Success and Service: County behavioral health group wins award

A Stanislaus County program was among the three receiving 2010 Best Practices awards from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The agencies were recognized for their approaches and effectiveness in treating mentally ill patients and clients to decrease the chances of involvement with law enforcement and the prison system and help them transition back into the community.

The county's Behavioral Health & Recovery Services' integrated forensic team and mental health treatment court program was honored along with the San Francisco County Jail's Psychiatric Sheltered Living Unit and San Mateo County's Pathways.

Established in 2006, the Stanislaus County's program includes a partnership involving the district attorney's office, the public defender, the Sheriff's Department and Stanislaus County Superior Court. It includes a dedicated sheriff's mental health deputy who works with Behavioral Health staff, probation officers and a registered nurse through the Public Safety Center.

Eric Berlow, director of the University of California at Merced's Yosemite field station, will participate in a conference hosted by the nonprofit Technology Entertainment Design in Oxford, England, July 12-16.

His trip to TEDGlobal 2010 will include a two-day preconference, where he will receive communications training, deliver a short speech and work with his peers.

The TEDGlobal 2010 fellows hail from Venezuela to Ghana and Sri Lanka to Yemen, and are pioneers breaking ground in disciplines as diverse as technology, engineering, programming, biology, genetics, environmental science, filmmaking, photojournalism, architecture, music, poetry, entrepreneurship and activism.

Berlow is an ecological networks scientist.

Three operators from Dot Foods' Modesto distribution center will compete in the Grand National Forklift Rodeo Finals on June 24 in Mount Sterling, Ill. Somsay Phengsavanh of Fresno, Patrict Palmateer of Modesto and Steve Alves of Turlock all qualified in a regional event May 26 in Modesto. On their choice of equipment, they carried a trash can with a basketball balanced on it through a timed obstacle course, with penalties for safety infractions or contact with the course boundaries.

The Stanislaus County Legal Professionals Association celebrated its 65th annual installation of officers in May. Installed were Linda Brown, president; Monique Rangel, vice president; Lugene Borba, Central California Legal Services, secretary; Deana Skelton, treasurer; Diane Mecca, governor; and Jan Trine, CCLS, executive adviser. The local association meets the second Wednesday of the month. For membership information, contact Rangel at 238-0946 or

Cindy van Empel, a Modesto senior planner, recently was recognized by the American Planning Association's local chapter for "distinguished service" with the Valley Futures Forum. "Planners, elected officials, developers and enviros are having a worthwhile dialogue once a month thanks to Cindy's organizing the speakers and co-hosting the forums," said David Hosley, Great Valley Center president.

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