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Local Turlock Podcast April 09, 2021: California Reopening, Portable Picnics, Habit Burger, Carnegie Arts Center

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Hey everyone! You are listening to the Local Turlock Podcast for the week of April 9th. I am here to give you some of Turlock’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business highlights for the week. Let’s begin with some great news - the entire state of California would be able to re-open without many of the COVID-19 restrictions by mid-June as announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday. Looking for an Instagram worthy get-together set-up? Turlock business, Perez Picnics & Platters offers a luxurious spin on the age-old picnic. Watch out for this, dairy producers begin search for royalty young women wishing to compete for the District 6 Dairy Princess crown! Ceres folks, Habit Burger chain is coming to Ceres as they began their construction at the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center.  Run for a cause and let’s support Cristian Palafox, a Ceres native runs to promote autism awareness. As many businesses are now back in operation, art in Stanislaus County can be viewed live again. Stay tuned to know where to go and what exhibits they are showing. Give some love and show our 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. 

California could re-open by June 15

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that the entire state would be able to re-open without many of the COVID-19 restrictions by mid-June, as long as the vaccine supply is sufficient and the hospital rate remains low. A statewide mask mandate would likely remain, but other restrictions detailed in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy would likely come to an end by June 15. The announcement came as the California Department of Public Health announced that a total of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Californians in some of the state's hardest-hit communities, increasing immunity where the state's transmission rates and disease burden have been the highest during the pandemic. Stanislaus County was able to remain in the red tier because the case rate has remained fairly stable at 12.5 new cases per day per 100,000 residents and the positivity rate was at 4.8 percent. Stanislaus was able to previously move into the red tier because the testing positivity rate has been in that tier's metric for several weeks. Businesses would still be expected to take “common-sense risk reduction measures” such as wearing masks and encouraging vaccinations. Most capacity limits for businesses and recreational activities will be lifted, although larger indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed only with testing or vaccination verification requirements. As of Tuesday, Stanislaus County has recorded 53,140 COVID-19 cases and 1,007 deaths from the virus.

Portable picnic company offers luxurious lunches

Name of business: Perez Picnics & Platters

Type of business: Mobile picnic catering

Location: Turlock and surrounding Central Valley; @perezpicnics on Instagram

Hours: By appointment

Contact information: 209-252-1606;

Specialty: Stress-free luxury

Influencers and entertainers in search of an Instagram worthy get-together need look no further than a Turlock business that’s putting a luxurious spin on the age-old picnic.  Perez Picnics & Platters can turn any setting from drab to fab, whether it's a park in town or your own backyard. Turlock resident and Pitman High School graduate Viviana Padilla recently launched her new business endeavor at the beginning of March, offering sophisticated ground-level parties for up to 20 people. Themed picnics are available for any occasion, from birthday parties and baby showers to anniversaries and bridal celebrations. Padilla has even seen customers throw a picnic just for fun. Picnic participants are always welcome to bring any additional food or drink they’d like to add to the already-provided options, and Perez Picnics & Platters prides itself on affordable prices.  The business is currently offering a special for the month of May: the “Mommy & Me Package,” which costs $160 for up to four people and includes a two-hour picnic with setup and breakdown, a teepee with cushions, a tea set, a donut wall, games, water, juice and fruit. Additional attendees can be added for $10 per person up to six people. Padilla enjoys providing a place for the community to not only have fun with loved ones, but to get outside during a year which has seen many spending more time indoors.

Dairy producers begin search for royalty

The local dairy industry is searching for young women wishing to compete for the District 6 Dairy Princess crown. The winner will represent the dairy industry in District 6 as a spokesperson and will also represent the California dairy industry in appearances with various audiences. The newly selected Dairy Princess and Alternates will participate in a mandatory professional development and educational training July 6 – 8.  The contest is sponsored by the District 6 Dairy Princess Committee and the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB). Alyce Silva of Turlock will relinquish her crown  to the winner who will represent the dairy industry in Alameda, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties during the 2021-2022  program year. Scholarships will be awarded. Questions regarding the program and contest can be directed to committee chair, Linda Teixeira at 209.402.8305, online at, or by contacting CMAB Dairy Princess Coordinator, Tiffany Nielsen, at The deadline is May 7.

