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COMMUNITY NEWS

July 12, 2019

Planada Superintendent Elected to Lead State Association

Planada Elementary School District Superintendent Jose Gonzalez is taking on an additional role as executive director of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.
Gonzalez will guide the 600-member statewide organization based in Sacramento. He has been a member of CALSA for nearly 20 years and a board member for 10 years.
The 46-year-old superintendent said he will continue to proudly serve the Planada learning community and expects the executive director duties to take an average of five to seven days a month.
CALSA is a sister organization to the Association of California School Administrators, also headquartered in Sacramento.
Gonzalez was appointed a regional representative to the board by Dr. Fernando Elizondo. He holds the distinction of being the first-ever elected president of the CALSA board.
His plan is to elevate CALSA’s prominence as the advocate for the continued development and placement of Latino educational leaders who are committed to quality public education.
In seeking the role of executive director, Gonzalez articulated for the board a leadership plan aligned with CALSA’s strategic goals.
“I am passionate about providing the best education possible for students. As executive director, I look forward to working with the board, a group of educational leaders who are creative thinkers, collaborative problem solvers, and responsible for shaping our children’s future,” Gonzalez said following his announcement at the 2019 CALSA Summer Institute.
A CALSA board statement reads: “We look forward to having Jose at head of the organization as our executive director. He is conscientious of the needs of our diverse community of educational leaders. He recognizes our past, is focused on addressing our immediate needs and will be trusted to drive our vision of excellence for the future.”
Gonzalez has been Planada superintendent since November 2010.


Planada Elementary School District Superintendent Jose Gonzalez

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June 25 , 2019

Livingston's 4th of July Festival

Livingston, CA: Independence Day is right around the corner and the Livingston 4th of July Committee and City of Livingston invite you to join them at Livingston’s 4th of July Festival at Max Foster Sports Complex in Livingston. The Festival will start on Thursday July 4th and will run through Saturday July 6, 2019. The event will provide a fair-like atmosphere with a Giant Carnival, Live Bands, and, lots of food/craft vendors and of course the biggest Fireworks Show in the Valley. Gates will open at 5:00 pm daily and will Close at midnight. Admission to the Festivities will be free.

The event will start with a Bang on Thursday July 4th with the Best Fireworks Show in the Valley and Live music from Livingston’s traditional Rhythm Blenders band who have been a part of this Festival for at least 20 years! Friday’s entertainment will feature ND RIDAZ with their hit songs “So Fly” and “Something about you Baby” and many more! Remember admission and to Fireworks Show and and ND Ridaz concert will be FREE! Saturday’s entertainment will feature a Mexican Jaripeo/Rodeo with Banda La Nueva Villa, and up and coming very popular young guitar bands including Los Axionar and Grupo J4 and LOS CADETES with their hit songs “El Asesino” and “Los Dos Amigos” The first 500 Tickets for Saturday’s Spanish concert area will be only $5! The Giant Carnival will run from Thursday July 4th – to Sunday July 7th and admission is free to Carnival area all 4 days! Purchase your carnival unlimited ride wristbands in advance and save up $10 Dollars.

 

 

The roads leading to festival get very congested on the day of the fireworks so arrive early to avoid congestions. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and choose a good spot to enjoy live music and watch the Fireworks show.

The Livingston 4th of July Committee hosts their Annual 4th of July Festival and Fireworks Show in Honor of our Men and Woman in the Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighters; and in Memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the freedom we all enjoy. This year proceeds will benefit local veterans and improvements to Max Foster Sports Complex.

Vendor spaces still available. For more information please visit our website: https://www.livingston4thofjuly.com. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Livingston4thofjuly for your chance to win a VIP table, unlimited ride wristband tickets, and general admission tickets.

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June 6 , 2019

Merced cracking down on illegal fireworks

This year the City of Merced is continuing its Celebrate Safe campaign to cut down on the use of illegal fireworks. The goal is to reduce fires, injuries, noise, lost pets and neighborhood disruptions.
Use a skyrocket or a barrel bomb and it could cost you up to $2,000. Keep using illegal fireworks or sell them and it could land you in court.
The City is enforcing laws against any fireworks not labelled “safe and sane” by the California State Fire Marshall, said Fire Chief Billy Alcorn. If it explodes or leaves the ground or has been modified, it’s not safe and sane.
Extra officers will be on patrol over the Fourth of July holidays to enforce fireworks violations, said Police Chief Chris Goodwin. There also is a special phone number and email for people to report illegal fireworks.
The campaign started in 2018 based on City Council Member Kevin Blake who said Merced looked like a “battle zone with the sky lit up with skyrockets and the air filled with explosions.”
He said he had received calls from residents who had to medicate their pets because they were traumatized due to the constant loud noises over the holidays.
People can turn in their illegal (or even legal) fireworks at any Fire Station in the City at any time, with no questions asked. This is to encourage people to get rid of the unsafe fireworks and avoid the hazards associated with them. Fire personnel will make sure they are disposed of safely by the State Fire Marshal.
“We want people to have fun this Fourth of July, but we don’t want them ruining the fun for their neighbors,” said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “Illegal fireworks are dangerous, and threaten the safety of the people who set them off, and also the neighbors surrounding them.
“Stopping illegal fireworks isn’t going to happen in a year,” Murphy said, “But over time we expect to reduce the number of people using illegal fireworks through education and enforcement.”
HOW TO REPORT ILLEGAL FIREWORKS
The number 209-388-SAFE became active June 4, and people are encouraged to report anyone they see or know who is buying, selling or distributing illegal fireworks. Someone will answer the line as available, but all messages will be followed up on.
Residents can report illegal fireworks displays that are going on before the holidays by calling 911.
During July 3 and 4 people are being asked to call 209-388-SAFE (7233) to report illegal fireworks displays, not 911 in order to keep the emergency dispatchers free for urgent calls.
On July 3 and 4 there will be a call center opened from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. and operators will be answering the phones and sending reports of illegal fireworks directly to dispatchers. The information will be forwarded to teams in the field.
Part of the problem with illegal fireworks is that authorities usually receive multiple calls for any one offender. One neighbor setting off numerous skyrockets can swamp the 911 dispatchers with many calls on the same incident. The 209-388-SAFE number relieves pressure on the emergency dispatchers but still allows the illegal fireworks to get reported and acted upon.
In addition, people can report illegal fireworks by sending an email to celebratesafe@cityofmerced.org. Those emails will also get forwarded to authorities.

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

FIREWORKS RULES
• “Safe and sane” fireworks with the State Fire Marshal seal of approval can only be used from noon June 28 through noon July 6.
• The non-safe and sane fireworks are illegal year-round, 24-7.
• If fireworks can leave the ground or go up in the air they are illegal. Illegal fireworks include cherry bombs, bottle rockets, mortars, aerial shells, M-80s and firecrackers.
• Illegal fireworks lack of the seal of approval from the California State Fire Marshal.
During the Fourth of July holiday period special teams of police officers and firefighters will be patrolling the City streets tracking down fireworks violators. Once found, the fireworks will be confiscated and the owners will be cited. Repeat offenders could end up in court.
Anyone caught possessing, using or selling dangerous or illegal fireworks is subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 as well as criminal prosecution.

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June 6 , 2019

Assemblymember Gray Honors Merced County Spring Fair Heritage Foundation as Nonprofit of the Year

Sacramento – Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) honored the Merced County Spring Fair Heritage Foundation at the State Capitol as the 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. Board Members Supervisor Scott Silveira, Paul Parreira, Pat Gallichio, Cannon Michael, and Natasha Crivelli traveled to Sacramento to be honored as part of the 2019 California Nonprofits Day.

“The Heritage Foundation’s commitment to our community and local farming families is remarkable,” said Gray. “The generosity and dedication of the board has been instrumental in the continued success of the fair.”

The Heritage Foundation is committed to preserving and enriching the heritage of Merced County by continuing to develop the Merced County Spring Fair into a premier destination. Since its inception in 2011, the Heritage Foundation has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to approximately 175 students. The Foundation has successfully secured over $1.8 million in donations.

“The Heritage Foundation is an incredible resource for local 4-H and FFA programs,” continued Gray. “We have them to thank for many local agricultural education opportunities and improvements to fair facilities.”

The third annual California Nonprofits Day was marked by a celebration luncheon at the State Capitol. According to CalNonprofits, the nonprofit sector is the 4th largest industry in the state, employing nearly one million people. Each year, California nonprofits generate over $200 billion in revenue and bring in $40 billion in revenue from outside of California. The unpaid labor contributed by volunteers at nonprofits is equivalent to 450,000 full-time jobs every year.

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June 6 , 2019

Caltrans Repaving I-5 in Merced County Due to SB 1 Funds
Project Will Improve More Than 65 Lane Miles to Provide a Smoother Commute for Motorists

STOCKTON — Caltrans recently began repaving Interstate 5 from the Merced/Fresno County line to just south of State Route 152 in Merced County.
The $12.1 million project is made possible through funding by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
Once completed, more than 65 lane miles of roadway will be freshly repaved.
“Anytime we can repave a major stretch of I-5, we give a big boost to citizens and businesses throughout the state,” said Caltrans Director Laurie
Berman. “Within Merced County, a smooth road surface is especially helpful given the large volume of traffic carrying cattle, milk and eggs.”
This stretch of I-5 connects motorists to the communities of Gustine, Santa Nella and Los Banos via State Routes 33, 152, and 165.
More than 40,000 vehicles per day use I-5 in Merced County. This includes more than 7,000 five-axle, heavy trucks – roughly 75 percent of the
total traffic.
“This section of I-5 pavement is due for an overhaul, and we are grateful for this project and all our partners involved,” said Caltrans District 10 Director Dan McElhinney. “Not only is Merced County’s portion of I-5 vital for our economy, it is a key route that once repaired will help reduce costly vehicle maintenance for Bay Area commuters, tourists and local Central Valley motorists.”
Granite Construction has been awarded this project. Work began on Sunday, June 2, 2019.

More information and updates on projects can be found at
http://www.dot.ca.gov/d10/projects.html or on Twitter via @CaltransDist10.
SB 1 provides an ongoing funding increase of approximately $1.8 billion annually for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system. SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027.
Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

 



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

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June 5 , 2019

The 128th Annual Merced County Fair Kicks Off On Wednesday, June 5

The Fair will officially kick off with a brief Opening Ceremonies program beginning at 5 p.m. in the CVC/CVT Picnic Area next to the Bear Creek Plaza stage that will include an official ground-breaking ceremony for the new permanent shade structure. Plus, Fairgoers can get into the Fair for free on June 5 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. as part of the 4th annual Mercy Medical Center’s “We Care Wednesday” presented by MERCO Credit Union Community Food Drive benefiting the Merced County Food Bank. Just bring five cans of food to donate and get in free. Plus don’t forget about June 5 being Seniors’ Day (62+ get into the Fair for free!) and a jam-packed line-up of great entertainment.

Table Mountain FREE Concert Series

All concerts start at 8:30 p.m. and admission is free with your paid Fair admission, which is $10 for Adults and $5 for kids 12 and under (remember, kids 5 and under are always free). There are also plenty of ways to save before the Fair starts! Pre-sale Adult Admission tickets are just $7 (a $3 savings!) and Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristbands are just $25 (a $5 savings!) and are good for any one day of the Fair! The Merced County Fair discounted pre-sale starts on Monday, April 2 at 8 a.m.; tickets can be purchased online at www.mercedcountyfair.com or at the Fair Administration office during regular office hours.
The Grandstand shows at The Merced County Fair are all about action-packed adventure, and this year’s line-up will give Fairgoers just that from motorcross to tractor pulls, a rodeo and more! Merced County Fair Management expects big crowds again with this year’s great Grandstand line-up proudly sponsored by Table Mountain Casino, Rancho San Miguel Markets, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Coors Light. All shows begin at 7 p.m. and admission is $5. Children 5 years and under are free. NEW this year, Grandstand admission is free on opening night for the Merced Speedway Auto Racing!

Wednesday, June 5
James Garner’s
Tribute to Johnny Cash
www.cashtribute.net


James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash
For more than a decade, Garner and his band have faithfully recreated Cash’s biggest hits with stunning accuracy in a show that walks the line! The band has performed more than 500 shows, including a special concert at Folsom State Prison in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Cash’s infamous live album recorded behind prison walls. Garner and his band have also performed with Tara Cash, Johnny Cash’s youngest daughter, for the 50th Anniversary in the city of Folsom for two sold out concerts at the Harris Center for the Arts. Don’t miss the James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash perform top hits like “Folsom Blues Prison,” “Ring of Fire” and so many more!

Thursday, June 6
Country Artists Tribute to
Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney & Jason Aldean
www.renovegasentertainment.com

Country Artists Tribute to Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean
The Country Artists Tribute show was put together in 2014 by Frank Garrett, owner of Reno Vegas Entertainment, to bring the songs of country’s most popular artists to the masses! They searched the nation to find the best look and sound-a-likes to create a show where you truly believe you are watching the actual artists! Don’t miss the chance to see this incredible tribute to Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney!

Friday, June 7
Morris Day & The Time
www.facebook.com/morrisdayandthetime

Morris Day & The Time
The Time, a vibrant funk band that formed in Minneapolis in 1981, was the brainchild of Prince, who put the group together as an outlet for his funkier leaning. Fronted by the colorful and charismatic Morris Day and featuring a talented cast of players, The Time racked up a string of hits in the early ‘80s, gaining an additional popularity boost from their featured role in Prince’s classic 1984 rock musical, Purple Rain. With his dynamic dancing and smooth yet gutsy vocals, Morris Day & The Time played and essential role in the development of the Twin City dance/club sound of the 1980’s. Fans won’t want to miss this nostalgic concert as Morris Day & The Time will perform top hits "Jungle Love," "Fishnet," "The Bird" and many more, live at the 2019 Merced County Fair!



Saturday, June 8
Canaan Smith
www.canaansmith.com


Canaan Smith
This up and coming country singer and songwriter has a talent for telling life’s story through his music; whether that’s painting a portrait of a burgeoning relationship in the hit single “Love You Like That” or honoring the memory of his brother in the powerful title track “Bronco,” Smith knows how to draw listeners into his world. He has earned the respect of his peers and his songs have been recorded by Cole Swindell, Florida-Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and more. Canaan Smith has toured the country in recent years headlining his own shows and then performing with artists like Dierks Bentely, Brantley Gilbert and Kip Moore, playing well over 550 shows for more than two million fans! Catch Smith perform hits such “Love You Like That,” which debuted in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart. Widely considered one of the top live performers in country music, you definitely won’t want to miss Canaan Smith perform at the fair!


Sunday, June 9
Gracie as Jenni

www.instagram.com/gracie_as_jenni

Gracie as Jenni
Since 2012, Graciela “Gracie” Monico has been spreading joy by paying tribute to Jenni Rivera. Inspired by the frequency in which fans would mistake Gracie for Jenni, this tribute show was created to pay homage to the talented singer and strong woman who in her career sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums. Gracie as Jenni has performed on TV appearing on shows like “Don Francisco,” “Al Rojo Vivo,” “Un Nuevo Dia” and “Despierta America,” as well venues through the United States and Mexico such as the Plaza Nayarit in Mexico; Los Angeles’s Pico Rivera Sports Arena and Miami, Florida live on TV. Be ready to dance and sing the night away to the incredible songs of Jenni Rivera - “Ya Lo Sé” and “No Llega El Olvido”.

 

OFFICIAL KICK-OFF: 5:00 p.m. Opening Day Ceremony - CVC CVT Picnic Area
(Next to the Bear Creek Plaza Stage)
Flag Presentation - Merced County Sheriff Department
Daniela Olmos - National Anthem
Speakers - Merced County Fair Board of Directors President, Lori Rossi Gallo
Merced County Fair CEO, Teresa Burrola
Central Valley Concrete & Trucking Vice President, Staci Leonardo,
Special Award Presentation – Blue Ribbon Award to the American Legion Post 83
Ground-breaking – New CVC/CVT Shade Structure

SAVINGS: Mercy Medical Center “We Care Wednesday” Presented by MERCO Credit Union
Community Food Drive Benefiting Merced County Food Bank
Proudly supported by University Industrial Park and UC Merced
Get into the Fair for free on Wednesday, June 5 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. when you bring 5 or more cans of food to any of the Fair entrance gates. That’s right! Your food donation of 5 or more cans of food gets you into the Fair for FREE! All food goes to the Merced County Food Bank. This effort is supported by UC Merced as part of their outreach to give back to the community while helping build awareness about food insecurity in the community and among students. At last year’s Community Food Drive, a total of 6,640 lbs. of food was collected!

Seniors' Day:

Seniors 62 and BETTER are able to enjoy the Fair for free! This will include a special Seniors Lifestyle Expo from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. near the Martin Luther King Jr. Way gate entrance.

ENTERTAINMENT: 5:45 p.m. Tractor Parade presented by MID throughout the Fairgrounds
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Crashboat - Bear Creek Plaza
7:00 p.m. Auto Racing - Grandstands, FREE today only
7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Tina Marie Hypnotist - Bear Creek Plaza
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Early Empires - Coors Light Stage
8:30 p.m. NEW Safari Adventure Live Show - Tioga Hall
8:30 p.m. James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash - Outdoor Theatre
8:45 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. Scott Siemiller Music - Bear Creek Plaza
10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Tina Marie Hypnotist - Bear Creek Plaza

LIVESTOCK:
7:30 a.m. FFA Market & FFA Swine Showmanship - Hilmar Cheese Barn
8:00 a.m. Breeding, FFA & 4-H Market & Feeder, & Beef Showmanship - Les McCabe Arena
8:00 a.m. 4-H & FFA Market & Feeder, Showmanship & Breeding Goats - Glacier Barn
10:00 a.m. Registered Holstein Dairy Cattle - Dairy Show Ring
4:00 p.m. Beef Bred Heifers - Les McCabe Arena
7:30 p.m. Beef Bred Heifer Sale - Dairy Show Ring

NEW ATTRACTIONS:
NEW: Safari Adventure LIVE
Head on over to Safari Adventure LIVE at the Tioga Hall located by the front gate and explore the world of reptiles and bugs. This educational exhibit is a family-friendly, engaging and hands on experience. Learn about the animals of Africa, Asia and Australia and their habitats and abilities to survive the wilds. Get up close and personal with an African Crested Porcupine, meet the top apex predator of the Bayou or get face-to-face with critters like the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. All day there will be up close viewings of animals and Wildlife talks at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily.

EXPANDED Discovering Science
Returning for its second year is the Discovering Science Exhibit in the San Joaquin Hall! This interactive and educational exhibit all based on STREAM curriculum that uses Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. This interactive and educational exhibit is proudly brought to you by University of California, Merced’s Mobile Makers Space, a traveling exhibit set to launch in 2020 and the Kids Discovery Station, a collection of exhibits that is set to be part of a new Children’s Museum in Merced. Designed for all ages, this is a must stop for everyone! Here are just some of the activities featured:

NEW "Farm to City" Children's Farmers' Market
This Children’s Farmers’ Market offers youth the chance to experience what life is like as a farmer as they gather artificial apples, corn, eggs and more; participate in a hands one cow milking station where they can experience the process of milking the artificial cow; and enjoy a sensory experience playing in a corn-filled area with shovels and trucks; plus develop their motor skills when they sit and push the playground tractors! This attraction is FREE for Fairgoers and is supported by First 5 Merced County.




Grandstand Entertainment


Wednesday, June 5
Merced Speedway Auto Racing
http://www.racemerced.com



Thursday, June 6
Free Style Moto X
www.FreestyleMX.com



Friday, June 7
Valley Tractor Pullers’ Tractor Pull
www.vtpapullers.org



Saturday, June 8
Humpz & Hornz “Bad to the Bone” 2019 Bull Riding Tour
www.facebook.com/Humpz-N-Hornz-Bucking-Bulls-1747571935473175/



Sunday, June 9
Gran Jaripeo
Bull Riding, Dancing Horses, Banda Music & more!
www.facebook.com/Humpz-N-Hornz-Bucking-Bulls-1747571935473175/





About The Merced County Fair:

The Merced County Fair, first founded in 1891, represents the 35th District Agricultural Association and is celebrating its 128th anniversary in 2019. More than 65,000 people from throughout Merced County and beyond attend the five-day Merced County Fair each June. Members of the Board of Directors include: Lori Rossi Gallo, President; Carol Sartori-Silva, First Vice President; Lee Lor, Second Vice President; Vicky Banaga; Mark Erreca; Emily Haden; Flip Hassett; and Kim Rogina. Teresa Burrola heads up the daily operations in her role as CEO. The 2019 Merced County Fair will run June 5 – 9. For more information about the Merced County Fair, please visit www.MercedCountyFair.com. Connect with the Fair on Facebook (@mercedfair), Twitter (@Merced_CA_Fair) and Instagram (@mercedcountyfair).

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June 5 , 2019

Miss California State Finals Back in Fresno for 25th Year
Saroyan Theatre | June 26 - 29, 2019
*TICKETS ON SALE

Fresno, CA (June 4, 2019) – The Miss California Organization will be back in Fresno, California for the 2019 state finals and crowning of the 95th Miss California.

The Miss California Organization proudly made the City of Fresno its home back in 1994. Despite the past year of changes with the Miss America Organization evolving to Miss America 2.0, the Miss California Organization is as strong as ever and continues to be an official state preliminary to the Miss America Competition.

“We are thrilled to be back in Fresno, our home, for the 2019 Miss California State Finals. We have an incredible group of young women who are all vying for the titles of Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California 2019. Be sure to visit MissCalifornia.org to learn more about our candidates and purchase tickets to the show. It’s truly an honor to be back in the city that welcomes us with open arms year after year,” - Patricia Murray, CEO & Executive Director, Miss California Organization.

The 2019 candidates will come to town the last week of June. They will participate in community events throughout the city while preparing for the competition beginning Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Preliminary competition for the ‘Miss’ candidates take place June 26-27. The ‘Teen’ candidates will compete in a single day competition ending with the crowning of Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2019 on Friday, June 28th and the ‘Miss’ candidate finals will commence on Saturday, June 29th ending with the crowning of Miss California 2019. All competition will take place at the William Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno.

 

The Miss California finals will air on CBS47 from 8-11pm PDT on Saturday, June 29th.

About the Miss California Organization: The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1994. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state.

To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissCAOrg
Instagram/Twitter: @MissCAOrg

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June 5 , 2019

Fire Chief Billy Alcorn and Police Chief Chris Goodwin will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Weds., June 5, announcing the City’s illegal fireworks enforcement and public outreach campaign. The press conference will be held at Merced Fire Station No. 51, 99 E. 16th St. Merced, and will also be on Facebook Live at City of Merced.

Who: Merced Fire Chief Billy Alcorn and Police Chief Chris Goodwin
What: Kick Off the 2019 Illegal Fireworks Enforcement and Public Outreach Campaign
When: Weds. June 5, 2019
Where: Fire Station 51, 99 E. 16th St. Merced
Why: To make Merced a safer, better place to live for all residents

 

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June 5 , 2019


State Treasurer Fiona Ma to Hold Free Small Business
Seminar in Merced on June 10th

MERCED – California State Treasurer Fiona Ma will hold a state-sponsored outreach seminar on Monday, June 10, 2019 in Merced. Topics will include access to capital, marketing, forms of ownership, and retirement programs for small business employees.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, which is why it’s important for me to travel the state and make sure they have the information they need to succeed,” said Treasurer Ma. “Many small business owners have a difficult time navigating the state’s complex websites. Additionally, our free workshop allows us to answer their questions and provide clarity and direction,” she added. Assemblymember Adam Gray, UC Merced, and the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsors of the event.
“When our small businesses are strong, our economy is strong, and I thank Treasurer Ma for partnering with our community,” said Assemblymember Gray. “Merced is undergoing an exciting period of revitalization and economic growth. My hope is that our business leaders leave the seminar with new financial insights and tools to better navigate the state’s complicated regulatory system.”

 

 

The State Treasurer’s Office will have presenters at the outreach seminar from its Capital Access for Small Business (CalCAP), and California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board (CalSavers).
Representatives from UC Merced and the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce will also be in attendance. CalCAP encourages banks and other financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing. CalCAP also operates a program that pledges cash support of up to 50 percent as collateral for loans.

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June 5 , 2019

Students Get Hands-On Lessons at Annual Ballico-Cressey Ag Day

It’s a longstanding school event that the community has fully embraced. The Ballico-Cressey School District just hosted its eighth annual Ag Day — giving students a chance to learn about farm programs in their area and allow the community to support this learning process.
Started in 2011, the Ag Day will continue for many years in the future, according to committee chairman Sheryl Sauter, a parent and almond grower.
Superintendent Bliss Propes said Ag Day gives Ballico-Cressey students a hands-on opportunity to make real-world connections between the science, technology, engineering and math lessons learned in the classroom and opportunities and jobs in agriculture.
Eighteen growers and vendors, many of them parents of district students, exhibited their wares or brought farm animals. A Holstein heifer frequently mooed its greetings while beef cattle looked on.
Representatives from N&S Tractor, the mobile learning lab of Ag in Motion, Turlock Irrigation District, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Simplot and Blue Diamond manned stations where students took part in the demonstrations.
“Students rotated to stations every 30 minutes to listen to presentations and experience hands-on learning about careers in agriculture, agricultural equipment and technology, and the importance of agriculture in our local community. We bring the community together around agriculture,” Propes said.
Sauter has 120 acres of almonds on her family farm. While Propes concedes many students come from an agricultural background, Sauter points out Ag Day widens their view from what they are exposed to at home.
“There is such diversity in Merced County,” Sauter said. “The kids seem enthusiastic and enjoy it. There are so many things out there. I think they remember some of these presentations.”
In the past, the BNSF Railway has made safety presentations and other organizations also stress safe practices. Students learn about the environment, healthy soils and water usage as well as the many possible careers in ag they can explore.
One year, Sauter’s son planted sweet potato cuttings they received on Ag Day and the family later enjoyed sweet potato dishes at the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Sauter said students learn how to stay away from power lines while farming. Ag detector dogs will sniff out different chemicals and hazardous or illegal chemical substances.
Students also learn to identify several dozen different crops and learn the DNA of strawberry plants. A committee was formed this year to continue preparations for future Ag Day programs.
Isabelle Perry, 14, an eighth-grader, said Ag Day is a lot of fun. She’s been a district student for nine years and wants to become a teacher, hopefully working with special needs children.
“It’s really cool and a great opportunity to learn more about ag. I learned about different kinds of food grown locally,” Perry said.
There was an A-Z salad bar where students got to identify and sample some food items from every letter of the alphabet. A barbecue lunch was held for parents and volunteers at the end of the day.
The district’s second-graders and second grade staff planned Ag Day events. Every grade level has a school event they must organize during the year.
Kindergarteners and staff members organize an annual Easter egg hunt. The first-grade level hosts family reading nights every 13 weeks. Third-graders and staff members organize winter programs at Christmas and other holidays.
Fourth-graders are in charge of the Trunk or Treat event around Halloween and fifth-graders plan an annual barbecue fund-raiser for the annual science camp on the Pacific Coast. Sixth-graders and staff members do a carne asada dinner and pancake breakfast. Seventh-graders decorate for the eighth-grade graduation dance and eighth-graders plan the graduation ceremonies.
The Ballico-Cressey School District has 389 students from transitional kindergarten to eighth grade. Cressey School houses kindergarten through second grades while Ballico School has third through eighth grades.

 

PHOTOS COURTESY BALLICO-CRESSEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

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June 4, 2019

Le Grand Elementary Connection Grows Stronger With Stanford University Students

Le Grand Union Elementary School District students are reaching for the stars.
In collaboration with Stanford University students who love exploring space, eight sixth- through eighth-grade Le Grand Student Space Initiative students recently launched their own weather balloon at a Hollister park.
It ascended to 75,000 feet and was airborne for two or three hours, landing in the mountains west of Carmel Valley. It traveled 22 miles.
Scott Borba, Le Grand superintendent, said a principal friend of his in the Carmel area recovered the balloon and he will pick it up shortly. Now the Stanford students are due to come to Le Grand to launch a “super balloon.”
Borba said the Le Grand students’ balloon was a 12x12 Styrofoam box covered with lots of duct tape. It had an external mercury thermometer, a GoPro camera, GPS tracker, parachute and the payload — a homemade cupcake.
Le Grand’s weather balloon launch was the outgrowth of chance circumstances unfolding last September. A Stanford University balloon was recovered in the Le Grand/Planada area and a connection was made between local students and nine university students.
Via teleconferencing, Borba’s students have met with their Stanford counterparts three times and planned their next missions. They learned how to gather, assemble and then launch the required materials.
The Stanford students will be back on June 1 to launch another weather balloon from Le Grand Elementary School.
Borba said the Stanford students were friendly and helpful.
“I have been in education for 18 years and this was one of the best days in my career,” Borba recalls about meeting the Stanford students in Brigantino Park. “They learn from each other; I see my students have opportunities with the world’s brightest kids. It felt like they were equals. It was an amazing learning experience.”
Cadence Duelo, 14, a Le Grand eighth-grader, enjoyed the experience.
“It was really fun, definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They’re fun to work with,” she said.
Cadence wants to become a pediatric nurse. She said the Stanford students were relaxed and relatable. The Stanford students taught their Le Grand counterparts how to solder wires and do other hands-on activities associated with space exploration.
Borba says this is just the first year of many for the students to collaborate on the weather balloon project. He said it’s a good image for his students, showing them they too can go to Stanford and study engineering one day.
Borba hopes the camera in the Le Grand weather balloon worked and it captured incredible high-altitude pictures of the coastline, as well as recording temperatures from the flight.
Space exploration and hobnobbing with Stanford students isn’t going to stop anytime soon.


Stanford University students and Le Grand Student Space Initiative students have teamed up and have launched and recovered several weather balloons. The Stanford students taught their Le Grand counterparts how to solder wires and do other hands-on activities. Stanford students will be in Le Grand on June 1 to launch another weather balloon.

PHOTO COURTESY LE GRAND UNION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT

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“It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students and I hope we will continue the relationship for years to come. I hope to take students to Stanford to see them in action. I’m excited that this is just the beginning,” Borba said.
When Le Grand students launched their weather balloon, it was out of sight in a couple of minutes. Like their Stanford comrades, local students formed the Le Grand Student Space Initiative. Soaring to new heights is in their future.

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May 31 , 2019

Assemblymember Gray Proposes to Fund Clean Drinking Water, UC Medical Schools by Closing Gambling Tax Loophole

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) announced the Inland California Healthy Communities Act, which creates a sustainable funding source for clean drinking water, establishes a new University of California medical school in the San Joaquin Valley, and directs additional funds to the UC Riverside School of Medicine, all while allocating millions of dollars for public education.

“The San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire do not receive the same level of attention and support as California’s urban centers and coastal communities,” said Gray. “Together, these regions represent a population on par with the state of New Jersey, yet our issues are often pushed to the bottom of the priority list. The Inland California Health Communities Act puts these communities first by addressing two historic inequities – the lack of access to clean drinking water and the worsening physician shortage.”

Gray’s proposal is funded by closing a tax loophole which allows gamblers to deduct losing bets on their state income taxes. The loophole was created by a federal tax law to which California currently conforms. Gray’s proposal would disallow the deduction on state incomes taxes, but gamblers would retain the federal deduction. The loophole costs the state more than $300 million per year, yet benefits fewer than 150,000 people, primarily millionaires and billionaires.

