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Central Valley California Optometrist Indicted for Submitting over $1 Million in False Claims to Medicare – Had Offices in Turlock and Modesto

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A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment today against optometrist Carole Sachs, O.D., 76, of Delhi, charging her with health care fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Sachs was an optometrist and practiced out of offices in Turlock and Modesto. Between November 2016 and February 2021, Sachs fraudulently billed Medicare for optometry services she did not provide. Sachs billed over $1 million and received over $700,000 in payments from Medicare from these false and fraudulent claims. The fraudulent claims included claims for performing ultrasounds and for placing amniotic membranes on patients’ eyes despite the fact that Sachs did not perform these procedures.

Continue Reading on Sierra Sun Times

Human trafficking operation in Turlock leads to 14 arrests

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Sheriff Jeff Dirkse said the 14 people were arrested for various prostitution-related charges.

Dirkse shared the news about the bust on social media. In a Facebook post, he said the sheriff's office along with local and federal partners participated in the operation.

He said 14 people were arrested for various prostitution-related charges. Victims were also offered services.

Continue Reading on ABC10

As Turlock Fire interim chief retires, is the city considering contract with Modesto?

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Turlock Interim Fire Chief Gary Carlson plans to retire next month and the city intends to replace him with the same administrator who oversaw Ceres contracting Modesto for fire services, the firefighters union said.

The hiring of Michael Botto will come after the City Council budgeted a feasibility study to examine the costs of Modesto running fire operations in Turlock, said Chad Hackett, the firefighters union president.

Turlock announced Carlson’s retirement in a press release Thursday, but Interim City Manager Sarah Eddy on Friday said the city has not made a final decision to fill the position. The feasibility study will determine if Turlock can provide the same or better fire services at a lower cost by sharing resources, Eddy said in an email.

Continue Reading on Modesto Bee

Local Turlock Podcast August 27, 2021: Westside Ministries, Cory’s Computer Repair, We Care Program

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Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode of Local Turlock Podcast for the week of August 27th. I am here to give you some of Turlock’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business highlights for the week. Sit back and relax as we open with our first story! Turlock City Council voted unanimously to transfer first time home buyers funding to local non-profit programs. Next, The We Care Program resumes serving weekly lunches and holding meetings after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All ears you sports fans, finally, Academica SC has snatched the first NPSL championship. Know how you can help as Westside Ministries qualifies as finalist in Hope Awards. Give your love and support to our local businesses especially during this pandemic as I highlight 2 businesses this week. Also sharing the latest updates about COVID 19 in Stanislaus County. All that and more today for this week's Local Turlock podcast.

Council sends first time buyer funding to non-profit grant program

As the white-hot housing market takes its toll on those looking to purchase a house, the Turlock City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to transition funds originally intended for first time home buyers into more opportunities for local non-profits. 

The Council voted to amend its Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Annual Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Program, reallocating $100,000 in funding from the First Time Home Buyer Program to the Public Services Grant Program. The transfer of funds nearly doubles the amount of grant money made available to non-profit organizations through a competitive application process for a total of $220,000. 

In the past, the Public Services Grant Program has assisted activities such as teen mother services, free food for the low-income residents, cold weather shelter homeless services and gang prevention services at the local elementary schools and high schools.

The reallocation of funds will effectively leave the First Time Home Buyer Program with a balance of $0, Housing Program Supervisor Maria Ramos explained. Due to the current housing market and sky-high prices, families and individuals who are eligible for the First Time Home Buyer Program are still unable to find houses they can afford, rendering the program useless.

The additional funding is expected to be available on or before Nov. 1, 2021, and must be expended by June 30, 2022. These grants must be for new programs, and additional points will be provided for those agencies offering programs to seniors or children. For more information on the City’s Public Services Grant Program visit https://www.cityofturlock.org/housingprograms/publicservicegrants/.

This free program for the homeless, halted by the pandemic, resumes in Turlock

The We Care Program this month resumed serving weekly lunches and holding resource sharing meetings after a hiatus earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

We Care began the free weekly lunches and community meetings in 2008 when it moved to 213 S. Broadway, executive director Maris Sturtevant said. California State University, Stanislaus, ran the Cares Resource Center at the location previously, so the nonprofit took over running the meetings. We Care decided to serve lunch on Mondays because there are fewer meal services in the area over the weekend, Gutierrez said.