Habit Burger starts construction

Work has begun on the new Habit Burger at the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center. A construction fence was placed around the site and work has commenced on the undergrounding that must take place before the foundation and slab are poured. Last September the Ceres Planning Commission unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to build the 3,114-square-foot restaurant with a 658-square-foot patio dining area. The building will occupy the vacant pad directly north of Bob’s Coffee Shop and farthest west of the Taco Bell on Whitmore Avenue. The Habit Burger is a national burger chain that opened in recent years in Modesto and Turlock. Habit Burger was founded in Santa Barbara in 1969. The California-based restaurant company is known for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame, signature sandwiches and fresh-cut salads. The open flame sears a distinctive smoky flavor into their Charburgers, fresh marinated chicken, sushi-grade Ahi tuna and USDA choice tri-tip steaks. This burger chain also features fresh made-to-order salads and a selection of sides, shakes and malts. The Habit Burger Grill was recently named in Thrillist’s list of “Underrated Burger Chains that need to be in Every State!” 

Ceres man runs to promote autism awareness

Cristian Palafox was drenched in sweat when he completed his mile-run around the city block surrounding Smyrna Park and Carroll Fowler Elementary School last Wednesday afternoon.  Every hour on the hour during from 7 a.m. on March 31 to midnight, the 20-year-old Ceres man ran around the park to help promote public awareness of autism – a condition that his family knows all too well with his cousin Lucas Guillory, 18, of Ceres. Lucas was diagnosed with autism and among the family members who supported Cristian’s effort by keeping him company and displaying signs on their cars, was Jesse Guillory, who is Lucas’ father. Lucas’ parents will be in court next month to take legal guardianship of their disabled son since he is legally an adult. Despite the severity of autism, Jesse said his son can watch a movie one time and memorize it. Palafox, a 2018 graduate of Ceres High School who is now attending San Jose State University to become a physical therapist, used to participate in the Autism Walk with about 50 family members. Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. There’s no single cause for it, and symptoms can be very mild or very severe. Cristian said that his cousin has little desire for socialization. During the run there were honks of support. Several parents with autistic children stopped by to thank him for drawing awareness to the issue. Typically a child with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has a hard time interacting with others. Problems with social skills are some of the most common signs. They might want to have close relationships but not know how. Palafox also appealed for public donations through social media to benefit Autism Speaks Inc., the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States. It sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. The public can still contribute by visiting

Art in Stanislaus County can be viewed live again. Where to go, what exhibits are showing

Add two of the region’s larger art galleries to the list of places that have reopened now that Stanislaus County has returned to the red tier in the state coronavirus plan. The Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock has opened its main gallery with an exhibit chronicling the lives of contemporary migrant farmworkers, according to a press release. “In the Fields of the North/En los Campos del Norte” features photojournalist David Bacon’s photographs with oral narratives from his subjects. The exhibit is planned to be up through May 23. Bacon will offer an online talk Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m. A Zoom link will be posted on the Carnegie website and Facebook page. With the red tier capacity limit at 25 percent, the gallery can hold 100 people, but it has decided to limit visitors to 40 to ensure maximum social distancing, Carnegie Director Lisa McDermott said. In the Lobby Gallery is the exhibit “Surfaces,” through April 25. The show features four female artists from Northern and Central California, a press release said: Kate Jackson from Merced, Dana Mano-Flank, San Carlos, Denise Oyama Miller, Fremont, and Michelle Park, Turlock. Carnegie hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. The center is at 250 N. Broadway in Turlock. Admission is $7 general, $5 for seniors and students. For more info, see

The Mistlin Gallery in downtown Modesto will continue to have limited hours despite the move to the red tier. The gallery’s gift shop remained open as a retail space under the most restrictive purple tier. On exhibit through April 30 at the Mistlin are “Yosemite Tapestries” and “Preserving Our Wilderness.” “Yosemite Tapestries” features nine large panels by Miriam McNitt (1917-2002). The “tapestries” are yarn paintings that were originally commissioned by Yosemite National Park, according to a press release. “Preserving Our Wilderness” includes about 60 pieces by regional artists on wildlife, wilderness, environmentalism and the conservation of national parks. The Mistlin Gallery is open 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, noon-4 p.m. Saturdays at 1015 J St. in Modesto. While museums also can reopen, the McHenry Mansion and the McHenry Museum in Modesto remain closed. The city is working on a plan to reopen, but no timeline has been set.

