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MARCH 2018




Livingston Community Health Clinic Manager Yamilet Valladolid will be the next speaker in MJC’s Positive People Speaker Series on March 22. PAGE 7


Great Wolf resorts cleared another hurdle to setting up shop in Manteca with a vote from the city’s Planning Commission. PAGE 8

DoMo Partnership hopes to see more whimsy BY SABRA STAFFORD


209 Business Journal

here are some basic services a city should provide for its residents and visitors, like functionality and safety. And while some needs, like fixing a pothole, definitely has a place in that functionality, so should the concept of fun. At least that’s the case in the opinion of Peter Kageyama. Kageyama is the author of “For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places” and the follow-up “Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places.” Ha also was the keynote speaker at the second annual State of Downtown Modesto presentation given on March 1 at the Gallo Center for the Arts by the Downtown Modesto Partnership. Kageyama is a community development consultant who puts the focus on grassroot engagement and actions, rather than relying on city and county government. He is a TED Talks alumnus and a senior fellow with the Alliance for Innovation, a nationwide organization of city leaders working to improve local government practices related to development. His presentation in Modesto primarily focused on how other cities have incorporated fun into their community development and what that is an important concept. “When you ask where is the fun, you change the dynamic in the

room,” Kageyama said. “When have you ever seen fun stated as a project goal?” One example Kageyama provided on how a city brought in some fun was of Boston and how they turned a three-acre space next to a convention center into an adult playground. They brought in big Adirondack chairs, large swings, wine and beer tastings, yoga and Zumba classes and games like a giant Jenga. Within a short amount of time the park had become a popular attraction and helped book more conventions at the center, Kageyama said. “This is a small thing, but it has an outsized impact on how people feel about their city,” Kageyama said. Fun doesn’t always have to be about games or activities. It can also be a touch of whimsy or wonder, like the musical-themed crosswalks in front of the Gallo Arts Center, or the artistic creations on some of the utility boxes around downtown Modesto. Those are examples of what Kageyama calls “love notes” between a city and its residents. A great example of “love notes” was done by a young man in Greenville, South Carolina, said Kageyama. For $1,200 he made several bronze sculptures of cute little mice and gave them permanent homes around downtown. The art project not only brought SEE DOMO, PAGE 10


Things like the musical-themed crosswalk and the painted utility boxes in downtown Modesto are examples of “love notes” that DoMo Partnership hopes to see more of in the area.



MARCH 2018


Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

Vol. 3 No. 3 ■ March 2018 PUBLISHER Hank Vander Veen



NEWSROOM Jeff Benziger Jason Campbell Dennis D. Cruz Kristina Hacker Teresa Hammond Marg Jackson Glenn Khal Angelina Martin Candy Padilla Vince Rembulat Virginia Still Dennis Wyatt

­—Mattie Stepanek

ART DIRECTOR Harold L. George


SALES & MARKETING Chris Castro Beth Flanagan Dawn Hamilton Corey Rogers Melody Wann Charles Webber Jennifer Webber

To advertise in 209 Business Journal, call Manteca • 209.249.3500 Oakdale • 209.847.3021 Turlock • 209.634.9141 209 Business Journal is published monthly 122 S. Third Ave • Oakdale, CA 95361 Information: The Oakdale Leader USPS No 178-680 Is published weekly by Morris Newspaper Corporation, 122 S. Third Ave. Oakdale, CA 95361 ©Copyright 2018. 209 Business Journal All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher of 209 Business Journal is strictly prohibited. The opinions expressed in 209 Business Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of 209 Business Journal management or owner. 209 Business Journal assumes no responsibility and makes no recommendation for claims made by advertisers and shall not be liable for any damages incurred.


Does your small business qualify for the 20 percent deduction? If you’re like most small-business owners, you are scratching your head trying to figure out the new small-business tax deduction. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, offers a 20 percent deduction for “pass through” entities, such as partnerships, limited liability companies and subchapter S corporations. Like all tax benefits, the deduction is designed to accomplish social-engineering goals as well as raise tax revenue for the government, specifically: 1) The current administration wants to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. so such businesses will have the easiest time qualifying for the deduction. 2) The current administration wants to encourage small businesses to hire more people as employees so those small businesses will have an easier time qualifying for the deduction than others. Here are the five questions you will have to ask to determine whether you qualify for the 20 percent deduction: Step No. 1: Is Your Business a Pass-Through for Tax Purposes? The 20 percent deduction applies only to pass-through entities, which are basically any entities (including sole proprietorships) other than C corporations. Hey, those guys got a HUGE reduction in their federal income-tax rate, so don’t feel too sorry for them. Step No. 2: Is Your Business


Engaged in a “Specified Service Trade or Business”? The 20 percent deduction applies only to small businesses engaged in manufacturing, retail, nonprofessional services (think restaurants and lawn care) and SOME professional services (such as architecture and engineering). Congress did not want the new deduction to enrich accountants and lawyers (but no fear — the extra fees they will earn from helping clients figure out the deduction will more than make up for not having the deduction). A specified service trade or business is defined as health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services or “any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees.” So, if you are a barber or hair stylist, are you a specified service trade or business ineligible for the deduction? The new law doesn’t offer any guidance, but here are two rules of thumb: 1) If your state requires or permits you to form a professional corporation or professional limited liability company in lieu of a

regular corporation or LLC, you are probably engaged in a specified service trade or business (ask your lawyer about this). 2) If your state requires you to obtain a professional license (as opposed to an occupational license) to do whatever you do, you are probably engaged in a specified service trade or business. Step No. 3: Do You Make Less Than the Minimum Income Thresholds? If you have less than $157,500 in taxable income (for a single taxpayer) or $315,000 in taxable income (for a married taxpayer filing jointly), then you can take the 20 percent deduction even if you are engaged in a specified service trade or business. Although, if you are a doctor making less than $157,500 a year, I’m wondering how good a doctor you are. If you are a shareholder in an S corporation, your taxable income is based on what is distributed to you each year as an owner/partner in the business, not the amount you take out in salary for the services you render to the corporation. Question: If you are slightly over the taxable income threshold, can you increase your deductions to bring your taxable income below the threshold — for example, by leasing a car through your company? You bet you can, as long as the deduction qualifies as an “ordinary and necessary” business deduction (forget the personal

masseuse, unless you are a Hollywood actor). Step No. 4: Does the Deduction Exceed Certain Caps? Whether or not your taxable income exceeds the minimum income thresholds, your deduction cannot exceed 20 percent of the excess of your taxable income over your net capital gains. If you are NOT engaged in a specified service trade or business AND your taxable income exceeds the minimum income threshold ($157,500 for a single taxpayer and $315,000 for a married taxpayer filing jointly), you can still take the 20 percent deduction. The bad news is that your deduction is further limited, or capped, to the greater of the following: 1) 50 percent of all wages paid to W-2 employees of the business. 2) 25 percent of all wages paid to W-2 employees plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted basis (i.e. before any depreciation deductions) of tangible depreciable property that your company owns as determined at the end of the tax year. Step No. 5: Should You Hire a Tax Professional? Got all that? I didn’t think so. Unless you are trained in accounting, you will probably need the help of a qualified tax professional to determine whether or not your business qualifies for the 20 percent deduction. Pay tax professionals well. After all, they don’t get the deduction.




