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COMMUNITY NEWS

April 10, 2021

UC MERCED MEN’S VOLLEYBALL RACKS UP ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS

MERCED, Calif. - After a perfect regular season and the longest winning streak in school history, the 15th-ranked University of California, Merced men's volleyball team garnered a plethora of California Pacific Conference postseason awards, including five of the seven major honors.
Ryan Steele was named Cal Pac Setter of the Year, Zach Brill was titled Defensive Player of the Year, and freshman Jared Guglielmana was tabbed Newcomer of the Year. Also, head coach Ai Prachumsri was selected Coach of the Year. Aaron Samarin earned Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
As for the all-conference teams, Steele and Chris Morikawa landed on the All-Cal Pac First Team, while Brill and Emmanuel Egun earned All-Cal Pac Second Team honors.
The Bobcats floor general and captain, Steele, has now been named Cal Pac Setter of the Year and an All-Cal Pac First Team selection for the second straight season. The conference's only setter of the year since its inception in 2020, Steele averaged 8.5 assists per set while facilitating the offense to a program-record .340 hitting percentage. The offensive success rate was the third highest in the NAIA. The six-rotation setter also led all Cal Pac setters with 1.8 digs per set and added 23 kills, 12 blocks and eleven aces in the regular season. Steele is one of just three players in the nation averaging at least eight assists, 1.5 digs, 0.4 blocks and 0.4 service aces per set. Steele's elite company includes Missouri Baptist's Jason Harman and Georgetown's Kacper Dobrowolski. Steele was also a 2X Cal Pac Player of the Week in the 2021 season.
The Bobcats other six-rotation player and Steele's top target, Morikawa, is also now a 2X All-Cal Pac First Team selection after averaging a career-high four kills per set on a .410 hitting percentage. His kills/set number is tied for first in the Cal Pac, while his hitting percentage is good for 6th. However, Morikawa has the highest hitting percentage of any Cal Player with a minimum of 200 attempts. Nationwide, Morikawa is one of just two players with at least four kills per set and a .400 hitting percentage. Morikawa is joined by Grand View's Felix Chapman. You can drop the kills/set number down from four to three and the statement would still hold true for Morikawa and Chapman. Other notables for Morikawa include finishing third in the Cal Pac and eighth in the NAIA with 0.6 service aces per set, as well as finishing eleventh in the conference with 0.6 blocks per set. Take away middle blockers, Morikawa's 0.6 average is second in the conference behind Simpson's Kalagsidis. Morikawa adds this postseason award to his 2021 trophy case which already includes three Cal Pac Attacker of the Week awards and one NAIA National Attacker of the Week award.
Brill, voted by the conference coaches as the defensive player of the year, finished with double figure digs in three of the last six matches and averaged 2.32 digs per set throughout the regular season. His digs tally is good for second in the Cal Pac and he is now just the third Bobcat in program history to average 2+ digs per set in multiple seasons. The All-Cal Pac Second Team selection was also one of the most consistent servers and one of the conference's best passers in serve/receive. Behind the line, Brill missed just one of his 106 total serve attempts for a program record .991 serve percentage. The Bobcats primary passer and 2X Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week operated at a .920 reception rate in serve/receive.
Egun's second straight postseason honor (honorable mention in 2020, All-Cal Pac Second Team in 2021) comes on the heels of a campaign in which he posted career-high's across the board. The Bobcats middle blocker averaged 1.7 kills, 0.8 blocks and 0.4 aces per set while attacking at a stellar .548 success rate. His .548 hitting percentage over the eleven-match regular season ranks 4th in the nation, while his blocking and aces numbers are good for sixth and eighth in the Cal Pac, respectively. Only two other middle blockers aside from Egun averaged similar blocking and serving numbers, BenU Mesa's Bobby Henige and Warner's Jose Gonzales. Egun adds this 2021 postseason honor to his trophy case that also includes a pair of Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week awards.
Newcomer of the Year Jared Guglielmana impressed in his freshman campaign. The Madera, Calif., native finished fourth in the Cal Pac with 3.3 kills per set and eighth with a .384 hitting percentage, while also adding eleven digs and three blocks. No other freshman in program history has tallied as many kills while operating at such a high success rate. Guglielmana started his award-winning campaign with a double figure kill performance and a Cal Pac Attacker of the Week award for his solid debut performance. Roughly two weeks later on March 14, he pounded out a season-high 19 kills against Park - Gilbert. The 19 kill mark currently stands as the freshman record in a Cal Pac match.

Cal Pac Coach of the Year Ai Prachumsri was at the helm for the Bobcats historical campaign. Not only did the team win eleven straight regular season matches and earn its first ever national ranking, but Prachumsri's team garnered a plethora of postseason awards as well as both a program and Cal Pac record 12 Player of the Week awards. Prachumsri's team also stacked up nicely in the NAIA statistical rankings. The Bobcats finished 3rd with a .340 hitting percentage, 6th with 2.16 service aces per set and ninth with 12.6 kills per set. The Bobcats finished top 50 overall in eleven different statistical categories. Prachumri's team swept eight of eleven opponents and won 33 of 38 sets on the year.
Assistant Coach of the Year Aaron Samarin earns his status after completing his first season on staff. Samarin joined the Bobcats after winning two national championships as a libero at The Ohio State University.

 

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

 

JOC. GARCIA GOES UPPER 90 TWICE, BOBCATS ADVANCE TO CAL PAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - California Pacific Conference Player of the Year Jocelyne Garcia scored twice and the University of California, Merced women's soccer team shutout University of Saint Katherine on Friday afternoon, 2-0 in the Cal Pac Semifinals.
The Bobcats (7-0) will play in their fourth consecutive conference championship game Saturday night against the winner of La Sierra University and Simpson University. The Bobcats fourth straight championship game appearance ties the longest streak the conference has seen in the last ten years (ERAU, 2012-15).
Both of Garcia's goals came in the first half. Her game-winning goal in the 30th minute was buried into the upper 90 from approximately 30 yards out on a free kick.
Garcia went upper 90 again in the 41st minute, this time from 40 yards out. She is just the second player in program history to score twice in a postseason game, joining D Covarrubias who first accomplished the feat in 2018.
Both of Garcia's goals were unassisted and the sophomore now has 12 goals in 2021, three away from tying the program's single-season record.
Ally Lozano and Veronica Vasquez combined for the shutout and stopped seven shots. Lozano, All-Cal Pac Second Team selection, earned the start. Friday afternoon marked the Bobcats second ever postseason shutout, the first since 2015.
Both teams managed to get off 14 shots. Ten of the Bobcats 14 shots were on target, three of which came off the foot of Joc. Garcia.
Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Year Isabella Spiva took three shots, two on goal.
Prior to the game, Emily Burnett, D Covarrubias and Maddie Door were named All-Cal Pac First Team selections, as was player of the year Joc. Garcia and defender of the year Bella Spiva.
Ally Lozano and Kaylee "Skittles" Melendez were named to the All-Cal Pac Second Team, while Jessica Garcia earned honorable mention.
The semifinal match was just the second ever meeting between UC Merced and Saint Katherine.
Tomorrow night's championship game is scheduled for 8:30pm in Riverside. A UC Merced win would secure the Bobcats first ever tournament championship and their first ever bid to the national tournament.

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April 10, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL
STATE ROUTE 33 AND STATE ROUTE 152

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will conduct one-way traffic control on State Route 33 and Route 152, both two-lane rural highways, in Dos Palos for utility work.
The locations and times are:
• Route 33 between Stearman Street and Valeria Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
• Route 152 at Azusa Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
This work is being done on Saturday to minimize traffic impact.
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 9, 2021

Virtual Family Roundtable Helps Ease Anxiety for Parents

For more than a year, the pandemic has had a negative effect on parents of Merced County’s school children but there are avenues to ease these anxieties.
David Ramos is a program adviser for providers and parent engagement with the Merced County Office of Education’s Early Education Department. He says the Family Roundtable, which was established in early February, is catching on and provides some highly valuable services.
In dialogue with Ramos and other MCOE employees, sometimes-overwhelmed parents have expressed feelings of anxiety, stress and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 health crisis. They get help from online sessions on Zoom on Wednesdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A Spanish language session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays has proven especially popular, according to Ramos.
“Family Roundtable conversations are started by parents and are quite literally on anything they wish to talk about, such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, COVID-19 vaccines, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, difficulties adjusting to distance-learning situations, confusion over coronavirus effectiveness and availability, parenting issues, daily routines, depression and financial issues,” Ramos said.
The Family Roundtable was designed as a safe place where parents and guardians can have real conversations and feel heard. In addition, participants get privately e-mailed information on resources and individually tailored tips for their parenting needs to help families thrive.
During these sessions, Ramos says highly-skilled resource and referral and parenting specialists from MCOE take notes and from there can refer people to programs and agencies for help. They also can offer on-the-spot recommendations to improve situations at home.

 


Response to Family Roundtables started slow but lately is starting to pick up, especially the Spanish language sessions. Ramos stresses family members are guiding the conversations. It is especially valuable since participants do not have to drive anywhere to take part.
Rosa Barragan, director of Early Education Support Programs at MCOE, said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways.
“We wanted to create a safe space for families to have real conversations and feel heard. We believe that providing this space where families can share their experiences or simply listen to others, might strengthen their resiliency. Sometimes knowing you are not alone, is enough to keep you going. Merced County needs to continue exploring innovative ways to support each other, especially as we all strive to re-establish a certain level of normalcy,” Barragan said.
There is no limiting criteria for people to participate; parents and guardians are welcome to take advantage of the free sessions. It is open to anyone in the county who wants to join the sessions.
For more information, contact Ramos at (209) 381-6793, extension 6156.

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April 9, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP & LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99, STATE ROUTE 140 AND STATE ROUTE 165

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99), SR-140 and SR-165 for maintenance and construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
STATE ROUTE 99:
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 at Liberty Avenue/Sultana Drive for landscape work on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from 7:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on southbound SR-99 at Shanks Road for landscape work beginning Monday, April 12, through Tuesday, April 13, 2021, from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound SR-99 at Shanks Road for landscape work on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
STATE ROUTE 140:
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from I-5 to Delta Mendota Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, April 12, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Los Banos Creek to the San Joaquin River for striping operations beginning Monday, April 12, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Van Clief Road to the Eastside Irrigation Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, April 12, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Black Rascal Creek to El Capitan Canal for bridge inspection beginning Monday, April 12, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Arboleda Road to Plainsburg-Planda Road for guard rail work beginning Monday, April 12, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.


STATE ROUTE 165:
• One-way traffic control on SR-165 from Scripps Drive to Wilmott Road for utility work beginning Tuesday, April 13, through Thursday, April 15, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related issues.

 


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

 

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April 8, 2021

UC Merced Women's Volleyball wins First Ever California Pacific Conference Tournament Championship

The University of California, Merced women’s volleyball team won their first ever California Pacific Conference Championship on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over University Saint Katherine.

It is the school’s fourth ever tournament championship, the first since women’s basketball’s in the 2016-17 season.

UC Merced women’s volleyball will open up play in the NAIA National Championships on Saturday, April 17.

Olivia Harden had a career-high 22 kills in the win.


 

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April 8, 2021

Home Visit Program Helps to Improve Parent-Child Interaction

The Merced County Office of Education’s Early Education Department has developed a strong relationship with parents of the children it serves and these bonds are helping bolster educational outcomes for the youngsters as well as their families.
Monica Adrian, a behavioral support specialist who oversees the Parents as Teachers evidenced-based home visiting program, said MCOE has been providing Parents as Teachers services since 2019 and is collaborating with Merced County’s Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency.
Since the pandemic appeared, parents and MCOE leaders have worked together through virtual sessions rather than in-person visits.
They have served about 50 families since the program began, working with pregnant women and parents of children up to kindergarten age. A new California Home Visiting Program grant, one of 10 in the state, has spawned an innovative program that has expanded their program to work with families who have children with special health care needs.
“The goals are to reduce stress levels with parents and increase bonding. We are focusing on supporting the whole family, not just the child alone. We work on a broad range of issues such as working with children with special health care needs, behavioral health issues and developmental delays and trying to reduce adverse childhood experiences,” Adrian said.
Home visiting sessions take place about twice a month, according to Adrian.
Early on, MCOE staff members work to identify signs of neglect and early signs of developmental delays in children. Parents come out with improved knowledge of parenting practices. Tips on bolstering parent-child interaction are imparted and the goal is to establish goals for parents and their children.
“The program is free to parents. Families say it’s the highlight of their week when they meet with their parent educator. Topics that get discussed include focusing on building a parent-child activity. We discuss family well-being and child development topics,” Adrian said.


Rosa Barragan, director of the Early Education Department, said the Caring Kids home visiting team works to empower, support and build the capacity of young children and their families. They specifically focus on teaching best approaches to nurture positive social-emotional development in children. Barragan said children need to have strong social-emotional skills in order to thrive.
“Our staff wear many hats while doing this work. They are coaches, trainers, teachers, role models and work diligently to connect families with necessary resources. Monica is doing a phenomenal job leading her team focused on building the capacity of young children and their families,” Barragan said.
Adrian said feedback from parents shows they feel like they can open up to the parent educator who actually listens to their concerns. Another parent said her home visitor has been a blessing to the family, helping her cope with parental stress and give strategies to use with her developing child.
Adrian said another parent told her the parent educator is always so helpful and assists with any question they might have, being patient and kind during the process. Another parent wishes the visits could actually be in person.
“One parent told me: ‘Our home visitor is very, very in tune with me and my child and she makes it so easy to ask for any help I am needing and it is so so amazing to have someone always follow through with what they say they are going to do. She is so encouraging and has given me so much more confidence in myself as a first-time mother. We love her!’ ”
For more information about the program or to enroll, contact Adrian at (209) 381-6790, ext. 6146.

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April 8, 2021


 

 

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April 8, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
***CANCELLED*** - FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
NORTHBOUND AND SOUTHBOUND STATE ROUTE 59 IN CITY OF MERCED

MERCED COUNTY – The full closure of State Route 59 (SR-59) between West Olive Avenue and Cooper Avenue in the city of Merced for BNSF Railroad repairs (originally scheduled from April 12 through April 16, 2021) has been cancelled.
New closure dates will be announced once this work is rescheduled. Thank you for your
patience.




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

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April 7, 2021

UC Merced Women's Volleyball Beats La Sierra University 3-1, Advances to Second Straight Cal Pac Championship Game

The University of California, Merced women’s volleyball team defeated La Sierra University 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19) in the California Pacific Conference Semifinals on Monday night inside the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium.

With the win, the Bobcats advance to their second consecutive California Pacific Conference Championship match and their third in the last four years. Freshman setter Serena Choi quarterbacked the offense to a .325 success rate and dished out a career-high 46 assists. Choi also registered a team-high 16 digs. Lexus Lagumbay recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs, while Olivia Harden was good for 13 kills.

 

Other notables include eleven digs from Madison Mayoralgo, nine kills from Olanasaze Ojo, and a career-high four service aces from Destiny Lei Ramilo.

The Bobcats limited BenU Mesa to a 0.88 hitting percentage.

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April 7, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
FULL HIGHWAY CLOSURE
NORTHBBOUND AND SOUTHBOUND STATE ROUTE 59 IN CITY OF MERCED

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close northbound and southbound State Route 59 (SR-59) between West Olive Avenue and Cooper Avenue in the city of Merced to allow BNSF Railroad to perform repairs to the railroad crossing.
• This full closure will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 12, and continue through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16, 2021.
• Motorists are advised to use R Street as a detour during this closure.
• Truck traffic is advised to use Franklin Avenue as a detour during this closure. 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 3, 2021

Merced County Fair Announces Its New “Fair Food Favorites” Event, April 8-11
Event is free to attend and provides a safe, family-friendly outing to enjoy favorite fair foods

MERCED, CALIFORNIA – April 2, 2021: Despite the cancellation of the 2021 Merced County Fair, CEO Teresa Burrola still wanted to do something to give the community a taste of the fair to enjoy, while supporting its vendors and an industry that has gone a full year without a single in-person fair due to COVID-19. That led to the creation of the Merced County Fair’s new “Fair Food Favorites” event, which will take place April 8 – 11.
It is free to attend this walk-up event that will feature fair food from seven different food booths. Attendees who want to can stay and eat at “socially-distanced” picnic tables in the grass area by the Administration Office.
“Our drive-thru fair food event last year was very popular, so we wanted to recreate it but with a twist,” said Burrola. “We extended it to a four-day event and shifted from a drive-thru to a walk-up format. This gives the community something safe and fun to do, satisfies their fair food craving and hopefully spreads some joy.”
Here’s the full food line-up and pricing at the Merced County Fair “Fair Food Favorites” event:
$5.00…Corn Dogs
$3.00…Cotton Candy
$5.00…ICEE - Cherry or Blueberry
$6.00…Hamburger
$7.00…Cheeseburger
$5.00…Fries
$8.00…Seasoned Twisty Fries
$12.00…Chicken Stripes & Fries
$5.00…Cinnamon Roll
$6.00…Cinnamon Roll w/ nuts
$6.00…Cinnamon Roll w/ frosting
$7.00…Cinnamon Roll w/ frosting and nuts
$25.00…6-PK Cinnamon Rolls
$10.00…Large Kettle Corn
$6.00…Medium Kettle Corn
$7.00…Carmel Corn
$3.00…Small Lemonade
$5.00… Large Lemonade
$7.00…Lemonade w/ Souvenir Cup
$4.00…Cheese Slice
$5.00…Pepperoni Slice
$6.00…Supreme Slice
$6.00…Nachos
$6.00…Nachos with Extra Cheese
$5.00…Churros
$6.00…Pretzels
$3.00…Pickles
$8.00…Powdered Sugar Funnel Cake
$9.00…Powdered Sugar with Strawberry Funnel Cake
$9.00…Chocolate and Whipped Cream Funnel Cake
$10.00…Powdered Sugar with Strawberry and Chocolate and Whipped Cream Funnel Cake
$5.00…Deep Fried Oreos (3)

 

Attendees will enter from 11th or Martin Luther King Jr. Way where they can park. Face coverings are required, except while seated eating. This event is cash only to keep the lines moving as quickly as possible.
For more details, call (209) 722-1506 or visit www.mercedcountyfair.com/fair-food-favorites.
WHEN: Thursday, April 8 – Sunday, April 11
Hours are 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily
WHERE: Merced County Fairgrounds
900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced, California 95341
Enter from 11th street or Martin Luther King Jr. Way

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April 3, 2021

UC Merced Men's Volleyball Finishes the Regular Season Undefeated (11-0)


The 15th-ranked University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team made more history on Thursday night when they swept Simpson University 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-17) on the road to finish the regular season undefeated. The Bobcats (11-0) eleven-game winning streak is also the longest winning streak in school history. UC Merced men’s soccer and UC Merced women’s basketball originally set the school record with a ten-game winning streak.

The Bobcats, assumingly California Pacific Conference Co-Regular Season Champions with Benedictine University Mesa, will await their opponent in the upcoming conference tournament scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 6.

UC Merced, top-ranked Grand View University and 2nd-ranked BenU Mesa are all undefeated. BenU Mesa is also the defending national champion and could play UC Merced in the conference title game on Wednesday.

Prior to the men’s match on Thursday, UC Merced women’s volleyball earned a five-set win, 3-2 (25-21, 20-25, 15-25, 26-24, 15-13) at Simpson. Women’s volleyball finishes the regular-season 5-6 overall and will wait to see if they are invited to the postseason.

Serena Choi and Olivia Harden highlighted the Bobcats efforts in the win. Choi, freshman, had a career-high 31 assists, while Harden had ten kills and a career-high five solo blocks.

The Bobcats have won six straight regular season finales.

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April 2 , 2021

MEASURE V REPORT TO COMMUNITY RELEASED ONLINE

Merced - The third installment of On the moVe – the annual Measure V report to the community - has been unveiled on the Measure V website. Measure V, the half-cent sales tax collected in Merced County for the improvement of local transportation infrastructure, has been in place since April 1, 2017. The Measure V Citizens Oversight Committee marks the anniversary with a showcase of the projects used by this dedicated funding during the previous fiscal year.
This 2021 report has been released online at: www.mcagov.org/onthemove and focuses on the transportation infrastructure work conducted between July 2019 – June 2020. The report includes projects completed with local, regional, and transit funding generated by Measure V. The split of revenue for each of these categories was determined by Merced County voters in 2016 and is set for the duration of the 30-year Measure. Half of all Measure V revenue goes directly to the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced, along with the County of Merced, to pay for local transportation projects; of this share, the jurisdictions must use 20 percent on alternative transportation projects such as sidewalks and bike lanes. Regional transportation projects located on both the east and west sides of the county receive 44 percent of the Measure V dollars with another five percent going toward public transit. Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) receives one percent of the funding for administrative work related to Measure V.
“When Merced County voters approved Measure V in 2016, we knew the program had the potential to make a tremendous impact in the region,” said Stacie Guzman, MCAG Executive Director. “Now that we’ve had three years of project implementation, it is exciting to see exactly where and how those impacts are changing the quality of life of residents throughout Merced County. Safer roads, more accessible transit and improved walkability – all thanks to Measure V.”
In addition to both English and Spanish versions of the report, the public can also find additional work happening in each Merced County community by viewing the slideshow and interactive map on the website. Hard copies of the On the moVe report will be available to the public at each of the six city halls, the County Administration building, and MCAG office.


 

MCAG, is the designated Local Transportation Authority for Merced County responsible for the implementation and administration of 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 www.mcagov.org. Additional information about Measure V, including financial statements and specific project information, 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 flyer

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April 2 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP & LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99, STATE ROUTE 140 AND STATE ROUTE 165

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99), SR-140 and SR-165 for maintenance and construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
STATE ROUTE 99:
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of northbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of southbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound SR-99 at East Atwater Boulevard beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from East Atwater Boulevard to southbound SR-99 at
beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at
Applegate Road beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from
10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from West Atwater Boulevard to northbound SR-99
beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Alternating closures of the #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes of northbound SR-99 from West Atwater Boulevard to Bert Crane Road for utility work beginning Sunday, April 4, through Monday, April 5, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 at Bert Crane Road for utility work beginning Monday, April 5, through Tuesday, April 6, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.



STATE ROUTE 140:
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from I-5 to Delta Mendota Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Van Clief Road to the Eastside Irrigation Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Black Rascal Creek to El Capitan Canal for bridge inspection beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021,from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
STATE ROUTE 165:
• One-way traffic control on SR-165 from Scripps Drive to Wilmott Road for utility work beginning Monday, April 5, through Friday, April 9, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible. This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related issues.

