U.S. Chamber honors Denham for pro-jobs effort

Jeff Denham

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored Congressman Jeff Denham recently by presenting him with the “Spirit of Enterprise” award at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office before a small crowd of his supporters.

U.S. Chamber representative Vartan Djihanian lauded the Turlock based U.S. Representative with being a business builder and a job creator. He presented Denham with a small trophy and a hard construction worker hat with his name on the back indicating his support of the American workers.

Denham has received this award each year since 2011 from the U.S. Chamber.

Denham remarked that small and large businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy and are the job creators that continue to face excessive government bureaucracy, an over complicated tax code with too many barriers when working to grow and expand. As a business owner himself, Denham said encouraging job creation and growth in the Central Valley is one of his top missions in Congress.

Denham also recognized the success of the President’s tax cuts adding he would continue to support more measures in Congress to improve the business climate to generate more jobs and better rewards for workers.

The Spirit of Enterprise award is given to members of Congress who consistently support pro-growth and pro-jobs policies.

Community Hospice, Foundation welcomes new board members
Community Hospice, the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice provider serving the Central Valley, is pleased to announce its new Community Hospice and Community Hospice Foundation Board Members.

Joining the Community Hospice Board of Directors are: Christine Schweininger, President & CEO of the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Chad Van Houten, Principle Shareholder, Grimbleby Coleman CPAs.

Joining the Community Hospice Foundation Board of Directors are: Patrick Blum, Sales Manager at Clark Johnson Company, Inc.; Tracy Kerr, President and CEO of Mocse Credit Union; Robert Lopez, Branch Manager at Wells Fargo Bank; Chuck Mitten, Plant Manager at The Wine Group and Nancy Houghton, Director, Camp Erin of the Central Valley.

“It is a pleasure to welcome our newly appointed Community Hospice and Foundation Board Members,” said C. DeSha McLeod, Community Hospice President/CEO. “As we continue to meet the evolving needs of our community, we look forward to working with our new Board Members that can lend their expertise in helping us provide compassionate and quality care to our community residents and providers.”

“I am grateful our newest Board Members will be lending their leadership to create a culture of philanthropy within our communities in support of Community Hospice and our Foundation. They all have a hospice heart and have chosen to share their time and talents with us,” said Monica Ojcius, Foundation Executive Director.

The Community Hospice and Community Hospice Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of community volunteers who provide strategic oversight and governance to the organization’s mission to provide compassionate and quality care, education and support to terminally ill patients and their families, regardless of ability to pay.

Community Hospice is the largest and oldest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors. Care extends to over 2000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call (209) 578-6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.

The Community Hospice Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2001 to raise funds and awareness for Community Hospice.

Civil Air Patrol welcomes new Squadron Commander

Dwight Kuesthardt

Local Civil Air Patrol chapter, Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron 50, recently underwent a change of command.

Dwight Kuesthardt, a First Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, officially took command Feb. 8 in a ceremony officiated by the California Wing Vice Wing Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Prusak.

Kuesthardt, of Modesto, has been a member of the squadron since April 2015 and served previously as the squadron’s Deputy Commander for Seniors and Safety Officer. Kuesthardt is a former volunteer firefighter for Empire Fire District and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department for 12 years and two years with USFS. He is currently employed at Memorial Medical Center as a Maintenance engineer and has worked there for the last 12 years. He is married to Genetta and a son, Austin Kuesthardt, is a cadet in the squadron.

The outgoing commander, Major Jon Domke, a former CAP cadet and former U.S. Air Force airman, relinquished command after his four-year term expired. His tenure ends on a high note with the squadron growing to more than 50 members who actively participate in Civil Air Patrol’s three missions. During his tenure the squadron received the Quality Cadet Unit Award and Aerospace Education Excellence Award for five consecutive years. Squadron 50 was named in 2014 as the Central Valley Group 6 “Composite Squadron of the Year.”

Major Domke also received “Squadron Commander of the Year” in 2014. Domke’s service will continue as he takes on the role of Deputy Commander for Seniors and will act as an advisor to the new commander.

Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Modesto City-County Airport, 700 Tioga Drive. The squadron has an active cadet and senior program. The cadet program meets weekly to train members between the age of 12 and 18 in leadership, aerospace education, and emergency services. The senior program involves adults 18 years of age and older and meets weekly for aerospace education training, emergency services training, and planning in support of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. More information about Civil Air Patrol and Squadron 50 can be found on the website at http://sq50.cawgcap.org.

Stockton law firm adds principal

Elizabeth H. Kim

The Stockton law firm of Neumiller & Beardslee announced that Elizabeth H. Kim, became a principal of the firm. Kim’s practice areas include Estate Planning, Conservatorships, Guardianships, Probate and Trust litigation, Federal and State taxation law, income tax audit defense, and tax collection matters and resolution.

