The Merced Community Action Agency said it donated use of the D Street Shelter as a "one-stop shop" for the homeless. Every Tuesday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the shelter, agencies such as Central California Legal Services, Golden Valley Health Centers, Housing Authority, Human Services Agency, Social Security, Veterans' Services and Workforce Investment, along with several faith-based and community organizations, set up shop. They provide free assistance to the homeless. The availability of agencies varies from week to week, but there's always someone willing to offer assistance when needed.
It's hunting season, and for a lot of folks in the Merced area, that means getting out the shotguns, rifles and archery bows and tuning up the hunting dogs they own. But what if those folks have questions? Such as, can your friends fish in a pond on your own property without a fishing license? How about kids -- what do they need to hunt? Can a felon own a shotgun and go dove hunting like the rest of the world? Those questions can be answered by a visit to the California Department of Fish and Game's website at http://dfg.ca.gov. And the answers to the questions above? Anyone can fish in your pond if it's completely self-contained and has no water running into or out of it. Rules vary on licenses for children under 16; check out the website. And a convicted felon can't own a firearm.
The Los Banos Enterprise and the Merced County League of Women Voters will again present four nights of public forums for local political candidates. They'll be held on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning at 6:30 and ending at 8:30 p.m. at the Los Banos City Hall, 520 J St. The first forum will be held Sept. 21, for Los Banos Unified School District candidates. The second will be Sept. 28, for Los Banos City Council candidates. The third will be Oct. 5, for Los Banos mayoral candidates. The fourth will be Oct. 12 for state and federal candidates representing the Los Banos area.
FoodProcessing.com, a trade group, just issued its annual list of the top 100 food processors in the U.S. Five of them have footprints in Merced County. Can any other county in America say that? The old JR Woods facility, now Dole, is No. 17. Foster Farms is 42; California Dairies, 48; Hilmar Cheese, 74; and Golden State Foods, 94.
When the Merced County Sheriff's Department says "no questions asked," they really mean it. Case in point, on Sept. 25 the sheriff's department and the Drug Enforcement Administration are hosting "National Take Back Day," collecting expired or unwanted medications from residents -- no questions asked. Reporter Victor Patton asked Deputy Tom MacKenzie if he could hypothetically bring a pound of meth to the drug drop-off without being arrested. MacKenzie replied, "Yes," saying even illegal drugs can be turned in at the event -- with no questions asked. Patton adds that he doesn't have a pound of crank lying around his crib. But he can't help but wonder if someone will actually take the sheriff's department at its word, and hand off some pot, PCP, crack, heroin or other illegal drugs they no longer have any use for. If you're an addict who wants to turn a new page, however, look at it as an opportunity to clean out the ol' desk drawer. The Sun-Star will do a follow-up story on the event, so it will be interesting to find out if any contraband substances are collected. National Take Back Day is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25. A station will be set up at the sheriff's department's main office, 700 W. 22nd St. in Merced.
-- Sun-Star Staff