District News Weekly Wrap-Up 10/18/19

SR-132 Groundbreaking

The SR-132 project broke ground. The planned highway has been in the works since 1956. The project will provide environmental, economic, and safety improvements to all who live and work here.

Victory Lap After Funding Boys and Girls Clubs

Assemblyman Heath Flora and Assemblyman Adam Gray championed $1 million in this year’s budget to keep the doors open and lights on at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County and Boys & Girls Club of Merced County. The assemblymembers got to meet some of the children who will benefit from the funding.

Merced NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

The Merced NAACP Branch invited Assemblymember Adam Gray to join the Freedom Fund Banquet. For over a century, NAACP has fought for justice for all Americans and has made tremendous progress on important issues including voting rights, public education, and economic inequality. Thank you for all that you do for our community and for our country.

Latino Community Roundtable

The Latino Community Roundtable invited Aseemblymember Adam Gray to speak at their monthly luncheon. They discussed the state of water in the Central Valley, addressing homelessness issues in our neighborhoods, and Governor Newsom’s commitment to the Valley.

The Next May Day Fair Is Underway

Planning and executing the amazing Merced County Spring Fair (aka May Day Fair) that we enjoy each year takes more planning than many of us realize The 2020 Spring Fair will be here before we know it!

San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority Tour

Assemblymembers Phil Ting, Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Adam Gray traveled to Stanislaus and Merced Counties for a tour and discussion with the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority about two issues at the heart of the Central Valley economy: #water and #agriculture.

2019 Annual Night at the Vista

Friday, October 25, 2019 at 6 PM – 9 PM
Social at 6PM, Dinner at 7PM

7326 E CA-140,
Merced, CA 95340

RSVP online here: http://bit.ly/2nrZjWc
or Call (209) 526-2131

Please join Assemblymember Adam Gray for his Annual Night at the Vista Ranch and Cellars! There will be good food, good music, and fun for the entire family!

Tickets and Sponsorships

$25 – Individual Ticket
$500 – Table
$1000 – Silver Sponsor
$2500 – Gold Sponsor
$4700 – Host

RSVP online here: http://bit.ly/2nrZjWc
or Call (209) 526-2131

Paid For by Gray for Assembly 2020,
FPPC ID# 1414307
PO Box 911 Merced, CA 95341

Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Individuals, labor unions, businesses and political action committees can contribute a maximum of $4,700 per election. Qualified small committees can contribute a maximum of $9,300 per election. Contributions of $100 or more made in cash, by cashier’s check, or money order are prohibited. Contributions from foreign nationals not admitted for permanent residency or contributions made in the name of another person are prohibited.

District News Weekly Wrap-Up 10/4/19

Merced County Honors Educators

The Merced County Office of Education recognized all of the educators, teachers, staff, and administrators for all of their hard work this year. Thanking them for their commitment to their students!

VOLT Institute Receives $1 Million Dollar Grant

Assemblymember Adam Gray secured $1 million in the California State Budget to give the VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College a shot at leveraging another $1 million in federal monies. The U.S. Economic Development Agency awarded VOLT and MJC that $1 million grant — the largest EDA grant ever to be awarded to the Central Valley! The funds are expected to save 453 local jobs and to create at least 20 new positions.

READ MORE HERE: https://voltinstitute.com/about-us…

35th Annual Salute To Seniors

For 35 years, the “Salute to Seniors” luncheon has acknowledged the work that local seniors contribute to growing and bettering our community. Congratulations to all volunteers honored at this year’s luncheon. Pictured here is Beverly Brown, who wrote a very moving tribute to the attendees.

State Budget Approved For Boys and Girls Club

Assemblymember Heath Flora and Assemblymember Adam Gray secured $500,000 in the State Budget for each the Boys & Girls Club of Merced County and Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County — a total of $1 million for our community. The Boys & Girls Clubs came to the assembly earlier this year with an urgent plea to help them keep their doors open so that they continue serving kids in a quality, safe environment.

Read the press release here: https://bit.ly/2LNh1Ne

Tragic Losses

36-year-old Fire Captain Paul Rotondaro was one of the victims in a fatal crash on Highway 140 in Gustine. Captain Rotondaro was with the CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced unit.

Firefighter Andrew Maloney was honored by naming a stretch of Highway 165 the Andrew Maloney Memorial Highway.

