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Post July 4th mail for some will include $750 surprise
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Now that everyone who has shot off illegal fires has had their fun, it’s just a matter of time to see who will be paying the piper for breaking the law.

Manteca Fire officials as of Sunday night had racked up 10 documented incidents of illegal fireworks use in Manteca. Only one of the 10 knows they are being slapped with the $750 fine for the first offense. The others will be notified by mail in the coming weeks under the social host ordinance that went into effect last month.

The tally as of Sunday did not include illegal fireworks documented by Manteca Police. Nor did it include either department’s Fourth of July efforts.

Judging by the blasts and aerial displays Monday evening that were produced by illegal fireworks this could go down as the most expensive Fourth of July for more than a few Manteca households.

And now that neighbors can arm themselves with a smartphone app that gives them all the tools they need to document illegal fireworks use that typically continues nightly for several weeks, those firing off illegal fireworks in the coming days still have a chance to join those who will have to fork over $750 for the first incident and $1,000 for each documented incident thereafter.


Fence going up

around Spreckels

Historical Plaza

Manteca is about to lose a park.

The Bill Filios-Mike Atherton partnership that created the Spreckels Historical Plaza more than a decade ago and have maintained it ever since are  a few days away from fencing it off completely from the public, or more precisely, the homeless.

What was a $250,000 gesture to honor the memory of Spreckels Sugar by upending four large storm drain pipes to create pseudo sugar silos accented with bricks from the original Spreckels warehouse, trellis, flag pole, and extensive landscaping will eventually go the way of the old sugar refinery.

The developers are looking ways to repurpose the land for other uses.

It’s a shame. It was arguably not just a way to honor the sugar plant that meant so much to Manteca and many families that benefitted from bread winners enjoying steady employment for more than 75 years but it also was public art.

In the end history and art is being erased due to a losing battle with urination, defecting, drug use (judging by some debris), graffiti, illegal camping, and simply abandoning trash.

It is a powerful lesson on what can happen to property if a city doesn’t stay on top of enforcing reasonable laws.


Open house

honors retiring

Fire Chief Waters

A retirement open house honoring Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters is set for Thursday, July 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd.

Waters is leaving city employment to work as a respiratory therapist helping with sick newborns at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. He served as fire chief for seven years.  Waters was first hired 29 years ago as a Manteca firefighter.

He was working as a respiratory therapist when he decided on a fire servcie career.  

Waters has — or is serving — on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Raymus HOPE Family Shelter. He also has coached youth basketball for the Manteca Parks and Recreation as well as at elementary schools for years.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email