River Island turns to play with addition of baseball and soccer fields

New barbershop now open for business BY TERESA HAMMOND 209 Business Journal


River Islands will be expanding their recreational activities to include more sports. BY DENNIS WYATT 209 Business Journal

River Islands is setting a new standard for living, working, and playing in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. It is not simply reshaping Stewart Tract — the southeastern most islands in the vast San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta — into a planned community of 11,000 homes. They are breaking the mold in terms of planned community standards in Northern California. And they are doing so by making adjustments as they roll out the basic development master plan. The latest change is a decision to add a regulation lighted high school baseball field at the base of the Bradshaw Crossing bridge across the San Joaquin River. The goal is to have the field ready by fall and to match the amenity standard in terms of seating and such that you can find at the nearby Big League Dreams sports complex in Manteca. Next door to it is where Cambay Group plans to break ground soon for a sixfield soccer complex River Islands has entered into a partnership with John Doyle who is the director of the coaching staff for the highly-regarded Mustang Soccer League that’s based in Danville and is known for their elite club play. Doyle’s storied playing history includes the Olympics, historic firsts for the United States in the World Cup, and a distinguished Major Soccer League career that included five years as the San Jose Earthquakes team captain as well as a stint as general manager. He will be bringing the Mustang

program to River Islands. When it is up and running, it will be open to youth players throughout the area. The sports complexes are part of a dual approach Cambay Group is using in developing recreation facilities. Some of it will be overseen by Lathrop Park and Recreation while some will be under the umbrella of River Islands. The arrangement allows for maximum flexibility. The soccer fields, as an example will be replaced by retail that expected for years down the road. Neither was in the original plan per se for River Islands but they underscore how Cambay Group is dedicated to constantly looking for ways to modify development of the planned community on 4,800 acres. It also underscores their effort to have River Islands serve as a major catalyst for the 209 region to set new standards for community development. The 18-mile greenbelt park that will ring the development was always part of the plan. But as development started, River Islands opted to go a step farther. They decided to add bridges across the three major streets that ultimately would have interrupted the trail with one already in place where traffic crosses the San Joaquin River at Bradshaw Crossing. That means when the development is completed, you will be able to travel the entire 18-mile green belt loop with River Islands on one side and the waters of the San Joaquin River, Old River, and Paradise Cut on the other side in a continuous path that will never cross a street. For urban green belts that is a first. There is no green-

belt in the Bay Area that can make that claim. Even the highly popular 23-mile American River Parkway in Sacramento is chopped up with several crossings for vehicles although they are, for the most part low key when it comes to traffic volume. Like the American River Parkway and the extensive web of similar trails around the Bay Area, the River Islands greenbelt is open to anyone. It will have the highest degree of public access for taking in the San Joaquin River anywhere along the 366-mile waterway — that is California’s second longest river — except for where it flows through national forest in the upper reaches of the Sierra. Unlike the American Parkway and trails in the Bay Area, not a penny of the work to make the access possible will be on the public’s dime although they will benefit from it. The greenbelt will be further enhanced by a recent decision to build extensions of the 300-foot wide super levees that have set the platinum standard for flood protection in California, back further behind existing older levees. When final federal clearance is given, the older levees will be knocked down and soil spread back toward the new levee. This will create an elevated bench that will allow for the restoration of habit that was virtually wiped out when levees were put in place more than 150 years ago. At the same time it will increase additional areas for water to go during high river flows to enhance flood protection for upstream neighbors of River Islands.

There’s a new quartet in town, but they’re not specializing in music. They’re specializing in hair, most specifically men’s. In mid-January, four passionate barbers opened the doors and welcomed customers to Oakdale Barber Shop. The newly opened business is in the art deco building on West F Street. Shop barbers Fernando Hernandez, Jorge Costello, Tara Lamott and Angel Cerasi stated they share a love for Oakdale, which prompted the opening of the business. Cerasi’s father Leo Cerasi is the silent partner/owner of the business, and each barber rents chair space from him. “We just wanted something more to give back to the community,” Angel Cerasi said of the team, who first met while working at another shop. “We love Oakdale. We love working in Oakdale.” Each of the barbers completed their training with


The barbers of the newly opened West F Street Oakdale Barber Shop, from left, Jorge Costello, Tara Lamott, Angel Cerasi and Fernando Hernandez.

Central Valley Barber College, Riverbank, during the course of the past two years. Hernandez shared it was a long-time love of barbering on the side for close to 25 years, which prompted him to pursue the training and license. “Our clients are all our bosses,” Hernandez stated, “and at the end of the day it’s our job to make our bosses feel great.” Lamott is a cosmetologist turned barber. The female

barber shared after eight years in the cosmetology business she decided to become more specialized in her trade. “Barbers are detailers,” she said. “That’s the one thing that made me go back to barber school from being a cosmo. I feel like as a barber you’re a little more of a detailer. A little more specialized.” As for the clientele and the shop offerings, the SEE BARBER, PAGE 4

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MARCH 2018


Envy Fine Clothing finds a niche in Riverbank BY VIRGINIA STILL 209 Business Journal

There is a new boutique that moved into the Crossroads called Envy Fine Clothing, which is a family owned business created by owner Darlene Dover. The store offers shoppers a variety of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as shoes and accessories. This is the fifth store that Dover has opened in the Central Valley with the flagship store being in Atwater that she opened approximately 10 years ago. She was a school teacher and dabbled in flipping houses for a bit when an opportunity arose in Atwater. “They were building a new structure that I thought would be booming so I took a shot on opening a store,” said Dover. “We joke because I have five kids and I couldn’t afford to clothe them so we might as well open a clothing store and get a discount.”

After several discussions and time spent Googling, Dover and her husband decided to call their store Envy, which would describe the brand they wanted to build. “We just wanted people to come in and feel beautiful about themselves and per se be envied,” explained Dover. “Your beauty starts on the inside and then we are helping on the outside.” When her son was about six to eight months old she would take him to work with her at the Atwater store so she had a play area set up for him. She did not realize this would unexpectedly become a place for the stay at home moms to spend some time shopping and have a place for the kids to play together. “They (moms) would say this is the only break I get all day,” added Dover. “I wound up building some great friendships with the ladies and that is kind of how we started and it just boomed from there.”

Three years after opening in Atwater they opened an Envy in Turlock and then two years after that they opened a store in Modesto. Two years ago they opened in Merced and a few months ago they opened their fifth location in Riverbank. “It (business) has been good and the clientele here is amazing,” expressed Dover. “Honestly you get a great conversation from everybody that walks in. Everyone is super friendly and the kids are so well behaved. I mean I could not ask for a better community to be honest with you.” They offer several brands including a variety of flip flops that Dover said they are known for as well several designer denim brands like True Religion, Seven7 jeans, Hudson jeans, Joe’s jeans, Miss Me jeans, and Rock Revival jeans. “I feel like we are a mini Nordstrom’s in a sense,” said Dover. “We have all

Modesto welcomes first Farmer Boys BY SABRA STAFFORD

price points. We have really cute booties. We have a great selection and they are two for $60 which is really a lot better than even chain stores. This is a little boutique and it is

family run.” They offer layaway for those that may need a little bit more time with 20 percent down and 90 days to pay. For more information



quartet shared in addition to haircuts they offer everything from the old school straight razor shave, hot towel shave, to mustache waxing, hair tint and air brushing.

209 Business Journal

Farmer Boys, the Southern California-based fastcasual restaurant specializing in burgers and made-from-scratch breakfast that is served all day, recently opened their first Modesto location at 1701 Prescott Road. Farmer Boys, which started over three decades ago, offers an expansive menu of dishes cooked-toorder and prepared with quality ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. Favorites include the award-winning Farmer’s Burger, the hearty Farmer’s Chopped Cobb Salad, and scratch-made French Toast. “I’ve always wanted to open a Farmer Boys restaurant,” says Rafael Armenta Jr., who co-operates the Modesto location with his uncle Rene Armenta. “Farmer Boys’ fresh take on fast-casual, with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients, really resonates with me, and I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to bring it to the Modesto community.” Farmer Boys has built their reputation on offering an expansive menu, comfortable restaurant atmosphere, drive-thru, and friendly staff. The Modesto location is open from 6


Owner Darlene Dover along with daughter Addison and Manager Stacey Brown are delighted to have their new store in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Riverbank.

“We’re like modern, but old school,” Cerasi said. “We try to be a little of both. Catering to the kids, as well as older clientele.” As for the community support since opening its doors, the foursome shared they are extremely pleased with the loyalty, as well as the walk-in business. “Oakdale has just been

call 209-863-8443 or email e nv yc l o t h e s @ a o l . c o m. Shoppers can also visit the store at 2251 Claribel Road Suite E in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Riverbank.

really good to us,” Hernandez said. “We want to keep making Oakdale a beautiful place one head at a time.” Oakdale Barber Shop is open for both appointments as well as walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

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Farmer Boys recently expanded their chain with a new restaurant opening in Modesto.

a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and offers dine-in, with seats for nearly 100, take out, and phone order service. For more information call 209-408–0735 or visit www. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Riverside, California, Farmer Boys also looks to partner with non-profits in the community, especially their partnership with the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. The restaurant chain was recently named a Champion of Children for contributing more than $655,000 to date. “Every year, we sponsor an in-store fundraiser

rewarding our guests who make a contribution to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. The generous donations go to maintaining the only dedicated children’s hospital in the San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono counties,” read a statement from the restaurant. “For over 30 years, Farmer Boys has been a successful, growing business thanks to the support of the communities we serve. Our annual fundraiser allows us to give back by supporting this region’s only dedicated children’s hospital.”