Andrew was a firefighter for thirteen years, starting as a paid-call firefighter for Merced County before signing on with CAL FIRE. Many attended the ceremony, including the Maloney Family, Mayor Mike Villalta, Scott Silveira Merced County Supervisor District 5, the CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced unit, and many elected officials.

CAL-FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard — Presentation of Colors at the Andrew Maloney Memorial Highway Dedication Ceremony on September 30, 2019 at the Merced County Fire Department – Station 71 in Los Banos, California.

Click Here to See Video

In The District 9/27/2019

2019 Veteran of the Year

Peter “Scotty” Burns was recognized as the 2019 Veteran of the Year at Assemblymember Adam Gray’s Veteran Advisory Committee meeting. Scotty flew 448 missions over Vietnam as a B-52 tailgunner, logging 2,600 combat hours and more than 7,000 flight hours, and later trained pilots at Castle Air Force Base until the base was decommissioned in 1995. The lunch was held under the wings of a magnificent B-52 to honor Scotty.

Building Housing For Veterans

Great things are happening in our community with StanCounty and the Stanislaus Regional Housing Authority for the completion and opening of the Glendale Annex Phase 3. Their project will provide housing and other forms of assistance to local Veterans who are in need. After giving so much for our country, it is our responsibility to help give back.

Voting For 2020

UC Merced hosted a fantastic event featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla and the Latino Community Foundation to highlight the importance of voter registration, representation, and #Census2020. You can always register to vote today!

54th Annual Greek Food Festival

A fantastic turnout for the 54th Annual Greek Food Festival in Modesto. Serving up authentic and homemade Greek food, dancing and music!

Annual Merced FEAST

Merced College, California Women for Agriculture, the Merced DNA – Downtown Neighborhood Association, Merced Main Street Association, “The Original” Merced County Certified Farmers’ Market and others sponsored of this year’s Merced FEAST. Each year, the event connects Merced County neighbors with our local farms and the businesses and families that fuel our regional economy.

Merced Doctors

In 2015, then-Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, -Senator Anthony Cannella, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, and Assemblymember Adam Gray fought to expand the number of slots in the San Joaquin Valley PRIME Program. Their thinking was that, if doctors from the community are trained in the community, they will stay in the community. Today, that vision is coming together, as UC Merced is playing a growing role in the program.

READ MORE HERE: https://news.ucmerced.edu/…/uc-merced-playing-bigger-role-n…

In The District – Dos Palos

Assemblymember Adam Gray dropped by the Dos Palos City Council and spent some time speaking with Dos Palos neighbors.

Gray dropped in to the Dos Palos City Council meeting to say hello and to give an end-of-session legislative update.

Then dropped by Mikalinos Pizza and Pasta for a Community Conversation, including Scott Silveira Merced County Supervisor District 5 and retired County Supervisor Jerry O’Banion.

I appreciated everyone’s company — and the pizza, too!

Assemblymember Adam Gray

The Future Is Bright For Valley Students

Tour of Career Technical Education

Assemblymember Adam Gray and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond at Atwater High School went for a tour of the phenomenal Career Technical Education (CTE) program that Merced Union High School District recently implemented. State Board of Education Board Member Ting Sun, Senator Anna Caballero, and all of the local elected officials were also at the tour. The district currently boasts more than 30 different CTE pathways throughout the district, which ensures that students graduate ready to begin college or enter the workforce — whichever the student chooses.

Screening of “The Providers”

The screening of The Providers documentary at UC Merced attracted a large crowd. The #CentralValley has only 157 physicians per 100,000 residents — compare that to an average of 237 per 100,000 in California state-wide, and 411 in the Bay Area. #HealthCare matters.

District Wrap-Up 9/13/19

YARTS 20th Anniversary

The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) expands access to and encourages stewardship of our treasured Yosemite National Park. It has served over one million riders and celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their formation.

AB 638 – Moving Water Storage For California Forward

If prolonged periods of drought followed by record wet years are to become a new normal, we must rely on wet year supplies for longer periods of time. AB 638, Assemblymember Adam Gray’s legislation forcing DWR to examine all forms of water storage and their potential roles in mitigating the impacts of the next drought, passed the Legislature by a 79-0 vote. AB 638 is now on its way to the Governor.

Merced County Historical Society BBQ

The Merced County Historical Society had their 29th Annual Bill Kirby Western BBQ and Auction.

