngelo, Owner and Chef, Bella Luna Restaurant in Merced. “To win this award means everything. Simon Majumdar has judged the best chefs all around the world, so to have him here raving about our creations and our products brings validity to what we’re doing here.”

The Fresno Food Expo continues to be a strong economic development program for Central California companies as buyer numbers and purchasing power continues to grow, establishing our region as a global agricultural powerhouse.

Link to download photos from the 2017 Fresno Food Expo: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/5e4TnZZ4Gn

The 2017 Fresno Food Expo was made possible in part by the support of the following well-known Valley businesses that signed on as sponsors in support of the regional food show and its mission:


Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP
Bank of America
Busseto Foods
California Centers for International Trade Development
California Grown
California Restaurant Association Fresno Chapter
Campos Brothers Farms
Central California Kosher
Central Valley Community Bank
Central Valley Community Foundation
Certified Meat Products
Champion
City of Fresno
Cohen Communications
Coldwell Solar
Cru Winery
Der Manouel Insurance Group
ENZO Olive Oil Company
Fowler Packing
Fresno Yosemite International Airport
Got Milk
House of Pendragon
J&E Restaurant Supply
Johanson Transportation Service
KMJ NOW
Landsberg Orora
La Tapatia
Lyons
Meza Films
MJR Creative Group
Nationwide
Nichols Farms
Olam
Plasticel
Prima
Real California Milk
Rosa Brothers Milk Company Ruiz Foods
Saladino’s Foodservice
San Joaquin Valley Concentrates
Setton Farms
Shift 3 Technologies
Star
Sun-Maid
Sunnyland Mills
The Business Journal
The Fresno Bee
Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company
United States Cold Storage
Valley PBS
Valley Lahvosh
Wawona Frozen Foods
Wells Fargo

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 501c6 nonprofit organization led by a 14-member Board of Directors, with current daily management services provided by Nalchajian Management Group.

back to top

July 28 , 2017

Red Cross to close shelter at Mariposa Elementary

FRESNO, Calif., July 27, 2017 — The American Red Cross of Central California intends to close the evacuation shelter at Mariposa Elementary School on Friday, July 28 at 10:30 a..m.
The shelter opened on July 20 for residents who were evacuating due to the Detwiler Fire. Red Cross workers will still continue to assist those affected by the fire.
The Red Cross plays a critical role in helping families and communities get back on their feet in the weeks and months after a disaster. Trained Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to help them navigate what often can be a confusing, complicated and time-consuming world of disaster recovery.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided free of charge and is made possible by the voluntary donations of time and money from caring individuals and corporate partners.
You can help people affected by disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. For more information, contact the Red Cross public information line at 559-343-2549.
The Red Cross of the Central Valley thanks corporate partners PG&E, Wells Fargo and Chevron for their generosity and support of California Wildfire disaster relief.

HOW TO HELP
You can help people affected by disasters like California Wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text “RED CROSS” to 91999 to make a $10 donation to your local Red Cross region.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer or sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer. In order to expedite your volunteer registration for this disaster response effort, select the Detwiler Fire opportunity when prompted in the application process. Email the local Red Cross Volunteer Services team at volunteer.centralca@redcross.org for more information.
LEARN MORE
Follow the local Red Cross on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates. Visit our website at redcross.org/centralcalifornia.

back to top

July 28 , 2017

BBB Offers Recovery Advice in
Wake of Detwiler Fire

Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties offers tips for hiring repair and cleanup services, along with donation advice for those affected.

MARIPOSA, Calif., July 24, 2017 - The Detwiler Fire is a wildfire that is burning in Mariposa County, California. According to Cal Fire, the blaze began Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm, and by Tuesday, July 18th, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency. As of July 24th, the fire was at 76,500 acres with 50 percent containment.
Though it's not known when this fire will end and how many total structures will be lost, it's important to know where to begin with the rebuilding process, and to avoid acting on emotion.
When hiring the right company to rebuild or repair your home or business, start with trust. BBB offers Business Reviews on thousands of different companies. BBB Business Reviews include important information like complaint history and details, customer reviews, licensing information, advertising concerns and important business contact information.
You don't only have to research when it comes to businesses, but also charities.
Large devastating fires like this can bring about many individuals willing to help those affected. Unfortunately, they can also bring about con artists looking to take advantage of the situation. Just like a business, it's important to do your research first before donating to charities or individuals. Don't make an on-the-spot decision, and always ask questions.
Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties offers the following advice to help you avoid untrustworthy businesses, and those soliciting for donations who may be looking to benefit themselves, rather than the victims:
When hiring a contractor after a devastating fire:
Be cautious
If a worker shows up on your doorstep and announces that your home is unsafe, someone offers a "too good to be true" deal, a worker claims they just finished a job down the street and have left-over materials, the contractor doesn't have a permanent place of business, the worker claims to be FEMA-certified, or if anyone asks for personal information like bank account or Social Security numbers.
Insurance
Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging, or other expenses that may be covered under your policy.
Take your time
Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be proactive in selecting a business and not reactive to sales solicitations. Make temporary repairs if necessary. Don't rush into decisions and don't automatically hire the first contractor who comes along.
For major repairs
Take time to shop around and get three estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references, verify licenses with the Contractors State Licensing Board, and read the company's BBB Business Review. Contractors working on a job-from debris removal to rebuilding-totaling $500 or more for labor and materials must be licensed by CSLB.
Get it in writing
Make sure you get a written contract from anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Any promises made orally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, license number and phone number along with a start and end date for the work are included in the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety and don't sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract is to be given to you when you sign. Monitor the progress of the project and keep a paper trail of all documents.

