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New city commissioners look to better the community
Mike Dowd
Mike Dowd has over 20 years experience with golf and recreation, as well as experience organizing youth programs, which he will bring to the Parks, Recreation and Community Commission. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Turlock City Council approved four new city commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. Mike Dowd and Steven Nascimento were appointed to the Parks, Recreation and Community Commission; and Alex Cantatore and Susana Love were appointed to the Arts Commission. Each commissioner had his or her own reason for applying, but they all said they were happy to be appointed to serve their community.


Parks, Recreation and Community Commission

Nascimento served on his first Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission at a meeting on Wednesday. Nascimento grew up in Turlock and graduated from Turlock High School. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University, Stanislaus, and currently works as a field representative for California’s 18th Congressional District. He also has experience as a planning tech for the City of Modesto, and he wanted to use that knowledge to help plan future recreation spaces and opportunities for Turlock.

“Having these recreational opportunities are important to citizens. I’m excited to serve on the commission,” Nascimento said.

This wasn’t the first time that Nascimento attended a Parks and Recreation meeting. He remembers playing soccer in a drainage basin as a kid, and how he and his team members had to wear rain boots to practice because of all of the water and mud.

“We came to a meeting in rubber boots to ask for soccer facilities. It’s kind of funny to me that I’m serving on that same commission now,” he said.

Mike Dowd will be joining Nascimento on the dais at the next Parks, Recreation and Community Commission meeting. Dowd has been a resident of Turlock for seven years and holds a Bachelor of Arts in art and design from California State University, Sacramento. He is the head PGA Professional at Oakdale Golf and Country Club and is a member of the Northern California PGA Board of Directors. He has over 20 years experience with golf and recreation, as well as experience organizing youth programs.

Dowd and his wife live in Turlock with their two young daughters. He said that his children and their future involvement in recreation programs are a big reason why he decided to apply for the Parks and Recreation Commission. He wanted to offer some of his experience and expertise to help guide Turlock’s recreation programs.

“It’s nice to be involved and see what direction it will go in the future,” Dowd said.


Arts Commission

The future is also a big topic for the Turlock Arts Commission. The two new commissioners hope to help the Arts Commission through its current rebuilding period and add to available resources for local artists.

Alex Cantatore, staff writer for the Turlock Journal, applied for the Arts Commission after his recent move to Turlock. Cantatore grew up in Riverbank and attended UC Irvine where he majored in English and minored in information and computer sciences.  He has worked at the Turlock Journal for three years and most recently has covered city government.

“I’ve always been interested in taking a more active role in the community,” Cantatore said.

Cantatore attended the last few Arts Commission meetings to get an understanding of what their current mission and objectives are. He said that the commission has room to grow but that Thursday’s meeting was, by far, the most productive in the last three or four months.

“I think I can bring some new ideas to a board in need of rejuvenation,” Cantatore said.

He said that the Arts Commission needs to be concerned first and foremost with being the representatives of art in Turlock. They need to be a resource where local artists can come and get help.

“I want to improve access on both sides. Artists should have access to venues and funds and citizens should be able to find out what those artists are doing,” Cantatore said.

Access for local artists was also a priority for Susana Love, who was appointed to the Turlock Arts Commission. Love opened Eclectic Charm on Main Street to sell handmade items. She features local art in her store and in the Downtown Incubator, where her store is located.

“Artists would talk to me and ask where they could have their art shown. I didn’t have the answer to that question,” Love said.

Love’s goal on the Arts Commission is to add more avenues for professional artists to show and sell their work. She said that it isn’t enough for artists to just show what they created; they also need to generate revenue from their work. She also said that the Turlock City Arts Commission needs to take a more active role in downtown Turlock.

“I think the only way to enact change and to know what’s going on (is) to participate,” Love said.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.