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Farmer to farmer Valley, Italian growers share best practices SPECIAL REPORT Stanislaus State

Before the group of 25 Italian farmers arrived at Stanislaus State on Feb. 5, they were tourists, making overnight stays in Las Vegas and San Francisco, and the hats and new t-shirts the Italians wore spoke to how much fun they were having. But the moment the farmers reached the University’s sustainable garden, where they were greeted by about 20 Stan State agriculture students, the business side of the trip immediately began to peek through the fun element. After all, they were here to learn, and the farmers’ group was here on a government grant to learn about the sustainable farming practices applicable to their own region. There were Muscat table grapevines, as well as pluot, cherry and peach trees that needed pruning. And since there also just happened to be no shortage of the tools needed to do the trimming, the farmers clicked into work mode with a combination of knowledge, speed, precision and purpose that amazed the students. “I’m learning how to prune just watching them,” said Jose Ortiz, an Oakdale High graduate who transferred to Stan State from Modesto Junior College. “This is really cool. They’re showing me a lot of things I wouldn’t even be thinking about if I came out here and tried to prune a tree myself.” In short order, the tools were handed to the students, who took over the task under the attentive eyes of the Italian educators. Their visit to Stan State was coordinated by Dr.

Costanza Zavalloni, a professor of plant science in the Agriculture Department, part of the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Zavalloni, a native of Italy, worked in agriculture research before coming to America and earning her doctorate at Michigan State University. “I’m watching the Italians and my students and I can see that they’re having a good time and they’re not only learning, but they’re amazed at what they are learning,” Zavalloni said. “A couple of the students already have told me that they had no idea there was a proper way to prune a tree. And there’s not just one way to prune a tree, but it’s done differently in different parts of the world and that all have their reasons for doing it that way. A lot of it has to do with the differences between the regions, and if we didn’t have these visitors, my students never would have seen how they do this in Italy.” The majority of the group lives and works in the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy, where the climate is very similar to that of the Central Valley and thus the farmers frequently are at the mercy of the weather. The visiting farmers raise a wide variety of products, most notably wine grapes, kiwi, apricots and peaches, but a few raise the young swine that become the region’s worldsavored prosciuttos, and at least one of the visitors is a cheese maker who specializes in the region’s exclusive and authentic ParmigianoReggiano. “It was very interesting being with the students, and

coming out to the farms has shown all of us that we deal with many of the same problems, not just the lack of water,” said Imario Montebello, who has fruit trees and produces grapes for the region’s famed Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) in the town of Soliera, about 25 miles northwest of Bologna. “The more we talk, the more we realize that all of us are


PICTURED CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: One of the 25 visiting farmers from Italy exchanges pruning tools with a Stan State student at the University’s sustainable garden; A member of the delegation of farmers from Italy talks with Stan State students about methods of pruning fruit trees; Three of the Italian farmers visit Bokisch Winery, west of Lodi, on Tuesday.

wondering the same things about the future of farming, specifically, where do we go now? Things are tough now for farmers and they aren’t going to get any better, so it’s important for us to talk to the farmers here, to talk about the common problems, and perhaps we can come up with common solutions.” Turlock was the base and Stan State was the first stop on the group’s three-day tour of the region. They spent an afternoon at 400 plus acre Frantz Nursery in Hickman, where co-owner Mike Frantz told them about

how water is obtained, stored and used, and how the nursery’s irrigation runoff is collected and reused. The following day, the group visited experimental nurseries in Tracy and Modesto, then drove north to Lodi to visit wineries and meet with wine growers at the Lodi Wine Commission. Their final day in the area was spent at a Turlock Irrigation lateral project outside Hilmar, followed by a visit to Duarte Nursery in Hughson and to Ferrari’s farm almond ranch in Ballico, where because of the unseasonably warm weather the first blos-

soms were out. “We all were very pleased with how we were received at the University,” Montebello said. “There is only one regret, and that it that we didn’t have enough time here to really do anything at the University and at the farms. Maybe we will put it on our schedules to do this again, and now we know the way to get here.” But that was to be expected, Zavalloni pointed out. After all, this was only the first of what she hopes will be many visits to our region from Italian farmers. The goal, she said, is to open a

dialogue that will help solve many of the sustainability issues shared by both fertile growing regions. “For example, in Italy they prune trees so they can do all the harvest from the ground, which saves on labor costs. And who knows if this region will have to start doing the same if labor becomes too expensive? Maybe the growers in the Central Valley will be forced to adopt many of the methods that they use in Italy. “Overall, this visit is all I could have hoped for, and I hope this becomes an annual event.”

CDFA announces grant funding available for healthy soils program STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program. The program provides funding for incentivizing and demonstrating soil health practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and improve soil health. The HSP has two components: the HSP Incentives Program and the HSP Demonstration Projects. The HSP Incentives Program provides financial assistance for implementation of soil health practices that sequester soil carbon and

reduce GHG emissions. California farmers and ranchers, as well as Federal and California recognized Native American Indian Tribes, are eligible to apply. The HSP Demonstration Projects showcase California farmers’ and ranchers’ implementation of HSP soil health practices. By using demonstration projects, awardees can help support widespread adoption of soil health management practices throughout the state. Not-for-profit entities, University Cooperative Extension, federal and university experiment stations, Resource Conservation Districts, Federal and

California-recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and farmers and ranchers in collaboration with any of the aforementioned entities are eligible to apply. A total of up to $1.6 million will be awarded for the projects, with no more than $500,000 allocated specifically for HSP Demonstration projects. This grant process may prioritize funding to agricultural lands in counties where a state of emergency was declared in 2017 due to wildfires under executive orders signed by Governor Edmond G. Brown, Jr. These counties include: Butte, Lake, Los Angeles,

Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Ventura and Yuba. Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically by 5 p.m. April 13. Awards will be made based on a firstcome-first-served basis and will be subject to administrative and technical reviews prior to being funded. For detailed information on eligibility and program requirements, prospective applicants should visit the CDFA Healthy Soils Program website at: www.cdfa. CDFA will hold two workshops and two webinars to provide information on pro-

gram requirements and the application process. CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide examples, and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email with his or her contact information, the number of seats required, and the workshop location. Webinars: • March 19 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. - HSP Incentives Program 10:30 a.m. - noon - HSP Demonstration Projects • March 21 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. - HSP

Incentives Program 10:30 a.m. - noon - HSP Demonstration Projects To register for the webinars, visit the program webpage at https://www.cdfa. Prospective applicants may contact CDFA’s Grants Office at with general program questions. For information regarding free-of-charge technical assistance provided by non-profit organizations, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), and California academic institutions, applicants should refer to healthysoils.



MARCH 2018


Denham driving bipartisan DACA solution BY ANGELINA MARTIN 209 Business Journal

Congressman Jeff Denham has joined a group of over 50 bipartisan members of U.S. Congress to sponsor a bill that protects DACA recipients from deportation while implementing new border security measures. The Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act is a bipartisan bill created in response to President Donald Trump’s call for a DACA replacement after he declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would end come March. “The government asked Dreamers to come out of the shadows, and it’s time for Congress to pass legislation that will allow them to truly move forward with their lives,” said Denham. “The only way to accomplish this is through compromise that includes border security measures.” The term “Dreamers” is originally derived from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, introduced in 2001. The bill failed but was resurrected in later years through a number of forms as immigration reform remained a hot topic for Congress. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program went into effect, bringing forward many of the requirements first introduced in the

DREAM Act and providing Dreamers temporary relief from deportation. The USA Act, or H.R. 4796, provides an alternative for protecting DACA recipients from being deported and also advances reforms in Central America that “address the factors driving migration to the United States.” “DACA recipients are American in every way possible except on paper,” said Denham. “They have paid their fees, passed background checks and are working, pursuing college degrees or serving in our military to contribute to the greatness of America.” The USA Act would allow Dreamers pursuing an education, serving in the military or employed to apply for permanent U.S. resident status on a conditional basis, states the bill. If certain conditions for educational attainment, military service or employment are met, permanent resident status would be granted. The bill would also create a comprehensive southern border strategy, improving requirements for security technology and providing for physical barriers or levees where necessary, and the USA Act would also increase the number of immigration judges to enhance the speed of pending and future cases. The USA Act is not the first piece of legislation

Denham has pushed for immigration reform, and he has often been vocal about the need for a DACA replacement. He introduced the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training (ENLIST) Act to give qualified, undocumented immigrants the chance to earn citizenship through enlistment in the military in January 2017, and during an MSNBC taping on Jan. 10 discussed the urgent need for a DACA solution. “We’ve never penalized kids for the deeds of their parents. So, this is something that it’s just the right thing to do. These kids know of no other home, they have no other country to go back to. They’ve graduated from high school alongside our kids, so ‘it’s the right thing to do’ is the biggest issue that should bring Republicans and Democrats together,” said Denham. “But just on the economy, the economic impacts of this – if you look at the statistics – we have strong facts that show that these Dreamers are not only working, but are also going to school and contributing back to our local economies.” The USA Act currently has 55 co-sponsors – 28 Democrats and 27 Republicans. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on border and Maritime Security on Jan. 26.