Payment
Never pay full price in advance and do not pay cash. Establish a payment schedule. Do not make a final payment until you are satisfied with the completed work. On their website, CSLB states no more than 10 percent down or $1,000 --- whichever is less. Don't let the payments get ahead of the work.

When searching for a charity:
Be cautious when giving online
Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages, emails, and social media pages that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity's website.
Rely on an expert opinion
Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they may not have fully researched the relief organizations they list. The public can go to www.give.org to research charities and relief organizations and verify that they are accredited by BBB and meet its 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Be wary of "100 percent donations" claims
Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting fire victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses. It may use some of its other funds to pay these costs, but the expenses will still be incurred.
On-the-ground presence
Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity's website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups
Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider "avoiding the middleman" and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region, or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively.
Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations
In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need --- unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.
Crowdfunding sites
Crowdfunding is a method of raising money from a large group of people, typically via the Internet. If you're thinking about donating to a fire relief appeal on a crowdfunding site, make sure to ask questions. Does the organizer have a connection with the victim? How do they plan to use the funds? If the organizer is not responsive or not willing to offer a lot of detail, that is a red flag. BBB Wise Giving Alliance notes that crowdfunding websites call for varying degrees of information in order for appeals to be set up, and may take fund raising pages down when questions are raised that can't be substantiated. However, those requirements alone won't prevent all fraud. Crowdfunding website campaigns can do a lot of good, and raise a lot of money, but make sure you do your homework before contributing.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org/ccie

ABOUT BBB:
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at
bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties
which was founded in 1950 and serves Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Tulare, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

back to top

July 28 , 2017

2017 New Product Award Winners Announced By
Nation’s Largest Regional Food Show “The Fresno Food Expo”
Buyer’s Choice, People’s Choice And Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award Winners Announced
At Exclusive “Pairings” Event In The Midst Of Registered Buyers, Sponsors And Celebrity Chefs

