Opinion

Arbor Day a big deal in Los Banos, a ‘Tree City, USA’

Los Banos Girl Scout Troops 1106 and 1139 help a Los Banos city employee plant a tree following the Arbor Day ceremony in 2015 at Regency Park on Rockport Drive.
Los Banos Girl Scout Troops 1106 and 1139 help a Los Banos city employee plant a tree following the Arbor Day ceremony in 2015 at Regency Park on Rockport Drive. glieb@losbanosenterprise.com

To get a feel for life in Los Banos, read “Life in Los Banos” on Feb. 22 and attend Arbor Day celebrations on March 1.

Reading “Life in Los Banos,” a supplement to the printed edition of the February 22 Los Banos Enterprise, will provide a current perspective on what’s happening in the city –including government, schools, healthcare and agriculture.

Attending the afternoon Arbor Day celebration the first Friday in March will provide a sense of how much the city values trees and green space.

Los Banos’s 31st Arbor Day event takes place this year at Ranchwood Park (515 Stonewood Drive) at 4 p.m., when Los Banos will receive Tree City, USA recognition for the 29th consecutive year.

Businesses and home owners will be acknowledged for exemplary maintenance of trees. Children from kindergarten through sixth grade will receive awards for their winning entries in Arbor Day art and writing contests.

Most people who have been to any of the 30 previous Arbor Day celebrations will say they’ve felt the community’s spirit of camaraderie and good will at these events, where adults and children gather to honor trees for their shade, beauty and contribution to clean air.

What better way to start your Arbor Day celebrations than with Arbor Day breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m.? You’ll get ham, eggs and pancakes for $8 on March 1 at the Los Banos Community Center, courtesy of the local Miliken Museum Society. All proceeds benefit the society, which combines volunteers and donations to keep the museum open and free for visitors Tuesday through Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.

The museum, in Pacheco Park at 903 E. Pacheco Blvd., contains artifacts and documents pertaining to the history of Los Banos, including the Yokuts tribe and 19th century settlers, such as cattleman Henry Miller.

“Life in Los Banos,” printed each February, provides up-to-date information about Los Banos.

Gene Lieb, the publisher of the Enterprise, wanted to make sure the information about local clubs and organizations is accurate. But he also wanted “Life in Los Banos” to give residents a snapshot of what’s going on in their community. This year’s publication includes 10 articles updating residents about the police and fire departments, city planning, schools from kindergarten to college, the Los Banos public library, local agriculture and water supply and healthcare. Local leaders were interviewed to gain their perspectives on current events and future plans.

I previewed this year’s “Life in Los Banos,” and here is a partial list of the questions it covers:

▪ Will the police department be hiring new officers in the coming fiscal year? Will it plan for a new and improved facility?

▪ Which Los Banos agricultural commodity generated the most income last year? Which areas of agriculture are increasing production?

▪ What help did the Los Banos Fire Department give to other areas of the state in 2018?

▪ Where will the Los Banos Unified School District be building a new elementary school? When will it be completed?

▪ What new and continuing children’s programs will the Los Banos branch of the Merced County library be offering?

▪ When is the Veterans Resource Center in the library open? How can persons volunteer to help with the library’s literacy tutoring program?

▪ How is city government responding to all the new homes being built? Will the city have the resources to deal with the increased population?

▪ Will the city be moving forward with an updated General Plan? If so, how will it include community input?

▪ Will the local water supply be sufficient for businesses, residents and area farmers?

▪ Is there enough space in the local history museum to accommodate all the artifacts it contains?

▪ Are local clinics, urgent care centers and the hospital keeping up with residents’ healthcare needs? How many residents who use these facilities have health insurance?

▪ Where is the best place to start if I want to join one of Los Banos’s many volunteer organizations? Which ones need help?

To find the answers, pick up a copy of “Life in Los Banos.” If you’re a subscriber, it will be included in your Feb. 22 issue. Otherwise you can find it in stores and racks around town starting on that date.

John Spevak is a resident of Los Banos; he wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. Email john.spevak@gmail.com.

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