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Merced County Connection Archive

Posted on: May 10, 2018

Merced County Connection - April 2018 Newsletter

Newsletter - Merced County Connection


Printable Formatted PDF Newsletter (With Photos)

New Behavioral Center Ready to Open

A grand opening will be held this month for Merced County’s new Behavioral Health Center—a project that pulls together wellness services while rehabbing a dilapidated building in the community.

The former Merced Community Medical Center Campus on 13th Street in Merced was selected as the site to be renovated and serve as the new centralized location. Now that those renovations are complete, services will be shifted to the new site, including adult substance use disorder services, adult mental health services, dual diagnosis program, medical services, community access to recovery services (central intake/access), wellness center, administration, and the public guardian/conservator program.

Yvonnia Brown, Merced County’s Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, said the opening of the new facility will significantly benefit those needing treatment.

“This new campus will co-locate services that have previously been housed at various locations,” Brown said. “By pulling together these wellness outlets, the project will create a central location to comprehensively address patient needs and facilitate better collaboration and care coordination between programs. This project will significantly improve services. The grand opening of the site will be a momentous day for Merced County.”

A portion of this project includes a Crisis Residential Unit (CRU), which is a secondary treatment facility that will allow the County to more comprehensively address mental health issues in the
region. The CRU will serve a valuable role locally in the care of clients. Currently, someone with a severe mental health issue is placed in the Marie Green Psychiatric Center and/or an out-of-county facility. This facility provides clients with crisis services and 72 hours or more to stabilize. The Marie Green Center does an excellent job in efficiently alleviating issues with clients, but it isn’t long before many of those same clients re-enter the facility with another crisis or emergency. The purpose of Marie Green is to stabilize clients during severe mental health episodes. The CRU is designed to address this “revolving door” issue by providing clients with the tools they need to transition back into society and be self-sufficient. The unit will provide clients with more comprehensive treatment during an extended stay of up to 90 days, allowing staff to work on longer-term solutions to improve the health and well-being of clients. The facility will contain 16 beds.

This $31 million (approx.) project poses no cost to the County’s General Fund and is estimated to save $323,672 a year in rental/lease agreements. The project is 82,000 square feet and provides opportunity to expand.

Grand Opening:

Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
9 to 11 a.m.
Friday, April 20, 2018
301 E. 13th Street
Merced, CA 95341

Worknet Launches Direct-Hire Truck Driver Training Program

Worknet Merced County launched a direct-hire commercial truck driver training program last year in an effort to bring steady employment to job seekers.

The success of the program is starting to show.

The program, offered in partnership with the Advanced Career Institute and Werner Enterprises, provides participants with a four-week commercial truck driver training program. Upon graduation from the program, participants receive employment as a commercial driver for either Werner, Covenant or Northern Refrigerated.

Worknet has already held two graduation ceremonies for 16 people. Plans for others are in the works.

David Mirrione, Director of Worknet Merced County, said this program is a prime example of Worknet’s mission to provide local businesses with access to trained professionals.

“It’s extremely exciting to see job seekers, who were previously unemployed, here with their families being handed a check and a job,” Mirrione said during the first graduation ceremony in February. “For us in this industry, this is what it’s all about.”

Though still in its early stages, Mirrione said the truck-driver training program has been a huge success, and he expects this to continue.

“This is one of many programs at Worknet that we plan to grow and expand,” he said. “We’ve already seen so many success stories coming from this—we want that to continue.”

To learn more about the services Worknet has to offer, you can follow “Worknet Merced County” on Facebook or call them at 209-724-2100 (Merced office) or 209-710-6140 (Los Banos office).

Take the Train to Sacramento!

Amtrak San Joaquins is launching a “Morning Express Service” on Monday, May 7th that reconfigures its schedule in order to bring riders throughout the San Joaquin Valley north to the State Capitol by 8 a.m.