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

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April 1 , 2021

Merced County Virtual Town Hall Meetings: 2021
REMINDER: Merced County Town Halls are back virtually this year!

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT:
• English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FRQYJC9
• Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7VN96QK
• Hmong: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/77VZTKB

Dates and Information:

District 1
Wednesday, April 14 @ 6 p.m.
Zoom Registration: Register for District 1 Virtual Town Hall

District 2
Wednesday, April 28 @ 6 p.m.
Zoom Registration: Register for District 2 Virtual Town Hall

District 3
Wednesday, May 5 @ 6 p.m.
Zoom Registration: Register for District 3 Virtual Town Hall

District 4
Wednesday, April 21 @ 6 p.m.
Zoom Registration: Register for District 4 Virtual Town Hall

District 5
Wednesday, April 7 @ 6 p.m.
Zoom Registration: Register for District 5 Virtual Town Hall

 

 

 

These Town Hall meetings will have Spanish and Hmong listening options through Zoom. The Town Hall events can also be viewed on the Merced County Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/MercedCounty
or government access channels 95/96 (Comcast) and/or 99 (AT&T).

Remote in-person attendance is available, but limited to those who do not have internet access or are otherwise unable to join virtually. To request access to an in-person location, ADA accommodations, or Spanish/Hmong/ASL interpretation, please call 209-726-2744 at least 72 hours in advance. Social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions will be in place.

For more information, please contact Mike North at 209.726.2744 or Mike.North@countyofmerced.com.

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April 1 , 2021

UC Merced Men's Basketball Beats La Sierra 63-57, Starts 5-0 for the First Time in Program History

The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team beat La Sierra University 63-57 on Tuesday night to improve to 5-0 on the year. The 5-0 start is the best in program history. Prior to 2021, the Bobcats best ever start was 4-0 and they accomplished that feat both in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 season.

Jonah Cottrell led all players with a season-high 17 points and shot 50% (3-6) from beyond the arc. Cottrell has scored at least 15 points in four of the Bobcats five games this year. Two-time defending California Pacific Conference Player of the Week Chiwike E’denchukwu was good for 14 points, while Mason Westlake added ten points and a career-high four steals. Lodi, Calif., native Onkar Sidhu provided a spark off the bench with nine points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists.

 

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March 31, 2021

BIG FRESNO FAIR’S POPULAR SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
OLIVE OIL COMPETITION RETURNS IN 2021
All California olive oil producers are eligible to participate; deadline is May 27, 2021

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, March 30, 2021…Entries are now being accepted for the 6th annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC); Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil entries from commercial producers in the State of California are eligible and olive oil must be made from producers’ most recent olive harvest. Deadline for entries is May 27, 2021. This popular competition is returning after being canceled last year amid the statewide shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19, which made judging impossible.

“We are so excited for the return of the annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II of The Big Fresno Fair. “We are honored to be able to continue our showcase and recognition of the best olive oil producers from throughout California after a year of uncertainty throughout the fair industry.”

Participating producers must enter their harvest into one of two different classes: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil. Competition categories in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil class include: Spanish Blends (arbequina, arbosana, etc.); Spanish Singles; Italian Blends (ascolano, etc.); Italian Singles; Other Blends (picholine, barouni, etc.); Other Singles. Competition categories in the Flavored Olive Oil class include: Citrus; Herbal (rosemary; basil, etc.); Pepper (chile, jalapeno, habanero, etc.); and Other Flavors (garlic, truffle etc.).

Awards will be given out for Gold and Silver medals in each category, as well as one overall “Best of Show” in both the Extra Virgin Olive Oil category, Flavored Oil category and the “Best of the Valley” award. Judging will be evaluated and scored as follows:
• Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive oil that demonstrates its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards. Gold Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.
• Silver Medal: Awarded to an olive oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality. Silver Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76- 85.99 points.
• Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall. All Gold Medal winners are eligible to compete for Best of Show in their division.
• Best of the Valley: Awarded to the oil that scored the highest with the ranch or office located in the San Joaquin Valley. Medals will be awarded for both EVOO and flavored oils. (Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties eligible)

Producers may submit multiple entries under one category but may not submit a particular entry to more than one category. All entries must be available for commercial sale at the time of entry. Entries are due by May 27, 2021. Judging will be held on June 9, 2021 and winners will be announced on June 17, 2021 by 5:00 p.m.

If there is an in-person Big Fresno Fair, Gold Medal, Best of the Valley and Best of Show winners will all have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agricultural Building on one day during the 2021 Big Fresno Fair where they can taste, display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that Fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits and more. The Big Fresno Fair continues to collaborate with the Fresno County Department of Public Health on plans for a modified in-person Fair.

Each submission must include an entry form, at least two 250 ml bottles of the olive oil with retail labels attached and a $60 non-refundable fee per entry. Each entry must also contain a third-party chemical analysis in order to verify extra virgin status. Entries can be dropped off at The Big Fresno Fair Administration Office or can be shipped to SJVOOC – The Big Fresno Fair, 1121 S. Chance Ave. Fresno, CA 93702 no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 27, 2021. Any entry delivered by mail, freight or express must be prepaid. The Administration Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for drop offs.

In 2019, 38 entries from all throughout California were received. Below is a list of the Gold Medal Winners and Best of Show. For a complete 2019 winners list, go to: www.FresnoFair.com/SJVOOC.

Best Of Show
Mountain Springs Olive Ranch Arbequina (Paso Robles)
Coldani Olive Ranch Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)

Best of the Valley
Boparai Farms Frantoio 8/9 (Lemoore)
Coldani Olive Ranch Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)

Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO)
Gold Medal Winners
• Spanish Blends
Corto Olive Co. Truly (Stockton)
• Spanish Singles
Olivaia Olivaia’s Ola Estate Sevillano (Lindsey)
Mountain Springs Olive Ranch Arbequina (Paso Robles)
The Olive Press Sevillano (Sonoma)
The Olive Press Arbosana (Sonoma)
Corto Olive Co. Arbosana (Stockton)
• Italian Blends
Boparai Farms Frantoio 8/9 (Lemoore)
• Other Singles
Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Organic Koroneiki (Maxwell)
Rosenthal Olive Ranch Koroneiki (Madera)
Corto Olive Co. Koroneiki (Stockton)

Flavored Olive Oils
Gold Medal Winners
• Pepper Flavored Oils
Coldani Olive Ranch Calivirgin Jalapeno Garlic (Lodi)
Coldani Olive Ranch Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)
Enzo Olive Oil Company Fresno Chili (Clovis)

For more information about the new San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC), including downloadable entry forms and deadlines, please visit www.FresnoFair.com/SJVOOC, email questions to srianda@fresnofair.com or call The Big Fresno Fair office at (559) 650-FAIR.

RESOURCES:
• SJVOOC LOGO
• 2021 SJVOOC SOCIAL GRAPHIC

About The Big Fresno Fair:
The Big Fresno Fair, founded in 1884, is the fourth largest fair in the state of California and represents the 21st District Agricultural Association. More than 600,000 people from throughout the State visit The Big Fresno Fair each year making it the largest event in the Central Valley. Members of the Board of Directors include: Jerry Pacheco, President; Charles Riojas, Vice President; Terry Gonsalves, Secretary/Treasurer; Linda Mae Balakian Hunsucker; Gary Chahil; Frank Flores; Annalisa Perea; Larry Serpa; and Lawrence Salinas. Deputy Managers, Stacy Rianda and Lauri King oversee the daily operations of the Fair. The 2021 Big Fresno Fair dates are October 6 - 17; Fair Management continues to collaborate with the Fresno County Department of Public Health on permitted operations to be able to bring this longstanding tradition back for the community to enjoy in 2021. As more details are known, the Fair will update its website. For more information about The Big Fresno Fair, please visit www.FresnoFair.com.

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March 31, 2021

UC Merced Men's Basketball Wins Fourth Straight, Beats La Sierra 74-56 Monday Night

The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team beat La Sierra University 74-56 to improve to 4-0 on the season. The Bobcats have won three of their first four games by double figures. Monday night’s game was the first of a three-game road trip.

Chiwike E’denchukwu led four Bobcats in double figures with 19 points. E’denchukwu was joined by Mason Westlake (18 points), Jonah Cottrell (15 points) and Kingsely Obiorah (12 points). Obiroah added eleven rebounds to notch his third double-double of the season. Other notables include four assists from Lodi native Onkar Sidhu and three assists from Merced native Angel Serena.

 

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March 30 , 2021

UC Merced Men's and Women's Soccer Shutout La Sierra University in Regular Season Finale, Look Ahead to Cal Pac Championships

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s soccer teams earned shutouts over La Sierra University on Friday in their 2021 regular season finales.

The men’s soccer team played their first game in over two weeks and won 5-0 to finish the regular season 4-0. Le Grand native Andres Lua was one of five Bobcats to score and was credited with the game-winning goal in the sixth minute. Lua has scored in all four games this season and in seven straight dating back to last year. Fresno natives Juan Flores and Ricky Rosas also scored a goal, as did Kevin Capetillo and Rodolfo Prado.

The California Pacific Conference Men’s Soccer Championships are scheduled to run April 15-16 at Bobcat Field.

 

The University of California, Merced women’s soccer team beat La Sierra 1-0 to finish the regular season 6-0. Senior Emily Burnett scored the game-winning goal in the 43rd minute off an assist from Jocelyne Garcia.

The California Pacific Conference Women’s Soccer Championships are scheduled to run April 9-10 in Riverside, Calif.

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March 30 , 2021

Community Leaders, Law Enforcement Officials Speak Out Against Downgrading Robbery Charge

 

March 29, 2021—A coalition of California district attorneys, police, business leaders and crime victims will hold a news conference on Tuesday, March 30 at 11:00 a.m. PST to express their strong opposition to SB 82, a bill that would downgrade some felony robberies to misdemeanor charges of petty theft.

The bill proposed by Sen. Nancy Skinner and already approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee, would redefine a charge of robbery without the use of a weapon or Great Bodily Injury (GBI) to a petty theft, a lesser charge.

The bill has generated strong opposition from a wide swath of Californians from law enforcement officials to members of the Asian/Pacific Islander community following a series of attacks on Asian Americans in the Bay Area and across the nation.

“Robbery is robbery and most Californians understand that,” said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, the president of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA). “It’s too bad Senator Skinner doesn’t understand it. Ask the victims of crimes who have been put in fear of their lives if they consider a robbery to be petty. I can assure you they do not.”

The news conference will begin at 11:00 a.m. PST. Please click HERE to register to attend:

California Leaders Speaking Out Against SB 82:
• Mr. Frank Lee—press conference organizer and President of Organization for Justice and Equality
• Mr. Vern Pierson—El Dorado County District Attorney and President of the California District Attorneys Association
• Ms. Annie Esposito?—Alameda County Deputy District Attorney and Chairwoman of the Asian American Prosecutors Association
• Mr. Ron Fong—President and CEO of the California Grocers Association
• Mr. John Lovell—Chief Legal Counsel of the California Narcotic Officers’ Association
• Chief Ron Lawrence—Citrus Heights Police Chief and Immediate Past President of the California Police Chiefs Association
• Ms. Patricia Wenskunas—CEO of Crime Survivors, Inc.??
• Ms. Nina Besselman—Executive Director/President of Crime Victims United?
• Rev. Walter Hoye—President of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California
• Mr. Carl Chan—President of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
• Dr. Raymond Kim—Professor of Finance, Northern Arizona University
• Mr. Ryan Couzens?— Yolo County Assistant Deputy District Attorney and Former Board Member of California District Attorneys Association

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March 30 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
ADDITIONAL RAMP & LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 AND STATE ROUTE 165

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) and SR-165 for maintenance
and construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
STATE ROUTE 99:
• Full off-ramp closure from northbound and southbound SR-99 at Winton Parkway for utility work beginning Thursday, April 1, through Saturday, April 3, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from Childs Avenue to northbound SR-99 for litter removal on Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
STATE ROUTE 165:
• One-way traffic control on SR-165 from August Avenue to Bradbury Road for utility work beginning Tuesday, March 30, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related issues.


 

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

 

 

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March 26 , 2021

Northern California Voices Support for High-Speed Rail as Authority Board of Directors Adopts 2020 Business Plan

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors adopted the Revised 2020 Business Plan today, reaffirming the region’s support for the Authority’s plan to deliver a 171-mile Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield electrified high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley by the end of the decade.

“We appreciate the strong support from our Bay Area community,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Northern Californians have made their voices clear that there’s a strong focus and priority on mobility options that help us achieve a more sustainable future.”

The Authority will submit the final plan for approval to the Legislature on or before April 15. It includes the following priorities:
• Complete the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration
• Expand the 119-mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail connecting Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield, three of the fastest growing areas in California;
• Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2026-2027 and put those trains in service by the end of the decade;
• Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim
• Advance construction on the “bookend” projects the Authority has committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area—projects valued at more than $3 billion
• Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively “close the gaps” and expand electrified high-speed rail service to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim as soon as possible.
Earlier this month, Authority CEO Brian Kelly presented the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan to the California Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees. CEO Kelly responded to questions from legislators at both committee meetings, which were opened for public comment.

During the combined public comment periods nearly 100 callers voiced positive support for clean, electrified high-speed rail and the path laid forward in the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. Northern California constituents provided an overwhelming show of support that builds on recent actions Bay Area agencies have taken, such as the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which has included high-speed rail as a regional priority in their long-range plan for the region.

Other prominent Northern Californians have also come out in support of the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. In a March 8 San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece, California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote that his Bay Area constituents “get that high-speed rail ushers in a more environmentally and economically just future, not only for us, but for our inland sister counties that suffer from severe poverty and rates of childhood asthma and other health issues due to carbon emissions."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo joined Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer in an recent opinion piece supporting the plan, emphasizing the importance of delivering on high-speed rail in the Central Valley and moving forward with a Central Valley to Bay Area extension. They noted the further significance of a future Central Valley to Silicon Valley connection “bringing abundant Central Valley housing within a 53-minute ride of Silicon Valley jobs”

Ron Diridon, Sr., namesake of San Jose’s Diridon Station, wrote in a recent letter to the Mercury News “California is leading the nation in building a first-class system that will support the economy while

A synopsis of comments received in support of current high-speed rail direction is below.

The high-Speed Rail project averages 1,100 construction workers a day at 35 construction sites in the Central Valley. Nearly 77% of these workers come from eight counties in the Central Valley, with workers from 43 different California counties participating overall. For more on the project visit www.buildhsr.com.

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

What They Said about the High-Speed Rail 2020 Business Plan

“This is the time for us to pull together, and look at high-speed rail as what it is — a way to get people around our great state, to help our economy grow, to move toward our climate goals, and toward real inland-coastal equity.”

-Scott Wiener, California State Senate District 11, D-San Francisco
Link to source
________________________________________

“On a larger scale, when high-speed rail becomes a reality in California – whisking people from San Francisco and San Jose to Los Angeles and San Diego and other large Golden State cities – it will provide proof of concept that this technology can be applied anywhere. That would benefit the climate, take cars off the road and connect our nation as we look to a more prosperous future for all Americans.”

-San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
-San Francisco Mayor London Breed
-Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer
-Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto
Link to Source
________________________________________

“With 350 miles of electrified high-speed rail under development, California continues to demonstrate its leadership and long-term vision for a better future.”

-Mayor Mark Addiego, City of South San Francisco
Link to Source
________________________________________

“California is leading the nation in building a first-class system that will support the economy while combating the looming climate-change crisis. We’re building a future for my grandchildren; get on board or get out of the way.”

-Ron Diridon, Sr., Former member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and namesake of San Jose’s Diridon Station
Link to Source
________________________________________

“As we continue to grapple with the new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to look towards post-pandemic recovery, MTC continues to stand committed to supporting high-speed rail and to ensuring visionary transportation projects move forward as a vital part of recovery.”

-Therese W. McMillan, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Link to Source
________________________________________

 

 



“Two of the top priorities for our members are housing and transportation. Allowing high-speed rail to continue forward in the process gets us closer to usually explored on these critical and related priorities. This moment, with renewed energy at the federal level, is the time for California to step up, not step aside and allow other countries to continue to surpass us in infrastructure and concede the potential federal funding to other states who are willing to step up.”

-Jason Baker, Senior Vice President, Transportation and Housing, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Link to Source
________________________________________

“Now is the time to invest in our region to create jobs and promote economic activity. Completing construction in the Central Valley and getting electrified service running has been extensively reviewed and shown to be the best use of the investment with the ability to increase ridership, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in areas with the worst air quality in the country, and demonstrate the value that high-speed rail can bring to the traveling public.”

-Gwen Litvak, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Bay Area Council
Link to Source
________________________________________

“With renewed federal partnership, bipartisan support for infrastructure investment, and California’s remarkable climate leadership, this is a promising time for high-speed rail in California.”

-Laura Tolkoff, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR
Link to Source
________________________________________

“We support our partnership with high-speed rail. We are gratified to have it. We work regularly with them and we support the approach of high-speed rail in the Central Valley as well. While the bookends always will want more investment and we will always want more investment as part of that, the Central Valley is an important part of high-speed rail [it’s] the spine of it. And without that spine there is no system.”

-Jim Hartnett, General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Caltrain
Link to Source
________________________________________

“VTA regularly has partners on the local, state, and federal levels as we work to innovate mobility solutions for Silicon Valley. Because of that experience, we wholeheartedly support the building of the nation’s first truly high-speed rail system, linking one of our nation’s most important economic engines, the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, with Southern California. VTA stands as a transportation partner in the Bay Area to accomplish the objectives laid out in the Revised 2020 Business Plan.”

-Glenn Hendricks, Board Chair, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Link to Source
________________________________________

“BART and CCJPA believe the high-speed rail program will transform California’s transportation network. It will be an important complement to existing rail systems such as ours and will bring clean, efficient transportation options to residents throughout California.”

“Together, BART and CCJPA are also advancing Link21, a transformational program to upgrade and expand the passenger rail network throughout the 21-county Northern California Megaregion. A central component of Link21 will be a new transbay rail crossing, tying in with planned high-speed service at the Salesforce Transit Center and connecting it with the regional rail system. Continued progress and implementation of the Caltrain electrification project and the Downtown Extension Project as envisioned in the Plan will be important to the successful development and delivery of the Link21 Program.”

-Robert Powers, General Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
-Robert Padgette, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
Link to Source
________________________________________

“Initiating electric, high-speed rail in the Central Valley as proposed in the plan will ensure that the project is delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. These building blocks in the Central Valley are an integral part of the system that will expand to both Northern and Southern California and connect the entire state.”

-April Chan, Chief Officer, Planning, Grants, and Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Transit Authority
Link to Source
________________________________________

“TJPA is pleased to support the CHSRA in delivering high speed rail service to the new multimodal Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco to create seamless connections among local, regional, and statewide transportation systems under one roof.

This would include 10 other transit systems: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Muni, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Paratransit, and Greyhound....[High-Speed Rail] has been a true champion for public transit and for ensuring San Francisco Bay Area residents can live closer to work, reduce commute times, and increase their quality of life.

We believe that the delivery of High-Speed Rail into downtown San Francisco to the Salesforce Transit Center will be a transformational project of regional, state, and national importance.”

-Nila Gonzales, Interim Executive Director, Transbay Joint Powers Authority
Link to Source
________________________________________

“High speed rail is critical to the future of California, and would provide not only construction jobs but also mobility so important to Californians. Connecting homes to centers of employment without increasing the strain on roadways that desperately need upgrade and expansion is not something that can be delayed.”

-David Bini, Executive Director, Santa Clara/San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council
Link to Source
________________________________________

“I’ve been supporting high-speed rail since I was in 5th grade and when the ballot measure was passed. And I still support it now as a 23-year-old... I know the other generations love their cars, but young people want a sustainable, electric public transit system that takes us where we need to go, and electrified high-speed rail is a big part of that. So, I really support moving forward with the Business Plan and allocating their remaining funding.”

-Monica Mallon, Transit Advocate
________________________________________

“Through a global pandemic, the High Speed Rail Authority has made significant strides to stay on track amidst impediments beyond anyone’s control. Through additional hurdles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HSRA continued to push through with construction and had as many as 1,200 construction workers on the job by the end of 2020. These jobs are crucial during a time where many forms of employment have been impacted or even eliminated. Without the appropriation of the remaining Prop 1A funds, jobs could be lost which would be a significant blow to what has been a growing labor workforce.”

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March 26 , 2021

 

UC Merced Women's Soccer Beats Simpson in Double Overtime, UC Merced Men's Basketball Routs Pacific Union College

The University of California, Merced women’s soccer team beat Simpson University 1-0 (2OT) on Wednesday afternoon to improve to 5-0 on the year. The 5-0 Cal Pac start matches the Bobcats best in program history.

Jocelyne Garcia scored the golden goal for the Bobcats in the 104th minute off an assist from Maddie Door. Garcia has scored in all five games this year. Ally Lozano and Veronica Vasquez split time in goal. Lozano wasn’t forced into making a save, while Vasquez made a career-high four saves. The Bobcats outshot Simpson 26-5.

The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team notched their third straight 3-0 start with a 75-52 win over Pacific Union College on Wednesday night. Chiwike E’denchukwu led the Bobcats with his second straight double-double, 16 points and ten rebounds. Mason Westlake added 17 points and a career-high seven rebounds, while Zach Phipps knocked down three first half triples and finished with nine points on the night. The Bobcats were stellar defensively, limiting Pacific Union to a 27% shooting night.

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March 26 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL
STATE ROUTE 140 – FROM INTERSTATE 5 TO PLAINSBURG-PLANDA ROAD

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform one-way traffic control at various locations on State Route 140 (SR-140) from Interstate 5 (I-5) to Plainsburg-Planda Road for construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from I-5 to Delta Mendota Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, March 29, through Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Los Banos Creek to the San Joaquin River for guard rail work beginning Monday, March 29, through Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Van Clief Road to the Eastside Irrigation Canal for striping operations beginning Monday, March 29, through Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Black Rascal Creek to El Capitan Canal for guard rail work beginning Monday, March 29, through Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
• One-way traffic control on SR-140 from Arboleda Road to Plainsburg-Planda Road for guard rail work beginning Monday, March 29, through Thursday, April 1, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever possible.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related issues.

