Success & Service: Stella Beratlis is Modesto’s 7th poet laureate

Modesto resident Stella Beratlis is the city’s new poet laureate, a title she’ll hold through 2018.
Modesto resident Stella Beratlis is the city’s new poet laureate, a title she’ll hold through 2018.

Stella Beratlis is Modesto’s poet laureate for 2016-18, the city of Modesto announced. Beratlis has been a Modesto resident since 1979 and is manager of the Tracy library.

“Ms. Beratlis’ poetry demonstrates that she is a sophisticated observer of the Valley who embraces the reality of our landscape and culture,” according to the city. She replaces Gillian Wegener, an Oakdale Junior High teacher who held the distinction since 2012.

“I see it as being an ambassador of sorts for the literary arts in Modesto,” she said.

Beratlis will hold the title through 2018 with the possibility of a second two-year term. She is the city’s seventh poet laureate since the unpaid designation was created in 1993 and follows Wegener (2012-16), Ed Bearden (2008-12), Sam Pierstorf (2004-08), Debee Loyd (2000-04), Arlene Silva Mattos (1996-2000) and Jeannette Gould Maino (1994-96).

Modestan serving in Pacific Rim naval exercises

Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Deneau of Modesto is serving in the U.S. Navy and is participating in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific exercise.

The 2012 Johansen High School graduate is an information systems technician aboard the USS Shoup, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A Navy information systems technician is responsible for maintaining constant communications on and off the ship.

Craft fair helps Civitan fund future Law Day, other events

The Creative Crafters Civitan, a nonprofit, earned more than $600 during a craft fair at Dale Commons in Modesto. Civitan International is a worldwide organization dedicated to providing service to the community. Civitan in May sponsored Law Day, which honored Eldon Souza of the California Highway Patrol; Jose Ramirez of California State University, Stanislaus; Andrew Nikkel of Hughson Police Services; Clinton Fanucchi of the Newman Police Department; Terrance Shadel of Patterson Police Services; Veronica Esquivel of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department; Hector Pulido of the Ceres Police Department; Robert Huffman of Waterford Police Services; Carl Poortinga of the Escalon Police Department; Letitia Waters of the Modesto Police Department; Andrew Stever of the Oakdale Police Department; Jon Gingerich of Riverbank Police Services; and Brandon Bertram of the Turlock Police Department.

Hermann leading Modesto Rotary

Pete Hermann, a longtime Modesto businessman and civic leader, will serve as president of the Modesto Rotary Club in its 97th year of existence. Herrmann, a principal and partner in Next Step Business Advisers in Modesto, is joined by David Boring, secretary/reasurer and president elect, and new directors Marilyn Dompe, Robert Hawks Jr. and Monica Ojcius. Immediate past president Lynn Dickerson, Vicki Bauman, Patrick Dodd, Shannon Gilbert-Weaver, David Gingerich, Clint Mort and Gigi Sheriffe remain on the board. The club, formed in 1920 and with 250 members, is one of the largest Rotary clubs on the West Coast. It has sponsored scholarships and other education initiatives, collaborated with other service organizations on the Virginia Corridor bike and walking trail, and supports the Miracle League of Stanislaus County baseball league for disabled children.

Oakdale Soroptimists name officers, honorees

Soroptimist International of Oakdale recently installed its new president, Nancy Lilly, and her board of directors for 2016-17. Officers include Marcia Speiller, president elect; Cheryl Koff, vice president; Elaine McConnell, treasurer; Christine Serpa-Neigebauer, recording secretary; and Debbie Carreira, corresponding secretary. Directors are Suzette Titus and Lisa McCormack, and Lois Kobayashi is the delegate. Other board members include Diane Ott, adviser, and Tamberly Stone, parliamentarian. Jayne Hartley received the distinguished service award and Titus the president’s award.

Author! Author!

“Awakening,” a book by Ripon resident Brother Yusef, is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at, or by going to or He previously wrote “Overthrowing the Antichrist” and has served as an evangelist in the United States, India and Rwanda, where he’s visited mosques and Hindu temples to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brother Yusef has a bachelor’s degree in intercultural studies and a Bible minor from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minn.

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