Author Archives: Sam Rubio

About Sam Rubio

I was born and raised in western Fresno County. I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Upon receiving my degree, I returned to Mendota and accepted a job with the local school district. I taught high school science for a year; I also accepted the position of head wrestling coach which I held for three years. After teaching at the high school I opened a small café in my hometown. Since returning to my community, I have led countless projects to beautify the city. I have worked with volunteers to plant trees and educate the residents of Mendota on smoke detector safety and proper litter disposal. I have led volunteers in projects painting murals, cleaning parks, pulling litter out of local canals and cleaning graffiti in efforts to show the community the power of organization and group efforts. I have recently completed a Post-Baccalaureate program through the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, and am currently applying to medical school.

Mendota Health Clinic Getting Big Expansion

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United Health Centers of Mendota broke ground on their expansion site in September, just a few feet from their present clinic. The new clinic will total 12,000 square feet and will provide both state-of-the-art medical equipment, space for three dental care providers and one optometry room.

Hazardous Job + Injury = You're Fired

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Recently, my friend Eddie Valencia, 27, mentioned a tightness in his chest. Eddie does not have asthma or other respiratory problems. But he was pretty sure he knew what was causing his symptoms. “It could have been the four and a half hours I spent with two other guys from my work, cleaning out a tank with chlorine with nothing more than gloves in the form of protective gear.”

I advised Eddie of the potential long-term effects of chlorine exposure and told him to contact Poison Control.

Border Hopping for Health Care

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Many Mendota residents go to Mexico or El Salvador for medical care. But unlike Sigala, for many people the issue is cost. Fernando Gomez recalls taking his parents on the long drive to seek health care in Mexico because they lacked sufficient health insurance.

“We took a few 24 hour drives up and back to pick up certain medications that were not covered by our health insurer. While we were there a family member used the visit to have dental work done. But, the dental office and the surrounding businesses, restaurants included, had no hot water,” he says. Gomez wondered how clean these places could be if there was no hot water.

Mendota: 'The Cantaloupe Center of the World'

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The city of Mendota is located in the heart of California’s fertile Central Valley. Originally a railroad station built in 1891, and later incorporated as a city in 1942, it’s nestled in western Fresno County 40 miles west of the city of Fresno. The railroad closed the station in 1910 and agriculture took over as the major industry for employment in the area. A city now known as “The Cantaloupe Center of the World,” with a population estimated at 11,014 residents, over 95 percent of the population is Latino and 50 percent are foreign born. With nearly half the community being immigrant farm workers, there is a clear separation amongst the residents which is further exaggerated by a communication barrier on how to improve Mendota from within.