Residents and civic leaders share their New Year resolutions
The new year has arrived and with it comes objectives for an improved life. Members of the Porterville community, civic leaders from Porterville and Lindsay, school officials from Porterville and Woodville and the CEO of Sierra View District Hospital shared their thoughts.
Porterville resident Mimi Gomez wants to improve her decision making.
“My resolution is to always be cutthroat about my future dos and don’ts. Make better decisions and always follow my gut feeling,” said Gomez.
Jeanette Keel, also a Porterville resident, proposed to show more action.
“My new year’s resolution is to not say, ‘I’ve always wanted to do that,’ whatever ‘that’ may be, and just do it,” Keel said.
In Lindsay Mayor Pro Tem Danny Salinas wanted to finish the projects that were already in progress.
“To finish the projects we’ve started and move forward so the city can prosper,” said Salinas.
Council member Pam Kimball took a wider view.
“That we move forward with a spirit of optimism and cooperation to accomplish what we can with limited resources. That we feel thankful for the many great assets we have here and seek to optimize them, including the facilities we have built to promote healthy living. We acknowledge that strong families and strong faith in God will do more than anything else to help us be happy and successful as individuals and as a community,” Kimball said.
Council member Steven Mecum had more specific ideas.
“Getting kids into McDermont and fixing more roads. To change the way we do things. To take the money, the tax dollars we get, and to stretch them out further,” he said.
Joe Stewart, chief executive officer and president of Sierra View District Hospital, talked about focusing on the patients.
“We resolve to learn new and better ways to serve our patients so they are truly pleased with our care. We resolve to create easier, faster ways to receive care when you need it. We resolve to have only one interest and that is the interest of the patient,” he said.
Porterville Councilman Pete McCracken talked of his hopes for the council, as well as the financial situation of the city.
“The council has been functioning fairly well, not perfectly. I would hope we continued to get along and get the city business done without too much dissension. Discussion is always good, but I would like to see the city household focus on getting business done rather than on philosophical things we can’t control,” McCracken said.
Regarding finances, he was to the point.
“The financial situation is really severe. I don’t know what it’s going to be with Washington playing around, and Sacramento. I know we elected those people, but sometimes I wonder,” he said.
Porterville City Manager John Lollis said the city has come through the financial storm.
“Most importantly to continue to be the financial stewards we have been. We’ve weathered the great recession, as they are calling it, and with the passage of Prop. 30, that took a little pressure off of what I anticipated happening,” he said. “There are a number of capital projects that are close to fruition, and so those are exciting to look forward to. The public safety building, the sewer extension project, that’s kind of exciting. We’re looking to connect to 150 residences we’ve annexed. ... The scoping meeting on Highway 190 and looking at what Measure R can do for the community, I think that’s exciting as well.”
In the educational arena area, school district superintendents’ main concern is their students.
“The Burton School District remains completely focused on student achievement, their health and the building of their confidence that each child will need as they move forward in their lives. The district governing board, as the community’s voice, will continue to provide the professional training, programs and instructional resources necessary to reach our goals. Every teacher and support staff can influence the future. We are committed to each member of our team, and will continue to maintain our staffing to insure that all of our talent remains in support of every child in our care,” said Gary Mekeel of the Burton School District.
At the Porterville Unified School District, Superintendent John Snavely talked about school safety and communications.
“There are two areas I would like to make a part of a New Year’s resolution for myself and the Porterville Unified School District. Number one, in light of some unfortunate changes occurring within some segments of our society, it is imperative that we actively and frequently assess our student and staff environments. It is my expectation to ensure that our school campuses are safe and secure for 2013 and beyond,” Snavely said. “Number two, to help keep everyone better informed of PUSD and education issues, I would like to ensure communications with our parents, business and other segments of our communities are accomplished more frequently and more effectively.”
Dago Garcia, superintendent at the Woodville Elementary District, talked about academic accomplishments and cleaning up the district.
“For next year, the board and I have been discussing what we feel we need to do to move Woodville forward. Our first goal is to increase the academic accomplishments and to be very proactive in getting our students to see, participate and understand the world outside Woodville. We also aim to form a community structure that will support and promote Woodville as a community,” Garcia said. “We will recruit and train local leaders to be responsible for their community. As we restructure the entire system our financial aim is to work within our budget and make certain that our tax dollars buy the best education for our students. Woodville school has emerged from a decade of mismanagement and we are making sure that it will never happen again.”
And for Dr. Rebecca Gervasi, past vice-president of SETCO, Southeastern Tulare County Republican Women, and founder of Walk with Me Family Services, a counseling center that offers free to low-cost counseling and psychotherapy services in Porterville and the surrounging areas, her No. 1 priority is to keep things positive and on the sunny side.
“I tend to overestimate my not so ‘super human’ abilities and then suffer the consequences when I expect too much of myself and fall short in some area,” she said. “In an overly positive view of myself my mind says ‘I can take on all of it and do it well’. My goal this year is to accept help from others, I have some very bright and talented friends who are willing to lend their knowledge , I need to focus on letting loose of the reins and allowing them to hold my hand, guide me and help me grow. I want to be brave enough to say I am sorry when I hurt someone, play fair, smile more and worry less, and take better care of this body.”
Reporters Esther Avila, Denise Madrid and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.