Congressman Jeff Denham has been known to support Dreamers in the past, introducing the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act, or the ENLIST Act, which gives qualified young undocumented immigrants the chance to earn citizenship in the United States through enlistment in the military.

Cox moves campaign to 21st District


TJ Cox has opted to move his campaign for Congress to the 21st district after the lone Democratic candidate dropped out of the race. BY ANGELINA MARTIN 209 Business Journal

Democratic Congressional hopeful TJ Cox has had his eyes set on District 10 Republican incumbent Jeff Denham’s seat since he announced his candidacy last summer, but on March 6 the Central Valley businessman revealed he will instead be running for Congress in the 21st District. Bakersfield attorney Emilio Huerta dropped out of the District 21 race over the weekend, and had been the only Democrat running against Republican incumbent David Valadao. Huerta’s departure left the race wide open, and Cox has decided to step in, saying it “wasn’t an easy decision.” He said in a statement that his goals remain the same as they were for District 10: protect health care, immigrants and Social Security. “My decision to move our campaign back to this

district is about the thousands of Californians in the Central Valley – from Tranquility to Arvin – that stand to lose health care under the status quo,” said Cox. “That’s where we’re headed under Donald Trump and his ‘yes-man’ and my opponent – David Valadao. Right now, a Democrat is well positioned to defeat Jeff Denham in CA-10. But in CA21 – where I have deep roots – I refuse to let David Valadao off without a fight for betraying our community by voting with Trump 98.5 percent of the time in Congress.” Cox was a popular candidate in the District 10 race, earning endorsements from groups like the CA10 Coalition and the Patterson Progressive Alliance. “TJ earned the support of our group and several other groups throughout the 10th for his progressive values and genuine

character,” said PPA in a statement, adding that they have not yet selected another candidate to endorse. “Our support for TJ stands, and we wish him well in his new race…” Cox is no stranger to Congressional races. He ran for Congress in 2006 in what was then known as the 19th District, encompassing Turlock and the eastern half of Stanislaus County, and lost to Congressman George Radanovich, who Denham replaced in 2011. Cox doesn’t live in the 10th or 21st District – he resides in Fresno. By federal law, he does not have to live in the district to run for Congress. With Cox’s departure, the candidates left that are challenging Denham include Democrats Josh Harder, Michael Eggman, Mike Barkley, Sue Zwahlen, Virginia Madueno, Dotty Nygard and Independent Scott Shoblom.


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5.11 Tactical plans retail in Manteca BY DENNIS WYATT 209 Business Journal

Manteca is about to join the ranks of Honolulu, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston, Long Island, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Tokyo, Shanghai, Taipei, and Hong Kong. When 5.11 Tactical — that enjoys a global market for its uniforms and tactical equipment for military, law enforcement, and public safety personnel — opens its new 404,657-square-foot distribution center this spring on Airport Way it will include a retail component that exclusively sells their gear. The other company owned stores are all located in major cities. Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum made that announcement during Wednesday’s State of the City program staged by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce at the Manteca Transit Center. The firm will initially move 217 jobs to Manteca. The site is designed to add another 134,000 square feet. 5.11 Tactical products are available through various retailers such as Bass Pro, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and numerous independent concerns. 5.11 Tactical chose Manteca due to its proximity to transportation needed to serve a global market often overnight. It is less than eight miles from Stockton Metro Airport where Amazon Prime now flies six cargo jumbo jets daily to serve two 1-million-square-foot distribution centers in Tracy, one 1-million-squarefoot distribution center in Patterson, and another 600,000-square-foot distribution center being built in Stockton near the airport. DeBrum noted in November that Amazon Prime Now opened in an existing 91,134-squarefoot industrial building at the Pacific Business Center on Louise Avenue next to the Manteca Unified to create more than 100 jobs. The site serves the firm’s

one-hour delivery service to Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and other points in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties such as Stockton, Modesto, and Tracy that are within an hour’s drive of the Louise Avenue site. Amazon picked Manteca as it is at the geographic center of 1.1 million consumers in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. The South County as a whole — Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca and southern Stockton — are within 70 miles of three key population centers in the Northern California Mega Region serving San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento. Manteca is marking its 100th year as a city by stepping up job generation. • Medline medical supplies is building a 565,000-square-foot distribution center in the Pacific Business Center. • Scannell is currently building a 280,000-squarefoot spec building in Spreckels Park. • CenterPoint building Project Laurie — a 550,000-square-foot initial phase of a 1.1 million square foot building just north of 5.11 Tactical. CenterPoint has three firms that are interested in leasing the building, however, they are not releasing any details. “This is just a part of our vision to expand commercial real estate and encourage firms to plant roots where our families live and work,” DeBrum said. The mayor also pointed out two major expansions were completed in the past year. BR Funsten & Company, a flooring distribution firm at Main and Industrial Park Drive, added 67,000 square feet while Sunnyvalley Meats expanded by 32,000 square feet. “We are improving job opportunities on every front with more sustainable zoning, better growth for business and work for more and more of our residents,” the Mayor noted.

Available at premiere locations in the Valley

MJC presents Yamilet Valladolid as next presenter in Positive People Speaker Series STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

Yamilet Valladolid, clinic manager for Livingston Community Health, is the next presenter for Modesto Junior College’s Positive People Speaker Series. The free, public presentation is Thursday, March 22, at 6 p.m. in the Mary Stuart Rogers Student Learning Center on West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Avenue, Modesto. Campus parking is available for $2. Valladolid was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. Her parents emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico to the United States as newlyweds in order to raise a family and offer more opportunities

to their children. Valladolid always knew she wanted to go to college, but did not know anyone in her family who had graduated beyond high school. Valladolid will share her journey as she faced challenges in life while in pursuit of her education and becoming a community leader. The speaker series, offered by the MJC Office of Campus Life and Student Learning, features local community members who have overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve their goals. The community is invited to come hear these stories of inspiration and motivation. The Positive People Speakers Series offers a

Oak valley moving to new location in Sonora STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

Oak Valley Community Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oak Valley Bancorp announced the upcoming relocation of the bank’s East Sonora office to a new location at 14890 Mono Way. The new branch will open on March 26. The new full-service branch will offer a fullline of personal and commercial services, a walkup ATM, night deposit service, ample parking, and safe deposit box accessibility. Hours will remain the same; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday. “We are excited about the move and look forward to the opportunity to expand our roots in Sonora and the surrounding foothill communities,” stated Chris Courtney, President, and CEO. “Our goal is to continue to build relationships and provide the best level of service to new and current customers.” Lyn Wilson, Sierra Region Area Manager, will continue to oversee the

East Sonora Branch. Michelle Ferguson, Branch Manager, will manage operations and business development in East Sonora and neighboring foothill towns. Linda Eskandary, New Accounts Representative and the entire team of Customer Service Representatives will transfer over to the new location as well. Oak Valley Bancorp operates Oak Valley Community Bank & Eastern Sierra Community Bank, through which it offers a variety of loan and deposit products to individuals and small businesses. They currently operate through 16 conveniently located branches: Oakdale, Turlock, Stockton, Patterson, Ripon, Escalon, Manteca, Tracy, two branches in Sonora, three branches in Modesto, a loan production office in Downtown Sacramento, and three branches in their Eastern Sierra Division, including Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes, and Bishop. For more information, call 1-866-844-7500 or visit


Yamilet Valladolid

final spring presentation on April 12 by Emmanuel Escamilla, Code X program founder. For more information about the

Positive People Speaker Series contact the Office of Campus Life and Student Learning at (209) 5756700.

