Council recognizes Legion School Awards, bans smoking in parks
by Elias Funez
Jun 05, 2014 | 1690 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A standing room only City Hall council chambers, packed mostly with middle school and elementary school students scheduled to receive awards, were forced to wait an extra hour for the regularly scheduled council meeting to begin Tuesday night while the council consulted three closed session legal matters.

Audience members filed into the council chambers at 7 p.m. and remained patient talking amongst other members of the audience until the council emerged from closed session. Nothing was reported regarding a pair of property negotiations the city is currently under way within the Keystone Pacific Business Park, as well as a parcel located on the Mahaffey property along the north side of Las Palmas Avenue between Ward and 9th Street.

City Manager Rod Butler scheduled a special closed session meeting to take place next Tuesday June 10 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers to resume their closed session discussions, and a public meeting to discuss a budget workshop.

Students honored with American Legion School Awards

Despite the late start to Tuesday evening’s scheduled presentations, spirits were high when American Legion Sergeant-at-arms Keith Hussar presented 12 PJUSD elementary and middle school students with American Legion School Awards certificates.

Hannah Albrigo, Noel Carranza, Xandra Carter, Angelic Hernandez, Deja Nair, Matthew Ochoa, Betty Perez, Miguel Prado, Delilah Ramirez, Jonathan Thomas, and Javan Williams all received a certificate.

“The American Legion has recognized them for showing courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship, and service,” Hussar said during the presentation. “They are shining examples of what our students should be striving for.”

Members of the American Legion said this is the first time in years they’ve been able to give the awards and cited the help of the staff at each school with helping to identify proper recipients of the award.

Amongst the four honorees awarded from Creekside Middle School, Xandra Carter, a recent eighth-grade graduate, was awarded as top honoree by the Legion.

Carter was involved in the Academic Decathlon, has played the double Bass in the Modesto Symphony for two years as well as played music for the Creekside band. She’s played volleyball at Creekside for three years, was president of the California Junior Scholarship Federation, and was a member of the principal’s cabinet at her school. During a National History Day project she created a web site to raise awareness about the Cambodian Genocide.

Another pair of American Legion School Award recipients were school friends and Apricot Valley fifth-graders Jonathan Thomas and Francisco Ortiz, both 11 years old.

“We both like to cheer people up,” Thomas said when asked why he thought they were being recognized by the Legion. “We get good grades and help other students a lot. Sometimes we tell jokes. We help cheer people up and inspire confidence in them.”

Ortiz, who plays the trumpet for the Creekside Middle School band despite being a fifth-grader, also plays concert band in the Livermore Pleasanton area, and recently won the award for best musician in the Creekside band. He attributes these qualities as well as finishing ahead in math and his high reading skill as reason for being recognized by the American Legion.

Council Approves Ban on Smoking in Parks

City council members approved on a 5-0 vote the prohibition of smoking or use of tobacco products anywhere within a city owned recreation area, except in a designated smoking area (adjacent parking lots or park perimeters).

Further analysis regarding designated smoking areas needs to be done by city staff. They plan to come back to the city council within 60 days with recommendations on suitable smoking areas within or near the city’s parks.

As listed in the ordinance, smoking includes but is not limited to, tobacco smoke, electronic cigarette vapors, marijuana smoke, as well as restrictions banning the use of snuff, and chewing tobacco.

Garbage Rate Hikes Approved

A 3.3 percent garbage rate hike over the next 5 years was unanimously approved by the council to take place effective July 1, 2014.

Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 or
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at