As California's severe drought and bark beetle epidemic has left millions of trees dead, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection last week voted to extend a drought mortality exemption to the state's tree removal permitting process.
California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Vice Chair George Runner has announced that assessed property values in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties grew 6.3 percent in 2015-16 over 2014-15. Assessed values for county-assessed property jumped 6.4 percent while state-assessed property values went up 4.9 percent. Assessed values in these two counties are 2.3 percent higher than in 2008-09, when values statewide hit their prior peak.
The artwork of 15 talented Valley students is featured in the 2016 Healthy Air Living Kids' Calendar, a bilingual, full-color wall calendar just released by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
For the past four years, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has partnered with Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) in a combined effort to decrease the number of teen distracted driver fatalities across the state. Through engaging presentations in schools, the ITD program reaches thousands of teens and parents each year to show how using a cellular telephone, texting, and other distractions while driving can have fatal consequences. Teenagers are considered at most risk for distracted driving, and the CHP and ITD are dedicated to reversing what is a completely preventable crisis.
Members of the Orange Blossom 4-H group had a great time recently, bringing cheer to downtown holiday shoppers in Oakdale, singing Christmas carols outside stores and in one case, going inside and singing to Santa, who was on hand at the business. The kids split their forces with some singing, some members making scarves for the elderly, and others gathering items for their adopt-a-family project, helping two families to have a happy holiday season
There was plenty of warmth, good tidings and smiles going around the Family Support Network facilities on West F Street recently, as the organization hosted its annual Coats and Cookies festivities on Dec. 9 and 10.
Congregation Beth Shalom, The Center for Jewish Life in greater Stanislaus County and the Central Valley based in Modesto, hosted a public lighting ceremony of the Chanukah Menorah in downtown Oakdale on Sunday night, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Bianchi Community Center Plaza. The event featured the lighting of a five-foot tall Menorah, holiday songs and distributing holiday treats.
Oak Summit Masonic Lodge #112 of Knights Ferry is supporting the annual 2015 Toys for Tots holiday toy drive. A number of collection barrels and boxes have been placed in Oakdale. They include Ace Hardware, SaveMart, Oak Valley Jewelry, Steves Chevrolet, Haidlen Ford, Suzy Belens, Pizza Hut, Saras Dry Cleaner, Kmart, Tractor Supply and Wells Fargo Bank. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will help the Toys for Tots campaign get holiday gifts to those in need.
With the awareness and threat of global terrorism on the forefront, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson has just returned from a best practices counter-terrorism program in Israel. As part of the course which ran from Nov. 15-24, he met with his Israeli counterparts on how to make Stanislaus County and America safer. With the rise of ISIS and other fanatic organizations – as was most recently seen in Paris – this type of program is more important than ever, according to sheriff's department officials.
With code enforcement in the city basically dormant over the past few years, and the State of California requiring cities to enforce water conservation rules, the Oakdale City Council approved a combined code enforcement/water conservation officer position at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 7.