This is marathon weekend in Modesto. More than 540 people have signed up to run and-or walk 26.2 miles Sunday morning, and nearly three times that number will cover 13.1 miles many of them finishing before some of their neighbors have even rolled out of bed.
People can still sign up for either race or a 5K 3.1 miles during the marathon expo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at Modesto Centre Plaza.
The marathon itself starts at 7 a.m. Sunday at 10th and M streets. The route goes through the college neighborhood, up Ninth Street, along the Modesto Junior College west campus and eventually out Beckwith Road. We urge drivers in those areas to be patient with the disruptions, which occur only once a year for an event that helps present Modesto in a positive light.
Completing a half or full marathon requires hard work over months of training, discipline and persistence. Putting on a marathon demands commitment and volunteers, a lot of volunteers. So in honor of the 4th annual Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon, we emphasize some similar themes in today's shorts:
COMMITMENT: Most parents want their children to be good readers. After all, good readers become leaders. State schools chief Tom Torlakson is making it a little easier with a website where parents can easily find the recommended literature list for grades from pre-kindergarten through 12. There are more than 7,800 titles on the list. Visitors may search the database by author, title, annotation, illustrator, translator, subject, grade span and language. It's a strategy to help students meet the new Common Core Standards that the state is moving toward. The database is available here: www3.cde.ca.gov/reclitlist/search.aspx.
PERSISTENCE: Those folks who want Hetch Hetchy Valley restored aren't giving up, not by a long shot. Although their ballot measure was roundly defeated by San Francisco voters last fall, they've come up with poll results showing about 43 percent of those surveyed would support a statewide initiative to take away San Francisco's rights to Tuolumne River water if the valley isn't returned to its natural state. Restore Hetch Hetchy's leader told the San Francisco Chronicle that they also will go back to San Francisco voters with their plan. Their goal is to have O'Shaughnessy Dam removed by 2025. We still don't agree with their mission and don't plan on changing our position, either.
A WINNER: Congratulations to Dorene "Dee Dee" D'Adamo on her appointment to the State Water Resources Control Board. She knows the valley and its needs thoroughly. The Turlock resident, an attorney, has served on the Air Resources Board since 1999. She has been a policy adviser to numerous elected representatives from our area, including Democrats Gary Condit, Dennis Cardoza and currently Jim Costa. Despite their political preference for Republicans, valley agricultural leaders seem pleased about D'Adamo's selection by the governor.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: There are many ways to serve your community. We highlight a few:
Applicants are being sought for the 2013-14 Stanislaus County civil grand jury. The entity investigates complaints and reports on the operations of local governmental agencies. It is a yearlong commitment, requiring at least 20 hours per month, but most previous jurors say they've enjoyed the experience. For information, contact the grand jury office at (209) 558-7766 or go to www.stanct.org to download an application. The deadline to apply is April 30.
Want to serve but don't have much time? Consider signing up for Love Modesto or Love Turlock or any of the other community events on April 27. As with the marathon, it's open to all ages and participants finish the event tired but satisfied. http://lovemodesto.com.
We've carried news stories, commentaries and editorials about the State Water Resources Control Board plan to demand more water be released down the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers to help the salmon. Jeff Michaels, director of the Business Forecasting Center at UOP, had a different take in his blog:
"Exempted from the fighting arena, and undoubtedly watching the webcast on their computers, were a group of wealthy interests who are influential in the Capitol. The state and federal water contractors divert massive amounts of water from this river system to places outside the watershed. ... They are a huge part of this problem, whether it is the lack of flow on the San Joaquin from their upstream diversions before it gets to this area, the contaminated runoff from their westside farming, and the massive diversions in the South Delta.
"How can they be absent from this proceeding while the peasants (i.e. the relatively small farmers represented by relatively small water districts with senior water rights, both tributaries and Delta, the fisherman, and the environmentalists) are pounding the crap out of each other?
"... I hope the warring neighbors can stop hitting each other for a moment and find some unity around their common problem with the state/federal contractors. They need to jointly demand a change to the narrow scope of this process."