West Nile virus found in Patterson
by Elias Funez
Aug 21, 2014 | 786 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Turlock Mosquito Abatement District officials confirmed today that a dead crow found in Patterson last week tested positive for the deadly West Nile virus. Patterson’s Angelo Bermudez discovered the dead bird in the back yard of his home at the end of Hillstock Ct. in eastern Patterson on Tuesday Aug. 12 after coming home from work. “We’ve never seen a big dead bird like that before, and we live on the edge of town,” Bermudez said after receiving a call from Turlock Mosquito Abatement District Vector Biologist Monica Patterson on Wednesday Aug. 20. The peculiarity of the situation immediately motivated Bermudez to call the abatement district’s hotline number to be used when dead birds are found. He was asked if the bird appeared to have been dead within the past 24 hours, which Bermudez affirmed. Within an hour of Bermudez’ call a representative of the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District was on hand to remove the bird. “We try to call back all participants to let them know either way,” said Turlock Mosquito Abatement’s Monica Patterson. This isn’t the first time West Nile has been found in Patterson this year though, Patterson added. A sample from a mosquito trapped in one of two Patterson area locations came up positive for the virus back in early July. Patterson went on to say that this is the 16th bird to test positive for West Nile Virus in Stanislaus County this year and the first for the city of Patterson. Sixty samples collected from within the county have also shown the virus. The dead crow discovered by Bermudez prompted the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District to set up more traps in the Patterson area. While abatement biologist Monica Patterson affirms the health hazards associated with West Nile virus are quite serious, she also added that this year has yet to produce the type of situation in the Patterson area as was two years ago when folks up and down the Westside were affected by the virus. “The problem with these mild winters is that the virus is much more active across the State,” Patterson added. One positive to California’s drought is there is less water in the area, and less opportunities for West Nile to spread as a result. Patterson added, however, that there are still problems with many neglected pools in the area though. While cases have been handled all across the state, Stanislaus County, and the Central Valley in general, is a prime location for West Nile virus to show up according to a couple of factors. First, the type of birds known to carry West Nile virus, such as crows, magpies, scrubjays, and sparrows, are right at home in the mild weather of the Central Valley. And Second, the two types of mosquitoes that can transmit the virus, Culex Pipiens, and Culex Tarsalis, naturally call the valley home as well. Other areas along the coast are generally cooler in temperatures and it’s harder for West Nile virus to take hold there. Ways to stay safe The Turlock Mosquito Abatement District has compiled a list of measures called the 5 D’s, that they want people to remember when going about their lives. Dusk to dawn – Mosquitoes tend to be more active at dusk and dawn, if you can avoid being out at those times, please try and do so. Deet- As kids are going to and from school and out to do sports, mosquito repellent with D.E.E.T. is an effective way to help repell mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are remain active in our area through October, or usually until the first cold snap. District – The Turlock Mosquito Abatement District asks that you notify them if you have any concerns or questions. Dead birds – Reporting dead birds by calling the dead bird hotline at 1-877-968-2473. Birds must be dead less than 24 hours in order to try and locate the virus. When the bird dies, so does the virus. “We really want to encourage people to do their part in protecting themselves,” Patterson said. West Nile virus is a neuro-invasive disease that has killed four people in Califonria this year, two of them being from Stanislaus County. Symptoms may include fever, headaches, fatique, muscle pain, aches, malaise, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, myalgias, and rash. Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext: 31 or elias@pattersonirrigator.com.