Finding resources has been especially challenging during the pandemic for many homeless residents, Gutierrez said. In particular, access to restrooms has been limited, she added. We Care aims to inform people of available resources, such as CalFresh, MediCal and housing programs through the meetings. 

If the pandemic worsens, We Care may again pause the lunches and community participation meetings, Sturtevant said. For now, Gutierrez said safety modifications include social distancing, masks and increased sanitation.

We Care hosts lunch and resource sharing meetings Mondays at 11 a.m., followed by support group meetings at noon at 213 S. Broadway in Turlock.

Academica SC earns first NPSL championship

Academica SC are champions of the Golden Gate Conference after defeating San Francisco-based El Farolito last weekend, earning Turlock’s semi-professional soccer team their first National Premier Soccer League title. 

Academica joined the NPSL prior to the 2018 season, and at the time, team President Simon Bettencourt compared the league to Major League Baseball’s Advanced Single-A play. Just three years later, Academica’s 2-0 victory over El Farolito in the GGC Tournament Final Aug. 14 brought the team’s first championship to Turlock following the NPSL’s Return to Play Series — a season featuring California teams that were hit harder by COVID and forced to start playing later than others.

The finals win was Academica’s sixth shutout of the season, and the team posted shutouts throughout every game of the playoffs in an effort led by keepers Alonso Lara and David Hernandez. Cody Golbad scored Academica’s two second half goals on the night.

Academica’s “Black and Gold Brigade” of fans made it out to home matches at the team’s field in Turlock, braving triple digits and even some cold nights enroute to the team’s undefeated home record. 

Academica will attempt to repeat as GGC champions when the 2022 NPSL season gets underway in March.  For more information about Academica SC, visit www.academicasc.com

Westside Ministries finalist in Hope Awards

Westside Ministries is once again hoping local community members can help the nonprofit organization win much-needed funds to remodel its kitchen.

Westside Ministries is one of four finalists for the 2021 WORLD Magazine Hope awards for Effective Compassion and could win $10,000 in funding.

Selected from many applicants on the West Coast, Westside Ministries made it to the final round of voting and could win $10,000 to assist in their mission. According to the Hope Awards website, the finalists were chosen because they “best reflected the personalized, challenging, and gospel-centered work of effective compassion. All four are doing the quiet, persevering work of fighting poverty, one soul and one community at a time.”

According to DeGrazia, Westside Ministries founder and director, the prize money would be put to remodeling the organization’s kitchen and bringing it up to code.

Westside Ministries was a finalist for the Kubota Tractor Corporation’s Hometown Proud Grant Program, where they were hoping to use the prize money to make updates to their kitchen and also purchase a new tractor. The Hope Awards offers another opportunity to make much needed renovations.

Westside Ministries serves many members of the community every day and things were only accelerated during the pandemic. The updates to their kitchen will ensure they will be able to continue providing meals to all members of the community that may need the services.

Westside Ministries is handing out more than 150 USDA food boxes each week during the pandemic. They also utilized their own youth-produced food along with produce from local food banks and grocery stores to distribute their own food boxes to 500 families each quarter.

Along with providing meals for families, Westside Ministries also offers a weekly dance class, a drop-off center where children can “do homework and have fun in a safe environment,” Bible clubs and recovery programs.

To vote for Westside Ministries in the 2021 Hope Awards for Effective Compassion, visit https://wng.org/2021-hope-awards and click on the Westside Food Literacy Program badge.

Coronavirus update, Aug. 26: Stanislaus adds five deaths. Hospital cases climb to 276

COVID-19 deaths and hospital cases in Stanislaus County both had their largest increases of the summer Wednesday.

Five more residents have died from the virus, for a total of 1,125 since April 2020, the Health Services Agency said.

The county’s five hospitals added 31 patients with confirmed COVID-19 on Wednesday, reaching 276. The figure had been in the 30s in mid-July but is now approaching the 300-plus at the peak of last winter’s surge. Wednesday’s figure includes 58 adults in intensive care, up four from Tuesday.

Stanislaus added 238 positive tests Wednesday, bringing the total to 64,944. The county also has 753,892 negative test results and 61,299 people who are presumed recovered.

