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Delta College students win gold medals at SkillsUSA Competition

Stockton,CA- Nineteen San Joaquin Delta College students won gold medals at the SkillsUSA Region 5 Competition held in January at the college. Continue reading

Council Approves AB 506 Confidential Neutral Evaluation Process

(Stockton, CA) – The Stockton City Council approved a recommendation to move forward with a process recently approved by the State of California that allows for financial restructuring using a (60-day) confidential neutral evaluation process to avoid bankruptcy, under AB 506. The Council voted on items and associated findings, as follows:

· Continue the fiscal emergency, approved (7 – 0);

· Accept Management Partners Financial Assessment Report, approved (7 – 0);

· Request that City staff determine options for investigation into the causes of the City’s current financial situation, approved (7 -0).

· Suspension of certain debt payments; adjustments for fiscal year 2010-11 final financial statements; mid-year budget adjustments for fiscal year 2011-12; authorize confidential neutral evaluation process as defined by AB 506; authorize contract with Management Partners for AB 506 project management; and adopt findings and ratified suspension of leave payoffs, approved (6 – 1).

“The sources of our fiscal situation include unsustainable retiree health insurance; unsustainable and unsupportable labor contracts; an extreme amount of debt issued in the first decade of this century that assumed hyper growth would last forever; state raids on our finances; the protracted Valley recession; and poor fiscal management practices,” explained City Manager Bob Deis.

To prepare for the upcoming fiscal year, the City engaged Management Partners to conduct an independent financial condition assessment and provide a second opinion. Management Partners concurred with City staff that, while the City has aggressively moved to control current expenditures and more in the last two years than any other comparable jurisdiction, the City faces large deficits now and in the future and must take immediate steps to protect itself and restructure its finances to address debt obligations and unfunded liabilities.

Other options for addressing the $15 million in unrestricted fund deficits in the current fiscal year and an estimated deficit in Fiscal Year 2012-13 ranging from $20 – $38 million would make the City unhealthy and unsafe, such as more service reductions and more employee compensation reductions, which would cause current employees to leave. Addressing future deficits with a tax increase would place the burden on a community that may not support additional taxes. Until the City gets its fiscal house in order and litigation resolved, voters would be unlikely to support a tax increase.

“We have cut to the bone,” continued Deis. “There are no other alternatives. Reductions in programs, services and employees can no longer yield the financial results needed and it will put our citizens at risk. We need to share the burden with our other creditors.”

From March to June, the City will suspend $2,048,658 debt payments from unrestricted funds on 2009 Lease Revenue (Public Facilities Fees) Bonds, 2007 Variable Rate (400 E. Main Street) Bonds, and 2004 Lease Revenue (Parking Garages) Bonds. The City will continue to pay bills, make payroll and make all other bond and debt payments. In addition, the City will temporarily suspend employee leave pay outs.

The process approved this evening allows municipalities to enter into a period of confidential mediation with creditors or “interested parties” with $5 million or more in obligations or debt, which includes bond insurers, bond trustees, employee labor groups, retirees and others. The City and interested parties will select a neutral evaluator with the goal of reaching an agreement on how to manage City debt obligations. The process is confidential until an agreement is reached by all parties, at which time the City Council will vote on the final agreement.

“This Council has always been tough and strong in making difficult decisions, when we have been given complete and accurate information, and this City Manager has given us accurate information” said Mayor Ann Johnston. “This process is our last best chance to avoid bankruptcy – a process that was backed by unions. Our safety and the safety of our citizens depend on this process to move forward.”

I Have a Voice: Nicole Gonzalez

Nicole Gonzalez, an anatomy teacher at Edison High School, is the recipient of the 2012 Michael McKibbin Outstanding Educator Award.

Raised in San Mateo, California, Gonzalez, as the oldest daughter, helped her dad raised her six younger siblings. “It was very hard, but I will not change it for the world because that’s what made me who I am today,” stated Gonzales.

Nicole Gozalez, recipient of the 2012 Michael McKibbin Outstanding Educator Award

“My dad always pushed education; my dream was to become a doctor to take care of him.”

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she began to work as a substitute teacher. Little did she know that she was about to discover her passion for education. “I was lucky to find something that I truly loved.”