Leadership Stockton taking applications STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

Leadership Stockton, California’s oldest adult community leadership program, is accepting applications for the Class of 2018-19. Leadership Stockton, a program founded in 1981 by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, prepares the next generation of men and women who will assume leadership roles in the greater Stockton community. Established as the first community leadership program in California, Leadership Stockton has graduated over 840 community members, many who now serve on local boards, commissions, and in other community leadership roles. Leadership Stockton participants embark on a journey that puts them in touch with the greater Stockton community, as well as each other, and develops their personal leadership skills. Participants are also involved in addressing the needs of our community through

hands-on service projects that focus on solutions to real community problems. This 11-month community leadership program offers participants an opportunity to increase their community knowledge, civic network, and service to the community. Participants are exposed to key issues facing Stockton and the surrounding region. Selection involves a written application and personal interview. The selection process will identify approximately 26 applicants to be chosen to attend the program; representing a cross-section of the greater Stockton community. Tuition is $1,000. Applications and class schedule can be found at Application deadline is June 8. For information visit www.leadershipstockton. com or call Timm Quinn at 292-8423 or email



MARCH 2018


Planners OK Great Wolf waterpark resort plans BY JASON CAMPBELL 209 Business Journal

The Great Wolf Resort at Manteca has cleared its first major hurdle. The Manteca Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a master plan agreement, parcel map extension, disposition development agreement and development agreement with the Wisconsinbased company that marks the beginning of the end of more than a decade’s worth of discussions to bring the sought-after entity to the city. It will still take a vote of the Manteca City Council, acting on the recommendation of the planning commission, to initially adopt the development agreement that will make the 510,000-square foot resort facility – which will include a 500-room, 310,000-square foot hotel with a 100,000-square foot indoor water park, 51,000-square foot family entertainment center as well as 12,000-square feet of meeting rooms and 16,000-square feet of restaurant space – a reality. Local developer Bill Filios, who first spoke to Great Wolf’s Director of Development Bryson Heezen more than a decade ago about

possibly bringing the destination resort and water park to the city, said that it was a “good” day for the community and something that people have been looking forward to for a long time. “This has been a long time coming,” Filios said. “I’m glad that this day is finally here.” If the council signs off on the request when they meet next week – and the necessary resolutions are adopted after a second reading later next month – then Manteca would be the home of the 19th Great Wolf Lodge in the United States, and the second in the state after the company’s largest park to date in Southern California. And the impacts to Manteca, if approved, would be felt almost immediately. According to Heezen’s presentation, the company estimates that the Manteca location would serve 500,000 visitors annually, and generate $4.3 million worth of new hotel room occupancy tax revenue – some of which, per an agreement, would go back to Great Wolf in order to cover the costs of construction the facility believed to cost north of $250 million. Per the agreement, the

City of Manteca would keep all of the new sales, property and Measure M taxes, and the company could inject roughly $20 million into the local economy in just payroll and benefit costs alone to employ the 500-people required to operate the resort. A full financial impact study that measures the economic impact of the resort has been commissioned by the City of Manteca, and will be available prior to the council’s final decision. The resort is being touted as the potential anchor to the City of Manteca’s 210.7acre parcel on the west side of the city just north of Highway 120. The Family Entertainment Zone, as it has been dubbed, incorporates the existing 28-acre Big League Dreams facility and provides an additional 25-acres to expand Big League Dreams and provide soccer fields at a future date. As part of the city’s FEZ designation, 29 acres of the nearly 211 acres available was set aside to secure a hotel/lodge with a convention center and indoor water park, and while negotiations between the city and Great Wolf made it appear like a deal would never be

Help patients rebound by giving blood STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

In March, while basketball teams are fighting for the chance to be crowned champions, patients battling cancer and other illnesses are fighting for their lives. The American Red Cross is asking blood donors to help patients rebound by making a lifesaving donation this spring. Middle school basketball player Olivia Stoy received blood and platelet transfusions during treatment for T lymphoblastic lymphoma. With the help of blood and platelet donations, the 14- year-old has returned to the basketball court and, more importantly, beat cancer. “We are so thankful that the blood products were available to Olivia for the almost two years of her treatment. They have made it possible for Olivia to regain her strength and get back to doing the activities she loves,” said Megan Stoy, Olivia’s mother. Donors of all blood types are needed to help ensure that the Red Cross can collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations needed every day for patients like Olivia. Giving blood takes less time than it takes to watch a single basketball game. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Upcoming blood donation opportunities March 16-31

San Joaquin Lodi 3/21/2018: 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Hutchins Square Community Center, 125 S. Hutchins 3/28/2018: 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Hutchins Square Community Center, 125 S. Hutchins Manteca 3/19/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., VFW Veterans Center, 580 Moffat Boulevard 3/26/2018: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., VFW Veterans Center, 580 Moffat Boulevard Stockton 3/16/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/17/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/19/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/20/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/21/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/22/2018: 10:45 a.m. - 6 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/23/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/24/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888


The plan to build a Great Wolf Resort in Manteca passed its first hurdle with a vote from the Manteca Planning Commission.

worked out, city staff – under the direction of Manteca City Manager Tim Ogden – broke the stalemate. Great Wolf, which will be located kitty-corner to BLD, will be another public-private partnership between the city and a massive regional draw constructed on city-owned property that’s being sold as part of the heavily-negotiated contract between the two entities. An additional seven acres of property located just behind Great Wolf, which will be

built just west of the existing Costco location at the western edge of Daniels Street, may be purchased by Great Wolf at a later date for further expansion if their business model cites the need. The city is currently in escrow on that property, and would, in the event that Great Wolf chooses to exercise that option, sell it to them at fair market value. As part of the stipulations in the contract, the City of Manteca is agreeing not to raise the existing hotel

West March Lane 3/26/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/27/2018: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., University of the Pacific-Covell Hall, 720 Presidents Dr 3/27/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/28/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/29/2018: 10:45 a.m. - 6 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/30/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane 3/30/2018: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Buffalo Wild Wings Stockton, 4751 Pacific Avenue 3/31/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., North Stockton Blood Donation Center, 2888 West March Lane Tracy 3/17/2018: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Tracy American Legion, 1960 N. Tracy Blvd 3/24/2018: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Tracy American Legion, 1960 N. Tracy Blvd 3/31/2018: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Tracy American Legion, 1960 N. Tracy Blvd Stanislaus Modesto 3/16/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/17/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/19/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W.

room tax by more than 12 percent over the course of the next decade – which, if fully realized, would bring the tax rate up to an even 10 percent from the 9 percent it is currently at. In order to provide access to the facility, the city will extend Daniels Street west to McKinley Avenue – a process that is expected to take 18-months from the time that the city formally enters into contact with the developer.

Orangeburg Ave. 3/20/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/21/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/22/2018: 10:45 a.m. - 6 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/23/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/24/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/26/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/27/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/28/2018: 12:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/29/2018: 10:45 a.m. - 6 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/30/2018: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. 3/31/2018: 7:45 a.m. - 3 p.m., Modesto Blood Donation Center, 1900 W. Orangeburg Ave. Newman 3/21/2018: 2 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Newman Community, 1162 N. Street Turlock 3/16/2018: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Turlock Blood Donation Center, 655 E. Hawkeye SEE DONATIONS, PAGE 12




Sharon and Paul Caruso energized by community service BY JEFF BENZIGER 209 Business Journal

