Merced County Times Newspaper
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Gwen Hagaman

Merced DNA awarded for work on Ragsdale Historic District

It was a big week for Merced DNA (Downtown Neighborhood Association) beginning with receiving an award as the City of Merced District 4 Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019. Then at their Wednesday night meeting, Council Member Michael Belluomini shared information about “Community Policing.”

“The Merced Downtown Neighborhood Association is delighted to be honored for our work with this Volunteer of the Year Award for Merced, District 4. We are very surprised and flattered,” expressed DNA President Diana Odum Gunn. “We are grateful for this important recognition. Thank you, City Council Members and congratulations to all the worthy winners! We are humbled in your company.”

The group was nominated by Council Member Kevin Blake for their work establishing an honorary historic district for the Ragsdale neighborhood. Its dedication was in October 2018. The neighborhood purchased honorary signs that were placed on street signs and at entry points to provide information to the public about the 1920s residential development.

Other honorees were special education teacher Alexandria Marquez for District 1, youth sports advocate Fernando Aquilera for District 2, community volunteer Martha Armas-Kelly for District 3, Merced Walks organization for District 5, and Merced College academic honor society and service organization Alpha Gamma Sigma for District 6.

The volunteers were all honored at a reception Monday afternoon and at an awards ceremony that evening prior to the City Council meeting.

City Council Member Michael Belluomini was the keynote speaker at Merced DNA’s April meeting, held at the MAC on Wednesday, April 24. He shared recent City Council discussions about community policing policies and procedures, along with some procedures being used to improve police relations in neighborhoods.

Merced leaders are adapting some programs used in the CIty of Stockton. Belluomini presented the idea to Council last November. Council Member Anthony Martinez revised and focused the proposal, which is now under consideration for implementation in the CIty of Merced.

Other DNA business at their meeting included UC Merced interns Rocco Bowman and Dalena Ngo, who are working on an historical buildings inventory that will eventually be available through the Historical Society and UC Merced. They are seeking volunteers to interview about homes and neighborhoods in the downtown area.

Residents are asked to participate as interviewees, to offer their homes for survey and photography, or to type information into the new system.

DNA’s Bear Creek project to add trash cans and pet poop stations along the bike path also needs volunteers to man tables for petitions. Interested persons for either project may contact DNA at [email protected] for information, participation or training.

Gloria Conlin provided cookies for a social time following the meeting

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