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New Police Officer Joins  Brother On Force

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Photo by: Mike Conway

Vincent Wilkins, left, and his brother Brandon Wilkins

part of a family when Vincent Wilkins was sworn into the  Merced Police Department on September 6, 2019.

Vincent joined his own brother in the department, where Brandon Wilkins will celebrate his sixth anniversary this month.

Surrounded by family and friends, Wilkins was administered the oath of office by Police Chief Christopher Goodwin.

“This is an exciting time for us because it shows that we are growing and expanding,” Chief Goodwin said. “We are bringing in fresh ideas, new family members, and new personalities.”


Wilkins, 30, of Atwater, spent eight years working with adults with developmental disabilities before training to become a    police officer.

“It taught me to be patient with people, and to look at someone and see what it is that they are doing and try to   figure out why — not just ‘Oh you did something, and this has to     happen,’” he said.


Wilkins is a Merced High graduate, and he later studied at Merced College. He has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics. He also has been a personal trainer for nine years.


His family includes his girl  friend, Nidia Hartford, his parents, Vincent Wilkins and Chante Dobbins, two brothers, Brandon and Dexter, and two sisters, Barbara and Brandy.


In his spare time, Wilkins enjoys working out, traveling and cooking.


The Department has 95 out of 98 officer positions in its budget filled, although three of those are in the classification of police officer trainee.

The position of police officer pays $63,731.20 – $77,459.20 a year. Trainees can earn from $41,267.20 – $50,169.60 a year.

More information on the jobs can be found at the City’s website: cityofmerced.org.









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Young Patriot Challenge to Explore U.S. Constitution through Essay,

Speech, Poster

The Merced County Young Patriot Challenge will give county students an opportunity to share their perspective on the United States Constitution through a poster, essay or speech.


The contest, which celebrates its eighth year, is open to all Merced County students, including home schooled students, and helps to assist teachers in complying with the federal mandate that the U.S. Constitution should be the subject of lessons and activities for appropriate classes during Constitution Day, which was September 17 and contest September 16-20.


The theme for the 2019 Young Patriot Challenge is “Should the Constitution be Amended to Include Term Limits for Members of the U.S. Congress? Explain Your Position.” Middle school students compete by writing an essay and high school students will give a prepared speech explaining their position on the prompt. Elementary school students are asked to develop posters around the theme “symbols of liberty, justice, etc.”


Young Patriot Challenge Chairperson Barbara Riis-Christensen said “The Power under the Constitution will always be in people,” which is a quote from founding father George Washington.


An awards ceremony for parents and contest winners at all levels will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 23 at the Atwater Community Center, 760 E. Bellevue Road.


For more information, call Riis-Christensen (209) 358-8404 and visit http://www.ypcusa.net.

Merced County Nut Festival

Celebrating Growers of  Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios

On Saturday, October 26, 2019, the public is invited to the 1st Annual Merced County Nut Festival from 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. at the Merced County Fairgrounds located at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced, CA.


The goal of the Nut Festival is to celebrate Merced’s County prominent history of supplying the entire world with the best walnuts, almonds, and pistachios.  California is the number one producer of almonds and pistachios in the world, producing over 80% of the world's almonds and around 40% of the world's pistachios in 2012. Almonds, both meats and hulls, added over $821 million to    Merced county’s economy in 2014. Almonds ranked second in agricultural production with nearly 100,000 producing acres. These figures make the celebration of one of California’s most important commodities, nuts, a must.


Those attending the Merced County Nut Festival will have the opportunity to view and sample nuts galore, creative dishes, and local entertainment. This day of celebration will include: a cooking demo by 5x10 Bistro, a nut drawing contests for kids, music by the G Street Revolution Band, reggae, a bake-off, and dance performances.  This family friendly event is open to the public and free of charge.  Local vendors, businesses, and artists have been invited to participate in this day of cultural diversity, and fun.  If you are interested in having a booth at this Festival, call (209) 761-8279. These  spaces are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


For more information about the Festival, contact: Necola     Adams at (209) 761-8279.


City Honoring Fallen Heroes  On Veterans Boulevard

Memorial plaques are going up along street corners on Veterans Boulevard in Merced honoring the City's fallen heroes.


The City Council approved the Veterans Memorial Signs on M Street to pay its respects to the service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.


The Council has previously acknowledged the City’s close connection to its Veteran’s. The bridge spanning Bear Creek was recently renamed Veterans Memorial Bridge. When the bridge was renovated, flag poles were installed so that the flags of the five branches of the Armed Forces could be flown on the bridge to honor the community’s Veterans.


Currently, Public Works Department crews are posting the name plaques the length of M Street, which the City Council recently gave the honorary name of Veterans Boulevard. By Veterans Day, Nov. 11, all of the memorial plaques will be installed with the names, rank, the date of birth and the date the person died in service to their country.


So far, staff has the names of 80 military personnel from the City who have died while serving during combat. The further back staff goes, the more incomplete the list is, and staff has limited records on World War I Veterans.


"In talking with local veterans


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