The Ferrari Ranch Project, a 3 million square-foot development that includes retail stores, restaurants, a movie theater, hotel and medical center, could be a game changer for Merced County – and especially for Atwater.
Atwater’s newest commissioner almost didn’t make it on the panel – it took a little bit of persuasion. “A lot of people came to me and said I would be a good voice on the commission,” said James Murphy III. “I’m a little bit nervous about it.”
A request from fire officials for $80,000 of equipment to operate the city’s new firetruck was highly scrutinized during a City Council meeting Monday, with the council ultimately deciding they need exact prices on each item.
A couple years ago, Atwater city leaders had trouble getting more than five people to show up to a town hall meeting, but they had the opposite problem Wednesday – there were hardly any seats left in the packed room of residents.
Less than a month after commissioners were selected to serve on Atwater’s newly formed “super” commission, which handles parks and recreation, planning and traffic issues, one commissioner resigned, leaving city officials looking at plans to fill his seat.
A code enforcement officer whose 15-year tenure with the city was marred by accusations of harassment and timesheet fraud was fired two days before Christmas – the second time city officials have terminated him in four years.
An Atwater police detective facing misdemeanor DUI and hit-and-run charges has been on paid administrative leave for more than a year, the Merced Sun-Star has learned, costing taxpayers in the cash-strapped city nearly $110,000 for the salary of an inactive employee.
At least four swastikas have been painted on Atwater streets over the past two weeks, leading some to believe it’s a response to the civil protests galvanized by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed by white police officers.