State

Library publishes 2010 list of Shining Stars

The Stanislaus County Library Foundation announced its 2010 Shining Star Award winners and will honor them at a luncheon April 17 at the Salida Regional Library.

Shining Star awards are given to those who support the library through volunteerism, advocacy, a special program or financial contributions.

The winners include:

Individual category -- Harrison Gibbs: He has served on the study committee of the library's Turlock branch and is on its redevelopment committee. He helps with the Friends of the Turlock Library book sale and was largely responsible for getting a new sign for the library.

Friends group -- Susan Helm-Lauber: She's a 12-year member of the Friends of the Turlock Library organization, serving as director, president and treasurer. She works on the book sale and edits the newsletter.

Friends group -- Stella Beratlis: She has been president of Friends of the Modesto Library since March 2008, and has been instrumental in fund raising and in opening a gift shop at the Modesto branch.

Friends group -- Jim Sterling: A founding member and president of Friends of the Empire Library, his forte is community involvement and student recruitment to library programs and events.

Business -- Ditto's Print: It has donated copies and print services, and has helped raise awareness for the Modesto branch of the library.


Teenie Matlock, a cognitive science professor at the University of California at Merced, will serve a six-year term on the National Institute of Health's language and communication study section. She'll join a panel of experts from a list of universities that includes Stanford, Purdue and Columbia.

The panel will be part of the institute's effort to review grant and fellowship applications.

The study section is part of the institute's Center for Scientific Review, which establishes peer review groups for grant and fellowship applications.


Former area resident Clinton Agresti has received a $25,000 Watson Fellowship and will visit countries on four continents to study their cultures through their music. He will visit Mongolia, Ukraine, Ghana and Bolivia during a yearlong voyage beginning this summer.

Agresti's family is from Turlock, and he lived in the valley until his parents, Ron and Ruth Agresti, moved the family to Washington in the late 1990s. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2009 with a degree in international political economy.

His mission will have two basic elements, the first of which is anthropological.

"I'll be diving into their cultures and trying to understand them through their music," said Agresti, 23. "I'll be trying to trace the external aspects -- religion, history and geography -- through their music."

The second element will be to immerse himself in their music as a participant.

After recording this on video and audio, he plans to do a documentary or otherwise market their music, sending any profits to the musicians with whom he works in each of those countries.

Much of Agresti's family still lives in the Turlock area, including grandfather Don Agresti, grandmother Berniece Winter and his mother's parents, Ana and Louis Bucher.


UC Merced's long-range development plan was named the outstanding planning document of 2009 by the Association of Environmental Professionals. The statewide organization focuses on environmental science, regulation and policy. UC Merced representatives received the award March 16 in Palm Springs.


Two California State University, Stanislaus, professors have been appointed to endowed professorships in education and nursing. Elmano Costa will be the Christie Sue Whalen-Saxton Professor of Teacher Education. This endowment was established to support and enhance teacher-training programs.

Peggy Hodge, chair of the Department of Nursing, will become the Marian Palmer Professor of Nursing.

The endowed professors will receive an additional annual stipend of $7,500 and will assume their new positions July 1.


Eighth-graders at Ustach Middle School in the Sylvan Union School District benefitted from an $800 grant from Target stores that pays for visits that expose students to colleges and universities. Along with money raised by the school's PTA, nearly 300 students were able to visit UC Merced, the University of the Pacific in Stockton or California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock.


Teresa Brignolo- Seely has been named assistant vice president cash management officer for Modesto Commerce Bank, a division of the Bank of Stockton.

She has been in banking for 23 years, the past 10 with Modesto Commerce Bank. Brignolo-Seely lives in Modesto with her husband and two sons.


Two Modesto real estate agents have been named to the National Association of Realtors' 30 Under 30 list published Tuesday by Realtor Magazine. The list recognizes 30 top agents under the age of 30. Nick Cameron, 28, of Keller Williams Premier Properties and Daniel DelReal, 28, of PMZ Real Estate made this year's list. Both are veterans of the U.S. military. DelReal sold $27.5 million in properties in 2009 while Cameron sold $9.6 million in properties. Previous valley agents recognized include Clarence Oliveira of Turlock in 2000, Larry Matos of Modesto in 2001 and Brian Medeiros of Livingston in 2003.

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