Two valley residents have been appointed to agricultural and dairy posts in the Obama administration.
Turlock dairyman Manuel "Ray" Souza and Patricia Stroup of Hilmar will be among the 17 members of the newly created U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dairy Industry Advisory Committee.
Souza is the owner of Turlock's Mel-Delin Dairy and is serving his second term as president of the Modesto-based Western United Dairymen board of directors. He has testified on ag and dairy issues before Congress and served on a statewide national beef promotion and research board.
Stroup began her career in the dairy business in North Carolina and later joined the staff at Hilmar Cheese. She now manages milk and dairy products for Nestlé in the United States and Canada. She is a regular contributor to industry publications and was honored by Purdue University for her work in ag economics. Stroup serves on the boards of the Dairy Institute of California and the Milk Industry Foundation.
A third Californian, Karen Ross, was named chief of staff at the USDA. She spent 13 years as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers before getting the USDA appointment.\
Modesto's Industrial Electrical is beginning its 75th year in business, remaining family-owned throughout.
Walt Schenewark started the company with partner Al Johnson on J Street in 1935. They soon moved their shop to 10th and G streets. Schenewark bought out Johnson to become the sole owner and relocated two more times -- to McHenry Avenue in 1946 and to the current site at 1417 Coldwell Ave. in 1958.
When Schenewark died suddenly in 1972, his widow and two children ran the company. Daughter Marilyn and her husband, Jim Howell, became sole owners in 1982. Jim Howell died in 1998, the same year the company survived a fire at the Coldwell Avenue building. Son David Howell is now Industrial Electrical's president and owner.
David Rivera, a United Way staff member in Modesto, has been honored for the second straight year as the top certified application assistant in Stanislaus County. Certified application assistants aid families in signing up for the Healthy Families program. Rivera provides outreach services in Modesto and Patterson. The award is given by Health Plan of San Joaquin, Blue Cross and Health Net.
John Hogin, president of Hogin Financial and Insurance Services Inc., recently received membership in Hartford Mutual Funds Monarch Society, an award given to those achieving high levels of production.
Hogin generated more than $500,000 in sales in 2009.
Two students at St. Anthony's School initiated a schoolwide stuffed animal and book drive for the United Samaritans. Brothers Cameron and Connor Wlodarczyk, along with other students, handed out more than 100 stuffed animals and books on Christmas Eve.
Frontier Communications recently donated $1,232 to the United Way of Stanislaus County. The donation was generated by residential and business customers who use Frontier Long Distance in Patterson. The money went to local food banks.
American Legion Post 74 and Voiture 653 40/8 in Modesto delivered 49 baskets of food to the Stanislaus County Veterans Services office in time to give needy veterans a Christmas meal. The groups received donations of turkeys and other food items from Foster Farms, the state Employment Development Department, Joe Alvarez, Save Mart, Del Monte, Joseph Farms, Seneca, and the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, among others. Each basket contained about 90 pounds of food.
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