I've been with the Courier for over three decades and I can tell you this is a big change for us.
The Courier is going to a paid delivery system as of the first issue in January. (Did I hear groans?) There have been big changes to the newspaper industry and those changes are forcing us to make changes as well. In the past, anyone with an address got the Courier for free. The papers were being thrown by youth carriers and those carriers tried to collect a voluntary $3 per month. We later dropped the youth carriers and went to delivery by motor carriers who did not attempt to collect the $3 per month. We are now forced to charge for delivery at $36 per year, or $20 for six months. Of course, you still have the option to buy copies at news racks around Ceres.
Also, starting Jan. 3, the cost of a news stand copy will increase from 50 cents to $1. That makes home delivery at $36 per year a cheaper option.
Because of the change, our team will be producing a weekly ad shopper product filled with all Courier ads, which will be delivered to all non-subscribers. The shopper product, however, will not include the fll news content of the Courier.
We believe we put out one of the best community newspapers around and want you, our reader, to continue appreciating our efforts to keep you informed by becoming subscribers.
To subscribe call 537-5032 and we'll set you up for home delivery! Or send in your check to The Ceres Courier, 138 S. Center Street, Turlock CA 95380.
* * * * *
The holidays can be hard on many people for different reasons.
My heart went out to a prominent individual in Ceres whom I had invited to share a favorite Christmas memory in the pages of the Courier. He wrote back, "I've never quite recovered from losing infant son on Dec. 17. December is a month where I just check-off days ‘till it's gone. Wishing all the best of the season for you and your family."
Sometimes I don't have the words so I look to the thoughts of others.
Carrie Jones: "Losing people you love affects you. It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. It doesn't magically go away, even when you stop officially mourning."
C. S. Lewis: "The death of a beloved is an amputation."
Helen Keller: "We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world - the company of those who have known suffering."
Sir, you are not alone. My heart goes out to you.
* * * * *
Longtime Ceres resident Don Donaldson is not especially known for offering an element of positive vibes at City Council meetings.
When it came time to talk about plans for the Centennial celebration in 2018, Donaldson piped up, "People ask me where's Ceres? And I say that dope-infested, gang-infested, cop-killing town, little town between south Modesto and Keyes, propped up against the Airport District."
When the design for the Centennial Plaza was discussed, Dave Pratt poo-pooed it, saying the "skateboarders are going to love that." He was told there are things that can be added to prevent skateboarders from abusing the structures.
Speaking of negative, when the Courier published on its Facebook page an artist's rendering of the arches to be installed in downtown Ceres this week, a slew of negative comments followed. Most of it was griping that the city spent money on downtown but won't continue going into debt for fire service. (How many times have we published the fact that redevelopment bond proceeds cannot be spent on fire and police salaries?)
One person replied: "I've never heard so many negative d--- people. They're trying to upgrade our city and you can't think of anything good to say? How sad for you. It must be hell to be you."
* * * * *
I take lots of hits but I know that's what happens when you put out your opinions in a public format. My conservative views draw a lot of flak from those on the opposite side of the spectrum. I even get it from my family. I have two sons who are ultra-liberal as well as a cousin and my girlfriend's mother who don't exactly see things my way. It's symbolic of politics in America today. We are sharply polarized.
Both sides feel strongly for sure and in this day and age of unfiltered social media - where people can spout out hatefulness and crassness - people make some bold and uncivil comment. But what I shudder over is the harsh personal attacks. Instead of debating the topic in a calm manner, they attack the person who holds the view - me being one of them.
I have many friends in Ceres but most people who read this column don't know me personally. They have no understanding of my motives. They don't consider that I am concerned that vast social programs are burying our country financially with a federal deficit of $20.6 trillion and climbing (see usdebtclock.org). That people are worshiping the planet instead of the Creator. That Americans' ethnicities are fractured and race is pitted against race. That failure to speak a common language is dividing us as one people and contributing to identity politics. That too many people are okay being takers and not givers. That educators are influencing our youth by presenting only one side of issues in the classroom. That our national media is so far left and driven by political agenda that its' reporting is so overtly biased they are more concerned about how much Diet Coke Donald Trump drinks than about reporting how well the economy is doing as the result the president lifting stifling Obama-era regulations. That politicians, so eager to cater to voter blocks, will vote for policies which are unfair or detrimental for the country. That we're taxed too much and government has its hands in way too much of our lives. That people are far too eager to sue rather than forgive. That too many people are offended by everything, including names of sports teams. That police are seen as mostly bad and racist instead of mostly good and fair peace makers. That people not only distance themselves from church but they mock it and people of faith - especially by foul-mouthed comedians. That overpaid football players have thumbed their nose at the same country that has made them wealthy, while fueling the racial discord in our nation. That Hollywood types are so venomous in their hatred for our president they have no qualms about calling him a child rapist (Rosie O'Donnell, I never liked you) or picturing themselves holding his decapitated bloody head in their hand (Kathy Griffin, I could never stand you), or believe he should be assassinated (Johnny Depp, I once enjoyed your films). And that we were forced to endure streets being blocked for months by people who didn't like the results of the election and protested Trump by breaking windows, throwing punches and turning over police cars.
For sure, there's a lot to be concerned about.
If those motives make me a dangerous person - as my very son feels - do some soul reaching and let me know what your motivations are.
* * * * *
Jerry Brown, AKA Gov. Moonbeam, continues to prove he earned his moniker.
