A plan to refinance a portion of Atwater’s debt didn’t get the support it would need this week, leaving some city leaders and employees unsure what happens next. City staff has for a few months pitched the plan, which would use a couple of fire stations, the community center and other city property as collateral to refinance a portion of the city’s $19 million debt owed to the pensions of retired city employees.
Two governing boards in Merced County this week threw their support behind plans to put a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Atwater City Council and the County Board of Supervisors each supported the measure, which is estimated to raise $450 million countywide over 30 years for local and regional transportation projects.
An Army helicopter known for heavy lifting made its final flight Thursday, landing at its new home at the former Castle Air Force Base. The Boeing CH-47D Chinook Helicopter flew in on its dual propellers from Fresno’s Army National Guard base, according to Doug Jones, the chief warrant officer 4 who piloted its final flight.
A homeowner just outside of town said a decision she made a month ago to reduce her phone bill by two-thirds has turned into a hassle that’s left her without a landline phone. Tears of frustration welled up in Nadine Walters’ eyes as she described the problems she’s had with her phone for more than a month. “It’s so aggravating,” she said on Tuesday. The 74-year-old lives alone with her 11-month-old Chihuahua, Chai, in a house on the south side of Highway 99. At the advice of an AT&T agent, she said, she bought a box that converts her more than 50-year-old landline into a wireless phone.
Elected officials marked the completion of the $66 million first phase of the Atwater-Merced Expressway north of Merced as a step toward economic improvements in Merced County, where many more projects are planned.
A 37-year-old Atwater woman described as the leader of a “student-aid fraud ring” was sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution, the U.S. Department of Justice reported Monday.
About 80 percent of the homeless people in Merced County first became homeless while living within the county, and about the same portion still think of it as home, according to a recently completed survey.
A financial audit from an independent accounting firm this week comes as a reminder of the difficult financial conditions for the city of Atwater, which has been working its way back from the brink of bankruptcy since 2012.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke speaks during a news conference at the Merced County Sheriff's Department in Merced, Calif., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. According to Warnke, after receiving a tip from the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department, Merced County Sheriff's Deputies at a Turlock Pentecost Association bloodless bullfight in Stevinson, discovered banderillas containing sharp points that may be used to injure the bulls.
Andrew KuhnAndrew Kuhn
Merced County Sheriff's Department investigating use of metal spears during bloodless bullfighting in Stevinson
Los Banos 99 Cents Only Store prepares for grand opening