 

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LANE CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 165 – FROM SCRIPPS DRIVE TO WILMOTT ROAD
IN LOS BANOS

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various lane closures on State Route 165 (SR-165) for construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Alternating closures of the #1 (left) and #2 (right) lanes of northbound and
southbound SR-165 from Scripps Drive to Wilmott Road beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
This work is part of the SR-165 Curb Ramp Improvement Project that will improve safety and mobility for pedestrians at several locations on SR-165 between SR-152 and Santa Cruz Way in the city of Los Banos in Merced County.
The project will see improvements of sidewalks and driveway approaches with the installation of A.D.A. (American Disabilities Act) curb ramps. Improvements will also be made to drainage inlets and storm drains. New traffic signals and traffic loops will also be installed at the intersection of SR-165 and SR-152.
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
LANE & RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 – FROM ATWATER-MERCED EXPRESSWAY TO WESTSIDE BOULEVARD

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of northbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of southbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at East
Atwater Overhead beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at
Applegate Road beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound and southbound SR-99 at West Atwater Overhead beginning Sunday, March 28, through Friday, April 2, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Many of the above-listed closures are required as part of the SR-99 Atwater
Rehabilitation Project that will repave 16.5 lane miles of SR-99 from south of Buhach Road to south of Westside Boulevard through the city of Atwater in Merced County.
In addition to the rehabilitation and paving of the roadway, fiber-optics, drainage systems and a new median barrier will be installed. The project also calls for the reconstruction of the on- and off-ramps at Applegate Road and the on and off-ramps at Atwater Boulevard.
The $86 million project is made possible through funding by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
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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March 25, 2021

UC Merced Men's Volleyball Earns First Ever National Ranking

MERCED, Calif. - The University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team added another milestone to its historical season when today’s NAIA Men’s Volleyball Top 15 Coaches’ Poll was released.

The Bobcats are ranked 15th in the national polls, the first ever ranking in program history.

The Bobcats (9-0) are one of just three undefeated teams left in the country and have earned a program-record seven sweeps through the first nine games.

Men’s volleyball becomes the fifth program at UC Merced to earn a national ranking, joining men’s and women’s soccer, men’s cross country and women’s basketball.

However, the 15th slot is the highest any UC Merced team has ever been ranked.

Prior to this weeks poll, head coach Ai Prachumsri’s team was receiving votes for five straight polls and were the first team out of the last rankings. The Bobcats also received votes consistently throughout the 2019 season.

The Bobcats will look to stay perfect on Saturday as Simpson University comes to the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium for an 8:30pm match.

 

 

 

 

UC Merced Men's and Women's Volleyball Sweep Pacific Union College, Men's Volleyball Breaks Multiple Program Single-Match Records

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s volleyball teams earned sweeps over Pacific Union College on Tuesday.

The men’s volleyball team won 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-13) to improve to 9-0 overall and remain as one of the three undefeated teams left in the country. The Bobcats recorded a program-record .569 hitting percentage in the win and powered across a program-record 17 service aces. The Bobcats sweep was their seventh of the year, besting the program’s previous single-season sweeps record of six set in the 2021 campaign.

Emmanuel Egun was responsible for seven of the 17 service aces, a program-record. Kainoa Ferguson had six aces to become the first player in program history with five service aces in two different matches. Other notables include nine kills on nine swings from Madera, Calif., native Jared Guglielmana and 25 assists in just two sets of floor time for Ryan Steele.

The women’s volleyball team won 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-14) to improve to 4-5 overall. The sweep was the Bobcats fourth of the season. Olanasaze Ojo highlighted the win with eleven kills and a career-high six solo blocks. Ojo is the second player in program history with at least six solo blocks, joining All-American Jaysonna Johnson. Bianca Malaluan recorded a career-high 23 assists, while Lacey Gallagher neared a career-high with ten kills. Teola Nowak contributed seven kills without an error and two solo blocks.

The Bobcats hit .325 as a team and limited Pacific Union to a -.057 hitting percentage.

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March 24, 2021

Merced Native Isabella Spiva, Two Others Win Cal Pac Player of the Week Awards

UC Merced women’s soccer’s Isabella Spiva (Merced/El Capitan High School) has been named the California Pacific Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Spiva becomes the first player in program history to be named both the Cal Pac Offensive Player of the Week and the Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week in her career. Spiva earned the offensive award last year, while she earns this week's defensive award for her efforts as an outside back.
UC Merced women’s soccer’s Emily Burnett has been named the Cal Pac Offensive Player of the week for the second straight week. Burnett is one of just three Cal Pac players in the last five years to win back-to-back offensive player of the Week awards (Daisy Rodriguez, Andrea Faerbear). This is also her fourth career weekly honor and it comes after scoring a program-record eight points against Providence Christian College.
UC Merced men’s basketball’s Chiwike E’denchukwu was named the Cal Pac Player of the week after averaging 23 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and two assists in a pair of wins over La Sierra University last week. E’denchukwu shot a stellar 69% (20-29) from the floor and made substantial marks in the program record books.

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UC MERCED WOMEN’S SOCCER SWEEPS CAL PAC WEEKLY HONORS

MERCED, Calif. - The University of California, Merced women's soccer team swept the California Pacific Conference weekly awards as announced Monday by the league office, becoming the first Cal Pac team to do so since the selections on October 21, 2019.
Emily Burnett was named the Cal Pac Offensive Player of the Week, while Isabella Spiva was tabbed the Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week. Their efforts were integral in the Bobcats wins over Providence Christian College and University of Antelope Valley.
Burnett earns her second honor in as many weeks and the fourth of her career. With her latest accolade, Burnett becomes just the third player in program history to earn four or more weekly awards. Burnett joins Desiree Coles and Ally Lozano. However, Burnett is the lone Bobcat to do so on the offensive side of the field.
Furthermore, Burnett is one of just three Cal Pac players in the last five years to win back-to-back offensive player of the Week awards (Daisy Rodriguez, Andrea Faerbear).
This award for Burnett comes after she recorded her second career hat-trick and became the program's all-time leading goal scorer in the Bobcats 7-1 road win over Providence. Burnett also added two assists for a career-high eight points on the day.
Burnett, who entered last Thursday tied with Claudia Diaz and Jenn Salinger atop the record book with 31 goals, now has 34 career goals.
Burnett scored the game-winning goal in the fourth minute before adding a score in 13th minute and completing her hat-trick in the 46th minute. The senior is now the fourth player in program history with multiple hat-tricks, joining Spiva, Salinger and Diaz.
Burnett's two assists brought her career total to 16 and she is now one away from becoming the program's all-time assists leader.
As for Spiva, the Merced, Calif., native becomes the first player in program history to be named both the Cal Pac Offensive Player of the Week and the Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week in her career. Spiva earned the offensive award last year, while she earns this week's defensive award for her efforts as an outside back.
Spiva and the Bobcats back line dominated this past week in the two road games. In each contest, as well as in all four games this season, the Bobcats have held their opponent to a goal or less. Spiva's incredible speed has also helped limit opponents opportunities and no team has been able to get off double figure shots against the Bobcats.
Spiva added to the offensive efforts in the win against Antelope Valley on Saturday, scoring the game's first goal in the 14th minute. Spiva has now scored in two of the four games this year.
The Bobcats active four-game winning streak is their longest in California Pacific Conference play since the 2016-17 season.
UC Merced women's soccer has won four weekly awards in 2021. Spiva and Burnett bring the entire UC Merced Athletics Department to 15 player of the week honors in the calendar year.
Up next, the Bobcats visit Simpson University on Wednesday, March 24. First touch from Redding, Calif., is scheduled for 4:00pm.

 

 

 

 

 

UC Merced Cross Country Teams Fare Well at California Pacific Conference Championships, Qualify School-Record Eight for Nationals

ANGWIN, Calif. - The University of California, Merced men's and women's cross country teams had historical success at Monday's California Pacific Conference Championships.

Overall, the Bobcats earned all eight individual automatic qualifier spots up for grabs and both the men and the women finished runner-up as a team. The team's previous best combined mark was five qualifiers. To qualify for the NAIA National Championships, you have to be one of the top four runners not on the winning team. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was this year's champion on both the men's and the women's side.

This year's Cal Pac Championships were held on Pacific Union's northern San Francisco Bay Area course. The men's race (8K) featured 29 total runners from four different schools, while the women's race (5K) fielded 26 runners from five schools. This is the first time in eight years the meet wasn't held at Woodward Park in Fresno, Calif.

Corbin Farias (6th/27:37) and Elizette Ysais (6th/19:22) were the top performers for UC Merced's men's and women's teams, respectively. The two each earned All-Cal Pac First Team honors and have earned the opportunity to run at the NAIA National Championships on April 9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ysais' time allowed her to move into the fifth spot on the program's all-time top ten list and she became just the third Bobcat freshmen on the women's side to qualify for nationals (Sofia Rios, Maria Aguilar).

Jonathan Chavez (8th/27:50), Nick Montijo (10th/28:37) and Fabian Varelas (11th/28:42) were named All-Cal Pac Second Team and also earned automatic qualifier status. Monday was the first Cal Pac race for all three men.

Aside from Ysais, the other three UC Merced women's runners to qualify for April's race include Carissa Estrada (8th/19:39), Gabby Gustafsson (9th/19:42) and Alexandra Lopez (10th/19:53). It was the first ever Cal Pac race for Ysais, Estrada and Lopez. Estrada's and Gustafsson's times are good for seventh and ninth, respectively on the program's all-time top

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CHIWIKE E’DENCHUKWU TABBED CAL PAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

MERCED, Calif. - University of California, Merced men's basketball's Chiwike E'denchukwu has been named the California Pacific Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday afternoon.
E'denchukwu's first career weekly award comes after back-to-back 20-point performances in a pair of wins over La Sierra University. The senior is the eighth different Bobcat in program history to earn the honor, however he is just the third front court player to win player of the week joining Aaron Laflin and Ronnie Kozak.
Overall, E'denchukwu averaged 23 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and two assists in the season's first two games. The program's all-time leader in field goal percentage also shot a stellar 69% (20-29) from the floor over the Thursday-Friday stretch. Both the Bobcats games were played in a less than 24-hour span.
In the season opener, E'denchuwku shared game-high with 20 points and missed just one of his ten shots on the night. It was his sixth career 20-point effort and he became just the second player in program history to shoot 90% with double figure field attempts. Cole Taira (10/28/17) was the first. Six of E'denchukwu's 20 points came via the slam dunk and he added five rebounds and two steals to his season opener resume.
The following afternoon, E'denchukwu performed at an even higher level and finished with a career-high 26 points and 14 rebounds. E'denchukwu's efforts marked just the fifth 25-point, 10-rebound Cal Pac game in program history. It was the first since George Idehen's similar performance on February 8, 2014.
E'denchukwu's double-double was the fourth of his career and he nearly accomplished it in the first half with 13 points and nine rebounds. Overall, his 26-point career-high
bested his previous high of 21 set on February 15, 2018. Stuffing the stat sheet, he also added three assists, two steals and a block in Friday's overtime win over La Sierra.
The Bay Area native has helped the Bobcats start 2-0 for the fourth consecutive year. In what could be argued as the best two-game stretch in his career, E'denchukwu made other substantial strides in the all-time record books.
E'denchukwu jumped Chambers for fifth all-time with 406 career rebounds, moved ahead of both Ryan Edwards and Matt Laflin with 261 made field goals, as well as passed Josh Kimble for ninth all-time with 653 total points.
While this was the first opportunity for UC Merced men's basketball to earn a player of the week award in 2021, UC Merced Athletics now has 15 Cal Pac weekly honors in the calendar year.
Up next, the Bobcats host Pacific Union College on Wednesday, March 24 at 6:00pm.

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March 24, 2021

CDAA Calls on California Legislators to Help Prevent Further Hate Crimes

March 23, 2021—The California District Attorneys Association strongly condemns the surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the nation. But it takes more than words to prevent further violence. California lawmakers must stop making the problem worse by approving laws that reduce accountability for these violent crimes and pass important and long overdue legislation to strengthen hate crimes laws. CDAA calls upon California legislators to:
(1) Reject SB 81 (Skinner) and SB 82 (Skinner). These two reckless and misguided bills dramatically and dangerously lessen the consequences for violent crime and would directly benefit the predators currently committing hate crimes against Asian Americans. SB 81 allows violent criminals who commit a variety of crimes, including hate crimes, to avoid enhanced sentences when they use a gun or inflict great bodily injury on their victims. HERE is a shocking crime where the perpetrator would get a lenient sentence if SB 81 becomes law.
SB 82 re-classifies violent robberies as a misdemeanor petty theft under a variety of circumstances. If the perpetrator attacks and robs a victim at gunpoint but the gun cannot be proven to be real and operable, then the robber is only guilty of petty theft. If a perpetrator attacks an elderly person, knocks her down and robs her of her purse, the robber is only guilty of a petty theft. Click HERE for yet another shocking crime. For this conduct the perpetrator would receive misdemeanor treatment if SB 82 becomes law.
(2) The legislature must fix the following loopholes in California’s hate crimes laws:
• Under current law, a hate crime causing physical injury or property damage is NOT considered a violent crime.
• Under current law, a hate crime where the defendant has a prior conviction for a hate crime is NOT considered a violent crime.
• These loopholes mean that criminals who commit hate crimes are given breaks on sentencing and are eligible for early release from prison even if they have a prior history of violence, if they used a gun during the hate crime, or they inflicted great bodily injury during the crime.

 

 

 


AB 266 (Cooper) would fix these loopholes by ensuring that hate crimes are deemed a violent crime under the law and prevent the perpetrators of hate crimes from receiving early release from prison. The legislature should pass this critical bill now.
Virtually all California legislators have condemned the surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans and expressed sympathy for the victims and their families. But words and prayers are not enough. The images contained in the video links above are horrific and demand decisive action from our Legislature. CDAA therefore calls upon legislators to reject SB 81 and SB 82 and support AB 266.
CDAA Chief Executive Greg Totten commented: “SB 81 and SB 82 are not mere efforts at reform, they are instead incredibly reckless proposals that simply make no sense at a time when horrific hate crimes are being perpetrated against Asian Americans.”
The California District Attorneys Association is a statewide training and advocacy organization representing elected district attorneys, city attorneys with criminal divisions, and more than 3,500 prosecutors.

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March 24, 2021

Schedule Change Notice/Cambio de Horario
Please be advised ACE 01 will be departing 10 minutes earlier starting this Monday, the 29th. Tenga en cuenta que ACE 01 partira 10 minutos antes a partir de este lunes 29.


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March 24, 2021

 

Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on Water Allocation Cuts

 

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after the Department of Water Resources announced the state and federal governments were imposing significant water allocation cuts on farmers and other water users:

“California’s water infrastructure is so broken that we can suffer from severe flooding and drought in the same year.
So-called environmentalists have tried to use climate change to justify everything from subsidizing Tesla to banning the car outright. At the same time, they have ignored the impacts of climate change that demand we significantly expand our surface water reservoirs.

Over the next few decades, climate change will cause California’s snowpack to shrink by a third or more because warming temperatures will cause snow to fall as rain instead. That means instead of growing our snowpack during colder months and collecting that snowmelt during spring and summer, we need reservoirs that allow us to collect water all year long. That is the real inconvenient truth for special interests like the Sierra Club and NRDC who religiously oppose any new water storage.
The only significant funding package to address water infrastructure in the last decade was the Water Bond that I helped negotiate in 2014. Since then, my repeated calls for increasing our state's water storage capacity have fallen on deaf ears.
These reductions are evidence that we need to address all of the impacts of climate change instead of only the aspects blessed by the far left."

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March 23 , 2021

Assemblyman Gray Calls Out Congress for Banning Small Business Tax Cuts in Latest Stimulus Bill

(Sacramento) – Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after revelations the federal coronavirus aid bill prohibits states from passing small business tax cuts:

“I introduced legislation earlier this year to provide a COVID-19 tax credit for small and essential businesses. My bill was set to be heard in committee today, but the State Legislature has now been forced to sideline dozens of tax credits after it was revealed the federal stimulus bill bans states from cutting taxes.
“Because California’s billionaires are making record profits on Wall Street, Congress has banned small businesses on Main Street from receiving a tax cut. This prohibition even applies to struggling businesses that have received zero dollars in federal and state aid.



“This is a critical year in the State Legislature where we have a real opportunity to permanently lower California’s infamously high taxes. Instead, Congress has stopped that effort before it even got started. What’s worse, they placed no such prohibition on tax increases, opening the door for special interests to pursue billions of dollars in tax hikes.
“I am urging California’s Congressional delegation to reverse this provision immediately. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We cannot abandon them just as we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

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March 23 , 2021

We intend to change government and make it work for you
By Tom Lackey, Melissa Hurtado, Josh Newman, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Adam Gray, Suzette Valladares, Chad Mayes, and Jordan Cunningham, Special to CalMatters
California legislators

Who does your government work for? It’s a question that people of all political persuasions frequently answer in the same way: “Not me.”
As members of the state Legislature, we can tell you firsthand that our government isn’t working for most Californians. Instead of being dedicated to protecting the lives and livelihoods of our 40 million residents and delivering real results for working families, politicians today often seem more interested in ideological maneuvering, bolstering Twitter followers, or smearing the other side.
When the political environment becomes so toxic that protesters turn into violent insurrectionists who invade the halls of our nation’s Capitol, it’s time to take stock of our democracy. Differing political opinions are no longer just an uncomfortable topic we avoid at holiday gatherings. They have become so poisonous that they are ripping our families and our country apart.
That must change, and we intend to help change it.
California’s challenges differ, but they are no less destructive. In the state Legislature, party loyalty determines committee assignments, staff resources and even office space. Republicans are pressured by their caucus to disavow any solutions offered by Democrats, and Democrats are expected to march in lockstep behind their leaders. Diverge from either party line and expect swift retribution – something many of us have experienced.
What has this behavior gotten us? Wildfires burn out of control. The line at the DMV is hours long. Millions of hardworking people still cannot access unemployment benefits during a pandemic while billions of dollars have been paid out to fraudsters and criminals. The cost of living and home prices are still too high. Our schools don’t have the resources they need to give every student a quality education.
In Washington, politicians have the other side of the aisle to blame for any problem they have failed to solve. With essentially single-party rule in California, what is our excuse?
We must do better.
That is why we are forming the California Problem Solvers Caucus – a bi-cameral (Senate and Assembly) and party-agnostic (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) group dedicated to finding solutions and creating results.
Our goal is to create a group of legislators committed more to progress than to ideology. Compromise is not a bad word. We intend to be a forum where bipartisan solutions are rewarded. If a solution makes sense, we will do everything in our power to get it over the finish line no matter who came up with the idea.
Most of all, we believe in reforming the legislative process to foster an environment that encourages rather than discourages common-sense solutions.
Some of our ideas include:
• A non-partisan Attorney General and Secretary of State;
• Consolidation and reorganization of California’s more than 200 state agencies, departments and commissions with clear lines of accountability;
• A two-year budget cycle, where each even-numbered year the Legislature focuses on oversight of the executive branch and its vast array of departments;
• A streamlined legislative process for bills with bipartisan support.



We intend to change government and make it work for you | CalMatters

Assemblymember Tom Lackey, a Republican from Palmdale, represents the 36th Assembly District, Tom.Lackey@asm.ca.gov.
Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger, represents the 14th Senate District, Melissa.Hurtado@sen.ca.gov.
Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat from Fullerton, represents the 29th Senate District, Josh.Newman@sen.ca.gov.
Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Democrat from Laguna Beach, represents the 74th Assembly District, Cottie.Petrie-Norris@asm.ca.gov.
Assemblymember Adam Gray, a Democrat from Merced, represents the 21st Assembly District, Adam.Gray@asm.ca.gov.
Assemblymember Suzette Valladares, a Republican from Santa Clarita, represents the 38th Assembly District, SuzetteMartinez.Valladares@asm.ca.gov.
Assemblymember Chad Mayes, an independent from Yucca Valley, represents the 42nd Assembly District, Chad.Mayes@asm.ca.gov.
Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, a Republican from San Luis Obispo, represents the 35th Assembly District, Jordan.Cunningham@asm.ca.gov.

Some 225 years ago, George Washington called political parties “the worst enemy” of government leading to the “ruin of liberty.” In that spirit, the California Problem Solvers Caucus will work with thought leaders across the spectrum to create a government that works for the people it serves.
We invite all of our colleagues in the Legislature who share these values to join this caucus. Together, we can change our state’s trajectory and make the California dream a California reality.

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March 23 , 2021

UC Merced Women's Soccer Wins Fourth Straight, Beat Antelope Valley 4-1 on Saturday

LANCASTER, Calif. - The University of California, Merced women’s soccer team beat University of Antelope Valley on Saturday afternoon, 4-1 at the Lancaster National Soccer Center to remain undefeated on the season.
The Bobcats (4-0) have now won four straight games, their longest winning streak in California Pacific Conference play since the 2016-17 season.
Jocelyne Garcia, Isabella Spiva (Merced) and Kaylee “Skittles” Melendez scored a goal for the Bobcats. The Bobcats also benefited from an Antelope Valley own goal, which ended up being the game-winning goal in the 44th minute.
Garcia has now scored a goal in four straight games, the first Bobcat to accomplish that feat since Emily Burnett in the middle of the 2018 campaign.

 

 

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March 20, 2021

UC Merced Men's Basketball Beats La Sierra University 88-82 in Overtime, Bobcats Improve

The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team beat La Sierra University in overtime on Friday afternoon, 88-82 to improve to 2-0 on the season. This is the fourth straight year the Bobcats have started the season 2-0.

Chiwike E’denchukwu led the Bobcats with a career-high 26 points and stuffed the stat sheet with eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. E’denchukwu shot 11 of 18 from the floor.

Four other Bobcats joined E’denchukwu in double figures. Onkar Sidhu and Jonah Cottrell each finished with 16 points, while Mason Westlake and Kingsley Obiorah were good for 13 and eleven points, respectively. Obiorah recorded his second straight double with eleven rebounds. The center also had three steals.

The Bobcats shot .452 as a team.