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City Manager Rod Butler bids his farewell as he presides over his final city council meeting last Tuesday Aug 19.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
City Manager Rod Butler bids his farewell as he presides over his final city council meeting last Tuesday Aug 19.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
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City Manager Rod Butler says goodbye; Business Challenge announced
by Elias Funez
Aug 21, 2014 | 525 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City Manager Rod Butler bids his farewell as he presides over his final city council meeting last Tuesday Aug 19.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
City Manager Rod Butler bids his farewell as he presides over his final city council meeting last Tuesday Aug 19.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
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The Stanislaus Business Alliance Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announced that they will be holding their first ever Stanislaus Innovation Challenge during Tuesday evening’s regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Aug. 26. SBDC Director Kurtis Clark informed the council that anyone who is a resident, student or business owner within Stanislaus County is eligible to enter the challenge, with the grand prize being $2,500 in cash, as well as $2,500 in professional support services to help them launch their idea towards market introduction. “It’s what we like to call American Idol meets Shark Tank,” said Clark, referring to the popular television shows. According to the SBDC website, the Innovation Challenge is designed to assist people who have viable and innovative new ideas or products, and will focus on determining if those ideas have commercial potential. A panel of three experienced entrepreneurs, as well as audience members from each location, will get to cast their votes following the participants’ presentations. Four separate cities within Stanislaus County have been selected to host the local competitions, including Patterson. The event is scheduled to take place on October 29 at the Hammon Senior Center, from 6 to 8 p.m. Other cities include Modesto on September 17, Oakdale on October 8 and Turlock on November 12. The winner selected from each city will then move on to a fifth round, where one winner will be chosen to receive the $2,500 cash, as well as the $2,500 in support services. Aside from the prizes and support, the winner will get to compete in the eight-county-wide San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge and have the opportunity to be considered for additional funding by the Stanislaus-Merced Angel Investors, who typically invest around $50,000 to $500,000, yet claim to have no limit on the size of their investments. For more information please contact Lisa Valdez at 209-567-4915 or visit alliancesbdc.com. City Manager Butler applauded Outgoing City Manager Rod Butler received applause and praise from City Council, staff and audience members during Butler’s final council meeting before leaving to take the City Manager job in his hometown of Upland in Southern California next month. City Engineer Ken Irwin was appointed as the Interim City Manager during last week’s Special City Council meeting on Aug. 12, and will take over in Butler’s absence by the next council meeting. Baldwin repairs awarded The Baldwin Road Manhole Repair Contract was awarded to Arrow Construction for $213,325 during Tuesday’s meeting. Interim City Manager Ken Irwin addressed the council, acting as the director of engineering and capital projects while seated next to the city’s other department heads. According to Irwin and the staff report, safety concerns have arisen as a result from uneven pavement around manholes in the northbound lane of Baldwin Avenue, between Sperry Avenue and Keystone Parkway. It was identified that improper compaction of the area around the manholes when the road was built back in 2004 are the cause. “This is one of my pet peeve projects I’ve wanted to get done,” said Councilmember Deborah Novelli as she addressed city staff, adding that she’d like to see construction begin after 8 a.m. in order to help alleviate any added morning traffic issues. “Thank you.” A second bid for $224,064 was also received from Teichert Construction, but ultimately the decision went with Arrow’s lower bid. A 5-percent contingency for unknown conditions was also added to the contract, allowing Arrow to spend up to $223,991 if need be. Construction is expected to last approximately eight days and should commence within two to three weeks, according to Irwin. Tax revenue trends reviewed Andrew Nickerson of HdL Companies, based out of Diamond Bar, Calif., provided a presentation to councilmembers regarding Patterson’s current and historical sales tax revenue trends and helped answer any questions or concerns presented. Councilmembers questioned Nickerson’s knowledge of point-of-sale taxes and sales-and-use taxes in relation to Patterson’s distribution centers, and made references to the Amazon Fulfillment Center. “The business has a very unique structure unlike what we’ve seen in California,” Nickerson said of the city’s most recently constructed distribution center. Emergency Shelter ordinance tabled again Councilmembers voted to table the continued public hearing regarding the approval of Ordinance No. 770, which would establish an emergency shelter overlay zone, until their Oct. 21 meeting. City Attorney Tom Hallinan said he saw some language in the ordinance that could create a problem with age and gender discrimination, and expressed that the ordinance has created debate amongst his law firm. “There’s been a lot of debate about this internally,” Hallinan said. “I was out voted 3-2 on the SB-2 issue.” Clemmer touts city water rebate program Patterson resident and City Council meeting regular Mary Clemmer was happy to report on her experience in taking part in the city’s High Efficiency Toilet (HET) Pilot Rebate Program which offers $75 for each HET installed per home. Clemmer recently had a pre-inspection for three new low flow HET’s to be installed in her home. “It was a joy dealing with the city,” Clemmer said. “They were kind, helpful and answered our questions.” Only city of Patterson utility customers are eligible for the rebate, and there is a limit of two rebates offered per household unless your home was built before 1994. A toilet must use 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less to be eligible as an approved HET. A call to fill commission vacancies Councilors pointed out that there are two vacancies on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as three vacancies on the city’s Beautification Committee. It was advised that anyone interested in volunteering to fill those vacancies should contact City Hall or fill out an application available on the city’s website at ci.patterson.ca.us. Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext: 31 or elias@pattersonirrigator.com.
