The West Stanislaus Journal
Publisher - Elias Funez
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Backyard Boogie a taste of music festivals to come

Above and below are photos of Friday September 23's Backyard Boogie featuring images of the performers, Ital Vibes, Bachaco, Prime Livity, Natural Revolution, The Rivits, Ejah Selektah, Dj Trey of Technical Two, and some of the other behind happenings from the event.~all photos by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal.
~Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal ~

Patterson's first Backyard Boogie held on Friday September 23, brought a large enough of a turnout for NorCal Street Team Promoter Tony Garcia, a Patterson native, to want to do another one.

Plans and dreams of having a larger and more well planned festival to possibly coincide with the Patterson Apricot Fiesta, which is held during the first weekend of June every year, were always in the back of Garcia's mind, and he didn't think the demand for another show would be so immediate.

But it was, and it has been welcomed, and works of another backyard bash is in the works to be set for this coming Saturday October 22nd, and possibly Sunday the 23rd as well.

"It's happening faster than expected," Garcia said Friday morning of the plans for the next one, adding that the plans are possibly changing at the moment to allow for a show with internationally renowned reggae performer Pato Banton.

Banton, who is known for hits such as "Don't Sniff Coke," and "Bubbling Hot", was a sensation in the '80's and still draws crowds when he tours. 

So when Garcia got a call from Banton saying that he was going to be in the area on a free day October 23rd, and expressed the willingness to work with him, Garcia began making phone calls to try and make it happen.

"I have to make the decision, either book Banton in Patterson? In Modesto? or pass on it," Garcia spoke of the unique opprtunity. "But when is the next opportunity like this going to be?"

One thing is for sure though, there will be unique musical entertainment on the evening of Saturday October 22 at the same location of the previous Backyard Boogie, 326 Sperry Avenue in Patterson.

For sure Dj Wild, and Dj Dade will be there. Both are very accomplished Dj's with local ties who have come back to entertain their hometown.

Santa Cruz's Mo ElSharif from his band Animo Cruz, was scheduled to play an acoustic set Saturday as well as a performance by reggae band Natural Revolution, who has taken the 209 by storm as of late.

Garcia says though if he can get Banton on Sunday the 23rd, he'd like to get Animo, and Natural Revolution to possibly reschedule for the 23rd as well in order to play alongside the likes of Banton, who has been revered as being a modern living reggae legend. 

"It's a little confusing, but it's all part of the gamble that goes along with these last minute calls," he said. 

But for Garcia, his ability to operate on the fly and pull people together has seemed to have gotten him this far already. So while Garcia makes the calls and pulls the necessary elements together to make another memorable and entertaining event happen, it's almost certain that a new level of live entertainment has finally come to Patterson, and can be expected to stay.

Garcia still has dreams and aspirations to bring bands of the likes of Fortunate Youth, Arise Roots, KeepItLit, or the Expanders to the Backyard Boogie site in Patterson sometime next summer, and if Garcia's next big weekend, when he will also be celebrating his birthday, goes as he plans it, he might just get his birthday wish. 

Volunteer firefighter memorialized with city bench

Joe Hernandez (center) father of the late Dallas Hernandez, tells some of the backstory behind what went into bringing the Dallas Hernandez memorial bench. Standing next to him is Kayleigh Haas, Dallas' girlfriend at the time, and who was also involved in the accident that took Dallas' life..~photo by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal.
~Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal ~
The rain stopped long enough Saturday afternoon to allow for a peaceful gathering of about 50 firefighters, city employees, friends, family, and community members who memorialized a city bench in honor of the late Dallas Hernandez, a Patterson Volunteer Firefighter who passed away tragically less than a year ago.

Hernandez, who was 21 when he died in a vehicle accident in Merced County last September, had been a volunteer with the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department since he was 17 and was known to be one of the first, first responders on scene during many of the day to day calls in and around Patterson and was known to have a smile on his face and a helpful attitude.

His death came as a huge shock to the fire department and the community so the members of the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department, along with the help of Interim Fire Chief Jeff Gregory, came together to get a new city bench memorialized in his honor in downtown Patterson’s City Park, next to the Fire Station No. 1 on Las Palmas Ave.

When Chief Gregory informed the public works director of his idea to have an old bench next to the fire station with a new one in honor of Hernandez, he was told that the sidewalk in front of that section of Las Palmas Avenue was slated to replaced anyways and was told that they could have the work done before the annual Apricot Fiesta.

 “Everybody benefitted, the sidewalk was replaced, which was planned, we got rid of a bench that was falling apart and wasn’t ADA compliant, and we got a nice strong sturdy bench with a plaque in it where people know that he was here,” Interim Fire Chief Jeff Gregory said Saturday.