 

 

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March 19, 2021

YARTS WELCOMES TUOLUMNE COUNTY TO BOARD

Sonora – The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors took action on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 to accept the invitation by the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) Board of Directors to join the YARTS Joint Powers Authority. The Board also appointed Supervisors Ryan Campbell, District 2, and Kathleen Haff, District 4, to represent Tuolumne County on the YARTS board.
YARTS is governed by a board comprised of two Supervisors from each of the member Counties. Tuolumne County joins Mariposa, Merced, and Mono Counties as voting member agencies of YARTS, and Madera and Fresno Counties as non-voting members.
YARTS has operated along Highway 120 from Sonora to Yosemite National Park since 2012 and offers three daily round trips during the summer season that runs from May to September.
“I am excited to welcome my colleagues from Tuolumne County to the YARTS team,” said Merced County Supervisor Scott Silveira, YARTS Board Chair. “Both Tuolumne County and the Tuolumne County Transportation Commission have been exceptionally supportive of YARTS for the past nine years and we celebrate this moment in partnership with them.”
“I am thrilled to represent Tuolumne County in this regional transportation JointPpowers Authority,” said Supervisor Haff. “I look forward to working with the group on a winning long-range strategy that will position YARTS well for generations to come!”
This year, Tuolumne service runs from May 17-September 30. Reservations for YARTS tickets can be made at: www.yarts.com. There are no additional charges to get into Yosemite beyond the YARTS fare. For more information about YARTS schedules, routes, or COVID-19 safety measures, 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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March 19, 2021

MCOE Annual Education Report Focuses on School Response to Health Crisis

The Merced County Office of Education unveiled the 2020 Merced County Schools Annual Education Report today — the one-year anniversary of school closures in Merced County — with a focus on the school response to the COVID-19 health crisis.
MCOE normally hosts community meetings in Merced and Los Banos to unveil the report, accompanying videos and showcase student entertainment, but is releasing the document and video virtually this year.
“So much has changed in the past year, we thought it was important to highlight how schools responded to this health crisis instead of the normal format for the annual report,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen. “I want to thank all of the education staff across the county for their tireless work to support our students and families.”


This is the tenth annual report from MCOE.

This year’s report highlights MCOE’s response to sudden school closures, how school leaders in Merced County collaborated to identify resources for the continuity of education and meal service, how schools have served students in-person and how continued surveillance testing and employee vaccinations will help more in-person operations.
The report is interactive with links to documents, websites and videos.
The report and accompanying video can be viewed at www.mcoe.org/annualreport.

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March 19, 2021

BURNETT BECOMES ALL-TIME LEADER, BOBCATS BEAT PROVIDENCE 7-1

IRWINDALE, Calif. - University of California, Merced (3-0) women’s soccer senior Emily Burnett recorded her second career hat-trick and became the program’s all-time leading goal scorer in the Bobcats 7-1 win Thursday morning on the road against Providence Christian College.
Burnett, who entered the day tied with Claudia Diaz and Jenn Salinger atop the record book with 31 goals, now has 34 career goals.
Burnett also recorded two assists on the day to bring her career total to 16. The senior is now tied with three other Bobcats atop the record book in that statistical category.
Burnett’s first goal came in the 4th minute after recovering possession from a Seabeggar defender and it stood as the game-winning goal.
She was able to get behind the defense for her second (13’) and third (46’) goals to complete the hat-trick. Burnett is now the fourth player in program history with multiple hat-tricks. Burnett joins Diaz, Salinger and Isabella Spiva.
Jocelyne Garcia, Madison Whitney and Kyndra Kiser earned assists on Burnett’s goals.
Three other Bobcats scored on Thursday morning, including Joc. Garcia for the third straight game. Garcia was responsible for the Bobcats first goal, finding herself in a great position for a rebound in the game’s third minute.
After Garcia’s goal and Burnett’s first two scores, D Covarrubias extended the Bobcats lead to 4-0 with a left-footed one-timer from roughly ten yards out. Maddie Door started
the sequence with a cross to earn an assist. Burnett also earned an assist on the score with a backheel pass.
The Bobcats held a 4-0 lead at halftime and outshot Providence 13-1 in the first 45 minutes.
Burnett’s goal to complete her hat-trick in the second half was followed by Providence’s lone goal. The score came off a set piece and it was the Seabeggars Alyssa Acuna to record the goal.
In the 76th minute, Kimberly Garcia used her speed to score her first goal of the season to get the Bobcats lead back to five at 6-1. Madison Whitney earned the assist on the goal.
D Covarrubias finalized the scoring approximately five minutes later when she chipped one over the leaping goalkeeper for her second goal of the day. Covarrubias is now tied with Bridget Villanueva for eighth in program history with 16 career goals.
Overall, the Bobcats outshot Providence 25-4 and allowed just one shot on goal. The Bobcats also took five corner kicks, while the host failed to get a corner opportunity.
Burnett led all players with eight shots and all eight were on target, a career-high. Garcia got off four shots.

 

 

 

Ally Lozano started in goal for the Bobcats and didn’t have to make a save in her 45 minutes of action. Veronica Vasquez played the final 45 minutes in net for the third straight game.
Clarissa Picasso made her collegiate debut in the 7-1 win.
Looking ahead, the Bobcats visit University of Antelope Valley on Saturday, March 20. First touch from the Lancaster National Soccer Center is scheduled for 12:00pm.

 

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Men's Basketball Wins Season Opener

The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team won 92-79 over La Sierra University in their 2021 season opener.
Chiwike E’denchukwu and Mason Westlake shared game-high with 20 points, while Kingsley Obiorah recorded a double-double with a career-high 19 points and ten rebounds. Jonah Cottrell added 15 points.

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Northern California Voices Support for High-Speed Rail as Authority Board of Directors Adopts 2020 Business Plan

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors adopted the Revised 2020 Business Plan today, reaffirming the region’s support for the Authority’s plan to deliver a 171-mile Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield electrified high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley by the end of the decade.

“We appreciate the strong support from our Bay Area community,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Northern Californians have made their voices clear that there’s a strong focus and priority on mobility options that help us achieve a more sustainable future.”

The Authority will submit the final plan for approval to the Legislature on or before April 15. It includes the following priorities:
Complete the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration
Expand the 119-mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail connecting Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield, three of the fastest growing areas in California;
Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2026-2027 and put those trains in service by the end of the decade;
Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim
Advance construction on the “bookend” projects the Authority has committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area—projects valued at more than $3 billion
Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively “close the gaps” and expand electrified high-speed rail service to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim as soon as possible.
Earlier this month, Authority CEO Brian Kelly presented the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan to the California Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees. CEO Kelly responded to questions from legislators at both committee meetings, which were opened for public comment.

During the combined public comment periods nearly 100 callers voiced positive support for clean, electrified high-speed rail and the path laid forward in the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. Northern California constituents provided an overwhelming show of support that builds on recent actions Bay Area agencies have taken, such as the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which has included high-speed rail as a regional priority in their long-range plan for the region.

Other prominent Northern Californians have also come out in support of the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. In a March 8 San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece, California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote that his Bay Area constituents “get that high-speed rail ushers in a more environmentally and economically just future, not only for us, but for our inland sister counties that suffer from severe poverty and rates of childhood asthma and other health issues due to carbon emissions."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo joined Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer in an recent opinion piece supporting the plan, emphasizing the importance of delivering on high-speed rail in the Central Valley and moving forward with a Central Valley to Bay Area extension. They noted the further significance of a future Central Valley to Silicon Valley connection “bringing abundant Central Valley housing within a 53-minute ride of Silicon Valley jobs”

Ron Diridon, Sr., namesake of San Jose’s Diridon Station, wrote in a recent letter to the Mercury News “California is leading the nation in building a first-class system that will support the economy while

A synopsis of comments received in support of current high-speed rail direction is below.

The high-Speed Rail project averages 1,100 construction workers a day at 35 construction sites in the Central Valley. Nearly 77% of these workers come from eight counties in the Central Valley, with workers from 43 different California counties participating overall. For more on the project visit www.buildhsr.com.

###
What They Said about the High-Speed Rail 2020 Business Plan
“This is the time for us to pull together, and look at high-speed rail as what it is — a way to get people around our great state, to help our economy grow, to move toward our climate goals, and toward real inland-coastal equity.”

-Scott Wiener, California State Senate District 11, D-San Francisco
Link to source

“On a larger scale, when high-speed rail becomes a reality in California – whisking people from San Francisco and San Jose to Los Angeles and San Diego and other large Golden State cities – it will provide proof of concept that this technology can be applied anywhere. That would benefit the climate, take cars off the road and connect our nation as we look to a more prosperous future for all Americans.”

-San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
-San Francisco Mayor London Breed
-Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer
-Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto
Link to Source

“With 350 miles of electrified high-speed rail under development, California continues to demonstrate its leadership and long-term vision for a better future.”

-Mayor Mark Addiego, City of South San Francisco
Link to Source

“California is leading the nation in building a first-class system that will support the economy while combating the looming climate-change crisis. We’re building a future for my grandchildren; get on board or get out of the way.”

-Ron Diridon, Sr., Former member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and namesake of San Jose’s Diridon Station
Link to Source

“As we continue to grapple with the new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to look towards post-pandemic recovery, MTC continues to stand committed to supporting high-speed rail and to ensuring visionary transportation projects move forward as a vital part of recovery.”

-Therese W. McMillan, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Link to Source

“Two of the top priorities for our members are housing and transportation. Allowing high-speed rail to continue forward in the process gets us closer to usually explored on these critical and related priorities. This moment, with renewed energy at the federal level, is the time for California to step up, not step aside and allow other countries to continue to surpass us in infrastructure and concede the potential federal funding to other states who are willing to step up.”

-Jason Baker, Senior Vice President, Transportation and Housing, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Link to Source

“Now is the time to invest in our region to create jobs and promote economic activity. Completing construction in the Central Valley and getting electrified service running has been extensively reviewed and shown to be the best use of the investment with the ability to increase ridership, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in areas with the worst air quality in the country, and demonstrate the value that high-speed rail can bring to the traveling public.”

-Gwen Litvak, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Bay Area Council
Link to Source

“With renewed federal partnership, bipartisan support for infrastructure investment, and California’s remarkable climate leadership, this is a promising time for high-speed rail in California.”

-Laura Tolkoff, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR
Link to Source

“We support our partnership with high-speed rail. We are gratified to have it. We work regularly with them and we support the approach of high-speed rail in the Central Valley as well. While the bookends always will want more investment and we will always want more investment as part of that, the Central Valley is an important part of high-speed rail [it’s] the spine of it. And without that spine there is no system.”

-Jim Hartnett, General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Caltrain
Link to Source

“VTA regularly has partners on the local, state, and federal levels as we work to innovate mobility solutions for Silicon Valley. Because of that experience, we wholeheartedly support the building of the nation’s first truly high-speed rail system, linking one of our nation’s most important economic engines, the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, with Southern California. VTA stands as a transportation partner in the Bay Area to accomplish the objectives laid out in the Revised 2020 Business Plan.”

-Glenn Hendricks, Board Chair, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Link to Source

“BART and CCJPA believe the high-speed rail program will transform California’s transportation network. It will be an important complement to existing rail systems such as ours and will bring clean, efficient transportation options to residents throughout California.”

“Together, BART and CCJPA are also advancing Link21, a transformational program to upgrade and expand the passenger rail network throughout the 21-county Northern California Megaregion. A central component of Link21 will be a new transbay rail crossing, tying in with planned high-speed service at the Salesforce Transit Center and connecting it with the regional rail system. Continued progress and implementation of the Caltrain electrification project and the Downtown Extension Project as envisioned in the Plan will be important to the successful development and delivery of the Link21 Program.”

-Robert Powers, General Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
-Robert Padgette, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
Link to Source

“Initiating electric, high-speed rail in the Central Valley as proposed in the plan will ensure that the project is delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. These building blocks in the Central Valley are an integral part of the system that will expand to both Northern and Southern California and connect the entire state.”

-April Chan, Chief Officer, Planning, Grants, and Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Transit Authority
Link to Source

“TJPA is pleased to support the CHSRA in delivering high speed rail service to the new multimodal Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco to create seamless connections among local, regional, and statewide transportation systems under one roof.

This would include 10 other transit systems: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Muni, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Paratransit, and Greyhound....[High-Speed Rail] has been a true champion for public transit and for ensuring San Francisco Bay Area residents can live closer to work, reduce commute times, and increase their quality of life.

We believe that the delivery of High-Speed Rail into downtown San Francisco to the Salesforce Transit Center will be a transformational project of regional, state, and national importance.”

-Nila Gonzales, Interim Executive Director, Transbay Joint Powers Authority
Link to Source

“High speed rail is critical to the future of California, and would provide not only construction jobs but also mobility so important to Californians. Connecting homes to centers of employment without increasing the strain on roadways that desperately need upgrade and expansion is not something that can be delayed.”

-David Bini, Executive Director, Santa Clara/San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council
Link to Source

“I’ve been supporting high-speed rail since I was in 5th grade and when the ballot measure was passed. And I still support it now as a 23-year-old... I know the other generations love their cars, but young people want a sustainable, electric public transit system that takes us where we need to go, and electrified high-speed rail is a big part of that. So, I really support moving forward with the Business Plan and allocating their remaining funding.”

-Monica Mallon, Transit Advocate

“Through a global pandemic, the High Speed Rail Authority has made significant strides to stay on track amidst impediments beyond anyone’s control. Through additional hurdles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HSRA continued to push through with construction and had as many as 1,200 construction workers on the job by the end of 2020. These jobs are crucial during a time where many forms of employment have been impacted or even eliminated. Without the appropriation of the remaining Prop 1A funds, jobs could be lost which would be a significant blow to what has been a growing labor workforce.”

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March 18 , 2021

MCOE Annual Education Report Focuses on School Response to Health Crisis

The Merced County Office of Education will unveil the Merced County Schools Annual Education Report virtually this week. This is the tenth annual report from MCOE, however, differing from previous reports this will focus solely on the school response to the COVID-19 health crisis.
MCOE normally hosts community meetings in Merced and Los Banos to unveil the report, accompanying videos and showcase student entertainment.
“So much has changed in the past year, we thought it was important to highlight how schools responded to this health crisis instead of the normal format for the annual report,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen. “We hope that by next year we can again host community meetings to showcase the great work of our staff and students.”
This year’s report will highlight MCOE’s response to sudden school closures, how school leaders in Merced County collaborated to identify resources for the continuity of education and meal service, how schools have served students in-person and how continued surveillance testing and employee vaccinations will help more in-person operations.
The report and accompanying video will be available at 5 p.m. on March 18 at www.mcoe.org/annualreport.



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March 18 , 2021

Date Changed for Central Sierra Resiliency Fund “Hero Day” Hosted at China Peak
Due to Stormy Weather Conditions; Postponed until March 26
“Hero Day” is held in partnership with Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company to honor Creek Fire
First Responders and support ongoing recovery and revitalization efforts

SHAVER LAKE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 17, 2021…Due to stormy weather conditions in the
forecast at China Peak, The Central Sierra Resiliency Fund and China Peak Mountain Resort have postponed their first-ever “Hero Day” originally scheduled for Friday until March 26. This event is held in partnership with Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company (Tioga-Sequoia) where 20 percent of sales from First Responders’ discounted purchases will benefit the Central Sierra Resiliency Fund (Resiliency Fund) to honor First Responders, many who worked on the frontline of the devastating Creek Fire, California’s
largest single wildfire in recorded history.
“Hero Day” will now take place on Friday, March 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at China Peak Mountain Resort.
First Responders will be able to enjoy a day on the mountain with premium lift tickets, ski/board rentals and lessons for their immediate family at a Hero Day rates. Guests will experience live music on the Day Lodge deck and $2 from every pint of Tioga-Sequoia’s “Forest Strong” beer poured on Hero Day will benefit the Central Sierra Resiliency Fund to support ongoing recovery and revitalization efforts to the region following the Creek Fire.
First Responder exclusive discounts include: (with official and active I.D.)
• $25 ski lift tickets (over 75% savings), $25 equipment rentals (over 50% savings) and $25 group lessons (over 50% savings).
• The Inn at China Peak is offering a 40% discounted rate for lodging on Thursday, March 25. Call (559) 233-2500 to make a reservation.
• California First Responders include: Forest Service; California Highway Patrol (CHP); Fresno and Madera County Sheriff’s Officers; Municipal Fire Departments; Cal Fire; EMT; and
Municipal Police Departments. The Resiliency Fund supports the revitalization of the central Sierra Nevada forests and communities through land restoration, local stewardship and community recovery efforts. The Resiliency Fund team is currently focusing on expanding community education for those affected by the Creek Fire through inperson workshops with experts and online resources. The group is actively collaborating with communities and expert groups to put on soil stabilization on the mountain and has launched a Seedlings of Hope tree planting campaign to begin the reforestation efforts. Following the Creek Fire, Tioga-Sequoia brewed “Forest Strong” to show the passion and dedication they have for the local Sierra National Forest. Forest Strong is available to purchase at local retailers or here.
Through the “1% for the Planet” network, Tioga-Sequoia has pledged to direct one percent of annual sales membership to benefit the Resiliency Fund for the next five years.
To learn more about Central Sierra Resiliency Fund’s “Hero Day’ at China Peak, visit https://museumofthesierra.org/heroday.

About Central Sierra Resiliency Fund
The Central Sierra Resiliency Fund is held with the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum, Inc. who along with community members and professionals make up the Resiliency Council responsible for stewarding financial resources to reforest, rebuild and boost community revitalization efforts in the wake of the devastating Creek Fire that became a blaze on September 4, 2020. The Council is partnering with other local, state, and national organizations to secure resources to empower the mountain community to get people living, working, and recreating on the mountain again. The Resiliency Fund supports Creek Fire recovery efforts in communities within the vicinity of Fresno County’s central Sierra region including, but not limited to, Huntington Lake, Lakeshore, Big Creek, Shaver Lake, Pine Ridge, Meadow Lakes, Alder Springs, and Auberry. Learn more at https://museumofthesierra.org/resiliencyfund/ follow the Resiliency Fund on Facebook (@sierraresiliencyfund) and Instagram (@resiliencyfund).




About China Peak Mountain Resort
China Peak Mountain Resort is located only 65 miles northeast of Fresno at scenic Huntington Lake in the Sierra National Forest. The mountain has 1,679 feet of vertical with a base elevation of 7,030 with a peak of just over 8,700 feet. The resort offers seven chairlifts, a T-bar and three moving carpets for the beginner skiers and snowboarders. Locally owned and operated, China Peak Mountain Resort provides a big Sierra experience close to home - with total acreage, elevations, vertical rise and terrain comparable to many Lake Tahoe resorts. Learn more at www.skichinapeak.com.
About Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company
Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company was founded in 2007 with the mission of producing world class beers that could bring awareness and resources to the preservation of the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Their beers and brands reflect the greatness of the region they brew. Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company highlights the beauty of the Southern Sierras that run along the Eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley that include landmarks such as Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest. Learn more about Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company at https://tiogasequoia.com.

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March 18, 2021

CALTRANS TO BEGIN INITIAL WORK AT SITE OF FERGUSON PROJECT

MARIPOSA COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to perform work at the site of the Ferguson Rock Shed project on Route 140 in Mariposa County.
In the first phase of an ambitious rock shed construction project, workers will remove overhanging boulders and rubble from the slope where a rock slide blocked the roadway. Crews are scheduled to conduct this work during daytime hours beginning in April and continuing into the winter season of 2021.
Traffic impacts are expected to be minimal.
The Ferguson Rock Shed Project is an engineering marvel that will ensure motorists have safe access to Yosemite National Park via Route 140. Construction of the rock shed is scheduled to begin the summer of 2022.
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 17, 2021

ANDRES LUA NAMED CAL PAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

MERCED, Calif. - UC Merced men's soccer's Andres Lua is off to a stellar start in 2021 and his latest game-winning goal earned him the California Pacific Conference Offensive Player of the Week award.
Lua's weekly honor is the first of his career and it comes off the heels of a 2-0 win over Simpson University to improve the 21st-ranked Bobcats to 3-0 this season.
Lua's game-winning goal came in the 24th minute, a header near the penalty marker off a cross from Hugo Soto.
Lua has scored the Bobcats game-winning goal in three straight games to start the year. Dating back to last season, the Le Grand, Calif., native has scored a goal in six straight games.
His goal allowed him to move up the program record books. Lua is now third all-time with seven career game-winning goals, while he is now tied for sixth all-time with Cruz Trenado with 49 total points. Lua is tied with Marcos Ceballos for seventh all-time with 21 career goals.
Lua is the second Cal Pac Player of the Week for UC Merced men's soccer this season, joining Rodolfo Prado who was named the Defensive Player of the Week on February 23.
Overall, UC Merced student athletes have combined for twelve weekly awards in 2021.
UC Merced men's soccer was originally scheduled to start a three-game road trip, however the next two games have been canceled and listed as "COVID No Contest."

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

EMILY BURNETT EARNS CAL PAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD

MERCED, Calif. - Senior forward Emily Burnett of the University of California, Merced women's soccer team was named the California Pacific Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, the league office announced.
Burnett's weekly honor is the third of her career and she is the first Bobcat to win a trio of offensive player of the week awards in her career since Claudia Diaz did so in 2012 & 2013.
Burnett wins her latest award after recording both a goal and an assist in the first half to help the Bobcats take down Simpson in her 2021 debut, 4-1.
Burnett's goal came in the 34th minute and ended up counting as the game-winner. The sprinting senior outran a pair of Simpson defenders before lacing a ground ball past the diving keeper.
Her assist came in the 42nd minute, setting up a clean look for Ciera Santos after finding her awaiting on the penalty stripe.
Burnett's three points against Simpson played a major factor in the UC Merced women's soccer all-time record books.
Her goal was the 31st of her career and it tied the program's all-time goals record. Burnett is tied atop the list with Jenn Salinger and Claudia Diaz.
As for Burnett's assist, it marked the 14th of her career and she is now tied with Karen Lepe for fourth all-time.
Burnett is already the program's leader with nine career game-winning goals.
Burnett is the second Cal Pac Offensive Player of the Week for women's soccer this year, joining Jocelyne Garcia.
Overall, UC Merced student athletes have combined for twelve weekly awards in 2021.
Burnett and the Bobcats continue their season on the road against Providence Christian College this Thursday. First touch from Ostergard Memorial Field in Irwindale, Calif., is scheduled for 10:30am.

 

 

 

 

CHRIS MORIKAWA TABBED NAIA ATTACKER OF THE WEEK

MERCED, Calif. - University of California, Merced men's volleyball's Chris Morikawa has been named the NAIA Attacker of the Week, as announced by the national office on Tuesday.
Morikawa is the second player in program history and just the third Bobcat in school history to earn national weekly honors. Morikawa joins former men's volleyball player Cole Smith (2018) and former men's soccer player Brennen Canfield (2017).
Morikawa, whose efforts helped keep the Bobcats unbeaten on the season with a doubleheader sweep over Park University - Gilbert, was also named the California Pacific Conference Attacker of the Week. The conference honor is his second of the season.
In the victories, Morikawa averaged over five kills and a dig per set while also hitting over .400 in each of the two matches. The sophomore also recorded four service aces and four blocks.
Both matches on Saturday were equally as impressive for Morikawa.
In the weekend opener, Morikawa pounded out a career-high 20 kills and four service aces. He became just the third Bobcat all-time to record 20+ kills in a match, joining the likes of the program's all-time kills leaders Smith and Joseph Webb. As for his efforts behind the service line, Morikawa is the eighth Bobcat all-time to record four or more aces. Defensively, Morikawa helped the Bobcats with four digs and three blocks, one solo.
In the latter half of the doubleheader, Morikawa tallied a three-set career-high 17 kills. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native had five kills in the first set before smacking six in each of the final two frames.
The Bobcats also played and beat Park - Gilbert on Sunday. Morikawa did not appear in that contest.
Through two-thirds of the season, Morikawa ranks first in the Cal Pac with 0.68 service aces per set and second with 4.37 kills per set. Those numbers are also career-high's and are good for third and eighth in the NAIA, respectively. He is also hitting a career-best .428 this year, good for eleventh in the country.
Men's volleyball has racked up a program-record eight player of the week awards already this season. As an athletics department, UC Merced Athletics has totaled 12 California Pacific Conference Player of the Week honors.
Up next for Morikawa and the Bobcats is a road date with Pacific Union College on Tuesday, March 23. First serve from Angwin, Calif., is scheduled for 7:30pm.

