Saturday Shorts: X-citing facts in honor of today's X-Fest

August 2, 2013 

— Today, downtown Modesto hosts X-Fest. From late afternoon on, thousands of adults will be roaming streets that are normally pretty quiet on weekends. If you're a festivalgoer, downtown is the place to be. And if you're not into that kind of music or big crowds, you'll want to avoid it. We hope it's a successful event — and safe.

Meanwhile, in recognition of X-Fest, we offer 10 items that that are interesting, important or both:

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San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, actually at the southwestern edge of Stockton, has finally won designation as a trauma center. Until now, according to The Record of Stockton, San Joaquin was the largest California county (in population) without a trauma center. For the record, Stanislaus County has two designated trauma centers — Memorial Medical Center and Doctors Medical Center, both in Modesto.

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Last Saturday's Shorts mentioned the announcement of a $712,500 award to the Valley Consortium for Medical Education, the Modesto-based residency program for physicians. Dollar amounts can be impressive, but a better way to appreciate the growth of the program is this: In 2010, when the old residency program associated with the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency closed, there were 27 residents (medical school graduates getting hands-on training before they start practicing on their own). Today, 40 resident physicians are training in our county through the consortium, which includes the county clinics, Doctors Medical Center and Memorial Medical Center.

Why is it a positive to have more residents? First, they see patients, under the guidance of physician-faculty mentors; and second, graduates of a residency program often stay in the area when they become fully practicing physicians. And our community surely needs more doctors. Most of the residents will be family practice physicians; a new, smaller program is training orthopedists.

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That's two top public safety officials that Livermore has lured away from Modesto in recent years. Modesto Police Capt. Michael Harris will become Livermore's police chief on Aug. 19. He spent 22 years working for the MPD. In summer 2010, the Livermore- Pleasanton Fire Department hired former Modesto Fire Chief James Miguel.

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The corporation license for the Latino Community Roundtable was back in active status when the California Secretary of State's office updated its list Wednesday. The nonprofit organization had its license suspended because officers missed deadlines to file the required statement of information. The state Franchise Tax Board also confirmed that the LCR is back in good standing. President Maggie Mejia moved quickly to correct the paperwork problem.

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An interesting number from the California HealthCare Foundation: Patients with chronic conditions see an average of 11 providers. The foundation encourages better communication and collaboration among these doctors.

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Did you return from vacation with some of those little motel-sized bottles of shampoo? The Salvation Army Berberian Homeless Shelter and Transitional Living Center can use them for clients. Shampoo — in bottles of any size — can be dropped off at the shelter, 320 Ninth St., or at the main office, 625 I St., Modesto.

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As it does every year, the Modesto City Council is moving next week's meeting to Wednesday to avoid a conflict with National Night Out on Tuesday. The council has been off for almost a month; its last meeting was July 9.

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There's lots of discussion about wells these days. Of note: The city of Modesto has 110 wells, with an average age of 38 years. Wednesday's council agenda includes a routine item for a contract with a Fresno firm to rehabilitate aging wells. The estimated annual cost is $103,500. In case you're wondering, no local companies submitted bids.

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Thursday's front page featured a story about the bumps and other deterioration of Modesto's streets. Oakdale Road is in line for some rehab: a $1.8 million project to fix the pavement and install new bike lanes and curb ramps between Briggsmore and Floyd avenues.

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A new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research identifies which California counties saw highest rates of people losing their insurance from 2007 to 2009, during the worst of the recession. It counted people who lost their health insurance coverage for all or part of the year. The results are not surprising: Wealthy coastal counties felt the least impact. San Joaquin and Merced counties had high impacts. Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Mariposa counties had only moderate impact. In some counties, the uninsured rate didn't grow significantly because there were already so many people without insurance. The seven-page report is available at http://tinyurl.com/lp24jkd.

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