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David Fransen - dj@turlockcitynews.com

David Fransen - dj@turlockcitynews.com

On Tuesday night, the Turlock City Council will consider approving a water rate increase on customers that would double their bill over the next five years. The rate hike is to pay for improvements to the City’s drinking water system, including the construction of the $278 million Regional Surface Water Supply Project. Under Prop 218, at least 50 percent plus one written protests must be submitted in writing to stop the water rate increase that the City Council is expected to approve at the Dec. 12 public hearing during the City Council meeting starting at 6 p.m.
Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth is representing the Turlock community in a mayors challenge to see who can raise the most money as a Salvation Army bell ringer. Mayor Soiseth will be ringing his bell from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday in front of the Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 2480 Geer Road, in Turlock.
The Turlock Fire Department responded to reports of a potential structure fire at WalMart on Thursday morning. Firefighters responded to Walmart, located at 2111 Fulkerth Road, on Thursday, shortly after 8 a.m. Upon arrival, crews encountered light smoke conditions issuing from the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) vents inside the business. Due to the size of the building and the number of HVAC units with potential involvement, multiple crews were needed to rapidly determine the source of the smoke.
After Mayor Gary Soiseth stripped three appointments from Councilwoman Amy Bublak, and with a reason that’s still drawing questions that Mayor Soiseth won’t answer, Councilman Gil Esquer has apologized to Councilwoman Bublak while saying that he didn’t think it should’ve happened. Most everyone was surprised or shocked when Mayor Soiseth stripped Councilwoman Bublak of three appointments and dispersed one to each of the three Councilmen at the Sept. 26 Turlock City Council meeting. Mayor Soiseth had communicated with Councilmen Bill DeHart, Matthew Jacob, and Gil Esquer before the meeting regarding the decision, while Councilwoman Amy Bublak was not even given a courtesy notice that she would not be serving as a representative of Turlock on some regional committees.
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There are many reports of power outages at businesses in the Turlock Downtown area, along with several other surrounding streets. At approximately 7:20 p.m., reports of power outages were being posted on social media.
The 19th Annual Turlock Festival of Lights traditionally kicks off the Christmas and holiday shopping season with a Christmas tree lighting, shopping, and festivities throughout Downtown Turlock. Taking place on Friday, Nov. 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the festival will include its customary countdown and Christmas tree lighting in Central Park.
After being closed since Jul. 31, then delayed past mid-September to Nov. 1, and slated to reopen on Nov. 21, the Fulkerth Road and Golden State Boulevard Intersection will be opening just before Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday shopping. 
Taking away appointments, while hooking up someone else with more travel budget, and discussing it all behind the scenes with an agreed voting bloc usually is something Turlockers only hear about happening in Sacramento politics as some form of retribution or trading for votes. However, this is happening right here under the direction of Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth. Most everyone was surprised or shocked when Mayor Soiseth stripped Councilwoman Amy Bublak of three appointments and dispersed one to each of the three Councilmen. Mayor Soiseth, Councilmen Bill DeHart, Matthew Jacob, and Gil Esquer knew before the meeting while Councilwoman Amy Bublak was not even given a courtesy notice that she would not be serving as a representative of Turlock on some regional committees.
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Turlock’s very own ice skating rink, Fields of Ice, kicked off its 4th year with a sponsors’ preview event on Thursday night, and then will be opening to the public on Friday, Nov. 17, and will stay on ice until Jan. 15, 2018. Fields of Ice has an 80 by 120 foot rink that has a cover over two-thirds of the ice.
Turlock City Attorney Phaedra Norton has been missing from City Council meetings for about two months and not much has been said about it other than Mayor Gary Soiseth revealing that the employee in the position was out on leave and coming back, along with speculation that Norton was Mayor Soiseth’s choice as the top candidate to replace former Turlock City Manager Gary Hampton before a new hiring process by Soiseth failed to hire any candidate. At the Sept. 26 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Bublak asked if it could be agendized to discuss several City management level positions, including the position of City Attorney, as she was concerned about possibly leaving the City government vulnerable.
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