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March 17, 2021

The Big Fresno Fair Announces Spring Edition
of Its Successful Drive-Thru Eats Event
Event will feature 17 Fair food booths to give the community
their Fair food fix

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, March 16, 2021…The Big Fresno Fair is bringing the Valley’s favorite Fair foods to the community early this year with its new Drive-Thru Eats: Spring Edition – a 5-day food series featuring 15 Fair food and vendor booths for the community to enjoy! Drive-Thru Eats: Spring Edition will be a slightly smaller version of the Fair’s successful Drive-Thru Eats held in October. The Spring Drive-Thru Eats event will not have entertainment but foodies will still be able to choose from a wide variety of Fair foods, plus two souvenir booths with inflatable figurines, light up and plush toys, bubble machines and more. The Fair’s Drive-Thru Eats: Spring Edition will be held Wednesday, April 14 through Sunday, April 18 and is free to attend. Hours are 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily.
“Our October Drive-Thru Eats event was such a success and brought so much joy to the community, we decided to host this Spring event so our community can enjoy their favorite Fair foods early this year!” said Lauri King, Deputy Manager II, The Big Fresno Fair. “Who couldn’t use a little Fair food in their life right now? Plus, it’s a great way to support the fair industry and our vendors, who have now been without any in-person fair or event for more than a full year.”
Here is your Drive-Thru Eats: Spring Edition food line-up of your most favorite Fair food eats:
• Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ
• Colossal Dog
• Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls
• Candyland – two locations
• Fanny’s Fabulous Funnel Cakes
• Fruit Caboose
• Gary Morse Ice Cream
• La Fruteria
• Milo & Sons
• Old Tyme Kettle Corn
• Original Soft Taco
• Pardini’s Slush and Frozen Cocktails
• Sharky’s
• Space Age
• West Coast Concessions – Churros – two locations
Additionally, attendees will be able to use the Fair’s Chance Ave “Park & Go” area to eat their delicious Fair food in their vehicle. For the complete Fair food line-up, including menu pricing go to www.fresnofair.com/drive-thru-eats.
Important Details You Need to Know Before You Go:
• Event is “cashless preferred”; while cash will be accepted, debit and credit cards are preferred.


• Face coverings will be required for whoever is ordering and/or receiving food.
• Enter off of Kings Canyon Avenue into the Carnival Lot; attendees will exit onto Butler Avenue.
• Attendees must remain in their vehicles at all times.
• Attendees must review the Health & Safety Policy here before attending.
• Failure to adhere to Health & Safety Policy will result in removal from the Fairgrounds.
• Restrooms will be available; face coverings and social distancing will be required.
• Attendees can park in the “Eat & Go” Area located in the Chance Avenue Parking Lot to park and enjoy their Fair food.

About The Big Fresno Fair:
The Big Fresno Fair, founded in 1884, is the fourth largest fair in the state of California and represents the 21st District Agricultural Association. More than 600,000 people from throughout the State visit The Big Fresno Fair each year making it the largest event in the Central Valley. Members of the Board of Directors include: Jerry Pacheco, President; Charles Riojas, Vice President; Terry Gonsalves, Secretary/Treasurer; Linda Mae Balakian Hunsucker; Gary Chahil; Frank Flores; Annalisa Perea; Larry Serpa; and Lawrence Salinas. Deputy Managers, Stacy Rianda and Lauri King oversee the daily operations of the Fair. The 2021 Big Fresno Fair dates are October 6 - 17; Fair Management continues to collaborate with the Fresno County Department of Public Health on permitted operations to be able to bring this longstanding tradition back for the community to enjoy in 2021. As more details are known, the Fair will update its website. For more information about The Big Fresno Fair, please visit www.FresnoFair.com.

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March 16, 2021

UC Merced Men's Volleyball Remains Perfect With Two Wins over Park - Gilbert, Women's Volleyball Falls in Five Sets

The University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team improved to 7-0 with two wins over Park University – Gilbert on Saturday. The Bobcats won 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-18) in the first match and 3-0 (25-20, 27-25, 25-15) in the latter match.

Men’s Match One

Chris Morikawa recorded a career-high 20 kills and four service aces, while Emmanuel Egun neared his season-high with six blocks en route to the Bobcats first ever win against Park – Gilbert. Morikawa’s 20 kills came while hitting an impressive .515 (20/3/33). Egun had six kills to go along with his six blocks. Ryan Steele tallied 37 assists and six digs and quarterbacked the offense to a .330 success rate.

Men’s Match Two

Kainoa Ferguson broke the program single-match record with six service aces in the sweep, besting the previous record of four originally set by Cole Smith in 2017. A match after setting a career-high, Morikawa set a three-set career high with 17 kills on a .481 hitting percentage. The Bobcats hit .375 as a team. Other notables include 26 assists from Ryan Steele, seven kills from Jared Guglielmana and three blocks from Jacob Semon.

 

 

Women’s Match
UC Merced women’s volleyball fell 2-3 (18-25, 25-20, 27-25, 19-25, 11-15) and are now .500 (3-3) on the year. Hannah Dillingham registered her second straight double figure kill match and tied her career-high with ten kills. Freshman Olanasaze Ojo finished with a career-high eight blocks, while Valentina Evans was good for a career-high nine kills. Freshman Bianca Malaluan notched her first career double-double with 14 assists and ten digs in the setback. Madison Mayoraglo (18), Edwena Wong (13) and Destiny Lei Ramilo (10) also finished with double figure digs. Setter Serena Choi was good for 23 assists and a career-high five blocks.

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March 16, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LANE & RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 – FROM ATWATER-MERCED EXPRESSWAY TO WESTSIDE BOULEVARD

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and
construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of northbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Monday, March 15, through Friday,
March 19, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of southbound SR-99 from Atwater-Merced
Expressway to Westside Boulevard beginning Monday, March 15, through Friday,
March 19, 2021, from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 at Atwater Boulevard Overhead
beginning Monday, March 15, through Thursday, March 18, 2021, from 8:00 p.m.
until 5:00 a.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound SR-99 at Atwater Boulevard
Overhead beginning Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19, 2021, from
8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from Applegate Road to northbound SR-99 beginning
Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19, 2021, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00
a.m.
• Full off-ramp closure from southbound SR-99 at Applegate Road beginning
Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19, 2021, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00
a.m.


This work is part of the SR-99 Atwater Rehabilitation Project that will repave 16.5 lane
miles of SR-99 from south of Buhach Road to south of Westside Boulevard through the
city of Atwater in Merced County.
In addition to the rehabilitation and paving of the roadway, fiber-optics, drainage
systems and a new median barrier will be installed. The project also calls for the
reconstruction of the on- and off-ramps at Applegate Road and the on and off-ramps
at Atwater Boulevard
The $86 million project is made possible through funding by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road
Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
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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March 13 , 2021

Consideration of Fiscal Year 2021/2022 Goals and Priorities and Proposed Changes to the Annexation Pre-Application Process and Conditional Wastewater Collection Capacity Allocation Process to be Heard by the City Council

The City Council will hear details about the proposed Annexation Pre-Application Process and Conditional Wastewater Collection Capacity allocation process in response to the North Merced Annexation Study.
Following the Goals and Priorities Study Session of February 27, 2021, the City Council will consider adopting the Goals and Priorities for Fiscal Year 2021/2022.
A Joint Study Session between the City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission at 5:00pm, followed by the regular meeting of Monday, March 15, 2021, at 6 p.m. telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall. Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications
portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be
limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.
You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.
For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.
To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at (209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.


On the agenda:
• A Virtual Joint Study Session Between the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission starting at 5:00pm.
• City staff is seeking direction from the City Council regarding proposed Annexation Pre-Application Process and Conditional Wastewater Collection Capacity allocation process in response to the North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study.
• Staff is asking direction from the City Council on possible changes to the Commercial Cannabis Business Permits Ordinance.
• Council will consider approving the FY 2021/2022 Goals and Priorities for that were derived from the Study Session of February 27, 2021, the focus on Public Safety, Parks & Recreation, Economic Development and other City functions and services.
A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.
To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at(209) 388-8650.
At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office, 678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.

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

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March 13 , 2021

UC Merced Men's and Women's Soccer Both Beat Simpson University To Remain Undefeated

The 21st-ranked University of California, Merced men’s soccer team shutout Simpson University, 2-0 Wednesday night on Bobcat Field to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Le Grand native Andres Lua scored the Bobcats game-winning goal for the third straight match. Lua’s goal came in the 25th minute off an assist from Hugo Soto. Juan Flores scored his first goal of the season, an insurance goal in the 89th minute to put the game to rest.

The UC Merced women’s soccer team improved to 2-0 this season with a 4-1 win over Simpson. Cal Pac Player of the Week Jocelyne Garcia led the Bobcats efforts with a pair of goals (22’, 78’), while Emily Burnett (34’) and Ciera Santos (42’) each added a score.

Burnett tied the program’s all-time goals record with her first half goal. Burnett’s 31 career goals are tied with Claudia Diaz and Jenn Salinger.

 

 

 

 

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March 13 , 2021

THE BUS REINSTATES FARE COLLECTION

MERCED – The Bus is reinstating the collection of fares on all of its services starting Monday, March 15, 2021. The suspension of fares on all fixed-route and paratransit services started in April last year as a key COVID-19 mitigation measure to reduce contact between bus operators and paying passengers. Additional safety protocols aimed at protecting passengers and bus operators such as daily disinfecting and social distancing measures will remain in place. Passengers are also required to wear a mask while riding on The Bus as well as when waiting at bus stops.
There are several ways that passengers can pay their bus fare. The Merced Transpo will reopen on Monday, March 15th and will have all bus pass types available for purchase; however, all sales will be done by credit or debit card, no cash will be accepted. Passengers will also be able to purchase one-day and seven-day passes onboard the bus with cash. Finally, The Bus administrative office located at 369 W. 18th Street in Merced will also sell all pass types and will take all forms of payment.
Several free fare programs that were in place before the fare suspension will also return. All students attending UC Merced and Merced College are able to ride any fixed-route service by showing their current student ID to the driver when boarding. In addition, free rides will also continue to be provided to all seniors, veterans, and ADA-eligible passengers on fixed-route services through the Measure V fare program.
The Bus continues to encourage passengers to wash their hands often, cover all coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and avoid direct contact with sick individuals. For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, please visit the Merced County website: www.vaccinatemercedcounty.com.
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). All bus schedules and hours of operation can be found at www.mercedthebus.com or by calling The Bus at (209) 723-3100. Real-time information regarding bus locations, services and arrival times can be found at www.thebuslive.com or by downloading ‘The Bus Live’ app on your smart phone for free. All buses are equipped with bike racks and are wheelchair accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 13 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
ONE-WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL ON SATURDAY, MARCH 13
STATE ROUTE 132 FROM BONDS FLAT ROAD TO
ZARZAMORA STREET IN TUOLUMNE COUNTY

TUOLUMNE COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will
perform one-way traffic control on State Route 132 from Bonds Flat Road to Zarzamora
Street for paving.
Work will be done Saturday, March 13, 2021, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 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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March 10 , 2021

The 2021 Merced County Fair Cancelled For A Second Year Amid The Continued
Uncertainty of COVID-19 and Restrictions On Large Public Events
Fair is proceeding with plans to hold a modified in-person livestock show and sale


MERCED, CALIFORNIA, March 9, 2021 – At its monthly meeting held on March 8, the Merced County Fair Board of Directors and fair CEO unanimously made the difficult decision to cancel its upcoming 2021 Merced County Fair, scheduled to be held June 9-13. The decision was made based upon the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 and current restrictions on large public events in the State. However, the fair is moving forward with plans for a modified in-person livestock show and sale that aligns with COVID-19 health and safety protocols to keep this aspect of the fair tradition alive and support the hardworking 4-H and FFA students.
“The decision to cancel the 2021 Merced County Fair was a heartbreaking one to make, but given the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 we sadly do not see large public events returning by June,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair. “However, we are focused on finalizing plans that would allow for a modified in-person livestock show and sale – giving our 4-H and FFA kids the important experience of showing their animal projects at our fairgrounds.”
Livestock exhibitions have long been an integral part of fairs and a pivotal experience; raising, exhibiting and selling their animal projects provides 4-H and FFA members with vital leadership skills to prepare them for career success, personal growth and experience in the Agribusiness. The Merced County Fair is committed to providing this important experience and continues to work on plans for its in-person livestock show and sale, while adhering to the recently updated CDC guidelines that allow for animal activities at fairgrounds. Merced County Fair 4-H and FFA students are encouraged to continue with their animal projects to enter in the fair; the Livestock Exhibitor Handbook will be available April 1, 2021. As more details are available, they will be posted on the fair’s website (www.mercedcountyfair.com). Advisors or exhibitors with questions can also email livestock@countyofmerced.com.
“As we approach another year with no in-person Merced County Fair, we greatly miss the sights, sounds and experiences that come with our annual event – especially our Still Exhibits. We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to display the hard work of our incredible community for attendees to enjoy,” said Carol Sartori-Silva, Merced County Fair Board President. “These exhibits are what make the Merced County Fair so unique and is a top highlight for Fairgoers that is greatly missed, along with our other annual fair traditions.”

In support of the fairgrounds and its various programs, Friends of the Merced County Fair will be hosting a drive-thru version of its annual Friends of the Fair Pre-Party dinner fundraiser on April 15. Boxed dinners complete with deep pit beef, beans, salad and rolls – plus Fair treats like kettle corn, cotton candy and corn dogs will be available. Cost is just $20 per box. If you’re interested in purchasing a ticket and supporting Friends of the Merced County Fair dinner, please contact the fair office at (209) 722-1506.
“Now more than ever the support of the community is critical for our fairgrounds. We are looking forward to this drive-thru fundraiser, which is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by John Pedrozo and Friends, give a taste of the fair and share a smile with friends” said Burrola. “The Merced County Fair, along with many other county fairs throughout the country, play a vital economic and cultural role throughout the Valley. We truly appreciate our communities continued support, especially now as we struggle with minimal allowed operations.”
The 2021 event would have marked the 130th Merced County Fair – a longstanding tradition for the community. Through the annual fair and its 220 interim events, more than $23 million in economic impact dollars are generated for the local economy each year, based on a 2015 report put out by the California Department of Food & Agriculture. The Merced County Fair continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and work with health officials to determine allowed operations for interim events, as well as a plan for a modified in-person livestock show.
About The Merced County Fair:
The Merced County Fair, first founded in 1891, represents the 35th District Agricultural Association. The fair’s mission statement outlines that it “promises to meet the needs of our community by providing a fun, safe venue to celebrate our area’s agricultural heritage, discover new technology and be entertained.” Each June, the Merced County Fair welcomes more than 70,000 people from throughout Merced County and beyond to attend the five-day event. Members of the Board of Directors include: President, Carol Sartori-Silva; First Vice President, Kim Rogina; Second Vice President, Vicky Banaga; Mark Erreca; Lori Gallo; Emily Haden; Luis Lara; and Mark N. Pazin. Teresa Burrola heads up the daily operations in her role as CEO. 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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March 10 , 2021

Convicted Murderer Celebrates the Policies of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gasco´n

March 9, 2021—“Recent footage of convicted murderer Phillip Dorsett celebrating George Gascón is compelling proof that violent criminals, not victims, will be the biggest beneficiaries of his radical policies,” said Greg Totten, Chief Executive Officer of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA).

In the video released today by CDAA, Dorsett and his cellmate at New Folsom State Prison are seen toasting Gascón with prison moonshine known as “white lightning.” Dorsett states in the footage that they are “celebrating us going home on this Gascón directive,” referring to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s new policies that release murderers like Dorsett early.

“No one is celebrating George Gascón more than violent criminals,” Totten noted.

On June 17, 2005, Dorsett executed Jesse Fujino by shooting him in the head at close range. A jury convicted Dorsett of second-degree murder and found that he used a gun in the commission of the crime. The court sentenced him to 40 years to life in prison. But now, under Gascón’s new policies, Dorsett is immediately eligible to be considered for release from prison. CDAA calls on Gascón to abandon his reckless policies that put violent criminals like Dorsett back on the streets.

 

 

 

The California District Attorneys Association is a statewide training and advocacy organization representing elected district attorneys, city attorneys with criminal divisions, and more than 3,500 prosecutors, including deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County.

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March 9, 2021

EMMANUEL EGUN TABBED CAL PAC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

MERCED, Calif. - Emmanuel Egun of the University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team was named the California Pacific Conference Defensive Player of the Week earlier this afternoon for his performances against Simpson University and Pacific Union College.
The weekly honor is the second of Egun’s career.
The senior middle blocker started his award-winning week with a three-set career-high seven blocks in the sweep over Simpson on March 1. One of his seven blocks was solo and Egun became just the second player in the California Pacific Conference to record 7+ blocks in a three-set affair this season.
Egun also had a season-high eight kills in the match while boasting a .500 hitting percentage.
On Sunday against Pacific Union College, Egun added five more kills and another solo block to his resume in the Bobcats fifth straight win. All but one of Egun’s kills came in the Bobcats most dominant set of the season, set two in a 25-7 win.
His five kills occurred with just five attacks, improving upon what is already the nations best hitting percentage at a .675.
Egun is also tied for second in the Cal Pac and 12th in the NAIA with a block per set average.
Entering the new week, Egun is one of just three players in the country averaging over 2.3 kills and a block per set. Ben Steffen of Mount Mercy and Hiago Crins of Park (Mo.) join Egun.
However, Egun stands alone if you bring in a .400+ hitting percentage into the mix.
UC Merced men’s volleyball has now won seven of the nine weekly awards since the season started in February. All seven awards have come from different individuals.
Overall, Egun gives UC Merced Athletics nine Cal Pac Player of the Week honors in 2021. Rodolfo Prado and Jocelyne Garcia of men’s and women’s soccer add up to the nine.
Men’s volleyball takes the court again on Saturday, March 13 as Park University - Gilbert comes to town for a three-match weekend.
The Bobcats are one of just three undefeated teams left in the NAIA.

JOCELYNE GARCIA EARNS CAL PAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS

MERCED, Calif. - University of California, Merced women’s soccer player Jocelyne Garcia was named the California Pacific Conference Offensive Player of the Week earlier today, as announced by the league office.
Garcia’s first career weekly honor comes after exploding for four goals and two assists in the season opener against Pacific Union College this past Wednesday.
Her efforts were not only good enough to stand as the 2021 single-game points record on the West Coast, but it also broke UC Merced women’s soccer’s all-time single-game record that was originally set in 2012.
All ten of Garcia’s points came within the first 55 minutes of the match.
The sophomore got her season started with the game-winning goal in the second minute before adding goals in the 19th, 54th and 55th minute. Both her assists came in the first half, one each to fellow sophomores Kaylee “Skittles” Melendez and Maddie Door.
Garcia is one of just seven Cal Pac players in the last ten years to tally ten points in a game, however she is the only underclassman to accomplish that feat in a Cal Pac road match.
Just a sophomore, Garcia is ranked tenth in program history with eight career assists and is eleventh with ten career goals.
Garcia is the team’s first Cal Pac Player of the Week this season and the ninth in the UC Merced Athletics department.
Looking ahead, Garcia looks to build upon her exceptional start when the Bobcats host Simpson University on Wednesday, March 10.

 

UC Merced Men's and Women's Volleyball Sweep Pacific Union College, Men's Volleyball
One of Just Three Undefeated Teams Remaining

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s volleyball teams swept Pacific Union College Sunday afternoon.

The men won 3-0 (25-8, 25-7, 25-16) and improved to 5-0 overall. The men are one of just three undefeated teams in the nation. The women won 3-0 (25-10, 25-5, 25-11) and improved to 3-2 overall.

Men’s Game

The Bobcats finished with a program-record .523 hitting percentage in their fifth straight sweep to improve upon their best start in program history. Madera, Calif., native Jared Guglielmana held match-high with ten kills and hit .571, while Ryan Kilgore added seven kills on an .875 hitting percentage. Emmanuel Egun, the nation’s leader in hitting percentage, had five kills on five swings to go along with a solo block.

UC Merced limited Pacific Union to a -.217 hitting percentage.

Women’s Game

Olanasaze Ojo and Hannah Dillingham led the Bobcats efforts in their third straight win. Ojo was good for a career-high ten kills on a .769 hitting percentage, while Dillingham matched Ojo with a career-high ten kills and three service aces. Ojo also had three blocks, two solo. Other notables include 13 assists from Edwena Wong and ten assists from Serena Choi.

Overall, the Bobcats finished with a .423 hitting percentage and 12 service aces.

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March 5 , 2021

Le Grand (Andres Lua) & Merced (Bella Spiva) Natives Explode in UC Merced Men's and Women's Soccer Victories over Pacific Union College on Wednesday

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s soccer teams defeated Pacific Union College on Wednesday.

The men’s team won 3-0 and improved to 2-0 on the season. Le Grand, Calif., native and former Merced Sun-Star Player of the Year scored two goals for the Bobcats and has a goal in five straight matches dating back to last season.

The women’s team won 13-0 in its season opener and sophomore Jocelyne Garcia broke the program’s single-match points record with ten. Garcia had four goals, two in each half, and two assists. Merced native (El Capitan High School) Isabella Spiva recorded her second career hat-trick and became just the third player in program history to record multiple hat-tricks in a career.

