A Few Letters, Sun-Star & and Mike McGuire Articles about Livingston Politics (and a few other things Worthy of Note) 2014

LIVINGSTON CALIFORNIA

Note from TheGardeningSnail. Some of the links to Merced Sun Star Articles may have “expired”: which means, you might have to request a copy from the Merced Sun Star Archives. However, those of you with access to online newspaper data bases should be able to locate a copy that way as well. Might take you a few clicks, but already having a Title and a Date Published should help out a bit.

For those links that have expired: Sometimes doing a Copy/Paste of a title into your favorite Search Engine works too. If that doesn’t work, doing a Copy/Paste of part of the paragraph in italics and dropping that whole thing into your favorite Search Engine and doing a “Search” may also work.

If you want to research even further back, there are additional pages which can give you an idea about what happened, (or has not happened) to things like Water Rate Increases, or Development Projects that have been batted back and forth for several years. The links below will take you to Headlines and snippets from the following years

  • From 2008-2009

    • City Council Members – Daniel Varela, Frank Vierra, Rodrigo Espinoza, Margarita Aguilar, Martha Nateras

    • Significant Events:

      • Water Rate Increases, Foster Farms sues twice about Water Rates, The Recall Movement Begins:

      • Recall Supporters allege that new water rates are Illegal, Unwarranted, and Unnecessary.

  • From 2010-2011

    • One Foster Farms lawsuit is dropped and another goes to the State Appeals Court

    • Recall of two City  Council Members. Recall Supporter Teresa Land elected to City Council. Recall Supporter Rodrigo Espinoza elected as Mayor, Recall Supporter Warren Urnberg appointed as Temporary Council Member.

    • Water Rates rolled back to 1995 levels. Council abandons the Appeal

    • 2010 General Election.

    • City Council: Rodrigo Espinoza (Mayor), Maragarita Aguilar (Mayor Pro-Temp) Frank Vierra, Teresa Land, Gurpal Samra.

    • New City Attorney and City Manager

    • “Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee is established to “work with the consultants” on new water rates.

      • Richie King, Vice President at Foster Farms: one of the members appointed.

      • Margarita Aguilar and Gurpal Samra: Council Liaisons.

    • California Department of Public Health warns Livingston about the consequences of failing Maximum Contaminant Levels

  • From 2012-2013

And now, on to 2014, The Year of the Drought Declaration, the Court Theater is demolished, and discussions about Water Rate Increases take place during an Election Year.

And, in addition to the above, the City of Livingston is sued because of the elevated levels of Arsenic in Well #13.

MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

  • Rodrigo Espinoza (Mayor),

  • Gurpal Samra (Mayor Pro-Temp),

  • David Mendoza (Brother of Mario Mendoza: Planning Commissioner and Treasurer of the Recall Committee)

  • Arturo Saciaros,

  • Jim Soria.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

Livingston police unions agree to 5 percent pay cut – Ramona Giwargis –  The Merced Sun Star- 12/31/2014 – Livingston police officers and their supervisors will start the new year with a 5 percent pay cut, according to a recent six-month agreement reached by city leaders….City administrators say the police salary cuts are similar to those taken by other city employees, some of whom will also take furloughs. The employee concessions are needed to help balance a budget with a $140,000 deficit and make the city financially solvent, officials said.

Livingston water well receives $2.3 million filter system – Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star – 12/30/2014  – One of the city’s largest water wells previously plagued by a major contaminant now runs with a new filtration system, city officials announced this week…….The upgraded well, located on Livingston Cressey Road, near the Foster Farms plant, was chosen because water drawn from it contains high levels of TCP contamination, said Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra…. The well pumps 1,200 gallons of water per minute to the city, with the majority used by Foster Farms.