Business Spotlight:

JB & Sons Landscaping

Location: Turlock, CA 95382 Serving Gustine, CA 95322 Area

Tel. No (209) 648-0163

Operation Hours: Monday to Saturday (06:00 AM - 06:00 PM) 

    Sunday (Closed)

Wanna make your exterior lovely? J&B Sons Landscaping is the solution to your landscaping needs! J&B Sons Landscaping is a family owned and operated business with 20+ years of experience in the business. They offer services such as garden design, garden installation, irrigation installation, landscaping grading & resloping, lawn maintenance, sustainable landscaping, yard cleaning, any more! J&B Sons designs what you desire!

Cory's Computer Repair

Location: 4503 Capurso Dr Turlock, CA

Tel. No. (209) 573-0134

Operation Hours: Monday to Saturday (9:00 AM - 6:00 PM)

    Sunday (Closed)

Cory, the owner, has been helping family and friends with computer issues since the early 90’s. In 2013, Cory decided to open his own computer repair shop, Cory’s Computer Repair. With Cory, you can guarantee and feel confident that you are getting quality work for a reasonable price. Cory’s Computer Repair offers services including but not limited to :Desktop & Laptop Repair * Virus & Spyware Removal * Malware Removal * Data Recovery (Pending Hard Drive Conditions) * Upgrades to increase overall speed

Thank you for tuning in for this week’s podcast. Don’t forget to visit our website, localturlock.com, to stay up-to-date on our local news. 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 stafe safe!

Colleges welcome students back to campus amid delta-variant surge

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Just a few months ago, it seemed as if the masked lecture halls, the COVID outbreaks, the rushed pivots to online classes and the TikTok chronicling of quarantine accommodations would finally belong to another era.

With the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus surging amid the return to campus, we’re already seeing some of those headlines repeat themselves, and there’s a clear risk we could be seeing more.

Continue Reading on Market Watch

HELPING HOMELESS

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Frank Saldana attended the workshop for the Mixed-Use Community Homeless Navigation Center earlier in the week.

He’s the founder of the Inner City Action, operators of the Mobile Revival Family Resource Center, 555 Industrial Ave., Manteca.

The 120- by- 80- foot tent structure at the former Qualex building is the site of the local homeless shelter, a refuge and a cooling center for those trying to get back on their feet . Tey’re offered a safe place to sleep along with daily meals, showers, haircuts, fresh clothes and clean restroom facilities, to name a few, at the temporary digs. Drugs and alcohol are prohibited.

Continue Reading on Manteca/ Ripon Bulletin

Why Stanislaus school districts struggle to fill positions, lack fully qualified educators

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Modesto’s Stanislaus Union School District confronts a peculiar situation this year: School leaders have money to hire staff to help accelerate student learning, but no applicants to fill the positions.

The K-8 school district hoped to bring on classified staff to address academic and social emotional needs, Superintendent Shannon Sanford said. These paraprofessionals, or instructional aides, would provide targeted assistance to English language learners and students in special education, for example.

“It slows that process down in getting them the assistance that they need to be more successful,” Sanford said.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

Week 2 of classes sees big COVID positivity rate jump in Modesto, Turlock school districts

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Turlock and Modesto school districts reported 60 and 84 COVID-19 cases, respectively, from their second week of in-person instruction.

The numbers reflect a rise in cases in Stanislaus County and across the country caused by the more transmissible delta variant. Modesto City Schools’ positivity rate doubled over the first two weeks of school. The positivity rate at Turlock Unified School District more than quadrupled, though its first week of school only included three days.

Local public health officials will defer to the California Department of Public Health on setting a threshold for shutting down a classroom or school like last year, said Maria Blanco, COVID-19 public information officer for Stanislaus County Public Health. State officials have not provided a cap this year, Blanco said, and Stanislaus County won’t set its own guidelines.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

TUSD reports 60 cases of COVID-19 since school started

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Dozens of Turlock students and school employees have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 since school began this month.

The Turlock Unified School District reported 60 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 since Aug. 11 on campus during their infectious period, which resulted in over 500 close contacts (i.e., closer than 6 feet, longer than 15 minutes, cumulative within a 24-hour period).

Continue Reading Turlock Journal

Unemployment rate falls slightly in Stanislaus County

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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County dropped during the month of July and continues to be below the year-ago estimate, according to the latest numbers from the Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County in July was at 8.5 percent, down from a revised rate of 8.9 percent in June 2021. It also was below the year-ago estimate of 12.9 percent.

Several sectors posted job gains for the month, with Manufacturing reporting the largest gain. The sector added an estimated 1,800 jobs for the month, with the majority of those coming in food production. Food manufacturing is up by 10.2 percent from the previous year, according to the EDD data.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

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