Dallas’ father Joe Hernandez, as well as Dallas’ girlfriend Kaleigh Haas, who was also involved in the accident that took Dallas’ life, were on hand to pay their respects and offer some knowledge of the Dallas Hernandez Memorial Fund which went in to place to help pay for funeral expenses as well as to possibly pay for a scholarship that could cover the expenses of an up and coming volunteer firefighter.

For Joe though, the bench was not only a kind gesture towards his family, but also as a reminder for the rest of the local firefighter community.

“We know that the bench is away from the firehouse, they need to have a place where they can go away to have a break from what they see day to day,” Hernandez, who now lives in Hollister, said.

CJ Sierra, a city employee who is also a volunteer firefighter that worked alongside and was good friends with Dallas Hernandez, was glad to have been able to be on the crew that worked on the memorial bench. 

“I was really honored to be a part of it because I did the job from start to finish, actually blueprinted it, did the excavation,” Sierra said.
The project spanned the course of a couple of weeks after city crews needed to use an axe and pick to get through some mature roots in the ground and utilized 7 cubic yards of concrete to finish the job.

But for Sierra and the other crew members that knew Dallas Hernandez, working on his bench meant being able to add their own personal touch to the project as they laid some small personal effects of Dallas’ down beneath the concrete, including some homebrew bottle caps and labels from some of the beer he brewed as well as some shotgun shells that he would use when duck hunting.  Others wrote their names on the road base beneath the concrete.

West Coast Turf donated the sod surrounding the bench, and Silicon Casework donated the engraving for the plaque to fit in the bench, and eventually the city plans to replace the rest of the sidewalk along the front of Fire Station No. 1.

Below, Dallas' father Joe Hernandez stands with Kaleigh Haas and other friends and family of his son's during the memorial ceremony Saturday afternoon in downtown Patterson's City Park. .~photos by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal.

Explorers take to Del Puerto Canyon for first of annual "hikes for health"

Hikers follow one of the many trails through the Minnear Day Use Area for the "easy" hike of the City of Patterson's annual Hikes for Health Saturday February 6, 12 miles up Del Puerto Canyon Road. The next hike, rated as a "moderately strenuous" hike is scheduled for March 5 and are free to all.~photo by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal.
~ West Stanislaus Journal reports ~
Going on its 6th year as a City of Patterson Parks and Recreation program, the Hikes for Health through the Minnear Day Use Area of Del Puerto Canyon seems to be growing in popularity as program coordinators continue to introduce local nature lovers to the flora and fauna available for all to enjoy in the lands of the hills bordering Patterson's western borders.
Originally designed in partnership with the Westside Health Care Task Force to get people out of the house and active in the outdoors, the free program has quickly become an opportunity for locals to learn about the natural history, geology, and biology of the lands directly to our west.
The first of the scheduled annual hikes, rated as an "easy" hike, took place Saturday February 6 and was designed with seniors and youth of all ages to be able to appreciate.  A total of 13 hikers and one canine companion particpated, half of which had never been up Del Puerto Canyon before and had no idea of the beautiful natural resource  made available to them.
Wildflowers were beginning to bloom and the green grass was glowing in the bright sun as the flowing water of Del Puerto Creek could be heard babbling through the branches of the oaks and cottonwood trees along the trail.
Folks who missed Saturday's hike need not worry for long though, as the second installation of the Hikes for Health program will take place on Saturday March 5.
Rated as a "moderately strenuous" hike, the trail will lead hikers 2.5 miles from the western portion of the day use area, downstream along Del Puerto Creek to its confluence with the North Fork of Del Puerto Creek.
Hikers who choose this trail will be shown an ancient Native American Yokuts indian oven, once used by the native peoples to bake bread and cook wild game and salmon that once spawned in the creek as well as be able to take in the scenery and native wildlife.
The "strenuous" and hardest hike of the program is planned for Saturday April 2, and will take participants on a roughly 4.2 mile hike and over 1,000 feet in elevation difference that will showcase some of the most scenic locations of Del Puerto Canyon. Portions of the trail are very rocky and could require some time to traverse, so this hike is recommended for those in good physical shape.
Hike coordinators recommend sturdy shoes for the hikes, as well as to bring along plenty of drinking water. A hiking stick is recommended for added stability, but one will be provided if need be.
Participating hikers are asked to meet at the Hammon Senior Center on the morning of the hike and are slated to leave from the community complex by 8:30 a.m. where folks can carpool to the trailhead. Questions or inquiries can be made with the city Parks and Recreation department at 209-895-8080.

