We've had a lot of high-profile news stories lately about teens and young adults involved in gang shootings and other criminal behavior. We want to make sure that as much attention goes to the teens who are doing things in our community.
Former Mayor Jim Ridenour initiated a recognition program called the Mayor's Top Teens. Garrad Marsh is continuing the tradition, and a citizen committee has selected 27 Modesto teens this year to be recognized for public service and overcoming obstacles. They are an impressive group indeed.
Thursday's Buzzz section contained pictures and descriptions of 14 of the top teens; the other 13 will be featured in next week's Buzzz. You also can read about them on modbee.com; search for "mayor and top teens."
We've printed their names below because these are teens to be honored and they are role models for younger kids.
Obviously the selections have been made for this year's Top Teens, but if you know of an outstanding teen, please consider nominating him or her for The Bee's ongoing Teen Hall of Fame. The weekly recognition program is not limited to Modestans; young people can be high school students from anywhere in the greater Modesto area. Teachers, counselors, club advisers, clergy, Scout leaders and other adults are invited to make nominations; they are not accepted from a teen's parents or friends. The nomination form is available at www.modbee.com/buzzz.
MAYOR'S TOP TEENS FOR 2012
Alexis Dye, junior, Modesto High
Amanda Hebert, senior, Central Catholic High
Amanda Reth, junior, Enochs High
Austin Butler, sophomore, Big Valley Christian High
Austin Grant, senior, Enochs
Blaine Bockhahn, junior, Central Catholic
Brianna Plummer, senior, Enochs
Brinn Abbate, senior, Central Catholic
Cap Damrell, graduate, Modesto
Cassie Aiello, senior, Central Catholic
Christi Candido, senior, Modesto
Daniel White, sophomore, Central Catholic
Derek Spieker, graduate, Johansen
Erik Jimenez, senior, Johansen
Haylee Osgood, freshman, Downey High
Jacob Marsh, junior, Enochs
John Mundt, senior, Central Catholic
Johnathan Dallas, senior, Modesto
Joseph Alvarez, senior, Gregori High
Katherine Dunn, senior, Central Catholic
Kristin Gazallo, junior, Modesto Virtual Academy-Gregori
Lauren Case, senior, Enochs
Leonardo Yalung, senior, Central Catholic
Nick Huber, junior, Central Catholic
Oscar Diaz, senior, Enochs
Sydney Smith, senior, Gregori
Violet Tylock, senior, Johansen
Thumbs up, thumbs down
While we're on the subject of teens, it's good to learn that Students Speaking Out, the Crime Stoppers program for teens, is off to a strong start in its first two months. As Bee staff writer Erin Tracy reported last Saturday, 15 tips have been received, including one that might have helped save the life of an Oakdale youngster threatening suicide. Other tips have to do with drug use and physical threats to others. Of course students are encouraged to report bullying and other concerns directly to their teachers, counselors and principals. But if they aren't comfortable doing that, then they can submit tips anonymously by phone at (866) 602-7463 or by texting 274637, using TIP704 at the start, or on the Web at www.stancrimetips.org.
Another thumbs up: to the announcement that Amazon will be building a distribution center near Tracy as well as the one that will soon go up in Patterson. The Record of Stockton reported that the Tracy facility is expected to have about 1,000 jobs and that it will use advanced robotics and so the jobs there will be higher paying than those in the bulk distribution center in Patterson. We're pleased to have both centers coming to our region and we're sure a lot of job seekers will be as well.
Modesto now has an unfortunate connection to Galt, which this week had its experience with violence associated with an eviction. An unarmed Sacramento County animal control officer was shot to death when he and two locksmiths went to remove animals that had been left at a home that was supposedly vacant after an eviction. The 65-year-old man who had received the eviction earlier in the week is in jail, suspected of the shooting.
In April, a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy and a locksmith were killed during an eviction at a complex in Modesto. The shooter died in that case. Stanislaus Sheriff Adam Christianson said this week that the outside review of the incident is expected to be released this month. The critical incident report will identify what mistakes, if any, were made, and, more important, what can be done to try to prevent another such fatality.