When Julie Hannon presided over the ribbon cutting of the new Modesto Dog Park, she related the story of how it came to be. Over the years, she said, her phone would ring with people full of excitement about building a dog park and inquiring about the process. The typical response after hearing what was entailed was to hang up, never to be heard from again.
Until it was Connie and Ernie Pinkston on the other end of the line, taking notes and then beginning the work. Years of planning, meetings, and fund raising. Their dogged efforts (sorry) paid off and a beautiful, fresh, newly sodded park opened on the corner of Morris and Virginia avenues. People frequently travel from as far away as Manteca and Ripon to enjoy it as they explain there is nothing comparable in their community. So, we have a lot to thank Connie and Ernie for, even as their efforts to raise funds and maintain it continue.
That is just one example of our residents striving to enhance our community quality of life. There are countless others. The people who lead and serve in the neighborhood associations are another example. Private citizens who maintain the Virginia Corridor. Everybody who put weeks or even an hour into a Love Modesto event.
So, to everyone from Don Lundy waging his personal crusade against graffiti to Jim Johnson, who works selflessly to bring theater arts to thousand of schoolchildren each year, I thank you and am grateful for you.
It is a relief to know that our city is a careful steward of its finances during these treacherous times and Modesto has not suffered the fate and loss of other municipalities, but we will always need the vision and diligence of our residents to ensure a secure and vibrant community.
Ogden, of Modesto, is a homemaker, community volunteer and blogger.
The dust has begun to settle from the election and the inevitable guessing game of what happened and why is in full swing. Also inevitable are some classic responses. If your side won the day, then there are those that gloat and point fingers. If your side didn't fare well, then you may also be pointing fingers and perhaps placing blame on poorly run campaigns or media bias. Either way, it isn't hard to justify your point of view.
In the end, however, neither of these approaches serve your needs. In neither case is the result a productive choice that leads to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams, political or otherwise.
So what's to be done? The answer: Make unbiased choices based on the most accurate data at hand. We are really bad at doing this, it seems. We humans love to bathe in ideological comfort; to soothe away the encumbrance of pesky conflicting data. If you look at some of the tools we all use to help maintain our grasp on unreality, some start to look like old friends:
Selective search for evidence. Do you look at sources of data that support only your point of view? Don't do this.
Repetition bias. This is particularly evident in election advertising and publicity. If we hear something many times from many sources, we tend to believe it. Really? Have a healthy level of skepticism.
Group think. Peer pressure is not our friend. We want to go along with the group. Your friends may not be true when comes to steering you toward good decision making.
Reading over this truncated list will hopefully have you asking not how others could have made the choices at the polls that they did, but rather, how you could have made the choices you did.
Sinclair teaches computer graphics at Modesto Junior College
I wasn't eavesdropping. She was gassing on two feet behind me and I had no choice but to listen.
I'm just so sick of her and that attitude of hers. If she does it again I'm going to
Well, I'm going to say something I'll probably regret."
"I'm with you!" I shouted back, "I'm tired of hearing halfalogues, and if we don't get together and do something, it's going to get worse."
The woman looked shocked at my intrusion. "Huh?
No. No. It's some guy. I'm in line at the grocery store," she told the person on the other end of the line.
"Yes, you are in line, and we don't want to hear your personal problems. Right, people?" I replied as I swept my hands about to include my fellow shoppers but they offered no support, uncomfortably shifting their feet and looking away. I let out a heavy sigh and shook my head. The only thing necessary for cell talker "annoys-makers" to triumph is for bystanders to do nothing.
Truth is, we've embraced the social ranking that comes with our phones and public conversations. We want to seem important and connected. Why do I answer calls at all times? Because I'm waiting for the State Department to call with, "Steve, thank God you picked up right away. Our contact in Syria has been compromised and
" No. I have to take this. I matter.
One man causing awkward moments in the SaveMart checkout line is just weird. But if every one of us screams "Take that thing out of your ear!" just once at a man in church with his Bluetooth in, or to a woman on a roller-coaster (which I witnessed at Disneyland) we can get back to a social currency that matters how good and decent a person is to those around them.
Taylor is a behavior analyst who lives in Oakdale.