“This is a $300 million sin subsidy for the rich,” said Gray. “If Congress wants to pay to subsidize gamblers that’s their business, but we have families in California who cannot safely drink the water in their homes or get in to see a doctor. This proposal gives us a choice. Instead of taxing families, let’s end the gambling subsidy, clean up contaminated drinking water, and train more doctors in the communities that need them most.”

Gray is proposing to provide more than $100 million in new funding for public education and dedicate a minimum of $115 million annually to fund drinking water improvements for the one million Californians who are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year.

“Thousands of families throughout California are forced to buy bottled water, because they cannot safely drink the water in their own homes,” said Gray. “They are essentially forced to pay two water bills. It’s another example of just how expensive it is to be poor.”

 

 

During his final term in office, Governor Brown proposed a new tax on water connections to fund clean drinking water, but the State Legislature ultimately rejected his proposal. Governor Newsom has made health care and clean drinking water priorities of his administration since day one. Before he took office, Governor Newsom visited UC Merced and the UCSF-Fresno medical center. On his cabinet’s first day of work, the Governor put his staff on a bus to Stanislaus County to speak with residents who cannot drink the water in their homes. The Governor has repeatedly pointed out the hypocrisy of Valley residents paying higher water bills than people living in Beverley Hills.

“Governor Newsom has gone out of his way to make inland California a priority,” said Gray. “I am confident we have a strong ally on these issues.”

In addition to clean drinking water, Gray’s plan calls for an expanded budget for the UC Riverside School of Medicine and the establishment of a new UCSF medical school branch campus in the San Joaquin Valley. Last year, Governor Brown signed Gray’s Assembly Bill 2202 into law, which established an endowment fund for a San Joaquin Valley medical school and enshrined a partnership between UCSF, UC Merced, and the UCSF-Fresno regional medical center into law.

“We have dreamed of establishing a medical school in the San Joaquin Valley for more than twenty years,” continued Gray. “As one of the fastest growing regions of the state, we must address our long-standing doctor shortage before things get even worse. By recruiting future doctors from our own communities, and educating them locally, they are more likely to stay close to home and practice medicine where we need them most. This medical school will focus on improving access to care region-wide by keeping our homegrown talent local using a proven model that is already making a difference in the Inland Empire.”

Gray is seeking inclusion of the Inland California Healthy Communities Act in the State Budget.

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May 31 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 AT 16TH STREET IN MERCED
AND SHANKS ROAD IN DELHI IN MERCED COUNTY
MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform ramp
closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) at 16th Street and Shanks Road for pavement work.
Work is scheduled as follows:
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 to 16th Street on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at Shanks Road beginning Wednesday, June 5, 2019, through Thursday, June 6, 2019, 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.


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

 

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May 29, 2019

STATE ROUTE 99 NIGHTTIME FULL CLOSURE SCHEDULED
FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS IN MADERA COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in cooperation with Granite Construction announces a nighttime closure of State Route 99 just south of the City of Chowchilla for roadway construction operations.
The following FULL CLOSURES will be in effect, weather permitting:
• Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday May 30, each night from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning, southbound State Route 99 will be closed. A signed detour will be in place.
• Sunday night, June 2, from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. the following morning, northbound State Route 99 will be closed. A signed detour will be in place.
• Monday, June 3 and Tuesday June 4, each night from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning, northbound State Route 99 will be closed. A signed detour will be in place.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM MISSION AVENUE
TO STATE ROUTE 59/DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAY IN MERCED
MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform full on
and off-ramp closures on southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Mission Avenue to SR- 59/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way for various maintenance activities.
Work is scheduled as follows:
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 to SR-59/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for pavement work
• Full on and off-ramp closures on southbound SR-99 at SR-140 East and G Street on Thursday, May 30, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from Mission Avenue to southbound SR-99 on Friday, May 31, 2019, 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.

 



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

 

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May 25, 2019

Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum has been rescheduled to Monday May May 27
due to severe weather predicted for Sunday May 26.

Monday May 27, 2019 from 9 am to 5 pm Castle Air Museum located at 5050 Santa Fe Drive in Atwater will be hosting Open Cockpit Day! Dozens of the Museum's 72 vintage aircraft will be open for viewing along with fun for the entire family! Special make and take model making for kids, Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing Wall, First Responder displays from Fire Trucks to Sheriff Canine Demos, CHP , City of Atwater plus an outstanding food court to delight everyone's taste! See the Air Power icons like the awesome B-52 Bomber, the Cold War Electronic Early Warning aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-14 Tomcat made famous by the movie Top Gun and more! Don't forget to check out the Presidential Aircraft and tour it for only an additional $10 per person. Wait there's more take the shuttle bus to view the Hidden Collection of fabric covered aircraft made of wood and covered with fabric plus cool aircraft engines of all sizes! COME BE AMAZED!

Check our website under the visit tab for more information to this fabulous event!! Or call (209) 723-2182 to speak directly with someone regarding the event. I can be reached directly for media inquiries at (209) 723-2178 ext.304

Admission Adults..$20 per person
Seniors 62+, Youth 13-17,
Active Duty Military members with I.D. are $15 per person
Children 6-12 ... $10 each
Children under 6 years of age....Free
Presidential Aircraft Tours an additional $10 per person

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May 25, 2019

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

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform full on-ramp closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Mission Avenue to Shanks Road for pavement work. (Due to Memorial Day holiday weekend, there is no scheduled construction Sunday, May 26, or Monday, May 27, 2019.) Work is scheduled as follows: • Shanks Road to northbound SR-99 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • South Avenue in Delhi to northbound SR-99 on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • Westside Boulevard to southbound SR-99 on Thursday, May 30, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • Mission Avenue to southbound SR-99 on Friday, May 31, 2019, 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.



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

 

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May 24, 2019

City offices closed Monday

The City of Merced offices will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday Monday, May 27.
There will be no trash collection on that day. All refuse pickup will be delayed one day the entire week.

 

 

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May 24, 2019

Almonds included in Round 2 of Support for Farmers Impacted by Tariff Retaliation and Trade Disruption Announced by USDA Secretary Perdue

Modesto, CA – Today USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced round two of support for farmers impacted by retaliatory tariffs and trade disruption in key export markets, specifically China. California almonds are included in the $16 billion trade mitigation package. The package will consist of $14.5 billion for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), $1.4 billion for the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) and $100 million for the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program. The damage assessment figure assigned to almonds is not known at this time. Payments for almonds will be based on a per acre basis, not Average Gross Income (AGI) like the first round of retaliatory tariff mitigation support.

Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino noted almonds are one of California’s top three valued commodities and the leading agriculture export. The California almond industry exports 67% of what it produces. “The Almond Alliance has been working tirelessly to ensure that almonds are included in the discussion, both in the trade impacts experienced to date and the desired mitigation outcome. During the first round of trade assistance, approximately 50% of California almond growers applied for direct payment, but many were limited due to the AGI limitations,” said Trevino.

Almonds have been impacted by retaliatory tariffs in a significant way, and this announcement is confirmation of that reality by the Administration. The mitigation is based on the trade impacts in China, with almond exports down about 33%. Looking specifically at direct China shipments for the first quarter of 2019 (Jan-March), California almonds are at about 60% of what was shipped in the first quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Australia has taken full advantage of the 0% tariff under their FTA with China, increasing their 11-month almond exports into China by almost 2,000 percent. These retaliatory tariffs have impacted California’s market share of almonds in China, a region that the California almond industry has invested in for over 30 years to develop.

“While direct payments are not the ideal solution, they will help assist those who have been negatively impacted by the pricing effects resulting from the retaliatory tariffs and allow them to continue to operate in these uncertain times,” said Trevino. “I would like to strongly state that the California almond industry is focused on trade and market growth. None of the mitigation programs will begin to offset the financial impacts, the disruptions to our relationships with commercial partners, or the longer term effect this could have on the considerable market development investments the almond industry has made over the past decades.”

 

The California almond industry generates about 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, especially in areas that suffer from chronic unemployment. The industry also generates more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly creates more than $11 billion to the size of the state’s total economy.

The announcement by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue pertaining to almonds is a result of the industry coming together and advocating through the Almond Alliance. “The California almond community should be proud that through a unified organized effort they were able to have their voice heard and be acknowledged for what they provide to the national economy and what significance they have in the international market place,” said Trevino.
For USDA's press release, Click Here.

About the Almond Alliance of California

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds are an economic powerhouse, generating more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contributing more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses.Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community. For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.

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May 24, 2019

HIGHWAY OPENING STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNTY

Caltrans has completed repairs and opened northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville. The closure began on Monday, April 29, 2019. The shoulders of SR-49 at multiple locations (including the entire roadside embankment) were shifting away from the highway. Crews rebuilt roadside slopes and shoulders, and placed erosion control measures like “geo grid” – a plastic mesh material – beneath the surface of the slopes. This work was in addition to repairing or replacing three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road afterward. To stay current with state highways news, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions.



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

 

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May 23, 2019

Breaking News .....Helicopter Rides are back for Open Cockpit Day!!!

Sunday May 26, 2019 from 9 am to 5 pm Castle Air Museum located at 5050 Santa Fe Drive in Atwater will be hosting Open Cockpit Day! Dozens of the Museum's 72 vintage aircraft will be open for viewing along with fun for the entire family! Special make and take model making for kids, Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing Wall, First Responder displays from Fire Trucks to Sheriff Canine Demos, CHP , City of Atwater plus an outstanding food court to delight everyone's taste! See the Air Power icons like the awesome B-52 Bomber, the Cold War Electronic Early Warning aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-14 Tomcat made famous by the movie Top Gun and more! Don't forget to check out the Presidential Aircraft and tour it for only an additional $10 per person. Wait there's more take the shuttle bus to view the Hidden Collection of fabric covered aircraft made of wood and covered with fabric plus cool aircraft engines of all sizes! COME BE AMAZED!

Check our website under the visit tab for more information to this fabulous event!! Or call (209) 723-2182 to speak directly with someone regarding the event. I can be reached directly for media inquiries at (209) 723-2178 ext.304

Admission Adults..$20 per person

Seniors 62+, Youth 13-17, Active Duty Military members with I.D. are $15 per person

 

Children 6-12 ... $10 each

Children under 6 years of age....Free

Presidential Aircraft Tours an additional $10 per person

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May 23, 2019

Hoover Student Honored During Memorial Service

Students and staff at Hoover Middle School paid tribute to 13 year old Vicente Mancera during a memorial service on their campus Wednesday afternoon, which was also attended by the teen’s family. Vicente was a seventh grader at Hoover when he lost his life during a tragic train accident on May 2.

Principal Julie Rivard said during the service, “We are all devastated from losing Vicente. I am so proud of all the students and staff at Hoover and how you have dealt with this tragedy. We came together, and we were a family that supported each other the day after and continue to support each other now.”

Other staff members spoke about Vicente’s sense of humor, his infectious smile, and his love of wrestling. Coach Mike Hermosillo said, “Even though he was just a seventh grader, I could tell he was special. He had leadership qualities that even the older kids on the team didn’t have. He always knew the right things to ask.”

The Hoover Huskies band performed during the ceremony, and students released biodegradable balloons shaped like doves with personalized notes written on them. Principal Rivard also explained that a plaque will soon be added to the base of a tree that is being dedicated in Vicente’s honor in the outdoor amphitheater.

A portion of the proceeds from a carnival and color run organized by the Hoover Parent Teacher Club on Wednesday evening will go to help the teen’s family. Loved ones have expressed their gratitude for all of support and prayers they have received from the community.

Meanwhile, the Merced City School District continues to focus on student safety. Staff members have been speaking with students since the start of the school year about the dangers of walking on or near train tracks, and they are consistently reinforcing that message in the wake of this tragedy. Parents are also being asked to remind their children they should only cross the street at crosswalks, look both ways before crossing any intersection, obey all traffic signals, and avoid using their phone or wearing headphones while walking to and from school.

For Hoover Middle School in particular, the safe routes for students who live south of the campus are the G Street underpass or the Glenn Avenue tunnel. Staff members have been assigned to the tunnel all year to help students feel comfortable using that option and to prevent them from walking over the tracks. The District Safety Committee will also be discussing potential opportunities to collaborate with other agencies for additional railroad safety measures in the future.




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May 23, 2019

MCOE Purchases Historic Mondo Building for Events, Office Space

The Merced County Office of Education recently finalized the purchase of the Mondo Building on the corner of Canal and Main Streets to better serve school districts and educators across the county.
The historic downtown building, which first opened in 1928 as the Bank of Italy, will serve as office space for MCOE staff and conference space for student, educator and community events. The property is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“We are excited to join downtown Merced and bring educators and students from across the county and the region to the MCOE Downtown Conference Center,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen.
The building boasts more than 18,000 square feet on three floors.
The first floor will serve as a conference and events space; the second floor will remain office space; and the third floor will be a mix of offices and meeting spaces. Employees from MCOE’s Educational Services Department and Media and Communications will move to the facility later this year. The building is projected to open for events in January, 2020.




PHOTO BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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May 22, 2019

Merced Irrigation District and City of Merced exploring partnership for municipal water supply
Agreement supported by multiple state policies

The Merced Irrigation District and the City of Merced have signed a Memorandum of Understanding signaling their intent to provide Merced River water as a source of municipal water.
Specifically, the MOU formally indicates an intent to pursue a water sale agreement.

“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with the Merced Irrigation District,” said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “This will benefit the people of Merced by providing an additional source of water that is sustainable for the City as we continue to grow.”

“This is a significant step forward toward implementing integrated regional water management for our entire community and we are pleased to be taking this joint action,” said MID Board President Scott Koehn.

The Merced City Council approved the MOU Monday night and the Merced Irrigation District Board of Directors approved it Tuesday.

The Merced Irrigation District holds senior water rights on the Merced River. MID is the sole owner and operator of Lake McClure, a 1-million acre-foot reservoir located east of Merced in the foothills of
Mariposa County. Lake McClure is a multi-benefit reservoir providing water for local irrigation, flood control, groundwater replenishment and recreation.

The city of 87,100 residents seeks to diversify its water portfolio while securing a reliable water supply to meet the needs of its 2030 General Plan. The City of Merced currently provides water to approximately 22,500 residential and commercial customer accounts with the water being developed directly from groundwater sources in eastern Merced County.
The City of Merced and the Merced Irrigation District have a lengthy partnership and history of collaborating on local water management issues through the Integrated Regional Water Management planning process, a state initiative that dates back to the 2002 Regional Water Management Planning

 

 

 

Act. The Integrated Regional Water Management Act advocates local collaboration to identify regional self-reliance, reduce conflict, and manage water to concurrently achieve social, environmental and economic objectives.

Additionally, the City of Merced and the Merced Irrigation District are partners in a regional effort to combat groundwater overdraft through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Under the 2014 statewide mandate, communities with over-drafted groundwater basins are expected to develop regional sustainability plans and partnerships to address the problem. MID and the City of Merced are currently within the Merced Irrigation Urban Groundwater Sustainability Agency and are working to develop a plan for the eastern Merced Groundwater Sustainability Basin.

The approved MOU by both the City of Merced and the Merced Irrigation District does not constitute a legal agreement for a water transfer. Instead it is formalizing the two entities intent to seek such an agreement and to develop the appropriate terms for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“MID operates a multi-benefit reservoir and irrigation system. This is a natural outgrowth of years of collaboration and reflects the mandates of state policies for regional and cooperative water management. We look forward to continuing this process with our partner,” said MID’s Koehn.

“This MOU addresses one of the City Council’s priorities, having a surface water project for the long-term needs of the City,” Murphy said. “The agreement can also move us toward our goal of recharging the groundwater.”

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May 22, 2019

K&L Gates Further Strengthens Public Policy and Law Practice in Washington, D.C., with Former Congressman Jeff Denham

Washington, D.C. - The Washington, D.C., office of global law firm K&L Gates LLP welcomes former four-term United States Congressman Jeffrey J. Denham as a government affairs counselor in the public policy and law practice. Denham brings significant transportation and infrastructure policy experience, as well as agriculture, natural resources, and energy knowledge, to the firm.
As a congressman representing California’s 10th and formerly 19th districts, Denham was a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he was the chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials and the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. He was also a member of the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. During his eight years in Congress, Denham helped draft dozens of bills that were subsequently signed into law, such as the 2012 Veterans Skills to Jobs Act; the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act; the 2018 ENLIST Act; and Stafford Act revisions as a part of the 2013 Sandy Recovery Improvement Act. He built a strong reputation as bipartisan, creating healthy and transparent work environments, securing national and local legislative victories, and bringing disparate groups together to work on difficult issues facing Congress.
“Anyone who knows Jeff knows that he is a go-getter,” said Darrell Conner, a government affairs counselor and co-leader of the policy practice in Washington, D.C. “He did so as a member of Congress, as a candidate, and as a business owner. He’s going to be a great addition to the K&L Gates’ team.”
Prior to his election to Congress, Denham served as a California state senator for eight years (2002-2010), where he was chairman of the Agriculture Committee and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and focused on issues that included education, government waste, agriculture, and economic development.
He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, having served in both Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia) and is also the founder of Denham Plastics LLC, a full-service provider of sustainable plastic material handling solutions, in addition to owning an almond farm in California.
Bruce J. Heiman, a partner in K&L Gates’ Washington, D.C., office and a leader of the firm’s policy and regulatory practice area, commented: “Jeff’s depth of experience both in Congress and as a business owner provides our clients with a unique resource who understands commercial and legislative operations and can help address many issues they’re facing.”

 

 

 

K&L Gates’ public policy and law practice has been a Washington, D.C., presence for over 45 years and consists of more than 50 bipartisan lawyers and policy professionals with 500 years of combined experience in federal and state government. Practitioners include a former U.S. attorney; former members of Congress; the former general counsel of the CIA; and various White House officials, congressional counsels, senior executive branch officials, congressional chiefs of staff, leadership staff, senior counsel at various government agencies, senior gubernatorial aides, military officials, and others. Denham joins former Senator Slade Gorton and former Representatives Bart J. Gordon and James T. Walsh as the practice’s fourth former member of Congress.
“We continue to expand the Washington, D.C., office in key areas including public policy and financial services,” said J. Barclay Collins, managing partner of K&L Gates’ Washington, D.C., office. “Jeff’s addition complements our other recent arrivals, providing deep insight and experience to serve our clients’ most important business needs in Washington and globally.”
Denham’s addition to the Washington, D.C., office follows the recent arrivals of Andrew Wright, an experienced congressional and executive branch oversight and investigations lawyer who also joined the public policy and law practice, and Stephen Humenik, a derivatives lawyer who joined the investment management practice.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals. For more information about K&L Gates or its locations, practices and registrations, visit klgates.com.

K&L Gates has offices in: Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Miami, Milan, Munich, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, Perth, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington.

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May 20, 2019

Col. Bolte honored on Veterans Boulevard today

The City of Merced honored Col. Wayne Bolte with a memorial plaque on Veterans Boulevard today. The plaque is installed at 12th and M streets. Col. Bolte was shot down over Vietnam in 1972 and is listed as Missing In Action.
On hand was his son, Mark Bolte, who assisted with the dedication. Council Member Matt Serratto read a brief biography of the pilot during the dedication.
“I’m appreciative of the City of Merced for what they did,” Mark Bolte said. He said his father had been stationed at Castle Air Force Base before being shipped overseas.
On April 2, 1972, an EB-66 Destroyer (call sign "Bat 21") piloted by Col. Bolte with six crew members took off from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. It was on an electronic countermeasures mission over South Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. While over the target area, an escort aircraft saw a surface-to-air missile (SAM) explode near "Bat 21," after which the aircraft began trailing flames from both wings. "Bat 21" then broke into pieces and crashed.
No parachutes were witnessed, although one rescue beeper was heard resulting in one crew member being rescued 12 days after the crash. The survivor reported the SAM had exploded below and behind the aircraft. The other five crew members are believed to have died in the incident.
Major Wayne Louis Bolte entered the U.S. Air Force from Oklahoma and served in the 42nd Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the pilot of "Bat 21" when it was shot down and attempts to locate and recover his remains were unsuccessful. Following the incident, the Air Force promoted Maj. Bolte to the rank of Colonel. Today, Colonel Bolte is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Col. Bolte was 37 when he left behind a wife and family. Today we are joined by his son, Mark.
The plaques along Veterans Boulevard, the honorary name given to M Street, are only for the men and women in the Armed Forced who lost their lived in the service to their country.

 


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May 21, 2019

Open Cockpit Day!

Sunday May 26, 2019 from 9 am to 5 pm Castle Air Museum located at 5050 Santa Fe Drive in Atwater will be hosting Open Cockpit Day! Dozens of the Museum's 72 vintage aircraft will be open for viewing along with fun for the entire family! Special make and take model making for kids, Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing Wall, First Responder displays from Fire Trucks to Sheriff Canine Demos, CHP , City of Atwater plus an outstanding food court to delight everyone's taste! See the Air Power icons like the awesome B-52 Bomber, the Cold War Electronic Early Warning aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-14 Tomcat made famous by the movie Top Gun and more! Don't forget to check out the Presidential Aircraft and tour it for only an additional $10 per person. Wait there's more take the shuttle bus to view the Hidden Collection of fabric covered aircraft made of wood and covered with fabric plus cool aircraft engines of all sizes! COME BE AMAZED!

Check our website under the visit tab for more information to this fabulous event!! Or call (209) 723-2182 to speak directly with someone regarding the event. I can be reached directly for media inquiries at (209) 723-2178 ext.304

 

 

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May 20, 2019

Council presented with FY 2019/20 Preliminary Budget

The City Council will be presented with the Fiscal Year 2019/20 City Manager’s Recommended Preliminary Budget at its Monday night meeting.

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

Budget notes:

• The total City budget is $255 million, with staffing staying at current levels.

• The General Fund budget is $43.9 million. This includes police, fire, parks and recreation and administrative functions.

• The Enterprise Funds budget is $124.1 million. These are funds that are fee-based and include refuse, sewer and water.

• The budget includes $23,000 for Parks and Recreation to fund local groups that will enhance youth programing provided by the City.

• The complete preliminary budget is online and available at cityofmerced.org.

• Public hearings on the budget will be held June 3 and June 17.

The Council will meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. to confer with real property negotiators and with labor negotiators.

The meetings are streamed on Facebook Live on the City’s Facebook, City of Merced. A link to the live meeting is also 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, outside the chambers prior to the meeting and 72 hours before the meeting at the City Clerk’s Office. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council. Hmong and Spanish translators are available at all regular Council meetings.

The City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month, except when there is a holiday, when it meets the following day.

 

 

 


Meeting on annexation study May 21

The City of Merced is studying the possibility of annexing portions of 7,660-acres in North Merced. The area currently is partially rural and partially developed. Most of the land is vacant but several portions have existing homes.
The land is in the County, generally around UC Merced, and has been identified as in the direction of the City’s growth in the General Plan. The study would provide recommendations about possible incorporation of some, or all, of the land.
Informational meetings for the North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study will be held Tues., May 21. In the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. The first meeting is from 3 to 5 p.m. and the second from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.
The City of Merced is studying the possibility of annexing portions of 7,660-acres in North Merced. The area currently is partially rural and partially developed. Most of the land is vacant but several portions have existing homes.
The land is in the County, generally around UC Merced, and has been identified as in the direction of the City’s growth in the General Plan. The study would provide recommendations about possible incorporation of some, or all, of the land.
Informational meetings for the North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study will be held Tues., May 21. In the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. The first meeting is from 3 to 5 p.m. and the second from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.

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May 20, 2019

Atwater FFA Marketing Plan Team Wins State Championship

Written by:Atwater FFA

Atwater FFA will be heading to the National FFA Finals as the Marketing Plan team won the 2019 FFA state championship at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on May 4th. With over 1800 California high school agriculture students representing over 150 high schools throughout the state, the Atwater FFA Marketing Plan team comprised of Anessa Cardenas, Kaya Briscoe, and Megan Escobar 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 in late October. Atwater FFA sent eleven individual agriculture Career Development Event (CDE) teams to Cal Poly, SLO with 10 of the 11 teams placing in the “Top 10” in California. “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 at the state finals competitions,” said FFA advisor Dave Gossman.

The Marketing Plan contest seeks to effectively prepare students for the opportunities and expectations of the agricultural business workplace. Students seeking careers in agriculture business must develop a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as the capacity to create and present a marketing plan.

The Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team placed 2nd overall in the state with a team comprised of Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, Natalie Frontella, and Valerie Carlos. Atwater High School senior Natalie Frontella was 1st high individual overall. The Atwater FFA Farm Business Management team placed 2nd overall with a team comprised of Emily Junez, Liliana Vargas, Simarjot Gandhoke, and Zion Brigham. The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team placed 6th overall with a team comprised of Cristal Venegas, Daniel Narez, Stefani Sanchez, and Vanessa Varela. The Atwater FFA Poultry team placed 6th overall with a team comprised of Alfredo Elizarraraz, Mariah Castro, Stephania Valdovinos, and Victor Mejia. Atwater FFA’s Soil and Land Evaluation team placed 6th overall with a team comprised of Estrella Venancio-Reyes, Kelly Lopez, Sabrina Lopez, and Vivianna Cebrero. Atwater FFA’s Agronomy team placed 7th overall with a team comprised of Elisabeth Garner, Gurkirath Gandjok, Jennifer Velazquez, and Luz Soto. The Atwater FFA Floriculture team placed 7th overall with a team comprised of Arely Venegas, Faith Ceja, Hayley Vargas, and Kathy Vargas. The Atwater FFA Ag Communications team placed 8th overall in the state with a team comprised of Emma Garcia, Michael Bray, Oscar Perez, and Yesenia Santillan. The Atwater FFA Meats team placed 9th overall with a team comprised of Adriana Lopez, Erika Silva, and Jaimie Colores. The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team placed 17th overall with a team comprised of Daisy Flores-Mota, Jose Ruiz, Juanabel Perez, and Marie Corado.

There are over 89,000 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 Atwater FFA Marketing Plan team comprised of Kaylyn Davenport (coach), Kaya Briscoe-Mattis, Megan Escobar, Anessa Cardenas, and Denise Skidmore (coach) will be representing California at the national FFA Finals in late October in Indianapolis, Indiana for the national championship.


Atwater High School agriculture senior Natalie Frontella shares her accomplishment with coach Dave Gossman as the 1st high individual in the state for Milk Quality and Dairy Foods during the state finals competition at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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

 

 

Atwater High School FFA will now focus on fundraising the $20,000 to send the Atwater FFA Marketing Plan team to the National FFA Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana and the 2018 Atwater FFA Cotton team to the Washington DC FFA leadership conference in recognition of winning the 2018 Cotton State Championships this past October.

 

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

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May 20, 2019

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNTY

Caltrans is continuing the full highway closure on northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville. The closure, which began on Monday, April 29, 2019, is scheduled through 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2019. The shoulders of SR-49 at multiple locations (including the entire roadside embankment) are shifting away from the highway. Crews have been rebuilding the roadside slopes and shoulders and placing erosion control measures like “geo grid” – a plastic mesh material – beneath the surface of the slopes. This work is in addition to repairing or replacing three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road over them afterward. The communities of Bear Valley, Coulterville, Greeley Hill and Mariposa can still be reached using alternate routes. Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time. To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding state highways, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800- 427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions. This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and other issues.



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

 

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May 11, 2019

Charter Committee members wanted for Merced

The City of Merced is looking for members for the Citizens Advisory Charter Review Committee. The purpose of the Committee will be to review and make recommendations to the City Council on the City of Merced Charter for possible revisions to be placed on the March 2020 Primary ballot. The members must be 18 year-old and registered to vote in the City.

The City Council will select six people who will represent each of the six Council Districts, and three members will be appointed at-large. People can apply online at Cityofmerced.org or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 388-8650 for more information. The appointment of the Committee is tentatively scheduled for the May 20 City Council Meeting. Applications will be accepted up until 5 pm the day of the meeting.

 

 

 

Click here to see flyer

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May 10 , 2019

Tioga Road

Plows are plowing in 4 feet of snow in the Yosemite Creek area.
Snowpack in the Tuolumne River basin was at 149% of average this year as of May 1. There is no estimated date for opening
.


 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM G STREET IN MERCED TO SHANKS ROAD IN DELHI
MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Merced to Delhi for maintenance work.
Ramp closures are scheduled as follows:
• Full on-ramp closure from G Street to southbound SR-99 for landscape and irrigation work on Thursday, May 16, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound and southbound SR-99 to SR-59/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced for landscape and irrigation work beginning Tuesday, May 14, 2019, through Wednesday, May 15, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from Shanks Road to southbound SR-99 on Monday, May 13, 2019, from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. for guardrail repair.
Motorists should expect 5-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.



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

 

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May 10 , 2019

Assemblymembers Adam Gray and Eduardo Garcia Issue Statement Following Flood Management and Emergency Preparedness Hearing

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Committee on Governmental Organization, and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) today held a joint informational hearing on flood management and emergency preparedness.

During the hearing, members of the committees received testimony regarding California’s inland flood control system and emergency preparedness from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Department of Water Resources, California Office of Emergency Services, Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Central Valley Flood Control Association, Reclamation District 108, and the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services.

California’s flood control system is complex and local, federal and state agencies have developed a variety of physical structures to regulate flood flows. Since 1992, every county in California has been declared a federal disaster area at least once for a flooding event. More than 7.3 million people and structures valued at nearly $600 billion statewide are located in an area with a 1-in-500 probability of flooding. In the Central Valley alone, nearly 1-in-3 residents and crops worth nearly $6 billion are located in flood-prone areas.

The Department of Water Resources provided an overview of actions they

 

are taking to reduce the residual flood risk, previous flood management investments and the current reservoir conditions and snowmelt forecast California’s river basins.

In discussing the forecasts for runoff, Chairman Gray noted “the symbiotic relationship between water storage and flood risk requires policymakers to take a more collaborative approach in answering California water question. For far too long, California has not had a real water plan. California’s aging water infrastructure as paid the price.”

Chairman Garcia stated, “Today’s hearing was an opportunity to learn more about the coordination between our local, state, and federal flood management teams and to ensure emergency managers and first responders are receiving the information they need to keep our communities safe.”

Chairman Gray added, “We cannot afford to be caught flatfooted. We need to ensure our emergency plans are up-to-date and fully consider the consequences flooding has on lifeline systems such as fuel, power, communications, drinking water, and transportation.

