In 2017, Northern California Saw Fire and Rain

Arianna Carlos, News Reporter

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Prowl photo by Manuel Carlos
Rising water levels have raised interest in emergency evacuation plans.

While hurricanes hit the United States hard during 2017, in Houston, in Florida and in Puerto Rico, the local counties around San Joaquin suffered from a different natural disaster one could smell in the air.

Like much of the state, at some point this year, Northern California was on fire. In October, wildfires consumed California’s wine counties, including Napa and Sonoma. As of Dec. 14, these fires claimed 17 casualties and destroyed 2,000 buildings. Due to the strong winds, fires quickly spread across these counties as well as others.

In December, fires blanketed Southern California counties including Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. So far, about 200,000 individuals have been evacuated due to threats of fires spreading. Just like the previous fires in Northern California, these fires also spread rapidly. According to ABC News, the gusts are ranging to 30 to 50 mph. Firefighters continue to have an extremely difficult time trying to contain and stop these fires.

Fires is a far cry from the weather condition that impacted San Joaquin toward the start of 2017: flooding fueled by rain.

In February, county, city and school administrators were forced to review their flood plans after weeks of major storms pounded the Stockton, Lathrop and Manteca in and around the San Joaquin River.

As part of an article entitled, “Rising Waters Raise Interest In Emergency Plans,” The Prowl noted that the Weston Ranch community is in a flood plain https://cougarprowl.net/787/news/rising-waters-raise-interest-in-emergency-plans/

Manteca Unified School District officials told Weston Ranch administrators that an evacuation plan would be to notify the district to send school buses to transport Weston Ranch students and staff to East Union High School in Manteca. During an evacuation, parents or guardians of students would be notified, and once students arrive at East Union, they would be checked out to them. As the rain relented, that plan never had to be executed.

Rather than being washed away, businesses are entering South Stockton, nearby Manteca and San Joaquin, bringing in jobs and recreation.

In September, it was announced that mega-retailer Amazon would open up a warehouse near Weston Ranch.  The Amazon facility would be expected to make a huge economic impact on the community, projected to take up nearly 600,000 sq. feet and deliver about 1,000 full-time job openings eligible to any candidate age 18 or older.

In October, news reports pointed to the possibility that recreation and resort company Great Wolf, selected Manteca as their next site for a 500-room hotel and water park that would offer 500 job openings – both full and part-time jobs – to prospective applicants.

Locally, The Prowl started the year attempting to gauge what type of business and community climate would be set in Stockton under a new leader.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs talks with The Prowl.

 

In February, Prowl staffers engaged in a wide-ranging interview with the then-newly elected Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

Throughout that interview, the staff discovered what motivated Tubbs to run for mayor and his outlook for his hometown.

Tubbs said of Stockton, “Yeah, we have challenges, and yes there’s violence, yes there’s poverty, but we have resilient people living despite all of that,” Tubbs said. “There are students writing for newspapers. They’re going to college despite all that, so it’s not just one thing that makes Stockton.”

Tubbs told The Prowl that everyone is welcomed in Stockton, no matter where they come from before the city announced any official “sanctuary city” policy and the threat of losing federal government funds to support law enforcement. Later, in the year, the city took a more visible stand on the issue of legal and illegal immigration.

Another issue that appeared to impact our area was homelessness.

In November, The Prowl wrote that the number of people becoming homeless in the city and county was on the rise and provided a personal perspective on the matter and how it impacts students. https://cougarprowl.net/1943/news/homelessness-subject-on-many-students-minds/ We discovered that the overall number of district area homeless students in school year 2016-17 was 816, compared to 736 students in 2015-16. Yet, with this personal story shared to readers, the student and family found a home. It was reminder that things can turn out well in the end.

Now, having weathered the physical, personal and financial storms of this year, the 2018 local forecast just might be brighter than in previous years.

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