Bowl game puts Livingston’s Foster Farms in national spotlight – JOHN HOLLAND – THE MODESTO BEE – 12/28/2014 – A certain poultry producer based in Livingston will get national TV exposure Tuesday night via the Foster Farms Bowl. – The Stanford-Maryland matchup on ESPN will help spread the word about a company that has mostly served Western markets over its history. – Foster Farms also will reinforce its brand with sales of wings, corn dogs and other items at the game site, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Livingston city manager to resign Jan. 31, -Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – 12/24/2014 – Livingston City Manager Jose Ramirez announced this week that he will resign at the end of January after more than three years as the city’s top administrative official. – Though he will officially resign Jan. 31, he said, he plans to be available through February if the city needs help as it brings the next leader up to speed. He cited spending more time with his children, who attend Clovis schools, as his reason for leaving

Livingston Planning Commission gives OK on smoke shops – Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star 12/18/2014 – Livingston residents might soon have a place to buy a tobacco pipe or take a puff at a hookah lounge, despite hesitation from local politicians and law enforcement officials. – During a special meeting Wednesday, the city’s Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend allowing smoke shops and lounges to operate in Livingston under certain guidelines. The commission’s recommendation will go before the City Council early next month for consideration

Livingston official calls bullet found near home gang threat – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun star – 12/04/2014   – A Livingston planning commissioner filed a police report this week after he claims to have found an assault rifle bullet near his front door. – Mario Mendoza, 42, said he didn’t think anything of it at first but now believes it was a gang threat against him and his family. Mendoza said the AK-47 bullet was sitting on top of a fence pillar in his front yard Nov. 12, in place of a removed brick.

Livingston council questioned over China trip – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – 12/03/2014 –  A trip to China that included the mayor, the city manager, a council member and his wife, and a city public works supervisor was the subject of scrutiny at a City Council meeting Tuesday. – Beating the naysayers to the punch, Livingston Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza addressed the trip early in the meeting during his mayor’s report. “I got invited through a friend and former mayor of Lathrop,” Espinoza told the crowd. “We had a great time up there and took a lot of pictures.”

Livingston billboard scrutinizes Foster Farms -Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – 11/21/2014 – A public display scrutinizing the use of antibiotics in Foster Farms chickens greeted hundreds of residents Friday, sending a powerful message about what advocates say is continued misuse of the drug by the giant poultry producer.

Livingston union blasts city over labor negotiations, sexual harassment claims – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – 11/13/2014 – The union representing Livingston’s public works employees recently blasted the city manager in a series of letters expressing frustration over stalled labor negotiations and claims of mistreatment and sexual harassment by a supervisor. – According to the letters, the union agreed to employee furloughs equaling a 5 percent reduction in salary, but the city pushed for an additional 1 percent wage reduction. The union, which represents 12 city employees, also agreed to pay a $25 monthly contribution toward their medical benefits.

Former abused horse now works for Livingston police – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – 11/07/2014 – Officer Lobo had a proud bounce in his step and a shiny badge around his neck as he moved Friday morning through the streets of Livingston. – But the 15-year-old horse, who’s part of the Livingston Police Department’s first mounted patrol, wasn’t always so fortunate. Just a few years ago, Lobo was the victim of severe animal abuse and neglect at a Livermore boarding facility. He was awfully underweight and living in deplorable conditions.

Gurpal Samra wins another four years on Livingston council – Ramona Giwargis –  11/04/2014 – Merced Sun Star – Samra, the city’s mayor pro tem for the last two years, faced opposition from Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza. Samra was first elected to the council in 1998, later serving two terms as mayor. He took a break from local politics from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2008 to 2010.

Photograph stirs campaign controversy in Livingston, Merced Sun Star, Rob Parsons, October 25, 2014-Samra told the Sun-Star he showed the picture to residents in Livingston. “But I never told anyone that Mario is a gang member,” Samra said. “I never brought this up (publicly) because I don’t want people to vote against him, I want them to vote for me.” – Samra said voters will have to decide what the photo means during the Nov. 4 election

Foster Farms CEO to step down ~~The Modesto Bee, October 9, 2014 ~~ Ron Foster announced Thursday that he will step down as president and chief executive officer of Foster Farms, the poultry company founded by his grandparents 75 years ago. ~~ Foster, 56, will remain an owner and board member with Foster Farms, which has a vast chicken processing plant next to its Livingston headquarters and a pair of turkey plants in Turlock

Veteran Livingston police officer graduates from FBI academy – Sun-Star Staff – September 26, 2014 – A longtime Livingston police officer recently graduated from the FBI’s National Academy.~~  Lt. Chris Soria, 50, graduated Sept. 19 from the FBI’s leadership training program in Quantico, Va., Livingston Police Chief Ruben Chavez confirmed

Foster Farms recalls chicken from Louisiana – John Holland – September 25, 2014 – Foster Farms is recalling nearly 40,000 pounds of cooked, frozen chicken from its plant in Louisiana because of possible Listeria contamination, federal authorities said Thursday. No illnesses have been reported