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May 7 , 2019

MCSD Celebrates Major Measure M Modernization Project

The Merced City School District is celebrating the completion of a major modernization project. Students, staff, and community members gathered at Fremont Elementary for a dedication and appreciation ceremony Monday morning. The school has gone through a complete transformation over the past year and a half thanks to Measure M bond funding.
All permanent classrooms were completely remodeled to create spaces that are comfortable, energy-efficient, and feature cutting edge technology. This includes new flooring, cabinets, countertops, sinks, fresh paint, and other interior finishes. Modern projector systems were added with large magnetic white boards and upgraded Wi-Fi connectivity. Crews also installed new HVAC systems that distribute air evenly to keep students and staff cool in the summer and warm in the winter while improving air quality. The front office was relocated to the S Street side of the campus where a new parking lot and drop off/pick up area was constructed to improve safety and access for students and families by moving the main entrance away from busy R Street.
Other improvements include:
* Creation of a new courtyard with fresh landscaping and benches for utdoor learning
* Addition of new modular classrooms and removal of five decades-old portables
* Re-roofing of old canopies over the interior walkways
* Installation of bright new LED lighting in the hallways
* Addition of new drought tolerant landscaping and efficient new irrigation systems
* Relocation of noisy refrigeration equipment to new outdoor enclosure to create more space in the cafeteria and make it more enjoyable for meals, performances and assemblies
During Monday’s ceremony, Fremont students and staff presented a large banner full of handwritten notes to Harris Construction and thanked the crew for the care they put into the project. Principal Dawn Walker, Superintendent RoseMary Parga Duran, Facilities Director Ken Testa, and Board Member Jessica Kazakos also thanked everyone from the project architect, SIM-PBK, to the neighbors who were patient with all of the construction activity, to the voters who approved Measure M and the volunteers who serve on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.
Dr. Parga Duran says, “It is exciting to see this project come to fruition for our students, staff, and community. The new and improved Fremont Elementary campus is an even better, safer place for our children to learn.”
Voters approved the $60 million Measure M Bond in 2014 for capital facilities repairs, modernization, and infrastructure upgrades. The Fremont project cost approximately $7.5, but the district is eligible to receive reimbursement from the state for up to 60% of those expenses. Measure M projects have also been completed at several other MCSD campuses.





photo by Dylan McMullen courtesy of Merced County Office of Education.

 

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May 7 , 2019

Atwater FFA Prepares for its Annual Spring Plant Sale

Written by:Atwater FFA



Atwater High School horticulture students have spent the past couple months preparing for the 14th annual Atwater FFA Spring/Summer Plant Sale scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, May 10th and 11th from 8am to 4pm at the Atwater High School Agriculture Department. Over 5000 annual and perennial plants, ferns, succulents, and fruit & shade trees will be available. This year’s crop includes organic strawberries. 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 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 the plant sale, Atwater High School Agriculture Department and Atwater FFA, please log on the website www.AtwaterFFA.org .


Atwater High School horticulture student Osvaldo Martinez waters some of the thousands of plants that will be available at the annual Atwater FFA Spring Plant Sale on Friday/Saturday, May 10th and 11th at Atwater High School.


Atwater High School horticulture student Aaron Smith adds plant tags to a variety of student-made "pots with pazazz" and school-grown succulents for the upcoming plant sale on May 10th and 11th at Atwater High School.


Atwater High School horticulture student David Sandoval inpects hundreds of annual Cosmo flowering plants that will be available at the annual Atwater FFA Spring Plant Sale on May 10th and 11th at Atwater High School.

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May 7 , 2019

Almond Industry Advocate Bill Lyons honored as Member of the Year by the Almond Alliance of California

May 1, 2019 - The Almond Alliance of California has selected Bill Lyons, a third generation farmer from Modesto, as its Member of the Year. The award was announced at the Alliance’s annual convention held in Napa April 30-May 2.

“Bill played a leading role in helping transform the former Almond Hullers and Processors Association into the Almond Alliance with an increased emphasis on advocating for all sectors of the California almond industry,” explained Alliance President Elaine Trevino. “He has been a relentless advocate for the industry and was instrumental in forming the California Almond Industry Political Action Committee, helping to give the industry high visibility among state decision makers. He has also distinguished himself as chair of the Alliance’s Government Relations Committee which provides guidance to the board on critical legislative and regulatory issues impacting the California almond industry.”

Lyons was recently appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom as Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor, responsible for reporting to the Newsom Administration on a wide range of agricultural and water policy issues. Under Gov. Gray Davis, he served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1999 to 2004.

While Lyons has stepped down from his Alliance roles due to his appointment, he remains a strong voice for the California agriculture on issues ranging from water to foreign trade. “Bill understands the complexity of production, food safety, environmental, water and trade issues affecting California agriculture,” said Trevino. “He brings us a seat at the table and provides a much needed balanced perspective to critical policy discussions.” Bill understands the importance of including diversity of opinions in important policy discussions.

ranching operation in Stanislaus County, Lyons has received numerous national and state awards for his environmental stewardship and conservation efforts. The family farming operation produces a wide range of agricultural commodities, including almonds, walnuts, tomatoes, corn, wheat, oats, rye, alfalfa, beans and wine grapes, as well as beef cattle.

Lyons served from 1984-1993 as a director on the Modesto Irrigation District, which serves over 250,000 electrical urban and agricultural and water customers, providing him a unique perspective on the issues facing both agriculture and urban water and electrical customers.

As a conservationist, Lyons has been recognized by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for his conservation and environmental efforts, and has received the United States Department of Agriculture National Environmentalist Award. He was selected as the western regional finalist for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 2010 Conservationist of the Year Award. During the time he oversaw his family's 95-year-old farming and cattle

Bill's alma mater, California State University at Chico, honored Bill in 2000 with the Distinguished Alumni Award. He and his wife, Suzy, live in Modesto and have four children and five grandchildren.


About the Almond Alliance of California

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds are an economic powerhouse, generating more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contributing more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses.Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community. For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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May 7 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE
CALTRANS RESTORES PAVEMENT ON STATE ROUTE 99
IN MERCED AND STANISLAUS COUNTIES

TURLOCK – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed an estimated $14.4 million project that replaced deteriorated pavement on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) between Bradbury Road and the Christoffersen Rest Area.
The two outside lanes and shoulders were replaced on both SR-99 in this approximately 1.6- mile stretch in Merced and Stanislaus counties.
This project will extend the service life of the pavement and limit costly maintenance efforts for the future, for both motorists and taxpayers.
Work began in March 2018 and was completed in May 2019.
This work included long-term lane and ramp closures, and a long-term closure of the Southbound Christoffersen Rest Area.
Caltrans would like to thank motorists and local residents for their patience and cooperation
during this process.

 

 

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

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May 4 , 2019

Entry signs, Measure V presentation on agenda

The City Council will hear an update on entry signs to the City and a presentation on Measure V at its Monday night meeting.

This is the first regular Council meeting streamed on Facebook Live on the City’s Facebook, City of Merced. It’s all part of an on-going effort to bring City Hall to the residents.

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

The Council will consider:

• A report on Entry Signs on major signs coming into the City. The sign designs have been reviewed by the Arts and Culture Advisory Commission. Staff will ask Council for direction on the next steps.

• A presentation by the Merced County Association of Governments on Measure V, the transportation tax measure that is helping to fund numerous road, sidewalk and other projects in the City and throughout the county.

• A resolution vacating land in Tuscany East subdivision in South Merced that had been set aside for public facilities and ground water treatment. A public hearing will be held on the matter.

 

 

 

The Council will meet after the regular meeting for a closed session on existing litigation and anticipated litigation.

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

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

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May 4 , 2019

Merced County Students Awarded for Biliteracy Proficiency

Students from throughout Merced County were recognized at Pacheco High School on April 30 for completing the Seal of Biliteracy Proficiency.
The accolade, which is listed on student transcripts, is awarded by the Merced County Office of Education in partnership with school districts, and recognizes attained proficiency in English and at least one other world language by high school graduation.
This year, students submitted applications for proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, Hmong, German, Punjabi, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Mien, Italian and French.
Introduced in early 2011 by Assembly member Julia Brownley, Assembly Bill 815 is a verification of linguistic proficiency.
Students write speeches about why they feel it is important to be multilingual. They read their speeches at the awards event in English and their target languages, which included Spanish, Portuguese, Hmong, Punjabi and Arabic.
MCOE received 704 applications for the program from 12 high schools throughout the county: Atwater, Buhach, Delhi, El Capitan, Golden Valley, Hilmar, Le Grand, Livingston, Los Banos, Merced, Merced Scholars Charter and Pacheco High. From those, 524 were eligible for the essay and interview portion and 245 completed the process and were scored as proficient.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen addresses student, parents and guests at the 2019 Seal of Biliteracy Awards at Pacheco High School in Los Banos on April 30.

 

 



Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen congratulates a student who earned the Seal of Biliteracy, along with other school administrators and honored guests at the 2019 Seal of Biliteracy Awards at Pacheco High School in Los Banos on April 30.


Gehad Elhanafy, a student at Golden Valley High School in Merced and Seal of Biliteracy Proficiency recipient, was a student speaker at the 2019 Seal of Biliteracy Awards at Pacheco High School in Los Banos on April 30. Elhanafy earned the Seal of Biliteracy in English and her target language of Arabic.


Golden Valley High School Principal Kevin Swartwood, right, poses with students from the school that earned the Seal of Biliteracy at the 2019 Seal of Biliteracy Awards at Pacheco High School in Los Banos on April 30.

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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May 4 , 2019

California High-Speed Rail Releases Draft Supplemental Environmental Document under CEQA for Merced to Fresno Project Section

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is releasing a draft supplemental environmental impact report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) entitled “Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement” (referred to below as “Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS”). The Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS is available for 48-day review and public comment beginning Friday, May 3 through Thursday, June 20, 2019.

This document supplements the 2012 Final EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section and is focused on the Central Valley Wye portion of the alignment that would create the east-west connection between the San Jose to Merced Section to the west and the approved Merced to Fresno alignment. The 2012 Final EIR/EIS identified the Hybrid Alternative as the preferred alternative for the north/south alignment of the high-speed rail but did not select a preferred alternative for the Central Valley Wye.

The Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS provides a detailed environmental impact analysis of the Central Valley Wye between the cities of Merced and Madera and evaluates four alternatives: State Route (SR) 152 (North) to Road 13 Wye, SR 152 (North) to Road 19 Wye, Avenue 21 to Road 13 Wye, and SR 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye.

There are several ways to submit a comment regarding the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section including:
o Online via the Authority’s website (www.hsr.ca.gov)
o Via email at CentralValley.Wye@hsr.ca.gov with the subject line “Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS Comment.”
o Mail your comment to:
Attn: Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS
California High-Speed Rail Authority
770 L Street, Suite 620 MS-1
Sacramento, CA 95814

A Community Open House and Public Hearing will be offered to receive public comments.

Community Open House
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fairmead Elementary School Cafeteria
19421 Avenue 22 ¾
Fairmead, CA 93610

Public Hearing
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Chowchilla-Madera Fairgrounds Little Theatre
1000 S. Third Street
Chowchilla, CA 93610



Verbal and written comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and will be addressed in the Final Supplemental EIR document.

To view the full contents of the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS, please visit:
http://hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental_Planning/draft_supplemental_merced_fresno.html

The 2012 Final EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section can be reviewed at:
http://hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental_Planning/final_merced_fresno.html
California High-Speed Rail Releases Draft Supplemental Environmental Document under CEQA for Merced to Fresno Project Section
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is releasing a draft supplemental environmental impact report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) entitled “Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement” (referred to below as “Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS”). The Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS is available for 48-day review and public comment beginning Friday, May 3 through Thursday, June 20, 2019.

This document supplements the 2012 Final EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section and is focused on the Central Valley Wye portion of the alignment that would create the east-west connection between the San Jose to Merced Section to the west and the approved Merced to Fresno alignment. The 2012 Final EIR/EIS identified the Hybrid Alternative as the preferred alternative for the north/south alignment of the high-speed rail but did not select a preferred alternative for the Central Valley Wye.

The Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS provides a detailed environmental impact analysis of the Central Valley Wye between the cities of Merced and Madera and evaluates four alternatives: State Route (SR) 152 (North) to Road 13 Wye, SR 152 (North) to Road 19 Wye, Avenue 21 to Road 13 Wye, and SR 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye.

There are several ways to submit a comment regarding the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section including:
o Online via the Authority’s website (www.hsr.ca.gov)
o Via email at CentralValley.Wye@hsr.ca.gov with the subject line “Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS Comment.”
o Mail your comment to:
Attn: Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS
California High-Speed Rail Authority
770 L Street, Suite 620 MS-1
Sacramento, CA 95814

A Community Open House and Public Hearing will be offered to receive public comments.

Community Open House
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fairmead Elementary School Cafeteria
19421 Avenue 22 ¾
Fairmead, CA 93610

Public Hearing
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Chowchilla-Madera Fairgrounds Little Theatre
1000 S. Third Street
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Verbal and written comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and will be addressed in the Final Supplemental EIR document.

To view the full contents of the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS, please visit:
http://hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental_Planning/draft_supplemental_merced_fresno.html

The 2012 Final EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Project Section can be reviewed at:
http://hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental_Planning/final_merced_fresno.html

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May 3 , 2019

MCOE Announces Winners of Speech Festival

The Merced County Office of Education announced the winners of the 2019 Merced County Speech Festival at an awards ceremony May 1.
The competition was held in mid-April for fourth- through eighth-grade students and 25 schools from 14 school districts in Merced County participated in the event with 164 students competing.
Awards for the top three students in each grade and honorable mentions were presented at the Clark and Newbold Rooms at MCOE.
Speeches for the festival are an open platform. Students gave speeches about any subject using selected categories from the Writing Festival. The speech selections were: Persuasive, Tall Tale, Legend or Fable.
Students stood in front of the audience and a panel of three judges — some memorized their speeches, some used props and others had vivid gesturing and staging.
First place winners were invited to give their award-winning speeches at the awards reception.
Video of the award event will be available next week at https://www.youtube.com/user/METVMERCED/videos.

First Place Winners
4th Grade: Jazmin Morales-Estrada, Farmdale Elementary, Weaver USD – Topic: Responsibility
5th Grade: Shaminka Elwin, Burbank Elementary, Merced CSD – Topic: Middle Child
6th Grade: Mariah Dhillon, Winton Middle, Winton ESD — Topic: Fortnite
7th Grade: Joshua Perez, Our Lady of Mercy — Topic: Bilingual
8th Grade: Rose Velasquez, McSwain, McSwain UESD — Topic: Disconnect Tech


Farmdale Elementary School 4th grader Jazmin Morales-Estrada performs her speech about "Responsibility" at the 2019 Merced County Speech Festival awards on May 1. Morales-Estrada took first place for her grade.


Burbank Elementary School 5th grader Shaminka Elwin performs her speech about being the "Middle Child" at the 2019 Merced County Speech Festival awards on May 1. Elwin took first place for her grade.

 



4th Grade: Jazmin Morales-Estrada, Farmdale Elementary, Weaver USD – Topic: Responsibility


5th Grade: Shaminka Elwin, Burbank Elementary, Merced CSD – Topic: Middle Child


6th Grade: Mariah Dhillon, Winton Middle, Winton ESD — Topic: Fortnite


Joshua Perez, Our Lady of Mercy — Topic: Bilingual


Rose Velasquez, McSwain, McSwain UESD — Topic: Disconnect Tech

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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May 3 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
EXTENSION OF FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY
MARIPOSA COUNTY

Caltrans is extending the full highway closure on northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to just south
of SR-132 in Coulterville.
The closure, which began on Monday, April 29, 2019, is now extended through 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Initially, the closure was scheduled for 12 days (concluding Friday, May 10). Crews have discovered the shoulders of SR-49 at multiple locations (including the entire roadside
embankment) are shifting away from the highway.
For the sake of public safety and for the long-term integrity of SR-49, Caltrans is extending the closure. This work will be done in addition to repairing or replacing three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road over them afterward.
The communities of Bear Valley, Coulterville, Greeley Hill and Mariposa can still be reached using alternate routes. Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time. To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding state highways, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800- 427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions.
This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and other issues.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 FROM G STREET TO STATE ROUTE 140/STATE ROUTE 59 IN MERCEDMERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various full on and off-ramp closures on southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from G Street to SR-140/SR-59 for pavement repair.
Ramp closures are scheduled beginning Monday, May 6, 2019, through Tuesday, May 7, 2019, from 7:00 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues
.

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

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May 2 , 2019

Le Grand Medical Academy Prepares Students for College, Career

Several students at Le Grand High School have their sights set on becoming doctors, thanks to the school’s Medical Academy.
Teresa Moreno-Gomez, 17, of Planada is a senior who has been accepted to four prestigious University of California schools and California State University, Stanislaus. She’s unsure where she will go but wants to become an oncologist.
Her path to medicine came about in a way somewhat unexpected. When she was 5 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have a kidney removed. She’s been cancer-free since that time.
Moreno, who has a 4.3 grade point average, says she always knew she wanted to be in the medical field. She hopes to get a bachelor of science degree in biology or pre-health and then go to a medical school to become an oncologist — something that’s likely to take eight years.
But when her training is over, Moreno wants to return to the San Joaquin Valley.
“I want to be able to give back to the community that helped me,” Moreno says. “The Medical Academy helped me look at different aspects of the medical field and helped me see different pathways.”
Isak Murillo, 18, is a senior who plans to attend Sacramento State University to get his bachelor of science degree and would like to go to Stanford University Medical School. He wants to become a general surgeon and, like Moreno, come back to the community and do what was done for him.
Murillo said he grew up in hospitals and had surgeries when he was 1 and 2 years old. Then he had an appendectomy at age 5. These experiences gravitated him to a career in medicine.
Both Moreno and Murillo already are certified nursing assistants. Part of their training is being exposed to medical professionals and their work at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, working in obstetrics, pharmacy, surgery, oncology and radiology departments.
Murillo, who has a 3.75 GPA, wants to do the best that he can; he works in the hospital’s radiology department.
Donna Alley, superintendent of the Le Grand Union High School District, said this is the fifth year for the Medical Academy. The academy started out with a $130,000 grant six years ago. Sixteen seniors are involved in academy programs and 100 students in ninth through 12th grades are participating. Last year 21 students graduated from the academy.
The academy works in conjunction with a 20-member District Advisory Council. Dr. John Abordo, a podiatrist, is the group’s champion, Alley says. The group has representatives from UC Merced, California State University Stanislaus, California State University, Fresno, Golden Valley Health Centers and Dignity Health.
Advisory council members meet at least three times a year. The council holds a fall conference for students and their parents. The all-day program, usually held on a Saturday, offers classes for parents and students to learn about colleges offering medical programs and financial aid opportunities. Sessions also are held so students can become aware of health careers and college options. Their guest speaker generally is a doctor.
Last fall, a fundraising dinner raised about $17,000 for scholarships to graduating seniors.
Alley said the Medical Academy is an outgrowth of efforts by the Building Healthy Communities program, pushing career technical education in the medical field. Saying the Merced area needs doctors and other medical professionals across the board, she is hoping more people in the medical field will get involved supporting the academy’s efforts.
Charley Marshall teaches classes in medical technology-medical terminology, health careers and sports medicine. She is an adjunct professor of certified nursing assistants’ training at Merced College and was a CNA for 20 years. She started work at Le Grand High two years ago.
Marshall says it’s a great opportunity for students. She believes everyone should be a CNA before advancing to the registered nurse level.
With medical technologies, it’s important for students to speak the medical language and take advantage of opportunities to earn college credit before they graduate from high school.
In the sports medicine realm, Marshall says students can become student sports assistants and get real-time, hands-on experience with athletic programs and the injuries that sometimes arise from competition.
Marshall says students may be intimidated at first with the medical field but a careers class for freshmen only helps students research different careers, prepare portfolios and plan the steps necessary to achieve those career goals.



Le Grand High School Medical Academy instructor Charley Marshall directs students in her class at the school on April 30.


Le Grand High School Medical Academy student Amaya Rodriguez, 10th grade, practices a respiration technique on a patient simulator on April 30.


Le Grand High School Medical Academy student Angel Zaragoza, 11th grade, practices a respiration technique on a patient simulator on April 30

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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

“When it starts to ‘click’ it’s exciting,” Marshall says. “They’re enthusiastic, on fire. There are so many avenues; they don’t have to put themselves in a box and can go to other avenues.”
Alley says teachers work together to develop curriculum that supports academy programs. They are trying to enrich science and technology subjects which students need to pursue health classes.
“We have expanded options as far as what careers could be. It’s been one of the best things we’ve done for the kids as far as opening doors for them,” Alley says.
Delhi and Dos Palos high schools also offer medical academies. The “pipeline” to enter Le Grand’s Medical Academy begins at either Cesar Chavez Middle School in Planada or Le Grand Elementary School.
Alley says at first parents were nervous about being able to help their students financially in the medical field. But conferences have eased concerns on how to get financial aid and parents are very pleased with the program.

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May 2 , 2019


MCOE Math Coordinator Reframes Math Instruction

Duane Habecker admits math is a difficult subject. In classrooms it has been taught in such a way that makes it hard for students to master.
Habecker, 52, is a coordinator in the Educational Services Department at the Merced County Office of Education and a veteran mathematics instructor. He taught mathematics for 22 years in Oakland, Hayward and Pleasanton and was a math coach in Pleasanton for four years with the Pleasanton Unified School District. He’s been with MCOE for two years.
“We can control a lot of how students experience mathematics,” Habecker says. “It’s no more difficult than any other subject. It has a bad reputation because of poor instruction.”
Habecker says his job is to help school superintendents and curriculum directors craft a vision for what good math instruction is and how learning can take place in their districts.
He works with 12 of Merced County’s 20 school districts, training teachers, principals and teachers on special assignment. He works in Atwater, Ballico-Cressey, Dos Palos, Hilmar, Le Grand Elementary, McSwain, Sierra Foothill Charter School in Mariposa, Merced Scholars Charter School, Merced River, Planada and Weaver school districts, along with migrant education students and their families.
“I’ll train anybody who’s in the room. I’m available to provide training to make that vision come to life. We need student-centered instruction and need students to participate actively in their learning, instead of using mistakes as punishment. Mistakes are a necessary part of growing,” Habecker explains.
This involves creating a mindset and culture where all students can learn and are welcome. Habecker conducts real-live demonstrations in teachers’ classrooms to illustrate these teaching strategies.
“It’s not just me spouting off nice platitudes,” he adds.
Math is an essential skill for college and career. He covers math instruction for 4-year-olds up to 12th grade, including advanced placement calculus and trigonometry.
Habecker said if a student struggled to read, their parents would move mountains to help them in reading. That doesn’t happen in math where a struggling student often is written off about learning the subject. That’s not part of Habecker’s thinking.
With a new program, it takes about two or three years for the results to be manifested on test scores. But Habecker says in districts where he’s working educators have reported tremendous growth and are seeing students do new things.
“It’s about making math accessible to all our students. Math is the gateway to a lot of careers and lots of colleges. It’s a very important gateway or a barrier,” Habecker says.



MCOE Mathematics Coordinator Duane Habecker talks with McSwain Elementary School second grade teacher Stephanie Garcia about math instruction at McSwain School on May 1.


MCOE Mathematics Coordinator Duane Habecker works with students in McSwain Elementary School second grade teacher Stephanie Garcia's class at McSwain School on May 1.


MCOE Mathematics Coordinator Duane Habecker talks with McSwain Elementary School transitional kindergarten teacher Paige Ulrich about math instruction at McSwain School on May 1.

 

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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May 1 , 2019

Atwater FFA Earns Recognition during State Leadership Convention in Anaheim

Written by:Atwater FFA



Twenty-five Atwater High School agriculture students and FFA members joined nearly 7500 California high school agriculture students ate the 91st annual California FFA Leadership Convention held in Anaheim April 25th through the 28th. In addition to the various leadership components throughout the convention, various California agriculture students were recognized for various state awards associated with leadership, public speaking, agriculture projects, and industry-related skills. Student attendees included Alfredo Elizarraraz, Alyssa Carrillo, Anessa Cardenas, Celeste Chargoy, Cristal Venegas, Daniel Lopez , Elisabeth Garner, Emily Junez, Emma Garcia, Emmanuel Mejia, Grace Reyes, Felicity Garcia, Faith Ceja, Hayley Vargas, Jennifer Velazquez, Jose Montanez , Kaya Briscoe , Kyra Wright, Liliana Vargas, Luz Soto, Nandani Patel, Michael Bray, Natalie Frontella, Simarjot Gandhoke, and Stephania Valdovinos.
Atwater High School senior Kyra Wright was recognized as the California State Proficiency winner in Turf Grass Management which involves the planting and maintaining of turf for outdoor beautification, providing a lawn mowing service that does not include installation or maintenance of additional landscaping, sod produced for sale and sport field or golf course management.

The Atwater High School FFA Advanced Parliamentary Procedure team placed 5th overall in the state of California. The team was comprised of Emily Junez, Anessa Cardenas, Micheal Bray, Natalie Frontella, Emmanuel Mejia, Cristal Venegas, and Simarjot Gandhoke. Parliamentary procedure is a set of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies, and other deliberative assemblies. FFA students throughout California participate in various parliamentary procedure contests where students demonstrate their public speaking, understanding, and implementation of skills.

Atwater High School sophomore Emma Garcia placed 6th overall in state of California in the FFA Impromptu speaking contest. The impromptu speech is given without any preparation, any notes or other additional materials; it is a spontaneous reaction to an agriculture-related topic at hand which may introduce an interesting turn to the discussion.

Other Atwater High School students who competed as state finalists in the state speaking competitions included Alyssa Carrillo in in the Prepared Speaking contest. The contest for all participants involves a 6-8 minute speech on an agriculture related topic/issue, a written manuscript which is scored, and a question and answer period between the contestant and judges following the speech. Anessa Cardenas competed as a state finalist in the Job Interview contest. The Job Interview contest involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment.

Nearly 7,500 high school students, advisors and guests attend the largest annual state CTSO conference. The four-day conference attracts young agricultural leaders from over 300 chapters throughout California. The Convention encourages students to develop personal and team leadership skills, discover agricultural careers, establish lasting friendships and strive for success. The Convention also will highlight student accomplishments in public speaking and production practices with proficiency awards, scholarships and special recognitions.

“The conference is a highlight for students who attend in terms of encouragement, motivation, and the exploration of personal, academic, and career related opportunities in one’s future,” said Atwater High School agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. “The opportunity to experience this is a tremendous investment in a young person’s life.”


Twenty-five Atwater High School agriculture students and FFA members joined nearly 7,500 other high school agriculture students at the 91st annual California FFA Association State Leadership Convention in Anaheim, California April 25-28th.


The Atwater High School Advanced Parliamentary Procedure team comprised of Emmanuel Mejia, Emily Junez, Anessa Cardenas, Natalie Frontella, Cristal venegas, Michael Bray, and Simarjot Gandhoke placed 5th overall in the state of California.


Atwater High School agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Shelby West joins the California state winning FFA Turf Grass Management Proficiency winner Kyra Wright who is an Atwater High Sc
hool senior and four-year agriculture student.

 

 

 

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

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May 1 , 2019

FREE Autism Day BBQ Event for All Families Living with Autism!

Livingston, CA. April 30, 2019
On April 28, 2019, the Carlos Vieira Foundation hosted a FREE event for families living with autism! Our Autism Day BBQ included free food, games, carnival rides, crafts, bounce houses, a magic show, and more! The event took place at Livingston Middle School in Livingston, CA from 12pm-4pm. This was our 4th annual Autism Day BBQ in Livingston, with a record high number of attendees! The Carlos Vieira Foundation would like to give special thanks to Livingston Union School District, sponsors, volunteers, and families in attendance who made this event possible. Thank you to our main sponsor, 51FIFTY, for funding the event to make it completely free to all families living with autism!
This event is made possible by the Carlos Vieira Foundation’s Race for Autism campaign. The Race for Autism campaign helps the communities of 21 counties in Central California by fundraising, donating to local organizations, raising awareness, hosting community support events, and awarding grants to families through our Direct-Help Grant Program!
We ask the media to help us raise awareness about the prevalence of autism and the resources that the Carlos Vieira Foundation has available within our 21 counties. If you would like more information about the Carlos Vieira Foundation or would like to make a charitable donation, please visit www.carlosvieirafoundation.org or call 209-394-1444. More information about our sponsor, 51FIFTY, can be found at 51FIFTYLTM.com!

 

Background information on The Carlos Vieira Foundation: The Carlos Vieira Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that focuses on the following three campaigns: Race for Autism, Race 2B Drug-Free, and Race to End the Stigma. Through local support, the foundation is able to assist families and individuals across 21 counties within Central California. Our mission is to assist in strengthening communities by directly helping the individuals that live in them. We do this by providing key resources, awarding direct-help grants, fundraising, and collaborating with other dynamic organizations that help make a difference. For more information, please call (209) 394-1444 or email info@carlosvieirafoundation.org.

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May 1 , 2019

Merced Charter Committee members wanted

The City of Merced is looking for members for the Citizens Advisory Charter Review Committee. The purpose of the Committee will be to review and make recommendations to the City Council on the City of Merced Charter for possible revisions to be placed on the March 2020 Primary ballot. The members must be 18 year-old and registered to vote in the City.

The City Council will select six people who will represent each of the six Council Districts, and three members will be appointed at-large. People can apply online at https://bit.ly/2wiZmUj or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 388-8650 for more information. The appointment of the Committee is tentatively scheduled for the May 20 City Council Meeting. Applications will be accepted up until 5 pm the day of the meeting.

 

 

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May 1 , 2019

Gray Commends Executive Order to Create a Substantive Water Plan

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s Executive Order directing the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a water resilience portfolio that meets the needs of California’s communities, economy, and environment by reassessing priorities contained within the 2016 California Water Action Plan, updating projected climate change impacts to our water systems, identifying key priorities for the administration’s water portfolio, and identifying how to improve integration across state agencies to implement these priorities.

“California has not had a real water plan in decades. Real plans require real decisions, and previous administrations have refused to take on this tough issue. California’s aging water infrastructure as paid the price. That is why I introduced Assembly Bill 638 earlier this year to force the state to actually address the very real impacts that climate change will have on our dams, canals, aqueducts, and levies.

 

“The shrinking Sierra snowpack acts as California’s largest natural reservoir, but that reservoir is projected to shrink by half in as little as twenty years. That means less snow and more rain. Unless we take action now, we will watch millions of gallons of what used to be irrigation and drinking water wash out into the ocean.

“I don’t expect Governor Newsom and I to agree on every detail of a water plan, but I appreciate that he is not afraid to have the difficult conversations that we must have in order to get one. The Governor’s Executive Order today is a critical starting point to get everyone to the table and to put those who would rather ignore this problem on notice. Whether they like it or not, the state will have a plan for water going forward.

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May 1 , 2019

Health Center Planned Next to Stefani Elementary

Golden Valley Health Centers is partnering with the Merced City School District to open a health center adjacent to Joe Stefani Elementary. The MCSD Board of Education approved a resolution supporting the facility during its March 12 meeting, and it is expected to open in January of 2020.
The health center will offer a full range of physical, dental, mental, and preventative services to students, their families, and the surrounding community. Patients can be treated for acute illnesses, such as flu, and chronic conditions, including asthma and diabetes. They can also be screened for dental, vision and hearing problems. The goal of opening the center next to a school is to provide high quality care in a convenient location, which helps limit the amount of time that families need to have their children absent from class.
MCSD AND GVHC have executed a Memorandum of Understanding that identifies the roles and responsibilities of each party in relation to the lease, construction, and operation of the health center. The district plans to lease the property next to Stefani Elementary to GVHC to install a modular unit that complements the design of the campus. The center will be staffed by primary care providers (i.e., doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant), a behavioral health provider (for mild to moderate services), a dentist and a hygienist along with support staff such as a medical assistant, dental assistant and receptionist. It will tentatively be open from 8am -5pm on school days.
Research finds that school-based health centers increase student attendance and graduation rates while placing an emphasis on prevention, early intervention, and developing healthy habits.
Tony Weber, CEO of Golden Valley Health Centers, says, "We are thankful for this partnership with the local community, the Merced City School District and Stefani Elementary in helping to meet the needs of our students for their overall health and well-being. We believe this will not just help students, but by tending to these needs at school, we are also supporting parents."
Merced City School District Superintendent Dr. RoseMary Parga Duran adds, “We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Golden Valley Health Centers to provide important health resources for our students, their families, and the Franklin/Beachwood community. Attendance is a key factor in academic success, and we believe this center will help our students spend more time learning and maximizing their potential so they can thrive in school and later in life.”