On May 7th, the daily Morning Express service will begin in Fresno, departing at 4:25 a.m. and will make stops in Madera at 4:50 a.m., Merced at 5:20 a.m., Turlock-Denair at 5:42 a.m., Modesto at 5:57 a.m., Stockton (SKT) at 6:30 a.m., Lodi at 6:44 a.m., and will arrive at the downtown Sacramento Valley Station at 7:41 a.m. Return service will depart Sacramento at 12:41 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., making stops at each of the stations along the San Joaquins southbound line.

This new schedule is expected to be transformative for the service – making it a much more convenient option for business travelers and same-day leisure travelers alike.

For more information, visit:

Energy Retrofit to Save Millions

In February, the Board of Supervisors “flipped the switch” on an energy retrofit project that will net the County $19 million in savings over the next 30 years.

Perhaps the most noticeable components of the project are the solar arrays that have been installed outside of the Merced County Administration Building and behind the John Latorraca Correctional Center.

However, there are several other parts of the project that will help save money, improve facilities and reduce the County’s carbon footprint.

This includes the conversion of street and facilities lighting to energy-efficient LEDs, the replacement of old plumbing and water fixtures at correctional facilities and the replacement of old HVAC
units that are no longer serviceable or energy efficient.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jerry O’Banion described the project as a “prime example of proactive problem solving.”

“Lighting, heating, cooling and plumbing systems here at the County were rapidly becoming obsolete, difficult to maintain and expensive,” O’Banion said during a Feb. 13 flip the switch event. “Thanks to this project, we’re reducing the County’s electrical spending by half. And by the way, through this project, we’re also avoiding 3,500 metric tons of CO2 annually — the equivalent of removing 750 cars from the road each year.”

Several trees were removed prior to the installation of the solar panels because they were hazardous, diseased or blocking the solar panels. They’ll be replaced with new landscaping that’s native to the area.

Project Update!

Too often, it seems that the Central Valley is either suffering from a drought or from flooding. Lately, it’s been the latter.

There are several flood control systems already in place in and around the County. Reservoirs such as Bear, Burns, Mariposa and Owens all hold water back during severe storms to help prevent our local waterways from overflowing. In addition to infrastructure, Merced County, along with its partners, make significant strides every year to keep our waterways clear of debris and suitable for carrying water downstream.

There’s only one remaining uncontrolled watershed in the County: Black Rascal.

Recently, the County was able to secure a $10 million grant to construct flood control basins northeast of Merced City. Now, the County and its “Streams Group” partners (Merced City and Merced Irrigation District) are working on identifying methods of funding the rest of the $35 million project.

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Merced County Library is the first library in California to host virtual reality technology?

Who: For ages 13 & Up.
When: Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: Main Merced Library, Stoddard Room, 3rd Floor
How To attend: Limited slots available, Sign up day of event.

Upcoming Meetings

Board of Supervisors
Planning Commission
  • April 24, 2018
  • May 8, 2018
  • May 22, 2018
  • June 5, 2018
  • June 19, 2018
  • July 10, 2018

Regular Board of Supervisors meetings are held on scheduled Tuesdays at 10 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Meetings are held in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95348.
  • April 25, 2018
  • May 9, 2018
  • May 23, 2018
  • June 13, 2018
  • June 27, 2018
  • July 11, 2018

Regular Planning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the Board Chambers located in the County Administration Building at 2222 M Street, Third Floor, Merced, CA 95348.

Municipal Advisory Councils
  • Delhi MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. second Thursday of the month,
    16091 Locust St., Delhi
  • Franklin-Beachwood MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. fourth Wednesday of the month,
    Franklin Elementary on Franklin Road
  • Hilmar MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. fourth Monday of the month.
    20077 Falke St., Hilmar
  • Le Grand MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. first Monday of the month,
    13038 E. Jefferson St., Le Grand
  • McSwain MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. fourth Thursday of the month,
    926 N. Scott Road, Merced
  • Planada MAC meetings:
    6 p.m. first Wednesday of the month,
    9167 Stanford Ave., Planada
  • Snelling MAC meetings:
    6:30 p.m. second Wednesday of the month,
    Old Snelling Courthouse, SR 59, Snelling
  • Winton MAC meetings:
    7 p.m. third Tuesday of the month,
    7091 W. Walnut Ave., Winton

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