Saturday Shorts: Rehab hospital will help shape up local economy

June 14, 2013 

What's better for Modesto than a new employer in a new building? We think it's a new employer moving into and refurbishing a long vacant facility. The Central Valley Specialty Hospital has done just that, opening in the former Kindred Hospital that longtime Modestans know better as City Hospital.

There's a delightful irony in the fact that the three-story building at 17th and H streets has been rehabbed into a rehabilitation hospital.

The new business opened its doors for public tours this past week, showing off patient rooms, therapy facilities and more. As a rehab hospital, Central Valley will be serving people who probably have been discharged from an acute care hospital after a stroke or surgery or other illness but need physical, occupational and other kinds of therapy before they can go home or to an assisted living facility or other care center. With an aging population, it's easy to see there will be a growing demand for these kinds of facilities. Currently, some local patients have to go to Lodi, Fresno or the Bay Area to get the intensive therapy that will be available once the Modesto hospital opens, probably in mid-July.

We welcome Central Valley for several reasons: Filling a medical need for a community, hiring about 160 people and putting a downtown building back to good use.

Lucas visit makes The New York Times

Other than the heat, the American Graffiti Classic Car Parade on June 7 seemed to be a big hit. Many people got their first glimpse in person of George Lucas, riding in a distinctive apricot-colored Mercury convertible through the downtown streets. Thousands packed the sidewalks. We thank and salute the North Modesto Kiwanis Club for putting this together.

Lucas' homecoming also generated some positive news reports for us, including a sizable story in The New York Times, under the headline "Cruising through town he put on the map."

The New York Times story talks about Lucas' experience in Modesto and the cruising revival that his "American Graffiti" sparked. There's not a single mention of our infamous auto theft problem or foreclosure rate or any notable murder cases — or even dustiness. It's a plus, as were last weekend's activities.

Local legislators jump in to immigration reform

We're pleased to see two Republican officials from our area heavily involved in immigration reform efforts.

Next week, state Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres is headed to Washington, D.C., with a GOP colleague from Camarillo to meet with congressional Republicans and urge for passage of a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill. Cannella was a co-author of a resolution passed by the California Legislature urging immigration reform.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, has introduced an amendment that would allow qualified undocumented immigrants to enlist in the military and receive legal citizenship after serving successfully. His proposal would apply to immigrants who were brought to the United States under the age of 15. Denham's office said in a press release Friday morning that Denham "secured an agreement during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act from Republican and Democratic leaders in the House that they would commit to authorizing the enlistment in the Armed Forces of qualified undocumented immigrants." It went on, "The agreement on the House floor marks the first time House Republican and Democratic leaders have come together publicly on the floor of the House to agree on a facet of immigration reform."


'Despite some of the challenges, citizen redistricting achieved a goal that was consistent with the spirit of the laws passed by voters: shaking up the incumbent-centered world of California politics'— Researcher Raphael J. Sonenshein in an independent study commissioned by the League of Women Voters

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'This "fully briefed" is something that drives us up the wall. Fully briefed doesn't mean we know what's going on.'— Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, talking about the National Security Agency's program to collect records on every telephone call in the country

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'As a legislative conference committee was doing its item-by-item sojourn through the state budget this month, many were marked "tbl." It was insider shorthand for "trailer bill language," but it just as easily could have stood for "trouble," because that's what the annual exercise of writing bills to accompany the budget has become.'— Columnist Dan Walters, The Sacramento Bee

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