ABOUT GVHC:
Golden Valley Health Centers is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified health center system that has served California’s Central Valley for over 46 years. GVHC is accredited by The Joint Commission and recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. GVHC provides comprehensive primary medical, dental, and behavioral health, as well as health education and eligibility screening to a diverse population in Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties. GVHC has developed a system of 36 sites and counting. GVHC’s mission is to improve the health of their patients by providing quality, primary health care services to people in the communities they serve regardless of language, financial or cultural barriers.


ABOUT MCSD:
The Merced City School District serves nearly 12,000 students in preschool through eighth grade. It includes 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, and a state-of-the-art STEAM Center that opened in 2017 to provide a flexible space for modern, hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The District is also one of the largest employers in Merced County with approximately 1200 dedicated staff members. For more information, please visit: www.mcsd.k12.ca.us.

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May 1 , 2019

Careers in Education Expo Slated for May 11 at Merced High School

The Merced County Office of Education will hold a Careers in Education Expo on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Merced High School gym, 205 W. Olive Ave., Merced.
The free expo is designed to inform participants on how they can obtain positions at local school districts. Central Valley colleges offering bachelor's degrees and credentialing programs will be in attendance.
Grant money is available for employees working in non-teaching positions to continue their education toward becoming a teacher.
The event is open to anyone interested in becoming an after-school assistant teacher, instructional aide, substitute teacher, secretary, bus driver, custodian, yard duty aide, crossing guard, Head Start or preschool teacher, volunteer, school counselor or psychologist, and teacher of either general or special education.

Participants are asked to bring resumes and dress appropriately. For more information, contact Stacy Shasky at (209) 381-6629 or sshasky@mcoe.org.

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May 1 , 2019

MCSD Second Grader Being Called a Hero

A second grader at Rivera Elementary School in Merced is being called a hero for helping to save the lives of his mother and newborn sister.
Erin Gaeta was 8 months pregnant when she began having seizures due to eclampsia on April 11 in her home. She managed to use Siri to call her sister but could not move or communicate clearly. That's when her eight year old son, Tyson Sanchez, saw what was happening. He got on the phone and began describing his mother’s condition and following his aunt's instructions to try to help her. He stayed by her side until his aunt, Payton McDaniel, arrived moments later and called 911. Ms. Gaeta was rushed to Mercy Medical Center, where she underwent an emergency Cesarean section to give birth to her daughter Scarlett. Both mother and baby are now home from the hospital and doing well.
Ms. Gaeta is very grateful that her young son jumped into action to help her. She says, "Tyson is strong, smart, and resilient. He's been through so much in his life, including three open heart surgeries. It doesn't surprise me that he was there for me the way I've always been there for him." She adds that Tyson is an excellent big brother who loves doting on his baby sister.
Staff members at Tyson's school are also extremely proud of his actions and are calling him a hero. Principal David Garza says, "We often speak with our students about the importance of being good citizens, having great character, and helping others. Tyson was courageous and calm in a scary situation, and he set an amazing example for his classmates and community. We're very proud of him and thankful that his mother and sister are doing well."





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May 1 , 2019

Los Banos Unified Earns National Accolade for AP Honor Roll

Many students make the Honor Roll at their schools for high academic achievement.

The Los Banos Unified School District recently made a nationwide honor roll for the prowess of its students.

The Los Banos district was one of 373 school districts in the United States and Canada and the only one from Merced County to be singled out by the AP College Board.

Dr. Mark Marshall, Los Banos superintendent, said Pacheco High School was recently recognized in the 9th annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll.

Pacheco students simultaneously achieved increases in access to advanced placement courses and maintained or improved the rate at which AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on advanced placement exams.

Marshall said it should be noted only 25 California school districts made the list.

Pacheco Principal Daniel Sutton said the pre-AP program is specifically designed to prepare incoming students for the rigors of the advanced placement program.

Sutton said the school's assistant principal, Amanda Hazen-Sanchez, the coordinator of the advanced placement program at the school, and AP teachers worked collectively and diligently to modify the school's program so it meets the rigorous requirements established by the College Board.

"Subsequently, we are extremely proud that the College Board selected us to be part of this exclusive program," Marshall said.

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May 1 , 2019

 

Fresno State Competition isf Final Prep for Atwater FFA Teams

Written by:Atwater FFA


The Atwater High School FFA judging teams joined over 100 California high schools from throughout the state comprised of over 2000 individual agriculture students at the Fresno State FFA Field Day on April 13th. This is the final state sponsored FFA Career Development Event (CDE) contest before the 2019 state FFA championships on May 4th at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

The Atwater FFA Farm Business Management team placed 1st overall. The team was comprised of Michael Bray, Liliana Vargas, Simarjot Gandhoke, and Zion Brigham. The Farm Business Management CDE helps students learn business skills and apply economic principles to agricultural businesses. Contest focus areas include business record management, depreciable property, tax management, and a farm record book.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team of Alfredo Elizarraraz, Daniel Lopez, Emmanuel Mejia, and Mariah Castro placed 4th overall in a contest that blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field. Gabby Lucas also competed as an alternate.

The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team of Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, Natalie Frontella, and Valerie Carlos placed 4th overall in a contest where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, dairy vs non-dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team of Elisabeth Garner, Gurkirath Gandhok, Luz Soto, and Jennifer Velazquez placed 5th overall in a contest that involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team of Arely Venegas-Avalo, Faith Ceja, Hayley Vargas, and Marissa Nuno placed 8th overall. The competition involves plant identification, application of “hands-on” floral arrangements, and industry related floral skills.

The Meats judging team earned an 8th place finish overall with a team composed of Adriana Lopez, Celeste Chargoy, Daniel Junez, Erika Silva, and Jaimie Colores. The Meats contest involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team of Daisy Flores-Mota, Marie Corado, Jose Ruiz, and Thomas Garner placed 11th overall in a contest involving hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics.


Atwater High School agriculture students Michael Bray (2nd from left), Simarjot Gandhoke, Liliana Vargas, and Zion Brigham placed first overall in the Farm Business Management contest held at Fresno State University.


Eight Atwater High School FFA Career Development Event (CDE) teams representing various industry-based skill competitions competed at the Fresno State University FFA Field Day in preparation for the state's FFA finals to be held at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on May 4th.

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The Atwater FFA Vegetable Crops team placed 10th overall with a team comprised of Cheyenne Borba, Jose Montanez, Supreet Gandhok, and Vincent Gonzalez. The Vegetable Crops contest is designed to create interest and promote understanding in the vegetable crop industry by providing opportunities for recognition through the demonstration of skills and proficiencies.

The Fresno State University FFA Field Day is designed to showcase students’ “hands-on” and technical skills in various agriculture related fields. “Students apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real-life job skill environments,” said FFA advisor Sam Meredith. “We have a group of students that take tremendous pride towards their work ethic and skill development in a variety of agricultural related skills and occupations, and they are looking forward to the state championships in two weeks!” The California FFA State Finals CDE competition is on May 4th at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. The winning teams (schools) of each individual judging contest will represent the state of California and their communities at the National FFA Finals in October at Indianapolis, Indiana.

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

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May 1 , 2019

 

New Turfgrass and Sports Field Management Course Coming to Atwater High Ag

Written by:Atwater FFA



The Atwater High School Agriculture department and program will be expanding their horticulture pathway with what is believed to be the only course of its kind in the state, a Turfgrass and Sports Field Management course beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The concept was initiated by Atwater High School agriculture instructor Dave Gossman and his affiliation with the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA.org). The STMA is a professional industry association that focused on the advances in sports field management and safety through education, awareness programs, and industry development.

“Every community has parks, recreation, schools, colleges & universities, and expands out into professional and recreational sports fields and stadiums,” said Atwater High School agriculture instructor Dave Gossman. “This course focuses on soils, turf, and irrigation which all are directly related to horticulture and the agriculture industry.”

Specific areas the students will be engaged in include the same parameters within the industry’s curriculum and certification process. Pest management, sports field knowledge, safety, playability, appearance, turf, irrigation, and synthetic surfaces. “This is an opportunity to expand agriculture education’s reach into those associated with athletics,” said Gossman. “It gets more kids connected into a growing industry nation-wide.”

Aside from classroom learning and knowledge gained in the course, the primary focus will be on “hands-on” application and attainability of industry-related skills. “It would be great to have students skilled to where they can apply those skills throughout various community recreational fields,” said Gossman. The STMA organization continues to grow nation-wide with more opportunities expanding into colleges and universities to train and certify individuals into an area of high demand in terms of jobs and skills. “Perhaps this will expand interest in other high schools and agriculture programs locally and/or throughout the state,” said Gossman.


Atwater High School agriculture student Marlen Espinoza works with Fresno Grizzlies groundskeeper David Jacinto on repairing the pitching mound during a recent sports field workshop hosted by the Grizzlies and Wilbur-Ellis distributors.


Atwater High School agriculture student Oscar Perez evaluates a Toro Sand Pro utilized in the field maintenance at Chukchansi Park and the Fresno Grizzlies during a recent sports field workshop associated with the new course coming to Atwater High School.

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

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May 1 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY ROAD
TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY
MARIPOSA COUNTY

Caltrans is
planning a 12-day full highway closure of northbound and southbound State
Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville to repair
pavement and culverts. The closure is scheduled beginning 7:00 a.m. Monday, April 29, 2019, through 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2019.
The towns of Bear Valley, Coulterville, Greeley Hill and Mariposa can be
reached using alternate routes. Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time.
This closure is being performed to repair or replace three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road over them afterward including repaving and restriping.
This $5 million project was awarded to Access Limited Construction.
To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding state highways, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800- 427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions.
This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and other issues.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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April 19 , 2019

New police officer sworn in Friday

The Merced Police Department had four sponsored Police Officer Trainees successfully complete the Fresno Police Academy last Friday. We invite you to attend the swearing in ceremony for these new Merced Police Officers on Friday, April 19, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. at the Merced Civic Center Council Chambers located at 678 W. 18thStreet. We hope you will join us in congratulations and support.

 


 

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April 19 , 2019

Billy Alcorn sworn in as Merced Fire Chief today

Billy Alcorn was formally sworn in as the City of Merced Fire Chief Thursday in a ceremony at the Merced Fire Department Headquarters. He was surrounded by family, friends and coworkers as he took the oath of office.

Merced Mayor Mike Murphy administered the oath of office to Alcorn before a crowd of approximately 250 people. Afterwards, the chief had his badge pinned on him by his wife, Holly, and his children, Ashland, Sofia and Colton.

The Chief said he was grateful for the support of his “city family,” and “especially the 60 firefighters in the Department.”

Alcorn started as a firefighter in the Merced Fire Department and rose through the ranks to become the department’s Fire Chief.

Alcorn was named chief by City Manager Steve Carrigan and assumed the position March 25. Alcorn had been serving as the Acting Fire Chief since November.

“Chief Alcorn is an exceptional candidate who is well-qualified,” said Carrigan. “He knows the needs of the City and the needs of the Department.”

“The Chief has a range of experience and education that makes him exceptionally suited for the job. The residents of Merced should feel safe and secure knowing that we have him leading the Department,” the City Manager said.

The City conducted a national search for the fire chief that produced candidates from across the country.

“It’s an honor to work in the Fire Department that serves the community where I was born and raised. Having the opportunity to serve as Fire Chief is a great privilege,” said Alcorn.

“This is a great department with a very strong organizational foundation. As a team, the City of Merced Fire Department will continue to create innovative and efficient ways to maintain and improve our ability to be a leader in the fire service,” Alcorn said.

Alcorn, 35, started at the City in 2004 as a firefighter, serving as a fire engineer, fire captain, and battalion chief, before becoming the Deputy Fire Chief in 2015. He has served in major fire incidents throughout the state – including the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa -- as strike team leader, division and group team leader and safety officer.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration, graduating magna cum laude from Cogswell Polytechnical College. Alcorn is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

Alcorn became a Confined Space Awareness Instructor, brought the department’s Confined Space Program into full compliance and obtained 100 percent certification for all of the department.
He created a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) partnership that enabled emergency responders to have accurate details on the locations of all fire hydrants, essential to quickly extinguishing fires. He has served as the department’s Public Information Officer, improving communications with the community.


Merced Mayor Mike Murphy administers the oath of office to Fire Chief Bill Alcorn during ceremonies held Thursday at the Merced Fire Department headquarters.


Fire Chief Billy Alcorn has his badge pinned on by his daughter, Ashland, while his daughter Sofia, and wife, Holly, look on. In the background is his son, Colton.

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The department’s training program has been coordinated under Alcorn, who collaborated with Merced County and other agencies for technical rescue exercises and to bring in training classes to improve the staff’s capabilities.

Alcorn planned for the purchase of new fire engines and a ladder truck, the training for the ladder truck, which saw the entire department trained in how to operate it.
Alcorn was named the Department’s Firefighter of the Year and the North Merced Rotary Club’s Firefighter of the Year in 2009.

In his spare time, he coaches youth sports, enjoys camping and the outdoors with his family and spending time at the gym.

The position pays $150,444.

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April 19 , 2019

Assemblymember Gray Tours Flood Operations Center

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, met with meteorologists and flood management officials with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Weather Service (NWS) at the DWR Flood Operations Center to receive an update on flood preparedness, interagency cooperation, and the impact of climate change on water storage.

The Department of Water Resources recently announced that the Sierra snowpack is 162 percent of average and statewide snow water equivalent has tripled since the beginning of February. Snow water equivalent is one of the factors used by water managers to estimate spring runoff. California typically receives close to 200 million acre-feet of water per year from rain and snow and statewide, and the Sierra snowpack provides 30 percent of California’s water needs.

“Fortunately, this has been a rebound year for California’s water supply,” said Gray. “But the abundance of water also carries a certain amount of risk. Today was an opportunity to make sure our flood management officials at the state and federal level are working together and prepared to respond in case of an emergency.”

The briefing at the DWR Flood Ops Center (FOC) also included hydrologists and meteorologists who manage the California/Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) and NWS’s Sacramento Regional Office.

“While the Sierras were inundated with a record number of atmospheric river events this year, we need to prepare for warmer temperatures in the short-term and severe droughts in the long-term,” continued Gray. “These variable and extreme weather patterns are some of the reasons why I introduced AB 638, which requires DWR to determine statewide water storage capacity and identify how our storage will be threatened by climate change. For too long the California Water Plan has provided more question than answers. This bill requires DWR to provide specific strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our water supply.”

 

 

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April 19 , 2019


Mitchell Senior, Westside Top Winners in Merced County Academic Pentathlon

More than 340, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from schools throughout Merced County demonstrated their academic knowledge and cooperative learning skills when they competed in the Academic Pentathlon on April 6 at Valley Community School Atwater and Buhach Colony High School.
At an awards ceremony at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre on April 11, the top winners for the three grades were announced, with Westside Union Elementary School in Los Banos in first for 6th grade, and Mitchell Senior Elementary School in Atwater took the top spot for 7th and 8th Grades.
The first place overall top scoring student for the Pentathlon was Daisy Abarca, a 6th grader from Westside Elementary School in Los Banos.
The teams competed in five exciting tests to demonstrate their knowledge in literature and fine arts, math, science, social science and the Super Quiz.
The Super Quiz competition differs from that of the other written testing formats. The Super Quiz is the only part of the event that is open to the public, and it is one of the most memorable and exciting parts of the Academic Pentathlon competition. Before a crowd of cheering parents, students and supporters, team members engaged in a battle of wits against other participating teams. The first place teams in Super Quiz were Westside in Los Banos for 6th grade, Mitchell Senior Elementary in Atwater for 7th grade and Cesar E. Chavez Middle in Planada took 8th grade.
This year’s Super Quiz theme was The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.
Teams were comprised of up to twelve team members, four from each division of “A” Honor, “B” Scholastic and “C” Varsity students. This team composition gives students the opportunity to develop skills working with students of different ability levels, motivation and interests.
For more information about this event, contact Stacie Arancibia at (209) 381-5910.


6th Grade Overall Champs: Westside Union Elementary School in Los Banos earned first place for 6th grade at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.


6th Grade Super Quiz Champs: Westside Union Elementary School in Los Banos earned first place for the 6th grade super quiz at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.



8th Grade Super Quiz Champs: Cesar E. Chavez Middle in Planada earned first place for the 8th grade super quiz at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.


8th Grade Overall Champs: Mitchell Senior Elementary School in Atwater earned first place for 8th grade at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.


7th Grade Overall Champs: Mitchell Senior Elementary School in Atwater earned first place for 7th grade at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.


7th Grade Super quiz champs: Mitchell Senior Elementary School in Atwater earned first place for the 7th grade super quiz at the 2019 Merced County Academic Pentathlon.

 

 

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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April 19 , 2019

Gray Calls out Water Board for Claim that Contaminating Drinking Water in Disadvantaged Communities is not “Significant”

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) ripped the State Water Resources Control Board yesterday for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant”. Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.

In response to criticism that the Bay-Delta Plan ignores impacts to disadvantaged communities, the State Water Board issued a master response arguing that because the board is not a federal agency it does not have to consider impacts to these communities significant.

“The State Water Board should play by the same rules that the federal government has followed since 1994 when President Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from discriminating against and ignoring impacts to low income and minority communities,” said Gray. “Any rational person would agree that advancing a plan which devastates impoverished neighborhoods, degrades drinking water, and openly ignores impacts to some of the most vulnerable communities in the state should be against the law – but the Water Board is not rational.”

AB 637 requires the State Water Board to identify disadvantaged communities and mitigate impacts to the drinking water supplies serving those communities. The bill also requires the Board to hold public hearings in or near impacted communities.

“It took demands from nearly the entire delegation of Northern San Joaquin Valley lawmakers before the State Water Board agreed to hold public hearings on the Bay-Delta Plan in the impacted communities of Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties,” continued Gray. “It should be the rule – not the exception – that impacted communities are able to make their voices heard.”

 

“As the new administration and our irrigation districts continue working towards securing voluntary agreements, this is a reminder of the distrust sowed by the State Water Board up to this point,” finished Gray.

 

AB 637 has significant support from organizations throughout the 21st Assembly District including:


• Ceres Unified School District
• City of Livingston
• City of Patterson
• Great Merced Chamber of Commerce
• Le Grand Union High School District
• Los Banes Unified School District
• Mayor of Gustine Patrick Nagy
• Merced City School District
• Merced County Farm Bureau
• Merced County Office of Education
• Merced River School District
• Merced Union High School District
• Opportunity Stanislaus
• Planed Elementary School
• Stanislaus County
• Winton School District

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April 19 , 2019

YARTS CELEBRATES EARTH DAY WITH FREE RIDES TO YOSEMITE

MERCED – The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) will provide free trips to Yosemite National Park in honor of Earth Day and National Park Week on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, 2019. YARTS is a regional public transit service that provides a year-round alternative to driving to Yosemite from Merced and Mariposa along Highway 140, and from Highways 120, 395 and 41 during summer months. Last year, this free service transported more than 26,000 passengers to and from the National Park.
YARTS provides free rides on all of Yosemite National Park’s free gate days. Riders can board a YARTS bus at any regular stop along the route. Boarding is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and passengers are encouraged to arrive early for the best chance at securing a seat.
“Being in Yosemite to celebrate Earth Day and National Parks across the country is a special experience,” says YARTS Assistant Manager Cindy Kelly. “Knowing that we are helping families to enjoy the natural environment and reducing pollution from cars at the same time is what YARTS is all about.”
There will be extensive celebrations and special activities happening in Yosemite all weekend to mark the occasion. For a complete schedule of events in the Park or for information about visiting Yosemite visit: www.nps.gov/yose. For more information about YARTS routes and schedules please visit www.yarts.com or call (877) 989-2787.

 

YARTS is a California Joint Powers Authority comprised of Merced, Mariposa and Mono Counties in partnership with Caltrans, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service and the United States Forest Service. The Merced County Association of Governments provides administrative services and operational support for YARTS.

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April 19 , 2019

Charter Committee members wanted

The City of Merced is looking for members for the Citizens Advisory Charter Review Committee. The members must be 18 year-old and registered to vote in the City. The purpose of the Committee will be to review and make recommendations to the City Council on the City of Merced Charter for possible revisions to be placed on the March 2020 Primary ballot.

The City Council will select six people who will represent each of the six Council Districts, and three members will be appointed at-large. People can apply online at https://bit.ly/2wiZmUj or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 388-8650 for more information. The appointment of the Committee is tentatively scheduled for the May 20 City Council Meeting. Applications will be accepted up until 5 pm the day of the meeting.

 

 

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April 19 , 2019

Saturday April 16, 2019 - Livingston, CA: In honor of Autism Awareness month, the Carlos Vieira Foundation held the inaugural San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival, presented by PFSA, the Portuguese Fraternal Society of America. On Saturday, April 13th, people from across California gathered at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA to indulge in the Portuguese culture and to support the foundation’s fundraiser for their Race for Autism campaign. The event was held to promote and highlight the culture and heritage of the Portuguese people and to raise money to help families living with autism.

The festival began with an opening parade and was followed with several folklore and philharmonic performances on the Four-Star Fruit Stage and 51FIFTY LTM stage. In the afternoon, the grand stands were packed in the Geiger’s Fine Jewelry Arena for attendees to enjoy the bloodless bullfight demonstrations by Paulo Jorge Ferreira and the Grupo de Forcados Amadores de Turlock and the bullfight by rope with Joe Vaz. Other activities included the HGC Imports wine and cheese tasting, the Sunbelt Rentals carnival area, and the cultural exhibit with displays by the Portuguese Historical Museum of San Jose, Celso Anacleto, and Joe Vaz. Guests were also able to enjoy all the Portuguese food and merchandise vendors throughout the day. In the evening, performances on the 51FIFTY LTM Stage included popular music by Alcides Machado, Grupo de Fado de Medicina do Porto, the Portuguese Kids comedy show, the rock band Eratoxica, and Portuguese-Canadian Starlight band.
Jerry Escobar, fraternal activities director of the Portuguese Fraternal Society of America (PFSA), the Presenting Sponsor, expressed his delight at the large number of people who attended the event. He pointed out that many are descendants of third generation or higher but "continue to identify with Portuguese roots," something that PFSA wants to reinforce with initiatives aimed at younger generations.
The Carlos Vieira Foundation would like to thank everyone who came out to the inaugural San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival in support of their Race for Autism campaign. The event was a great success and exceeded expectations for a first-year event. For pictures and videos of the event, visit carlosvieirafoundation.org or follow their social media pages.


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April 19 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY

MARIPOSA COUNTY – Caltrans is planning a 12-day full highway closure of northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville to repair pavement and culverts. The closure is scheduled beginning 7:00 a.m. Monday, April 29, 2019, through 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2019.
Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure. Access to the towns of Coulterville and Mariposa is available using alternate routes. This closure is being performed to repair or replace three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road over them afterward including repaving and restriping. This work is part of a project repairing roadside slopes that experienced damage and sliding during winter storms and fixing culverts that are worn and/or damaged due to inclement weather.
This $5 million project was awarded to Access Limited Construction.
To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding state highways, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800- 427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions.
This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents,weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and other issues.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP CLOSURE STATE ROUTE 33 TO STATE ROUTE 152 IN MERCED COUNTY MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the on ramp from southbound State Route 33 (SR-33) to SR-152 beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, through Friday, April 26, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for crack sealing. Motorists should expect 5-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related issues.

 

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE STATE ROUTE 49 FROM BEAR VALLEY TO STATE ROUTE 132 IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNT

Caltrans is planning a 12-day full highway closure of northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville to repair pavement and culverts. The closure is scheduled beginning 7:00 a.m. Monday, April 29, 2019, through 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2019. Motorists can expect an additional hour of travel time due to the closure. Access to the towns of Coulterville and Mariposa is available using alternate routes. This closure is being performed to repair or replace three culverts (underground drainage systems) and rebuilding the road over them afterward including repaving and restriping. This work is part of a project repairing roadside slopes that experienced damage and sliding during winter storms and fixing culverts that are worn and/or damaged due to inclement weather. This $5 million project was awarded to Access Limited Construction. To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding state highways, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans Quickmap app to your phone, call 1-800- 427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions. This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and other issues

 

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

 

 

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April 9 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Students Compete at Cosumnes River College Field Day

Written by:Atwater FFA


Two Atwater High School FFA judging teams joined nearly a thousand other high school agriculture students at the annual Cosumnes River College FFA Field Day focused on Career Development Event (CDE) skills competitions on April 6th. The agriculture related skills competitions provided students another opportunity to improve their agriculture industry-related skills as the state championships approach in late April and early May.

The Marketing Plan team placed 2nd overall with a team comprised of Kiah Briscoe, Anessa Cardenas, and Megan Escobar. The contest seeks to effectively prepare students for the opportunities and expectations of the agricultural business workplace. Students seeking careers in agriculture business must develop a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as the capacity to create and present a marketing plan.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team placed 8th overall with a team comprised of Kathy Vargas, Marissa Nuno, Yisdiva Rojo, and Xitalic Alvarado. The contest involves plant identification, application of “hands-on” floral arrangements, and industry related floral skills.

The Cosumnes River College FFA Field Day is designed to showcase students’ “hands-on” and technical skills in various agriculture related fields. “Students apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real-


Atwater High School agriculture students Kiah Briscoe, Anessa Cardenas, and Megan Escobar placed 2nd overall at the annual Cosumnmes River College FFA Field Day where nearly 1000 high school agriculture students throughout California competed in various career and industry-related skills competitions.

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

life job skill environments,” said FFA advisor Kaylyn Davenport. “We have a group of students that take tremendous pride towards their work ethic and skill development in a variety of agricultural related skills and occupations.” The FFA judging competitions and state championships continue with Fresno State University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming weeks.

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

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April 9 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP CLOSURES STATE ROUTE 152 THROUGHOUT MERCED COUNTY RAMP CLOSURES INCLUDE INTERSTATE 5 AND STATE ROUTES 33 AND 59 MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various full connector ramp closures on eastbound and westbound State Route 152 (SR-152) throughout the county. No two consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time. Full connector-ramp closures are scheduled as follows: • At the west junction of westbound SR-152 and SR-33 (south of Santa Nella) beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. • Westbound SR-152 to northbound and southbound Interstate 5 beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. • At the east junction of westbound SR-152 and SR-33 (at Dos Palos Y) beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Thursday, April 11, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. • At the east junction of eastbound SR-152 and SR-33 (at Dos Palos Y) on Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • Westbound SR-152 to SR-59 (near El Nido) beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Thursday, April 11, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. • Eastbound SR-152 to SR-59 (near El Nido) on Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 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.

 

 

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

 

 

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April 6 , 2019

KITE FESTIVAL FLIES INTO LIVINGSTON THIS SUNDAY

Livingston, CA –Prepare to take flight on Sunday April 7, 2019, as the 8th Annual Knights of Columbus “Time to Fly” Kite Festival descends upon Livingston Middle School in Livingston, CA. This hallmark event is a celebration of professional and leisure kite fliers with some of the most colorful giant “show kites” that can be shaped as planes, birds, dogs octopus and many more. The Merced County Sheriff’s Helicopter will land to kick of the event and the First 500 Kids get a free Kite so get there early.
The Kite Festival is presented by First 5 Merced County, Hot 104.7 and Radio Lobo. The event will run from 8:30am-4:00pm at Livingston Middle School 101 F Street Livingston, CA 95334. Join us on for this year’s kite flying festivities that will include GIANT Kite Flying Demonstrations, kite-building workshops, Kite Building Contests, “The Jim Strealy Memorial Sugar-Free Candy Drop presented by Fluetsch and Busby Insurance (this is an event where we fly a big kite and candy is dropped from it). Other activities include the Rotary Club of Livingston Pie Eating Contest, a Rubik’s Cube solving Contest, Face Painting, Bounce Houses, Crafts, Kite, and informational Vendor booths, plus various cultural performances and safety demonstrations from, Livingston Police and Fire, CHP, and Merced County Sheriff. The Merced County Sheriff will be present at Livingston’s 5th Annual Kite Festival show casing its arsenal of crime-fighting tools including Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. Armored Vehicle, “Bearcat,” and The Sheriff’s Water Rescue Boat. Come meet and thank some of the dedicated officers including the pilots and SWAT and Dive Operators. Livingston community health will also be being free preventive health screenings.


"Danza Los Diablos," from Madera, CA with giant Kites flying in the background, part of the multicultural entertainment that performs at festival.

Knights of Columbus, in Service to One in Service to All.

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April 6, 2019

Planada Students Benefit From Dual-Language Immersion

Twenty-six Planada Elementary School District kindergarteners are in the midst of the inaugural year of the Dual Language Immersion Program with the goal of creating fluency in both English and Spanish languages.
As part of the Local Control and Accountability Program, parents told leaders they wanted the language immersion program. And it’s a passion of Superintendent Jose Gonzalez, who speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese languages.
Through instructors Eva Menera and Karina Pacheco, the kindergarten students are receiving 90 percent of their core subject matter in Spanish with 10 percent earmarked for English oral language development.
As these students advance to first grade, 80 percent of the core subjects will be conveyed in Spanish; as second graders, 70 percent of the lessons will be taught in Spanish. When they reach third grade, 60 percent of the core subjects will be taught in Spanish and when they become fourth and fifth graders half of the content will be in Spanish, with the other half in English.
Gonzalez’ father emigrated from Mexico while his mom came from Portugal. He didn’t learn English until he was in first grade.
“It (immersion) is a passion of mine,” Gonzalez said. “You get the best parts of different cultures. We want to make sure our students are biliterate, bicultural and bilingual.”
The students will be able to retain their culture and their language. They also will be accepting of other cultures and languages.
Administrative assistant Maria Ceja’s son spoke only English. Now he reads at the first-grade level in Spanish.
“I would recommend this to all parents,” she said.
Gonzalez said the benefits of the dual immersion program are high academic achievement, bilingualism/biliteracy, a competitive edge for college and career opportunities, strengthening of brain development, improved overall school performance and problem-solving skills, building of leadership and self-confidence and development of strong school and family partnerships.
A big motivator to start the program was that children would be able to communicate with their grandparents and not lose their original language. The district is recruiting participants for the 2019-2020 class.
The Planada district has 856 students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade. Gonzalez, 46, has been Planada superintendent since December 2010.
“The PESD Dual Language Program will provide an enriched education, allowing each student to develop the knowledge and skills needed to become a productive and engaged member of our diverse global community,” Gonzalez said. “We will honor our students’ languages and cultures as they learn together and meet or exceed grade level standards, develop high levels of linguistic and academic proficiency in both Spanish and English and become culturally competent.”
Research shows a program like this needs to start at kindergarten and continue as the students move up through the grades.
“Staff members, students and families will hold high expectations for each member of our school community, work together to support each other, foster the development of our program and celebrate our achievements,” Gonzalez said.
Students become fully proficient in speaking, reading and writing in two languages. Students achieve in English at levels that are similar to — or higher than — those of their peers in other programs, but also are able to read and write at grade level in a second language.
“Students in the program develop positive attitudes about other languages and cultural backgrounds and about themselves as leaders. They’re models to each other inside and outside the classroom,” Gonzalez said.
Planada students are 98 percent of Mexican descent. The Planada district is only the fourth district in Merced County to offer dual immersion, joining Hilmar, Livingston and Delhi school systems.
Gonzalez said the district offers the necessary wrap-around services, including a school psychologist, speech pathologist, interventionists, special education and enrichment.
For more information, contact Gonzalez at 382-0754 or jgonzalez@planada.org.