Livingston festival touts record-breaking casserole, cable network presence – Thaddeus Miller – September 20, 2014 – Scores of people gathered here to see the preparation of what’s believed to be a record-breaking 1,200-pound sweet potato casserole, which also drew a film crew from a major cable network

Livingston receives violation notice over wastewater plant – Ramona Giwargis – Thursday, September 18, 2014 – A notice of violation was issued to Livingston by a state water agency for failing to meet certain testing and reporting requirements related to the city’s domestic wastewater treatment plant. ~~ City leaders discussed the issue at a City Council meeting Tuesday, with one city official expressing surprise to the Merced Sun-Star over the violations. There were at least 21 separate violations noted in 2013, according to the State Water Resources Control Board website

Livingston testing new electronic citation system, Ana B. Ibarra, Monday, September 1, 2014. Merced Sun Star – City of Livingston’s Police Department will start using a new electronic citation system, which according to officials will help increase efficiency.

Livingston City Council to consider planning fee increases. Ramona Giwargis , Monday, August 25, 2014 – Merced Sun Star – Officials in Livingston are urging the City Council to consider hefty increases to planning fees in an effort to recover administrative and staffing costs.

Livingston City Council adopts budget ,Ramona Giwargis ,Wednesday, August 20, 2014 – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted the city’s 2014-15 budget, which reflected a $44,000 shortfall — a deficit far less than the $150,000 city leaders estimated months ago.

Livingston nonprofit requests help paying for fireworks show,Ramona Giwargis, Wednesday, August 6, 2014 – The Merced Sun Star – Members of the Livingston Fourth of July Committee appealed to the City Council during its regular meeting Tuesday, asking for help to pay off $5,441.14 of unpaid bills from the nonprofit’s annual fireworks show and festival.

CDC says Foster Farms outbreak appears to be over John Holland ,Thursday, July 31, 2014 – The Modesto Bee – A salmonella outbreak tied to Foster Farms chicken from Livingston and Fresno appears to be over, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Livingston employees reject 7 percent pay cut – Ramona Giwargis, July 24, 2014 Merced Sun Star – Two Livingston employee groups rejected a concession agreement this week that included a 7 percent pay cut, an extra $100 contribution toward medical insurance and other concessions.

Livingston mayor pro tem to seek re-election – Ramona Giwargis – July 23, 2014  – Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra will seek re-election in November, the longtime politician confirmed to the Sun-Star on Wednesday.

Merced Irrigation District to pump less groundwater, shorten irrigation season –  J.N. Sbranti – July 22, 2014 – The Merced Irrigation District expects to pump significantly less groundwater this year than it did last year, in part because the irrigation season will be about eight weeks shorter.

Area leaders skeptical about effectiveness of larger water fines – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Some Merced County water officials and experts say there are better ways to conserve water in Merced County than to levy a new, bigger fine, an unprecedented step taken this week that declared certain types of water waste a criminal infraction similar to a speeding violation.

Foster Farms Updates Chicken Recall List After Salmonella Outbreak – 7San Diego – July 17, 2014 –  A product recall for a California chicken producer linked to a salmonella outbreak has been updated this past week to include additional “use or freeze by” and “best by” dates.

Livingston city officials present Foster Farms with key to city –  Ramona Giwargis – July 16, 2014 – Without Livingston, there is no Foster Farms, and without Foster Farms, there is no Livingston. Those were the words of Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra as he explained the company’s impact on the city. Samra joined Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Councilman Arturo Sicairos in presenting Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster with a commemorative key to the city Tuesday night…Foster said he’s grateful for the support of the Livingston community, especially amid a salmonella outbreak and cockroach infestation that shut down the plant for days sending nearly 3,000 employees home without pay.

MID, Gallo reach settlement in water dispute – Rob Parsons – Merced Sun Star – July 15, 2014 – Years of legal wrangling and negotiations over water rights between a prominent Merced County farmer and the Merced Irrigation District ended abruptly Tuesday when both sides cut a deal to end the long-standing feud….Mike Gallo, owner of the Gallo Cattle Co. in Livingston, sued MID and Hunter Farms over access to irrigation water. The civil jury trial, which began late last month, ended Tuesday with Judge Donald J. Proietti dismissing the jury, attorneys on both sides confirmed

State weighs $500 water fines to reduce consumption – Don Thompson, The Associated Press and Rob Parsons, Merced Sun-Star – July 9, 2014 – Brown lawns and dusty cars could become the norm in California as state regulators consider unprecedented $500-a-day fines for water wasters, after acknowledging that voluntary steps to reduce consumption amid a historic drought haven’t worked.

