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Two Fire Engines a Gift for Life


Spanish Translation: Dos Camiones de Bomberos Un Regalo Por Vida

Stockton, CA – During the morning of Monday March 28, two retired fire engines roared for the last time in Stockton as they headed south to a new home in Empalme, Sonora Mexico.  The obsolete engines, “were first line 15-years ago,” explained Captain Jonathan Smith adding, “today the engines are estimated at a $5,000 dollars [each],” scrap metal value.

While the engines may not be suited for U.S. Fire Engine standards, “the two units will make a huge difference to the lives of Empalme Residents,” noted Louie Gonzales who has seen firsthand the need for the firefighting equipment at the sister city.  “My wife [Lucero Gonzales] and I, visit Empalme at least once year,” Gonzales recognized that the nearly 100 thousand residents have limited equipment in a city known for its dry and warm weather.

“Two years of hard work, raising funds, completing paperwork between two governments; the project has finally become a reality,” said Rosalinda Galaviz, Chair of the Stockton-Empalme Sister Cities.

Fire Captain Dan Morris remembered the conversation when representatives of the Sister City tour Stockton’s Fire Station 2 and the question was brought up, “what do you do with your older engines when you are done with them?”  Morris answered, “They go to auction,” to which rose the question, “is there a way we can get them?”

“It’s a great feeling to know that the engines will be put to good use,” said Captain Morris during a 45 minute departure gathering by community members.  The engines are estimated to have more than a decade of functionality and “the two units are compatible; which will be beneficial for parts in the future when one of the two breaks down,” said Morris.

Members of the community gathered to appreciate the City and the Department’s donation.  Stockton Catholic Dioceses’ Bishop, Stephen Blair, blessed the drivers, the engines and their journey before the two engines departed to their new home.

While the two volunteer drivers; Tracy Firefighter, Clarence Marquez, and Retired Firefighter Roger Gray will meet their Empalme Counterparts in Tucson.  The fire engines will be accompanied by Stockton residents all the way to the destined fire district in Empalme.  “I am excited to be the designated drive on heading the caravan,” said Susana Dominguez who will be accompanied by Rosalinda Galaviz and Ana Zapien.  They are expected to reach Empalme by March 30, 2016 midday.

Bilingual Weekly (BW News) – Your source of local news covering topics of Latino interest in Stockton, California; and San Joaquin County.

Cesar Chavez’ Legacy Remembered at Prayer Breakfast


Stockton, CA — “…Bless the workers and bless those who are in power…” said Stephen Blair, Bishop Dioceses of Stockton as he blessed the field workers and working families.  The blessing was during the Cesar Chavez Prayer breakfast during the morning of March 26, 2016.

Annually the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery hosts a breakfast in observance of “Cesar Chavez’ birthday and to honor the hard work of field workers with a prayer,” explained Gracie Madrid, President of the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery (MHC&G); adding, “often young people think of Cesar Chavez as the boxer, not the civil rights activist who built a movement for field worker rights.”

“My parents wanted us to live here [In the U.S.] because they wanted a better future for us…” Explained Roberto Valdes Sanchez artist exhibiting at MHC&G, and keynote speaker.  Valdez remembers learning about Cesar Chavez in 1983, “To me he is the most influential leader in U.S. History… He did more for Latinos than any other person in the history of the United States.”

Jose Lopez, Youth Programs Coordinator of the Diocese of Stockton remembers Cesar Chavez when he saw him in south Stockton’s McKinley Park. “He told us, ‘newborn puppies open their eyes during the first 3 days and when will you do it?’ those words will forever be remembered, because he was inviting us to wake up and to fight for our rights,” Chavez’s words are, “embedded well and are very important.”

For Tatiana Garcia, 11th grade student at Venture Academy the conversation and the art, hits close to home. “My family has been working on the fields, Cesar Chavez’s work impacted our family as well as many other,” Garcia appreciated the program and Valdes’ art.   “He has a lot of talent.   I am impressed by his pencil work.”