One would be hard pressed to find a couple more committed to serving the Ceres community than Paul and Sharon Caruso. Both have led ampedup lives centered on improving the lives of others. Both have a resume of staggering list of civic engagements and charitable endeavors over the past several decades that have made a lasting imprint on the community by bringing about significant benefits for Ceres and area. Paul is best known for his work in local government circles; Sharon for hers in the effort of the Soroptimist International of Ceres to make a difference in the lives of women and girls. The dynamo couple doesn’t appear to be slowing down with Paul still volunteering on local boards and committees and overseeing the operation of his Caruso Shopping Center at the northwest corner of Crows Landing and Hatch roads; and Sharon very active in the social network of the club and community. The couple has always shared the same DNA of commitment to community. Paul remembers his dad modeling community service as he slipped off to meetings as a commissioner on the Industrial Fire Protection District in the early 1950s. In 1972 or 1973 Paul remembers a watershed incident on Highway 99 in which he narrowly escaped hitting a car. He jammed on the brakes of his Fiberglass-bodied Corvette and started skidding when an audible voice told him to let up on the brake and steer to the left into the oleanders - and the admonition to serve the public. His foot came off the brake, the car fishtailed into the dirt shoulder and missed the highway obstacle by inches. Moments later, friends who witnessed the near-miss and Paul escape almost certain death commented they could not believe their eyes. “That’s kind of where my calling was to step it up. It’s a story but it’s true.” For Sharon, born in Modesto, the divorce of her parents when she was 14 forced her into the caregiver mode. The eldest child, Sharon helped her single working mom daily by looking after her four siblings. “I became very responsible for my younger siblings,” said Sharon. “I basically became the caregiver. My mom worked. She had


Sharon and Paul Caruso met at a south Modesto fireworks sales booth in July 1972 and have been together ever since. They both share in their zeal of serving the community of Ceres and south Modesto.

to work to support us ... working at Gallo Glass on rotating shifts. Part of my responsibility was making sure my brothers and sisters had food.” Sharon’s mom, Beth Green, modeled service to others. Mrs. Green was involved in company and union affairs, and Sharon watched her organize a fundraiser for a leukemiastricken co-worker in order to get a bone marrow transplant. “You love your community and want to make it the best that it can possibly be and in order to do that you kind of have to get involved and know what’s happening so you can present your idea of what you think is the right thing for the community,” said Sharon. When Sharon accepted the “Citizen of the Year” award in January 2017 at the Ceres Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet, she explained her motivation, saying, “We do the things we do because we love the people that we’re doing them for.” Sharon’s community service has included planning and setting up for the Ceres Harvest Festival (now Street Faire), chairing the committee that reinstated the Miss Ceres pageant, modeling in the Soroptimist fashion show fundraiser for years before she became a Soroptimist member in 2003; serving on the Soroptimist board of directors while sitting on the Distinguished Young Women’s contest committee; giving presentations for Soroptimist Empowering Teens (SET) program at junior highs in Ceres; actively participating in Soroptimist projects, including chairing the club’s Fabulous Fall Auction for years; serving ice cream at the annual Daniel Whit-

more Home Ice Cream Social; and supporting the Salvation Army Red Shield and Redwood Family Center. That kind of dedication is rare today, she acknowledges. “People don’t get involved any more. I think we’ve lost that sense of community a lot. I think time has a lot to do with it and I think a lot of it came with the commuters coming.” Paul thinks the “me first” attitude of today’s newer generation has quashed the desire to help others. Fireworks booth meeting The life partnership between Paul and Sharon began at a chance 1972 encounter when she showed up with her family at a fireworks booth set up in the Caruso Shopping Center. Paul, then a 25-year-old college student, was volunteering inside the booth. “He was selling - I was buying,” jokes Sharon. “I found out she worked at the drug store - which I hardly ever went in - in our shopping center,” said Paul, four years her senior who graduated Ceres High School in 1966. The weather and fireworks weren’t the only things sizzling that day. Paul was attracted to the pretty 1969 Modesto High School graduate. They dated for six years until they were married in 1978. “I was kind of renegade,” said Paul, when asked why they married so much later. “I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.” Politics was a big part of Paul’s and Sharon’s dating experience. He had been a Modesto Junior College student senator and student body president. In 1972, Paul became friends with Gary Condit, who was mayor of Ceres as he

worked with Sharon at L.M. Morris Company and later National Medical Enterprises in the McHenry Village. “They owned Doctors Hospital at that time. They owned hospitals all over the United States. We were what was the Public Relations arm. Hospitals weren’t allowed to advertise so we were called Public Affairs, Community Affairs. They kept changing the name. Basically, we did patient information brochures ... and did the company newsletter.” Encouraged by the political success of Condit, in 1974 Paul mulled a jump into politics as the District 5 seat was opening on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. However, when Paul heard Condit was running for the seat, he bowed out and joined the Condit campaign effort. “We all hooked up and worked like hell,” remembers Paul. “We walked door-todoor for a year every Saturday and Sunday,” Sharon said. Their efforts helped Condit beat out Patterson businessman and civic giant Corlis “Corky” Bessey. “When we hooked up with Gary Condit that opened up the government (service) aspect of our lives,” he said. Sharon said she never resented sharing her husband with his political ambitions. She found great friendships with political types, and enjoyed learning the inner workings of political operations and issues facing those who were elected to government. The Carusos thrived as political junkies as they worked on the campaigns of Gary Condit, Sal Cannella, Burl Condit for sheriff, Tony

Coelho’s congressional campaigns and several judges. Center calls In the meantime, Caruso placed his political ambitions on the back burner while he helped run the family shopping center, built at the northwest corner of Crows Landing and Hatch roads in 1951 by his grandfather Leo Caruso and father Bill Caruso. In 1975 Paul became vice president of the corporation board overseeing the shopping center. He felt the stress of dealing with the aftermath of a major fire at the center that year which kept Paul busy for months. Two years later he was the general manager. In 1988 Paul became president of the family corporation and CEO. In 1984 Paul served as a commissioner of the Industrial Fire Protection District which eventually was taken over by Ceres Fire Department. He held that position until he was elected to the Ceres City Council in November 1987. Caruso’s three years on the Ceres City Council were frenetic. He helped push for the revitalization of downtown Ceres. He also supported the Mitchell Road Corridor Specific Plan which sets higher development standards when new commercial buildings are proposed. He sat on the council which set up the Hatch Road Improvement District. Caruso helped get the Concerts in the Park off the ground in 1987. And the city also formed its Public Safety Department with police and fire under the same administrative structure. In October 1990 Caruso finally made a run for the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. Even though Caruso was outspent three-to-one he defeated incumbent appointee Supervisor Bill Mattos. The race included a pivotal issue about eliminating the offense odors drifting into Ceres from the Modesto Tallow Company yard. The Ceres Redevelopment Agency was formed as was the Stanislaus-Ceres RDA. Caruso also pushed for Ceres to acquire the Industrial Fire Station. He also supported limiting Ceres growth on the east side along Faith Home Road. Paul was very busy and not home a lot. “I raised my daughter on my own,” Sharon laughed. “I was very involved in Amanda’s life because I knew he had his things that he had to do. I’m a

firm believer that you stay involved with them (children) and that keeps them on the right track. Manda was easy.” Effective supervisor As supervisor, Caruso was instrumental in the county building the Public Safety Center, Social Services and County Agricultural Center just outside of Ceres’ western limits. He also worked to expand commercial and industrial uses along Sperry Avenue at I-5 near Patterson by having the county invest $4 million in infrastructure and negotiating for that city to extend water and sewer and share in tax revenue. He was elected four times and served as chairman of the board in 1995, 2000 and 2004. Caruso was stunned when he was defeated by Westport farmer James “Jim” DeMartini in March 2004. A bitter campaign concluded when DeMartini pulled ahead in a 4,846 to 4,609 vote outcome. Caruso said he didn’t take the loss hard because he was “really tired.” “I was by far the most active supervisor. I was kind of like Condit - I’d go see the dead dog. I was on the west side all the time, Ceres not too much. I was really tired. I was on like 23 assignments; some heavyweights and the others were quite a bit less.” Caruso may have been a casualty of bad press surrounding the scandals of county CEO Reagan Wilson who was exposed as giving a friend and business associate a county contract. Wilson also had to repay the county $20,000 for inappropriate purchases on his county credit card. The board pressured him to resign in 2003 but the county’s image was tarnished. A political consultant in Sacramento suggested that he not put out campaign signs while his opponent was ramping up robo-calls featuring an endorsement by former state Assemblyman Sal Cannella. He was also hurt when $40,000 worth of walking brochures ordered from political consultant Richie Ross were late by five weeks. “I lost by like 236 votes. We didn’t do a lot of walking. We could have done more. All I had to do is walk one weekend and I would have probably won it.” Aside from elective office, Paul has been extensively involved in community service for decades. SEE CARUSO, PAGE 10



MARCH 2018


Calls renewed for UC Merced medical school BY SABRA STAFFORD 209 Business Journal