Foster Farms sues insurance companies for recall reimbursement in ‘cockroach infestation’ amid salmonella outbreak – The Oregonian – July 09, 2014 – Foster Farms has filed a lawsuit against its insurance companies, arguing that the forced closure of a plant earlier this year by the government and subsequent destruction of chicken amounted to a recall

No Livingston layoffs, but $146,000 deficit projected – Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star – July 7, 2014 – Livingston is facing a $146,000 shortfall in its proposed 2014-15 budget, despite a 4 percent increase in tax revenue.The City Council reviewed the proposed budget in a workshop last week. The city’s overall expenditures were projected at $4.72 million, outpacing its revenue of $4.58 million.The city manager hasn’t recommended any layoffs, though the council will consider eliminating a number of vacant positions, including four in the Police Department

Livingston celebrates nation’s independenceSun-Star Staff – July 6, 2014 – A patriotic, joyous spirit filled the air in Livingston as residents came out to celebrate the nation’s independence with a three-day festival

Foster Farms issues voluntary chicken recall – Bee Staff Reports – July 4, 2014 – Foster Farms is voluntarily recalling chicken products produced in March with “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 21 to March 29, the company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday. The company’s news release noted that Foster Farms-branded chicken currently on store shelves is not involved

Foster Farms issues first voluntary chicken recall since 2013 outbreak – The Modesto Bee July 3, 2014  – Foster Farms is voluntarily recalling chicken products produced in March with “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 21 to March 29 because of possible salmonella contamination, the company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday

Foster Farms issues voluntary chicken recall – Bee Staff Reports July 3, 2014 – “This recall is prompted by a single illness associated with specific fresh chicken product,” Foster Farms said in its news release, “but in the fullest interest of food safety, Foster Farms has broadened the recall to encompass all products packaged at that time. Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with its products.” It included no information about the single illness

Farmer sues Merced Irrigation District over water rights – Rob Parsons – The Merced Sun Star – June 30, 2014 – Millions of dollars and thousands of gallons of irrigation water are potentially at stake in a civil trial that opened Monday involving several prominent Merced County farmers and the Merced Irrigation District. – The lawsuit, filed by Michael Gallo, owner of the Gallo Cattle Co., seeks at least several million dollars in damages and access to MID water for his Livingston-based farm, Bear Creek Ranch. The specific amount of damages sought by Gallo could not be confirmed Monday. The complex trial is scheduled to end by July 25

House bill would add muscle to fight food-borne superbug outbreaksKimberly Kindy  – The Washington Post – June 25 – With the number of salmonella illnesses linked to Foster Farms chicken climbing to more than 600 cases this month, two members of Congress introduced legislation Wednesday that would require food recalls in such circumstances

Foster Farms provides dinners for low-income families – John Holland – June 24, 2014 – Foster Farms is celebrating 75 years in business by donating chicken dinners to that many low-income households in west Modesto. – The weekly giveaway is taking place over 12 weeks here and in six other cities around the West. The Livingston-based company also has launched a social media campaign that aims to get food to as many as 75,000 other people.

After 75 years, Foster Farms remembers its path to success –  John Holland – The Modesto Bee – Foster Farms celebrated its 75th anniversary in the poultry business Monday, while reporting progress on salmonella concerns that made the last of those years a rough one. – About 125 people turned out at the ranch west of Waterford where the late Max and Verda Foster founded the company in 1939; the exact date is unknown. Foster Farms has since become the top-selling poultry brand in the West.

Livingston voters to decide on mayor term extension – By Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star, June 18, 2014 –  — Voters in Livingston will be asked in November whether the term for mayor should be extended from two to four years. — The Livingston City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to put a measure on the ballot letting voters decide if the mayor seat should be up for re-election every four years, instead of two. Councilmen Arturo Sicairos and David Mendoza were absent. –Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra introduced the idea earlier this year, saying a two-year mayoral term opens the possibility of having four council seats up for election all at one time. He said the extension would maintain “institutional knowledge” on the council.