The Planada Elementary Union School District began dual-language immersion classes this year. Pictured, students in Eva Menera's kindergarten class at Planada Elementary School learn in both English and Spanish.


Students in Eva Menera's kindergarten class at Planada Elementary School work on verbs in Spanish. As students in the dual-language immersion class advance to first grade, 80 percent of the core subjects will be conveyed in Spanish; as second graders, 70 percent of the lessons will be taught in Spanish. When they reach third grade, 60 percent of the core subjects will be taught in Spanish and when they become fourth and fifth graders half of the content will be in Spanish, with the other half in English.


Students in Eva Menera's kindergarten class at Planada Elementary School learn in both English and Spanish in the district's dual-language immersion program.


Students in Eva Menera's kindergarten class at Planada Elementary School use various activities — including visual and performing arts — to learn in English and Spanish. A big motivator to start the program was that children would be able to communicate with their grandparents and not lose their original language. The district is recruiting participants for the 2019-2020 class.

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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April 5 , 2019

THE 5TH ANNUAL “VALLEY MADE” MANUFACTURING SUMMIT
LAUNCHES MAY 2 WITH MORE THAN 1,000 INDUSTRY ATTENDEES EXPECTED
The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance names Troy Brandt Chairman for Board


FRESNO, CALIFORNIA…April 4, 2019… The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SJVMA) and the Fresno Business Council (FBC) are proud to announce Valley Made: The 5th Annual Manufacturing Summit featuring keynote speaker Billy Taylor, Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. More than 1,000 manufacturing industry attendees are expected to participate in the event to be held on Thursday, May 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall. Sponsorships and exhibit space are still available by contacting Genelle Taylor Kumpe via email (genelle@sjvma.org), calling 559.214.0140 or visiting www.valleymadesummit.com.
The SJVMA and the FBC are also proud to name Troy Brandt as the new Chairman of the Board, succeeding Mike Betts who will remain on the Board as SJVMA’s founding Chairman. Brandt is passionate about helping the Valley’s manufacturing industry reach new heights while building a world-class workforce that is better equipped for the future. Since he was fourteen years old, Brandt has worked in the manufacturing industry at nearly every professional level.
“The growth of both the SJVMA and the ‘Valley Made’ Manufacturing Summit would not be what it is today without the vision, leadership, and guidance of Mike Betts,” stated Troy Brandt, newly named Chairman of the Board for the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance and General Manager at Hydratech.
The SJVMA boasts a membership of over 745 business leaders, partner groups, and manufacturers from all sectors throughout the Valley. The San Joaquin Valley’s manufacturing industry is responsible for nearly $15 billion of the Valley’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 105,000 people. Due to baby-boomer retirements and the economic expansion, it is estimated that over the next decade, almost 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled.
“The SJVMA organizes manufacturers to speak with one voice regarding the development of a workforce needed to sustain and grow manufacturing. It’s our responsibility to ensure that education and government embrace adaptive and innovative educational training solutions in order for the Valley to grow and sustain a strong workforce and strong communities,” continued Brandt.
The 5th Annual “Valley Made” Manufacturing Summit is designed as a workshop and resource expo that celebrates the Valley’s history of innovation in manufacturing while providing resources and networking opportunities that continue to build a well-trained, outstanding workforce. At its core, the Summit promotes cross-sector collaboration aimed at creating a globally-competitive environment for the Valley’s manufacturing industry. After four years, the Summit has maintained continual growth yet
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The 5th Annual Valley Made Manufacturing Summit - Page 2
the focus remains the same, building a future where Valley manufacturing thrives through innovative collaboration, engagement, and creating a culture that cultivates workers that are higher skilled and better educated.
This year’s keynote speaker, Billy Taylor, Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is a well-respected figure in the manufacturing industry. Taylor has served as a keynote speaker at numerous events speaking on how to sustain positive results by embracing culture and enabling employee ownership. An advocate for equality and inclusion, he has led diversity and inclusion strategies across the 22 countries where Goodyear operates. His approach has created an exemplary environment where every employee feels engaged and empowered to contribute at their highest level.
Taylor’s testimony of experience and expertise will lead the way for a wide assortment of breakout session topics including Cybersecurity in Manufacturing, Energy Solutions for the San Joaquin Valley, How to Know Your Company’s Market Potential, Tax Credits & Incentives, and many more. These sessions aim to provide attendees a wealth of information that will educate and inform them of the innovative practices that may allow businesses to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

 


Troy Brandt - Chairman SJVMA and GM Hydratech

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The Fresno Business Council and San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance
The Fresno Business Council (FBC) aims to create social and economic change which leaves a lasting impact on Fresno’s community, combining its collective passion and intellectual capital to form strategic solutions for local issues. The FBC’s CEO and Board take a leadership role in executing their strategies and have been the force behind major local initiatives involving education, land use, workforce development, and more. Among the many projects incubated and launched by the FBC is the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SJVMA), which provides support for local manufacturers through elevating the workforce pipeline, educating the public on the industry, building constructive relationships, and hosting the annual Valley Made Summit; an annual conference for the San Joaquin Valley’s manufacturing industry which is focused on creating a globally-competitive industry while celebrating its thriving business community.
5th Annual “Valley Made” Manufacturing Summit
The 5th Annual “Valley Made” Summit will be held on May 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall for the San Joaquin Valley’s manufacturing industry. More than 1,000 attendees are expected at this signature annual event. Supported by the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, the “Valley Made” Summit consists of luncheon keynote speaker Billy Taylor, Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, multiple break-out sessions, and exhibits from an array of businesses. Attendees from across the Valley come to the Summit to get to know regional companies, learn from major industry innovators, and make valuable and lasting connections. To learn more about this year’s event, visit valleymadesummit.com.

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April 5 , 2019

Peterson School Creates Inclusive Environment for DHOH Students

Their hearing may be impaired or lacking altogether, but a group of Merced County Office of Education students at Merced City School District’s Peterson Elementary School don’t feel left out of any of the school’s activities.
This inclusiveness where deaf and hard-of-hearing students mingle with Peterson classmates is endearing to Maria Duran-Barajas, Peterson-based special education coordinator with MCOE.
“It’s not like they are isolated; actually, they are included in every aspect of the day,” Duran-Barajas said. “We have had a lot of success being able to integrate our students in the general education setting. Peterson Elementary is very accepting of our students. We are included in events, assemblies and field trips.”
Regular education students and teachers are very welcoming of the deaf students.
MCOE has two classes at Peterson School on Donna Drive. There is a preschool/pre-kindergarten with six 3 to 5-year-old students and an elementary class of six children in second through fifth grade.
These students communicate via American Sign Language. Another 201 deaf and hard-of-hearing students attend classes at schools throughout Merced County.
Duran-Barajas said the deaf students are academically up with their peers.
“They are as smart as anyone else. What we tell everyone is their mode of communication is using their hands,” Duran-Barajas said.
Pre-kindergarten students have the same curriculum as regular classrooms. They also interact with the regular students during the day.
The MCOE program has three signer aides who are deaf themselves. They serve as good role models for the students, Duran-Barajas said. There also are two certified interpreters who use sign language and voice to communicate with their students.
Some students use a frequency modulation system. Specially modified speaker systems adjust the volume for hard-of-hearing students.
The range of hearing loss varies from mild to severe; some students have no hearing at all. Some students are fitted with hearing aids for safety reasons, to be able to hear things such as trains or airplanes. A few students have cochlear implants which bypass regular ear channels and go directly to the eardrum.
Duran-Barajas said students simultaneously learn sign language and oral communications skills. They also receive speech therapy so their speech can be perfected as they learn how to speak. Elementary-level students primarily communicate through sign language and will likely do so throughout their lives.
She said students may be mainstreamed into regular classrooms for English-language arts, mathematics or science lessons. They are accompanied to these classes by the certified interpreters who translate teachers’ words into sign language.
Part of the inclusion of deaf and regular students involves an effort started last August by Eliza Flores-Clark, a teacher of elementary deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Each Monday she posts a set of signs in front of her classroom so regular students can learn to sign these words to their friends.
The school’s assistant principal gives phrases of the week such as asking how the student is, a good morning greeting, if they want to be their friends and play together and where their favorite vacation spot might be. This effort has been very well-received.
“The deaf and hard-of-hearing students sense the excitement of the regular students. The regular students are excited to learn the phrases for the week. These sign graphics are emailed to teachers who learn sign language. Our students feel important, validated, and part of the school. Our students are not isolated or ridiculed,” Duran-Barajas said.
During school assemblies, regular students will sign the words to a song and practice this inclusiveness. Regular students love the opportunity to learn sign language. When she was young, Flores-Clark had a deaf friend, learned sign language to communicate with her, fell in love with the language and decided to pursue it as a career.
Duran-Barajas said Peterson Principal Suzanne Silva-Fagundes is very supportive of their program.
“We are a team. Instead of feeling different, the kids are honored for who they are. They are accepted by teachers, students and the administration,” Duran-Barajas said.
On Monday nights, the school also provides sign language classes for parents of deaf children, the staff and caregivers.




MCOE Deaf and Hard of Hearing 2nd – 5th grade teacher Eliza Flores teaches mainstream students the American Sign Language Phrase of the Week at Peterson Elementary School in Merced.


Yvette Eddings, a certified educational interpreter, is translating for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Mr. Nanez’s math class at Peterson Elementary School in Merced.


Jeslyn Yang, a 5th grader in MCOE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Peterson Elementary School in Merced, works on her Chromebook in her mainstream math class. Teachers and school administrators have worked to create an inclusive environment for all students at the campus.


Preschool students from MCOE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Peterson Elementary School in Merced collect bugs with students from Peterson’s mainstream Transitional-Kindergartner class during recess. Teachers and school administrators have worked to create an inclusive environment for all students at the campus.

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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April 5 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP AND LANE CLOSURES STATE ROUTE 152 THROUGHOUT MERCED COUNTY RAMP CLOSURES INCLUDE INTERSTATE 5 AND STATE ROUTES 33 AND 59 MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various full connector ramp closures and intermittent lane closures on eastbound and westbound State Route 152 (SR-152) throughout the county. Work is scheduled as follows. No two consecutive ramps will be closed at the same time: • Various full connector ramp closures at the junction of northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) and eastbound and westbound SR-152 beginning Sunday, April 7, 2019, through Monday, April 8, 2019, from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. • Various full connector ramp closures at the west junction of northbound and southbound SR-33 and eastbound and westbound SR-152 on Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • Various full connector ramp closures at the east junction of SR-33 and SR-152 (at the Dos Palos Y) beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Thursday, April 11, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. • Various full connector ramp closures at the junction of southbound SR-59 and eastbound and westbound SR-152 beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. • Intermittent closures of the #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes on eastbound and westbound SR-152 from the Santa Clara County line to Volta Road west of Los Banos beginning Sunday, April 7, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. • Intermittent closures of the #1 and #2 lanes on eastbound and westbound SR-152 from Volta Road to Ward Road in Los Banos beginning Sunday, April 7, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. • Intermittent closures of the #1 and #2 lanes on eastbound and westbound SR-152 from Ward Road to the Madera County line beginning Sunday, April 7, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • #2 lane closure on westbound SR-152 from SR-59 to the Madera County line beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Wednesday, April 10, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for pavement 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 ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL STATE ROUTE 140 FROM INTERSTATE 5 IN MERCED COUNTY TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing intermittent one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Interstate 5 (I-5) to Yosemite National Park for various road construction and maintenance activities. Work (one-way traffic control) will occur as follows on eastbound and westbound SR-140: • I-5 to SR-33/SR-140 in Gustine beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for striping. • Moomjean Avenue to Kibby Road in Merced beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for highway construction. • Dell Street in Merced to Martin Road in Mariposa County beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for striping. • Feliciana Creek (approximately 15 miles west of the Yosemite entrance) to Yosemite National Park beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. for slope repair and clearing. • South Incline Road in Mariposa County to Foresta Road in El Portal beginning Monday, April 8, 2019, through Friday, April 12, 2019, from 7:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. for slope repair and clearing. Motorists should expect 20-minute delays from Feliciana Creek to Yosemite and 10-minute delays at the other work locations. Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

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

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April 4 , 2019


FIRST MEASURE V ANNUAL REPORT RELEASED TO PUBLIC


MCAG, is the state-designated Local Transportation Authority for Merced County responsible for the implementation and administration of overseeing Measure V. To keep the community informed about this transformative measure, MCAG features monthly updates in their electronic newsletter which can be found on the MCAG website mcagov.org. Additional information about Measure V including financial statements and specific project information by jurisdiction can be found at www.mcagov.org/MeasureV.
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.

Click here to see the Measure V Report

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April 4, 2019

Students to Compete at Academic Pentathlon Saturday, Awards Thursday

More than 350, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from schools throughout Merced County will demonstrate their academic knowledge and cooperative learning skills when they compete in the Academic Pentathlon on Saturday.
After weeks of intense study and practice, middle school teams will compete in five exciting tests to demonstrate their knowledge in literature and fine arts, math, science, social science and the Super Quiz.
The Super Quiz competition differs from that of the other written testing formats. A relay-type competition will take place among all of the teams by grade level. The Super Quiz is the only part of the event that is open to the public, and it is one of the most memorable and exciting parts of the Academic Pentathlon competition. Before a crowd of cheering parents, students and supporters, team members will engage in a battle of wits against other participating teams.
This year’s Super Quiz theme is The 1960s: A Transformational Decade. The Super Quiz kicks off at 1:30 p.m. in the Buhach Colony High Gymnasium at 1800 N. Buhach Road.

Each team is comprised of up to 12 team members, four from each division of “A” Honor, “B” Scholastic and “C” Varsity students. This team composition gives students the opportunity to develop skills working with students of different ability levels, motivation and interests.
The Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Merced Irrigation District. will be held on Wednesday, April 11 at 6 p.m. at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre.
For more information about this event, contact Stacie Arancibia at (209) 381-5910.

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April 3 , 2019

Sheehy Elementary Receives Donation to Build School Garden

Students and staff at Sheehy Elementary in Merced will soon begin building their own school garden, thanks to a generous donation. Big Creek Lumber delivered supplies to the campus on Tuesday, including enough redwood planks to build two large garden beds. The kit also included 10 bags of soil courtesy of Sun Land Garden Products and tools courtesy of Orgill.
Second graders and their teachers helped to unload the supplies and are now looking forward to starting the construction process. Administrators say it’s a great opportunity to provide hands-on learning for the children. They will use science, math, and engineering skills to build and grow their garden, while also focusing on healthy eating, teamwork, and responsibility.

Principal Sergio Mendez adds, “We really appreciate Big Creek Lumber for this donation. It’s going to assist our students with their academics as well as their social-emotional development. There’s nothing like having a project that we can work on together to develop life skills.”

Sheehy submitted an application for the supplies in the fall and was one of ten schools across California selected this year.

Big Creek Lumber Marketing Manager Michelle Overbeck Webb says, “This is the fourth year that we have done our formal school garden bed grant program. Watching the excitement in kids’ eyes as they receive the supplies is the highlight of my job.”




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April 3 , 2019

City honors 2019 Volunteers of the Year

 

The City of Merced has honored six groups and individuals for the volunteer work they have done in the community as part of the 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award.
The criteria for the award include demonstrating exceptional commitment to volunteerism by helping with a special project or on-going activities; demonstrating exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in service to others and/or serving as a role model by inspiring others.
The honorees are:
Merced Walks, the City At-Large and District 5, nominated by Mayor Mike Murphy and Council member Matt Serratto. Organized by Lanie and Ralph Gladwin, Merced Walks arranges clean-up efforts along City bike paths and creeks and alleys. The grassroots group promotes exercise and keeping the City clean of litter and graffiti.
Alexandria Marquez, District 1, nominated by Council member Anthony Martinez. Ms. Marquez, a special education teacher, has been running the STEP Club at Weaver Middle School for 10 years, she has been involved with the Friends of Sober Grad Committee and is a volunteer with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee and at her church.
Fernando Aguilera, District 2, nominated by Council member Fernando

Echeverria. Mr. Aguilera has been active with the Merced Soccer Academy, he maintains the McNamara turf soccer field, and organizes tournaments that bring in visitors from throughout the state. In addition, he organizes numerous community events for the public and those in need.
Martha Armas-Kelly, District 3, nominated by Council member Jill McLeod. Ms. Armas-Kelly is active in a number of organizations in the community including National Alliance on Mental Illness, the United Way and helping migrant families.
Merced Downtown Association, District 4, nominated by Council member Kevin Blake. The Merced Downtown Association worked to create an honorary historic neighborhood district for the Ragsdale Neighborhood. The neighborhood purchased honorary signs that were placed on street signs and at entry points.
Alpha Gamma Sigma, District 6, nominated by Council member Delray Shelton. Alpha Gamma Sigma is an academic honor society and service organization at Merced College. It operates a food pantry for students, a recycling program, a re-entry program for recently incarcerated students and organizes blood drives.
The volunteers were honored at a reception Monday afternoon and an awards ceremony was held Monday evening before the Council meeting.

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April 3 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Students Compete at Reedley College Field Day

Written by:Atwater FFA


Three Atwater High School FFA judging teams joined nearly a thousand other high school agriculture students at the annual Reedley College FFA Field Day focused on Career Development Event (CDE) skills competitions on March 30th. The agriculture related skills competitions provided students another opportunity to improve their agriculture industry-related skills as the state championships approach in late April and early May. “We have some students finishing up other school competitions, so our teams were not complete,” said Atwater FFA advisor Dave Gossman. “The opportunity for students to get better with experience and competition will benefit their teams when we get our full teams back this month.”

The Atwater FFA Land and Soil Evaluation team placed 7th overall with a team that included Estrella Venancio, Kelly Alcaraz, and Sabrina Lopez. The contest involves the evaluation and interpretation of soils and soil profiles. Students analyze various soil pits and determine soil texture, water holding capacity, and erosion characteristics while associated the data with agriculture applications.

The Meats judging team earned an 8th place finish overall with a team composed of Adriana Lopez, Celeste Chargal, Iysis Villasenor. The Meats contest involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry.

The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team of Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, and Valerie Carlos competed individually with a strong finish overall in a contest where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry.


Atwater High School agriculture students Estrella Venancio, Sabrina Lopez, Kelly Alcaraz, Valerie Carlos, Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, Iysis Villafan, Celeste Chargoy, and Adriana Lopez joined nearly 1000 other high school agriculture students at the annual Reedley College FFA Field Day competition.

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The Reedley College FFA Field Days are designed to showcase students’ “hands-on” and technical skills in various agriculture related fields. “Students apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real-life job skill environments,” said FFA advisor Taylor Helton. “We have a group of students that take tremendous pride towards their work ethic and skill development in a variety of agricultural related skills and occupations.” The FFA judging competitions and state championships continue with Fresno State University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming two months.

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

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April 3 , 2019

Le Grand Superintendent/Principal Meets With Members of Congress, Advocates for Support for Public Education

Le Grand, CA—April 1, 2019—Scott Borba, Superintendent/Principal of Le Grand Union Elementary School District in Le Grand, recently joined nearly 200 elementary and middle-level educators and leaders from across the country in the nation’s capital for the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) National Leaders Conference. Borba advocated on behalf of principals, schools, and students to ensure that lawmakers support public education and do what’s right for American education.

Borba took the needs of California’s schools directly to congressional leaders to discuss pressing issues, including amending the Higher Education Act to strengthen principal recruitment, boosting school safety and mental health services and advocating for responsible federal education funding.

“Few understand the needs of the Valley’s schools better than the educators that work in them every day. Federal Title II and Title IV dollars assist school leaders in providing adequate mental health services for students and more robust professional development for teachers,” said Borba. “When Congress is making important decisions about the future of American education, principal voices in particular must be included.”

“Principals can provide key insights on the issues that affect our nation’s schools, such as school safety and social-emotional learning,” said NAESP’s Executive Director, Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE. “By sharing their expertise with lawmakers, school leaders have the power to shape legislation impacting these critical issues.”
With support from staff representing NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Borba visited congressional offices and asked lawmakers to address a number of issues, including boosting federal education funding, improving principal recruitment and preparation, and strengthening school-based mental health services.



The conference also featured presentations and discussions from policy experts in education. Speakers included Former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, Jeremy Anderson of the Education Commission of the States, Joshua Starr of PDK International, and John Bridgeland of the Aspen Institute. The conference also hosted a discussion on the education political landscape in 2019 from Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week, as well as a crossfire debate featuring Alliance for Excellent Education President Deborah Delisle and the American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Education Policy Studies Rick Hess.

Scott Borba currently serves as the California State Representative for the National Association of Elementary School Principals. He is also the recipient of the National Distinguished Principal Award (2017). For more information on how to become more involved with NAESP, please contact Scott at sborba@lgelm.org.

Please visit www.naesp.org for more information about NAESP.

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April 2 , 2019


FIRST MEASURE V ANNUAL REPORT RELEASED TO PUBLIC

Merced - The first Measure V annual report titled ‘On the moVe’ is slated to be presented to the community at 5:30pm on Tuesday, April 2nd, during a public event at the Merced Senior Center. The Open House will be hosted by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) in partnership with the Measure V Citizens Oversight Committee. The event is open and free to all.
Measure V is the half cent transportation sales tax that was passed by Merced County voters in November 2016. The 30-year Measure, which commenced in April of 2017, allocates 50% of all its revenue to the cities of Merced, Los Banos, Gustine, Atwater, Livingston and Dos Palos, along with the County of Merced, to pay for local transportation projects including roads, bike paths, and sidewalks. Regional transportation projects located on both the east and west sides of the county receive 44% of the funding with five percent reserved for public transit purposes. MCAG receives one percent of the monies to administer all fiduciary and reporting requirements.
The event marks the approval of the first set of audited financials by the Citizens Oversight Committee for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The open house will feature speakers from the Citizen’s Oversight Committee, MCAG, and Mayor Mike Murphy as well as displays of Measure V work done in the County and all the Cities. Participants will also be able to be screened to see if they qualify for The Bus’s free fare program which is sponsored by Measure V. Since July 2017, the program has provided free bus rides on fixed routes throughout the county to seniors, veterans, and ADA eligible individuals.

“We’re eager to show the community all that has been accomplished in the first year Measure V has been in place,” said Stacie Dabbs, MCAG Executive Director. “This Measure has truly been transformative for the region and this is just the beginning of decades of improvements to our local transportation system that will benefit everyone for generations to come.”
MCAG, is the state-designated Local Transportation Authority for Merced County responsible for the implementation and administration of overseeing Measure V. To keep the community informed about this transformative measure, MCAG features monthly updates in their electronic newsletter which can be found on the MCAG website mcagov.org. Additional information about Measure V including financial statements and specific project information by jurisdiction can be found at www.mcagov.org/MeasureV.
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.

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April 2 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Students Earn State’s Highest FFA Degree

Written by:Alyssa Carrillo, Atwater FFA


Fifteen Atwater FFA students were presented with their State FFA Degree late last month during the Central Region State FFA Degree Ceremonies held at the Turlock Auditorium in Turlock. The FFA State Degree is the highest degree a student can earn at the state level and is only presented to a small percentage of the over 89,000 FFA membership. Requirements for the degree include a minimum of two years of agriculture course work and 24 months of active FFA membership, Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) project(s) earnings and investments of at least $1000 or at least 500 unpaid hours outside of class time, leadership activity involvement, active in school and agriculture activities, and carry a satisfactory scholastic record.

“The state degree represents the cream of the crop,” explains FFA advisor Shelby West. “Our program continues to grow with more students taking advantage of the opportunities agricultural education and FFA has to offer towards personal growth, premier leadership, and educational and career success.”

Atwater High School students who earned their FFA State Degree include Cassidy Kingston, Chelsea Thompson, Colby Flatt, Dakota Cook, Emmanuel Mejia, Faith Johnson, Grace Reyes, Hailey Burris, Haleigh Thomas, Janell Gonzalez, Karalynn Isham, Liliana Vargas, Michael Bray, Mikeal Duran, and Sarah Baird. Each student is prepared and is planning to attend either a community college or a major university to further their education towards their career interest.


Atwater High School agriculture students (left to right) Liliana Vargas, Kyra Wright, Karalynn Isham, Dakota Cook, Faith Johnson, Colby Flatt, Chelsea Thompson, Michael Bray, Grace Reyes, and Emmanuel Mejia were recognized at the Central region FFA State Degree and Proficiency Award celebration held recently in Turlock.

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Atwater High School senior Kyra Wright was also recognized with the sectional and regional Outstanding FFA Turfgrass Management and Landscape Management Proficiency Award. Kyra has developed and demonstrated specialized skills in these industry-related through her agriculture, FFA, and home project experience and will move onto the state finals against other regional state winners later this month in Anaheim.

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

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April 2 , 2019

GRAY ANNOUNCES SATELLITE DISTRICT OFFICE HOURS FOR APRIL

MERCED — Assemblymember Adam Gray announced his Satellite District Office Hours for the month of April 2019. The 21stAssembly District encompasses 8 communities throughout Merced and Stanislaus Counties. “I am committed to making myself available to every person, in every corner of my district. While my offices in Merced and Modesto are open full-time, I have set up ‘Satellite District Office’ hours where my staff will be available at satellite locations in order to bring constituent services closer to the people,” Gray said.

Satellite District Office Hours are held each month throughout the 21st Assembly district and are hosted by legislative staff. Staff members are available to assist constituents with casework matters relating to any level of government, but specializing in issues with State agencies- including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, and others. Office Hours are also an opportunity for constituents to propose ideas for legislation and to express their opinion on matters before the State Assembly.

Additional information is available through Assembly Member Gray’s Website asmdc.org/cl and the schedule for April is provided below. Regular office hours are open to the public and no appointment is necessary. For more information, please contact Asm. Gray’s Merced District Office at (209) 726-5465.

 

On Friday, April 12th my satellite office is located at

Newman City Hall – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 am
Patterson City Hall – 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 am

On Thursday, April 18th my satellite office is located at

Gustine City Hall – 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Los Banos City Hall – 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Dos Palos City Hall – 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

On Thursday, April 25th, my satellite office is located at

Atwater City Hall – 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Along with Supervisor Daron McDaniel – Merced County

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March 30 , 2019

Stowell Elementary Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

Don Stowell Elementary School in Merced held a special celebration in honor of its 20 year anniversary Friday morning. Current and former students and staff gathered to remember the opening of the campus in the 1998-99 school year. The ceremony included performances by young Stowell Stars and the Golden Valley High School Cardinal Regime Percussion Unit, as well as heartfelt speeches.

One of those speeches was delivered by Kathy Stowell, the widow of the school's namesake. She shared her husband's 38 year history with the Merced City School District, including serving as a teacher, vice principal, and principal. She also said, "Don will be remembered as a people person. He was a mentor, friend, and good man who cared about everyone. He always had a smile on his face, always listened, and treated everyone fairly."

Current Stowell principal Dr. Dalinda Saich reflected on the progress made at the school over the past two decades and thanked all of the current and former staff members who have touched the lives of students during that time. Stowell's first principal, Annie Dossetti, spoke about the unique challenges of opening a new school and the creative ways everyone worked together to overcome them. MCSD Associate Superintendent Doug Collins spoke directly to the students about the many opportunities ahead for their bright futures.

Stowell Elementary is one of 18 schools in the Merced City School District. The district serves approximately 12-thousand students in preschool through eighth grade.




from left to right: Stowell Elementary Learning Director Richard Alvarado, MCSD Associate Superintendent Doug Collins, Kathy Stowell (widow of school's namesake, Don Stowell), and Stowell's first principal, Annie Dossetti



 

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March 30, 2019

Rail crossing at Hwy 59 closed through Friday

BNSF will be repairing the railroad crossing located on Highway 59 between W. 16 St. and W. Olive Ave.
The repair is scheduled to take place between Monday, March 24 and Friday, April 5
This will restrict both north and south bound traffic on Highway 59. Detours will route traffic to the nearest open street.
Questions on the closure can be directed to Brad Hunsaker at 559-801-5668 or bradh@alertolite.com.

 

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March 30, 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY FULL CONNECTOR RAMP CLOSURES INTERSTATE 5 AT STATE ROUTE 140 AND STATE ROUTE 152 IN MERCED COUNTY MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform connector ramp closures and bridge and striping work on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) at State Route 140 (SR-140) and SR-152. Work will occur as follows: • Various full connector ramp closures on northbound and southbound I-5 at SR-152 west of Los Banos beginning Tuesday, April 2, 2019, through Friday, April 5, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for striping. • Full connector ramp closures from northbound and southbound I-5 to SR-140 west of Gustine beginning Monday, April 1, 2019, through Friday, April 5, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for bridge work. Motorists should expect 20-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.

SEASONAL CLEARING OF EBBETTS PASS BEGINNING SOON IN ALPINE COUNTY Snow Will Be Removed From Highway At The Lake Alpine Sno-Park ALPINE COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin the seasonal clearing of State Route 4 (SR-4) on Monday, April 8, 2019. Snow will be removed from SR-4 at the Lake Alpine Sno-Park which will limit snow mobile access on the highway. Caltrans manages three trans-Sierra passes in the Central Sierra that are closed during winter and generally open in spring: Ebbetts Pass/SR-4 in Alpine County, Sonora Pass/SR-108 (Tuolumne County) and Monitor Pass/SR-89 (Alpine County). Caltrans’ goal is to have all winter passes open to the public no later than the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Late season storms, snow accumulation and resources can sometimes hinder this goal. Opening passes in the spring involves more than just removing snow. After the snow is removed, plugged drains need to be cleaned and downed signs need to be replaced. Often, trees have fallen or are about to fall on the road and need to be removed. Vegetation is cleared so that sight distance is adequate for safe travel. Roadside ditches are re-graded to prevent spring runoff from flooding the roadway. Prior to opening the roadway for public use, the pavement is repaired, cracks are sealed and the roadway is re-striped. The foremost guiding principle in these procedures is to maintain public and worker safety. The SNO-PARK program is coordinated and administered by the OHMVR Division of California State Parks, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, and various community organizations. Through this collaborative effort, winter recreation opportunities are provided at 19 SNO-PARK sites. For the latest highway information check http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ or call 1-800-427-ROAD.

