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Manteca may want to follow Tracy’s lead

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POSTED April 11, 2017 1:06 a.m.

Mike Barkley — the Manteca apartment owner that lost the Democratic June primary last year for Congress — has established a website at showcasing the City of Tracy’s efforts to honor their fallen soldiers.
“In walking and knocking doors in Tracy I was impressed by their project naming streets for military fallen in war,” Barkley said. “ I looked for a website for that project and didn’t find one so I built one. It would be good if Manteca and other cities did the same.”
Good idea. Given Manteca is going to have to build a lot of streets for 9,000 plus approved housing units, maybe someone can lobby the City Council to pick up the idea and run with it.
Challenge Academy
success story in Lathrop
Reymond Steward is rising to the challenge.
Steward is one of the 150 teens currently enrolled in the first class of the Discovery Challenge Academy located at the Sharpe Depot complex in Lathrop. It is designed for those teens that have dropped out, have severe truancy issues, are behind in credits, and are at risk for not graduating on time. The academy has a 90 percent success rate based on cadets completing high school and securing full-time jobs or advancing to college.
Steward and the other cadets saw their families for the first time in several months during a Family Day conducted in late March at Dell’Osso Farms in Lathrop.
Ron and Susan Dell’Osso made their farm available free of charge for the Family Day event. The academy is a joint venture of the California National Guard and the San Joaquin County Office of Education.
Susan Dell’Osso said she was “extremely impressed” with the politeness, attitude, and dedication of the cadets.
The cadets are recruited from 39 counties extending from Madera County to the Oregon border. Many have misdemeanors and come from families living in poverty. They learn life-coping skills, leadership, self-discipline, and leadership. They also can earn a year’s of high school credit during the residential program spanning 5.5 months. It then has 12 months of follow up mentoring.
Academics are taught in a classroom setting. There are typically 10 field trips that may include museums, universities, the State Capitol, and live theater performances.
The Lathrop academy is the third of its kind in California. There  are 37 such academies nationwide. Tuition, room, and board are provided at no-cost. 
The military staff/cadre is in charge of the rest of the academy’s training. That training covers learning the importance of being prompt, dressing appropriately, focusing on homework and daily tasks, and accept responsibilities for their actions. Physical training as well as marching or drill ceremonies along with barracks inspections are part of the program. The goal is to instill cooperation, tolerance of others, teamwork, and ethical behavior. The military staff/cadre is responsible not just for the cadet’s physical fitness but also their personal hygiene, as well as their health and welfare.
An estimated 20 percent of the cadets enrolled are taken off federal assistance programs.
Applicants must be 16 on or before the first day of the academy and cannot turn 19 before the start date. They must have no pending charges, felony convictions or deferred entry of judgment. They must be a legal resident of the United States and a California resident. They must volunteer to attend. They also must be drug free. All candidates will be drug tested.
More information can be found going to or the same on Facebook.
You can ask for an application or apply to be a mentor by calling 1.844.633.3301.

Is city following
its own water rules?
A reader noted they were driving down Woodward Avenue on Saturday, April 1, when the park’s sprinklers were on at 3:30 p.m.
They noted it is a violation of the city’s water conservation program that has more liberal rules for heavily used parks when it comes to irrigation. However, no one is supposed to irrigate lawns between noon and 6 p.m. on any day of the week.
Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has lifted the statewide drought emergency, we’ll see just how serious city leaders were when they repeatedly have stated over the past several years that water conversation needs to become a way of life regardless of drought conditions given California’s perennial water supply issues.
For the record, that is exactly the point the governor made when lifting the drought emergency — stepped up water conservation needs to be the new norm in a state with 39.5 million residents and the responsibility of providing this country with two thirds of all fruits and nuts and a third of its vegetables.

Get down and
dirty during May 20
Mud Run on the Farm
Several thousand have already signed up to get down and dirty on the farm on Saturday, May 20.
That’s when Dell’Osso Farms in Lathrop will conduct its annual Mud Run on the Farm. It’s a 5K course with 24 challenging obstacles including a mud pit near the end that’s aptly name “Mud Hell”.
The mud run can handle up to 5,000 participants. The fun starts at 8 a.m. with a wave of participants that are capped at 300 starting every 20 minutes until 1 p.m. rolls around.
Last year the average participant took an hour and 19 minutes to complete the 5K course. The best time was 31:14.7 minutes
The cost to enter is $65 through April 30. It goes up to $75 on May 1. The cutoff is May 15. All registration is done online at

Baconfest date change
Baconfest 2017 will take place Saturday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 10 at Dell’Osso Farms
The inaugural Baconfest was conducted in June 2016.
It will still be all about bacon, beer, and bands. Not only will there by free kiddie land this time out but given it is in the fall the highly popular Pumpkin blasters — bazooka-style devices that launch mini-pumpkins — will be available.

Veterans secure
flags from vandals
After losing two American flags that they served America under and — in many cases — had fellow soldiers seriously injured or killed stolen from the flag pole outside the Manteca Veterans Center on Moffat Boulevard stolen, veterans have managed to secure Old Glory to the point it will take a very tall ladder to steal it now.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 commander Carlon Perry noted members took the vandalism personally. Hopefully the city will step up and do its part to protect the Veterans Center from copper wire thieves after a year of promises to allow more secure fencing.

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