Business Highlights

Haul Done

Location: All around Turlock

Telephone Number: (209) 968-4285

Operational Hours:  Monday to Sunday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

No junk hauling trash removal estate cleanout job too small for Haul Done. Haul Done tries to keep as much salvageable junk out of the landfill as possible. They make sure to clean up the area after removing your junk or trash.  Haul Done takes pride in being a Green & Clean Company. If you've got junk, Haul Done can clean the funk! Just remember, the job’s not done until it's Haul Done!

Big Vic's BBQ

Location: 842 N Golden State Blvd Turlock

Telephone Number: (209) 596-2131

Operational Hours:  Wednesday-Saturday 11am-3pm

From casual outdoor bbq's to upscale plated wedding dinners, Big Vic's BBQ specializes in great food and service. They grew from using a $100 smoker from Lowe's to a respected company complete with a food truck trailer, commercial smokers, and 4 catering delivery trucks. Big Vic's BBQ love what they do & it shows in the quality of food they provide - Beef brisket, whole hog, beef ribs, pork ribs, lamb shoulders, pork belly, tri-tip, chicken, sausage, you name it. Large or small, Big Vic’s BBQ takes each job with attentive care!

Coronavirus update, April 8: Stanislaus deaths reach 1,009. Cases stand at 53,194

Stanislaus County deaths to COVID-19 reached 1,009 with the two reported Wednesday by the Health Services Agency. The county added 54 cases, for a total of 53,194 since March of last year. Stanislaus also has 524,396 negative test results and 51,679 people who are presumed recovered. The county remains in the red tier, the third most restrictive in the state’s four-tier response plan. Officials said they hope conditions will improve enough to meet Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new goal of fully reopening the economy in mid-June. They continue to urge residents to get vaccinated, wear masks in public and keep at least 6 feet from people not in their households. According to the Los Angeles Times daily tracker showed, the county is fourth among the 58 counties when it comes to new cases over the past seven days. It ranks 14th in deaths over the past seven days. As of Wednesday, 176,870 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Stanislaus County, unchanged since March 26. This includes 85,429 doses to health care providers and 91,441 to public health. Geographically: Modesto has 19,876 positive cases, Turlock has 7,182, and Ceres has 5,393.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to visit our website,, to stay up-to-date on our local news. You can always email me at and visit our Facebook at and leave us some comments! Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode! Have a great weekend and always stay safe!

California continues to see new COVID-19 cases drop; 32% of residents vaccinated

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California reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 14,559 new cases. That's down 22.7% from the previous week's toll of 18,837 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

California ranked 50th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

In the latest week, the United States added 442,981 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 0.1% from the week before. Across the country, 25 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Many states did not report cases on Easter. That will make some state-to-state comparisons inaccurate, and also some in-state week-to-week comparisons inaccurate.

Continue Reading on DesertSun

Stanislaus’ positive rate stays low. Two more deaths

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Stanislaus County announced two more deaths to the virus Monday, for a total of 337 since the pandemic started.

The county had 32 new positives tests, bringing the total to 16,351, the Health Services Agency reported. Another 84,588 residents have tested negative, and 15,589 are presumed recovered.

Monday’s positive rate of 6.75% was down from 7.13% the day before. The rolling seven-day average was 8.93% The 14-day average was 10.9% The positive rate since data collection began in March was 16.2%

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

New Wildfire Evacuation Orders, Warnings Issued

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New evacuation orders and warnings have been issued to Santa Clara County at 3 p.m. Thursday in response to the cluster of at least 20 fires blazing in five counties, dubbed the SCU Lightning Complex fires.