 

SEASONAL CLEARING OF SONORA PASS BEGINNING SOON IN TUOLUMNE COUNTY Snow Will Be Removed From Highway At The State Route 108 Sno-Park ALPINE COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin the seasonal clearing of State Route 108 (SR-108) on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Snow will be removed from the SR-108 Sno-Park which will limit snow mobile access on the highway until the clearing reaches Eagle Meadows. Caltrans manages three trans-Sierra passes in the Central Sierra that are closed during winter and generally open in spring: Ebbetts Pass/SR-4 in Alpine County, Sonora Pass/SR-108 (Tuolumne County) and Monitor Pass/SR-89 (Alpine County). Caltrans’ goal is to have all winter passes open to the public no later than the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Late season storms, snow accumulation and resources can sometimes hinder this goal. Opening passes in the spring involves more than just removing snow. After the snow is removed, plugged drains need to be cleaned and downed signs need to be replaced. Often, trees have fallen or are about to fall on the road and need to be removed. Vegetation is cleared so that sight distance is adequate for safe travel. Roadside ditches are re-graded to prevent spring runoff from flooding the roadway. Prior to opening the roadway for public use, the pavement is repaired, cracks are sealed and the roadway is re-striped. The foremost guiding principle in these procedures is to maintain public and worker safety. The SNO-PARK program is coordinated and administered by the OHMVR Division of California State Parks, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, and various community organizations. Through this collaborative effort, winter recreation opportunities are provided at 19 SNO-PARK sites. For the latest highway information check http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ or call 1-800-427-ROAD

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

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March 29 , 2019

 

The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE®) Passenger Rail Services Launches a Mobile Ticketing App

Stockton, CA – Passengers can now purchase tickets to ride ACE via a mobile app! Starting April 1st, all ticket types throughout the corridor, including one way, single round trip, 20 ride tickets, and monthly passes are available in theApp Store and Google Play.

The new ACE Rail mTickets app will allow passengers to pay for tickets using a credit or debit card, as well as digital payment services Apple Pay and Masterpass. Tickets will be available immediately and can be validated on the app itself without having to utilize the platform validators.

With the launch of the app, paper tickets may still be purchased through the www.acerail.com Web site. However, only 20 ride and monthly pass tickets will be available directly through the ACE Web site. Delivery options will also change to standard mail only.

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), the managing agency for ACE passenger rail service, selected mobile ticket vendor Masabi after a competitive bid process to implement the first mobile ticketing solution for the service. Masabi is a global company specializing in mobile ticketing and serves major transit operators in the United States, including New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, as well as working with transit partners in Europe and Australia.

ACE passenger rail service, started in 1998 and serves over 1.4 million passengers 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 rail, please visit www.acerail.com

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March 29, 2019

Rail crossing at Hwy 59 closed through Monday

BNSF will be repairing the railroad crossing located on Highway 59 between W. 16 St. and W. Olive Ave.
The repair is scheduled to take place between Monday, March 24 and Monday, April 1
This will restrict both north and south bound traffic on Highway 59. Detours will route traffic to the nearest open street.
Questions on the closure can be directed to Brad Hunsaker at 559-801-5668 or bradh@alertolite.com.

 

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March 28, 2019

Longtime McSwain Superintendent, MCOE Board Member Mollart Remembered at Memorial Service

Through many roles during his 66 years of life, Stan W. Mollart touched the lives of others. About 400 educational professionals who knew him well sang his praises during a celebration of life tribute Saturday in the McSwain School gym.
Mollart was superintendent of the rural McSwain Union School District fringing the Merced area for 16 years. He died unexpectedly Feb. 5 in Atwater.
Charles Galatro, also a retired McSwain School superintendent, summed up his seemingly-boundless energy this way:
“Stan was the Energizer Bunny. He was a blessing to everyone he came in contact with. He had a quiet strength of leadership,” Galatro said.
Terrie Rohrer, retired McSwain School principal, worked with Mollart during his superintendency and summed up his zeal and character during her remarks.
“He didn’t like the spotlight. He liked being the guy behind the scenes. Stan touched the lives of many students. Stan didn’t ask people to do stuff he wouldn’t do himself. He stepped in to do what was needed. He was a teammate, mentor and my friend,” Rohrer said.
Mollart retired as superintendent in 2015 but continued his commitment to education after that. He was president-elect of the Merced County Board of Education and also the treasurer and a consultant to the local unit of the Association of California School Administrators.
McSwain board member Bill Halpin knew Mollart for more than 40 years. In his last years, he struggled with knee replacement issues.
“Stan was always there. Stan had a work ethic that was unbelievable. McSwain School was a top school because of Stan and Terri. I talked with Stan two days before he died and he said he could see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Halpin said. He credited Mollart with development of the district’s West Campus and the brand-new gym.
McSwain trustees are naming their brand-new administration building in honor of Mollart.
Mollart’s first teaching assignment was at Merced High School where he taught vocational agriculture from 1977-1979. He then transferred to Atwater High School to rejuvenate a floundering Ag Department of 35 students and strived to perfect the program. The program grew to approximately 200 members and four instructors.
Mollart then moved back to Merced High School where he served as athletic director. He also headed student activities and leadership classes. Stan was fondly referred to by many of his students as “Mr. Mo”.
Retired Merced High School Principal Tom Scheidt said Mollart was tireless and never seemed to run out of energy. He started the digital upgrade at Merced High and was very good at technology.
“He helped us believe in ourselves. He was a servant-leader who led by example,” Scheidt said.
Dr. Steve Tietjen, Merced County superintendent of schools, said McSwain is the gem it is because of Mollart and Rohrer. In 2017 he called Mollart to see if he was interested in filling a seat on the county school board.
“I am sorry to lose Stan so early,” Tietjen said. “Sixteen years is rare for a superintendent and speaks volumes about his character. Stan had a willingness to champion children and do what was best for the kids.”
Veteran McSwain Trustee Joe Scoto said Mollart taught him so much, both as a child and as an adult.
“He did a lot for the school. He’s in Heaven looking over the school,” Scoto
said.
Mollart was elected to the McSwain School Board in 1996 and served for three years before becoming superintendent. He was recognized as Superintendent of the Year by ACSA in 2011-2012.
Current McSwain Superintendent Steve Rosa said both the West Campus and gym projects were dear to his heart and he took great pride in them.
“The McSwain students and community will forever be grateful for the love and dedication of Mollart. These buildings are pillars of strength as was Superintendent Mollart,” Rosa said.
Rohrer said Mollart loved information technology and troubleshooting computer problems. She said Mollart was very talented and a man of adventure, the epitome of a lifelong learner.


Stan W. Mollart

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He loved skydiving, cooking, flower arranging, traveling and learning the culture of other countries. She credits Mollart with founding of the McSwain Educational Foundation which helps with many school improvement projects.
A former member of the Merced Breakfast Lions Club, he was the livestock superintendent of the Merced County Fair. He volunteered as a child advocate for the Court Appointed Special Advocates program of Merced County, where he enjoyed helping abused and neglected children.
He also enjoyed being a member of the Volunteer Mounted San Francisco Park Rangers, keeping people safe in Golden Gate Park for various public events. One of his great joys was being a member of the Safety Moto Team for the AIDS/Lifecycle ride each year, helping to keep bicyclists safe on their ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles and raising money to improve the quality of life for others.
A native of San Francisco, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in San Francisco and CSU, Fresno. He completed his master’s degree at CSU, Long Beach and then received his administrative credential from CSU Fresno.
Mollart is survived by his sister, Diana Mollart of Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the McSwain Education Foundation, 926 Scott Road, Merced, CA. Private graveside services will be held at the family plot in Valley View Cemetery, Yerington, Nev., at a future date.

 

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March 28, 2019

 

FDA Announces Enforcement Discretion Policy for Almonds in Action Applauded by the Almond Alliance

March 27, 2019 – Today we have goods news on the FSMA front. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated the regulatory process to put almonds on the “rarely consumed raw” list. After years of discussions with the Almond Alliance and the Almond Board of California as to why almonds should be on the “rarely consumed raw” list given the self-imposed pasteurization rule, FDA moved to make this a reality.

The California almond industry is a leader in food safety and through education and FDAs understanding on industry practices and requirements, we have worked together to prevent unnecessary regulation for our industry.

The Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino said the FDA action, “This is significant for the California almond industry. The leadership at FDA has accepted the information and evidence that almonds are in fact rarely consumed raw. The industry went through an exhaustive process many years ago to get its pasteurization rule approved. We are pleased the FDA listened to the science and evidence that we presented and took the appropriate action in placing almonds on the rarely consumed raw list.”

In 2015, FDA created the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA consists of seven regulations and one of which applies to almond growers, the Produce Safety Rule. The “Produce Safety Rule,” provides standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. Since 2015, the Almond Alliance has been advocating on behalf of the California almond industry, explaining the pasteurization rule and why California almonds should be included on the “rarely consumed raw” list.

Trevino thanked the Almond Board of California for its work in providing scientific research in support of the FDA’s action to place almonds on the “rarely consumed raw” list, singling out Tim Birmingham Director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services for the Almond Board, for his work.

The Produce Safety Rule establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. The rule does not apply to produce that is considered to be rarely consumed raw (RCR), grown for personal or on-farm consumption, or not a raw agricultural commodity. Commodities considered to be RCR are those that the FDA has determined are typically cooked before consumption. Almond Alliance will continue to educate and encourage safe food and growing practices.

About the Almond Alliance of California
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) was formerly the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.

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March 28, 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY FULL HIGHWAY RE-OPENING STATE ROUTE 140 FROM MIDPINES TO EL PORTAL IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opened State Route 140 in and near the Ferguson Fire burn scar at approximately 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. The road was pre-emptively closed due to an incoming storm at approximately 6:00 p.m. Wednesday and remained closed for three hours. This closure was due to an ongoing storm that impacted the roadway, and the closure was implemented for the sake of public safety. This closure took place for approximately 17 miles from Bear Creek near Midpines to Foresta Road in El Portal – approximately 4 miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance. Risks for this stretch of roadway in storm conditions include mudslides and the movement of debris, such as rocks, onto highway lanes. For ongoing road information, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans QuickMap app to your phone, call 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi . Caltrans would like to thank motorists and local residents for their patience and cooperation during this process.

 

 

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

 

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March 27 , 2019


Merced County Fair Announces 2019 Entertainment Line-Up
Great Musical Entertainment and Action-Packed Grandstand Shows Are a Winning Combination for the Fair

MERCED, CALIFORNIA, March 26, 2019…The Merced County Fair is excited to announce its line-up for the 2019 Table Mountain FREE Concert Series presented by Coors Light, which is held on the Outdoor Theatre Stage, as well as the Fair’s action-packed Grandstand Entertainment for this year presented by Table Mountain Casino, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Coors Light and Rancho San Miguel Markets.
“These past couple of years tribute shows have been a huge hit at our fair bringing the community out for a fun night of singing and dancing,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of The Merced County Fair. “So we are keeping with that trend and bringing more live tributes of popular artists that we think our community will love. Not only do we get to hear these amazing tributes, but we’re thrilled to bring two great artists that will get the crowd on their feet! Plus our amazing Grandstand entertainment line-up is sure to help make this year the most magical yet!”

Table Mountain FREE Concert Series

Wednesday, June 5
James Garner’s
Tribute to Johnny Cash
www.cashtribute.net


James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash
For more than a decade, Garner and his band have faithfully recreated Cash’s biggest hits with stunning accuracy in a show that walks the line! The band has performed more than 500 shows, including a special concert at Folsom State Prison in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Cash’s infamous live album recorded behind prison walls. Garner and his band have also performed with Tara Cash, Johnny Cash’s youngest daughter, for the 50th Anniversary in the city of Folsom for two sold out concerts at the Harris Center for the Arts. Don’t miss the James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash perform top hits like “Folsom Blues Prison,” “Ring of Fire” and so many more!

Thursday, June 6
Country Artists Tribute to
Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney & Jason Aldean
www.renovegasentertainment.com

Country Artists Tribute to Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean
The Country Artists Tribute show was put together in 2014 by Frank Garrett, owner of Reno Vegas Entertainment, to bring the songs of country’s most popular artists to the masses! They searched the nation to find the best look and sound-a-likes to create a show where you truly believe you are watching the actual artists! Don’t miss the chance to see this incredible tribute to Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney!

Friday, June 7
Morris Day & The Time
www.facebook.com/morrisdayandthetime

Morris Day & The Time
The Time, a vibrant funk band that formed in Minneapolis in 1981, was the brainchild of Prince, who put the group together as an outlet for his funkier leaning. Fronted by the colorful and charismatic Morris Day and featuring a talented cast of players, The Time racked up a string of hits in the early ‘80s, gaining an additional popularity boost from their featured role in Prince’s classic 1984 rock musical, Purple Rain. With his dynamic dancing and smooth yet gutsy vocals, Morris Day & The Time played and essential role in the development of the Twin City dance/club sound of the 1980’s. Fans won’t want to miss this nostalgic concert as Morris Day & The Time will perform top hits "Jungle Love," "Fishnet," "The Bird" and many more, live at the 2019 Merced County Fair!



Saturday, June 8
Canaan Smith
www.canaansmith.com


Canaan Smith
This up and coming country singer and songwriter has a talent for telling life’s story through his music; whether that’s painting a portrait of a burgeoning relationship in the hit single “Love You Like That” or honoring the memory of his brother in the powerful title track “Bronco,” Smith knows how to draw listeners into his world. He has earned the respect of his peers and his songs have been recorded by Cole Swindell, Florida-Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and more. Canaan Smith has toured the country in recent years headlining his own shows and then performing with artists like Dierks Bentely, Brantley Gilbert and Kip Moore, playing well over 550 shows for more than two million fans! Catch Smith perform hits such “Love You Like That,” which debuted in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart. Widely considered one of the top live performers in country music, you definitely won’t want to miss Canaan Smith perform at the fair!


Sunday, June 9
Gracie as Jenni

www.instagram.com/gracie_as_jenni

Gracie as Jenni
Since 2012, Graciela “Gracie” Monico has been spreading joy by paying tribute to Jenni Rivera. Inspired by the frequency in which fans would mistake Gracie for Jenni, this tribute show was created to pay homage to the talented singer and strong woman who in her career sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums. Gracie as Jenni has performed on TV appearing on shows like “Don Francisco,” “Al Rojo Vivo,” “Un Nuevo Dia” and “Despierta America,” as well venues through the United States and Mexico such as the Plaza Nayarit in Mexico; Los Angeles’s Pico Rivera Sports Arena and Miami, Florida live on TV. Be ready to dance and sing the night away to the incredible songs of Jenni Rivera - “Ya Lo Sé” and “No Llega El Olvido”.

All concerts start at 8:30 p.m. and admission is free with your paid Fair admission, which is $10 for Adults and $5 for kids 12 and under (remember, kids 5 and under are always free). There are also plenty of ways to save before the Fair starts! Pre-sale Adult Admission tickets are just $7 (a $3 savings!) and Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristbands are just $25 (a $5 savings!) and are good for any one day of the Fair! The Merced County Fair discounted pre-sale starts on Monday, April 2 at 8 a.m.; tickets can be purchased online at www.mercedcountyfair.com or at the Fair Administration office during regular office hours.
The Grandstand shows at The Merced County Fair are all about action-packed adventure, and this year’s line-up will give Fairgoers just that from motorcross to tractor pulls, a rodeo and more! Merced County Fair Management expects big crowds again with this year’s great Grandstand line-up proudly sponsored by Table Mountain Casino, Rancho San Miguel Markets, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Coors Light. All shows begin at 7 p.m. and admission is $5. Children 5 years and under are free. NEW this year, Grandstand admission is free on opening night for the Merced Speedway Auto Racing!


Grandstand Entertainment


Wednesday, June 5
Merced Speedway Auto Racing
http://www.racemerced.com



Thursday, June 6
Free Style Moto X
www.FreestyleMX.com



Friday, June 7
Valley Tractor Pullers’ Tractor Pull
www.vtpapullers.org



Saturday, June 8
Humpz & Hornz “Bad to the Bone” 2019 Bull Riding Tour
www.facebook.com/Humpz-N-Hornz-Bucking-Bulls-1747571935473175/



Sunday, June 9
Gran Jaripeo
Bull Riding, Dancing Horses, Banda Music & more!
www.facebook.com/Humpz-N-Hornz-Bucking-Bulls-1747571935473175/







 

 

 

 

About The Merced County Fair:
The Merced County Fair, first founded in 1891, represents the 35th District Agricultural Association and is celebrating 128 years of operation this year. More than 70,000 people from throughout Merced County and beyond attend the five-day Merced County Fair each June. Members of the Board of Directors include: President, Lori Gallo; First Vice President Carol Sartori-Silva; Second Vice President Lee Lor; Vicky Banaga; Mark Erreca; Emily Haden; Flip Hassett; and Kim Rogina. Teresa Burrola heads up the daily operations in her role as CEO. The 2019 Merced County Fair will run June 5 – 9. For more information about the Merced County Fair, please visit www.MercedCountyFair.com. Connect with the Fair on Facebook (@mercedfair), Twitter (@Merced_CA_Fair) and on Instagram (@mercedcountyfair).

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March 27 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Students Qualify for Regional Speaking Finals

Written by:Atwater FFA

The Atwater High School FFA joined over 160 FFA speaking contestants, representing fifteen high school agriculture programs throughout Merced and Mariposa counties at the annual Merced-Mariposa FFA Public Speaking Sectional Finals at Merced College January 26th. The top four individual finalists in each speaking contest advance to the regional prelims in February. Atwater FFA had five of the twenty sectional finalists advancing to the regional prelims next month.

Atwater High School agriculture program students Emma Garcia (1st overall) and Daniel Lopez (4th overall) will be moving onto the regional finals in the Impromptu Speaking contest. The impromptu speech is given without any preparation, any notes or other additional materials; it is a spontaneous reaction to an agriculture-related topic at hand which may introduce an interesting turn to the discussion. Adriana Lopez and Jaimie Colores also competed in the sectional finals.

Atwater High School agriculture freshman student Tristan Cardey (1st overall) qualified for the regional finals in the Creed contest. This event is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the FFA Creed from memory and answer questions on the meaning and purpose of the FFA Creed. The event is just one way FFA members can develop their ability to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner. Members boost their self- confidence and earn recognition. 9th grade agriculture students Ned Prothro, Liliana Boesch, and Kate Brigham also competed in the section finals.

Atwater High School agriculture program junior Alyssa Carrillo placed 3rd overall in Prepared Public Speaking, qualifying her for the regional prelims. Student speeches covered topics that included gene editing, farm security, and food security within the agriculture industry. The contest for all participants involves a 6-8 minute speech on an agriculture related topic/issue, a written manuscript which is scored, and a question and answer period between the contestant and judges following the speech. Kaya Briscoe (5th overall), Haley Vargas, Cristal Venegas, and Michael Bray also competed in the sectional finals.

Atwater High School agriculture program junior Anessa Cardenas placed 4th overall in the Job Interview contest which qualified her for the regional finals. The Job Interview contest involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment. Other Atwater FFA members that competed in the Job Interview contest included Marissa Nuño and Jose Montanez.


Atwater High School agriculture students Julia Callahan, Elizabeth Ayala Lopez, Reagan Puthuff, Klarithsa Cruz Hernandez, Alyssa Wilson, Anthony Pitchford, Natalie Frontella, Alyssa Cardenas, Cristal Venegas, Emily Nunez, Emmanuel Mejia, Simarjot Gandhoke, and Michael Bray all qualified for the California State FFA Association's Parliamentary Procedure championships next month in Anaheim, California.

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Atwater High School agriculture students Stephania Valdovinos (5th overall), Jennifer Velazquez (6th overall), Emmanuel Mejia (7th overall) place in the Extemporaneous Speaking contest. Contestants are presented with a choice of three questions related to agricultural current events and, in 30 minutes, prepare a seven-minute speech answering the selected question. Students may consult articles and evidence they gather prior to the contest, but may not use the Internet during preparation. Topics range from local-specific issues to national-world concerns relating to agriculture. Atwater High School agriculture student Elisabeth Garner also competed in the section finals.

Atwater High School FFA also had agriculture students Celeste Chargoy, Tyler Brawley, Chelsea Thompson, Nandani Patel, Litzy Suastigui, Flor Agundis, Liliana Vargas, Ethan Slate, and Felicity Garcia help assist with the organization and facilitation of the various speaking contests.

“Being a good communicator is one of the foundations off success towards personal and career development,” says Atwater FFA Advisor Kim Macintosh. “Our agriculture program is very proud of our students’ efforts, participation, courage, and enthusiasm in this event!”


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

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March 26 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Earns Honors at MJC Skills Competition

Written by:Atwater FFA


The Atwater High School FFA judging teams joined over 100 California high schools from throughout the state comprised of nearly 2500 individual agriculture students at 67th annual Modesto Junior College (MJC) FFA Field Day on March 23rd. Atwater High School was one of the largest schools to compete with nine Career development Event (CDE) teams representing various industry-related, skill-based competitions.

The Atwater FFA Farm Business Management team placed 2nd overall. The team was comprised of Emily Junez, Liliana Vargas, Simarjot Gandhoke, and Zion Brigham. The Farm Business Management CDE helps students learn business skills and apply economic principles to agricultural businesses. Contest focus areas include business record management, depreciable property, tax management, and a farm record book.

The Agriculture Communications team placed 3rd overall with a team comprised of Kiah Briscoe, Anessa Cardenas, Michael Bray (5th overall individually) and Megan Escobar. The contest seeks to effectively prepare students for the opportunities and expectations of the agricultural business workplace. Students seeking careers in agriculture business must develop a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as the capacity to create and present a marketing plan. The marketing plan is focused on one’s FFA chapter on how to expand and strengthen communications and relations among one’s community.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team of Elisabeth Garner, Gurkirath Gandhok, Luz Soto (1st high individual overall), and Jennifer Velazquez placed 4th overall in a contest that involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team of Arely Venegas-Avalo, Faith Ceja, Hayley Vargas, and Kathy Vargas placed 5th overall. The competition involves plant identification, application of “hands-on” floral arrangements, and industry related floral skills.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team of Alfredo Elizarraraz, Daniel Lopez, Emmanuel Mejia, and Mariah Castro placed 4th overall in a contest that blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field. Gabby Lucas also competed as an alternate.

The Meats judging team earned an 8th place finish overall with a team composed of Celeste Chargoy, Daniel Junez, and Julian Chargoy. The Meats contest involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry.

The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team of Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, and Valerie Carlos competed individually with a strong finish overall in a contest where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry. The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team of Stefani Sanchez, Noemi Perez, and Vanessa Varela competed individually in a contest that involves demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry. Both teams were incomplete with other members competing in another school competition.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team of Daisy Flores-Mota, Everett Hill, Jose Ruiz, and Thomas Garner placed 17th overall in a contest involving hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics.


Nine Atwater High School agriculture Career development Event (CDE) teams competed at the 67th annual Modesto Junior College FFA Field Day where nearly 2500 state-wide high school students gathered to compete in various industry-related, skill-based competitions.


Atwater High School agriculture students Zion Brigham, Emily Junez, Liliana Vargas, and Simarjot Gandhoke placed 2nd overall in the Farm Business Management competition held at Modesto Junior College this past weekend.


Atwater High School agriculture students Anessa Cardenas, Michael Bray, Kiah Briscoe, and Megan Escobar placed 3rd overall in the Agriculture Communications competition held at Modesto Junior College this past weekend.

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The Modesto Junior College FFA Field Day is designed to showcase students’ “hands-on” and technical skills in various agriculture related fields. “Students apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real-life job skill environments,” said FFA advisor Sam Meredith. “We have a group of students that take tremendous pride towards their work ethic and skill development in a variety of agricultural related skills and occupations.” The FFA judging competitions continue with Reedley College, Cosumnes River College, Fresno State University, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming two months.


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

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March 26, 2019

MCOE, Livingston Union Partner For Livingston Head Start Groundbreaking

The Merced County Office of Education and Livingston Union Elementary School District will host a groundbreaking at 9:30 a.m. on March 29 for a new Merced County Head Start facility at Campus Park Elementary School.
Two new Head Start classrooms will be constructed to serve 30-40 3-5 year-old students. The classrooms will have a similar design as the new buildings at Campus Park.
Speakers at the groundbreaking include Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen, MCOE Assistant Superintendent of Early Education Christie Hendricks and LUESD Superintendent Andres Zamora, along with other dignitaries.
MCOE identified the Livingston community as an ideal location for an additional Head Start program. Head Start currently has only home-based services in Livingston.


The groundbreaking will take place at 1231 6 Street, Livingston.
Merced County Head Start is operated by MCOE.

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March 23, 2019

Rail crossing at Hwy 59 closed next week

BNSF will be repairing the railroad crossing located on Highway 59 between W. 16 St. and W. Olive Ave.
The repair is scheduled to take place between Monday, March 24 and Friday, March 29.
This will restrict both north and south bound traffic on Highway 59. Detours will route traffic to the nearest open street.
Questions on the closure can be directed to Brad Hunsaker at 559-801-5668 or bradh@alertolite.com.

 

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March 22 , 2019

CTC Approves More Than $90 Million for SB 1 Projects to Improve the State Highways and Reduce Congestion

SACRAMENTO – Caltrans announced today the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing
devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways.
“While we are thankful for the rain, our crews worked around the clock this winter responding to the harsh weather conditions that took a toll on our roadways and culverts,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “The funds from SB 1 allow us now to proactively maintain our bridges, repair our roadways, and ensure our drainage systems can handle the winters ahead.”
Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include:
• Transportation Management Systems Project in Merced, San Joaquin and
Stanislaus Counties: This estimated $11.6 million project will upgrade and replace traffic monitoring station elements in three counties: Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 59 (SR-59), SR-99 and SR-152 in Merced County, and I-5 and SR-99 in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. These traffic monitoring elements can include traffic signals, ramp meters, changeable message signs, roadway weather information and vehicle detection that improve the safety and efficiency of the roadway for motorists. The project was allocated approximately $2.2 million.
• Bridge Replacement and Upgrade Project in Alpine County: This estimated $9.3 million project will replace and upgrade bridge rails at the Silver Creek Bridge on SR-4, the West Fork Carson River Bridge on SR-88 and the Markleeville Creek Bridge on SR- 89. The project was allocated approximately $1.9 million.
• Bridge Rehabilitation Project on State Route 99 in Stockton: This estimated $2.7 million project will rehabilitate and improve the structure and increase the vertical clearance of the bridge on the SR-99 overcrossing at Wilson Way in the City of Stockton in San Joaquin County. The project was allocated approximately $2.2 million.
• Drainage Project Along State Route 41 in Mariposa County: This estimated $4.3 million project will repair or replace culverts (underground drainage systems) in 19 locations on SR-41 from the town of Fish Camp to south of the Yosemite National Park boundary. The project was allocated approximately $3 million.
The CTC also approved more than $5.1 million of SB 1 funding for the Local Partnership Program (LPP) to help match investments that local communities have made in their region through voter-approved transportation tax measures. In addition, the CTC approved an allocation of more than $28.1 million for 20 locally administered Active Transportation Program projects, which range from improving sidewalks and bicycle lanes to creating safer routes to school for children who ride their bicycles or walk to school. Of those, seven projects are SB 1 funded for $14.8 million.
Since SB 1 was signed into law in April 2017, Caltrans has repaired or replaced 89 bridges and paved more than 1,300 lane miles of the state highway system.
For a complete list of the ATP, LPP, and State Highway Operations and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects allocated funds, among other items from the March meeting visit:
http://catc.ca.gov/meetings/2019/2019-03/Yellows/Revised_Complete_Meeting_Book(1059).pdf
SHOPP is the state highway system’s "fix-it-first" program that funds safety improvements, emergency repairs, highway preservation and operational highway upgrades. A significant portion of the funding for this program comes from SB 1.
SB 1 invests approximately $5.4 billion per year to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California as well as strategically investing in transit. These funds are split equally between state and local projects and will allow Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts on the state highway system by 2027.
More information and updates on these and other projects can be found on Caltrans’ social media channels: http://www.dot.ca.gov/paffairs/social-media.html. Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM WAINWRIGHT ROAD IN MERCED COUNTY
TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY
MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
will be performing intermittent one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Wainwright Road to Yosemite National Park for various road construction and maintenance activities.
Work (one-way traffic control) will occur as follows on eastbound and westbound SR-140:
• Wainwright Road to Edminster Road on Monday, March 25, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for utility work.
• Moomjean Avenue to Kibby Road in Merced beginning Monday, March 25, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for highway construction.
• Hayden Road to Cunningham Road east of Planada beginning Tuesday, March 26, 2019, through Wednesday, March 27, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for utility work.
• Old Highway Road to Mt. Bullion Cutoff Road west of Mariposa beginning Monday, March 25, 2019, through Wednesday, March 27, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for striping.
• Feliciana Creek (approximately 15 miles west of the Yosemite entrance) to Yosemite National Park beginning Monday, March 25, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. for slope repair and clearing.
Motorists should expect 20-minute delays from Feliciana Creek to Yosemite and 10-minute delays at the other work locations.
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
FULL CONNECTOR RAMP CLOSURES
INTERSTATE 5 TO STATE ROUTE 140 IN MERCED COUNTY
MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
connector ramp closures and bridge work on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) at State Route 140 (SR-140). Work will occur as follows:
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound I-5 to SR-140 beginning Monday, March 25, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from SR-140 to southbound I-5 beginning Monday, March 25, 2019, through Friday, March 29, 2019, from 8:00 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.

 


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

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March 21 , 2019

Hoover Students Recognized for Spreading Kindness

Student leaders from Hoover Middle School are being recognized as Hello Humankindness Student Ambassadors through a partnership with the Merced City School District and Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center.
They were nominated for spreading kindness in the community by visiting senior citizens at the Park Merced assisted living facility. The trips began as a way to spend time with a former staff member, Jim Eppler. Mr. Eppler has been a beloved member of the MCSD family for nearly 50 years. He served in many roles during that time, including teacher, coach, and administrator.
Hoover Principal Julie Rivard says, “He just always gives. He’s always been there. He gives of his time freely. It’s all about kids for him. He wants kids to succeed and to help people however he can.”
Even after he retired in 2003, Mr. Eppler soon returned to Hoover as a volunteer, and his friendly face was a fixture in the front office.
Eighth grader Cooper Hansen explains, “Mr. Eppler would always be there at his desk, smiling and welcoming people who came in.”
Mr. Eppler also took time to listen to students and help them through hard times, but last year health issues required him to step away from the campus. So this year, Hoover leadership students and those in the “Where Everybody Belongs” (WEB) program began volunteering to go with Principal Rivard and Learning Director Jennifer Ferreria to visit Mr. Eppler and his new friends at Park Merced every other Tuesday. The students play games and share stories with the residents.
Eighth grader Evan Stewart says, “When I see the reaction, it just fills me up with joy and makes me happy, and I just wish there was more of that in the world.”
It’s a heartwarming experience for everyone involved, including Mr. Eppler. He says, “I get really emotional. There’s lots of love both ways, both ways.”
The Hello Humankindness Student Ambassador program began in 2018 and recognizes one or more MCSD students each month for spreading kindness in their schools and community. It supports the district’s mission to ensure that students not only excel academically, but also build character and become productive members of our community. It also supports the Dignity Health belief that humankindness holds the power to heal.