Livingston council approves utility rate increases – Ramona Giwargis – June 12, 2014 – The Merced Sun Star -Residents will see their utility rates nearly double next month after the City Council unanimously adopted water and sewer increases last week.

Warnke, Lunney poised for runoff in sheriff’s race –  Rob Parsons – June 3, 2014 – A longtime senior sergeant and a veteran law-enforcement administrator emerged as frontrunners Tuesday night in the race to become the next Merced County sheriff

Foster Farms lawsuit blames exterminator for cockroaches –  Ken Carlson –  May 30, 2014 – Foster Farms is suing Orkin LLC, charging the pest control company was to blame for cockroaches that resulted in a three-day shutdown of its Livingston poultry facility in January….The lawsuit, filed late last month in Merced County Superior Court, claims that Orkin should pay damages for failing to fulfill a contract to control cockroaches at the processing plant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at the Foster Farms plant for three days in January because cockroaches were found at the plant on four occasions

Developer claims EPA is overreaching on Clean Water Act – The West Virginia Record – May 28, 2014 –  Ron Foster claims the EPA is saying a piece of property in Wood County at Neal Run Crossing near Lubeck is subject to Clean Water Act regulation. Foster Farms LLC disagrees.

Nonprofit sues Livingston over drinking water  By Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star – 05/15/2014 – An environmental nonprofit organization has filed a lawsuit against the city of Livingston after its drinking water consistently exceeded the maximum contaminant level for arsenic

Merced sheriff’s candidates square off at forum   – Rob Parsons – Merced Sun Star – Thursday, May 8, 2014- Gang violence, administrative experience and racial diversity were some of the key topics Wednesday during a forum for the four candidates vying to be the next Merced County sheriff. More than 70 people turned out to listen to the debate hosted …

Livingston officials adopt policy to nix sugary drinks – Anna B. Ibarra – Merced Sun Star – Sunday, May 4, 2014 – Livingston city officials are taking the initiative in promoting healthier lifestyles by adopting a healthy beverages policy. The policy concentrates on reducing the availability of sugared beverages by requiring that all drinks served at city

‘Clean campaign’ pledge stirs controversy among candidates in Merced County sheriff’s race – Rob Parsons – Friday, May 2, 2014 – The Merced Sun Star – A written pledge to run a “clean campaign” exposed rifts this week between some of the candidates competing to be the next Merced County sheriff.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING… Merced Sun Star – Thursday, May 1, 2014 – NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING CITY OF LIVINGSTON NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Livingston City Council will hold a Public Hearing on May 20, 2014, to consider new City of Livingston Water and Wastewater (sewer) Service Rates. The City Council …

Livingston council awards fireworks booths Ramona Giwargis – Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – Merced Sun star – A councilman’s push to award a fireworks stand to a nonprofit for which he volunteers proved successful during a Livingston City Council meeting last week.

Water and sewer rate increases are discussed in Livingston Ramona Giwargis- Thursday, April 10, 2014 – The Merced Sun Star – The city of Livingston held its first public meeting this week about increasing water and sewer rates.

More salmonella cases linked to Foster Farms, feds say  – The Seattle Times –  Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Federal health officials say a salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken from Livingston and Fresno isn’t over and now has infected 524 people in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

 

Kite Day flies into Livingston this weekend  – Sun Star Staff – The Merced Sun Star – Thursday, April 3, 2014 – Livingston’s Kite Festival is scheduled for Sunday. Past events have been known to draw 4,000 to the event in a city of 13,500.

Notices about Livingston rate increases to go out Friday – Ramona Giwargis –  Wednesday, April 2, 2014- The Merced Sun Star – Notices about the city’s proposed water and sewer rate increases will be mailed to residents beginning Friday, the City Council decided unanimously at a council meeting Tuesday.

Livingston faces lawsuit over arsenic in drinking water – Michael McGuire – All Voices – April 12, 2014 – The Livingston City Council will meet in closed session on Tuesday to discuss a lawsuit that seeks an injunction against the city and monetary damages for allowing arsenic to be present in the Merced County community’s water supply. – The suit was filed in December 2013 by California River Watch. Increasing deterioration of the city’s water supply may result in the suit going forward in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Livingston rate increase notices on council agenda – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – April 1, 2014 – The City Council tonight will consider starting the notice process for the proposed water and sewer rate increases, a process that allows property owners to protest the rates within a 45-day window…The notices likely will include the rates under each of the three proposed scenarios released last month. If 50.1 percent of property owners affected by the increases protest them, the city cannot raise the rates.

