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TCN Staff - info@turlockcitynews.com

TCN Staff - info@turlockcitynews.com

Monday, 24 March 2014 11:06

Around Turlock - March 23

As the sign says, “This office is closed until further notice.” The Turlock Superior Courthouse, located at 300 Starr Ave. between the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park and the former Turlock Police Department, has been closed since Oct. 1, 2009. The State of California decided at that time to temporarily close the court as a budget saving measure.
A proposed countywide road tax will not be on this November’s ballot, after polling found the measure unlikely to succeed. But Turlock Mayor John Lazar urged the Turlock City Council to pursue a city-specific sales tax to benefit roads, saying Turlock cannot afford to wait to fix its streets. The Stanislaus County Council of Governments, the region’s transportation planning board, had been considering placing a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Proceeds from the sales tax would be dedicated to road repairs, three new cross-county expressways, and public transportation.
A water rate hike will likely be approved on Tuesday, as the Turlock City Council is set to consider the results of the ongoing election to authorize a proposed increase. Over the next five years water rates would, approximately, double for most consumers. Rates would increase 12 percent for the average single-family household on July 1. Rates would then go up a further 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2015. Additional increases would come every Jan. 1 thereafter through 2019, of 7 percent, 15 percent, 11 percent, and 11 percent, respectively.
Federal, state, and local legislators gathered at California State University, Stanislaus Thursday night for the third annual Turlock Government Night. The night, organized by Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, saw U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R), State Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen (R), and Turlock Mayor John Lazar join together for a town hall discussion about issues facing Turlockers. State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R) was also invited to attend, but had a prior engagement. Much of the discussion focused on water – or the lack thereof. Given the ongoing drought, part of the driest three-year period in the State of California's history, all of the lawmakers were focused on the importance of water.
Two years ago, the City of Turlock broke ground on the most ambitious affordable housing project in the city’s history. On Thursday, officials formally celebrated the grand opening of Avena Bella, a state-of-the-art facility which meets green building standards and has already changed hundreds of lives. “Now, two years later, look at what we have,” said Judy Binsacca, chair of the EAH Housing Board of Directors.
Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:09

TID to Delay Start of Irrigation Season

The 2014 irrigation season will now start on April 3, one week later than initially planned, Turlock Irrigation District officials said Tuesday morning. Just three weeks ago the TID Board of Directors voted to start the season on March 27. But circumstances continue to change in this exceptionally dry water year. “Things have changed over the last couple of weeks,” said TID Water Distribution Manager Mike Kavarian. A number of farmers have been utilizing private pumping facilities to obtain groundwater for irrigation, Kavarian said. The district has allowed those farmers to use TID-owned canals to convey the pumped water to nearby parcels.
Local cyclists and pedestrians will soon have an opportunity to comment on how the City of Turlock can better serve their needs. A workshop on the city’s in-development Active Transportation Plan will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 5 in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. "We look forward to hearing from business owners, parents, students, and all residents about why they bike – or do not bike – and where they would like improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities," said Turlock City Planner Rose Stillo.
The Turlock Irrigation District is making a new tool available to growers, which should allow farmers to better monitor their irrigations – and save water. The Ag Flag is, essentially, a bright orange flag attached to a fiberglass pole. The pole is bent in two and the flag is tacked to the ground with a strip of paper. As the paper wets with irrigation water, the tension in the pole causes the paper to tear. The flag flies into the air, notifying the farmer that irrigation water has reached the desired point and should be shut off.
Could Turlock soon be home to an 18-hole municipal golf course or a city-built water park? Both amenities are on a list of projects for future consideration, and a planned city-backed study is set to examine their feasibility. The $75,000 study will hire a consultant to estimate costs to construct and operate those projects, and others listed in Turlock’s Parks Master Plan. The study will also examine potential funding strategies to turn the proposals into reality. "We've really got to ultimately find out what all these things are going to cost and the feasibility of it," said Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission Chairman Mike Dowd.
The City of Turlock will hold four workshops this week to discuss a potential change in how the city elects its leaders. The City of Turlock may soon shift from an at-large voting system, where every city resident votes for every city councilmember, to a district-based system.
In district elections, one council member would be elected to represent each area of Turlock. Residents would vote only for the council member from their district, and candidates would be required to live in that district. The shift comes as the City of Turlock received a letter threatening legal action if it does not adopt district-based elections. District elections are considered to be more representational of a citizenry, as councilmembers cannot all come from one particular, usually wealthy part of town.