A little bit about a lot of things:
• We probably don’t have two or three busier weeks than those which bring the school year to a close. Between special activities and the graduation ceremonies, the calendar stays pretty full.....but it’s a good full.
The end of the school year also brings the opportunity to visit with valedictorians and salutatorians from each of our graduating high schools. These are bright, motivated young adults who seem destined to go do outstanding things in their lives.....and this year was certainly no exception.
They, and many of their classmates, are going to make a positive impact on the world.
While it is rather humbling to interview kids who are so much smarter than me, I do enjoy those conversations.
• So....interesting how perspectives change over time, isn’t it?
Our graduating high school class members, I hope, have enjoyed being seniors.
I remember coming up through the grades and looking forward to my senior year.
I have not looked forward to becoming a later-in-life type of senior, which takes on an entirely different meaning.
I mean, some of the discounts aren’t bad, but I’m afraid the “moments” aren’t going to be too much fun.....I had too many of those before I ever started receiving AARP mailings and early-bird meal offers.
If I start feeling too senior-ish, maybe I’ll try to talk Kat into going on a “geezer cruise” where we’ll still be some of the youngest people on the boat.
What really strikes me, though, as I think back on once again being a senior is how quickly the time seemed to pass between being a high school senior to a real-life senior.
So seniors of the high school variety....enjoy the ride and don’t ever stop, even when you reach the second senior stage in life!
• Not all news stories are cut and dried, as some seem to take on a life of their own and be very much subject to changing circumstances and information.
Such has been the case with the matter involving five North Avenue homes planned in Gustine, which drew objections from neighborhood residents. We were told that city officials had determined that proper procedures had been followed, the project met applicable guidelines and that building permits would be issued....as reported in last week’s Press-Standard.
Turns out, though, that the continuing concerns instead led city staff to put the project back on hold until legal counsel could weigh in on procedural questions. Specifically, City Manager Doug Dunford advised, the attorney was looking further into the question of whether architectural review should have been required. A report was expected at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting....if that took place as planned, we will bring you the latest on that subject in next week’s edition.
• Good news from the city of Gustine.....beginning July 12, City Hall will again be open on Fridays. City offices went to a four-day-a-week schedule several years ago during the depths of the budget crisis. While the cost-cutting move may have been necessary in that difficult time, it definitely curtailed service to the public.
Better times have arrived, and I’m glad to see the Friday hours resume at City Hall.
The hours will most likely be along the range of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the building department will still be open only Monday-Thursday, but opening the doors of City Hall on Fridays is a very positive step.
• Well now..... for anybody who has been following such matters, it certainly feels like West Side Community Ambulance has been in limbo for the past six months, doesn’t it?
Still does, to a large degree.
A sub-committee last week came forth with a recommendation that the West Side Healthcare District, which operates the ambulance service, go back to an in-house management structure......but it would appear that a fair amount of investigation remains to be done on the financial viability of that option.
And as for that proposal by AMR to essentially absorb the West Side Community Ambulance operation, which I think was first put on the table last fall?
Well, I don’t think that’s going to come to fruition.
AMR’s long-awaited proposal was finally delivered to West Side last week, and it was an eye-opening proposition.
The proposal to operate the ambulance service was extremely thin on details other than the cost but that said more than enough: AMR is asking a whopping $2.8 million for the first year of operations, increasing to $3.2 million in Year 5.
To put that in perspective, the district’s projected revenues for the coming fiscal year are $2.2 million. West Side, by the way, would still be on the hook for accounting and billing services, which would increase the affordability gap further still.
I would take the AMR proposal as an indirect way of saying that the ambulance industry giant isn’t all that interested in taking over West Side.....and quite frankly I’ve always wondered exactly how a public entity such as the local healthcare district could merge with a private company in the first place without all kinds of legal entanglements.
I have always felt that one of the biggest challenges faced by West Side’s two management firms in recent years (SEMSA before AMR) stemmed from the intricacies of asking private companies to manage a public, taxpayer-supported service. Different rules apply.
I do appreciate AMR sticking with West Side through the recent months while the local ambulance board and its sub-committee sort through options, and hope the firm stays on board while we see through to fruition whatever transition is ahead.
I do wish, though, that if the AMR proposal was going to be a complete non-starter that would have been made clear earlier in the process.
For all the work the sub-committee has done, which involved countless hours in regular meetings dating back to late December, there still seem to be many questions which remain to be answered before West Side knows what its future holds.