Fresno, California – July 26, 2017…The Board of Directors of the Fresno Food Expo were honored to announce the winners of the 2017 New Product Awards, presented by Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP, and the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award. Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company’s Half Dome California Wheat was presented with the Buyers Choice Award, followed by ENZO Olive Oil’s ENZO Fresno Chili Crush in second place and Busseto Foods’ California PartyPack-Wine Trail Edition in third place. The People’s
Choice was awarded to The Brioche lady for their Purple Yam Brioche and the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award was presented to ENZO Olive Oil.
The Fresno Food Expo Board of Directors; David Nalchajian, General Manager of the Fresno Food Expo; Erin Goldfarb, Partner with Baker Peterson Franklin CPA, LLP; and Fred Ruiz, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Ruiz Foods along with other participating Expo guests presented the awards at the opening reception, “Parings” on the evening of Wednesday July 26, 2017 at the Fresno Convention Center among a room full of pre-registered buyers and sponsors. The festive evening also featured live cooking stations hosted by the region’s leading food producers and manufacturers whose products were the highlighted cuisine prepared by local restaurant and celebrity chefs from Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant, Max’s Bistro & Bar, Trelio Restaurant, The Painted Table and Pardini’s Catering. The Pairings event offered an early opportunity to make meaningful connections for those in attendance.
This year’s New Products Awards included 28 innovative products, varietals and packaging concepts that were entered from 26 different Central California businesses. Now in its fifth year, the New Product Awards has become a strategic opportunity for participating businesses to launch new products in front of buyers, secure product placement in stores, restaurants and foodservice distribution channels, in addition to testing immediate consumer marketplace feedback. To date more than 160 new products have been entered into the Fresno Food Expo New Product Awards. The Expo aims to provide an exciting new product platform for participating exhibitors, that highlights the region’s large breadth of value-added, specialty and fresh food products, as well as packaging concepts from throughout Central California’s 8-county San Joaquin Valley.
“The New Product Award entries and winners for 2017 are a shining example of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the more than 400 different commodities and 2,500 growers and manufacturers that feed one third of our nation every day,” said David Nalchajian, General Manager of the Fresno Food Expo. “From healthy snack foods, innovative packaging to trending spirits, nuts, teas, cold brew coffee milk, infused olive oils and so much more – Central California’s thriving food industry is one to be nationally recognized and celebrated.”
All products entered into the New Product Awards competed for two distinctive awards: the Buyer’s Choice and the People’s Choice. The Buyer’s Choice Award was reviewed, ranked and narrowed down to 10 finalists by a panel of marketing and food industry leaders at the New Product Awards Preview event, “Taste, Tally & Tweet,” on July 12, 2017. These 10 products advanced to the Celebrity Judging Panel, where judging took place on creativity, presentation, packaging and marketability on July 26. The judging panel was comprised of professionals from retail, restaurant, foodservice and packaging industries including: the Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, who led the Expo’s keynote address; world-renown Chef Erna Kubin- Clanin, Owner of 5-star Erna’s Elderberry House and Chateau du Sureau; Direct Store Delivery Receiving Manager and Local Marketing Lead of Albertsons-Safeway Northern California Division, Sean Topping; and European Division Manager at leading custom packaging solutions company Landsberg Orora, Jim Jarosz.
The following companies were finalists in the Buyer’s Choice Award category: Busseto Foods’ California
PartyPack – Wine Trail Edition; Cardella Winery’s 2014 Barbera Reserve; Pappy’s Fine Foods’ Steak ‘N Grill Seasoning; Enzo Olive Oil’s ENZO Fresno Chili Crush; Jasper Specialty Foods’ Bloody Mary Almonds; L.T. Sue Company’s Ho Tai Chai; Rosa Brothers Milk Company and Lanna Coffee Co.’s Cold Brew Coffee Milk; Sun-Maid Growers of California’s Sour Strawberry Flavored Golden Raisins; The Brioche Lady’s Purple Yam Brioche; and Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company’s Half Dome California Wheat. Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company’s Half Dome California Wheat was presented with the Buyers Choice Award, followed by ENZO Olive Oil’s ENZO Fresno Chili Crush in second place and Busseto Foods’ California PartyPack-Wine Trail Edition in third place.
The 2017 People’s Choice Award, which is entirely determined by the public through online voting and applicant marketing to encourage voter participation, logged 2,621 public votes during the July 13 – July 25 voting period via Facebook and the Fresno Food Expo website. The Brioche Lady received 661 total votes for their Purple Yam Brioche. The People’s Choice Award allows the public to share their thoughts as a consumer, voicing their opinion on what products standout from others in the marketplace. This year Rosa
Brothers Milk Company and Lanna Coffee Co.’s Cold Brew Coffee Milk took second; Lanna Coffee Cold Brew and Sun-Maid Growers of California’s Sour Strawberry Flavored Golden Raisins took third.
Returning to the Fresno Food Expo for its third year, the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award, named in honor of Fred Ruiz, founder of Ruiz Food Products, Inc., recognizes Valley-based food or beverage companies that
demonstrate exemplary leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, all while being an exceptional community steward. The judged essay application recognizes 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. ENZO Olive Oil, the 2017 Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award winner will also receive advice and mentoring for one year by Fred Ruiz and a team of food industry professionals.
The Fresno Food Expo trade show will open its doors to pre-registered local, regional, national and international buyers to see, taste and discover the diverse food and beverage products grown and manufactured in the Central California region from the pre-registered 142 exhibitors. This closed business-to business portion will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27.
Expolicious, the Expo’s public event will begin at 5:00 p.m. that evening. The public will be able to taste, discover and purchase a wide range of locally-produced food, wine and spirits from their favorite exhibitors onsite. Additionally, Expolicious will feature 12 local restaurateurs who will be cooking up hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and beverages, using ingredients from 2017 Fresno Food Expo exhibitors! For the second year, restaurateurs will be judged on their creations by food writer, cook and Food Network TV Personality Simon Majumdar who will name the top creation in the following categories: Best Use of Exhibitor Product, Best Pairing, and Most Creative Item. This year’s participating restaurants include: Bella Luna Bistro, Limón Peruvian Cuisine, Piazza Del Pane, PressBox Sports Grill, Quesadilla Gorilla, REV’s Californian Cuisine, Riley’s Brew Pub, Sam’s Italian Deli, Tazzaria, The Painted Table, Vino Grille & Spirits and Ampersand Ice Cream.
Tickets for Expolicious are $50 and available for purchase at www.FresnoFoodExpo.com until 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27 (the day of the event). If not sold out, tickets will be available at the Convention Center
will-call window located on M Street. New this year, the Expo has added a mobile app component. Exhibitors, sponsors, buyers and the public can search “Fresno Food Expo 2017” in the app store and download this new tool to conveniently view all details about the Fresno Food Expo such as exhibitor listings, schedule of events, map of show floor, social media feeds and more. 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 501c6 nonprofit organization led by a 14-member Board of Directors, with current daily management services provided by David Nalchajian, Inc.