The on-going doctor shortage that plagues the Central Valley region could move a step toward a solution with a renewed call to fund a medical school at the University of California Merced campus. Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D – Merced) recently introduced legislation to establish a medical school at the UC Merced campus as well as bills aimed at improving health outcomes in rural California. AB 2202 would appropriate an unspecified amount of funding from the state’s general fund surplus to establish the University of

California, Merced School of Medicine. “Establishing a medical school at UC Merced to serve the Central Valley was part and parcel to the inception of the campus three decades ago,” said Gray. “I commend UC Merced’s inventive implementation of the 2020 plan and SJV PRIME program while receiving less state assistance than any UC campus before it. In a year when we expect a multibillion dollar surplus, now is the time for the state to invest in the creation of this critically needed medical school. The Central Valley is significantly disadvantaged when it comes to our shortage of health care professionals

and infrastructure. Locating a medical school in the heart of the region is an obvious solution we should have implemented a long time ago.” California is dealing with a primary care clinician shortage statewide that is only expected to grow with the passing years. An August 2017 report from the Healthforce Center at UCSF found that the demand in the state for primary care clinicians will increase by 12 to 17 percent in the next decade, while the supply of physicians will be decreasing. “California faces a looming shortage of primary care clinicians in the coming decades,” said Healthforce Research Faculty

Member Janet Coffman. “If we continue along our current path, more and more Californians will need to visit the emergency room for conditions like asthma, ear infections or flu because they lack a primary care provider.” The shortage is particularly harder on rural areas, where it is harder to get physicians to relocate. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that an area have 60 to 80 primary care physicians per 100,000, but in the San Joaquin Valley the ratio was estimated at 39 per 100,000 back in 2015, according to the California Health Care Foundation. Gray also introduced

legislation seeking to increase payments to primary care doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients, AB 2203, and boost the number of hours intermittent health clinics can keep their doors open, AB 2204. “The Legislature has patted itself on the back for expanding the number of people in the state with a health insurance card,” said Gray. “Unfortunately, an insurance card is no guarantee of access to a doctor. Nearly half of the northern San Joaquin Valley is now on Medi-Cal, yet our emergency rooms remain overloaded. Too many of us live in communities with zero hospitals and few doctors’ offices. Even the doctors who do

serve our communities often cannot afford to treat Medi-Cal patients when they are only paid $18 for an office visit. That simply is not enough to keep the lights on, and we must value our Medi-Cal population more than that. To add insult to injury, we cap the number of hours certain health clinics are able to operate per week. I have run legislation in the past to raise the cap, and this year we will bring that cap up to 40 hours per week.” Gray’s package of health bills will be referred to policy committees and set for public hearings in the coming weeks.

Grant to help fund Gateway Express Project STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

State Route 132, the Gateway Express Project in Modesto was awarded a $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. The $9 million grant will be used for the first phase


FROM PAGE 1 some delight to area residents, but became a scavenger hunt for visitors, which in turn led them to places they might not have visited otherwise.

of a newly-constructed, two-lane highway traveling east/west around Modesto. The Gateway Express Project will increase capacity by allowing trucks to avoid the most populous areas of the city. Approximately 8.2 million tons of freight per year, or 34,000 tons daily, are moved over SR-132 to and from the I-5 corridor.

The project will allow for continued growth of Valley agricultural exports. Quantified benefits over 30 years should include: • $500 million in travel time savings • $100 million in operating costs • $200 million in safety improvements • $16 million in emis-

sions reductions The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Since 2009, Congress has dedicated nearly $5.1 billion

for eight rounds of TIGER to fund projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or a metropolitan area. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) had been an advocating for the region to be awarded a portion of the grant. “At a time when we see increased congestion and travel times, this project

will move trucks around the city and improve commute times on local roads,” said Rep. Denham. “Efficiently transporting our agricultural commodities from the Valley is critical to our economy, and this grant will get Valley goods to market faster while reducing traffic and improving the public safety of Modesto residents.”

“When we think about the kind of city we want to build, of course we have goals for that,” Kageyama said. “We talk about sustainability, walkability, livable cities. Those are all good goals, but I think we need to raise the goal a little bit higher. We want to live in a loveable city — the kind of city that grabs

you by the heart and refuses to let you go.” Creating a relationship with the people who work and visit downtown Modesto is the foundation of the Downtown Modesto Partnership. DoMo was formed in 2012 when a group of business owners, property owners and com-

munity leaders set a goal of improving the downtown area, both economically and aesthetically. Over the last year the organization has been responsible for the efforts that removed more than 300,000 pounds of garbage from the region, hundreds of graffiti tags painted over, and thou-

sands of security calls, said Josh Bridegroom, DoMo’s CEO. They’ve also led efforts to bring more people to downtown Modesto, including the First Friday block parties held on 10th Street between June and October, and the Modesto on Ice skating rink. For the upcoming years

the DoMo Partnership will be working and advocating for greater transportation options in the downtown, like the ACE train and a train connection to the Sacramento International Airport, and a renewed focus on downtown housing options.


DoMo Partnership has been working to make downtown Modesto a destination that will draw in more visitors and along with them an economic boost for the area.



He served as president

of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army Modesto Cops and Red Shield Center Board of Directors and the Ceres Rotary Club. Today he

heads up the Ceres Centennial Committee and is an officer with the Friends of the Ceres Library. He was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Post 3199 “Man of the Year”; Ceres Rotarian of the Year in 1986 and 2000; and Citizen of the Year in 1985. The same year he was named a Paul Harris

Fellow - the highest award that may be given in Rotary. He served as chairman of the Stanislaus Council of Governments (Stan

COG), the San Joaquin Valley Regional Association of California Counties, and the Mountain Valley Regional EMS.




PROMOTIONS, APPOINTMENTS, HONORS, ETC. U.S. Chamber honors Denham for pro-jobs effort

Jeff Denham

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored Congressman Jeff Denham recently by presenting him with the “Spirit of Enterprise” award at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office before a small crowd of his supporters. U.S. Chamber representative Vartan Djihanian lauded the Turlock based U.S. Representative with being a business builder and a job creator. He presented Denham with a small trophy and a hard construction worker hat with his name on the back indicating his support of the American workers. Denham has received this award each year since 2011 from the U.S. Chamber. Denham remarked that small and large businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy and are the job creators that continue to face excessive government bureaucracy, an over complicated tax code with too many barriers when working to grow and expand. As a business owner himself, Denham said encouraging job creation and growth in the Central Valley is one of his top missions in Congress. Denham also recognized the success of the President’s tax cuts adding he would continue to support more measures in Congress to improve the business climate to generate more jobs and better rewards for workers. The Spirit of Enterprise award is given to members of Congress who consistently support pro-growth and pro-jobs policies.

Community Hospice, Foundation welcomes new board members

Community Hospice, the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice provider serving the Central Valley, is pleased to announce its new Community Hospice and Community Hospice Foundation Board Members. Joining the Community Hospice Board of Directors are: Christine Schweininger, President & CEO of the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Chad Van Houten, Principle Shareholder, Grimbleby Coleman CPAs. Joining the Community Hospice Foundation Board of Directors are: Patrick Blum, Sales Manager at Clark Johnson Company, Inc.; Tracy Kerr, President and CEO of Mocse Credit Union; Robert Lopez, Branch Manager at Wells Fargo Bank; Chuck Mitten, Plant Manager at The Wine Group and Nancy Houghton, Director, Camp Erin of the Central Valley. “It is a pleasure to welcome our newly appointed Community Hospice and Foundation Board Members,” said C. DeSha McLeod, Community Hospice President/ CEO. “As we continue to meet the evolving needs of our community, we look forward to working with our new Board Members that can lend their expertise in helping us provide compassionate and quality care to our community residents and providers.” “I am grateful our newest Board Mem-

bers will be lending their leadership to create a culture of philanthropy within our communities in support of Community Hospice and our Foundation. They all have a hospice heart and have chosen to share their time and talents with us,” said Monica Ojcius, Foundation Executive Director. The Community Hospice and Community Hospice Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of community volunteers who provide strategic oversight and governance to the organization’s mission to provide compassionate and quality care, education and support to terminally ill patients and their families, regardless of ability to pay. Community Hospice is the largest and oldest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors. Care extends to over 2000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call (209) 578-6300 or visit The Community Hospice Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2001 to raise funds and awareness for Community Hospice.

