Author

Robert Plank

Robert Plank has 6 articles published.

2020-10-23: New Salon, Firefighter Fundraising, Lulu’s Ice Cream Parlor

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From serving only 10 customers in each day in its first year to now over 150 per day, Coyotes Cup of Kindness still serving through pandemic. Upcoming event, The City of Turlock is offering a free paper shredding event from 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 7.

Up next, by the early months of 2021, the Center for Human Services will have a new facility to better serve homeless teens and young adults. Modesto’s Gallo looks to wine country to launch its new premium brandy tasting room.

And finally, After 13 and a half years of planning, environmental studies, countless public hearings, numerous legal challenges and court hearings, the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center and its anchor tenant of a Walmart Supercenter passed its final hurdle at Monday Ceres City Council Meeting. Show some support to our local businesses especially during this pandemic as I give you 2 business highlights this week. Also sharing the latest updates about COVID 19 in Stanislaus County. All that and more today in this week's Local Turlock podcast.

Coyotes Cup of Kindness still serving through pandemic

After two successful years serving coffee, tea and more to the Denair Unified School District campus community and beyond, the 2020-2021 school year looks a little bit different for Coyotes Cup of Kindness. While the students in the DHS Project Life program are able to come to campus for class in small cohorts, safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic have kept them from working at the cart — something they’ve done for the past two years, which has provided them with invaluable social skills and job experience they can use in the real world after graduating.

That means Silva, the owner, has been busy, since Coyotes Cup of Kindness has grown from serving just 10 customers each day in its first year to now over 150 per day. The kindness of the students working the cart, who normally sell drinks during the week and at most home sporting events, have created a brand for Cup of Kindness that sees customers travel from Turlock, Hughson, Los Banos and even Stockton to support the cause. Students from the DHS intervention class, who may be experiencing behavioral problems or slipping grades, also are able to work at the cart and learn valuable life lessons. All proceeds from coffee sold at Coyotes Cup of Kindness are used to replenish supplies for the cart and to support the Project Life program.

  • Location: 3460 Lester Rd, Denair
  • Open 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday

Free paper shred event

The City of Turlock is offering a free paper shredding event from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 7 at the Water Quality Control Plant, 901 S. Walnut Rd., Turlock. This is a contactless service event for the safety of staff and the shredding company. Customers are to place their own paper in provided shredding totes. Masks are required. Residents can bring up to five grocery bags or small boxes of material to be shredded. No businesses or binders will be allowed.

This event is open to residents of Turlock and unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. For more information contact Municipal Services at (209) 668-5590 or HHW (209) 525-6700 or visit the City of Turlock website at: www.CityofTurlock.org.

Center for Human Services to reach, help more homeless youth in Stanislaus County

By the early months of 2021, the Center for Human Services will have a new facility to better serve homeless teens and young adults. The Center for Human Services is building a Youth Navigation Center that will engage, stabilize and prepare homeless youth in Stanislaus County. The Youth Navigation Center will house several programs and resources under one roof. The 2019 Stanislaus County Point-In-Time count showed that 387 youth and young adults (ages 0 – 24) were homeless and of those, 118 were unsheltered. The Center will be located in a 14,300 square foot site located next door to the Center for Human Services at 2000 W. Briggsmore Ave., in Modesto. The Center is launching a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to support the buildout cost. The campaign is structured so that the community can contribute to one or more specific target areas of their choice through naming and recognition opportunities. To donate visit the Center for Human Services.

Modesto’s Gallo looks to wine country to launch its new premium brandy tasting room

You already know this Modesto-based company as the largest wine seller in the world, but now Gallo has its sights on conquering luxury brandy.

E.&J. Gallo Winery is set to open the California Brandy House, a tasting room for the company’s premium artisan brands of the wine-based spirit made in the state. The new tasting room will be opened in downtown Napa on Nov. 6. The new tasting room is opening in First Street Napa, a shopping complex with high-end retail and dining on First Street in downtown Napa.

Customers can try guided tasting flights, and sample limited and single-barrel offerings not available at other locations. To experience the tasting room and to allow for proper social distancing, reservations are strongly recommended in advance. The tasting room will have a gift shop where the full line of Germain-Robin and Argonaut brandies, as well as exclusive releases, will be available for purchase. California Brandy House is located at 1300 First St., Suite 309, in downtown Napa.

Supercenter clears last hurdle

After 13 and a half years of planning, environmental studies, countless public hearings, numerous legal challenges and court hearings, the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center and its anchor tenant of a Walmart Supercenter passed its final hurdle with quiet approval of a consent agenda item at Monday’s Ceres City Council meeting. Walmart is now free to start construction.