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March 3 , 2021

THE CASTLE AIR MUSEUM, ATWATER, CA WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AIRCRAFT ARRIVAL ON FRIDAY MARCH 5 AT APPROXIMATELY 8:00 AM AT THE MUSEUMS RESTORATION HANGAR LOCATED AT 3040 'A' STREET ON THE CASTLE AIRPORT. THE AIRCRAFT IS A GRUMMAN A-6E INTRUDER AND IS THE LAST TO HAVE FLOWN IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY! ON HAND TO RECEIVE THIS AIRCRAFT WILL BE THE LAST PILOT TO HAVE FLOWN THIS AIRCRAFT! WITH EXCEPTION OF A FEW HOURS WILL BE 24 YEARS TO THE DAY THAT THEN LT. JUNIOR GRADE GREG SMITH USN (RET.) FLEW THE AIRCRAFT ON ITS FINAL FLIGHT TO THE ARIZONA DESERT FOR STORAGE! GREG SMITH RETIRED FROM THE NAVY AS A LT. COMMANDER NEARLY 10 YEARS AFTER THIS HISTORIC FLIGHT.

THIS IS A SUPER SIZE LOAD AT 25 FEET IN WIDTH AND NEARLY 54 FEET IN LENGTH REQUIRING TRANSPORT OVER THREE NIGHTS FROM TUCSON ARIZONA AND NUMEROUS HIGHWAY PATROL ESCORTS ALONG THE WAY!! TRAVEL WILL BE INTERSTATE 10 FROM BLYTHE CA TO THE I-215 TO I-210 TO INTERSTATE 5 IN SOUTHERN CA. OVER THE GRAPEVINE UP I-5 AND INTO ATWATER DURING THE EARLY HOURS ON FRIDAY MARCH 5 AND ARRIVING 8;00 AM TO THE MUSEUM'S RESTORATION HANGAR AT THE ADDRESS ABOVE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT JOE PRUZZO, MUSEUM DIRECTOR ON THIS EPIC MOVE! THE MUSEUM SINCERELY THANKS THE A-6 INTRUDER ASSOCIATION AND ITS MEMBERS ALONG WITH NORTHROP GRUMMAN FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN!

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March 3 , 2021

UC MERCED MEN’S VOLLEYBALL SWEEPS CALIFORNIA PACIFIC CONFERENCE WEEKLY AWARDS

MERCED, Calif. - The University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team swept the California Pacific Conference Player of the Week awards for the second consecutive week, as announced Monday evening by the league office.
Jared Guglielmana was named Cal Pac Attacker of the Week after his stellar collegiate debut, while freshman Ryan Kilgore earned Cal Pac Defensive Player of the Week honors and setter Tyler Vincelli was tabbed the Cal Pac Setter of the Week.
This is the first career Cal Pac honor for all three Bobcats. The weekly awards are for the performances turned in against Pacific Union College on February 24.
Guglielmana, attacker of the week, earns this award for his 12-kill performance in the Bobcats sweep. The Madera, Calif., native hit .318 in the match and became just the third ever Bobcat to record double figure kills in his collegiate debut. Guglielmana joins the likes of Joseph Webb and Chris Morikawa. Aside from his strong attacking efforts, Guglielmana also recorded his first career service ace, dig, block and assist. In total, Guglielmana had six digs which was good for second among all participants in the match. No other UC Merced outside hitter has recorded more than six digs in a match this year.
Kilgore earns his first career honor after answering his coaches call to start at the middle blocker position. Normally an outside hitter, Kilgore filled a void the Bobcats needed him to and the 6’7” freshman made the most of it, notching a solo block and played a big role in limiting Pacific Union College to a -.078 hitting percentage. Kilgore also managed to record a dig. Along with his defensive efforts, Kilgore provided a spark defensively and smacked a career-high nine kills on a .600 hitting percentage. The player of the week didn’t commit an error in 15 attempts. Fitting, Kilgore recorded the
first kill of the match as the Bobcats went on to earn their first 3-0 start in program history.
Like the other two award winners, Vincelli also turned in a career-outing and the junior was good for a three-set program record 42 assists in his first career start at the setter position. He also had two digs and his 42 assists (14 per set) came while running the offense to a solid .386 success rate. With the help of Vincelli, all seven front row players who took the floor got at least three kills. Four of those seven smacked five+ kills, while three notched at least eight. The program’s previous three-set assists record was 38, held by Ryan Steele since February 23, 2018.
Guglielmana, Kilgore and Vincelli give UC Merced men’s volleyball six players of the week already in the 2021 season, surpassing the 2019 record of five player of the weeks in one season.
Overall, UC Merced Athletics has had seven players named a Cal Pac Player of the Week in 2021.
The Bobcats are back in action tonight as they host Simpson University at 8:30pm.

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s volleyball teams each earned a sweep over Simpson University on Monday night.

The men improved to 4-0 with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-18) win, while the women improved to 2-2 with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-13) win.

Men’s Match

Setter Ryan Steele quarterbacked the match with 37 assists and ran the Bobcats offense to a .430 success rate in the sweep. The .430 hitting percentage is the second highest of the season.

Chris Morikawa and Ryan Kilgore each had ten kills. The double figure mark was a career-high for Kilgore and he didn’t have an error in 16 attempts. Kilgore is the second Bobcat in program history to record double figure kills without an attack error. Morikawa was also good for seven digs, three blocks and two service aces. Emmanuel Egun had a season-high six blocks.


Women’s Match

Freshman Teola Nowak held match-high with a career-high 14 kills, while Olivia Harden finished in double figures for the third time this season and finished with eleven kills on the night. Nowak recorded a .565 hitting percentage. Serena Choi was good for 24 assists and ran the offense to a .333 success rate.

Defensively, Lexus Lagumbay paved the way with a season-high 18 digs. Other notables include a career-high four blocks from Olanasaze Ojo and a career-high three service aces from Destiny Lei Ramilo.

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March 3 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT 16th STREET IN MERCED

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and
construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Full on-ramp closure from 16th Street to southbound SR-99 for utility work on
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 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.

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March 3 , 2021

Carlos Vieira Foundation $2,000 Race to End the Stigma Scholarship

LIVINGSTON, CALIF.,- The “Race to End the Stigma” campaign was created to not only change the way people perceive those who are living with mental illness, but also how those who are affected perceive themselves. At the Carlos Vieira Foundation, we strive to support the mental health community through education, fundraising and facilitating resources.

The Race to End the Stigma Scholarship was created by the Carlos Vieira Foundation in efforts to begin the conversation about mental health. The $2,000 scholarship is granted annually to graduating high school seniors within our twenty-one counties who have expressed interest in raising mental health awareness or who have shared their story about mental health. Recipients are selected on the basis of academics, extra-curricular activities and their essay on one of three topics about mental health. The deadline to apply is March 12th, 2021.

In recognition of receiving the scholarship, the Carlos Vieira Foundation will be sharing the winner’s scholarship essays on its website and social media platforms. Recipients will also have the opportunity to share their story on the KDD podcast. For more information on the organization or scholarship, follow the Carlos Vieira Foundation on Facebook (@CVFoundation) and Instagram (@carlosvieirafoundation) or visit their website at carlosvieirafoundation.org!

 

About 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.
Carlos Vieira Foundation
6079 Washington Blvd, Livingston, CA. 95334
www.carlosvieirafoundation.org
Phone – 209.394.1444 Fax – 209.394.3964 info@carlosvieirafoundation.org

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March 2, 2021

California Farmland Trust Announces Matching Support to Protect Fiorini Ranch


(Elk Grove, CA – March 1, 2021) – Thanks to support from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, California Farmland Trust (CFT) is embarking on a conservation fundraising campaign to protect Fiorini Ranch.

Located in Merced County, the 60-acre almond operation is owned and operated by a multi-generational farming family, the Fiorini’s. Currently operated by a third-generation family member, Randy Fiorini, the fourth and fifth generation family members are now engaged, and becoming more involved, continuing the family’s legacy. The Fiorini family reached out to the California Farmland Trust to ensure the land and their legacy will remain in agriculture, forever.

The California Farmland Trust has partnered with farmers for over 16 years to protect farmland from being subdivided and developed into homes and shopping centers, while contributing to agriculture’s unique role in climate benefits. “Working with the Fiorini family to ensure this land will provide food, open space and climate benefits is essential,” said Charlotte Mitchell, CFT Executive Director. The Fiorini family has adopted and embraced sustainable farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the biodiversity of beneficial insects, and further reduce soil erosion.

In the coming months, CFT will be pursuing a grant that will provide some of the funding needed to purchase the development right and protect the land with an agricultural conservation easement. CFT is required to source matching funds when pursuing grant funding, which is where the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation (Foundation) support is focused. In late 2020, the Foundation provided CFT with nearly half of the matching funds needed to meet this requirement. Funds from the Foundation will be leveraged by CFT to raise the remaining $85,000.


“The support from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation really made this project achievable,” shared Mitchell. “It’s difficult to obtain the match requirement needed for a grant and the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation provided funding that will essentially double every other donation we receive for the project, helping us achieve the match requirement.”

The first step will be launching a campaign that leverages the Foundation’s $80,000 donation to raise the remaining $85,000 needed to obtain the match required. CFT will simultaneously pursue a grant for the remaining seventy-five percent needed to fund the easement. Once secured, the easement will ensure the farmland will never be subdivided and will no longer be subject to development pressures from nearby communities for housing or commercial development.

“Our family has farmed this land sustainably, and productively for over 100 years. It is threatened by the potential of urban development and our family wishes to preserve the ability to continue to contribute to our nations healthy food needs,” shared Randy Fiorini.

If you would like to learn more or become involved in this project, please visit our website: www.cafarmtrust.org/protect-fiorini-ranch.

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March 2, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT 16th STREET IN MERCED

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and
construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Full on-ramp closure from 16th Street to southbound SR-99 for utility work on
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 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.

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February 27 , 2021

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments to Commercial Districts and for Accessory Dwelling Units to be Considered by the City Council

The City Council will consider proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments to the Shopping Center Commercial, Regional/Central Commercial Zoning Districts, and other various Zones. The Zoning Ordinance Amendment would make several changes to the “Commercial Zoning District” contained in Chapter 20 of the Merced Municipal Code.
Another Zoning Ordinance Amendment would modify the City’s requirements for “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) to meet the modified requirements of State Law.
The regular meeting of Monday, March 1, 2021, will be held at 6 p.m. telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall.
Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.
You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.
For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.
To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at (209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.


On the agenda:
• The City Council is being asked to consider a Zoning Ordinance Amendment that would make several changes to the “Commercial Zoning District” list including uses allowed in the Shopping Center Commercial Zone and Regional/Central Commercial Zone.
• Another Zoning Ordinance Amendment will be presented would modify the City’s requirements for “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) to meet the modified requirements of State Law which have gone into effect in 2020 and 2021.
• Staff will provide an overview and status report on the Public Facilities Impact Fees Update, and request direction from the City Council on the update implementation.
A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.
To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.
Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650.
At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office,
678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.

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February 27 , 2021

 

Los Angeles County District Attorney Gasco´n Defends Law That Puts Guns in the Hands of Criminals, While Los Angeles Descends Into Gun Violence

 

February 26, 2021—Yesterday, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón defended a law that puts guns in the hands of criminals at the exact moment that Los Angeles County is descending into gun violence.

AB 3234, which was passed last year by the California Legislature, created a diversion program allowing criminals—including those who bring guns to schools or to the Capitol—to continue to own or possess guns.

“It’s a reckless law, but yesterday, George Gascón defended it,” said Vern Pierson, President of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), an organization that represents almost all of the elected district attorneys in California and is committed to reforms, but not to the decriminalization of dangerous crimes.

Meanwhile, gun violence in Los Angeles is soaring. Murders in Los Angeles County are up 136.4% and shootings are up 261.5%. Attacks on police officers are up 300% from January 1 through January 18, 2021 when compared to the same time period in 2020. The chance of becoming a victim of any firearm crime (violent or property) in Los Angeles is now 1 in 33.

On this past Wednesday, February 24, 2021, pop icon Lady Gaga’s dog walker was brutally shot in Hollywood while walking Lady Gaga’s two dogs. She is now offering a $500,000, “no questions asked” reward for their safe return. But Gascón has implemented new policies that remove long-standing deterrents to criminals for using guns during the commission of crimes. “Under Gascón’s policies, even if the assailants in this case are captured, they will face up to 20 years less time in prison for the crime than they otherwise would have,” said Pierson.

With the reckless removal of gun crime deterrents, it is no surprise that gun crimes under Gascón are soaring. Today, CDAA calls on Gascón to abandon his reckless, soft-on-gun-crime policies. “The results of the Gascón experiment are in,” said Greg Totten, CDAA’s Chief Executive Officer, “and it’s no surprise that when you remove consequences for committing crimes with guns—gun crimes soar, and that’s exactly what’s happening Los Angeles.”

The California District Attorneys Association is a statewide training and advocacy organization representing elected district attorneys, city attorneys with criminal divisions, and more than 3,500 prosecutors, including deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County.

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February 26 , 2021

Delhi Unified, United Way Help Provide Ongoing Support

A partnership has been developed between the Delhi Unified School District and United Way of Merced County that is seeing the dire needs of students and their families met through multiple fronts.
When Dr. Cristian Miley, Delhi High School principal, visited some of his students’ homes, what he saw was troubling. And he reported this to Adolfo Melara, district superintendent, which set into motion an ongoing program of philanthropy.
When the 2020-2021 school year started, Dr. Miley came to realize there was a “significant food insecurity” among low-income needy families and that triggered outreach to supply food items.
“I think it’s a phenomenal endeavor, our partnership with United Way. Dr. Miley told me about some very dire, gut-wrenching circumstances. Through United Way, we were able to put Omni Cart debit cards in the hands of about 25 families and we started a campaign to do outreach in fringe areas of town,” Melara said.
The opening target was to provide 25 Omni Cart cards of $250 each to needy families and that has continued for more than three months. Melara and Miley are hoping to see the program continue.
Dr. Miley said a lot of wonderful connections have been made through this program. The “Dollars for Delhi” campaign was launched. Receipts of expenditures were collected from needy families and given back to United Way.
“It’s very emotional to see the outright gratitude of these families in helping them get by. A lot of folks were literally on their last dollar. Some were homeless or living out of their cars,” Miley said. “Without this program how are people going to get through this moment?”
Robert Hypes, community impact manager for United Way, said it’s been a great relationship with Delhi. In August and September, United Way also gave $15,000 grants to Delhi, Ballico-Cressey and Planada school districts to provide direct support for students, including large-screen television screens for learning programs.
Another facet of the Delhi outreach involves food distribution facilitated by Dr. Steven Roussos, a professor at the University of California, Merced. Twenty-pound food boxes were given to needy families containing meat, cheese, eggs and vegetables. Dr. Roussos is involved in UC Merced community research and service projects.
Dr. Roussos said the Community Initiatives for Collective Impact, which involves UC Merced students, has come up with an additional program - placement of refrigerators through the community where needy families can get the foodstuffs they need.
“Our refrigerator program started in September. We now have a refrigerator at Delhi High School with a second one to come. We go to farmer’s markets, grocery stories, flea markets and local gardens for the food items. The refrigerators are open all hours and it’s easy and accessible. The food disappears quickly,” Roussos said.
But he is heartened to report the refrigerators are quickly restocked from a number of community sources.
Citrus, lettuce, lemons, grapefruit, avocados, mangoes, and potatoes are among the items available in the community refrigerators.
“They are pretty consistently stocked. It’s incredible how people are dropping off the vegetables and the people are appreciating it. This is likely going to grow and we hope to have another one in Planada. Extra refrigerators are being donated and we are glad to set them up,” Roussos said.
Dr. Miley said there is a genuine sense of altruism in Delhi. He said there are some areas of Delhi that many people may not be aware of, where things are very desperate. It’s poverty exacerbated with the coronavirus.
Dr. Miley said they are trying to develop connections with students and their families and it’s special to go out to the people needing help.


From left, United Way of Merced County Community Impact Manager Robert Hypes, Delhi Unified School District Superintendent Adolfo Melara and Delhi Unified School District Coordinator of English Language Development and Assessment Juan Garcia have worked together since last fall to provide ongoing support for the Delhi community.

PHOTO COURTESY UNITED WAY OF MERCED COUNTY

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

Melara said he is very thankful to United Way for keeping Delhi in mind.
“I am proud of our staff and Dr. Miley for reaching out and being able to help these families even more. I am thankful to the school board for supporting this work. We want to help find ways to partner with United Way,” Melara said.
Dr. Roussos said UC Merced’s Bobcat Eats and the People’s Garden also have been involved in the food distribution efforts. This helps avoid food waste. He said 10 to 12 visits a day are being made to the refrigerators; they are getting emptied out but quickly refilled, too.
Roussos said it’s been a fun undertaking and more volunteers are always needed. If interested, call (209) 769-3231.

 

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February 26 , 2021

UC Merced Men's and Women's Volleyball Sweep Pacific Union College, Madera Native Jared Guglielmana Turns in Stellar Debut

The University of California, Merced and women’s volleyball teams both earned a sweep over Pacific Union College on Wednesday night.

The women won 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-19) and held Pacific Union College to a -.086 hitting percentage. Olivia Harden led the Bobcats offensive efforts with a three-set career-high 12 kills and three service aces, while Valentina Evans was good for eight kills on a .467 hitting percentage. Freshman Olanasaze Ojo also had eight kills and it marked a career-high for both Evans and Ojo. Madison Mayoralgo had eleven digs.

The men won 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 26-24) and are 3-0 for the first time in program history. Head coach Ai Prachumsri’s team hit .437 in the match, their second time hitting over .400 this season. Madera native Jared Guglielmana turned in one of the best debut’s in program history and finished with eleven kills, a block and a service ace. Ryan Kilgore also had double figure kills and finished with a career-high ten. Kilgore didn’t have an error in 14 attempts. Tyler Vincelli earned his first career start at the setter position and was good for a career-high 43 assists.

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February 26 , 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
RAMP CLOSURE
STATE ROUTE 99 AT 16th STREET IN MERCED

\MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various ramp and lane closures on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and
construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Full on-ramp closure from 16th Street to southbound SR-99 for utility work on
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 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.

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February 24, 2021

Carlos Vieira Foundation $2,000 Race to End the Stigma Scholarship

LIVINGSTON, CALIF.,- The “Race to End the Stigma” campaign was created to not only change the way people perceive those who are living with mental illness, but also how those who are affected perceive themselves. At the Carlos Vieira Foundation, we strive to support the mental health community through education, fundraising and facilitating resources.

The Race to End the Stigma Scholarship was created by the Carlos Vieira Foundation in efforts to begin the conversation about mental health. The $2,000 scholarship is granted annually to graduating high school seniors within our twenty-one counties who have expressed interest in raising mental health awareness or who have shared their story about mental health. Recipients are selected on the basis of academics, extra-curricular activities and their essay on one of three topics about mental health.

In recognition of receiving the scholarship, the Carlos Vieira Foundation will be sharing the winner’s scholarship essays on its website and social media platforms. Recipients will also have the opportunity to share their story on the KDD podcast. For more information on the organization or scholarship, follow the Carlos Vieira Foundation on Facebook (@CVFoundation) and Instagram (@carlosvieirafoundation) or visit their website at carlosvieirafoundation.org!

 

About 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.

Carlos Vieira Foundation
6079 Washington Blvd, Livingston, CA. 95334
www.carlosvieirafoundation.org
Phone – 209.394.1444 Fax – 209.394.3964 info@carlosvieirafoundation.org

 

February 23, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
JOHN C. ERRECA REST AREA CLOSURE

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the
John C. Erreca Rest Areas on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 in southern
Merced County for maintenance operations. Work will occur as follows;
• Full closure of the John C. Erreca Rest Areas for utility work beginning
Wednesday, February 24, through Thursday, February 25, 2021, from 9:00 a.m.
until 5:00 p.m.
Caltrans apologizes for any inconvenience this might create and would like to remind
motorists that the Westley Rest Area in Stanislaus County is just 70 miles north of the
Erreca Rest Area and is also located on I-5.
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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February 18, 2021

The District Attorney for the County of Merced has filed a charge of Murder against the 14-year-old male arrested on February 10, 2021, in connection with the killing of Adrian Llamas in Merced. The charges in this matter were filed in juvenile delinquency court; however, the District Attorney has petitioned the court to transfer the minor to adult criminal court. The alleged perpetrator of the shooting remains in custody.
A major factor in the determination to seek transfer to adult court is that, under current juvenile laws, if the minor is prosecuted in juvenile court, jurisdiction over him could only last between 3 years and 5 months and 8 years and 5 months. Our understanding of the law is that most likely the minor would be released when he turns 18. Proposition 57, passed by the voters in 2016, removed the long-standing ability of a District Attorney directly file qualifying crimes in adult court. Our decision today to request transfer to adult court in no way means the case will automatically be tried in adult court. Rather, this request means the juvenile court will thoroughly assess the circumstances and render a decision in consideration of a wide range of elements. Only then will we know if this case will ultimately be handled in juvenile or adult court.


 

Due to confidentiality rules surrounding the proceedings in juvenile delinquency court, no further information can be released publically at this time.

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February 17, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LANE & RAMP CLOSURES

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will perform
various ramp and lane closures on State Route 59 and State Route 99 (SR-99) for
maintenance and construction operations. Work will occur as follows;
• One-way traffic control on SR-59 from Turlock Road to South Ingalsbe Slough for
utility work beginning Wednesday, February 17, through Friday, February 19, 2021,
from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on-ramp closure from Mission Avenue to southbound SR-99 for drainage work
on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 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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February 16 , 2021

UC Merced Cross Country Restarts UC Merced Athletics Competition, Hughson Native Elizette Ysais Wins Dominican Tri-Meet

The University of California, Merced men’s and women’s cross country teams competed today, becoming the first teams to compete since the COVID-19 pandemic halted all UC Merced athletic activities on March 12, 2020.

UC Merced’s first event and the head coaching debut of Vicente Velarde was in San Rafael, Calif., at the Dominican Tri-Meet. The Dominican Tri-Meet featured an 8K course for the men and 6K for the women.

Hughson native and Hughson High product Elizette Ysais made UC Merced history as she became the first woman in program history to earn a first-place finish in her collegiate debut. Ysais (25:36) is also just the third runner on the women’s side to ever win a race. Ysais joins Madera natives and UC Merced greats Sofia Rios and Karina Martinez.

Atwater native and Buhach Colony product Kate Larios also made her collegiate debut and crossed the finish line in 30:09.

Sophomore Corbin Farais led the men’s team with a fourth place finish (30:27.0)

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February 13 , 2021

Budget review, UC annexation on Council agenda

The Mid-Year Budget Review, and a presentation on the potential UC Merced annexation are on the agenda for Tuesday night’s Merced City Council meeting. Council meetings are usually held on Monday night, but because of the Presidents Day holiday it is being held on Tuesday.

