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January 24, 2010

Census effort to reach out through downtown Modesto rally

Efforts in Stanislaus County to persuade residents to complete 2010 census questionnaires will kick off Tuesday with an outdoor rally at Modesto's Tenth Street Plaza.

Census day is April 1, but every home in the nation should receive its 10-question form by mid-March. The more people who promptly answer those questions and return them by mail, the smoother the census will go.

Those who do not return the questionnaire will be visited by census takers. Answering all the questions is required by law.

Stanislaus is considered a hard-to-count county because it has a high percentage of residents who do not read English.

Tuesday's rally will reach out to those community members and to all residents who may not be familiar with the once-a-decade census.

Speakers will include Sal Yang from the Hmong Association, Chay Khun from Watt Cambodian Temple, Ruby Kennedy from the King-Kennedy Memorial Center's board of directors, the Rev. Nathaniel Green from the faith community, Jim Christian-sen from the Peer Art Recovery Project, and Andrew Silva from Project Uplift.

Also invited to speak is Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' educational fund.

"Having a complete count of the city of Modesto and its surrounding communities is vital to preserving and protecting important federal funding," said Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour, who also will speak at the event.

For each person counted in California, an estimated $1,674 per year in federal funds is expected to flow into the state. Communities where residents are missed by census takers may not receive their share of federal allocations.

"Working together will lead to better results," said Jeff Grover, chairman of the county board of supervisors. "We're pleased to partner with our local cities, community-based organizations and all involved organizations in promoting a complete count of the community."

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at or 578-2196.

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