It’s unknown if there will be a groundbreaking ceremony. The Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center project has taken the longest to develop in the city’s history, largely in part to an organized effort to halt its development using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The shopping center includes plans for 10 other retail shops totaling 114,162 square feet, including three other major tenants and four smaller shops as well as a stand-alone retail building and two to three new restaurants.

It’s believed that the new store will incorporate its new store design which was inspired by airport wayfinding systems to direct large groups of people through the store more quickly. The new layout is supposed to be more efficient for shopping and emphasizes the use of a smartphone and the Walmart app to make the experience more streamlined.

Coronavirus update, Oct. 29: Stanislaus posts worst daily positive rate in 5 weeks

Stanislaus County had its highest daily positive rate in five weeks Wednesday, an unwelcome number at a time when business owners hope for looser rules. The county also reported another death, bringing the total to 399 residents since the pandemic began. Wednesday’s positive rate of 14.47% was the highest since the Sept. 22 figure of 15.02%. And it more than tripled the 4.34% on Tuesday.

The 46 new cases Wednesday brought the county’s total to 17,760, according to its Health Services Agency. It reported that 102,194 residents have tested negative and 17,033 are presumed recovered. Tuesday’s weekly update on how Stanislaus is meeting state measures for reopening brought mixed news. The county barely met the criteria for staying in the red tier, rather than slipping back into purple, the most restrictive.

The county must stay in the red tier for at least two more weeks. Geographically: Modesto has 6,461 positive cases, Turlock has 2,322 and Ceres with 2,160 cases

Business Spotlight: Crostini Restaurant

A Brand New Restaurant! Crostini is an Italian Restaurant in Turlock serving Peet's coffee, baked goods, and authentic Italian dishes. They have a full service Bar and extensive menu and that perfect summer time aesthetic. Looking for a pick-me-up? Crostini proudly pours Peet's Coffee at our full service Barista Bar. Visit them today.

  • Location: 811 W Hawkeye Ave, Turlock, CA 95382
  • Phone Number: (209) 632-3665
  • Operational Hours: Open Fri thru Sat 7:00AM - 12:00AM Midnight
  • Sun thru Thurs 7:00AM - 10:00PM

Business Spotlight: Village Donuts

Great customer and the drive to provide delicious daily-made donuts are the two specialties of Village Donuts. Always trying to achieve a greater level of perfection with their donuts, from the little donut hole to more popular apple fritter. All while making sure the customers are greeted with a friendly smile and readily helped.

  • Location: 343 S Golden State Blvd, Turlock
  • Phone Number: (209) 634-9262
  • Operational Hours: Monday to Saturday 4:30 AM - 5:00 PM Sunday 4:30 am to 2:00 pm

You can always email me at turlock@localturlock.com and visit our Facebook at Facebook.com/localturlock and leave us some comments! Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode! Have a great weekend and always stay safe.

October 16, 2020: Trick-or-Treating and Election Ballot Boxes

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Stanislaus County moves into Red Tier

Stanislaus County has been given the approval by the California Department of Public Health to move down one tier in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, clearing the path for businesses to expand operations or in some instances reopen their doors. The primary changes allowed under the state order as Stanislaus moves into this tier include: Mall, outdoor malls, and other retail establishments opening indoors at 50% capacity; Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, Restaurants, Movie Theaters, and Places of Worship opening indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; Gyms, Fitness Centers, Hotels and Lodging opening indoors with 10% capacity; and Personal care services opening indoors with modifications. Stanislaus County Public Health encourages the community to continue following recommendations and to get tested if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, have symptoms, or have gathered with others outside of their household. Free testing is available in Stanislaus County through partnerships with Optum Serve and Project Baseline.

Trick-or-treating ‘strongly discouraged’ in California this Halloween

Trick-or-treating and Halloween parties are “strongly discouraged” in California this year because they present a high risk of spreading COVID-19, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on Tuesday. The new California Halloween guidance suggests that families find safer ways to celebrate. It suggests meeting up for a distanced outdoor meal with up to two other households, online costume contests and drive-in scary movies. Californians are asked to keep gatherings with people from other households relatively small – just three households at a time. The state also asks people to stay six feet apart, to hold gatherings outside and to limit them to two hours.