Hoover Humankindness Students with Mr. Eppler




Hoover Humankindness Volunteers


Hoover Humankindess Student Playing Games with Resident


Hoover Humankindness Students with Mr. Eppler Candid

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March 20, 2019


MERCED BUS SERVICE CHANGES DUE TO CONSTRUCTION

MERCED– The Bus will implement service changes on a popular line in Merced next week. The M1 will alter its usual route between stop two at the EDD office and stop three on the corner of Buena Vista Avenue and North Highway 59 to avoid construction scheduled on the railroad tracks at Highway 59. Passengers who usually board The Bus on Highway 59 between West 16th Street and Olive Avenue will be able to access buses on R Street between 20th Street and Olive Avenue or on Olive Avenue between R Street and North Highway 59. This temporary detour will be in place from March 24th through March 29th.

All route changes 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 or by downloading ‘The Bus Live’ app on your smart phone for free. All buses are equipped with bike racks and are wheelchair accessible. Seniors, Veterans and ADA eligible passengers can ride all fixed route service for free with qualifying identification. Those wishing to see if they are eligible for the free fare should contact The Bus office to learn more.

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.

 

 

 

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March 20, 2019

 

Atwater FFA Earns Honors at Agriculture Skills Competition

Written by:Atwater FFA

Twenty-five Atwater High School FFA members joined over 1400 registered agriculture high school students throughout California at the annual Merced College FFA Field Day on March 16th. Atwater FFA’s Job Interview team lead the school with a 3rd place finish along with strong showings from the Land and Soil Evaluation, Agriculture Mechanics, Milk Quality and Dairy Foods, and Vegetable Crops teams.

“Our students continue to take advantage of opportunities to be successful personally, academically, and towards their future endeavors.” said Atwater FFA Advisor Sam Meredith, “The opportunity FFA and career development events that are organized by various colleges and universities such as Merced College, provide students a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop personally and academically.”

Atwater High School agriculture program senior Anessa Cardenas placed 3rd overall individually along with her teammates Emmanuel Mejia, Daniel Lopez, and Michael Bray to place 3rd overall as a team in the Job Interview contest which involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment.

The Atwater FFA Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team placed 6th overall and was comprised of Anthony Hernandez, Faith Johnson, Logan Hazel, Valerie Carlos, Alyssa Carrillo, Jillian Stewart, and Nandani Patel. The contest involves milk quality evaluation, milk fat identification, cheese identification, “real vs imitation” dairy products, and a written exam pertaining to the dairy industry.

The Atwater FFA Land and Soil Evaluation team placed 7th overall with a team that included Estrella Venancio, Kelly Alcaraz, Sabrina Lopez, and Viviana Cebrero. The contest involves the evaluation and interpretation of soils and soil profiles. Students analyze various soil pits and determine soil texture, water holding capacity, and erosion characteristics while associated the data with agriculture applications.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team of Daisy Flores-Mota, Everett Hill, Jose Ruiz, Junabel Perez, Marie Corado, and Thomas Gardner placed 12th overall in a contest involving hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics.


Twenty-five Atwater High School agriculture students representing six FFA Career Development Event (CDE) events and industry-based skill competitions joined over 1300 other high school students at Merced College this past weekend.

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The Atwater FFA Small Engines team of Jonathan Velazquez, Jose Vazquez, and Eduardo Torres had a strong showing in a contest that challenges students with their skills and knowledge in small engine tool and part identification, engine theory, problem solving, and hands-on engine troubleshooting and repair.

The Atwater FFA Vegetable Crops team comprised of Supreet Gandhok and Eduardo Torres had a strong showing in a contest designated to create interest and promote understanding in the vegetable crop industry by providing opportunities for recognition through the demonstration of skills and proficiencies.

The next FFA Field Day competition is on Saturday, March 23rd at Modesto Junior College with over 2000 high school agriculture students scheduled to compete from all over California in various hands-on application and critical thinking skills.

 

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

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March 20, 2019

Weaver Set to Begin Bid Process for Updates to Childs Avenue Campus

Within 30 days, Weaver Union School District trustees will go out to bid on a $14 million building project that will dramatically change the face of the Childs Avenue campus.
Weaver Superintendent John Curry said the project includes 12 new classrooms and a new main office, along with modernization of the multipurpose room-gymnasium.
One of the most exciting aspects, he added, is the construction of a new courtyard which will allow graduation ceremonies to be held on campus. Also coming is a new district office to replace the original 1949 structure which is being torn down.
By the end of March or early April bids will be solicited for the project.
“It just needs renovating,” Curry said. “Weaver Middle School is the flagship of the district; it's the last school students will attend in our district. We want them to have pride in their school and for it to be a positive experience.”
If the stars line up, Curry said, the new district office will be done this December and the other construction by July 2020.
“It will be very busy,” Curry chuckled.
Weaver Middle School houses 930 sixth through eighth-grade students. Parts of Weaver Middle School date back to 1949.
Passage of the Measure G general obligation bond by voters in 2012 provided $9 million for the construction and trustees have been setting aside General Fund dollars to make up the extra $5 million for five years.
New buildings facing Childs Avenue and Coffee Road will be known as the grand entrance and help the Weaver community identify where the front of the school is and will help with security on campus. The complex will be gated all the way around, according to Curry.


The good news is there won't be much interim housing of students while construction is underway. Portables will remain until construction is finished.
Initial thoughts were to construct a new district office at Farmdale School but architects' estimates showed this would cost an additional $3.5 million.Trustees ultimately purchased a medical office complex at 1240 D St., near East 13th Street. It will be 2.7 miles from the existing campus.
The 5,000-square-foot office was purchased for $575,000 and the building will house the 14 district staff members, including the superintendent, assistant superintendent, human resources and business personnel.
BCA Architects of San Jose prepared drawings for the new complexes, which were approved by the Department of State Architect in Sacramento.
Weaver Middle School graduations have been held at Farmdale Elementary School since it was built 19 years ago. The new courtyard will be very similar to one at Golden Valley High School down the road on Childs Avenue. It will be located behind the classrooms and the new front office, with seating for 1,500 people.
“It has got some good curb appeal,” Curry said.

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March 19, 2019

 

Billy Alcorn named Merced Fire Chief

Billy Alcorn started as a firefighter in the Merced Fire Department and rose through the ranks to become the department’s Fire Chief.
Alcorn was named chief by City Manager Steve Carrigan and assumes the position March 25. Alcorn had been serving as the Acting Fire Chief since November.
“Chief Alcorn is an exceptional candidate who is well-qualified,” said Carrigan. “He knows the needs of the City and the needs of the Department.”
“The Chief has a range of experience and education that makes him exceptionally suited for the job. The residents of Merced should feel safe and secure knowing that we have him leading the Department,” the City Manager said.
The City conducted a national search for the fire chief that produced candidates from across the country.
“It’s an honor to work in the Fire Department that serves the community where I was born and raised. Having the opportunity to serve as Fire Chief is a great privilege,” said Alcorn.
“This is a great department with a very strong organizational foundation. As a team, the City of Merced Fire Department will continue to create innovative and efficient ways to maintain and improve our ability to be a leader in the fire service,” Alcorn said.
Alcorn, 35, started at the City in 2004 as a firefighter, serving as a fire engineer, fire captain, and battalion chief, before becoming the Deputy Fire Chief in 2015. He has served in major fire incidents throughout the state – including the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa -- as strike team leader, division and group team leader and safety officer.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration, graduating magna cum laude from Cogswell Polytechnical College. Alcorn is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
Alcorn became a Confined Space Awareness Instructor, brought the department’s Confined Space Program into full compliance and obtained 100 percent certification for all of the department.
He created a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) partnership that enabled emergency responders to have accurate details on the locations of all fire hydrants, essential to quickly extinguishing fires. He has served as the department’s Public Information Officer, improving communications with the community.
The department’s training program has been coordinated under Alcorn, who collaborated with Merced County and other agencies for technical rescue exercises and to bring in training classes to improve the staff’s capabilities.
Alcorn planned for the purchase of new fire engines and a ladder truck, the training for the ladder truck, which saw the entire department trained in how to operate it.


Fire Chief Billy Alcorn

Alcorn was named the Department’s Firefighter of the Year and the North Merced Rotary Club’s Firefighter of the Year in 2009.
Alcorn and his wife, Holly, have 3 children, ranging in age from grade school to high school.
In his spare time, he coaches youth sports, enjoys camping and the outdoors with his family and spending time at the gym.
The position pays $150,444.

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March 19 , 2019

 

Local FFA Speaking Students Qualify for State Championship

Written by:Atwater FFA


Three local agriculture students from Atwater High School qualified for the 2019 California State FFA Public Speaking Finals during the FFA Central Region Speaking Finals held at Modesto Junior College on February 15th. Various sectional FFA finalists representing 77 high schools between Sacramento and Merced competed with the top four in each speaking contest qualifying for the FFA state championship in Anaheim, California next month.

Atwater High School senior Anessa Cardenas placed 3rd overall in the in Job Interview contest. The Job Interview contest involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment.

Atwater High School senior Alyssa Carrillo placed 3rd overall in the Prepared Speaking contest. Student speeches covered topics that included gene editing, farm security, and food security within the agriculture industry. The contest for all participants involves a 6-8 minute speech on an agriculture related topic/issue, a written manuscript which is scored, and a question and answer period between the contestant and judges following the speech.

Atwater High School sophomore Emma Garcia placed 3rd overall in FFA Impromptu Speaking contest. The impromptu speech is given without any preparation, any notes or other additional materials; it is a spontaneous reaction to an agriculture-related topic at hand which may introduce an interesting turn to the discussion. Atwater High School student Daniel Lopez also competed as a sectional finalist.

Atwater High School freshman Tristan Cardey competed at the regional finals as a sectional finalist. This event is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the FFA Creed from memory and answer questions on the meaning and purpose of the FFA Creed. The event is just one way FFA members can develop their ability to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner. Members boost their self- confidence and earn recognition.

Over 23,000 agriculture students represent the FFA’s Central Region in California. “Some of the best high school speakers come from the central valley of California,” said FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. “It’s one of the most competitive regions in the state and our community should take pride in the efforts of our students.”

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

Three local agriculture students from Atwater High School qualified for the 2019 California State FFA Public Speaking Finals during the FFA Central Region Speaking Finals held at Modesto Junior College on February 15th. Various sectional FFA finalists representing 77 high schools between Sacramento and Merced competed with the top four in each speaking


Atwater High School agriculture students Anessa Cardenas, Alyssa Carrillo, and Emma Garcia qualified for the FFA state speaking championships next month in Anaheim, California with their FFA Central Region speaking competition placings this past week.

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contest qualifying for the FFA state championship in Anaheim, California next month.

Atwater High School senior Anessa Cardenas placed 3rd overall in the in Job Interview contest. The Job Interview contest involves students completing a cover letter, resume, job application, and panel interview. This event emphasizes developing, practicing, and demonstrating skills needed when seeking employment.

Atwater High School senior Alyssa Carrillo placed 3rd overall in the Prepared Speaking contest. Student speeches covered topics that included gene editing, farm security, and food security within the agriculture industry. The contest for all participants involves a 6-8 minute speech on an agriculture related topic/issue, a written manuscript which is scored, and a question and answer period between the contestant and judges following the speech.

Atwater High School sophomore Emma Garcia placed 3rd overall in FFA Impromptu Speaking contest. The impromptu speech is given without any preparation, any notes or other additional materials; it is a spontaneous reaction to an agriculture-related topic at hand which may introduce an interesting turn to the discussion. Atwater High School student Daniel Lopez also competed as a sectional finalist.

Atwater High School freshman Tristan Cardey competed at the regional finals as a sectional finalist. This event is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the FFA Creed from memory and answer questions on the meaning and purpose of the FFA Creed. The event is just one way FFA members can develop their ability to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner. Members boost their self- confidence and earn recognition.

Over 23,000 agriculture students represent the FFA’s Central Region in California. “Some of the best high school speakers come from the central valley of California,” said FFA advisor Kim Macintosh. “It’s one of the most competitive regions in the state and our community should take pride in the efforts of our students.”

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

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March 16, 2019

Apartment project, goals and priorities on agenda

The City Council will hold a public hearing on an apartment project and finish setting the Council’s goals and priorities at its Monday night meeting.

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

There will be a public hearing on an apartment project located on 10.73 acres of land at San Augustine Avenue at Pacific Drive. The project could result in a maximum of 176 apartments at the location. The property currently is zoned “mini storage’ and needs to be changed to “multi-family.”

The complex would include the two-story apartment buildings, a community building, swimming pool, children’s play area, dog park, fire access lane and 296 parking stalls.
At its last meeting Council reviewed prior goals and priorities and proposed additional ones. At this meeting Council will review the list and complete the goals and priorities for the upcoming year. It includes comments from Town Hall meetings and other public input. The list is used to set the budget for the year and to guide staff.

Also on the agenda is a request to reduce the cost of swim lessons from $35 per lesson to $10 for a two-week session. The Water Safety and Swimming Lessons will be offered from June 17 through Aug. 1.

The Council will meet at 5 p.m. for a closed session on litigation and anticipated litigation.

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

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

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March 16, 2019

MID approves water rate and full allocation for 2019 season

At its March 5, 2019 meeting, the Merced Irrigation District Board of Directors approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and set the water rate for in-District customers for the season.
“We’ve had a healthy winter this year in terms of snow and precipitation,” said MID General Manager John Sweigard. “Lake McClure is in good shape and we want to be as responsive as possible to our growers. It is critical that we use our surface water supply while we have it and preserve local groundwater for future use.”
There will be no restrictions on surface-water allocations this year, and water transfers to lands within MID’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) were approved. Those are lands just outside the District boundaries but still within the eastern Merced groundwater basin.
The in-District water rate for the coming season was set at $40 per acre foot for all MID growers. (Growers within MID’s SOI may execute water transfer agreements and receive MID surface water for $100 per acre foot.)
MID is currently accepting water orders and began charging the conveyance system around March 1. Water deliveries will begin soon and may vary depending on demand and location within the system.
Yesterday’s decisions were made after nearly two hours of open discussion between the MID Board of Directors, the MID Advisory Committee and other interested members of the public. This was the fourth public meeting regarding the District’s FY 2020 budget occurring over the past few months.
Options for ordering water include:
- Orders may be placed anytime online at www.mercedid.org.
- Orders may be placed anytime using MID’s automated water ordering system at (866) 825-2475.


- During weekday business hours, orders may be placed by calling MID Customer Service at (209) 722-2720 or toll-free at (800) 750-2720.
- Orders may be placed in person during weekday business hours at MID’s main office, located at 744 W. 20th Street in Merced.

GROUNDWATER BENEFITS
Delivering surface water from Lake McClure to area growers provides a crucial benefit to area groundwater. MID’s operations result each year in up to 140,000 acre feet of groundwater replenishment as water flows through unlined waterways, canals and MID-operated groundwater recharge basins. Conjunctive groundwater management has become a top priority in the region since the state approved the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. MID is one of multiple urban and rural partners working jointly to address groundwater challenges in eastern Merced County.
NEW BUDGET For the upcoming fiscal year, the MID Board of Directors has adopted a total consolidated budget of $112.8 million. This includes expected revenues of approximately $27 million from the Water Resources Department, $16.2 million from the Hydroelectric Department and approximately $66.5 million from the Energy Resources Department. MID will continue meeting all its bond covenant requirements and cash reserve guidelines for fiscal year 2020.

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March 15 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Members Have A Ball During Recent Meeting!

Written by:Atwater FFA


Over 250 Atwater High School FFA members participated in the 17th annual FFA “Bowling Tournament” Meeting on March 12that Bellevue Bowl in Atwater. The purpose of the meeting was to create an opportunity for FFA members to participate in a recreational activity and develop one’s social and team building skills.

The Atwater FFA holds monthly meetings, scheduled at a regular time and guided by a sound agenda, that provide an efficient transaction of business, promote chapter unity and encourage better attendance. Chapter meetings are excellent learning and teaching tools. “The important thing to realize is that the chapter meetings are planned and run by the students,” says FFA Advisor Kim Macintosh, “Tonight’s meeting was an excellent way to bring everyone together as a chapter.”

Trophies were awarded to the top three teams. Gabby Luca, Olivia Stone, Hayley Vargas, Stephania Valdovinos, Daniel Lopez, and Galilea Avalos placed 1st overall as a team and earned the championship for the tournament. Everett Hill, Charles Aguilar, Jay Dugdale, Caleb Hand, and Vincent Gonzalez placed 2nd overall as a team. Simarjot Gandhoke, Ethan Slate, Garrett Creighton, Michael Bray, and Jarod Nickerson were recognized as 3rd place team finishers. Specialty awards were given to individuals during the tournament. The ¨Spare Me¨ award went to Oscar Perez, the ¨Ball Buster¨ award went to Frank Tejada, the ¨Gutter Ball¨ award went to Franklin Fuller, the ¨Male King Pin¨ award went to Jerrod Nickerson, and the ¨Female King Pin¨ award went to Alisa Hernandez.

FFA is a dynamic youth organization within agricultural education that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. FFA was created in 1928 as Future Farmers of America; the name was changed in 1988 to the National FFA Organization to represent the growing diversity of agriculture. Today, over half a million-student members are engaged in a wide range of agricultural education activities, leading to over 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry. Student success remains the primary mission of the FFA.

This was the 17th year in a row Bellevue Bowl has sponsored and supported this popular student event. “Bellevue Bowl is just one example of the continued support our AHS students and agriculture program receives from our community and local businesses,” said Atwater High School FFA advisor Shelby West. “Our goal is to make a positive difference in young people’s lives, and this event is an example of being able to get together and enjoy each other’s company.”

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


Atwater High School agriculture students Julia Callhan, Klarithsa Cruz, and Liliana Boesch were some of the 250+ FFA members that attended the 17th annual Atwater "FFA Bowling" Metting held at Bellevue Bowl this past week.


Atwater FFA member Alisa Hernandez is presented the "Female King Pin" award by Atwater FFA chapter officer Elisabeth Garner during the annual Atwater FFA bowling tournament at Bellevue Bowl in Atwater.


Atwater High School FFA members Gabby Lucas, Olivia Stone, Hayley Vargas, Stephania Valdovinos, Daniel Lopez, and Galilea Avalos placed 1st overall at the 17th annual Atwater FFA bowling tournament held at Bellevue Bowl.

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March 15 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP CLOSURES STATE ROUTE 99 FROM STATE ROUTE 59 TO THE MERCED/STANISLAUS COUNTY LINE MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing various maintenance activities on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR99) from State Route 59 to the Merced/Stanislaus County Line. Work is scheduled as follows: • Full off-ramp closure from southbound I-5 to State Route 59/Martin Luther King Jr. Way for landscaping and irrigation work on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. • Full off-ramp closure from northbound I-5 to Applegate Boulevard for bridge work beginning Wednesday, March 20, 2019, to Thursday, March 21, 2019, from 10:00 p.m. until 4:30 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 CLOSURES AND BRIDGE WORK INTERSTATE 5 FROM QUINTO CREEK BRIDGE TO STATE ROUTE 140 MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various ramp closures and bridge work on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from Quinto Creek to State Route 140. Work will occur as follows; • The #1 of 2 lanes will close from Quinto Creek to Garzas Creek for bridge work beginning Monday, March 18, 2019, through Friday, March 22, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. • Full off-ramp closures at State Route 140 from northbound and southbound I-5 will close for bridge work beginning Monday, March 18, 2019, through Friday, March 22, 2019, from 8:00 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 ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL STATE ROUTE 140 FROM SLATE GULCH TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing intermittent one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Slate Gulch near Midpines to Yosemite National Park for road slope repair and clearing. Work will occur as follows: • Work (one-way traffic control) will occur beginning Monday, March 18, 2019, Thursday, March 21, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. • Work (one-way traffic control) will occur on Friday, March 22, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Motorists should expect 15-minute delays. Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.


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

 

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March 14 , 2019

Wahnetta Hall Trust applications due

Applications are now being accepted for the Wahnetta Hall Trust Fund. Established in 1995, the Trust provisions require the City of Merced use funds to establish and maintain a mini-train system and/or a band concert program in Applegate Park.

The Merced City Council annually disburses these funds to organizations that meet eligibility criteria and can perform the services as described in the Trust. This year there is $1,561 available. Past recipients have included the Kiwanis Club of Greater Merced for the mini-train operation, as well as the Merced County Regional Arts Council, Merced Symphony Association, and Merced Community Band for band concerts at the Merced Open Air Theater in Applegate Park.

The application deadline is Tues., April 16. Non-profit organizations interested in applying for funding should mail their letters of request to Jennifer Arellano, Recreation Supervisor, Parks and Community Services Department, 678 W. 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340. Please call 209-385-6854, or email arellanoj@cityofmerced,org for additional information on eligibility criteria and application requirements.

 


Mini Train in Kiddieland in Applegate Park

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March 14 , 2019

THE ACE TICKETING APP WILL BE AVAILABLE APRIL 1, 2019
Click to download from iTunes Store
Click to download from Google Play

Never wait in line for tickets! No more fumbling for cash when you can purchase a ticket in seconds without the need to use the validators! Buy your ticket anywhere, anytime and you'll never lose your ticket again! The full ACE app will be available for download for all ticket types on 4/1/19. Download from iTunes orGoogle Play, click the appropriate buttons to the left or search for "ACE Rail". It's as easy as 1-2-3! 1. Download the ACE app & Create a rider profile (name, email, and payment info) 2. Enter your origin and destination station then Activate your ticket before your ride 3. Show it to the PSA when asked! For mobile ticketing questions and answers as well at the terms and conditions, CLICK HERE and scroll down the page.

 

Stay Connected to the ACE Train Subscribe to receive text message alerts HERE or text the keyword 'ACE' to 74121. Text alerts include train status updates, service modifications, delays, and general announcements. Text Unsubscribe Reply 'STOP' to any of our alerts to unsubscribe. Policy The ACE train does not charge recipients to receive text messages. However, your carrier's message and data rates may apply.
Visit our website

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March 14 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY NEW PAVEMENT, IMPROVED SAFETY, UPGRADED DRAINAGE SYSTEMS COMING TO MERCED COUNTY SPRING AND SUMMER 2019 MERCED COUNTY

The 2019 construction season is here and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is ready to go. Caltrans is breaking ground on several projects this spring in Merced County that will provide new pavement, improve traffic safety, and upgrade drainage systems. The below five projects are scheduled to begin by June 2019. These are taking place on State Route 59 (SR59), SR-140 and SR-152, and Interstate 5 (I-5): I-5 Repaving – Fresno County Line to SR-152 This estimated $12.1 million project will repave 68 lane miles of I-5 – from the Fresno County line to SR-152 near Los Banos. I-5 in Merced County is a critical passageway for commercial traffic (including the county’s agricultural industry), commuters and local residents. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-April and end in early November. SR-59 and SR-140 Culvert and Drainage Repair This estimated $390,000 project will replace culverts (underground drainage systems) in four locations – near Sandy Mush Road and the Merced River bridge on SR-59 and near Los Banos Creek in Gustine and the Le Grand Canal on SR-140. Upgrading culverts keeps roadways clear and motorists safe by mitigating potential flooding events due to rainstorms. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-May and conclude in August. I-5 and SR-152 Bridges – Seismic Retrofitting This estimated $5.5 million project is part of Caltrans’ seismic retrofit program, which means the bridges (three bridges along the California Aqueduct in Merced and Stanislaus counties) will be brought up to current structural standards to prevent catastrophic damage during future earthquakes. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-May and conclude in spring 2020.



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

 

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March 13 , 2019

 

Engineering Grad Programs Ranked Among Best in the Nation

MERCED, Calif. — UC Merced’s graduate programs in engineering had a strong showing in U.S. News & World Report’s2020 edition of Best Graduate Schools, released today.
Overall, UC Merced’s School of Engineering is ranked No. 134 in the nation, after debuting at No. 140 in 2015.
“We are gratified by the growing national recognition for our engineering programs and the rapid progress we’ve made in our relatively brief campus history,” Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education Marjorie S. Zatz said. “It’s exciting to see the growing strength of our interdisciplinary graduate education model, as witnessed by our rankings from national publications and organizations.
“The faculty of our three schools — Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts — work together to provide course offerings and research experiences that transcend disciplinary boundaries and attack important real-world problems, and that support our mission to ensure the excellence of graduate education.”
While the overall engineering graduate school ranking held steady from last year’s, some individual programs moved up or debuted this year.
UC Merced is No. 105 in U.S. News & World Report’s Computer Engineering rankings, its first time on the list, and rose to No. 121 in Mechanical Engineering.
“Our engineering programs’ steady appearance in U.S. News rankings continues to enhance UC Merced’s reputation across the nation and world,” School of Engineering Dean Mark Matsumoto said. “The fact that previously ranked programs maintained or moved up this year is a testament to the outstanding caliber of work of our faculty.”

Three engineering faculty members were recently honored with National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. Professor Min Hwan Lee is the first for the mechanical engineering department to receive the award; Professor Anand Subramaniam is the first bioengineering faculty member to receive the award; and computer science and engineering Professor Sungjin Im joins previous NSF CAREER awardees in CSE professors Miguel Carreira-Perpinan, Alberto Cerpa, Dong Li, Shawn Newsam and Ming-Hsuan Yang.
The university also appeared in four other rankings — Bioengineering, Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering, Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering, and Materials Engineering.
The School of Engineering now offers five engineering graduate programs — Bioengineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Environmental Systems; Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering; and Mechanical Engineering — and two management programs: a Ph.D. program in Management of Complex Systems and the Master of Management in Innovation, Sustainability and Technology.
U.S. News ranks business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine graduate programs annually, while other disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and other areas are ranked periodically.
In last year’s graduate program rankings, UC Merced debuted in Chemistry (No. 122), Mathematics (No. 144), Physics (No. 146) and Biology (No. 175). Two years ago, the Psychology program ranked No. 90.
“With the exceptional growth that we are experiencing and the high quality of our students and faculty, I am confident that our graduate programs will continue to rise in rankings,” Zatz said.

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March12, 2019

 

Atwater FFA Earns Top Honors at Chico State Skills Competition

Written by:Atwater FFA


Eleven Atwater High School FFA judging teams composed of forty-three students traveled to the 2019 Chico State – Butte College FFA Field Day and Le Grand FFA Field Day to join 2400+ other high school agriculture students from all over California, Oregon, and Washington competing in various agriculture skills and industry-related career development event contests. The Floriculture and marketing Plan teams led the pack with 3rdplace team finishes with the Atwater FFA Poutlry, Nursery and Landscape, Agronomy, Meats, Milk Quality and Dairy Foods, Vegetable Crops, Small Engines, Soil and Land Evaluation, and Ag Mechanics teams adding to the largest number of students from one school competing at the state university contest.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team placed 3rd overall with a team comprised of Arely Venegas (2nd overall), Hayley Vargas (5th overall), Faith Ceja, and Marissa Nuno. The contest involves plant identification, application of “hands-on” floral arrangements, and industry related floral skills.

The Marketing Plan team placed 3rd overall with a team comprised of Kiah Briscoe, Anessa Cardenas, and Megan Escobar. The contest seeks to effectively prepare students for the opportunities and expectations of the agricultural business workplace. Students seeking careers in agriculture business must develop a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as the capacity to create and present a marketing plan.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team placed 4th overall with a team comprised of Stephania Valdovinos (2nd overall), Emmanuel Mejia, Daniel Lopez, and Alfredo Elizarraraz. The contest blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field. Gabriella Lucas, Galilea Avalos, Mariah Castro, and Richard DelaRosa also competed as an alternates.

The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team of Cristal Venegas, Vanessa Varela, Daniel Narez, and Stefani Sanchez placed 4th overall in a contest that involves demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team placed 5th overall with a team comprised of Elisabeth Garner, Felicity Garcia, Gurkirath Gandhok, and Luz Soto (5th overall individually). The contest involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Meats judging team of Erika Silva, Iysis Yillafan, Jaimie Colores, and Daniel Junez placed 7th overall in a contest that involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry. Adriana Lopez also competed as an alternate.

The Atwater FFA Milk Quality and Dairy Foods team of Anthony Hernandez, Logan Hazel, Natalie Frontella, and Valerie Carlos placed 8th overall in a contest where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, real vs imitation dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry. Alyssa Carrillo and Faith Johnson also competed as alternates.


Forty-three Atwater High School agriculture students joined over 2400 other high school agriculture students throughout the state of California and Oregon at the annual Chico State University, Butte College, and Le Grand FFA Field Day competitions where students demonstrated industry-based skills within career-based sectors.

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The Atwater FFA Vegetable Crops team comprised of Jose Montanez, Cheyenne Borba, Supreet Gandhok, and Vincent Gonzalez placed 11th overall in a contest designated to create interest and promote understanding in the vegetable crop industry by providing opportunities for recognition through the demonstration of skills and proficiencies.

The Atwater FFA Small Engines team of Jonathan Velazquez and Jose Vazquez placed 14th overall in a that challenges students with their skills and knowledge in small engine tool and part identification, engine theory, problem solving, and hands-on engine troubleshooting and repair.

The Atwater FFA Soil and Land Evaluation team comprised of Sabrina Lopez, Estrella Venacio, and Kelly Alcarazin participated in a workshop that helped students gain skills and an understanding of the most basic need for all agricultural pursuits- healthy land on which to grow crops or raise livestock. Participants identified and evaluated soil samples for various indicators, grade plots of land for slope and drainage, and work to determine what type of activity the land would be best suited for.

While all of the above teams competed at Chico State University, the Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team Juanabel Perez, Moira Conway, Jose Ruiz, and Thomas Gardner placed 9th overall in Le Grand as a second state agriculture mechanics contest was created due to high demand and participation. The Ag Mechanics contest involves hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics.

The Chico State – Butte College Field Day and the newly created Le Grand FFA Field Day is designed to showcase students’ “hands-on” and technical skills in various agriculture related fields. “Students apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real-life job skill environments,” said FFA advisor Sam Meredith. “We have a group of students that take tremendous pride towards their work ethic and skill development in a variety of agricultural related skills and occupations.” The FFA judging competitions continue with Merced College, Modesto Junior College, Reedley College, Cosumnes River College, Fresno State University, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming two months.

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

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March 9, 2019

Lanes blocked due to well project

A monitoring well installation project will affect Merced motorists on W. 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way between March 11 and 22.
The map to the right shows details.

• Traveling east on W 16th St. the left turn lane onto northbound MLK JR Way will be closed.

• Traveling west on W 16th St. the far right lane (No. 2 lane) will be closed west of H St. to the intersection of W 16th and MLK JR Way.

• Traveling south on MLK JR Way, the left turn lane onto eastbound W. 16th St. will be closed.