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Four candidates to vie for Mayoral seat
by PI Staff
Aug 21, 2014 | 410 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Four local candidates—current Mayor Luis Molina, and challengers Ralph Arredondo, Dominic Farinha and Sheree Lustgarten—have decided to run for Mayor of Patterson. Voters will choose who will lead the city when they vote in the Nov. 4 Gubernatorial Election. The Patterson Irrigator asked the candidates a few questions as a way of introduction and will present more questions and answers on in depth issues in the coming weeks. Luis Molina Mayor Luis Molina, 49, is currently completing his second term as Mayor of Patterson. Molina works for Stanislaus County, Behavior Health & Recovery Services, Prevention Services, and Behavioral Health Community Consultant/Community Ally. He has worked two years in his current department, but has been in Stanislaus County since March 17, 2004. His wife is Graciela L. Molina Why do you want to run again? There are many reasons, too many to mention. These are a few: I have been asked by many members of our community to consider running for another term. My wife encourages me to serve, just as she has when we moved to Patterson about 12 years ago.  As we became familiar with the community I began to see opportunities to help others support the quality of their lives.  I felt compelled to get involved with others, to engage and connect with neighbors and friends, bringing people together and solving problems. That aspect continues today, however I have supported youth leaders and other community leaders, who have built capacity to act on their own behalf. Running for Mayor is one way to serve our community.  What do you feel you have accomplished? I believe I have been able to demonstrate leadership through professionalism, respect and civility, regardless what others say and do. I have been able to build relationships with agencies, civic organizations, the schools, churches, business owners and individuals to work together to bring additional resources/partnerships to benefit our community. I have been able to speak directly to some of the principals of many companies to articulate why choosing Patterson, a great business location, is a sound decision. I have done my best to bridge the gap between neighbors regardless of generation, language, and culture and “old & new” Patterson residents. I am an ambassador, advocate and champion for the city of Patterson. Just ask others in our county and community. Ralph Arredondo Mayoral challenger Ralph Arredondo has worked for Stanislaus County as a Family Services Specialist III with the Alliance WorkNet for the past 18 years. He is age 66 and married to Louisa Arredondo and has three adult children; 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Along with his mother, Zora Arredondo, there are five generations of Arredondos. Why did you decide to run for mayor? I decided to run for mayor because I feel that Patterson is in desperate need for some changes (new blood if you will). What do you want to accomplish?  I would like to see our civic leaders work together for the betterment of our community.  I have been a resident of Patterson for a good 60 years and I have seen many changes, some good some bad, and I do not like the direction the city leaders are leading us in for our future.  I really would like to see the Mayor lead the City Council in a more unified and positive manner to achieve the ultimate goal of what’s best for Patterson and it’s citizens. Dominic Farinha Dominic Farinha, 42, is a student and manager and current member of Patterson City Council. Why do you want to run for mayor?   There are a variety of reasons why I want to lead as Mayor of Patterson. My first motivation to serve is that Patterson is my hometown and that is where my passionate focus is as a policymaker. Secondly, I am exercising the same constitutional right as an engaged citizen to run for Mayor as I have done for city councilmember twice. A third motivation stems from the desire to effectively illustrate that leadership is a demonstrated ability and not a stated claim.   What do you want to accomplish? There are a variety of goals that I would like to accomplish as Mayor of Patterson and the first matter that will require experienced attention is overseeing the city manager transition process and leading the charge in a professional executive search, if need be.  Secondly, the next wave of development to occur in Patterson will be residential growth and the City must have a leader with a relevant background and a strong and determined vision to ensure that new neighborhoods will be appropriately built and not be a burden to the City or its residents.  Third, to restore the practice of building back the City’s financial reserves through practical decision-making, improved internal fiscal analysis and appropriate municipal expenditures.  Sheree Lustgarten Sheree Lustgarten, 52, is a married mother of five who is in event planning/management and is a current member of the Patterson City Council Why do you want to run for mayor? After careful consideration, I decided to run for mayor because I have a number of major priorities for our community which I believe can be given more prominent attention if I am serving as Mayor.  For example, we need to remain vigilant in terms of providing our residents with a safe and secure community. I strongly believe we need to be doing more to invest in our roads and other infrastructure.  I also think we need to make downtown revitalization and attracting new retail and entertainment options among of our highest priorities. These are just some of the issues I intend to focus on if given the honor of serving as Patterson Mayor. What do you feel you want to accomplish? I would like to get us on a path to a rejuvenated downtown core, with a vibrant atmosphere, new shopping and entertainment options.   I want to make sure that we have the funds necessary to improve our roads and modernize our access to the I-5 freeway.   I want to actively encourage involvement in the city’s decision-making by all of our residents.   And I want to improve communications among the City Council members and ensure that all five members of the Council have every opportunity to engage our residents and participate in community events and activities.