Livingston adopts a balanced budget – Ramona Girwargis – Merced Sun Star – Sunday, March 23, 2014 With only three months left in the fiscal year, the Livingston City Council unanimously adopted a balanced 2013-14 budget last week — a plan that reflected a steep decline in general fund revenues, increase in operating costs and flat numb…

Livingston fireworks ordinance raises questions of fairness – Ramona Girwargis – Merced Sun Star – Thursday, March 6, 2014 – Changes to the city of Livingston’s fireworks ordinance has some people fired up, while raising questions about a City Councilman’s involvement in the process.

Fresno County fire captain sues Foster Farms and Costco, blames severe illness on chicken – Pablo Lopez – Merced Sun Star – Thursday, March 6, 2014 – A Fresno County fire captain is suing Foster Farms and Costco Wholesale Corp., saying he became severely ill last fall after eating chicken he bought from the Costco store in Clovis.

After agreement, Livingston council votes to cut police officers’ pay – Ramona Girwargis – Merced Sun Star – Wednesday, March 5, 2014 – Livingston police officers and their supervisors will get a 7 percent salary reduction effective immediately, the City Council voted unanimously during its meeting this week. City leaders reached an agreement with the Police Department’s t…

Salmonella cases grow, but Foster Farms notes progress – John Holland – Modesto Bee – Wednesday, March 5, 2014 – Federal officials have traced 51 more salmonella cases to Foster Farms chicken plants in Livingston and Fresno, bringing the total to 481 since a year ago. The company said it is making progress overall on prevention efforts.  

Livingston City Council considers salary reductions for police, changes to fireworks ordinance – Ramona Girwargis – Merced Sun Star –  Monday, March 3, 2014 – The City Council tonight will consider approving an agreement to cut pay for police officers and their supervisors in an effort to close a $150,000 budget gap. The council will also consider changes to the city’s fireworks ordinance. 

Livingston council approves urgent contract for water well repairs – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – The Livingston City Council on Tuesday approved an emergency contract for repairs to one of the city’s largest water wells – a move city leaders say is urgent because of the drought and upcoming summer months. 

Livingston manufacturing plant slated for closure – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star Friday, February 7, 2014 – Fresenius Medical Care on Industrial Drive will shut down on May 30 after 22 years in the Livingston location, laying off 37 workers.

Even if it rains on Thursday, drought won’t end in Merced area – Thaddeus Miller, Merced Sun Star, January 27, 2014 – Rain is in the forecast this week for Merced County and much of the San Joaquin Valley, but whatever falls won’t come close to ending drought conditions, experts said.

Livingston City Council approves ballot measure to extend mayor’s term -Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – January 22, 2014 – A majority of City Council members voiced support Tuesday for changing the mayor’s term from two years to four, but said the public should decide in June’s primary election…The item was brought forward by Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra, who said the extension is necessary to maintain “institutional knowledge” on the council

Livingston council takes steps in face of drought -Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – January 22, 2014 – The City Council voted to ban outside watering on certain days of the week during Tuesday’s meeting, a move officials say will save water during one of the driest years on record….City leaders said the plan has been in the works the past few years, but was given a new sense of urgency after the governor declared a drought on Friday. “This was coming forward no matter what, but it gave it more meaning because of the state declaration,” said City Manager Jose Ramirez.

Foster Farms reopens Livingston chicken plant after 10-day closure – John Holland –The Modesto Bee – January 22, 2014 – Foster Farms reopened its chicken plant Wednesday, after a 10-day voluntary closure to work on sanitation measures…Foster Farms did not provide details on what it did during the closure to improve the plant, which can handle about half a million chickens a day. It is the largest piece in a poultry industry that is a key part of the Northern San Joaquin Valley economy.

Closure of Foster Farms chicken processing plant in Livingston continues – Bee Staff Reports – Tuesday, January 21, 2014 – The voluntary closure of the Foster Farms chicken plant reached 10 days Tuesday with no word on when it would reopen….The company closed the massive plant Jan. 12 to do further work on sanitation measures in the wake of a three-day federal closure related to cockroaches found at the site. The plant operated for just one day between the shutdowns.

