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Car seat program sees funding at other nonprofits expense
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The Turlock City Council unanimously agreed to add the Seated For Safety Car Seat program, a Turlock Fire and Emergency Services initiative, to the roster of programs receiving Turlock Community Development Block Grant funding in the 2009-2010 fiscal year during their Tuesday meeting.
While the other nine nonprofits previously selected as grant recipients will still receive funding following the decision, all will receive less than previously allocated
Second Harvest Food Bank, Children’s Crisis Center of Stanislaus County, Howard Training Center, Turlock Recreation Division, Turlock Family Network Inc., We Care Program, and Turlock Unified School District will all receive $1,000 less than had been allocated by the CDBG committee. United Samaritans Foundation programs will take a $2,000 hit.

West Main shopping center approved
The City Council unanimously approved a proposed commercial center at 1400 West Main St. on Tuesday evening, clearing the path for the new development to proceed.
The plan calls for the renovation of two warehouse buildings into a wedding hall, an entertainment and events center, an ice cream warehouse and parlor, and other retail space. The development is expected to cater to the Hispanic community.
The 6,000 square foot wedding facility is expected to open only on Saturdays and Sundays, while the 12,500 square foot events center is expected to host business events and festivals on Tuesday through Saturday evenings.

Wasden sworn in, Hampton honored
The new Turlock City Manager Roy W. Wasden was officially sworn into office at Tuesday evening’s Turlock City Council meeting, kicking off a new era in Turlock leadership. Wasden thanked city staff for their hard work in getting him up to speed quickly, but acknowledged that he still has much work to do.
“I am delighted to be here, what an adventure this is,” Wasden said shortly after accepting his oath of office. “… We have important things we need to accomplish and I’m just looking forward to getting those things done.”
Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton, who served as Interim City Manager for the past six months following former City Manager Tim Kerr’s dismissal during a regularly scheduled performance review on Jan. 13, was also honored on Tuesday evening.
Hampton was gifted with a plaque to commemorate his service to the city, while his wife received flowers for putting up with the long hours Hampton has been subject to for half a year.
The entire audience in the packed City Hall Yosemite Room saluted Hampton for his service with a standing ovation.
Hampton spoke well of his time as Interim City Manager and commended the City Council, but was glad to be returning to his post as Chief of Police.
“Mr. Mayor, I’m not going anywhere,” Hampton said. “As long as you’ll have me as your police chief I plan to stay here.”

Johnson Road fence discussion comes to end
A year-long governmental battle over new fences in one historic Turlock neighborhood came to a close on Tuesday evening, as a proposed Planned Development failed due to a lack of a motion.
The motion required three affirmative votes to carry. Mayor John Lazar and Councilwoman Mary Jackson recused themselves from the discussion due to conflicts of interest as both own properties in the proposed Planned Development area.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak opposed the Planned Development, while Councilman Kurt Spycher was in favor of the proposal. As Vice Mayor Ted Howze was serving as the Mayor given Lazar’s absence and was by rule unable to make or second a motion, there was no second to the motion and the Planned Development failed by default.
Howze and Spycher both expressed disdain with the Planning Department, whom they believe misled Ian McBay, owner of 1000 N. Johnson Rd., into constructing a fence which extended approximately five feet farther toward the curb than is allowed by city code. When a neighbor complained about the new fence, the city then told McBay to tear down the fence.
McBay appealed the Code Enforcement decision to the City Council on Aug. 26, 2008. The council instructed city staff to allow the fence to stand by way of a Planned Development on Nov. 18, 2008.
The Planning Commission voted to deny the Planned Development, in keeping with city staff recommendation, on May 7, and the final vote on the matter was before the council on Tuesday evening.
McBay will now be forced to rework his fence to stand just 3 feet tall in the area outside of his allowed fencing zone, and has said he will plant a tall hedge behind the short fence to create a similar effect to the current construction.
“We want our neighbors to be happy with the fence, but ultimately we want to be happy with it too,” McBay said.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.