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Jim Groft pitches school resource chaplain to board of trustees
by Nathan Duckworth
Aug 21, 2014 | 441 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senior Chaplain Jim Groft was invited by Patterson Joint Unified School District (PJUSD) Superintendent Philip Alfano during the regular board of trustees meeting Aug. 18. Groft is a retired educator and Vietnam veteran who also served as police officer and paramedic. His organization, Chaplaincy Resource and Training International, trains school resource chaplains who volunteer on campuses at no cost to the district. “What does a chaplain do?” Groft asked himself for the board. “Two things: They listen and they support.” As an example of his work, Groft spoke of starting the last school year with three potential suicides. Recognizing that he could not properly help one boy, he referred him to the appropriate social-service agency, staying with him and his family for a week and a half until he could see a counselor. The other two boys he was able to help. He dismissed one in January, and the other did not want to be dismissed and stayed with him through the end of the school year. “As you all know, the counselors that we have in our schools today are just overwhelmed,” said Groft. “And mostly it’s with paperwork and number-pushing. To have somebody that can sit down with a student and really listen to them, listen in a non-judgemental way, guide them, direct them to various services, whether it’s faith-based or whether it’s social services, is extremely important.” Chaplains make faith-based recommendations in appropriate circumstances, and their presence on public school campuses is legal  in accordance with the parameters set by the Lemon v. Kurtzman Supreme Court ruling that they one, provide a secular service; two, service people of all faiths and of no faith; and three, are free of excessive government and excessive religious entanglement. Failure to adhere to one’s chaplaincy training in religious expression could lead to immediate dismissal. Teachers, counselors, administrators and even secretaries can fill out a chaplaincy referral form to recommend a student be seen by a chaplain. “None of my chaplains will see anybody whose parents have not been notified,” said Groft. “We get their permission.” Trustees expressed interest in bringing Groft’s program to Patterson schools. Chaplains would have to be recruited locally and then trained by Groft—again, at no cost to the district. “We’ve had senior citizens who have asked, ‘How can we help?’” said Trustee Michele Bays. “I think this really gives them an opportunity to have an impact.” After school program Director of District After School Programs Alysonn Cassidy reported that they are servicing approximately 700 students, down from the 1,000 the district serviced during the five-year grant they had received for high school programs. In response to Trustee Amy Hussar’s question about whether the district is actively pursuing bringing back the high school program, Cassidy said that she was informed several months ago that they did not receive the grant they applied for in November. Districts can re-apply, however, every year, and once they get accepted, they receive the grant for a five-year cycle.    In the meantime, Cassidy is exploring different options. “I have met with three different Patterson High people who are interested in creating a program where they’ll work for free,” Cassidy told the board. The annual tour of after school program is Tues., Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. Recognizing good deeds “I was at Walmart and these two feshman boys I let go ahead of me,” began Trustee Kay Silva Johnson as the Aug. 18 meeting winded down. “One was Roman and the other one was Keith—there were the nicest two guys. I let them go ahead, so then they asked if they could do anything for me. They went and got my ice and … they came to my cart and put my stuff in my car. The nicest two guys, I couldn’t believe it.” Future dates Tonight, at each of the district’s elementary schools, is back-to-school night. On Sept. 4 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. the district will host the grand opening of the new Professional Development Center on 530 Keystone Blvd., Suite C. And the next PJUSD board of trustees meeting is Monday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. in the PJUSD conference room. Nathan Duckworth can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext. 24 or nathan@pattersonirrigator.com.
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