The City of Patterson's Johnny Nguyen (right), who also heads the Teen Outdoor Survival Skills (TOSS) program readies to accompany the group of hikers through a portion of the Minnear Day Use Area west of Patterson Saturday morning February 6 .~photo by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal.

Local students place at Academic Decathlon

The 2015-2016 Patterson High School Academic Decathlon team is, top row, from left to right, Serena Cabrera, Mariska Gutierrez, Kenny Ong, Ian Do, Tristan Marr, and Ricardo Garcia. Bottom row from left to right is, Roberto Camberos, Salvador Tello, Antonio Gomez, Tiffany Do, Anna Xu, AcaDeca coaches Lucie Field and Mike DeZego. Not pictured, Giselle Arroyo. ~ courtesy photo
~ West Stanislaus Journal reports ~
Patterson High School's Academic Decathlon team made quite an impression this last Saturday February 6 at Davis High School in Modesto.
Taking second place in the Social Sciences Alternates Category was Tiffany Do, who also walked away from the competition with third place in the Language and Literature Alternates Category.
Giselle Arroyo won fifth place in the Economics Alternates Category as well as fifth place in the Social Sciences Alternates Category.
Ian Do received the fifth place designation in the Music Alternates Category, and Salvador Tello was the team high point winner.


Local charities shine at Christmas time

Thousands of gifts provided to needy families

St. Vincent De Paul Society member Gus Gonzalez stands amidst a sea of gifts that have been organized in the living space of Patterson's Munoz family. ~ photos by Elias Funez/The West Stanislaus Journal
By Elias Funez ~ West Stanislaus Journal
The gifts have been opened, the wrapping paper thrown away, and the little ones have been off and running enjoying their new toy or gadget provided to them this holiday season.
For many families, the holidays signify togetherness, community spirit, and gift giving. For many others, the holidays signify hardships, as struggling families strive to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, let alone gifts under the tree.
Fortunately for area residents of the Westside, the area offers many local charity organizations that step up year after year to help those less fortunate during the holidays.
One of those organizations, The St. Vincent De Paul Society, has been providing gifts for the area's needy for 19 years now.
The original concept for the St. Vincent De Paul giving tree started in 1996 by Sacred Heart Church’s Sister Ann Marie and 75 families were helped that year.  This year around 500 families will be helped by the society of volunteers, though in the past, up to 800 families have been served.
For St. Vincent De Paul society members, Ernie and Norma Munoz, who have spearheaded the project for the past 16 years, 2015 marks the final year that they will be in charge. Every year the couple gives up the living space in their home to allow for the sorting of the thousands of wrapped gifts that they will give away, from the days after Thanksgiving, to December 12, when the gifts were distributed, there is little walking space in their home.
But just because the Munoz' are stepping down, doesn't mean the event will fall to the wayside. The Patterson Promotores, a relatively new local service organization, is ready to take over, as they were seen helping a lot during this year's event.
Another up and coming charity organization is the Fire Department's Operation Santa Claus, which has been steadily builiding support for the past three years since firefighter Brandon Cousins has been at the helm. 
"Once again this community has been really good," Cousins said. "Next year we want to publicize it more."
Cousins reported that the local businesses that donate do really well, and that they also receive monetary donations to help fulfill whatever else is needed.
St. Vincent De Paul Society member Claudia Smith, who visited the Operation Santa giveaway on Friday December 18, noted how a random volunteer asked what they needed. She said she wasn't able to find any gloves and the next day $200 worth of brand new gloves were on her doorstep. Another person had donated about 30 crocheted hats, and didn't leave a name.
"People care about those who are homeless," Smith said.

