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Council seeks more ad hoc panel hopefuls
• Veterans, active military to be honored
hometown hero banner sample
A sample of a military banner that could be on display in Ceres next year.

A new nine-member ad hoc committee will not be formed until late January to look into bringing banners to Hatch Road to honor military veterans from Ceres.

The city advertised for interested persons to apply for a seat on the Veterans and Active Military Banner Program Advisory Committee and on Monday discussed the four applicants. Applications were due Dec. 7.

Earlier this year Mayor Javier Lopez called for the city to display banners honoring various military personnel from Ceres, specifically hung from poles along Hatch Road between Herndon Road and Richland Avenue. He also called for an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on starting a program, policies on rotation and costs. The cities of Turlock and Antioch have a banner program.

Lopez suggested naming to the committee: Sgt. George King of the Turlock U.S. Army recruiting office, Freddy Morales of the Ceres post of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Pete Samaniego, commander of the Ceres Post of the American Legion, Ceres residents and veterans Gene Yeakley and John Warren, Councilman James Casey (a Vietnam veteran) and a staff member. Another applicant was business owner and veteran Nicholas Otero of Ceres.

At Monday’s City Council meeting Yeakley objected to including Sgt. King on the committee since he doesn’t live in Ceres. Lopez, however, wants him included since he is the Army recruiter for Ceres and Central Valley high schools.

“His representation, I believe, is key in this process because he cares a lot about Ceres,” explained Mayor Lopez. “In the perfect world I would love to have their office here in Ceres but unfortunately it’s in Turlock.”

Casey wanted to extend the application process since the city hasn’t made a pitch to the VFW and American Legion. He also felt that Sgt. King’s residency outside of Ceres doesn’t qualify him to be on a Ceres ad hoc committee.

Casey also wanted to expand the role of the committee to help connect veterans with services available to them.

Newly seated Councilman Mike Kline said he hasno problem extending the application period until after Jan. 1 but does not wish to rule out King’s participation since he is an active armed services recruiter in Ceres.

Councilwoman Linda Ryno agreed about holding off on making appointments to give the two veteran groups time to meet and discuss possible members. She also agreed with Kline that Sgt. King should not be excluded.

Vice Mayor Bret Silveria said holding off on forming the committee was fine by him and stated that while the ad hoc committee should be limited to Ceres residents, liked Kline’s idea of creating an advisory role for Sgt. King.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, Jan.14 at 5 p.m. so that the council can make the appointments on Monday, Jan. 24.

Completed applications should be submitted to the City Clerk at