AB 848 – Provides Coverage For Continuous Glucose Monitoring

One step closer to ensuring quality #healthcare for all. AB 848, Assemblymember Adam Gray’s bill to require Medi-Cal to provide coverage for continuous glucose monitors, passed the Legislature by a vote of 79-0 and is on its way to the Governor. The law has the support of the American Diabetes Association, Western Center on Law & Poverty, CLSA – California Life Sciences Association, and many other organizations.

Free Community Screening Of Documentary – September 16, 2019 @ 6PM

Monday, September 16, Assemblymember Adam Gray is partnering with the UC Merced Department of Public Health and the UC Merced Center for Medical Education to host a FREE COMMUNITY SCREENING of the award-winning The Providers documentary. The film follows three healthcare providers who offer care to all who walk through the doors and illustrates the transformative power of health care in rural communities.

UC Merced Races Through The Rankings

UC Merced is getting the recognition it deserves from the U.S. News and World Report. UC Merced is recognized as the fastest-rising university in nation. The school is only fourteen years young — imagine what it will be up to with another ten, twenty, or even fifty years behind it! #Bobcats

Click Here to Read The Story.

Friday Night Football Is Back

The Merced Sun-Star wrote a story about a pair of twins who have the honor of playing together at Golden Valley High School (Merced, California). What an awesome experience!

READ THE STORY HERE: https://www.mercedsunstar.com/sports/article234730922.html

District News Wrap-Up 9/5/19

New detections of West Nile Virus in California horses

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported that seven horses have tested positive in recent weeks for Equine West Nile Virus — six of which were in the #CentralValley, including Stanislaus County. Read the release linked to below and familiar yourself with the signs, symptoms, and prevention methods. The diseases can be transmitted to humans, horses, birds, and other animals.

Click Here to Read More https://bit.ly/2kvofug

California Wine Month

September is #CaliforniaWineMonth! California is America’s number one wine state and the fourth largest producer in the world. California’s wineries and vineyards provide quality jobs and are anchors for our local, state, and national economies. Our community and the greater Central Valley are lucky enough to high-quality wines and wineries.

Algal Blooms At San Luis Reservior

If you were planning on relaxing outdoors and enjoying water at the San Luis Reservoir, you may want to think again! San Luis Reservoir is still experiencing a harmful algal bloom. Please protect yourself, children, pets, and livestock. You can look for an alternative spot to visit and cool down here: https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/data_viewer/

Golden Valley Health Centers Visit Capital

Representatives from the Golden Valley Health Centers visited Sacramento. They were advocating for both improving the quality of and lowering the cost of healthcare in our community.

Community Workshop For Real ID

On September 17, at the Los Banos Community Center, stop by to get more information about the REAL ID. Department of Motor Vehicles officials will be there to speak about REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards and the necessary documents to apply — mandatory to board a flight in the United States after October 1, 2020. Assembleymember Adam Gray’s team will also be hosting mobile office hours, should you need assistance with any state or local agency.

At UC Merced, a pipeline for more diverse faculty

Cognitive Science major Alejandra Santoyo outside of the Kolligan Library at UC Merced on August 2, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

“As universities around the country struggle to diversify their faculty, the youngest University of California campus is racking up an impressive record of preparing its students — many of them low-income, first-generation students of color — for academic careers. Its undergraduates are more likely to assist faculty with original research—a boon to graduate school applications—than those at any other UC campus, according to university surveys.”

Read more of the CalMatters article written by Felicia Mello here: https://bit.ly/2kkWfto

Flows proposals: Sacramento River water agencies aim for certainty

August 21, 2019 – from AgAlert by Christine Souza

As negotiations continue, representatives of Sacramento Valley water agencies say they’re hopeful voluntary agreements will serve as an alternative to state-mandated “unimpaired flows” plans being drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board.

A proposal affecting Sacramento Valley tributaries would be the second phase of the water board’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The board adopted the first phase of the plan late last year, requiring water users in San Joaquin River tributaries to leave 30% to 50% of unimpaired flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers to help fish populations, unless voluntary agreements on the three tributaries can be reached and adopted instead.

The plan affecting Sacramento River tributaries has not been released, but water-resource managers in the region said they have been collaborating with government agencies and environmental groups to develop voluntary agreements that would accomplish the goals of the state board’s flows-only methodology.

With the aim of improving conditions for native fish and wildlife through a combination of targeted river flows and various habitat-enhancing projects, participating water managers said discussions focus on policy, science and asset management.