MHC&G is open all year with different monthly exhibits by artist, community members and educational programs.  The Gallery is located at 111 S. Hunter Street, Stockton, CA  95202.

Educational workshops to address consumer credit and loan problems


Stockton— “Educational Workshops about credit and debt in our community will benefit our residents,” said Rosalinda Galaviz, Community Advocate in South Stockton.

“I have seen cases of individuals who cannot find an apartment or a house to live because their credit is hurting them,” Ms. Galaviz elaborated, “in the case of a Stockton resident, ‘I know,’ she is living with a friend by renting a room because her student loans as well as some medical bills are hurting her credit…”

During the morning of March 8th, —at the Kennedy Center located on Southeast Stockton—  Housing and Economic Rights Advocates and local Officials released information of a new monthly workshop series aim to educate local residents about mortgage and debt collection issues.

“We’re excited to be bringing more of our energy and focus into the Valley, and we’re starting with San Joaquin County,” said Maeve Elise Brown, Executive Director of HERA.

San Joaquin County Officials praised the plan, “I think HERA can help fulfill a need,” highlighted San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney, James Lewis as he acknowledge underserved residents in the community.

Monica Hernandez is looking forward to the information because, “my ex-husband has drown my credit.”  Hernandez has been looking for help on reestablishing her credit as she would like to become a homeowner in a near future.

“Having the workshops southeast Stockton is great!” Galaviz acknowledge that some residents may encounter transportation issues; but, “by bringing the clinic to the neighborhood it helps.”

The series is underwritten by a grant from San Francisco-based van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation and the presenters will be offered by the Oakland based, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates.

HERA is a not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization dedicated to helping California residents —particularly those most vulnerable.  The organization has been building a safe, sound financial future, free of discrimination and economic abuses, in all aspects of household financial concerns.

The San Joaquin County Human Services Agency and HERA are working together in elaborating the workshops and legal clinics calendar which will soon be published.  Anyone may obtain more information about the workshops by contacting Erté Boyette, Community Program Manager at (209) 468-1549 or by contacting HERA at (510) 271-8443.

Bilingual Weekly (BW News) – Your source of Local news covering topics of Latino interest in Stockton, California; and San Joaquin County.

Forecasting our local Business Outlook: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosts 2016 Conference


STOCKTON — On Wednesday January 6th, More than 250 business owners and corporate representatives gathered at the University of the Pacific’s DelaRosa University Center to learn at the 2016 Business Forecast Conference.

The Conference organized by the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce offered four speakers with different insight to 2016’s economic outlook.

Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific projected that San Joaquin’s prospects may be brighter than the rest of the nation expects the 3.4 percent job growth of San Joaquin to reach 3.7 percent in 2016.

“Stockton is the 4th in job growth in California; Stockton is doing better thank Sacramento,” highlighted Michael.

However, Bob Gutierrez, Director of Government Affairs for Food 4 Less, and the Hispanic Chamber’s President Elect, highlighted a list of State laws which that will increase business regulation and cost.

Scott Anderson, Chief Economist of Bank of the West, projects throughout that, “education, health, professional services, and transportation” are among the industries to excel in the upcoming months.

Last year, San Joaquin County’s 1.6 percent growth population was at the forefront when compared to the rest of the state, “That’s a significant recovery from we were a few years ago,” said Michael adding, the areas hardest hit by the housing recession are coming back strong.”

Michael projects gains in the construction industry as it has been recovering from the 1,000’s during the recession to last year’s 1,700 dwelling and projected to be at 2,200 new units in 2016.

Bilingual Weekly (BW News) – Your source of Local news covering topics of Latino interest in Stockton, California; and San Joaquin County.

Zapien’ meteoric rise into local politics In less than three years, goes from rookie Councilman to Chair of SJC Board of Supervisors


San Joaquin County — On Thursday December 31st Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Moses Zapien as the representative of the 3rd District in the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. The 3rd District became vacant when former Supervisor Steve Bestolarides was appointed, by a 3 to 1 vote, to County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk on August of last year.