He has the audacity to blame the wildfires on climate change and then has the unmitigated gall to say, "I don't think - President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility ... And, this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed," he continued, referring to some climate scientists who believe global warming is due to the burning of fossil fuels.
Here are the real facts: The Earth's temperature has been in a constant state of flux since time immemorial (so have our bodies). The Earth has only warmed less than a degree in the last 100 years. Wildfires, dear deceived Governor, have been a part of the natural cycle of earth for eons - long before you were born and mankind inhabited California and built homes all over the place. This contemporary political figure, who is realistically insignificant in the eternal scheme of things, is doing his best to play on fears and create mass hysteria makes the bold claim that God's wrath is being poured out on our state because our president doesn't believe in the religion of the Democrats which is Mother Earth. I'm surprised his party has not issued its own Bible and Ten Commandments, starting with "Thou Shalt Not Disbelieve in Climate Change."
This is the same man who in 1992 admitted that he lied when campaigning for governor in the 1970s and never had a plan for California (visit https://youtu.be/AIlzYD4tk78). This is the same governor who released criminals into our cities to prevent prison overcrowding rather than build new prisons. The same governor who believes in sheltering illegal immigrants from deportation by creating a so-called "sanctuary state" (illegal). The same governor who STOLE redevelopment funds from cities because the state budget was in a sea of red after he and Sacramento leaders spent like drunken sailors. The same governor who believes in regulations that drive businesses from the state. The same governor who rammed through the high-speed rail boondoggle project that is now at $64 billion and climbing. The same governor who just rammed the largest gas tax in California history down our throats - because he has been ignoring state infrastructure in all of the years of his reign.
Brown has been horrible for California and the state has suffered under his governorship.
Brown has a freewheeling way of bringing up God when it's for his politics, so I will bring God up as well. Thank God Brown cannot run for another term. But as polls indicate, California voters appear poise to elect Jerry Brown II, AKA Gavin Newsom. Surely as a former Jesuit priest Brown remembers that Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly."
* * * * *
I'm curious if anyone knows why so many pigeons hang out on the power lines in front of the Mitchell Road Carl's Jr. One morning I saw a cluster of them and then they all swooped down into the backyard of the closest house opposite the restaurant on Mitchell Road north of Whitmore Avenue.
* * * * *
I recently visited the Daydreams & Nightmares costume shop on Seventh Street in Modesto. Shop owner Dana Walters, a former Ceres resident, for years has reported odd occurrences inside her shop - at its old location at 417 Seventh Street and its new one at 1219 Seventh Street - which have been captured on surveillance video. I was there to rent a duster for a new western history video project. Dana showed me a video from May 7 and I must say I have no explanation. A white spot is seen floating outside the front door and hovering over the sidewalk, changing shape, and moving over the street and out of picture. The company that runs the surveillance system has no explanation either.
Odd indeed if you were to see it.
Dana is quick to point out that the building was once home to Evins Funeral Home. Even creepier is being greeted by a realistic looking Hannibal Lecter in the hallways.
* * * * *
Just like a good lib, California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra - appointed by Gov. Brown to fill the vacancy left when Kamala Harris reneged on serving out her AG term she asked voters to give her all while grooming herself for the U.S. Senate - is now waging war on coal. Waging war on oil and coal is one of the things that liberals do. He filed a brief in support of liberal city of Oakland in their ban against coal being stored at the Bulk Oversized Terminal. The terminal is challenging the bogus city ordinance. We don't burn coal in California but it's being stored here, but somehow Becerra is really concerned about "health and safety impacts" which he says "would be disproportionately borne by disadvantaged communities of color." Somehow he found a way to make this a racial issue.
Bah humbug. Becerra fails to champion the poor working families in Oakland - or Ceres for that matter - by thwarting the fight against the gas tax increase. No, he's more far concerned about coal dust. Becerra went out of his way to fight the California Repeal Gas Tax and Fees Increase Bill Initiative started by Assemblyman Travis Allen. Becerra tried to change the title and ballot language to mislead voters. On Sept. 19, Judge Timothy M. Frawley ruled Becerra's ballot language was "confusing, misleading, and likely to create prejudice against the proposed measure." The judge also stated, "To avoid misleading the voters and creating prejudice against the measure, the Attorney General must prepare a ‘true and impartial statement' that reasonably informs voters of the character and real purpose of the proposed initiative in clear and understandable language. The existing circulating title and summary fails this test."
A champion of the downtrodden? No.
Instead of spending too much time watching Trailer Park Boys or Jimmy Kimmel or stars dancing around, people need to become a little informed and quit allowing officials like those mentioned above to take office.
* * * * *
What an annoying bunch, those never Trumpers after Denham. The Dems want his job so bad they can taste it. They are reading the results of the last congressional election as blood in the water. The Democratic operatives in Courage Campaign and Indivisible staged another silly protest outside Denham's Modesto office on Monday. Get this. They dressed up in Santa suits and sang Christmas carols highlighting Jeff Denham's so-called "bad behavior." What did he do that was so bad? Supporting tax reform for a desire to spur business investment and create jobs.
Can you imagine the conversation in Democratic circles? "We can't allow Republicans to reduce taxes on those who pay the most taxes in the first place! We don't want more jobs being incurred because less taxes mean more investment in our economy and we want people dependent on government! We need people eating out of OUR hands because we get their support. They'll always vote us into office if they think we're the only ones on our side. We need to keep taking more from the rich and give it to the poor because of that old saying, ‘A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.'"
Merry Christmas to all of you.
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at email@example.com. He will read it, promise.