“There’s going to be impacts and there’s going to be a cost to this. There’s no way around it,” Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District General Manager Thaddeus Bettner said, adding that if the state water board were to pursue a flows-only approach, “the costs and impacts would be much more severe.”

Bettner said GCID and other Sacramento Valley water agencies working on a voluntary settlement agreement see it as “managing risks and creating certainty for the next 15 years for our users, which include farmers and the environment.”

In addition to developing system-wide solutions, he said, “More importantly, we think we can make a difference. We believe we have a better toolkit and process to improve the fishery and have the monitoring that goes with that, and make some of the broader landscape changes. We think that is the right approach and also believe the agreements create a template for moving forward after the 15-year period.”

Bettner said Sacramento Valley water agencies are collaborating with other stakeholders to increase instream flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by about 250,000 to 300,000 acre-feet annually, and to implement many enhancement projects in the first two years of the agreement.

At Reclamation District 108 in Grimes, General Manager Lewis Bair said his district and others have been engaged in discussions on “floodplain re-engagement that the biologists are pointing to as a foundational change for the fishery.”

“Our flood system has really isolated our fishery from their old juvenile rearing grounds and without that, a lot of folks believe it will be really tough to recover the fishery,” Bair said. “The exciting part (of the floodplain plan) is it is complementary in season to agriculture; it could work for all.”

Related to dedicating flows for the system, Bair said a voluntary agreement for the Sacramento Valley could involve fallowing of some acreage to provide new water for instream flows in a way that offers flexibility, as opposed to the state water board’s approach he described as, “‘We will regulate and get it from somewhere.'”

“We’re suggesting that we’ve put a significant amount on the table, and let’s have a significant, well-funded science program, learn from it, then at the end of 15 years, we’ll have another conversation about additional assets,” Bair said. “That’s really where the negotiations are at this point.”

He said the team leading voluntary-agreement negotiations for the state “is really trying to figure out a path forward, and I think we’re getting there.”

Though the Sacramento Valley districts say they have a portfolio of solutions that should address the needs of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, they also continue to advocate for construction of Sites Reservoir as an additional source of dedicated environmental water, in addition to water for cities and farms.

“We’re making sure that all of those pieces will work together,” Bettner said.

In a July 1 memo, the secretaries of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Agency said the group of stakeholders should be ready by mid-October to have their plan’s viability tested against the water board unimpaired-flows plan.

Water districts that depend on supplies from the San Joaquin River tributaries have filed a series of lawsuits against the state water board plan.

On the Tuolumne River, Modesto Irrigation District spokeswoman Melissa Williams said, “We continue to stay actively engaged in the ongoing voluntary agreement discussions.” On the Merced River, the Merced Irrigation District, which also has a pending lawsuit, noted there is nothing new to report.

The California Farm Bureau Federation filed its own suit, challenging the environmental review for the unimpaired-flows plan for the San Joaquin River tributaries.

Regarding ongoing negotiations for voluntary settlements on those rivers, CFBF Senior Counsel Chris Scheuring said, “The water users are best positioned to determine what is achievable as a voluntary settlement in lieu of litigation, and we encourage them in their efforts.

“CFBF is going to continue in its lawsuit challenging the environmental review process for the flows that have been adopted for the San Joaquin River tributaries until and unless an alternative pathway is reached,” Scheuring said. “We continue to believe that nonflow measures should be an essential part of any solution, rather than the state water board’s flows-only approach.”

Article written by Christine Souza. Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at csouza@cfbf.com

Article reprinted from California Farm Bureau Federation http://agalert.com/story/?id=13230

Photo Credit: Orbit Productions, LLC

In The District 8/23/19

Ceres PD Promotions

Three officers of the Ceres Police Department were promoted and formally recognized for their hard work, and one was sworn in. Assemblymember Adam Gray congratulated them for all their dedication and commitment to keeping the community safe.

Keeping California Safe

Assemblymember Adam Gray met with Mark Pazin, former Sheriff of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office who is now Cal OES Law Enforcement Chief, along with Director Mark Ghilarducci to discuss strategies for keeping California safe.

Update on Youth Vaping Epidemic

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham wrote a piece in CalMatters about the bi-partisan joint-effort alongside Assemblymember Adam Gray, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove and Assemblymember Robert Rivas to combat the youth vaping epidemic. READ HERE: https://calmatters.org/commentary/youth-vaping/

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