Zapien —who earned his law degree from the Laurence Drivon School of Law— was first elected to represent the City of Stockton’s 4th District in November of 2012. Last summer, he announced his candidacy to the higher office of County Supervisor rather than seeking a second term at City Council.

Born and raised in Stockton, Moses Zapien is the son of immigrant parents “who taught him the value of hard work and service to the community,” reads his campaign literature.

In August 2015 Zapien was appointed Deputy District Attorney to the San Joaquin County Superior Court.  At the time, he wrote on his Facebook account, “I’m excited to be rejoining the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and being part of a team of dedicated professionals, committed to the cause of Justice and to serving victims of crime.”  However, Stockton’s Daily Newspaper, The Record, informed that —given the Supervisor’s post is a full-time job— “he has resigned from the position Thursday, December 31st.

In his website he cites “jobs, safety and openness/transparency” as his top three issues at the County Board of Supervisors. Zapien was not available to comment by the time this edition closed.

BW News – Your source of Local news covering topics of Latino interest in Stockton, California; and San Joaquin County.

 

Tax Agreement Includes Important Measures for Latino Families More work lies ahead to address restrictions placed on immigrant taxpayers


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an expansive tax package that will make permanent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) enacted in 2009. Together, the EITC and CTC help to dramatically reduce poverty levels for Latino families each year. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds lawmakers for their efforts to make sure that hardworking low-income families can get needed tax relief. Alone, these changes would represent a laudable win for the Latino community; however, some lawmakers in Congress were still determined to use this opportunity to target immigrants and included restrictive language in the agreement that NCLR doesn’t support.

“The expansions to the EITC and CTC in 2009 have since helped millions of working families make ends meet. Congress making these expansions permanent now is an important step for our community. We are pleased that lawmakers recognized the proven success of both anti-poverty programs and chose to act,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Investing in measures that reward hard work is the key to building a healthier, more robust workforce that can strengthen our economy.”

The EITC amounts to as much as $6,143 per family, while the CTC can add up to $1,000 per child. Only people who are working are eligible for these programs, which are especially valuable for Latino workers, more than 40 percent of whom earn poverty-level wages.

Congressional action on the EITC and CTC is a result of the hard work and commitment of NCLR Affiliates and partner organizations in the business and progressive communities. Following countless letters, local events, op-eds, and a national poll, lawmakers responded to the advocacy efforts of Latinos across the country, who showed overwhelming support (91 percent) for making improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent without delay.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers cannot pass up an opportunity to attach anti-immigrant language to any measure and did so once again. The agreement will single out immigrant taxpayers specifically and bar millions who receive a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from accessing these vital tax credits in the future. Additionally, it will create potentially significant barriers for immigrants who file taxes using an ITIN.

“The House of Representatives took an important step today and millions of American working families will benefit. We are thankful for that. But Congress has once again singled out immigrant families for restrictions in legislation that has nothing to do with immigration policy. We cannot allow our community to continue to be targeted this way,” Murguía added.

Looking ahead, NCLR is committed to working with Congress and the administration to make sure that these restrictions do not harm children that tax credits do not lose their value due to inflation, and that childless low-wage workers may benefit in the future.

BW News – Your source of local news with a bridge to National action.

“Dear Stockton Smile You Are Loved” New Downtown Mural


 STOCKTON, CA- “Dear Stockton Smile You Are Loved,” is the message that the reads the new mural on 240 N. Hunter Street in downtown Stockton.

 The mural  “Dear Stockton” is a collaboration between Benjamin Saffold,  a group of local artists, and JF Donaldson Tires ; it  was completed last Sunday, August 26 after three days of work. 

