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Rats, cats, & gophers, oh my, at MUSD sites
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So how bad is the gopher problem at Weston Ranch High?
Bad, if you consider catching over 200 gophers in three days bad.
The Manteca Unified school board had been fielding complaints for the past several months about gophers at the South Stockton campus.
The Grounds Department allocated additional substitute staffing hours for gopher control at WRHS. The 200 plus gophers were snagged using existing trapping methods.
Gophers, if you recall, was the initial rallying cry for some backers of athletic field upgrades at Weston Ranch High. Spending $400 or so on wages and benefits every once in a while to kill gophers seems like it would be a heck of a lot more economical than a $3.1 million stadium makeover, but then again that never was the real reason about the push for the overhaul. It is more like keeping up with the Jones next door or this case Weston Ranch High’s Stockton neighbors.
The Grounds Department is pondering a possible equipment purchase specifically for rodent control. This piece of equipment essentially pressurizes exhaust into the rodent’s tunnel. This is very similar to the equipment shared by Trustee Nancy Teicheira. This equipment is currently utilized by the City of Manteca’s grounds crew and is very successful in controlling gophers. The district’s grounds department has tested this piece of equipment at Lincoln Elementary.  They concluded that it will be useful in the pest control program. Several quotes are in development and the potential purchase will be evaluated further by the operations department.

The cat’s out
of the bag
So why is the Manteca Unified school farm buying cat food of all things?
That’s the question a school board member asked at last month’s meeting.
An Ag teacher purchased cat food at Old McGowan’s Feed on Dec. 9, 2015.  The cat food is to feed a few feral cats at the school farm as part of a way to keep the rodent population down. 
Farm staff has been working on ways to control the rodent population, especially in the chicken barn. The district will review the effectiveness use of feral cat s at the end of the year to see if it has helped control the population.
There are several student co-op projects at the school farm.  The school farm lottery money is used to fund the feed, replacement of cages and other related cost for the co-op projects. These projects are separate from the FFA fair projects. Students in the co-op projects care for the animals and some may show them, however, students receive no monetary value from being in the co-op. There are many benefits for students, it is a great way for students to learn responsibility, how to care for animals, and be part of a team. There are co-ops for chickens, pheasants, rabbits, beef, sheep and goats.
Since this is related to students, lottery money is used for student co-op projects keeping it separate from the accounting of working farm.

Strings getting
ready to move
It’s taken a little while but Strings Italian Café is getting closer to moving into its newer digs at the former Isadore’s restaurant next to the Bank of Stockton on North Main Street.
Crews this past week put in place signs for the restaurant that has been located in the Mission Ridge Shopping center across from Safeway since the early 1990s.

Sierra football
on milk cartoon
Everybody needs milk, including the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV State Football Championship Team from Sierra High.
 Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, Sierra High School football players, their coaches and families will be getting their own championship honor when new commemorative milk cartons from Crystal Creamery hit store shelves.
As a sponsor of the Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, Crystal Creamery has featured more than 80 Section Champions for boys and girls sports teams from fall, winter and spring sports since 2012.  This year’s Sac-Joaquin Section football success included three State Championships.  The cartons seek to honor the success of the student athletes.  Crystal Creamery, founded in 1901, believes high school sports are critically important to the development of young men and women as the experiences they receive will remain with them forever. 
Individual milk cartons recognizing Del Oro, Central Catholic and Sierra High Schools as State Champions and a carton honoring Folsom, Sonora, Bradshaw Christian and Stone Ridge Christian High Schools will be available for sale starting Wednesday.  The football champion cartons can be found for a limited time at a variety of grocery and convenience stores including Nugget Market, O’Brien’s Market, Cost Less, PAQ Quinn and Wal-Mart. 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email