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Equestrian officers make presence known
Starbucks collecting coffee & notes for troops
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Manteca Police equestrian officers Joe De Angelis and Tommy Nunes pause near Dan’s Barber Shop while patrolling the downtown Wednesday. - photo by GLENN KAHL
It was neat to see two Manteca Police officers patrolling the downtown business district Wednesday morning.  They were casually making their presence known in the alley ways and at Library Park.

There were a couple of children at the library who got their thrills seeing the officers Joe De Angelis and Tommy Nunes sitting atop their horses.  De Angelis’ mount is four years old and Nunes’ is 12. They took time to stop and chat with one man who was working on his disabled upside down bicycle at the gazebo.  It was a contrast to seeing officers having to get out of their cars and walk into the parks to check on chronic sleepers.

De Angelis is generally assigned to East Union High School – students are off for the week – and Nunes is new to the department.

The Starbucks coffee house at Highway 99 and Yosemite Avenue is doing something special for the troops – and it’s really catching on with their customers.  They are boxing up pound bags of coffee that they will send overseas in early March.

A large cardboard box on the floor by their counter is filling up fast as customers are buying the coffee and writing notes to the troops with a black felt pen on the outside of the bags.  The coffee they are sending costs them between $9.95 and $13 a pound.

The greetings range from a simple, “To our troops – God Bless!” to a note from a veteran who saw action in Vietnam.

His bag of coffee read:  “God bless from the old man of the 173rd ABE BRGDE, Vietnam.”

Another bag had a similar note: “Hey guys – you are incredible.  Be blessed, Manteca CA.”

And another, “From Sacramento, CA. We love you guys,  get  home safe.”

“God bless every one of you & come home safe,” wrote another.

“Thank you for your service. You are my heroes!”  was scrawled on yet another bag of Starbucks.

Another  longer note said:  “Thank you for sacrificing your time, well being, fighting a tough war.  I am indebted for all you have given.  I wish you a speedy return home.”

The last was short and simple, but no less sincere, “The Andrews Family, Manteca, CA.”

Restoration of a 120-year-old tea pot to its sparkling like new condition almost seemed miraculous.  Especially for someone like me who knows what it’s like to attempt to polish something that has turned nearly black over the years.

Brenda Franklin at Tipton’s is hosting a “Silver Restoration Event” for her customers on Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. each morning.  The antique teapot was presented to a Mrs. E. George in 1889 by her Bible Class, the inscription relates.

George Phillips has been retired from his business for a number of years having turned over the reins to son Steve.  Not that retirement has slowed him down any as he is currently rebuilding a 1937 Plymouth from the ground up in his garage at his rural Manteca home.

George found the car in New Hampshire on the Internet in surprisingly good condition and had it shipped on a car carrier to Manteca.  The longtime Manteca mechanic cut his teeth on the trade working on his grandfather Orville Phillips’ 1930 Model-A Ford.  In fact he has a 1930 Model-A sedan he is currently trying to sell.  Phillips was a member of the Modesto based Model-A Club for many years.

Son Steve is about to take a web site design class with the intention of remodeling his current site which is already very impressive.  Phillips Auto Care on Moffat Boulevard is joining forces with two other repair shops – Pro Touch and Precision Automotive – and Crossroads Church to offer free oil changes to single moms in the community on Saturday, April 4.

Alexander Garza, 10, spends much of his free time at his dad’s auto repair shop on Yosemite Avenue.

The fourth grader at Dent Elementary School in Escalon says he sweeps and takes out the garbage and any other little chores his dad David asks him to do.  Otherwise he has become proficient at popping his video game CDs into the office computer.  Andrew also recycles bottles and cans and keeps an eye out for anyone discarding their drink containers in the business trash cans.

He said he and his dad work together especially on Mothers’ Day to make breakfast for his mom.  While it has been pancakes in the past, he just learned how to make French Toast and eggs, he said.

Agape Villages Joann Beattie is always trumpeting the importance of focusing on the needs of foster families in the communities of Manteca, Ripon, Tracy and Stockton.  A “Night at the Ports” is being planned for her 37 families out of the Manteca office – that represents about 75 kids.

Sponsorship donations amount to only $25 per family for the May 9 event in Stockton to send them to the Class A affiliate event of the Oakland As.  The game is scheduled to between the Ports and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.  Joann can be reached at 992-8346 to help in sponsoring the families’ night out.

Joann made reference to a Manteca foster mom who died this past week at 87.  Tina Gomes was a foster parent for over 50 years being quoted as saying, “There is always a warm bed in my home for a child in need.”

Another upcoming event that will give any donations they receive at the door to the Agape Villages Foster Family Agency is the “Senior Citizens’ Got Talent” show  and contest set for April 25 at the Prestige Senior Living on Empire Avenue.

Nancy Lewis and “The Rompin’ Stompin’ Seniors” are scheduled to be on stage with their exciting routine.  Nancy had been teaching line dancing at the Manteca Senior Center for a number of years and then she was brought back as an independent contractor.

A former bookkeeper at the Manteca Bulletin and at the Manteca News she says her two weekly classes have about 30 participants each – one for beginners and the other for intermediate.

“The classes that I teach you don’t need a partner.  That’s why it has been such a big hit,” she said.  In addition to Western line dancing, she teaches a little bit of Cha-cha, Polka and Samba.  Lewis said that husbands and wives don’t even get to dance together.  She added that 30 in a class is a little too large with dancers sometimes crashing into each other.  

Laurel Fang at Isadore’s Restaurant on North Main Street said she’s excited about the new Sunday morning brunch that is drawing people from out of town as far away as Pleasanton, Ione and Valley Springs.  She said the “cinnamon, pecan, raisin French toast” was quite a hit last week.

She was also thrilled that two separate parties booked birthday parties of 20 people each for the Sunday brunch time frame in the next two weeks.  Laurel added that  their Valentine’s Day crowd was up some 40 diners compared to last year.  Last Sunday they served about 80 people for brunch, she added.

I welcome any other businesses in the Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop areas wishing to share their “recession strategies” with me for this column. Just  give me a call at 612-2947.