First responders delivery baby in downtown Patterson

Busy day doesn't keep them from volunteering time

Patterson Fire Captain Mike Ambrosino (left) and Firefighter Josh Scott both helped to deliver a baby behind the fire station early Thursday morning Dec. 17. The two could be seen smiling all day even as they volunteered their time late into the evening, helping to sort toys for Operation Santa. - Photo by Elias Funez/West Stanislaus Journal 
By Elias Funez ~ West Stanislaus Journal
The morning of Thursday December 17, 2015 started out unlike any other, at least for one newborn boy who was delivered on Ossie Street behind Fire Station No. 1, and for Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Briggs, who was the first to help young Isaias in to downtown Patterson.
Patterson Fire Captain Mike Ambrosino, who was also one of the first on the scene, described the situation when his parents Hermenegilda and Maximo Nava arrived behind the police station.
“During the night she must have went to the hospital, they said she’s not ready so they came back home. Labor and contractions started and on the way back to the hospital they decided they weren’t going to make it,” Ambrosino said.
Ambrosino was first alerted by Chief Gregory that she was already going into labor, grabbed his medical bag, and noticed that Deputy Briggs was first with the expectant mother.
“She told them, ‘hey it’s coming’ and she kind of pulled her sweat pants down. Deputy Kyle Briggs double takes, says, ‘It’s coming. The baby!’” 
Quickly the newborn baby boy was delivered in the front seat of the Nava’s car and in Deputy Briggs’ hands, before being handed off to Ambrosino who began to administer first aid to the newborn.
“He was a little blue so I kept him on his side and kept rubbing him. He was crying a little, but I said, come on, come on, cry a whole lot more.”
Soon thereafter the color came back, oxygen was administered, and the baby gave a full healthy cry.
“We were trying to figure out what was going on since there was a little communication barrier with the Spanish speaking parents, when officer Briggs noticed the head was coming out,” Patterson Firefighter Josh Scott, who was also on scene to assist, said. “The rest of the body was coming out and [Briggs] was looking with a surprised look on his face.”
“They get some training on it,” Ambrosino said of the Sheriff’s department. “Not like us. Luckily that lady delivered so fast.”
Besides Ambrosino’s training on delivering babies, he said that he used to deliver 20 to 25 lambs every winter. “It’s similar,” Ambrosino said chuckling.
He also delivered his youngest son, but they prepared way ahead of time for that. “Not in a parking lot where it’s 38 degrees.”
Patterson Firefighter and Patterson District Ambulance medic Marty Greunke, who was on a shift with the ambulance Thursday morning was also quick to arrive on scene and helped cut the umbilical cord. “I put mom on the gurney, gave baby to mom, and they were off,” Gruenke described.
Hermenegilda and Isaias were then transported to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock for additional care where it was reported that both were recuperating Thursday evening.
For the first responders like Briggs, Ambrosino, Scott, and Greunke, they didn’t let their early morning work keep them from volunteering their time as they had originally planned to do that evening by helping to sort gifts along side the rest of their Patterson Fire extended family. The gifts, being sorted for distribution to youngsters of all age ranges, are being given away as part of Patterson Fire’s annual Operation Santa.
While no one was sure who the last baby born in Patterson was, since the closing of Del Puerto Hospital’s birthing ward in the 1980’s, firefighters Ambrosino and Scott did recall responding to a call in Patterson about a month ago where a woman was going into labor, however she delivered the child in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital and not in Patterson.

Dogs bite three in Patterson park

~ Journal staff reports ~
Members of the local ambulance and Sheriff's department were on the scene to assist three victims who were bit by three different dogs Wednesday at Sorensen Park near the intersection of American Eagle and Ward Avenues.
A woman, and two men both sustained minor non-life threatening injuries after being bit in the hip, thigh, and wrist respectively. They were looked at by members of the Patterson District Ambulance and were informed to have their wounds treated at an urgent care or nearby hospital.
Newman's Alfredo Casanova, one of the bite victims, was walking down the sidewalk along American Eagle Avenue across the street from the park when he noticed that a woman was struggling to control three dogs under her posession, one of which had clearly broken its leash.
"She was on the floor trying to hold the dog, rolling around on her knees. They (dogs) were fighting " Casanova said.
Casanova, along with neighbors of Sorensen Park Vanessa and Jesse Saldivar, who also tried to assist in breaking up the fighting dogs were all bit.
Casanova used a breaker bar borrowed from another neighbor from Wanzia Lane to fight off the dogs which were attacking him the front and the back at times.
"I was worried cause [the dog] was foaming and going from person to person trying to attack," Casanova said.
Wanzia Lane's Jesse and Vanessa Saldivar were on their way to the hospital soon after the injuries while local authorities waited in the nearby park awaiting the arrival of the animal control vehicle.
"They took a good two pieces out," Vanessa Saldivar said.
According to the bite victims, the dogs will have to be tested for diseases such as rabies, and that report presented to them at a later date.
A white pit bull mix, a dark german shepard mix, and a lighter brown mastiff mix, were all involved in the fracas.
At one point, the white pit bull mix turned and charged towards a Sheriff's officer when they arrived on the scene. The officer subdued the dog with pepper spray, according to witnesses at the scene.
At top, the victims of the dog bites are looked at by members of the Sheriffs department and Patterson District Ambulance. Above, the dogs are controlled by their handlers, Above right, a bite mark is left on Jesse Salidvars thigh after the incident. Below, Sheriff's deputies keep their distance from one of the dogs involved while they await the arrival of Animal Control Services. - photos by Elias Funez/West Stanislaus Journal
Above, Alfredo Casanova's hand is wrapped in a bandage after Wednesday's incident. At right, Sheriff's deputies await the arrival of Animal Control while one of the dogs involved is consoled by its owner. - photos by Elias Funez/West Stanislaus Journal