It’s not easy being green, but it’s necessary!

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As we continue into the new year, I’m saddened by the loss of one of our members of the Stockton community, Mike Donaghy.

I remember meeting Mike when I was selling advertising for the “Herb” sign, the one-time electronic billboard located on the corner of Robinhood and Pacific Avenue. My first impression of Mike (he was the Sherwood Mall manager then) was, “wow, this guy gets things done!” He was all about numbers and business.

As time went by, my office was relocated from Robinhood to the mall. Mike walked in, sat down and began asking me what my future plans were. Well, I hadn’t thought about that much; I was being challenged and didn’t even know it.

Before long, I was being promoted to marketing director of the Stone Bros. properties, from Sacramento to the three corners, excluding the mall. Mike met with me daily, we talked about events, advertising, growing the businesses … everything.

He made me feel important, he listened, we collaborated on many things. I was growing personally and professionally. Mike was my mentor. In fact, it was his coaching that made me take the quantum leap into this newspaper. I’m sitting at the publisher’s desk as a result of his confidence in my abilities. Thank you, Mike.

Plenty of controversy is playing through Stockton’s Swenson and Van Buskirk golf courses. City officials are at odds over whether to keep the city-owned courses open for golf, convert them to other uses or sell them off.

The properties cost the city somewhere in the neighborhood of $850,000 to operate, and both are in need of repairs and renovations. Mayor Michael Tubbs has suggested making Swenson available for mixed-use development and turning Van Buskirk into a recreational facility of sorts.

Plenty of people have attended City Council meetings to show their support for the golf courses, saying we need to keep them open as such. Many residents — especially in the case of Swenson — have expressed concerns with increased traffic and other problems should the property be developed for housing or commercial use.

A town hall meeting was held on Jan. 29 to talk about the options available for the properties. I believe the golf courses should remain open specifically for golf and to remain green spaces that were part of a community plan since the ’50s.

Lots happening in Modesto these days.

The Veterans Foundation of Stanislaus County has been open for a little while now, and they’re doing a great job of serving our military veteran population. They’re going to have a military museum, they host a bevy of social events for vets and they even rent out their state-of-the-art meeting facilities. It’s a great way to support our troops. You can read more about this on page 10.

Today’s job market needs to be tech-savvy, and Modesto knows this. It’s great to see businesses like Bay Valley Tech setting up shop in the Central Valley. The business (which has a sister location in Stockton) offers programming classes for those that want to learn how to code. It’s a groundbreaking opportunity since the future of the workforce is computers.

Did you get a chance to skate at Downtown Modesto’s outdoor ice skating rink? The fun was held down on K Street, and tons of people came out to enjoy the popular pastime. Though they’ve closed for the season, the rink promises to be back in November!

As of this writing, Super Bowl LII is just days away. Who are you rooting for? The Eagles or the Patriots? No matter who wins, I’m sure it’s going to be a well-earned title. Have lots of fun at your Super Bowl Sunday parties and enjoy all the good food!

God Bless America!
Sharon Alley Calone

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