Fall heat wave bringing California more fire danger

California's siege of wildfires has significantly quieted but forecasters warned Tuesday that a fall heat wave will bring back high fire danger this week. According to the National Weather Service, red flag warnings were to go into effect in much of Northern California before dawn Wednesday due to high pressure producing hot and dry conditions with offshore gusts. The foremost concern is the likely development of critical fire weather conditions by Wednesday morning, and then becoming even more extreme Wednesday night into Thursday. It is likely some circuits will be turned off starting Wednesday evening to try to prevent fires from being started by damaged power lines. An estimated 50,000 customers in parts of 21 northern counties would be affected. Scientists say climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable.

This is how you can help Stanislaus restaurants, churches and more reopen faster

We finally went from purple to red. Life isn’t back to pre-COVID normal — it may never be — but we’re making progress here in Stanislaus County. Stanislaus’ infection numbers dipped enough for the Tuesday announcement everyone had been waiting for, allowing us to slip from purple to red. Now that we’re finally in the red — remember, that’s a good thing in this context — but what must we do to stay there? Or even to progress to “moderate” orange status, which would allow 50% seating in restaurants? Actually, there is something just about all of us can do: get tested. So, if you want to do your part to help increase restaurant capacity or help schools reopen for in-class instruction rather than distance learning, increase capacity for gyms, stores, movie theaters, places of worship: get yourself tested. Proactive testing is a new way we can support our community. The more testing we do, the easier it is to pinpoint the disease and stop it. That’s our main goal. To schedule a quick, free, self-administered test in west Modesto, Salida or Turlock, go to schsa.org/corona-virus/testing/. Some pharmacies and commercial labs offer testing as well.

Stanislaus County elections office issues alert about unofficial ballot drop boxes

Stanislaus County election officials are alerting the public about unofficial ballot boxes and has issued warnings about use of the unauthorized boxes. Donna Linder, county registrar of voters said on Wednesday that three unauthorized ballot boxes have been reported to the election office. Her office sent the code section and information from the Secretary of State to three churches that were using unofficial boxes to collect ballots. In an Oct. 11 memo to county election offices, Secretary of State, Alex Padilla said only county election officials have authority to establish the location and hours for ballot drop boxes. Stanislaus County currently has 16 authorized indoor drop boxes and two outdoor ones for collecting ballots for the vote-by-mail election in progress. The locations are listed at Stanvote.com. The official boxes that voters are supposed to use bear the Stanislaus County logo and the words “official ballot box”, with instructions translated in different languages

Business Highlight: Turlock Dry Cleaners

If you are looking for professional dry-cleaning laundry and spot clean for your shirts, jeans, gowns, comforters, blankets, all size area rugs, hats of any type, you should check out Turlock Dry Cleaners. They have been providing dry cleaning professional service over 20 yrs in Turlock and other surrounding cities. They even do professional alteration hemming, sizing, and fixing. And now they add free pick up and delivery within 30 miles from Turlock.

  • Located at: 1581 Geer Rd, Turlock, California
  • Phone Number: 209 669 0244 / edvinfarhad@yahoo.com
  • Operation Hours: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

Call them to sign up and get a $10 coupon on your first pickup/delivery order!

Business Highlight: Cory's Computer Repair

Having some technical issues with your computer? Cory’s Computer Repair is at your service. Cory makes sure to deliver excellent service to all his customers with any issues for pcs, printer, even your wifi. A certified tech savy and expert on what he does, he can fix your computer issues efficiently and thoroughly. He is a home based business so he caters virtual consultations and in person visits if necessary.

  • Operation Hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Phone Number: 209 573 0134

Coronavirus update, Oct. 15

Stanislaus County has now gone 30 straight days with at least one report of a COVID-19 death. The total stands at 388 residents with the death announced Wednesday by the Health Services Agency. Stanislaus added 43 positive tests for a total of 17,130 since the pandemic began. The county has 94,883 people who tested negative and 16,508 who are presumed recovered. Geographically: Modesto has 6,461 positive cases, Turlock with 2,322 cases, and Ceres has 2,160. The county moved Tuesday from the purple to the red tier in the state ranking system, indicating that COVID-19 is no longer widespread but still a serious concern. Businesses and other activities have relaxed rules.