After teaching at Edison High for only three years, she was nominated and won the state level educator of the year award.

“I am very shocked to receive such an honor,” said Gonzales.

“Gonzalez embodies the skill and commitment of all Teacher Corps teachers, more than 55,000 educators who work tirelessly day after day in underserved communities and high-need subjects to serve California students. We know that the right teacher makes all the difference and Gonzalez is the right teacher for the Stockton community,” said California Teacher Corps Founding President, Catherine Kearney.

Gonzalez believes that when Latino students see their own people as teachers, they identify with them and that encourages them to pursue their dreams, which is her motivation for translating information for her students that are in the process of learning English.

“I think it is very important that people from my culture get involved and become teachers.”

For Gonzalez, the key to being successful in the classroom is to collaborate with other teachers to work across subject matters and create engaging lessons to make school not just educational but fun at the same time.

Gonzalez also helped develop the Edison Health Program with the University of the Pacific and Delta College, a pathway for high school students that choose a career in the health industry to graduate both college and career and ready.

Manuel Martin Announces that he is “Stepping Down”



SACRAMENTO, CA – Manuel Martin formally announced his candidacy on on February 25, 2012. Two days later, Martin sent an e-mail that announced that he would be stepping down. He was one of six candidates vying for the 13th Assembly District. The newly created district includes candidates Susan Talamantes Eggman, Khalid Jafri, Benjamin Y. Wong, Jennet Stebbins and Xochitl Raya Paderes.

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Stockton’s Administrators Seek way out of Bankruptcy


Bob Deis of Stockton City Council talks about the AB 506 process

STOCKTON, CA — “Contrary to what you have read about, Tuesday is to begin the AB 506 process, we are not asking city council to file chapter 9 [bankruptcy],” explained Stockton’s City Manager, Bob Deis, during a closed press conference the morning of Friday, February 24, 2012 at the Council Chambers.

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University to host: Pacific Family Health Fair

Stockton, Ca- VNCARES, a committee organized by the  University of the Pacific`s Thomas J. Long School of  Pharmacy is getting ready to host the 5th Annual on March 4th, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Stockton. Continue reading

New influenza virus discovered in Guatemalan fruit bats

Bat flu virus is not believed to present a threat to humans

A new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza, according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked with University of the Valley of Guatemala. The study was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Dr. Sylvia Ulmer recognized at Susan B. Anthony Awards

By Mayra Barrios

The 2012 Susan B. Anthony awards recognized the talent and dedication of ten women in San Joaquin County in a ceremony held at the Stockton Golf and Country Club on Thursday February, 16.

The San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women created the Susan B. Anthony Women Awards 36 years ago to honor women’s achievements.

Dr. Silvia Ulmer,Director of Elementary Education at Stockton Unified School District.

Among the recipients of the 2012 award is Dr. Sylvia Ulmer, Director of Elementary Education at Stockton Unified School District (SUSD).  Born in El Salvador, Ulmer came to the United State at the age16 years old and worked alongside her family, harvesting the crops of the region. Continue reading

Cesar Chavez High School enters State Competition

Cesar Chavez High School joined 24 other high schools across California in a scholarship competition for $2,000 — funds were from the De La Rosa & Company’s fourth annual Fabric of Society essay competition.

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SJ Country Supervisor, Carlos Villapudua appointed to the SJ Council of Governments

San Joaquin County Supervisor, Carlos Villapudua, has been appointed to the San Joaquin County Council of Governments.

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Spray Safe- Program to prevent pesticide exposure

By Mayra Barrios

Stockton, CA – Local growers and farmworkers participated in the “Spray Safe” program to prevent pesticide exposure incidents on February 8, 2012, at the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center.

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La Raza Galería Posada Sacramento;Partnership with City of Sacramento and new home

Sacramento, CA- La Raza Galería Posada (LRGP), Sacramento’s only non-profit center for Latino/Chicano
and Native American arts and culture announced today that the organization
will move to Miller Regional Park after signing an agreement with the City of Sacramento. La Raza Galería Posada
is currently located in Midtown, Sacramento.

