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Civic engagement, why more and why now?

Civic engagement, why more and why now?

Blog entry by Leon Churchill, City of Tracy City Manager

The public sector nationwide is in a state of uncertainty both economically and professionally. Not a day goes by without hearing a story at the top of the news involving local or state government, which is why as a City Manager, I have decided to regularly blog about current affairs and their impact on local government. I am grateful for the opportunity to offer my voice and hear from the community on the issues before Tracy now and in the future.

You’re most likely wondering, “Why in the world would a public official put him/herself in front of the community at this time? Public disdain is elevated, and distrust in government is at an all-time high. In reality, the question is also the answer, which is precisely why, I feel civic engagement is needed now more than ever before. If you do not hear from the decision-makers, how will you know why proposals are made or events interpreted?

Tracy High School team wins San Joaquin County Mock Trial

Tracy High School team wins San Joaquin County Mock Trial

STOCKTON - The verdict is in - Tracy High School was victorious over Venture Academy Family of Schools in the Championship Round of the San Joaquin County Mock Trial Monday and will move on to compete in the California State competition March 25-27. Both teams’ prosecution and defense teams went head to head to earn the prized spot in Riverside, CA.

The final championship round of the San Joaquin County Mock Trial competition took place Feb.

Tracy power plant expansion underway

Tracy power plant expansion underway

TRACY - Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) Tuesday marked the start of construction on the Tracy combined cycle power plant projec. The project will expand the current power plant in Tracy into a combined cycle power plant and is expected to create nearly 400 local jobs during construction and another 17 full-time jobs post-construction.

McNerney played a key role in advocating for the project’s approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In doing so, he wrote a letter of support to the President of the CPUC. A member of his staff also spoke at multiple meetings hosted by the CPUC and read statements from the Congressman expressing his support for the project.

"The start of construction on the Tracy combined power plant is great news for our community," said McNerney. "This project that is expected to create nearly 400 construction jobs as well as 17 full-time jobs after construction.

Local mom starts support group for hydrocephalus

Local mom starts support group for hydrocephalus

TRACY - Since Joey Chavez’s diagnosis with hydrocephalus, the 8-year-old has had nine brain surgeries, starting at age 2. The most recent was Dec. 9, when he had a shunt replaced at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland.

His mother, Kim Ruiz, impressed with her son’s fortitude, has turned their shared experience into motivation to help others with the same condition.

Joey has had three shunts, a procedure in which a doctor skillfully guides a catheter through the brain matter, Ruiz explained, to combat the fluid that builds up inside his brain cavities.

Thia Megia heads to Las Vegas on 'American Idol'

Thia Megia heads to Las Vegas on 'American Idol'

MOUNTAIN HOUSE - Thia Megia once again wowed the judges to advance to the next round in Fox’s 2011 “American Idol” on the Thursday, Feb. 17, show.

The 15-year-old Mountain House resident’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” had Jennifer Lopez whispering to Steven Tyler, “She’s amazing.”

Megia, a high school student in Tracy, advanced to the round of 100 last week, and now has advanced to the round of 60 in next week’s Hollywood Round 4.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the contestants will sing to Beatles music in Las Vegas.

And on Thursday, Feb. 24, Megia will vie for a spot in the top 24 and a place in the semifinals.

Megia broke new ground by being one of the first 15-year-old singers allowed to compete since an age reduction went into effect for the 10th season of the hit show. The prior minimum age was 16.

Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence

Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence

RIPON - The SavingStephanie organization will work with the Ripon Police Department to increase sexual assault awareness in our community. SavingStephanie is a sexual assault awareness organization that was founded by sexual assault survivor, Stephanie Braithwaite, 15, to increase community awareness and provide support and referrals to sexual assault victims.

The organization, lead by this courageous young woman, intends to work with the Ripon Police Department and Police Chief Ed Ormonde, to carry this message to the community by tying teal colored ribbons to the antennas of all the police departments’ patrol cars, community service vehicles, and volunteer vehicles. The ribbon recognizes every person affected by sexual assault and offers a symbol of hope to every Survivor on the path to healing. These ribbons will stand as a reminder that sexual violence is everyone’s issue, and that there is hope and support for those affected by it.

Local sex assault victim aims to bring awareness to violence

Local sex assault victim aims to bring awareness to violence

MANTECA - The SavingStephanie organization will work with the Manteca Police Department to increase sexual assault awareness in our community. SavingStephanie is a sexual assault awareness organization that was founded by sexual assault survivor, Stephanie Braithwaite, 15. She started her own organization, SavingStephanie, to increase community awareness and provide support and referrals to sexual assault victims.

The organization, lead by this courageous young woman, intends to work with the Manteca Police Department and Capt. Charlie Goeken, to carry this message to the community by tying teal colored ribbons to the antennas of all the police department's patrol cars. The ribbon recognizes every person affected by sexual assault and offers a symbol of hope to every survivor on the path to healing. These ribbons will stand as a reminder that sexual violence is everyone’s issue, and that there is hope and support for those affected by it.