September 2, 2009 - SCHOOLS WON'T BE POLLING PLACES - COUNTY FEARS FLU CLOSURES COULD DISRUPT FALL VOTING
Paper: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Title: SCHOOLS WON'T BE POLLING PLACES - COUNTY FEARS FLU CLOSURES COULD DISRUPT FALL VOTING
Date: September 2, 2009
Author: GARTH STAPLEY
Expected influenza outbreaks this fall will keep voters from public schools throughout Stanislaus County.
It's not because election officials are afraid of spreading infection. They're worried they would not be able to find alternate polling places if a school closed suddenly because of a virus.
"We're trying to be preventative," county Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan told county supervisors Tuesday.
After the meeting, she said her office used 35 schools as polling places in November. In an e-mail, she said she is seeking alternate sites "to avoid any issue of potential school closures for any reason, including the flu." Options include churches, government buildings and homes.
Her office once had to scramble when a church abruptly gave notice that it wasn't available, Lundrigan said.
Campuses closed when the H1N1 virus entered the United States in April, but federal, state and local health agencies softened the policy before students returned from summer vacation. All potential closures are decided by local administrators in consultation with public health officials on a case-by-case basis.
For example, administrators kept open Great Valley Academy, a Modesto charter school, after the death of school employee Amanda De La Rosa last week, based largely on normal absentee rates. Tests on Monday suggested she was not infected with H1N1.
Stanislaus County supervisors took the following action Tuesday by 4-0 votes, with Supervisor Dick Monteith absent:
* Appointed 47 people to district offices that attracted little political attention. Most were willing to run on the Nov. 3 ballot but won't have to because the posts did not attract enough candidates. In addition, supervisors will have to recruit and appoint officeholders to nine districts that attracted no candidates, from the Denair Municipal Advisory Council to the Riverdale Park Tract Community Services District.
* Kicked off a public review period on the performance of entities receiving Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Shelter Grants. The county's consortium for the program includes Ceres, Newman, Oakdale, Patterson and Waterford, and spent $2.57 million in grants in the budget year that ended June 30. A public hearing is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Sept. 22.
* Agreed to pay the Stanislaus Sheriff's K-9 Association $1 for a patrol dog. The association acquired Maximus, a German shepherd, with a $10,100 donation from four Wal-Mart stores -- the two in Modesto and ones in Ceres and Turlock.
* Initiated the formation of a Marshall Avenue Lighting District. Owners of 34 parcels in the 13-acre west Modesto neighborhood reportedly favor taxing themselves to pay for five new streetlights to be attached to power poles maintained by the Modesto Irrigation District. The neighborhood is along Marshall, north of California Avenue and south of Truman Avenue.
* Heard an annual report on the district attorney's Real Estate Fraud Unit. A deputy district attorney and two investigators are handling 19 prosecutions with 102 victims who lost more than $41 million. "This is a very important unit, an extremely busy unit," District Attorney Birgit Fladager told supervisors. Jim DeMartini, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said, "We want the public to be aware, if you commit real estate fraud, the district attorney is going to get you for it."
* Determined that Hughson's plan to expand its sphere of influence by 30 acres to accommodate a sewage plant expansion is "logical and orderly." Because the land's value won't increase, the improvement won't trigger tax-sharing negotiations between the city and county, as typically happens when a city grows.
* Agreed to pay Sierra Vista Child and Family Services $7.2 million for perinatal services and psychologist Debra A. Johnson $1.8 million to treat sexual abuse victims and offenders. Both contracts run until July.
-- Garth Stapley
Memo: See sidebar: 'Supervisors Watch' attached to end of story.
Section: LOCAL NEWS
Index Terms: modbee
Record Number: MOD_182F9099
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