Opinion Columns & Blogs

Thumbs up, thumbs down | The good and the bad in recent Modesto-area news

Erika Preciado, 16yrs, of Ceres, Calif. reacts to hearing her father’s heart beat in the chest of Bakersfield resident Ramiro Cruz on Tuesday morning, April 16, 2019, in Modesto.
Erika Preciado, 16yrs, of Ceres, Calif. reacts to hearing her father’s heart beat in the chest of Bakersfield resident Ramiro Cruz on Tuesday morning, April 16, 2019, in Modesto. jfarrow@modbee.com

Reflections on a few items of interest in recent issues of The Modesto Bee:

THUMBS UP on Entekra, a Ripon company building a $35 million headquarters and factory in Modesto, bringing 250 new jobs. The company makes walls for new homes that are taken to construction sites, saving framers from building walls right there and reducing construction time by a third. We’re glad Entekra has done so well, and happy that owners apparently want to stay close to their roots. Kudos to Opportunity Stanislaus and Modesto City Hall for helping to make this happen.

THUMBS DOWN on gun violence that wounded two people in their twenties early Sunday during a hip-hop concert at Modesto’s Titled Turtle Bar & Grill, a nightclub not far from Modesto Junior College. Although authorities had suspected the club was a hangout for Norteño gang members, police had not prepared to confront problems at a publicized 420 (celebrating marijuana) Music Festival, because club operators failed to disclose the regional nature of the event as required, police say. If the club won’t play by the rules, the city should yank its permit.

THUMBS UP to three men who weren’t going to stand idly by when a woman drove into a canal full of water along Modesto’s Briggsmore Avenue last week. Mark Polkinghorne told reporter Erin Tracy that he jumped in and pulled the unresponsive driver, apparently stricken by a medical crisis, through a window to safety, assisted by Art Mondragon Sr. and Art Mondragon Jr. Good work, guys.

THUMBS DOWN on a bureaucratic threat to Bloomingcamp Ranch, a happy stop for people craving a tasty turnover or fruit pie and a stroll by a picturesque pond tucked in an almond orchard just east of Oakdale. We depend on the government to keep consumers safe from bad water, so it’s good that tests detected a high level of nitrates in the farm’s well. However, no one is exposed to that source because operators simply use bottled water, so what’s the harm in letting that continue? Because the state doesn’t consider that a permanent solution, the ranch is faced with spending big bucks — at least $100,000, maybe double that, or more — to fix a problem hurting no one.

THUMBS DOWN on whatever downtown Modesto’s Central Valley Specialty Hospital has done to draw the ire of federal medical regulators. They could cancel its Medicare reimbursements in a few weeks if the hospital doesn’t address vaguely identified problems with patient rights, nursing, infection control, quality improvement and food services. The 96-bed, long-term care center at 17th and H streets is making significant improvements, its CEO told Bee reporter Ken Carlson. Let’s hope so.

THUMBS UP on organ transplants, which can provide a silver lining to heartbreaking tragedy. Although Erik Gustavo Sandoval Preciado died soon after a botched carjacking in 2007, his then-tiny daughter, Erika Preciado — now 16 — just listened to his heart beating in the chest of recipient Ramiro Cruz of Bakersfield after her grandmother recently tracked him down. The precious look on Erika’s face as she held a stethoscope to Cruz’s chest, captured by the Bee’s Deke Farrow for the paper on Easter Sunday, tells a poignant story of love, sacrifice, gratitude and hope — stuff we all could use more of.

Garth Stapley is The Modesto Bee Opinions editor: 209-578-2390, @garthstapley1.