By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pig manure dumping issue for police
Manteca Coty Councilman Steve DeBrum, left, and Police Chief Dave Bricker, right, answer questions from the Gloisten family on Saturday at Perko’s Café. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The annexation on 1,037 acres along South Austin Road brought with it rural policing needs at a vast strawberry plant nursery where illegal dumping of pig manure has been compromising the quality of the land.

Police Chief David Bricker held his monthly breakfast chat Saturday morning at Perko’s Restaurant on East Yosemite Avenue and heard the concern of two certified nurserymen who work the acreage.

Lassen Canyon Nursery ranch manager Alfredo Ramirez and Randy Ito were having a quick breakfast when the chief introduced himself to them at their table.  The Lassen Nursery produces strawberry plants rather than turning out strawberries for market sales.  The plants are harvested and sent to the East Coast and into Europe for growing stock.

“They are dumping pig manure onto the road and it is going into the fields and contaminating the soil,” Ramirez said.  “Last Tuesday night there were truck loads dumped that spread into the fields.”

The men said they have had copper wire stolen along with several pumps.  They noted that they have installed electric gates for added security, but the chains have been cut.

City Councilman Steve DeBrum – walking the tables with Bricker – said he had personally seen a red pickup truck in the area.  The men concurred that they believe there was someone in a red truck who was taking part in the dumping.

The ranch manager said that he had installed flood lights near parked farm diesel equipment, but to no avail because the lights are being turned off and the fuel tanks are drained.  Bricker urged the men to call his officers when they see suspicious parties in the area especially at night.

A Manteca couple living near Hildebrand Park, sandwiched between the 400 block of Pine and Fir streets, said the late evening hours can be very noisy since a basketball court has been installed in the park.  Teens can be very loud at midnight as they play in the park, they said, being inconsiderate of those sleeping nearby.  They agreed the noise has gotten worse in the last few years wondering if Manteca doesn’t have a curfew law that should be better enforced.

Bricker then introduced himself to a family of nine headed for Yosemite National Park from Elk Grove.  He spent some time talking with “dad,” Mark Gloisten and his daughter Stefanie.  Another teen sat to his left, Nicole Gillin, all obviously excited about the extended family’s trip up Highway 120.

Brock Elliot seventh grader Tyler Gales, 12, was having breakfast with his grandparents and his mother when Chief Bricker walked up to the table.  The veteran officer took the opportunity to talk with Tyler about the summer Crime Scene Investigation Junior Police Academy coming up in the early summer months.

Tyler was also made aware that in a short two years he would be eligible to join the Manteca Police Explorer Cadet Program.

The chief came across Alan Cromer who had been an officer in Peoria Heights, IL years ago.  The former officer had moved west and worked in a warehouse operation. They shared a couple of stories from the 1970s.

Three California National Guardsmen were seated together having stopped for breakfast on their way to Richmond for training and inspections.  Bricker made a brief stop and offered his appreciation for their service to the country and asked them where they were headed on assignment.

The three soldiers included David Koch, Escalon; Robert McDonald, Sacramento; and Andrew Valesquez of Lathrop.

Pete Winters, 92, was having breakfast alone and seemed happy to talk with the chief and the city council member.  He had farmed in Ripon and Manteca for his entire life having been born across from the Post Office location on Main Street in Ripon.

Winters said he farmed the area of Ripon from what is now Roberts Avenue and Main Street, west to Jack Tone Road, and south to Sixth Street.  He recalled that his parents had purchased the land complete with a house for just $29,000 many years ago.

Bricker also learned that Winters Drive had been named after the longtime farmer – since he had sold his land to make way for Sierra High School.  The chief has made the loop of several restaurants monthly on Saturday mornings from Perko’s to Johnny’s, The Waffle Shop and Denny’s on South Main Street.