Miller Regional Park is located at the western tip of Broadway on Front Street adjacent to the Sacramento Marina.
The new site will allow significantly enhanced year-round programming, including educational art camps,
outdoor sculptures, movies under the stars and live concerts, as well as the ability to offer artist studios
and future gallery exhibitions. The move, set for spring 2012, coincides with the 40th anniversary of the organization.

“The partnership is a unique and nationally significant move for both La Raza Galería Posada and the City of Sacramento.”
Dave Mitchell, Operations Manager at Department of Parks and Recreation stated. “La Raza Galería Posada will partner
with us at the Miller Park Corp Yard Building, and will be bringing a much needed arts focus to our community to help
fill a gap that budget shortfalls in our Department is not currently able to provide. The vision of Miller Park
becoming an arts hub for Sacramento over time is the right direction for everyone.”

Marie Acosta, LRGP Executive Director said “We couldn’t be more pleased. A partnership with the City offers us
new programming opportunities and the potential to serve a broader community.”

“This move will help preserve the 40 year old legacy of Sacramento’s premier Chicano arts and cultural center”
stated Rudy Cuellar, a founding member of Sacramento’s Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF), the famous artist collective.
As an artist, I am very happy with the move to Miller Park. It’s the right move at the right time.”

IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2012


Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” ranking of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. Continue reading

Majority of dairy-related disease outbreaks linked to raw milk

CDC Report Shows Higher Rates of “Raw” Milk Outbreaks in States Where It’s Legal

The rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk (often called raw milk) and products made from it was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 13-year review also revealed that the states where the sale of raw milk was legal had more than twice the rate of outbreaks as states where it was illegal.

The study, published Feb. 21 in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, reviewed dairy product outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 in all 50 states. The authors compared the amount of milk produced in the United States during the study period (about 2.7 trillion pounds) to the amount that CDC estimates was likely consumed raw (1 percent or 27 billion pounds) to determine the 150 times higher rate for outbreaks caused by raw milk products. Raw milk products include cheese and yogurt.

The study included 121 dairy–related disease outbreaks, which caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations and three deaths. In 60 percent of the outbreaks (73 outbreaks) state health officials determined raw milk products were the cause. Nearly all of the hospitalizations (200 of 239) were in those sickened in the raw milk outbreaks. These dairy-related outbreaks occurred in 30 states, and 75 percent (55 outbreaks) of the raw milk outbreaks occurred in the 21 states where it was legal to sell raw milk products at the time. The study also reported that seven states changed their laws during the study period.

Consumers can’t tell if raw milk is safe to drink by looking at, smelling, or tasting it. Even under ideal conditions of cleanliness, collecting milk introduces some bacteria. Unless the milk is pasteurized, these bacteria can multiply and grow in the milk and cause illness. Pasteurization involves heating milk to kill disease-causing bacteria.

“This study shows an association between state laws and the number of outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk products,” said Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases (DFWED). “Restricting the sale of raw milk products is likely to reduce the number of outbreaks and can help keep people healthier. The states that allow sale of raw milk will probably continue to see outbreaks in the future.”

The study also found that the raw milk product outbreaks led to much more severe illnesses, and disproportionately affected people under age 20. In the raw milk outbreaks with known age breakdowns, 60 percent of patients were younger than age 20, compared to 23 percent in outbreaks from pasteurized products. Children are more likely than adults to get seriously ill from the bacteria in raw milk.

“While some people think that raw milk has more health benefits than pasteurized milk, this study shows that raw milk has great risks, especially for children, who experience more severe illnesses if they get sick,” said study co-author Barbara Mahon, M.D., M.P.H., deputy chief of CDC’s DFWED Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. “Parents who have lived through the experience of watching their child fight for their life after drinking raw milk now say that it’s just not worth the risk.”

Among other key findings:

· Thirteen percent of patients in raw milk outbreaks were hospitalized compared to 1 percent in pasteurized milk outbreaks. This may be because raw milk outbreaks were all caused by bacteria, such as E. coli O157, which tend to produce more severe illnesses, according to the study.

· Pasteurized milk and cheese outbreaks were often caused by relatively mild infections like norovirus and Staphylococcus aureus.

To view the study, please visit For more information about raw milk, visit

INTERVIEW: I’m a romantic musician

Andres Gutierrez is a passionate musician and member of the Rondalla Presencia de Amor in Stockton.

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