Editor's note: Sharyn Bloudoff, an 11th grader with Castle School (home school) and daughter of Dean and Sharyle Bloudoff was the first place winner in the high school division of the National Flag Day Foundation's 2011 essay contest "What Our Flag Means to Me." The following is her winning essay:
Here is the $1.2 million question: Does anyone on the Manteca City Council have the stomach to take a calculated risk to preserve municipal service levels for another year by saving the jobs of six firefighters and at least some of the 10 other municipal workers due to be laid off on July 1 in order to balance the budget?
It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen: My sister leaving UC Davis Medical Center in a wheelchair Sunday afternoon.
Do you drink alcohol? Perhaps you smoke cigarettes. Maybe you drive a vehicle. Do you earn a pay check? Are you among the folks who buy items at retail stores or dine in restaurants?
Most of life is done by rote.
Imagine the City of Manteca having to spend $3.5 million to cover a bond payment because The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley isn't finished.
Does anyone really want to see Manteca lose six firefighters?
Ready for to hear a couple of dirty little secrets?
Clenched fist knuckle pushups into the hot asphalt was just one of the challenges Heather Lundbom faced in the California Highway Patrol Academy that graduated only six women recently out of the 68 who were actually sworn-in as traffic officers.
A unique Central Valley gem encompassing 258 acres awaits those venturing to the southern end of Austin Road.
How would you view a teacher taking class time to have her third grade students write legislators to protest cuts to education and to raise the budget?
I should be dead.
"Wow, you still have a flip phone? That's almost prehistoric."
Matthew Refuerzo could easily be a poster boy for Give Every Child a Chance.
The California Legislature can't even balance a check book yet they have no problem telling the rest of us who aren't in financial trouble and who follow the law how to live our lives.
Remember the Pet Rock?
There are more than 12,000 homes on the drawing boards that various developers would like to build in Manteca during the coming years that reflect the Leave it to Beaver American Dream on steroids crossed with a McMansion version of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
What you are about to read is perhaps the most politically incorrect thing you could say during the drought: It is time to let the Delta smelt go.
It's come down to this: Death penalty foes who have consistently done everything they can to block California from executing those on death row now want the death penalty declared unconstitutional because the state doesn't put them to death quick enough. They argue lingering on death row for an uncertain execution is cruel and inhumane punishment.
Expediency is the motto of the administration of Governor Jerry Brown.
Toya Graham is my nominee for mother of the year.
Judge Tony Agbayani has quite a right hook when it comes to driving home to high school seniors the serious consequences of drinking and climbing behind the wheel.
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Quote attributed to Pogo in the comic strip by the same name
Ashley Drain and Alexander Bronson ran for the Manteca Unified School District listing their occupation as "educators."
"Sitting on the beam of the trestle, just watching the striped bass roll on in" – Not Otis Redding
Since 1849 when valley paths expanded into well-worn dirt roads heading toward the mines, strategically placed thoroughfares have been growth inducing in California where mobility and lifestyle are interchangeable concepts.
There were 2,843 single family homes destroyed and another 437 apartments lost.
Death and taxes.
Roads wear out. Bridges fail after a number of years. Sewer lines deteriorate.
Berkeley doesn't want you to smoke.