The Mid-Year Budget Review gives Council a revenue update and also seeks approval of additions and changes in positions. In addition, Council will be asked to prioritize a number of road projects in the planning stages.

The regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall.

Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the
day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and
will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications
portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be
limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.

You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.

For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.


On the agenda:

• The Mid-Year Budget Review will give Council an update of City revenues during the coronavirus pandemic. It provides Council will a reconciliation of how the Fiscal Year 2019-20 ended , a General Plan Update for the current year, and to request changes to the budget that have been identified.

• Staff will present an overview of the relationship with UC Merced and the pros and cons of annexing the campus. Adding the campus into the City would allow several adjacent property owners to annex into Merced under the provisions of SB 3312 .

• Staff is seeking direction from the Council on the format for the Sat., Feb. 27 City Council Strategic Planning Session. Council will hold the session to discuss the development of the Goals & Priorities for the Fiscal Year 2021/22.

• A public hearing to allocate Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus Funds for rent, mortgage, utility, food assistance and other activities.

A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650.

At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office,
678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.
The City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month, except when there is a holiday, then it meets the following day.

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February 13 , 2021

R Street opening delayed until next week

The opening of R Street will be delayed, as the overnight rains revealed a punctured storm drain pipe at the site.

“We are sorry about the delay in opening,” said City Engineer Michael Beltran, “We will have crews working on it quickly so we can open the street by the middle of next week.”

The City has been renovating R Street between Loughborough Drive and Buena Vista Drive for several months. The original construction schedule called for the street to be reopened March 1, but opening day had been moved up to today until the problem was discovered.

The storm drain pipe was punctured while crews were cement treating the dirt beneath the asphalt. Beltran said the contractor miscalculated and went to deep. The error wasn’t discovered until the rains sent water flowing through the pipe and there was minor flooding in the street.

 


Crews will begin working at 7 a.m. Saturday to replace a 20-foot section of the storm drain pipe, Beltran said.

“The error will not cost the City anything except the inconvenience to motorists and residents. We apologize for that,” Beltran said.

The construction work does come with a one-year warranty in case other issues are discovered, Beltran said.

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February 12 , 2021

My name is Alex

and...... in 2019 my kids were put in foster care by their Mother. Unfortunately, I started drinking and ended up homeless, due to my poor decisions I was making.

I was looking for an opportunity to find a stable and positive environment for my children so I moved from Massachusetts to Merced, I was trying everything I could to get my kids back and needed some furniture.

I contacted Love INC and they helped me get the furniture I needed. I wanted to volunteer because I believe in service work because when you help others, you help yourself. I called Love INC and they needed help in the furniture ministry which is my background, I began to help deliver furniture, my experience has been amazing. I can honestly say I didn’t find Love INC, Love INC found me! My children are back home with me, I am an usher at Yosemite Church and I am so grateful to God!

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February 10 , 2021

Buhach Colony High School Wins First Merced County Academic Decathlon

Students from seven Merced County high schools competed virtually on Jan. 30 and Feb 6 for the Merced County Academic Decathlon, and for the first year in its history, Buhach Colony High School took the top spot.
Celebrating its 40th year in Merced County, the Academic Decathlon pits area high schools against each other in a contest of academics. Students compete in the areas of art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science and science. Students also participate in communication events to showcase their Speech, Interview and Essay skills. This year’s theme was “The Cold War.”
Merced High School held the title for the past 12 consecutive years.
High schools that participated this year: Buhach Colony High, Merced High, Golden Valley High, Livingston High, El Capitan High, Delhi High and Le Grand High.
Each decathlon team has nine students. They include three students each from the Honors Division for students in the “A” GPA range, the Scholastic Division for students in the “B” GPA range and the Varsity Division for those with a “C”-level GPA and below.
Merced High was the highest scoring team for the Super Quiz held live on Zoom and Merced High team member Daniel Chen was the top-scoring student of the competition.
Buhach Colony will go on to represent Merced County in March at the State Academic Decathlon. The State Academic Decathlon will also be virtual this year.
Sponsorship partners for the Academic Decathlon are Educational Employees Credit Union, Hattie Givens Testamentary Trust, Community Foundation of Merced County and the Merced County Office of Education.
In addition, Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union sponsors the Robert Wayne Scholarship Program.


Participating schools pay a $750 participation fee. Of that, $500 is matched by the Robert Wayne Scholarship Program. This brings the scholarships to $1,000 for each school. All participating teams are awarded that in scholarship money, two scholarships at $250 each and one scholarship at $500.
Wayne, who founded MSEFCU and served on the MCAD Board for many years, passed away on Nov. 9, 2009.
Click here the complete list awards.

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February 10 , 2021

High-Speed Rail Authority Issues Revised Draft Business Plan – Presents Proposal for Project Advancement

Sacramento, Calif. – As part of the state’s commitment to deliver a sustainable, reliable, and accessible transportation system, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today issued its Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan for public review and comment. The plan presents a path forward for completing construction in the Central Valley and highlights continued progress to get high-speed trains running in California as soon as possible, and despite the notable impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when job growth is needed most, California high-speed rail is putting thousands to work in good paying labor jobs in the Central Valley and making tremendous progress on construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Our goal is to get fast, electrified trains up and running in the Central Valley as soon as possible while leveraging other sources of funding to advance important, clean rail and transit work statewide. We’re confident that our federal partners in the Biden administration share our vision for electrified rail – we look forward to working with them to get it done.”

The plan affirms the policy recommendation to the Authority’s Board of Directors to develop a clean, electrified Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley, while continuing to advance environmental reviews and current investments in local and regional infrastructure projects in Northern and Southern California.

Like other transit systems around the state, the Authority has and still is experiencing dynamic and unpredictable conditions due to COVID-19 that affect every aspect of daily work. The plan lays out these challenges in detail and how the Authority has overcome and is working to mitigate for ongoing impacts to move the program forward.

The revised plan outlines the following priorities:
• Complete the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to our federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA);
• Expand the 119-mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail connecting Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield, three of the fastest growing areas in California;
• Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2026-2027 and put those trains in service by the end of the decade;
• Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim;
• Advance construction on the “bookend” projects we have committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area—projects valued at more than $3 billion;
• Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively “close the gaps” and expand electrified high-speed rail service to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim as soon as possible.
The Administration has communicated with the federal government on the need for flexibility on the ARRA grant agreement timelines and emphasized the importance of settling existing litigation to restore nearly a billion dollars in grant funding de-obligated by the Trump Administration.

“America has a chance to lead the world once more through innovation in infrastructure—connecting our communities, creating good jobs, addressing climate change



and ensuring equity,” said Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose. “Passenger rail development, including world-class high-speed rail, can and must be a part of our strategy to accomplish these goals. As in many other arenas, California has taken the lead nationally to advance high-speed rail, starting an economically transformative project in the Central Valley and assuming the challenges that come with that leadership. The U.S. Department of Transportation looks forward to partnering with California as it leads the way to build back better.”

“Historically, during times of economic uncertainty, it’s labor jobs and investment in transportation that spur economic growth. We’re fortunate to be in a position where we’re creating a clean and fast mobility option in California and putting California men and women to work to get it done,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Through hard work, we’ve seen significant progress over the past two years, and we intend to keep that going.”

High-speed rail averages 1,100 construction workers a day at 35 construction sites in the Central Valley. Nearly 77 percent of these workers come from eight counties in the Central Valley, with workers from 43 different California counties participating overall. To date, 55% of total high-speed rail program expenditures occurred in disadvantaged communities throughout California.

The final 2020 Business Plan was scheduled to be issued to the California Legislature last December. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration and the Authority worked with legislative leadership to extend the adoption of the Business Plan. Final submission to the Legislature is expected in April 2021.

With the release of today’s draft business plan, the Authority is now seeking input as part of a 30-day public comment period that closes March 12, 2021. The Authority is providing the following options for submitting comments:
• Online comment form through the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan website at: https://hsr.ca.gov/about/business_plans/business_plan_2020_comment_form.aspx
• By email at: DraftBP2020@hsr.ca.gov
• U.S. mail to the Authority:
• California High-Speed Rail Authority
• Attn: Draft 2020 Business Plan
• 770 L Street, Suite 620 MS-1
• Sacramento, CA 95814
• Voicemail comment at: (916) 384-9516
The Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan, required by Assembly Bill 528 (Lowenthal, Chapter 237, Statutes of 2013), can be found online www.hsr.ca.gov

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February 9, 2021

 

CDAA Commends Superior Court Ruling Enjoining Special Directives of Los Angeles County District Attorney Gasco´n


February 8, 2021—The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) commends the ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant in favor of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (ADDA). CDAA filed an amicus brief supporting the ADDA in its civil lawsuit against District Attorney Gasco´n, believing his Special Directives violate the legal and ethical obligations of Los Angeles County’s deputy district attorneys.

In his ruling, Judge Chalfant said, “A district attorney’s discretion is not unlimited. He or she must work within the framework of the criminal justice system.”

“Today’s ruling makes clear that District Attorney Gasco´n cannot ignore the law or prosecutor ethics in his rush to impose dangerous so-called criminal justice reforms in Los Angeles County. We are very grateful for Judge Chalfant’s thorough and thoughtful decision — a decision that we believe well serves the cause of justice and public safety,” said CDAA Chief Executive Officer Greg Totten.


CDAA is not a regulatory body and does not typically address policy differences among the 58 elected District Attorneys. However, CDAA believes it must act when policies implemented by an individual district attorney go beyond the exercise of discretion to contravene the state constitution and prosecutor ethics.

“We support true criminal justice reform, but you cannot simply dispense with existing laws that protect crime victims because you decide you disagree with them,” said Vern Pierson, El Dorado County District Attorney and CDAA President.

The California District Attorneys Association is a statewide training and advocacy organization representing elected district attorneys, city attorneys with criminal divisions, and more than 3,500 prosecutors, including deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County.

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February 5, 2021

Carlos Vieira Foundation $2,000 Race to End the Stigma Scholarship

LIVINGSTON, CALIF.,- The “Race to End the Stigma” campaign was created to not only change the way people perceive those who are living with mental illness, but also how those who are affected perceive themselves. At the Carlos Vieira Foundation, we strive to support the mental health community through education, fundraising and facilitating resources.

The Race to End the Stigma Scholarship was created by the Carlos Vieira Foundation in efforts to begin the conversation about mental health. The $2,000 scholarship is granted annually to graduating high school seniors within our twenty-one counties who have expressed interest in raising mental health awareness or who have shared their story about mental health. Recipients are selected on the basis of academics, extra-curricular activities and their essay on one of three topics about mental health.

In recognition of receiving the scholarship, the Carlos Vieira Foundation will be sharing the winner’s scholarship essays on its website and social media platforms. Recipients will also have the opportunity to share their story on the KDD podcast. For more information on the organization or scholarship, follow the Carlos Vieira Foundation on Facebook (@CVFoundation) and Instagram (@carlosvieirafoundation) or visit their website at carlosvieirafoundation.org!

 

About 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.

Carlos Vieira Foundation
6079 Washington Blvd, Livingston, CA. 95334
www.carlosvieirafoundation.org
Phone – 209.394.1444 Fax – 209.394.3964 info@carlosvieirafoundation.org

February 5 , 2021

CDAA Applauds the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Plan to Support Victims at Lifer Parole Hearings
District Attorney Gascón’s Special Directive 20-14 institutes the “default policy … that we will not attend parole hearings.”

February 4, 2021—In a video released today, the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) applauds Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his support of crime victims with his announcement that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will attend parole hearings to represent the victims in place of Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys.

In a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, Sheriff Villanueva wrote, “We believe [it] is important to give a voice for the voiceless and keep our commitment in good standing in support of those who have been victimized by violent crime … I cannot understand why your office is barring prosecutors from attending parole hearings.”

He added, “[I]f prosecutors will no longer be allowed to attend parole hearings, the LASD will attend … in the absence of your prosecutors. At the request of family members, the LASD will do everything possible to give victims a voice at the table to address their concerns. … I strongly believe this is the right thing to do.”

“Prosecutors are committed to keeping communities safe and to serving as a voice for crime victims. Crime victims should be a powerful force in California, but we are now seeing leaders trying to achieve their goals for criminal justice reform by silencing the voices of victims,” said Greg Totten, Chief Executive Officer of the California District Attorneys Association. “We must find a balance between reforms that make sense for public safety and curtailing the rights of victims.”


 

To that end, CDAA is working with its members and retired prosecutors to ensure victims are represented at parole hearings for Los Angeles County cases. “Under Marsy’s Law, the California Constitution was amended to specifically recognize victims’ rights in criminal proceedings, including parole proceedings,” said Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe, co-chair of CDAA’s Lifer/Parole Committee. “Prosecutors are specifically designated as an appropriate person to represent the interests of victims at parole hearings, and they do so in every other county in the state, so we feel compelled to step in to help navigate the process for victims.”

The California District Attorneys Association is a statewide training and advocacy organization representing elected district attorneys, city attorneys with criminal divisions, and more than 3,500 prosecutors, including deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County.

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February 3, 2021

MCAG SEEKS SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

MERCED - Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) is currently seeking applicants for a Senior Accountant in its downtown Merced office location. This full-time, supervisory position requires a Bachelor’s degree, or higher, in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, or a related field. Interested individuals should have a knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and basic principles of accounting as applied to Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). In addition, candidates should be familiar with the principles and practices of municipal government accounting, auditing and budgeting, as well as of automated financial systems.
This position is open until filled. The annual salary for this position ranges from $64,147 to $85,966 depending on experience; health, dental, and vision benefits provided. Applications will only be accepted through the MCAG website. To apply, or for more information, visit: www.mcagov.org/jobs.

 

 

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, the Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority and administers Measure V funds. For more information, visit www.mcagov.org.

 

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Februaru 2, 2021

Atwater FFA Students Qualify for Regional Speaking Finals

Written by : Liliana Boesch, Atwater FFA

The Atwater High School FFA joined over 180 FFA speaking contestants, representing fifteen high school agriculture programs throughout Merced and Mariposa counties at the annual Merced-Mariposa FFA Public Speaking Sectional Finals held virtually on January 23rd. The top four individual finalists in each speaking contest advance to the regional prelims in February. Atwater FFA had two of the twenty sectional finalists advancing to the regional prelims later this year.
Atwater High School agriculture students Simarjot Gandhoke, Gabriella Lucas, America Lara, and Gabriela Moreno competed in the Job Interview contest. Gabriela Moreno placed 2nd, qualifying her for regional finals. Simarjot Gandhoke made it to the final round, and placed 10th overall. 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 agriculture program senior Nandani Patel placed 4th overall in Prepared Public Speaking, qualifying her for the regional prelims. Student speeches covered topics that included gene editing, Colony Collapse Disorder, and nanotechnology 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. Hunter Boyenga and Celeste Chargoy also competed in the sectional finals.
Atwater High School agriculture students Gurkirath Gandhok, Julia Callahan, Daniel Lopez and Hayley Hultgren competed 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 program students Shayleigh Miller, Katrina Andujar, Teela Armenta and Sonia Valdez competed 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.

 


Atwater High School agriculture student and FFA member Gabriela Morena placed 2nd overall at the Merced-Mariposa FFA Sectional Public Speaking Finals in the Job Interview contest and will move onto the regional finals in the coming months.

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

Atwater High School agriculture freshman student Jacqueline Velazquez participated in the FFA Creed. 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.
“Being a good communicator is one of the foundations of success towards personal and career development,” says Atwater FFA Advisor Kim Mesa. “Our agriculture program is very proud of our students’ efforts, participation, courage, and enthusiasm in this event, even with it going virtual this year!”

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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January 30, 2021

Dine Out For a Cause at the Mainzer
and Support the MAC!

Mainzer, the newly restored dining and entertainment complex in downtown Merced, will host a fundraiser to benefit the Merced Multicultural Arts Center (MAC) on Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31. During the two-day event, the MAC will receive $5 from each dine in, takeout and delivery order placed, up to a maximum of $500. The fundraiser is part of a monthly series of Dine Out for a Cause events at Mainzer to benefit local nonprofit organizations.
“We are excited to be selected as the partner for Mainzer’s January Dine Out for a Cause series,” said Colton Dennis, executive Director of Merced County Arts Council at and the Merced Multicultural Arts Center. “We are a community-funded organization and donations like this go a long way to ensuring that we can continue to sustain the many programs we provide that have added to the quality of life here in Merced.”

“We are so pleased to help support our downtown neighbor the MAC,” said Sara Cribari Hill, director of people and community impact at Mainzer, The Tioga and El Capitan, a Joie de Vivre Hotel. “Their dynamic programming and experiences are a big part of what make downtown Merced such a growing and vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike.”

The newly restored Mainzer launched in August with a menu of elevated American comfort food, currently available on the restaurant’s delivery and takeout menu. Each month, Mainzer hosts a Dine Out for a Cause event to benefit local nonprofit partners. Mainzer is open for outdoor dining as well as takeout and delivery from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Executive Chef Quentin Garcia’s lunch and dinner menu, available weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 3-8 p.m., incorporates ingredients from Merced area farms and purveyors to ensure a locally inspired dining experience. The restaurant’s signature buttermilk fried chicken is served in family friendly buckets with three levels of spice including the No-spice Southern, Getting Hotter Valley and the Fire-starter Hot Nashville. Mainzer also offers a variety of hearty burgers ranging from the Anything but Standard Royale with Cheese, accented with a chipotle mayonnaise sauce to the BBQ Burger topped with short ribs, pickled red onion rings and aged cheddar. All of the burgers are made with hand packed patties using beef from Central Valley’s Harris Ranch and locally sourced buns. Creative milkshakes using house made ice cream are offered in boozy adult and kid-friendly non-alcoholic options in fun flavors like Tropical Paradise made with toasted coconut, crushed pineapple and pineapple juice.

For more information on Mainzer please call (209) 446-4001, visit themainzer.com or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

On Saturdays and Sundays, Mainzer offers a twist on the classic brunch menu from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant’s fried chicken makes an appearance in Chicken N’ Waffles served with house smoked maple syrup on the side. The Mainzer Flatbread is breakfast friendly with bacon, sausage and a fried egg atop a parmesan white sauce and mozzarella, goat cheese and smoked gouda from Laura Chenel Cheese. A variety of brunch tacos are offered including the Street Taco served with house made turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, red onions, avocado and sour cream on a freshly made tortilla. The kid’s brunch menu includes everything from Buttermilk-Pancakes to Chicken Tenders served with homemade ranch sauce on the side.

About Mainzer

Located next door to the MAC on Main and N St. in downtown Merced, Mainzer offers entertainment and dining in a restored historic theatre, originally built in 1920. The restaurant at Mainzer serves elevated American comfort food seven days a week including daily lunch and dinner service and weekend brunch. Mainzer’s theater and cinema provide the perfect venue for live music, movies and more. Fun interactive elements at Mainzer include a retro gaming area, tabletop board games and a self-serve beer bar that offers free-spirited guests the ability to pour their own cold beer from a selection of local and regional breweries.

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January 30, 2021

Fire grants, County partnership on Council agenda

Three FEMA grants for the Merced Fire Department, and an agreement with Merced County that will help clean up the City are on the agenda for Monday night’s Merced City Council meeting.

The Fire Department has applied for three grants with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would assist in buying a range of equipment and also help hire additional firefighters.

The regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall.

Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the
day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and
will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications
portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be
limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.

You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.

For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.

 

On the agenda:

• Three FEMA grants that would assist in purchasing $1,060,000 in portable radios and accessories and $9,374 for acquiring fire investigation/arson equipment. The third grant would create a relief pool of staff to fill shift vacancies while reducing overtime costs, with an estimated project cost of $4,258,668.

• A memorandum of understanding with Merced County and the Probation Department, which would supply personnel to help clean up areas of the City in need of beautification.

• A proclamation celebrating Black History Month in the City of Merced.


A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650.

At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office,
678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.
The City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month, except when there is a holiday, then it meets the following day.

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January 28, 2021

Virtual Town Hall meetings coming in February

Merced residents are encouraged to participate in the two upcoming Town Hall virtual meetings in February. Interested persons can express their views, offer their recommendations, and ask questions at the meetings held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and Feb. 18.

The Town Halls are being held virtually to protect public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In past years, the sessions were held in auditoriums throughout the City.

There are opportunities for the community to get involved before the Town Hall meetings to learn about the City Council’s goals and priorities. An online survey at www.cityofmerced.org/townhall is being used to poll the residents on a range of matters, and help focus the meetings on topics of importance to residents. Videos are also on the website that highlight the mission of City Departments and their accomplishments. Questions can also be submitted online at the website.

“We really want to hear from our residents, to use the Town Halls to give them a chance to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions,” said Mayor Matt Serratto. “This community has a lot to say, and it’s our job as the City Council to listen to them, especially now during the pandemic when opportunities to engage are limited due to social distancing restrictions.

“The Council uses the information from the Town Halls and the survey to craft our annual budget,” Serratto said. “It’s essential that people take part in these meetings, and the survey, so we know what people want and need as far as City services and programs.”

The Town Hall meetings will be available for viewing on all platforms available to City public meetings, including Facebook Live. The Town Halls will be on:
www.facebook.com/cityofmerced, Comcast Channel 96 and ATT Channel 99.

Translation into Spanish and Hmong is available.

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January 28, 2021

Storm downs 200-plus trees, more rain coming

The storm that arrived in Merced Tuesday night closed streets and downed trees and branches in Merced, resulting in more than 200 calls to the Public Works Department. More rain and wind are forecast through Friday, with rain totals expected to range between 3 and 4 inches.

The overnight winds downed trees and branches throughout the City. Public Works Department crews started clearing streets around midnight and continued throughout the day.

Childs Avenue between G Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way was closed for much of the morning due to flooding. Downed trees closed the southbound lanes of M Street between Lehigh Drive to Buena Vista and crews worked to clear it this morning.

While the storm is expected to bring heavy rain to the region, forecasters from the National Weather Service do not expect Bear Creek to overflow. Creek levels are expected to rise about 10 feet to the 14-foot level, which is below the 17-foot monitoring level and well below the 23-foot flood stage.

People who want to report down trees should call Public Works at 209-385-6800.

For more information on the storm forecast, check with the National Weather Service at https://bit.ly/2YmanD4.