Photo Credit: Dear Stockton Project

 Local artist, Joel Aaron Munoz created the design for mural that is now part of the city of Stockton as part of the “Dear Stockton Project” and ongoing project that allows the community to demonstrate their love for the city of Stockton.

“The mural magnifies the message of Dear Stockton to another level,” said Benjamin Saffold, founder of the Dear Stockton project. “What better positive message can there be?  To say dear Stockton smile you are loved, that is something that is already true but is not something that is always on the front page of the newspaper.”

“There is people that love Stockton that have not had a microphone in front of them, that have not been interviewed or asked about how they see Stockton,” added Saffold.   

And so the “Dear Stockton Project” gives the space for community to express themselves.  

“I hope it inspires some of the young kids in the community that work can be done with local business support youth and art activity” said JFDonaldsonTire owner, Jim Donaldson in a video produced by Saffold prior to the completion of the mural. “Which leads to the support of our city and hopefully a new birth to Stockton after the troubles we been going through, give some hope for all of here in Stockton that things can definitely get better.”

SJ Bar Association Offers Free Law Clinic


STOCKTON, CA- San Joaquin County residents now have a place to answer their legal questions and get free legal advice. Continue reading

Stockton’s violence Reduction Initiative


STOCKTON, CA- As part Stockton’s violence Reduction Initiative, the Stockton Police Department seeks the help of the community at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 23 at the Stockton Civic Auditorium.

“There is an unacceptable level of crime and violence in Stockton and that is why we are here tonight,” said Police Chief Eric Jones. “The purpose is to build police community relations and work together.”

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones

At the meeting a number of community members expressed their concerns and criticized the strategies of the SPD to defeat crime.

Crime disheartens the entire community and disheartens the police department said Jones.  “My challenge is to provide law enforcement services for the city of Stockton.”

“Our studies have shown that Stockton has a high poverty rate, has high level of drug abuse, a high number of gangs and gang incidents and high amount of violent crime in hot spots … hot spots that are spread through the whole city.”

The police department is currently focused on getting guns and gangs off the streets.

In four years the Stockton Police Department went 441police officers patrolling the streets down to the 320, a thirty percent reduction.

“The rate of officer per violent crime, we are the highest in the nation definitely within the state ,  we have about 11.7 violent crimes per officer within the City of Stockton…Cities like  San Francisco and Los Angeles  have two, Oakland is close to 9,”explained Jones.

“Never before have we needed the community support as much as we need right now… together we can force multiply and changes and began to make some significant changes.”

Jones encouraged the community to report crime and to lessen the chances of them becoming a victim of crime.

Health Careers Academy Starts New Academic Year


STOCKTON, CA- Health Careers Academy (HCA) started its second academic year on Tuesday August 14, with 250 students and with a warmth welcoming by local community leaders. Continue reading


STOCKTON, CA- Stockton communities joined the 29th Annual National Night Out against crime on Tuesday August, 7th. Continue reading


STOCKTON, CA- Kennedy Community Center overshadowed by accusations of mistreatment and racism. Continue reading

I Have a Voice: Danny Thomas Dunne Ruiz


Dunne-Ruiz is a retired police officer from Tracy, author of the Blue Mexican, a novel published in 2009 and currently works as English teacher at San Mary`s High School and the San Joaquin Delta College. Continue reading

I Have a Voice: Jose Cuevas


STOCKTON, CA – Downtown Stockton is a pivotal location for Jose Cuevas, it represents the middle of two worlds – a road to north Stockton one way known for its rich members of the community and a road leading the other directions – toward a bridge that has housed many of Stockton’s homeless or helpless. Continue reading

Breaking the Trend on Crime


*Updated August 07, 2012 at 4:34 pm to say, “oversees 235 organizations and partnered with several of the Miracle Mile Merchants and the University of Pacific.” It used to say it ”coordinated with 235 organizations on the Miracle Mile and the University of Pacific.”

STOCKTON, CA – With the city of Stockton facing high crime rates, the city experienced one district that is breaking the trend. Continue reading

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