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Drain speaking before Patriots on Thursday
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Manteca Unified trustee Ashley Drain is the guest speaker for the Thursday, Feb. 19, gathering of the Manteca Patriots in the banquet room at Angelano’s Restaurant, 1080 N. Main St.

The outspoken Drain with a reputation for speaking her mind was elected in November to represent Area 2 that consists primarily of Lathrop. She will give her views on Common Core, Going Digital and other current issues in the school district.  There will also be a question and answer period.

The public is invited to the talk that gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Those attending are welcome to order and pay for their own meals beforehand. The doors to the banquet room open at 6:30 p.m.

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$2.3M Starbucks parking solution

Here’s a shocker: Parking at Spreckels Park North on the southeast corner of East Yosemite and Commerce avenues with such businesses as In-n-Out Burger, Chipolte’s, Jamba Juice, and Starbucks to name a few can be non-existent at times during the week and impossible to find during the weekend.

 Councilwoman Debby Moorhead is bringing the parking issue up for discussion during tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting of the Manteca City Council that takes place at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center. St.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin notes a few things in her report to the council about the situation. The first commercial enterprise popped up on the former Tradeway Chevrolet site in 2004. All businesses essentially have their own parking lots instead of a common lot. And the problem is being created by the businesses being so successful at luring both local customers and those traveling by on Highway 99 or heading to the Sierra via East Highway 120.

So what can the city do? Not much unless they want to buy the only vacant parcel left that lists for a cool $2.3 million and turn it into a public parking lot.

They can’t even add parallel parking on one side of Historical Plaza Way as it is a private street.

While hindsight is 20-20, the real problem were planners back 13 years ago who refused to deviate from established parking requirements at the time that indicated a coffee shop needed a small number of spaces based on square footage while ignoring the phenomenon that Starbucks already was at the time. As a side note, In-N-Out actually has significantly more parking spaces that the city required.

At least locals are smart enough not to get trapped parking on the east side of Jamba Juice and Starbucks since the drive thru line makes it impossible at times to back out of your parking space.

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Going Digital tablets making the rounds

Back to Going Digital, it is becoming common to walk into Manteca hangouts after school that have free wifi such as the Starbucks at the Raley’s shopping center to see Manteca Unified students alongside college students and business people with their noses buried in tablets or laptops.

It’s a beautiful sight, according to Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer who is the architect of the Going Digital initiative.

“It’s empowering students,” Messer noted.

He added the tablets are giving them the same tools that the “real world” is using whether it is in higher education or business.