Information on sandbags is available at https://www.cityofmerced.org/departments/public-works/flood-storm-information

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January 28, 2021

Merced County Academic Decathlon Celebrates 40th Year, Moves to Virtual Platform

Rounds of the Merced County Academic Decathlon begin this week, although the format of the longstanding test of student knowledge is much different this year.
Because of COVID-19, the decathlon events will be held virtually rather than in person, according to Stacie Arancibia, events and community engagement specialist for the Merced County Office of Education, which conducts the events.
Arancibia said the speech and interview process starts Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m., through the zFairs software.
This is the 40th year the decathlon has been held in Merced County. The theme this year is “The Cold War.”
On Feb. 6, students will compete in seven multiple-choice tests in Math, Science, Social Science, Music, Art, Economics and Literature. This takes place remotely through software provided by the United States Academic Decathlon. That afternoon, students will participate in the Super Quiz through the Zoom virtual platform.
Eighty high school students from Golden Valley, Merced, El Capitan, Livingston, Delhi, Le Grand and Buhach Colony high school campuses will compete.
“Thank you to the MCOE and school district staff for adapting and modifying this event to make it as safe as possible for everyone involved,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen. “I’d also like to thank the decathletes for participating in what will be a unique competition.”



 

On Feb. 9, the awards ceremony will be livestreamed in the evening, tentatively on YouTube, according to Arancibia.
“It’s exciting, but we definitely have to adjust this year,” Arancibia said.
The winning decathlon team will advance to the state championships, representing Merced County, which will be conducted March 18-21, also in a virtual format.
Three scholarships will be awarded to members of each team through sponsorship from the Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union and many other generous donations. The event is run by the non-profit Merced County Academic Decathlon Association board. Volunteers to help run the event — including reading the essays and judging speeches and interviews — are staff, teachers, principals, school trustees from MCOE and participating schools and districts and community members.

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January 27, 2021

City construction records not affected by COVID-19

Merced’s building industry hasn’t been slowed down by the coronavirus, as construction continued to set records in 2020.

There were 1,974,217 square feet of construction added last year, 600,000 sf more than last year’s record. The total number of building permits was 3,727, second only to the record set last year.

The year 2020 saw the most single-family dwelling permits – 723 – and multi-family building permits – 20 – pulled in the last decade. There were 389 multi-family units added last year.

“This is great news in a year that definitely needed some,” said Mayor Matt Serratto. “This brought us jobs, incomes, new housing and new businesses.”

“It’s a tribute to the strength of our local economy, our construction industry, and our City staff that can efficiently process the permits and inspections without hindering the builders,” said City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “Everyone did a great job and deserves credit.”

Scott McBride, the director of Development Services, believes the City is “still riding the wave of applications from 2019.”

He said along with Building Code changes that went into effect, local builders have multi-year planning cycles and 2020 was just part of it.

“In some respects, we are still recovering from when we had no housing growth,” McBride said. “We’re now getting back to a new activity level.”

One important factor during the pandemic was the designation of construction being deemed an “essential” activity,” McBride said.

“We had a lot of questions about if construction was considered essential,” he said. “In reality, builders understood construction was necessary and they sustained the momentum.”

“COVID is not affecting the growth for construction,” said Denise Frazier, the City’s Chief Building Official. “We are still getting lots of tenant improvements and commercial construction.”

“Commercial construction is not slowing,” she said. “They seem to be building in anticipation of the virus changing.” Frazier said the construction is going on all over the City.


The City’s early adaption of the electronic permit approval process has helped with the building boom, and dealing with the pandemic. When the coronavirus arrived, many building departments were forced to convert overnight from a process that had been dependent on submitting paper plans and applications to an all-electronic procedure.

“We have a new plan checker who came from an all paper department,” Frazier said. “He said we can do 75 percent more plan reviews because it’s electronic, not paper.”

Brody Peterson, a senior project designer for CoreStates Group, is working with the City as he designs the improvements for the new Best Buy building. Based out of Minnesota, his firm has worked all over the nation, but Merced stands out for him.

“You, as a City, are able to work with the customer, and you do it very well and it’s very appreciated,” he said.

“We work all over the country, and typically California is a little tougher to work with due to the stricter codes,” Peterson said, “Having a City to work with is a little hard to come by in this state, but we are thankful.”

District 6 Council Member Delray Shelton said 2020 required the City to be flexible during these uncertain times. “In some ways we defied the odds by having new businesses come to town, and others expand or make plans for the future.”

“Pizza Hut and Coconut Cafe made tenant improvements, while Ashley Brothers Furniture and Bag ‘O’ Crab decided to make Merced their home,” Shelton said. “We have a new Starbuck’s getting ready to open, and an ARCO that located at our Gateway Marketplace shopping center at Highway 99 and Campus Parkway. We even had industrial activity at the Airport Industrial Park.

“COVID caused the City to re-think how we do business,” Shelton said. “We met the challenge, and it’s paying off with on-going development.”

“Nobody knew how the coronavirus would affect the building industry at all,” Frazier said. “We all went through the economic downturn of 2008. We were all, ‘Here is comes again,” but the building just keeps going and it hasn’t slowed. This is a different kind of economic downturn and the world of construction isn’t affected.”

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January 27, 2021

CDAA Has Filed an Amicus Brief Supporting Lawsuit
Against Los Angeles County District Attorney
The amicus brief focuses on the foundations of the California Constitution and
its guarantees of the rights of victims, as well as the role of prosecutors in making
certain that those rights remain recognized within the criminal justice system

January 26, 2021—The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) announced today that it filed an amicus brief in Los Angeles County Superior Court supporting a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. CDAA’s actions are in response to a request from the ADDA, the union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors, which asked CDAA to weigh in on the directives.

CDAA Chief Executive Officer Greg Totten said in remarks today, “We take this action regretfully, and mindful of the broad authority and independence of elected district attorneys. We also note this is an extraordinary step for an association that has long cherished diversity of opinions as well as spirited debate of the criminal justice policy issues of the day.”


He added: “No constitutional provision and no statute vests any district attorney with veto power over the law. We are also dedicated to the ethical duties every prosecutor holds and the oath each takes to ‘support and defend’ and ‘bear true faith and allegiance’ to the California Constitution. No prosecutor—elected or otherwise—may disregard these solemn responsibilities nor direct his subordinates to do so.”

The case will be heard in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Department 85, on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.

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January 22, 2021

TRAFFIC ADVISORY
LANE & RAMP CLOSURES
STATE ROUTE 99 – FROM HAMMATT AVENUE TO MERCED RIVER

MERCED COUNTY – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close
various ramps and lanes on State Route 99 (SR-99) for maintenance and construction
work. Work will occur as follows:
• Closure of the #3 (right) lane of northbound SR-99 from Stein Way/Steinberg
Road to Hammatt Avenue for accident investigations on Monday, January 25,
2021, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Full on and off-ramp closures on northbound SR-99 at Sultana Drive for accident
investigations on Monday, January 25, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
• Closure of the #1 (left) lane of northbound SR-99 from Hunter Road to the
Merced River for k-rail installation beginning Sunday, January 24, through Friday,
January 29, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Motorists should expect 10-minute delays. Alternate routes should be taken whenever
possible.
This work is scheduled to begin as listed, but is subject to change due to traffic
incidents, weather, availability of equipment, and/or materials and construction related
issues.



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

 

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January 16, 2021

Town Halls, youth grant application on Council agenda

The preparations for the upcoming virtual Town Hall meetings and a youth mentorship grant application are on the Merced City Council agenda for Tuesday, Jan. 19. Council meetings are usually held on Mondays, but because of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the meeting is postponed a day.

The Council will be holding two virtual Town Hall meetings from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 11 and Thurs., Feb. 18. Council is being asked to review the contents of an online survey being conducted to help organize topics for discussion.

The regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall.

Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the
day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and
will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications
portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be
limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.

You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.

For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.


 

On the agenda:

• Council will hold two Town Hall meetings to gather public input before beginning the budget process. Council is being asked to review the content and format of a survey and the Town Hall landing page to gather information from residents for the sessions.

• The City is applying to the Proposition 64 Public Health and Safety Grant Program to create a 3-year youth mentorship pilot program with Merced County. Mentors from the City and job partners will be placed in all Departments.

• The Recreation and Parks Commission has recommended to the City Council the creation of a 2- to 3-year pilot program to use a portion of Measure Y funds on a participatory budget process. Measure Y funds are taxes collected locally from the sales of cannabis products and funds go to the Parks and Recreation, Police and Fire Departments, and general fund.

A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650.

At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office,
678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.
The City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month, except when there is a holiday, then it meets the following day.

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January 15, 2021

CALTRANS TO BEGIN CURB RAMP IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
ON STATE ROUTE 165 IN LOS BANOS

MERCED COUNTY – Caltrans is preparing to begin a Curb Ramp Improvement Project
that will improve safety and mobility for pedestrians at several locations on State Route
165 (SR-165) between SR-152 and Santa Cruz Way in the city of Los Banos in Merced
County.
The project will see improvements of sidewalks and driveway approaches with the
installation of A.D.A. (American Disabilities Act) curb ramps. Improvements will also be
made to drainage inlets and storm drains. New traffic signals and traffic loops will also
be installed at the intersection of SR-165 and SR-152.
Work is scheduled to occur during day and night-time hours and will include one-way
traffic control lane closures. Flaggers will assist motorists during these lane closures and
Caltrans will also have changeable message signs alerting motorists of the potential
delays.
Motorists can expect 15-minute delays and are encouraged to seek alternate routes.
This estimated $6.02 million project has been awarded to George Reed Construction,
Inc. of Modesto, CA. Work is scheduled to begin February 1, 2021, with completion
expected in Fall 2021.
Schedules are 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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January 14, 2021

City offices closed Monday for holiday

City offices will be closed on Mon., Jan. 18 to observe the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
There will be no garbage pickup that day. All trash collection will be delayed one day during the week.
The normally scheduled City Council meeting on the third Monday of the month will be held at 6 p.m. Tues, Jan. 19. For more details and the Council meeting agenda, go to cityofmerced.org.


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January 13, 2021

CDAA Will File Amicus Brief Supporting Lawsuit Against Los Angeles County District Attorney
The Association has grave concerns that some of the policies established by George Gascón violate the state’s constitutional protection of crime victims

January 12, 2021—The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) announced today it will file an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
CDAA’s actions are in response to a request from the ADDA, the union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors, which asked CDAA to weigh in on the directives.
CDAA responded with an open ethics letter to the ADDA expressing grave concerns regarding some of the new Los Angeles County District Attorney’s policies, including one that compels prosecutors to read a blanket statement in court which, in some cases, violates the state’s constitutional protection of crime victims.
New sentencing guidelines, issued by Gascón on his first day in office, force Los Angeles County prosecutors to read a statement in court that asks for the removal of certain sentencing enhancements, such as possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
“By prohibiting the gun enhancement, this new policy seeks to punish a gun-wielding robber the same as a defendant who snatches a purse from a victim’s shoulder,” CDAA said in its letter.


CDAA is a training and advocacy group for state prosecutors that Mr. Gascón was a member of when he served as San Francisco District Attorney, and it rarely addresses policy differences among elected District Attorneys. As the letter notes, however, CDAA believes it must take a position when policies implemented by an individual District Attorney go beyond the exercise of discretion and contravene both the state constitution and prosecutor ethics.
“The District Attorney does not possess the legal power to dispense with his deputies’ constitutional and statutory obligations to crime victims or the duty of candor by imposing a mandate to read a script,” said CDAA president Vern Pierson.
The amicus brief, a legal document showing support for the lawsuit, will be filed later this month in accordance with the superior court deadlines and procedures.

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January 9, 2021

Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on 2021-22 Budget Proposal

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s 2021 State Budget proposal:

“The State Budget is an expression of California’s priorities. While there is plenty of detail left to be worked out, Governor Newsom continues to make good on his promise to keep the San Joaquin Valley a priority.
“Last year, the Governor made a commitment to permanently fund a new UC medical school in the Valley. True to his word, the budget maintains funding for our medical school, and we remain on track to enroll our first class of future Valley doctors in 2023. As we continue to struggle with 0% ICU capacity in no small part because of our doctor and nursing shortage, this is a truly transformational and long-overdue investment in the health and wellbeing of everyone who calls the Valley home.
“The Valley also has a disproportionate number of people enrolled in Medi-Cal and elevated rates of diabetes impacting our most vulnerable communities. I have fought for years to expand Medi-Cal to cover continuous glucose monitors. It’s a common-sense reform that 40 other states, Medicare, and every commercial health plan in the state have already adopted. More than 20 other legislators joined me last month in urging the Governor to make this happen in the budget after revelations that over one-third of COVID-19 deaths are linked to patients with diabetes. Today, the Governor took decisive action to provide Medi-Cal patients with diabetes the same standard of care as everyone else. This cannot be overstated; chronic illness and premature death will be prevented because of this reform.



“Finally, I was glad to hear the Governor rebuke those who have called for tax increases to make up for a budget deficit that simply has not materialized. Increasing taxes during a global pandemic and economic recession is moronic. We should be looking for opportunities to lower taxes as families continue to struggle to make ends meet. I hope Congress was paying attention to the Governor’s comments as well. Tax increases are off the table.”
UC Merced Chancellor Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz applauded the Governor and Assemblymember Gray for their ongoing commitment to address the Valley’s longstanding shortage of health care providers:
“This pandemic has made clarion clear the importance of the state’s continued investment in bringing reliable access to health care to its most underserved regions. UC Merced’s collaboration with UCSF Fresno is critical to building a pipeline of physicians for the region who come from the communities they will serve. We are grateful to the Governor for his ongoing commitment and to Assemblymember Gray for his steadfast dedication to keeping UC Merced’s medical education aspirations and the San Joaquin Valley front and center in Sacramento.”

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January 7, 2021

Bulky Item Drop-Off Site open for all City residents
and a Community Cleanup Program is on the way

The Bulky Item Drop-Off Site is now open to all City of Merced residents who need help getting rid of their extra trash, with an extra Saturday of operation. The Merced City Council made the change Monday night.

Residents no longer need to show they are City utility customers, but they will need to provide two forms of identification to show they live within the City limits. Suitable forms of ID include a driver’s license, state identification card, and any kind of monthly bill or statement.

The site isn’t for the usual household waste, but for things that don’t fit into the household container such as couches, mattresses, and appliances. The site also will take e-waste.

The Bulky Item Drop-Off Site is located at the corner of No. Hwy 59 and Yosemite Ave. The Drop-Off Site is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. Starting in 2021, the site is open the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 to noon.

Beautification is a Council priority, so making the facility available to all residents helps achieve this goal and is a key service to residents.

Also Monday night the Council directed staff to develop a Community Cleanup Program to partner with neighborhoods, volunteer groups and non-profit organizations who want to help cleanup specific areas. The cleanup program was initiated by Mayor Matt Serratto. Participating groups can post their cleanup event on the City’s website MercedCommunityCalendar.org and coordinate services through the Public Works Department.

The Bulky Item Drop Off Site was opened in late 2019 to help curb illegal dumping within the City.


Recycling Coordinator Monique Gama said staff analyzed what was being picked up at the illegal dump sites. “A lot of it was sofas, chairs, tires or random things they couldn’t put in their containers at home, and they didn’t want to take it to the landfill,” she said.

Gama said the usual household garbage, the recycling and the leaves, grass clippings, tree branches and other green waste still needs to go into the regular containers at a resident’s house. People can also take it down the road to the Highway 59 Landfill. Household hazardous waste is another item not accepted at the Drop-Off site but can be taken to the landfill.

Many of the items will be diverted to other uses, like the e-waste and metals. The things that can’t be recycled will be hauled to the landfill.

If the Bulky Item Drop-Off site doesn’t solve a resident’s refuse problems, Gama said there are other solutions. The landfill is about four miles down the road, and it can handle all the disposal needs, including hazardous waste.

The City also has options that include renting dumpsters and roll-offs, depending on the size of the project and how much stuff a resident will need hauled away. Another option is to order an extra collection for the trash container. Contact the Public Works Department for more information on those options.

For questions about the site or to talk about trash pickup options, call the Public Works Department at 209-385-6800 or got to the “Got Trash?” tab under the Public Works Department at www.cityofmerced.org.

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January 5, 2021

Travis Credit Union Announces New Financial Education Webinars Available for Free in January

Vacaville, CA – January is Financial Wellness month, and Travis Credit Union has all the tools necessary to help those who are looking to reassess and reboot their relationship with money at the start of the New Year and the beginning of tax-filing season. As the pandemic has extended beyond a health crisis into an economic crisis, as well, a recent Harris Poll survey indicated many Americans wished they had better money management skills.

For those seeking much needed support in their personal financial management resolutions, Travis Credit Union is offering free online financial education on a variety of topics for many ages. This month’s line-up also features first-in-series webinars targeting teens and money management, as well as the Driving Clean Assistance Program grant information.

Webinar Topic Date/Info Registration
Ten Steps to Financial Success Jan 6/11a.m. (PST)
Saving with a Purpose Jan 12/11a.m. (PST)
Part 1/Driving Clean Assistance Pgrm Jan 13/11a.m. (PST)
Part 2/Driving Clean Assistance Pgrm Jan 21/11a.m. (PST)
Let’s Talk Money (13-18 y/o) Session 1 Jan 21/4p.m. (PST)
Car Buying 101 Jan 26/6p.m. (PST)
10 Steps to Financial Success (Spanish) Jan 27/11a.m. (PST)

 

In 2021 and beyond, TCU will continue to be defined by our Awesome Cause – which is to change lives and lift communities through financial wellness. For more free financial education opportunities, please visit traviscu.org/webinars.

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 13th largest credit union in California with more than 214,000 members and more than $3.9 billion in assets.

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January 1, 2021

COVID-19 business help, N Street on Council agenda

An update on the City’s efforts to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, and a design review and direction from Council on the future N Street road construction project are on the agenda for the Monday night Merced City Council meeting.

The City has more than a dozen programs designed to help businesses that are experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic, ranging from loans to building permit extensions. The Council will receive a report on the programs and how they are being utilized by businesses and the public.

The regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Order in order to protect the public, City staff and Council from the coronavirus. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live at City of Merced, on the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org, and Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-29-20, there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location, except, Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers specifically those covered by the Communications Sector including, but not limited to, workers who support media services. All votes for this meeting will be taken via rollcall.

Please submit your public comment to the City Council electronically no later than 1 p.m. on the
day of the meeting. Comments received before the deadline will be sent to the City Council and
will be part of the record and mentioned as part of the Written Petitions and Communications
portion of the agenda. Material may be emailed to cityclerk@cityofmerced.org and should be
limited to 300 words or less. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Closed Session, item # or Oral Communications. Your comments will be presented to the City Council at the appropriate time. Any correspondence received after 1 p.m. will be distributed to the City Council and retained for the official record.

You may provide telephonic comments via voicemail by calling (209) 388-8688 by no later than 1 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public comment. Voicemails will be limited to a time limit of three (3) minutes. Please specify which portion of the agenda you are commenting on, for example, Public Hearing item #, Consent item #, or Oral Communications. Your comments will be played during the City Council meeting at the appropriate time.

For Public Hearing items, if you wish to speak live during the meeting, please leave callback information and you will be contacted with further details.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650. Assisted hearing devices are available for meetings held in the Council
Chamber.


On the agenda:

• When the pandemic struck, the City Council implemented a series of programs to assist businesses and the public, including creating a business outreach team, establishing a sewer and water bill rebate and starting a small business grant program. Council will receive a report on the programs that have been initiated since the pandemic began.

• Council is being asked for direction on design elements for the N Street Project, and will receive an update on upcoming Capital Improvement Projects for 2021.

• Seeking Council’s direction on the format and dates for the 2021 Community Town Halls and Strategic Planning Session. Due to the current restrictions due to the pandemic, the sessions will be held virtually.

A link to the live meeting is on the City’s website at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org.

To view video (if available) or listen to the City Council meeting live, go to the City’s website
www.cityofmerced.org, Facebook Live, or Comcast Public Access Channel 96.

Accommodation for individuals with disabilities may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk at
(209) 388-8650.

At least 72 hours prior to each regular City Council meeting, a complete agenda packet is
available for review on the City’s website at www.cityofmerced.org or at the City Clerk’s Office,
678 W. 18th St. All public records relating to an open session item that are distributed to a majority of the Council will be available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Spanish and Hmong translation is available at every regular meeting.
The City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month, except when there is a holiday, then it meets the following day.


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January 1, 2021


Merced native Derek Parker named Merced Fire Chief

Derek Parker has been named the City of Merced Fire Chief by City Manager Stephanie Dietz. He will start Jan. 4.
This is a homecoming for Parker, and his wife, Kimberly, since both grew up in Merced. He is returning to the community after working his way up through the Sacramento Fire Department.
“We are fortunate not only in having Derek’s experience but also in that he is closely connected to our community,” Dietz said. “In addition to his strong administrative and leadership skills, Derek brings a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence that will serve the department well.”
Parker, 44, started his career in 1995 at the McKee Fire Station working as a firefighter for the Merced County Fire Department. He left Sacramento as a battalion chief overseeing a $33 million budget.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come home and bring the experience that I’ve been able obtain from larger agencies back to the City of Merced and move forward with it,” Parker said.
“The Merced Fire Department has a great history of providing community-based services at a very high level,” Parker said. “The opportunity to expand on previous successes is an opportunity which I can’t pass up.”
In Sacramento, Parker oversaw the Emergency Medical Services Division and the Special Operations Division, which includes the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 7.
6 7 8 W e s t 18 t h S t r e e t, M e r c e d, C A 9 5 3 4 0
C I T Y O F M E R C E D



Derek Parker

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

For the past nine years he has been a Federal Emergency Management Agency section chief and has responded to incidents across the country. Most recently, he has been called out on Hurricanes Florence, Michael, Delta and Dorian to serve as the section planning chief.
Parker started out in Sacramento as a firefighter/paramedic and worked his way up as an engineer/paramedic before being promoted to captain/paramedic. Even as battalion chief, Parker said, “I am still a paramedic. One of my goals is to bring paramedics to the Merced Fire Department.”
A 1994 graduate of Merced High, his family owned Parker’s Hardware for decades. After high school, he worked for Riggs Ambulance for four years, then briefly in Selma, before heading north to Sacramento.
Parker started studying to be a firefighter at Merced College under former Fire Chief Ken Mitten. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State and is working on a master’s degree in fire and emergency management from Oklahoma State University.
Parker is married to the former Kimberly Williams, and they have two sons, Aiden, 16, and Brett, 13.
He is a sports enthusiast, with football being his favorite, but, he said, “I follow lots of sports.” He likes to run and ride bikes to stay active.
Spending time with his family is a priority, and that includes traveling with them during vacation. “Unfortunately, we haven’t done much of that this year,” he said.
The annual salary for fire chief is $126,865.68 to $154,205.79.

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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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