In 2004, Kim graduated cum laude from the University of the Pacific with a B.A. in Political Science. In 2008, she earned her Juris Doctor graduating cum laude from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School with an emphasis in litigation and taxation law. In 2009, she earned her LL.M (Masters of Law) in taxation law from Loyola Law School.

Kim is on the Board of Directors for the Stockton Symphony and is a 2017 graduate of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Stockton program. She is an active member of the San Joaquin County Bar Association and assists with the Lawyers in the Library program, is a member of the San Joaquin County Estate Planning Council and is an active member of the San Joaquin County Junior League. In her spare time, Kim has been a concert violinist with the Auburn Symphony since 2009.

Kim is admitted to practice in the State of California, the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, and the United States Tax Court.

New Supervising Deputy District Attorney for Merced DA’s office

Matthew Serratto

Matthew Serratto has been promoted to the Supervising Deputy District Attorney position at the Merced County District Attorney’s Office. He will replace Steve Slocum, who was recently selected to be the new Merced County Superior Court Commissioner in January.

Serratto, 37, joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2007 as a misdemeanor attorney, and became a felony attorney in 2008. Since he began his career as a prosecutor, he has taken a total of 56 trials to verdict, 42 of these being felony trials, which included seven murder trials, six attempted murder trials, and 16 “life” trials. He was also the lead prosecutor on Operation Scrapbook, a year-long investigation which culminated on May 10, 2017 with the arrest of over 60 Sureno gang members in Merced County, at least 23 of whom have already been convicted and sentenced.

“Matt has distinguished himself as a prosecutor from the moment that he joined our office. His commitment to both public safety and improving the quality of life in Merced County is exemplary. He will be a great addition to the management of the District Attorney’s Office,” said District Attorney Larry D. Morse II.

Serratto was elected to the Merced City Council, District 5 in November 2016, has been Chief Organizer for the Merced COMVIP Charity Basketball Tournament from 2013- 2017, was a Mock Trial assistant coach for Mariposa High School in 2017, was featured as one of the Merced Sun Star’s “20 under 40” in 2017, is a Board Member of the Merced Youth Connect and the Vice President of the Merced Attorney’s Association.

Serratto was born in San Francisco and grew up in Burlingame. He attended the University of California, Davis and graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in history and minors in English and war and peace studies. After graduating, he taught English in Belgium and Argentina from 2002-2003. He obtained his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 where he served as the editor in chief of the Pacific Basin Law Journal.

As a Supervising District Attorney, Serratto will handle significant, high-profile cases as assigned, assist with charging cases as they are referred to the District Attorney’s Office, and supervise other attorney’s to assist them in handling their cases as professionally and ethically as possible. There are 25 Deputy District Attorney’s, including Serratto and Supervising Deputy District Attorney Nicole Silveira, who was promoted to this position in 2016.

Outstanding women to be celebrated
This year’s Outstanding Women are Darlene Barber-Martinez, Olga Valencia Castañeda, Domenica Escatel, Margaret Hunter, Lisa Mantarro Moore, Susan Rich, Sue Richardson, Alana Scott, and Jessica Self. Betty Jean Reynolds will be honored as a Living Pioneer Woman and Patricia “Patty” Bettencourt Tharp will be honored as a Woman of History. Outstanding Young Woman honorees are Vanessa Astorga, Kiana Engel, Allison Jensen, Mehr Sahota, and Katherine Swartz.

Awards will be presented March 10 at the Stanislaus County Commission for Women’s 39th annual dinner, held at the Assyrian Cultural Center of Bet-Nahrain, 3119 Central Ave., Ceres.

The event begins at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. The awards program gets under way at 7 p.m.

Cost is $45 per person, and pre-paid reservations are required. Contact Jennie Sweeney 404-4414 or or e-mail SCCW01@gmail.com. Details are also available online at www.stanislauswomen.org

The Stanislaus County Commission for Women is an independent, nongovernmental organization to promote within the community an awareness of issues that concern women.

New member tapped for Stanislaus Fire Board
A meeting scheduled for March 8 in Riverbank at Stanislaus Consolidated Station 26 meeting room will see the swearing in of a new board member and the introduction of a couple of new employees.

The agenda, scheduled for 6 p.m., includes the swearing in of new Board Member Gregory Bernardi, who is filling a vacant at-large position. Also, an introduction is due and welcome planned for new employees including Gaby Hernandez, Administrative Assistant II and Craig Peterson, Fire Prevention Specialist. Also due as part of the Presentations portion of the meeting is a presentation regarding Purchasing Policies/Fiscal Responsibility.

The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Board of Directors includes Board President Susan Zanker, Vice President Michelle Guzman of Riverbank and Directors Steve Green of Waterford and Dave Woods of Empire.