Areas that were under an evacuation warning Wednesday night are now under an evacuation order and include:

-East of Shingle Valley Road and everything east of Anderson Lake, east of Coyote Creek, east of Coyote Reservoir, east of Roop Road, east of Leavesly Road, east of Crews Road, east of Ferguson Road.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Gate

Evacuations ordered as Canyon Zone grows to 10,000 acres in Stanislaus County | Update

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STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — The so-called Canyon Zone Fire forced officials to call for some evacuations in Stanislaus County.

In a post to Facebook, StanEmergency issued mandatory evacuations for people on Del Puerto Canyon Road from Frank Raines Park west to Mines Road due to increased fire activity.

Stanislaus County officials are also advising Diablo Grande residents to be packed and ready to go in case a mandatory evacuation order is issued.

The Canyon Zone Fire is a total of six fires burning northwest of Patterson near Del Puerto Canyon.
Continue Reading on ABC 10

Diablo Fire Breaks Out In Stanislaus County; 220 Acres Burned

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STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS SF) – An ongoing vegetation fire in Stanislaus County has burned through 300 acres as of Thursday morning, Cal Fire reports.

The Diablo Fire, as it is being called, was reported around 12:15 a.m. Thursday morning, in the area of Del Puerto Canyon and Diablo Grande, several miles west of the town of Patterson.

Cal Fire stated the fire as having burned about 20 acres when it was reported, but quickly grew to 100 to 150 acres as of approximately 1:00 a.m.

As of about 10:50 a.m., Cal Fire tweeted that the Diablo Fire has scorched 202 acres and is 50 percent contained. The agency previously said the fire burned 300 acres and 20 percent contained, but better mapping of the area prompted the revised numbers.

Continue Reading on San Francisco CBS Local

Coronavirus update April 12: Inmates to be released, more reports of people recovering

in News/People

On Monday between 150 and 350 inmates, or as much as a quarter of the jail population in Stanislaus County, will be released from custody as a result of a statewide emergency bail schedule intended to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population.

The Judicial Council of California on April 6 established the temporary bail schedule that reduced to $0 the bail for most misdemeanor and some low-level felony offenses. It applies to accused inmates whose cases have not been adjudicated and anyone arrested on the applicable crimes while the emergency rule is in place.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

Most court hearings rescheduled due to coronavirus. Here’s what’s still being heard.

in Health/News

As a result of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Stanislaus Superior Court has suspended all nonemergency services and will reduce its staff by an estimated 40 percent.

Stanislaus is among nearly every county in the state to get an emergency order to limit services and continue most matters.

The only matters that will be heard are:

• Criminal arraignments will be heard daily as scheduled. If you signed a promise to appear in court for arraignment in a felony or misdemeanor case, you will need to come to the court on the date you promised to appear. The judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you fail to appear.

Continue Reading on Modbee

2 Northern California prisoners slain in related attacks minutes apart

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SACRAMENTO  — Two inmates were killed during attacks a minute apart Wednesday in a Northern California prison, state corrections officials said.

The two afternoon attacks at California State Prison, Solano in Vacaville were believed to be related, according to a statement from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Two inmates stabbed Mizrain Nava Cano in the neck and back in a yard at the Sacramento-area prison shortly before 3:30 p.m.

Continue Reading on Mercury News

Best day to travel ahead of Christmas? Tuesday, forecasters say

in Holidays/News

Planning to drive up the Grapevine or into the mountains this holiday week? National Weather Service meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie has some advice for you:

“Right now, just drop everything, head on up,” she said Sunday morning. “Or Tuesday should also be a good day to travel.”

That’s because the first of two storm systems this week is moving its way southeast from the Gulf of Alaska across California, due to hit Los Angeles County by late Sunday afternoon, Hoxsie said. About half an inch of rain is expected along the coast and coastal valleys through Monday, with up to 2 inches in south-facing foothills.

Continue Reading on Los Angeles Times

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