2017 Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award


Buyers Choice Award


The 2017 People’s Choice Award

back to top

July 27 , 2017

The Bus to provide free service in August

MERCED– The Bus invites members of the community to “try The Bus on us” during the month of August! Starting August 1 through August 31, The Bus will offer FREE service on all fixed routes countywide. By riding public transit, residents can help reduce congestion and save money.
"We are excited to be able to offer free fixed route service again this year,” said Rich Green, Transit Manager. “We hope to encourage people who've never ridden the bus to give it a try to see if they can make our service work for them.” This free service program is made possible through funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP).
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 and is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). For more information, please visit www.mercedthebus.com and www.mcagov.org.

 

 

back to top

July 27 , 2017

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
MERCED TO JOIN CITIES NATIONWIDE FOR
“AMERICA’S NIGHT OUT AGAINST CRIME”

On Tuesday, August 1st , neighborhoods throughout Merced are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the “34th Annual National Night Out” crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, which is sponsored by the Merced Police Department, will involve over 16,728 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all, over 38.3 million people are expected to participate in “America’s Night Out Against Crime”.
National Night Out is designed to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for and participation in, local anti-crime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Click here to see flyer


From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1st , residents in neighborhoods throughout Merced and across the nation, are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. Many neighborhoods throughout Merced will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, parades, visits from police, flashlight walks, contests, youth activities and anti-crime rallies.
Merced’s main National Night Out event will be held at Applegate Park, from
6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Tuesday, August 1st . The event is free to the public. The National Night Out Celebration will include over 40 vendors featuring free food, free Kiddieland rides, music, raffle prizes and public safety displays and information.
For information call Eugene Drummond, Merced Police Department Community Liaison at 385-6297.

back to top

July 27 , 2017

Red Cross assistance continues for victims of Detwiler Fire

FRESNO, Calif., July 26, 2017 — The American Red Cross workers are conducting client casework and distributing cleaning supplies for residents impacted by the Detwiler Fire.
Red Cross caseworkers are available Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Motherlode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Dr., Sonora, CA 95370
Red Cross caseworkers are available Thursday, July 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones St., Mariposa, CA 95338
Residents seeking assistance are asked to bring proof of residency. It is not mandatory, but it will help speed up the process.
For more information, contact the Red Cross public information line at 559-343-2549.
The Red Cross plays a critical role in helping families and communities get back on their feet in the weeks and months after a disaster. Trained Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to help them navigate what often can be a confusing, complicated and time-consuming world of disaster recovery.
Red Cross emergency response vehicles are distributing meals and snacks, clean-up kits (mop, broom, gloves, disinfectant, tarps, and sifters) to residents who have returned to their homes to assess damage and begin the recovery phase.

HOW TO HELP
You can help people affected by disasters like California Wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text “RED CROSS” to 91999 to make a $10 donation to your local Red Cross region.

 


HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer or sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer. In order to expedite your volunteer registration for this disaster response effort, select the Detwiler Fire opportunity when prompted in the application process. Email the local Red Cross Volunteer Services team at volunteer.centralca@redcross.org for more information.
LEARN MORE
Follow the local Red Cross on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates. Visit our website at redcross.org/centralcalifornia.

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

back to top

July 27 , 2017

CHARGES FILED AGAINST WOMAN IN CONNECTION
WITH FATAL CRASH

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office filed felony charges today against 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez of Stockton following a single car accident on July 21 in Los Banos that claimed the life of Sanchez’s 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez and injured another 14-year-old passenger. The case has garnered international attention as a result of Sanchez livestreaming her actions on social media immediately prior to and after the accident.
Sanchez has been charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in violation of penal code section 191.5(a), an alternative count of gross vehicular manslaughter in violation of penal code section 192(c)(1), two counts of driving under the influence resulting in injury in violation of vehicle code section 23153(a), and two counts of driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury in violation of vehicle code 23153(b), with great bodily injury allegations for all four vehicle code violations, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt.

