Crime-fighting eye in sky comes with high price tag for Stanislaus

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department will pay a steep price for a surveillance camera to take video of suspected drug dealers in action. The Wescam MX-10 long-distance surveillance camera, which will be mounted on the department’s Cessna 206 airplane, will cost an eye-popping $414,060 for the equipment – and installation is not included.


Stanislaus road tax vote rolling toward 2016

A Stanislaus countywide ballot initiative in 2016 to raise the sales tax for road projects moved a step closer to reality Wednesday. The Stanislaus Council of Governments agreed to search for a suitable public outreach consultant and formally asked the agency’s staff to begin developing a spending plan that might build voter support for a higher tax.


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Jeff Jardine

Ex-Modestan’s company cleared for drone takeoff

Brian Whiteside, a 1988 Downey High grad and now president of VDOS Global, last week was granted an exemption by the FAA that will allow his company to use drones to perform safety inspections on oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, along with other hard-to-reach structures.

Nan Austin

Let’s talk techie – yes, students need computers

Computer Science Week just wound up, but the whole month has felt tech-centric. There is a tech-tonic shift happening, pardon the pun, from the inkwell world where classrooms got their start. Encyclopedias to Google-ing. Wide-ruled binder paper to spreadsheets. Pencils to styluses.

Jeff Jardine

Work begins to bring fire-damaged hotel back to life

Cleanup is underway at Coulterville’s historic Hotel Jeffery, with crews tearing out debris from the hotel’s burned and smoke-damaged areas, and it turns out a direct descendant of the hotel’s founder, George Jeffery, still lives nearby. Also, a Modestan shares his dream of transforming Modesto’s Dry Creek into a tourist mecca.