 

 

 

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March 8 , 2019

MCSD, OLM Take Top Honors at Third Annual Merced County STEM Fair

The Merced City School District and Our Lady of Mercy took the top spots at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced.
Hosted by the Merced County Office of Education and the UC Merced Office of Research and Development, the event showcased nearly 30 science projects from more than 110 students in grades 5 through 8. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The overall winning projects are:
Sixth grader Brady Hickman from Chenoweth Elementary in Merced with his product science project “What Brand is a Hit?”; seventh grader Essey Afewerki from Hoover Middle for his earth/atmospheric project “Effect of Climate Change on Soil”; and eighth graders Riley Delworth and Hanna Moradzadeh from Our Lady of Mercy in Merced with their microbiology project “Floor Food.”
Those three exhibits will compete in the California Science & Engineering Fair on April 29-30 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Ribbons for first through third place were also awarded by grade.
The exhibits were judged by local scientists or professors from UC Merced and Merced College, among others.
In addition to projects on display from those school districts, other exhibits included the Poster Showcase from UC Merced graduate and undergraduate students, a campus tour and various lab tours.
This event was made possible by sponsorship from the Merced County Education Foundation, Pacific Gas & Electric and was hosted as part of UC Merced Research Week.

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION


Sixth grader Brady Hickman from Chenoweth Elementary School in Merced earned the top spot in his grade with his product science project “What Brand is a Hit?” at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced.


UC Merced Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Charles Nies enjoyed lunch with visiting students at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced.



Seventh grader Essey Afewerki from Hoover Middle School in Merced earned the top spot in his grade with his earth/atmospheric project “Effect of Climate Change on Soil” at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced.


Elementary and middle school students tour UC Merced at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at the college.


From left, eighth graders Riley Delworth and Hanna Moradzadeh from Our Lady of Mercy in Merced earned the top spot in their grade with their microbiology project “Floor Food” at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced.


A Merced County STEM Fair participant talks with a UC Merced student about their projects at the third annual Merced County STEM Fair on March 6 at UC Merced. The STEM Fair was held in conjunction with the UC Merced Poster Showcase, where graduate and undergraduate students display their work.

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March 8 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY FULL HIGHWAY RE-OPENING STATE ROUTE 140 FROM MIDPINES TO EL PORTAL IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opened State Route 140 in and near the Ferguson Fire burn scar at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The road was pre-emptively closed due to an incoming storm at approximately 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and remained closed for seven hours. This closure was due to an ongoing storm that impacted the roadway, and the closure was implemented for the sake of public safety. Caltrans crews hauled away more than 150 cubic yards of debris flow material and removed one oak tree from the roadway, but there were no major mudslides reported. This closure took place for approximately 17 miles from Bear Creek near Midpines to Foresta Road in El Portal – approximately 4 miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance. Risks for this stretch of roadway in storm conditions include mudslides and the movement of debris, such as rocks, onto highway lanes. For ongoing road information, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans QuickMap app to your phone, call 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) and check http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi . Caltrans would like to thank motorists and local residents for their patience and cooperation during this process.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP CLOSURE STATE ROUTE 152 TO INTERSTATE 5 IN MERCED COUNTY MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the offramp from westbound State Route 152 to southbound Interstate 5 for the repair and clearing of roadside slopes. The closure is scheduled for Monday, March 11, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Motorists should expect 5-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

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


TRAFFIC ADVISORY ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL STATE ROUTE 140 FROM SANTA FE AVENUE IN MERCED TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing intermittent one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Santa Fe Avenue in Merced County to Yosemite National Park for various road construction and maintenance activities. Work (one-way traffic control) will occur as follows on eastbound and westbound SR-140: • Santa Fe Avenue to 3rd Street in Mariposa beginning Monday, March 11, 2019, through Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for striping. • Moomjean Avenue to Kibby Road in Merced beginning Monday, March 11, 2019, through Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for bridge work. • Feliciana Creek in Mariposa County to the Yosemite entrance beginning Monday, March 11, 2019, through Friday, March 15, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for slope repair and clearing. Motorists should expect 20-minute delays from Slate Gulch to Yosemite and 10-minute delays at the other work locations. 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 LANE CLOSURES STATE ROUTE 99 FROM COLLIER ROAD IN DELHI TO THE CHRISTOFFERSEN REST AREA IN TURLOCK MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing intermittent closures of the #2 (right) lane on northbound and southbound State Route 99 (SR-99) from Collier Road to the Christoffersen Rest Area in Stanislaus County for road maintenance. Closures of the #2 lane are scheduled as follows: • Northbound SR-99 from Collier Road to South Avenue in Delhi on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. for survey work. • Northbound SR-99 from Griffith Road to the Northbound Christoffersen Rest Area beginning Sunday, March 10, 2019, through Friday, March 15, 2019, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. for pavement work. • Southbound SR-99 from Griffith Road to the Southbound Christoffersen Rest Area beginning Sunday, March 10, 2019, through Friday, March 15, 2019, from 8:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for pavement work. Motorists should expect 15-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

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March 7 , 2019

 

Atwater FFA Earns Top Honors at UC Davis and El Capitan Competitions

Written by:Atwater FFA


Over 3300+ California high school agriculture students representing nearly 200 high schools throughout the state of California competed at the UC Davis and El Capitan High School FFA Field Days. The March 2nd weekend jump started the 2019 FFA judging season where the Atwater FFA judging teams start anew with their sites toward the 2019 state championships in late April and early May. “We have an expanded number of skill-based Career Development Event (CDE) teams and a record number of students participating,” said Atwater FFA advisor and coach Taylor Helton.

The Atwater FFA Farm Business Management comprised of Zion Brigham (4th overall), Emily Junez, Liliana Vargas, and Simarjot Gandhoke placed 2nd overall. Michael Bray also competed as a team alternate. The Farm Business Management CDE helps students learn business skills and apply economic principles to agricultural businesses. Contest focus areas include business record keeping, depreciable property, and tax management.

The Atwater FFA Poultry team earned a 3rd place finish overall at UC Davis. The team was led by Stephanie Valdovinos, (5th overall), Alfredo Elizarraraz, Emmanuel Mejia, and Daniel Lopez. Other Atwater FFA members Olivia Cone, Katie Lopez, and Mariah Castro competed as alternates. The contest blends practical hands-on experiences with a basic knowledge of the poultry industry required for careers in the poultry field.

The Atwater FFA Agronomy judging team earned an 5th place team finish overall with a team consisting of Luz Soto (5th overall) Elisabeth Garner, Jennifer Velasquez, and Gurkirath Gandhok. Felicity Garcia also competed as a team alternate. The Agronomy contest involves the study field crops and weeds with students responsible for the identification of nearly 200 crops and plants, seed, bean, and hay evaluation, and an oral presentation pertaining to their evaluations.

The Atwater FFA Ag Mechanics team joined 12 other high schools at El Capitan High School in Merced who hosted a FFA field day with the weather canceling West Hill College’s contest. Atwater FFA placed 5th overall with a team comprised of Daisy Flores-Mota, Jose Ruiz, Juanabel Perez, Moira Conway, Everett Hill. . The Ag Mechanics contest involves hands on application skills in woodworking, electrical, oxy-fuel welding & cutting skills, tool identification, and a written exam on all aspects of agriculture mechanics.

The Atwater FFA Nursery and Landscape team earned a 6th place finish at UC Davis with Cristal Venegas (3rd overall), Noemi Perez, Stafanie Sanchez, and Vanessa Varela leading the team as they demonstrated knowledge and skills in their plant identification, plant selection & evaluation, transplanting, and written exam on all aspects of horticulture and the horticulture industry. Daniel Narez also competed as an alternate.

The Atwater FFA Milks Quality and Dairy Foods team placed 8th overall with a team comprised of Natalie Frontella (4th overall), Alyssa Carrillo, Anthony Hernandez, and Valerie Carlos. Faith Johnson and Logan Hazel competed as alternates, The contest tests students in their knowledge and skills in milk quality (tasting), cheese identification, dairy vs non-dairy foods, and a written exam on the dairy industry.

The Atwater FFA Vegetable Crops team placed 10th overall with a team comprised of Chelsea Thompson, Cheyenne Borba, Jose Montanez, and Tyler Brawley. The Vegetable Crops contest is designed to create interest and promote understanding in the vegetable crop industry by providing opportunities for recognition through the demonstration of skills and proficiencies.

The Meats judging team earned a top end finish overall with a team composed of Daniel Junez, Erika Silva, Iysis Villafana, and Jaime Colores. Other Atwater FFA members Celeste Chargoy and Julien Chargoy competed as alternates. The Meats contest involves the evaluation of pork, beef, and lamb carcasses and retail cuts of meat commonly found in supermarkets, quality and yield grading, oral presentations on the meat/carcass evaluations, and a written exam pertaining to the meat industry.

The Atwater FFA Advanced Parliamentary Procedure team earned a top finish with nearly 50 individual teams throughout California competing at the contest. The team advanced team was comprised of Emily Junez, Anessa Cardenas, Micheal Bray, Natalie Frontella, Emmanuel Mejia, Cristal Venegas, Simarjot Gandhoke. The Atwater FFA novice team was comprised of Elizabeth Ayala Lopez, Klarithsa Crus Hernandez, Julia Callahan, Reagan Puthuff, Anthony Pitchford, Alyssa Wilson, and Dakarai Valdez


Atwater High School agriculture students and FFA members gather together following the state sponsored UC Davis FFA Career Development Event skills competition where student knowledge, skills, and application in various agriculture industry were implemented.


Atwater High School Agriculture Mechanics CTE pathway student Jose Ruiz completes an electrical wiring skill during the agriculture mechanics contest held at El Capitan High School this past weekend.

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. Parliamentary procedure is a set of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies, and other deliberative assemblies. FFA students throughout California participate in various parliamentary procedure contests where students demonstrate their public speaking, understanding, and implementation of skills.

The Atwater FFA Floriculture team competed with a team comprised of Perla Caballero, Yusdivia Rojo, Hayley Vargas, and Marissa Nuno. This was the first major contest for a new team. The contest involves plant identification, arrangements, and floral skills.

Atwater High School agriculture freshman student Tristan Cardey competed in the FFA Creed contest as as an opportunity to prepare for the regional finals. This event is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the FFA Creed from memory and answer questions on the meaning and purpose of the FFA Creed.

“The FFA judging season is an opportunity for students to showcase their life, industry, critical thinking, and communication skills through hands-on, skill-based applications among their peers from all over California at major colleges and state universities,” said FFA advisor Dave Gossman. “Atwater High School continues to be a top contender and recognized throughout the state as a major player at the year’s competitions.” The competitions continue with Chico State University, Merced College, Modesto Junior College, Cosumnes River College, Reedley College, Fresno State University, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo scheduled in the coming two months.

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

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March 7 , 2019

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 140 FROM MIDPINES TO EL PORTAL IN MARIPOSA COUNTY
MARIPOSA COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is planning a
pre-emptive closure of State Route 140 in and near the Ferguson Fire burn scar beginning at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. This is due to an ongoing storm that could impact the roadway, and the closure is scheduled for the sake of public safety.
The estimated time of opening is dependent upon the impact of the weather. This closure will take place for approximately 17 miles from Bear Creek near Midpines to Foresta Road in El Portal – approximately 4 miles west of the Yosemite National Park entrance.
Risks for this stretch of roadway in storm conditions include mudslides and the movement of debris, such as rocks, onto highway lanes.
Caltrans crews will close the road when the storm begins. After the storm has passed, Caltrans crews will clear any debris and inspect the road before reopening it to traffic.
To stay current on this closure, and other news regarding the impact this storm is having on transportation, please follow District 10 on Twitter (@CaltransDist10), download the Caltrans
QuickMap app to your phone, call 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) and check
http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi for highway conditions.
This closure is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials and other issues.


 

 

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

 

 

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March 7 , 2019

Governmental Organization Committees Convene Joint Hearing on Emerging Wildlife Monitoring Technology

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, held a joint hearing today with Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Chair of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, to highlight the existing infrastructure and emerging technological advancements in the state’s efforts to monitor, respond to, and combat the devastating wildfires which have engulfed much of Northern and Southern California in recent years.

“The magnitude of the destruction caused by these wildfires is simply unimaginable,” said Gray. “Unfortunately, we expect to see larger and more catastrophic wildfires in the future, so we must embrace emerging technologies to reduce catastrophic risks to property, and more importantly, to save lives.”

Speakers at the hearing included representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services who provided an

 

overview of existing wildlife monitoring technologies as well as scientists from UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, and CSU San Jose who highlighted cutting edge and emerging technological advancements.

“Existing technologies have proven inadequate to meet the needs of our first responders,” continued Gray. “Governor Newsom has demonstrated a commitment to address this issue head-on, and it is important for us to fully utilize the new technologies at our disposal. Drones. satellites, fire modeling, weather stations, and real-time monitors all have a role to play to keep the public and our firefighters safe. Advancements in communication technology also play an important role in coordinating local, state, and federal assets to maximize an effective response.”

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March 6 , 2019

More than 500 Attend Sixth Annual Parent Institute Conference

Dreaming big, believing and achieving were the focal points of the sixth annual Parent Institute Conference on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.
Rosa Barragan, program coordinator at the Merced County Office of Education and one of the event planners, said more than 500 people attended the event, that focuses on parent empowerment and engagement.
MCOE, Merced County’s Human Services Agency and the Merced Union High School District co-sponsor the annual program.
Barragan said the conference is intended for anyone who is interested in ensuring all children have the opportunity to reach their goals and dreams.
The conference featured 21 workshops in English, Spanish and Hmong languages.
There were about 100 vendors representing area high schools, Merced College and UC Merced, banks and credit unions, financial aid offices, Livingston Community Health Services, the Salvation Army, and public health agencies, among others.
“Families know this as the Dream Big Conference,” Barragan said. “We want to inspire the community to dream big. This year’s special focus is the important role that dads play in their children’s lives.”
Barragan said this year’s program was fantastic because it focused on the importance of parent engagement.
“We need everyone in the community to understand the important role dads play in the lives of their children. We already know moms play a fundamental role in the healthy development of their children and we now need our dads to understand the positive impact they can make in the lives of their children, too. We need dads to be present, engaged and supportive of their children’s goals and dreams,” Barragan said.
Conference speakers included educator, author and motivational speaker Dr. Ken Magdaleno of Fresno who is the founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Leadership, Equity and Research.
Jaime Carias, educator, author and motivational speaker from the San Francisco Bay Area was also a keynote speaker, along with Andres Lara of Texas, an author and motivational speaker.


MCOE coordinator and event organizer Rosa Barragan speaks to the crowd at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.


Grupo de Danza folklorico Xi-ipal Muuk de Delhi perform at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.


Calpulli Itzpapalotl Danza Azteca performs at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.

PHOTOS BY NATHAN QUEVEDO COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

 


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen welcomes attendees author and motivational speaker Dr. Jaime Carias presents at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.


Educator, author and motivational speaker Dr. Ken Magdaleno presents at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.


Author and motivational speaker Andres "The Cuban Guy" Lara presents at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.


Educator, author and motivational speaker Dr. Jaime Carias presents at the annual Merced County Parent Institute on March 2 at Golden Valley High School in Merced.

 


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March 6 , 2019

MIREYA AGUILAR NAMED 21ST ASSEMBLY DISTRICT ‘WOMAN OF THE YEAR’

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D – Merced) has named Ms. Mireya Aguilar of Winton as the Woman of the Year from the 21st Assembly District. She was honored today during a ceremony at the State Capitol. Assemblymember Gray chose Aguilar for her exceptional track record of volunteerism and community service. In addition to her profession in migrant education with the Merced County Office of Education, Ms. Aguilar holds classes to assist applicants with the citizenship process and with English proficiency. She is also very involved in supporting cultural programs such as the Ballet Folklorico and this year serves as the president of the Nuevo Latino Rotary Club of Winton.

“Mireya’s community service through her regular employment is already noteworthy in and of itself,” said Gray. “Like a true leader, she has elected to go above and beyond in her volunteer efforts and commitment to service.”

Mireya Aguilar was born in 1966 in the city of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. She arrived in the United States in 1989 and married her spouse Adolfo Aguilar on 1990. She received a B.A in Agriculture Business in 1989, which was certified through CSU Fresno in 2005. Mireya lives in the

 

community of Winton with her two sons Abraham and Aaron, and daughter Ayerim. Assemblymember Gray also acknowledged Aguilar at 2019 Latina Women’s Luncheon hosted by the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last week.

“Mireya is an incredible role model for the aspiring young leaders in our community,” continued Gray. “I am proud to honor her as the Woman of the Year for my district.”

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Marchy 6, 2019

MCOE to Hold Teacher Recruitment Fair

A Teacher Recruitment Fair will be held March 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Merced County Office of Education's Atwater Court Valley Community School, 1800 Matthew St., Atwater.
Teachers of all subject areas with a valid teaching credential, including career-technical education and special education, with a child development permit or scheduled to obtain one of these certifications for the 2019-2020 school year, are welcome to attend.
There is no fee to attend. Participants are urged to bring five to 10 packets including resumes, transcripts, valid teaching credential, interim eligibility letters, exam score results and letters of recommendation.
On-site interviews may be conducted and appropriate attire is suggested.
For more information, call (209) 381-6622 or contact taquino@mcoe.org.

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Careers in Education Expo Slated for May 11 at Merced High School

The Merced County Office of Education will hold a Careers in Education Expo on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Merced High School gym, 205 W. Olive Ave., Merced.
The free expo is designed to inform participants on how they can obtain positions at local school districts. Central Valley colleges offering bachelor's degrees and credentialing programs will be in attendance.
Grant money is available for employees working in non-teaching positions to continue their education toward becoming a teacher.
The event is open to anyone interested in becoming an after-school assistant teacher, instructional aide, substitute teacher, secretary, bus driver, custodian, yard duty aide, crossing guard, Head Start or preschool teacher, volunteer, school counselor or psychologist, and teacher of either general or special education.
Participants are asked to bring resumes and dress appropriately. For more information, contact Stacy Shasky at (209) 381-6629 or sshasky@mcoe.org.

MCOE Earns Awards at State School PR Conference

The California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA), a statewide organization that promotes better public understanding, commitment and support of public education, announced that Merced County Office of Education received an Award of Excellence for its 2017 Annual Education Report and an Award of Merit for videos created for employee recruitment.
“Effective communication connects our communities to our classrooms and builds support for quality learning environments,” said MCOE Media and Communications Manager Nathan Quevedo, who is also CalSPRA President. “We are so honored that our annual report was recognized as one of the leading among COEs and school districts across the state.”
CalSPRA’s Excellence in Communication Awards program recognizes superior achievement in meeting strategic goals through high-quality communications and public relations programs. Each entry is evaluated by communication professionals on the overall excellence of the entry. Awards were presented at CalSPRA’s Annual Conference and Awards Banquet on February 25, 2019 in Santa Rosa.
CalSPRA is a nationally recognized leader in school communications with a membership of more than 330. Members represent school districts and county offices of all sizes, ranging from the largest urban districts to those located in remote areas serving one or two schools, as well as other professionals in the field of education.

Link to Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ75OBHLIBk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq3SnQ9qQzA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFuS1QbxJog


Link to Annual Report
:

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March 5 , 2019

 

Horticulture Students Get Bare Rooted In Hands-On Learning

Written by:Atwater FFA


“Getting students involved” and “learn by doing” are primary philosophies of the Atwater High School Agriculture department, and for students in the Environmental Horticulture class, learning tends to be the “root” of education. With the continued support of Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, California, over 125 bare root trees were both purchased by Atwater FFA and also donated by the nursery for the Atwater High School horticulture program. With the arrival of the trees, students spent three days transplanting the trees into growing containers and setting them up in the school nursery where they will get the opportunity to get established with the goal of selling them to the community and public on May 10th and 11th during the annual Atwater FFA Spring Plant Sale. The money from the plant sale goes to support the students, program, and various supplies and equipment for the horticulture program and courses.

“The tremendous support we get from horticulture industry supporters such as Dave Wilson Nursery is awesome,” said agriculture instructor Dave Gossman. “It provides our students with ‘hands on’ learning opportunities and the experiences involved in the multi-billion dollar nursery and landscape industry.”

The types and varieties of trees that will be available during the plant sale in may include cherry, 3n1 apple, 3n1 cherry, 3n1 pear, 3n1 peach/nectarine, flowering cherry, flowering pear, flowering plum, Raywood ash, Shamel ash, European birch, Chitalpa, locust, maple, and Eastern redbud trees.

The horticulture program at Atwater High School earned the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) the state’s first high school horticulture certification. Continued growth and development of the agriculture program’s facilities have included an expanded nursery and a long term growing area for trees and shrubs. “The class has been a lot of fun with the opportunity to learn both inside and outside of a classroom,” said AHS student Kaya Briscoe.


High School Horticulture class students Courtney Gregory-Espinoza, Michaela Alaniz, Kaya Briscoe, Lea Mena, and Gerardo Hernandez work together to assist with the transplanting of 125 bare root trees received from Dave Wilson Nursery.


Atwater High School Horticulture class students Abbi Vierra, Megan Escobar, and Oscar Perez prepare a variety of bare root trees in growing containers in preparation of Atwater FFA's spring plant sale in early May

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

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March 5 , 2019

CDE Identifies Weaver Middle School As ‘School to Watch’

Weaver Middle School in Merced has just received a key honor from the state, being named to the “Schools to Watch - Taking Center Stage” program.
Weaver Union School District Superintendent John Curry called the designation a high honor and part of its striving to be a high quality school.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 16 high-performing California middle schools have been newly recognized in the 2018–19 Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program. They join 33 previously chosen schools whose sustained progress will allow them to retain their “Schools to Watch” designation.
“These middle schools make a great impact on students, and I want to thank the staff, administrators, teachers, and parents at these schools for ensuring all students get the education they need to realize their potential,” Thurmond said. “These schools study and support students’ needs, which helps close achievement gaps and creates a better future for these young students.”
Curry said Weaver Middle School is the flagship school within the district. He said he is really proud of the staff and teachers there to have received recognition not only at the state but also the national level.
Weaver Middle School has 900 sixth through eighth grade students.
“One of the things that’s exciting is this honor is not just for academics but also for the school’s culture and environment,” Curry said.
These high-performing model schools demonstrate academic excellence, social equity, and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents, Thurmond said.

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Buhach Colony to Host 1st Annual National History Day

Buhach Colony High School in the Merced Union High School District will host the first annual National History Day at the school today from 6 - 8 p.m.
Students will be on-hand to show and discuss their exhibit projects at the school, located at 1800 North Buhach Road in Atwater.
For more information, contact BCHS instructor and National History Day Coordinator John Bliss at jbliss@muhsd.org.

 

 

 

MCOE to Host Third Annual STEM Fair onWednesday

The Merced County Office of Education will partner with the UC Merced Office of Research and Economic Development to host the county’s STEM Fair on March 6 at the UC Merced Joseph E. Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center in conjunction with UC Merced Research Week and Poster Showcase.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The event will showcase 30 science projects from 118 students in grades 5 through 8, with the top three teams moving on to the state competition to represent Merced County.
Participating school districts include Atwater Elementary, Los Banos Unified, Merced City and Our Lady of Mercy.
Judging begins at 9:30 a.m. and the event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the awards presentation at 3 p.m.
Judges include local scientists or professors from UC Merced and Merced College, among others.
This event was made possible by sponsorship from the Merced County Education Foundation and PG&E.

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March 2 , 2019

Merced Mall project, goals and priorities on agenda

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the Merced Mall renovation project and set Council’s goals and priorities at its Monday night meeting.

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

The Merced Mall is preparing for a renovation projection to update its facilities and renovate its buildings and exteriors. The 50-year-old Merced retail landmark will expand the facility and add a new theater complex. The Council is being asked to approve the environmental review and site utilization plan for the project. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

Every year the Council sets goals and priorities for the City. Staff will presents a mid-year review to keep the Council informed on accomplishments and project updates. Included will be a review of the Town Hall meetings and Council will set new priorities for the 2019-20 budget year.

Also on the agenda is a contract to study the feasibility of annexing land in North Merced. The $423,136 study would look at approximately 7,600 acres of land east of G Street and north of Yosemite Avenue. Several large property owners have expressed an interest in annexing into the City. The

 


study would look at the feasibility and costs associated with annexation. A number of public meetings for residents in the area would be held as part of the contract.

The Council will meet at 5 p.m. for a closed session on labor negotiations.

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

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

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March 2 , 2019

 

Parent Institute Empowers Parents; Special Focus on Fathers

Dreaming big, believing and achieving are the focal points of the sixth annual Parent Institute on Saturday at Golden Valley High School in Merced.
Rosa Barragan, program coordinator at the Merced County Office of Education, is expecting at least 500 people to attend the conference at the school, located at 2121 E. Childs Ave., Merced.
MCOE, Merced County’s Human Services Agency and the Merced Union High School District are co-sponsoring the program which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
Barragan said the conference underscores the importance of parent engagement. It’s intended for anyone who is interested in ensuring all children have the opportunity to reach their goals and dreams.
That’s why it’s subtitled the Dream Big Conference. Twenty-one workshops will be given in English, Spanish and Hmong languages. The conference is open to parents, guardians, child care providers, elected officials and the community.
Child care will be provided for the event, along with a continental breakfast, entertainment and 100 vendors representing all area high schools, Merced College and UC Merced, financial institutions, financial aid offices, Livingston Community Health Services, the Salvation Army, and public health agencies will be represented, among others.
The focus is on children of all ages, from newborns through high school and beyond. Separate sessions are planned for teen-agers, with about 50 youth expected to participate.

“Families know this as the Dream Big Conference,” Barragan said. “We want to inspire the community to dream big. This year’s special focus is the important role that dads play in their children’s lives.”
Barragan said organizers believe every child has potential and given the right tools and supports can and will succeed.
“We need everyone in the community to understand the important role dads play in the lives of their children. We already know moms play a fundamental role in the healthy development of their children and we now need our dads to understand the positive impact they can make in the lives of their children, too. We need dads to be present, engaged and supportive of their children’s goals and dreams,” Barragan said.
Conference speakers include educator, author and motivational speaker Dr. Ken Magdaleno of Fresno who is the founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Leadership, Equity and Research.
Also speaking will be Jaime Carias, educator, author and motivational speaker from the San Francisco Bay Area and Andres Lara of Texas, and author and motivational speaker.

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March 1 , 2019

Foundation Fundraiser Raises More Than $35k for Arts and Outdoor Education

Nearly 150 people enjoyed dinner theatre with student performances and a virtual tour of Camp Green Meadows, while supporting arts and outdoor education earlier this month at the Merced County Education Foundation’s annual fundraiser.
The event, held at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center, featured a program with students from Ada Givens, Burbank and Fremont elementary schools as well as Merced and Golden Valley high schools. Students sang, acted and performed musical numbers.
The event also included a virtual tour of Camp Green Meadows where attendees could wear a headset that put them in the middle of the outdoor school near Yosemite National Park.
Attendees contributed to the arts and outdoor education programs that will support student scholarships to camp and improvements to the facilities including a new nurse’s station and renovated cabins. Funds will also support a variety of visual and performing arts opportunities in Merced County. Schools can apply to the MCEF for grant money to bring artists into the classroom, assist with art supplies, take a field trip, or expand their music program, among others. Foster Youth are also eligible for scholarships to attend visual and performing arts classes throughout the year.
“Providing opportunities to students outside of the regular classroom teaches them valuable lessons about critical thinking, problem solving and increases their personal growth. We are proud that we can reach a wide range of students from all parts of the county with these programs and the others we provide” said MCE Foundation Executive Director Stacie Arancibia.
Rob and Andrea Baptie, who have donated more than $25,000 to Camp Green Meadows, challenged the crowd of attendees to match $7,500. More than $11,000 was collectively raised and the Bapties doubled their contribution and donated $15,000. Money was also raised in a dessert auction and through the sale of student made valentines and centerpieces totaling more than $35,000.
For more information about the MCE Foundation and how you can support their programs, contact Arancibia at (209) 381-6602.


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen addresses the crowd at the annual Merced County Education Foundation fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.



 

 


Longtime school administrator and supporter of the Merced County Education Foundation addresses the crowd at the annual Merced County Education Foundation fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.


Students from Fremont Elementary School in Merced performed at the annual Merced County Education Foundation fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.


Attendees mingle before the dinner show at the annual Merced County Education Foundation fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.


Retired Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lee Andersen enjoys a virtual tour of Camp Green Meadows at the annual Merced County Education Foundation fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the MercedMulticultural Arts Center.

PHOTOS BY DYLAN MCMULLEN COURTESY MERCED COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

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March 1 , 2019

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE STATE ROUTE 140 REHABILITATION WORK FROM BRICEBURG TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MARIPOSA COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is continuing work on an emergency project rehabilitating and repairing eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR140) from Briceburg to Yosemite National Park. The work is needed after the Ferguson Fire burned through the region in summer 2018. The project includes the replacement and repair of culverts (underground drainage systems), removal of potentially hazardous trees and branches, and implementing slope stabilization measures. The Ferguson Fire started July 13, 2018, in Mariposa County and burned more than 96,900 acres, causing power outages, road damage and road closures. Burnt vegetation and trees exposed slopes to erosion, mud flows and rock falls. As of Wednesday, February 27, 2019, crews had replaced or repaired approximately eight culverts, installed erosion control devices, and completed between five and six miles of tree work and slope scaling. Slope scaling refers to measures taken on roadslide slopes which help mitigate future mudslides and debris flow. To this point, this project has incurred a total construction cost of approximately $2.3 million.


Work began in November 2018 and usually occurs from the morning until early evening. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2019 – weather permitting. Oneway traffic control will be used, and motorists should expect up to 20-minute delays. Full closures may be needed for short durations to protect public and worker safety. Caltrans has closed SR-140 pre-emptively in the area of the Ferguson Fire scar four times since November 2018 to prevent motorists from being on the road when potential mudslides or debris movements were likely to occur. This work is is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/ or materials and construction related issues. Caltrans would like to thank motorists and local residents for their patience and cooperation during this process


TRAFFIC ADVISORY RAMP AND LANE CLOSURES INTERSTATE 5 FROM STATE ROUTE 152 TO THE CALIFORNIA AQUEDUCT BRIDGE IN MERCED COUNTY MERCED COUNTY

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform ramp and lane closures on southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from the SR-152 junction to the California Aqueduct bridge due to a roadway washout. Work is scheduled for Monday, March 4, 2019, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The work includes a connector ramp closure from southbound I-5 to westbound SR-152 and closure of the #2 (right) lane from SR-152 to the California Aqueduct bridge. 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 ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL STATE ROUTE 140 FROM SANTA FE AVENUE IN MERCED TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN MARIPOSA COUNTY MERCED/MARIPOSA COUNTIES

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be performing intermittent one-way traffic control on eastbound and westbound State Route 140 (SR-140) from Santa Fe Avenue in Merced County to Yosemite National Park for various road construction and maintenance activities. Work (one-way traffic control) will occur as follows on both eastbound and westbound SR-140: • Santa Fe Avenue to 3rd Street in Mariposa beginning Monday, March 4, 2019, through Friday, March 8, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for striping. • Moomjean Avenue to Kibby Road in Merced beginning Monday, March 4, 2019, through Friday, March 8, 2019, from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for bridge work. • Feliciana Creek in Mariposa County to the Yosemite entrance beginning Monday, March 4, 2019, through Friday, March 8, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for slope repair and clearing. Motorists should expect 20-minute delays from Slate Gulch to Yosemite and 10-minute delays at the other work locations. Work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and construction related issues.

 

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

 

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


Collyn Roper


Click picture to enlarge

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

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


 

 


 

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