SATURDAY SHORTS: Getting food to those who would go hungry in Modesto

July 19, 2013 

EC BoD Richard04

ED CRISOSTOMO/ecrisostomo@modbee.com Volunteer, Gerry Cox, pulls a supply of food for Richard Mejia at Inter-Faith Ministries on Monday morning (11-05-12) in Modesto CA. Richard Mejia (not pictured) a single-father, raised his daughter Hope since birth, he also worked as a food pantry volunteer back in February until his car broke down. Mejia and his daughter also participated in the Milk and Education Program at the Inter-Faith Ministries. "I wanted to give something back. My time is all I have so I volunteered at the food pantry. These people at Inter-Faith Ministries have helped me tremendously when we were hungry during hard times. We are blessed to meet them. They just do their job and I don't think they realize how they have helped people. It's brought tears to my eyes more than once" said Mejia.

ED CRISOSTOMO — Modesto Bee

A number of community leaders have pointed out that it would be difficult to go hungry in Modesto because free and inexpensive food is offered by so many different organizations, charitable and taxpayer-supported.

Typically, people need to go to the food — whether it is offered out of a food truck or at a non-profit agency or a school.

But Inter-Faith Ministries of Greater Modesto has delivered groceries to low-income seniors and now is expanding that program to people at least 50 years old and who cannot get to the agency's facility because of illness, disability or a lack of transportation.

Inter-Faith is one of the oldest food bank providers in our area. It serves families in Modesto, Empire, Waterford, Salida and Ceres and is supported by individuals and religious congregations throughout the area.

People in need of assistance can call (209) 572-3117 for more information.

Those needing more information about the variety of helping agencies can call 2-1-1, the Stanislaus County information and referral line operated by United Way.

Take a tour — in person or virtually

Families looking for a low-cost excursion should consider a visit to the UC Merced campus, which has changed substantially since its opening in 2005.

One-hour walking tours are offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and on designated Saturdays at noon. For those who can't get to the campus, the university has added a virtual option, a narrated walking tour on its website, at www.admissions.ucmerced.edu/virtualtour.

There are only a few weeks of summer vacation left for most students, so this could be a good way to get youngsters thinking about what's ahead and how they need to prepare for life after high school.

A simmering water conflict resolved

For years, Modesto city residents and farmers have been blessed with ample water — with the exception or a drought or two — while water conflicts have gone on elsewhere in the state. One of the oldest seems to be resolved. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Mammoth Lakes Community Water District announced Thursday that they have reached a compromise settlement over use of the High Sierra ski town's water supply, ending a dispute whose roots reach back a century.

The Times reported that Mammoth Lakes can continue to get its water from the creek of the same name, and will pay Los Angeles $3.4 million now and $2.4 million, adjusted higher for inflation, in half a century. We would hesitate to guess what that figure will be in 50 years.

Taxpayers not well served by court fights

The public doesn't mind having its money well spent on essential services, such as police, fire and even street sweeping and maintaining parks. At or near the bottom of the list of prudent spending would be the dollars wasted when tax-supported agencies are suing each other over issues that should be resolved through reasonable compromise and negotiation. We urge Stanislaus County and the city of Modesto to work out the repayment of the fees that the city — and all cities around the state — were overcharged by counties in the wake of the convoluted fee-tax swap in 2004. The Legislature is more than partially to blame for these conflicts, because they cut special deals for certain groups — in this case, school districts, which don't have to pay counties for collection of property taxes, even though schools get the largest amount.

California's tax collection and distribution systems are so complicated that few people, even those in government, understand them. The situation is ripe for conflict — and wasteful lawsuits.

Turlock's big, big new police station

Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson visited with our editorial board this week, and we're glad to hear that he would like to offer other agencies, such as probation department and maybe state Fish & Game, space in the city's $30 million Public Safety Facility. The Turlock Fire Department's administrative offices also will be there but 57,000 square feet is still far more than is needed today or for the immediate future.

Jackson suggests that the facility can be a place for community meetings and self-defense classes. The building, at Broadway and Olive, will share a parking lot with the Carnegie Arts Center.

You know that a space is big when the people in charge acknowledge.

"We've got plenty of extra room," Turlock police Capt. Jeff Lopes told Bee Turlock reporter Marijke Rowland. "I wouldn't be surprised if in 30 years we've still not grown into this space."

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