Civil Air Patrol welcomes new Squadron Commander

Local Civil Air Patrol chapter, Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron 50, recently underwent a change of command. Dwight Kuesthardt, a First LieuDwight Kuesthardt tenant in the Civil Air Patrol, officially took command Feb. 8 in a ceremony officiated by the California Wing Vice Wing Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Prusak. Kuesthardt, of Modesto, has been a member of the squadron since April 2015 and served previously as the squadron’s Deputy Commander for Seniors and Safety Officer. Kuesthardt is a former volunteer firefighter for Empire Fire District and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department for 12 years and two years with USFS. He is currently employed at Memorial Medical Center as a Maintenance engineer and has worked there for the last 12 years. He is married to Genetta and a son, Austin Kuesthardt, is a cadet in the squadron. The outgoing commander, Major Jon Domke, a former CAP cadet and former U.S. Air Force airman, relinquished command after his four-year term expired. His tenure ends on a high note with the squadron growing to more than 50 members who actively participate in Civil Air Patrol’s three missions. During his tenure the squadron received the Quality Cadet Unit Award and Aerospace Education Excellence Award for five consecutive years. Squadron 50 was named in 2014 as the Central Valley Group 6 “Composite Squadron of the Year.” Major Domke also received “Squadron Commander of the Year” in 2014. Domke’s service will continue as he takes on the role of Deputy Commander for Seniors and will act as an advisor to the new com-

mander. Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Modesto City-County Airport, 700 Tioga Drive. The squadron has an active cadet and senior program. The cadet program meets weekly to train members between the age of 12 and 18 in leadership, aerospace education, and emergency services. The senior program involves adults 18 years of age and older and meets weekly for aerospace education training, emergency services training, and planning in support of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. More information about Civil Air Patrol and Squadron 50 can be found on the website at

Stockton law firm adds principal

The Stockton law firm of Neumiller & Beardslee announced that Elizabeth H. Kim, became a principal of the firm. Kim’s practice areas include Estate Planning, Conservatorships, Elizabeth H. Kim Gu a rd i a n s h i p s, Probate and Trust litigation, Federal and State taxation law, income tax audit defense, and tax collection matters and resolution. In 2004, Kim graduated cum laude from the University of the Pacific with a B.A. in Political Science. In 2008, she earned her Juris Doctor graduating cum laude from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School with an emphasis in litigation and taxation law. In 2009, she earned her LL.M (Masters of Law) in taxation law from Loyola Law School. Kim is on the Board of Directors for the Stockton Symphony and is a 2017 graduate of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Stockton program. She is an active member of the San Joaquin County Bar Association and assists with the Lawyers in the Library program, is a member of the San Joaquin County Estate Planning Council and is an active member of the San Joaquin County Junior League. In her spare time, Kim has been a concert violinist with the Auburn Symphony since 2009. Kim is admitted to practice in the State of California, the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, and the United States Tax Court.

New Supervising Deputy District Attorney for Merced DA’s office

Matthew Serratto has been promoted to the Supervising Deputy District Attorney position at the Merced County District Attorney’s Office. He will replace Steve SloMatthew Serratto cum, who was recently selected to be the new Merced County Superior Court Commissioner in January. Serratto, 37, joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2007 as a misdemeanor attorney, and became a felony attorney in 2008. Since he began his career as a prosecutor, he has taken a total of 56 tri-

als to verdict, 42 of these being felony trials, which included seven murder trials, six attempted murder trials, and 16 “life” trials. He was also the lead prosecutor on Operation Scrapbook, a year-long investigation which culminated on May 10, 2017 with the arrest of over 60 Sureno gang members in Merced County, at least 23 of whom have already been convicted and sentenced. “Matt has distinguished himself as a prosecutor from the moment that he joined our office. His commitment to both public safety and improving the quality of life in Merced County is exemplary. He will be a great addition to the management of the District Attorney’s Office,” said District Attorney Larry D. Morse II. Serratto was elected to the Merced City Council, District 5 in November 2016, has been Chief Organizer for the Merced COMVIP Charity Basketball Tournament from 2013- 2017, was a Mock Trial assistant coach for Mariposa High School in 2017, was featured as one of the Merced Sun Star’s “20 under 40” in 2017, is a Board Member of the Merced Youth Connect and the Vice President of the Merced Attorney’s Association. Serratto was born in San Francisco and grew up in Burlingame. He attended the University of California, Davis and graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in history and minors in English and war and peace studies. After graduating, he taught English in Belgium and Argentina from 2002-2003. He obtained his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 where he served as the editor in chief of the Pacific Basin Law Journal. As a Supervising District Attorney, Serratto will handle significant, high-profile cases as assigned, assist with charging cases as they are referred to the District Attorney’s Office, and supervise other attorney’s to assist them in handling their cases as professionally and ethically as possible. There are 25 Deputy District Attorney’s, including Serratto and Supervising Deputy District Attorney Nicole Silveira, who was promoted to this position in 2016.

Outstanding women to be celebrated

This year’s Outstanding Women are Darlene Barber-Martinez, Olga Valencia Castañeda, Domenica Escatel, Margaret Hunter, Lisa Mantarro Moore, Susan Rich, Sue Richardson, Alana Scott, and Jessica Self. Betty Jean Reynolds will be honored as a Living Pioneer Woman and Patricia “Patty” Bettencourt Tharp will be honored as a Woman of History. Outstanding Young Woman honorees are Vanessa Astorga, Kiana Engel, Allison Jensen, Mehr Sahota, and Katherine Swartz. Awards will be presented March 10 at the Stanislaus County Commission for Women’s 39th annual dinner, held at the Assyrian Cultural Center of Bet-Nahrain, 3119 Central Ave., Ceres. The event begins at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. The awards program gets under way at 7 p.m. Cost is $45 per person, and pre-paid reservations are required. Contact Jennie Sweeney 404-4414 or or e-mail SCCW01@ Details are also available online at The Stanislaus County Commission for Women is an independent, nongovernmental organization to promote within the community an awareness of issues that concern women. SEE ACCOLADES, PAGE 12



Delta College in the running for Aspen Prize STAFF REPORTS 209 Business Journal

San Joaquin Delta College has been selected as one of only 150 institutions from a national list of over 1,000 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The award is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. Delta College will begin a rigorous competitive process that leads to awarding the prize in 2019. “The Aspen Prize recognition reflects positively on the Delta College’s commitment to educate and prepare students for the workforce,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Kathy Hart. “Delta College has a tremendous power to change lives. It’s great to see that the hard work of our faculty, staff and student achievement is being recognized by the Aspen Institute.” The Aspen Prize is awarded every two years, and honors those institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional outcome levels of student success – while in college, and after they graduate. Delta College has been eligible to compete for the prize all five times since its inception in 2011. Ten finalists will be named from

the list of 150 community colleges in Spring 2018. Teams of experienced researchers will join the Aspen Institute to conduct site visits to each finalist and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select the Aspen Prize winner in 2019. In addition, a Finalist with Distinction and Rising Star will be announced. Institutions are assessed for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: • Student learning • Certificate and degree completion (including bachelor’s degree after transfer) • Employment and earnings • High levels of access and success for minority and low-income students “Delta College is very proud to be one of 16 California community colleges to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize,” points out Dr. Matt Wetstein, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Instruction & Planning. “It’s a great validation of our work. We are one of the select colleges in the country that consistently ranks in the top 150 community colleges identified by the Aspen Institute. As we highlight our success stories, Delta College can keep setting the bar higher.”

MARCH 2018





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New member tapped for Stanislaus Fire Board

A meeting scheduled for March 8 in Riverbank at Stanislaus Consolidated Station 26 meeting room will see the swearing in of a new board member and the introduction of a couple of new employees. The agenda, scheduled for 6 p.m., includes the swearing in of new Board Member Gregory Bernardi, who is filling a vacant at-large position. Also, an introduction is due and welcome planned for new employees including Gaby Hernandez, Administrative Assistant II and Craig Peterson, Fire Prevention Specialist. Also due as part of the Presentations portion of the meeting is a presentation regarding Purchasing Policies/Fiscal Responsibility. The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Board of Directors includes Board President Susan Zanker, Vice President Michelle Guzman of Riverbank and Directors Steve Green of Waterford and Dave Woods of Empire.

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209 business Journal March 2018  

An MNC Publication

209 business Journal March 2018  

An MNC Publication