Merced County Times 11 02 2017 E Edition Page 1

MERCED COUNTYTIMES NOVEMBER 2, 2017 THE POWER OF POSITIVE PRESS Serving The Central Valley Since 1964 VOLUME 53, ISSUE 44 Weekly Edition 383-0433 FREE FIND US ON FACEBOOK! Our Web Site: Merced County Times .net BY JONATHAN WHITAKER B illy Pimentel is a down-to-earth, 84-year-old farmer, and lifelong resident of the Atwater area. He's a full-blooded Portuguese American who likes his coffee regular but not bitter, his truck older but dependable, and his news accurate but not from a computer. When he passes by a Catholic Church, he respectfully makes the Sign of the Cross. Pimentel also has gained a whopping 21 years of ex- perience as a member of the Merced Irrigation District Board of Directors. He's run- ning for re-election for the Division 5 seat in the up- coming Nov. 7 election. His challenger is Bob Weimer of Weimer Farms. The race in- cludes voters in Atwater, Buhach, McSwain, and areas stretching west near and along Highway 140. The incumbent says he is fighting for the little guy, and against corporate interests that benefit the few. He is fighting to protect "our" water for local agriculture. He is fighting to keep "our" water out of the hands of unelected Sacramento bureaucrats. And he is fighting to keep electric rates low for folks who live in town, and other MID clients. "I want people to know that I'm voting for what I believe is right, and I'm voting for the benefit of many people who should be considered equal - not just one or two - but all of them." Pimentel was born on the family ranch off Bert Crane Road, and he has been farming near At- water since he can remember. The only excep- tion was the two years he served in the Army back in the mid-1950s. He has farmed sweet po- tatoes, raised beef cattle, and performed dairy work, hay and bailing, and tractor operations. Pimentel's father, a dairyman, came to this country from the Azores at the age of 16. His Portuguese mother was born here. He grew up in a farming family with four brothers and three sisters. And eventually, Pimentel would end up marrying Stella, and they had three boys. He says he first got elected to the MID board back in the early 1990s, and he ran mainly be- cause the local canals were really dirty. "They were so dirty you couldn't even find some," he says with a laugh. "It was true, and it's true to this day. Our infrastructure is bad and it's in need of upgrades. They worry about the lake and everything because it has to be perfect there. But our infrastructure is not good, and we have to start doing something about it. I'm not Pimentel fighting for the little guy ELECTION PROFILE Billy Pimentel Symphony To Perform 'Serenading Strings' See Free Times, Page B-1 Response System Works In North State Fires See Public Saftey, Page C-1 Read for FREE: County Times Online .com Murphy, prominent Merced arts patron, dies at 93 L orraine C. Murphy, a promi- nent Merced musician, commu- nity advocate, and supporter of the arts, died Friday, Oct. 27, at the age of 93. Murphy began her devotion to music at Merced High School in the 1930s, playing violin and baritone in the school ensem- bles. She was a prominent figure in the valley musical community her entire life. She is a cofounder of the Merced Symphony Or- chestra; she served as President of the Merced Symphony Board and played violin with the or- chestra for several decades. Si- multaneously, she was a Board Member of Townsend Opera in Modesto and played violin under Director Buck Townsend. She was also a charter member of the Mariposa Symphony under con- ductor Les Marsden. For many years she was orchestra con- tractor and violinist for the Merced College Chorale under conductor Curtis Nelson, who later became her son-in-law. Aside from her music career, Lorraine was a past President of the Merced Mental Health Asso- ciation and the Merced Women's Club, and also served on the Na- tional Board of the Daughters of the King, a prayer and service association within the national Episcopal Church. She worked in the offices of several prominent doctors and attorneys in Merced, and was a strong supporter of community development, serving on the Board of the Art Kaman- gar Theatre and numerous other organizations. In 1964, Lorraine married The Reverend Edward E. Murphy III, Rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church for 35 years and co- founder of St. Luke's School. Lor- raine shared a committed and dedicated church ministry with her husband until his death in 2001. She was also deeply in- volved in working with hundreds of young people in the San Joaquin Valley, in both capacities of music and church. Late in life Lorraine married David Wenrich, also formerly of Merced, whom she knew in high school but hadn't seen in 85 years. Wenrich died in 2015 and Murphy spent her final years at Park Merced. Lorraine is also the mother of TIMES PHOTO BY JONATHAN WHITAKER A young student from Franklin Elementary School holds up a 'Fidget Spinner' in motion as one of the contribu- tions to a time capsule for the new MCSD STEAM Center at Aida Givens School in Merced. See story on Page 11. Spinning Into The Future Colors to fly over Field of Honor M ore than 1,000 U.S. flags are being prepared to go up this weekend on the Merced College Lawn for the 5th annual Field of Honor. The flags will honor vet- erans, active duty military members and first responders all week long to Veter- ans Day on Nov. 11. "The Merced Field of Honor is an im- portant tribute to duty and sacrifice for our great nation," said Eric Moore, sec- retary of the Merced Sunrise Rotary, the club that initiated the event. "However, perhaps even more importantly, the Field is a poignant example of the silent unforgotten strength imbued in the spirit of Merced's people. As Merced grows the Field grows and so too does our spirit. It is important to use that growing spirit for goodness and meaning on be- half of the veterans, active duty military and first responders that serve every- day." An opening ceremony will be held Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. at the Merced College Theater. Residents can sponsor a flag in honor of a loved one for just $35, or re- fly a flag purchased in previous years for $10. The Field of Honor will be open 24 hours and staffed from noon to dusk daily. A closing ceremony will be held on Nov. 11, at 4 p.m., on the Field of Honor. Additionally, Dignity Health is spon- soring a special memorial for First Re- sponders at the Field. Also, a "flag retirement" ceremony is planned with the Boy Scouts who will discharge worn- out flags per the US Flag Code. This event is sponsored by Merced Sunrise Rotary, Joseph Gallo Farms and the Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foun- dation. See More on Page 7. Look for the flags to fly this weekend at Merced College See Profile, Page 4 See Murphy, Page 4

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