October 9, 2020: Pumpkin Stand on Highway 132, Ceres Schools Re-Open

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Ceres schools may reopen next month

Ceres Unified School District has a plan in place to re-open its elementary campuses for in-person learning. Teachers, staff and families were notified last Friday by Superintendent Scott Siegel. To allow for social distancing, a hybrid schedule will be used to minimize the number of students on campus at a time, beginning when elementary schools reopen. Summer vacation ended for CUSD students on Aug. 12 as the 2020-21 school year opened with remote learning due to state imposed coronavirus restrictions. All public schools in Stanislaus County were closed from March 19 through the 2019-20 spring academic year to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

You can once again wait for an Amtrak train inside the Modesto station

Enhanced cleaning, more space for physical distancing, travel flexibility and a contact-free travel experience are Amtrak's new standard of travel during coronavirus pandemic, says Amtrak Medical Director Dr. Ann Kuhnen. Amtrak is reopening station interiors in Modesto and three other cities as of Monday, Oct. 5. Passengers will again be able to check baggage and purchase tickets at the four stations, but cash will not be accepted out of concern for virus transmission. Online reservations are urged, face coverings and social distancing are required in the stations and on the platforms. The reopened stations have these hours seven days a week:

Modesto: 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. | Merced: 10:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. | Fresno: 5:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.| Hanford: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The other 14 stations on the route have remained open. They include Turlock/Denair, which has a platform but no building.

Air quality impacts sports schedule for Bulldogs, Hawks

Central Valley and Ceres High canceled conditioning workouts last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of poor air quality. Athletic directors Greg Magni and John Bussard made the joint decision to cancel conditioning workouts for sports teams from Central Valley and Ceres High, respectively, last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday due to poor air quality as a result of smoke from wildfires in California.None of Central Valley’s sports teams practice on Fridays at this point of the school year. Extracurricular activities, including sports, had been suspended until further notice on July 13 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Stanislaus County.

County provides alternatives to mailing in ballots

A number of satellite offices, drop-off boxes and drive-thru options are popping up in Turlock throughout the course of October and into November to ensure that every ballot is counted come election day. For the first time ever, all registered voters in Stanislaus County will receive their ballot in the mail for the upcoming election on Nov. 3 following legislation signed in June by Gov. Gavin Newsom. While every registered voter in Stanislaus County will receive a postage-paid ballot in their mailboxes this year, they do not have to turn it in by using the postal system. There will be one voting center for every 10,000 voters where those who don’t want to send in their ballots can drop them off. Voters can also receive device or language assistance at these locations, or replace a misplaced ballot.

Satellite office locations in Turlock include the Assyrian American Civic Club, Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, Ten Pin Fun Center and Turlock CSA Epic Center and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

The County has also worked with a variety of locations to allow for indoor, outdoor and curbside drop boxes where ballots can also be placed. It will be located at Turlock City Hall (, Turlock CSA South County Service Center, Save Mart and FoodMaxx. Curbside ballot drop off locations in Turlock are located at Stanislaus State and the Turlock Silvercrest Senior Residence. Indoor ballot drop box locations are open beginning Oct. 5. Curbside ballot drop-off locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. For more information on satellite office and drop box locations, visit StanVote.com. To track your ballot once it has been mailed or dropped off, visit California BallotTrax.

Want to get Halloween pumpkins and help first responders?

The Bogetti family has set up a pumpkin stand along Highway 132 where all of the proceeds will go to first responders. Dad, James Bogetti is the manager at Mapes Ranch and he and his wife Coren do some farming of their own but this is the first year they’ve grown pumpkins. It all started out as a little college fund for their son, George but with all the good work of our first responders, they felt that it was their Good Samaritan work to help out those that keep us all safe, especially in this day and age. The family set up the stand on a friend’s property next to the Twin River Saloon on Highway 132 and Hart Road. It is open 24/7 on a merit based system with envelopes supplied to drop cash directly into the stand. They put up the stand on Oct. 1 and already have generated $1,000, mostly from friends and family in the area but they hope to earn much more before Halloween. In addition to the Sheriff’s Department, Bogetti said funds will go the Woodland Avenue Fire Department and healthcare workers.

Coronavirus Update as of October 8

Stanislaus County added 37 cases of the virus Wednesday, a day after its best performance on this measure since early June. The county Health Services Agency also announced two more deaths to COVID-19, bringing the total to 379. Stanislaus now has 16,804 positive tests, 91,605 negative tests and 16,230 people who are presumed recovered. Wednesday’s positive rate of 6.83% followed 1.73% on Tuesday, the lowest since the 1.21% on June 1.The county’s five hospitals had 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday, up from 35 on Tuesday. Though they make up 47 percent of the population, Latinos represented 64 percent of the positive cases. Geographically: Modesto has 6,255 positive cases, Turlock has 2,253. Ceres has 2,098. Stanislaus County has finally met both criteria for leaving the most restrictive tier of California coronavirus reopening program.

Local Turlock: Week of Friday, January 17, 2020

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Could you soon be banned from using your gas-powered lawnmower in California? What was Jeff Goldblum doing at the County Fair last year? And what about the new Marie Callender's, Dave & Busters, and Popeye's Chicken in Turlock & Modesto?

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