Livingston’s Court Theater now just a memory – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – January 20, 2014 – A few feet from a sketch depicting hopeful plans of renovation, an enormous claw crunched the walls of the historic Court Theater on Monday morning, ending the legacy of a 69-year-old landmark that towered over the heart of downtown….A handful of people gathered at the site Monday, sharing memories and gasping as machines began crushing the once-beloved theater. Built in 1945, the theater closed in 1977 and has been vacant ever since. The city purchased it in 2001 for $120,000.

Number sickened by salmonella outbreak rises to 430, government reports –  Deek Farrow – Modesto Bee – Sunday, January 19, 2009 –According to an update released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, the salmonella outbreak traced to Foster Farms chicken has grown to a total of 430 people sickened…… As of early Friday afternoon, the plant remained closed, and a public-relations spokeswoman representing Foster Farms had no word on when it would reopen

Livingston deserves political reform –

Mike McGuire – All Voices.com – January 19, 2014. – On Tuesday, it is possible the Livingston City Council, at the request of Mayor Pro-tempore Gurpal Samra, will direct members of the city staff to study the possibility of placing a measure on the ballot changing the term of mayor from a two-year term to a four-year term….Several years ago, the two-year term was approved by Livingston voters and there is ample evidence two years is sufficient.

Brown declares drought emergency, urges residents to reduce water consumption by 20 percent – January 17, 2014 – Merced Sun Star –  Brown’s appeal to residents to reduce water consumption is voluntary, but he suggested at a news conference in San Francisco that the state could impose mandatory restrictions if the drought persists……..“As we go down the road – you know, January, February, March – we will keep our eye on the ball and intensify, even to the point of mandatory conservation,” Brown said. “But we’re not going to do that quite yet.”……California is entering one of the driest winters on record after two dry years already parched the state. Many reservoirs are depleted, and streams and rivers are running low.

Foster Farms plant shuttered a day after reopening –  David Pierson – LA times January 12, 2014 – Foster Farms shut down its largest poultry plant in Central California on Sunday, two days after federal inspectors lifted a suspension for cockroach infestation….The company said fresh chicken production at the Livingston facility was put on hold for several days to expand safety procedures

Motel 6 plans location in Livingston – Michael McGuire – All Voices.com – January 11, 2014 – Plans are under way to construct a Motel 6 in Livingston, according to documents distributed Friday to the Livingston Planning Commission. The three-story, 75-room would be located on the northwest corner of Joseph Gallo Drive and Winton Parkway. The project would also set aside about 2.5 acres for a restaurant to be constructed later. The property currently consists of more than 100,000 square feet of vacant land north of Taco Bell and west of the Chevron/McDonald’s location.

Foster Farms gets OK to reopen plant – John Holland – Modesto Bee – January 10, 2014 – Foster Farms plans to resume production at its chicken plant this morning, three days after federal inspectors shut it down because of cockroaches. All 3,500 workers will be called back to the plant, which is one of the largest employers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

DeLauro reacts to closing of chicken plant due to roaches  – Shelton Herald  – January 10, 2014- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes a part of Shelton, says the closing of a chicken processing plant in California due to a roach infestation is “long overdue.”…DeLauro has been pushing for action against the company. “USDA has said they did not have the authority to shut down Foster Farms, despite repeated outbreaks,” she said.……..“We are exploring options to ensure they have clear authority to do so, instead of hoping they find filth before they can shut down a plant they already know is a problem,” she said. “Change must be made to protect Americans.”…….DeLauro is a former chairman, and current ranking member, of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department

Livingston braces for fallout from idled Foster Farms –  Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – January 10, 2014 – For the second day in a row, thousands of Foster Farms employees who work at the Livingston plant were sitting at home without a paycheck… As employees take a hit to their paychecks, area businesses brace themselves for the trickle-down effect of one of the region’s largest employers temporarily closing its doors

Livingston theater demolition postponed   – Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star, January 6, 2014  – The Court Theater got a week’s reprieve from being razed because of a setback with equipment….The demolition, set to begin today, will begin Jan. 14, said Livingston City Manager Jose Ramirez….Ramirez said the demolition company is waiting for the arrival of some equipment, which could take another week.

Demolition of historic theater set to begin Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star – January 5, 2014 – By this time next week, the historic Livingston Court Theater will be just a memory in the minds of longtime city residents

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