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Ceres really knows how to save water

July 18, 2014 

With all the debate, concern and distress about water use the past few weeks, there was at least a droplet of good news. It comes out of Ceres; the city made an important list. The state compared year-to-year water use, and Ceres made the Top 10 in cities that have reduced usage – 21 percent in this case. That’s more than impressive, it’s outstanding and a target for other area cities to take aim.

There was a flip side to the year-to-year water list. Fortunately, no one from around here was on that list. Orange County, though, should be ashamed. Of the 10 cities that have increased water use, the OC has four: No. 1 water-waster Santa Ana (up 61 percent) and San Juan Capistrano, Garden Grove and El Toro.

The most disappointing to see on the list is San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which supplies Tuolumne River water to 29 cities on the peninsula. The city’s water use is up 19 percent. That’s the same Tuolumne River that supplies Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts with their water. So when San Francisco is being wasteful, we should take notice. Not every city in the Bay Area gets its water from SFPUC, but it was still disappointing to see such a surge. San Francisco was the only city in Northern California on the list of increased use.

Speaking of lists …

While we usually cringe at lists, we found one to celebrate on a website devoted to making them. Thrillist.com ranked every state in the nation for its food. You’ve probably already guessed, California was at the tip-top of that list. It wasn’t even close, wrote the compilers. Why? Well, it wasn’t because of the trendiest restaurant in L.A. or some chi-chi foodie hangout in San Francisco. It was because of our valley. “Let’s start first with some numbers,” wrote the folks, who ranked the states. “California has 80,000 farms; it produces half of all U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Half, friends. 50 percent. And you know about the wine, right?” The list got around to mentioning San Diego, San Francisco, L.A. and other havens of haute cuisine, but it started with the important stuff – talking about the food we produce. “It’s California on a knockout, and it ain’t even that close.” And the best part? Way back in second place was ... Texas.

Other milestone moments …

• Being named the Division IV athletic school of the year for the entire state is certainly an achievement worth celebrating, and Modesto’s Central Catholic High School’s athletes have every reason to be proud. The Raiders should be equally proud of other achievements, such as the Notre Dame science camps that bring low socioeconomic students to the campus for programs in science, engineering and technology with hands-on help from volunteer students. That’s in keeping with the 100 hours of volunteer service required to graduate. Congratulations to all. ...

• Stanislaus County won the “Best Design” award for our county’s State Fair exhibit. That’s nice. Might have been nicer if the State Fair hadn’t scheduled itself to compete with our fair for the entirety of its run. But we’ll take the compliment. ...

• Happy birthday to Stanislaus Surgical Hospital, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. It’s interesting that the successful private health center has drawn the attention of Sutter Health (owners of Memorial Medical Center), which wants to acquire it. Too bad if this birthday is its last. ...

Fancy meeting you here

Car accidents are no laughing matter, and drinking and driving is never a cause of hilarity. But there was something worthy of television comedy in this week’s news story about a couple in Merced who each had allegedly been drinking at a house party but left in separate cars. The next time they bumped into each other was apparently 10 minutes later. Wonder if the relationship will last?

-- 30 --

Fred Herman believed in the power of the printed word, which is why he spent so much of his life dedicated to delivering it to readers. Mr. Herman, a longtime newsroom employee of The Modesto Bee, died last weekend. It was unexpected. Only a few days prior to his death, he had submitted a letter to the editor – the last of at least 45 The Bee published since his retirement. In that letter, he paraphrased Thomas Jefferson (whom Mr. Herman called Tommy; guess they were on a first-name basis), who once opined that America needed a revolution every generation or so. He decried a government that was free to eavesdrop on its citizens. No one needed to eavesdrop on Mr. Herman to know his thoughts. Besides working at The Bee, Mr. Herman was active in the ACLU and was the founder and editor of Stanislaus Connections, another testament to his belief in the power of the printed word. There will be a memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Kiernan Avenue at 4 p.m. today.

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