The Bill Stricker Court at Dalben Center is being dedicated on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 5 p.m. in the East Union High gym.
Ray Lagomarsino noted work has been completed on the floor allowing the ceremonies to take place. A social will follow in the cafeteria.
Bill Stricker is a longtime Lancer basketball coach credited with building strong character in his players over the years as much as he was for building championship teams. Stricker always placed his personal values over that of his athletic or coaching accomplishments.
Stricker taught and coached at East Union High for more than 30 years.
He was at the University of the Pacific from 1966 to 1970 – the Tiger squad with John Gianelli and Keith Swaggerty battled a Lew Alcindor-led UCLA down to the final minutes – and enjoyed a stellar colligate career.
Later, he was afforded the opportunity to coach college hoops at the lower levels (prior to freshmen eligibility) with Pete Newell Jr.
Stricker began his coaching stint at East Union in 1977-78. His final year of coaching was the 1999-2000 season.
In an interview shortly before his retirement, Stricker told the Bulletin, “What’s more important (than winning) is what you were able to do for the lives of the young people. And I hoped that I was able to make their lives a little better.”
are fewer in numbers
The number of visible homeless encampments has dropped sharply in the past month in Manteca.
Most of the problematic encampments were in Caltrans right-of-way along Highway 99 and the 120 Bypass. Not only is it illegal to be in the right-of-way but it poses significant safety issues from potential vehicle accidents to grass fires.
At one point there was a major concern that the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 would become a “permanent” homeless encampment such as has happened on the northeast corner of the Crosstown Freeway (Highway 4) and Interstate 5 interchange in Stockton.
While the problem can pop back up again if the pressure isn’t kept on, it is worth noting that the City of Manteca strategy appears to be working.
With the deployment of just one community resource officer in the past year — the Manteca City Council budgeted for two — there have been significant strides in both helping the homeless that are ready to be helped and those that break the spirit of various laws.
Mike Kelly, the community resource officer, worked to coordinate clean-ups along Highway 99 and the 120 Bypass so the homeless wouldn’t simply move from one side of the freeway to another after encampments are posted as required by law and then cleaned out.
Caltrans splits maintenance on Manteca freeways between three yards: The 120 Bypass is assigned to Tracy crews, Highway 99 south of the 120 Bypass to Modesto crews, and Highway 99 north of the 120 Bypass to Stockton crews. Caltrans not only has done a solid job but they have gone a step further and removed thick brush and vegetation at places such as the Highway 99 and Austin Road interchange that was able to partially hide a major encampment.
At the same time more than 100 homeless have gotten off the street through the Manteca Police effort that is coordinated with non-profits that provide services for the homeless. Kelly has been able to make contacts with relatives of the homeless. When they are willing to accept homeless relatives into their homes he has then been able to secure funding to purchase tickets for travel. Some have secured jobs and others are in treatment programs.
Comments on a recent story in the Bulletin about the one year anniversary of the stepped up efforts of the Manteca Police Department in dealing with the homeless slammed the police and the city for not eliminating panhandling and getting all homeless off the streets.
It doesn’t work that way. It is not illegal to be homeless or even panhandle under most conditions although it is illegal to panhandle near ATMs and at controlled intersections as well as to panhandle in an aggressive manner.
Kelly has also been able to make recommendations such as installing wrought iron fencing to secure the Manteca Library courtyard that have allowed the city to chip away at problematic issues.
In short, it is an approach that is working. You will never eliminate homeless issues but you can improve the situation.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org