Sanchez will be arraigned by video at the Merced Superior Court, Los Banos at 1:15 p.m.
She faces a maximum sentence of 13 years, eight months in state prison if she is convicted of these charges.
“The behavior demonstrated both prior to and after the incident, as documented by the defendant’s own recording, is disturbing and shocking,” said Nutt. “The Merced County District Attorney’s Office will do everything in its power to see that justice is done in this matter,” he added.
Further investigation will take place and the District Attorney’s office is not ruling out the possibility of additional charges, Nutt added.

back to top

July 27 , 2017

 

Costa Voices Valley Concerns at Agriculture Committee NAFTA Hearing

Washington, DC – Today the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing regarding protecting and promoting the agriculture sector during the anticipated renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. NAFTA is an economic and trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and the value of U.S. agricultural trade has increased dramatically since the agreement took effect in 1994. As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) focused his time at the hearing on issues critical for the agriculture sector in the San Joaquin Valley, namely trade, labor, and immigration.

“California leads the country in agricultural revenue, and our producers are twice as reliant on foreign trade as the rest of the United States,” said Congressman Costa. “NAFTA partners – Mexico and Canada – account for 22% of California’s agricultural export. In 2015, for that year, Mexico accounted for $3.5 billion in agricultural trade, Canada $1.1 billion. And I just think it’s inaccurate to say that when you look over the last 20 years, in any objective criteria that you measure it by, that it’s been a disaster. It hasn’t.”

Rep. Costa also asked the panel of experts testifying before the committee, “Is there any chance that a renegotiated agreement could lead to improved conditions for migrant agricultural workers – [of] which we are in short supply in the United States – or is it more likely that the labor force will relocate to Mexico if the agreement boosts economic productivity there?” The panel responded with uncomfortable laughter, and one expert muttered, “I don’t know.” Tom Vilsack, former Secretary of the USDA who represented the dairy industry during the hearing, then said the U.S.’s broken immigration system is impacting and affecting dairy production. Costa replied, “It’s affecting all of agriculture.”

Congressman Costa ended his questioning with, “Who was the big winner, in your opinion, when we walked away from TPP?” There was a consensus on the panel that China won, with Vilsack stating that the European Union also won with regards to dairy products.

The agricultural products traded the most among NAFTA countries include meat and dairy products as well as fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables. These are the most produced agricultural commodities in the San Joaquin Valley and central to the area’s economy.


Congressman Jim Costa

Costa Joins in Bipartisan Support for Forever GI Bill

Washington, DC – Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. The legislation is the largest update to the GI Bill since the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008, making extensive changes to the education benefits provisions. The bill is referred to as the “Forever GI Bill” due to its elimination of the 15 year deadline by which veterans must use their education benefits. In addition to allowing veterans access to their GI education benefits for life, the Forever GI Bill extends benefits granted under the Post-9/11 GI Bill to all Purple Heart recipients and to reservists and those in the national guard who served next to active duty troops, but who themselves were not technically active duty troops. The legislation also increases the amount dependents of veterans can receive in education benefits, which is one of the first significant increases to this benefit in decades.

“Our servicemen, servicewomen, and their families sacrifice so much to keep us safe and to protect our freedom, we must do everything we can to honor their sacrifice and commitment,” said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who cosponsored the legislation. “Yesterday the House of Representatives showed us how Congress can and should function, foregoing political posturing and coming together to pass well-crafted, bipartisan legislation. I hope to see the Forever GI bill pass through the U.S. Senate and be signed into law so our veterans and their families can get the benefits they deserve.”

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, including 121 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote in the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on July 19th. It is supported by over 25 veterans service organizations and higher education organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), The American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Student Veterans of America (SVA).

back to top

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.

 

back to top

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.








back to top

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.

back to top

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.”

back to top

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.

back to top

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.


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

back to top

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.”

back to top

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.”

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

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


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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.”






back to top

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.

back to top

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.


back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

 

back to top

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.


back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.


back to top

June 20, 2017

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.”

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.”

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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

back to top

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





back to top

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.

back to top

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.

 

 


back to top

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.

 

 

 

 

 

back to top

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.

back to top

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).

back to top

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.

back to top

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.”

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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!

 






back to top

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.

back to top

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.

 

 

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

 

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.
###
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.
###
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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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
.

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.

back to top

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.

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

 

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)

 

 

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


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.)


back to top

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.

 


back to top

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.


back to top

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.”

back to top

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

back to top

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.

 

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

 


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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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."

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

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


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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.”

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.. . .”

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.






back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.






back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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