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Sand drifts were not part of film remake
Manteca Police Captain Charlie Goeken
Manteca Police Captain Charlie Goeken parols the weekly Friday farmers market at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley from 4 to 8 p.m. - photo by Glenn Khal/Bulletin

 No, they were not filming a remake of the “Lawrence of Arabia” film Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Atherton Drive and South Main Street.
Wind-whipped sand drifts blowing from an area where strawberries are grown and an almond orchard that was recently removed was a reminder of what much of the Manteca area was like before irrigated farming and development came to the sandy plains.
Sustained winds with gusts up to 28 mph sent sand southward towards homes, coating cars, and creating havoc for swimming pool filters.
Unlike construction sites that must comply with city rules and roll out the water trucks when winds reach at certain sustained speed to keep dust down, agricultural operations are exempt from the requirement.
Manteca is a right to farm city that is made clear in the document with large type that home buyers sign at the close of escrow. Accepted farm practices are protected.
The strawberry farmers have placed canvas on fencing at the northwest corner of the intersection to catch what sand they can but on days like Wednesday there isn’t much that can stop it from taking flight and making Atherton-Main seem like it is in the Mojave Desert during a blinding sand storm.
The problem of blowing sand will go away once the land is developed which, of course, will trigger other complaints that farmland is being paved over.
A century ago, sand storms were the norm in the just incorporated city of 200 plus people that today has 81,500 residents and counting.
As Manteca develops nuances that were natural to the sandy plains have disappeared including most tumbleweeds.
Twenty-five years ago long before any homes were built south of the 120 Bypass and land north of the freeway wasn’t all built, tumbleweeds were a major driving hazard on the 120 Bypass.
That was back before it was four lanes. Instead it had alternating lanes of two in one direction and one in the other and then flipping to the opposite. Separating the two directions of travel was a concrete K-rail that “caught” tumbleweeds blown onto the Bypass. It wasn’t usual for tumbleweeds to slow down and even stop traffic. At night you could see sparks flying under the vehicle in front of you if it ran over a tumbleweed that ended up getting caught on the under carriage of the vehicle.

Orchard Valley
picks up $38,000
in police overtime
The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley pays overtime for a Manteca Police officer to patrol the center on Friday and Saturday nights.
That means they are on hand when activities pick up at the restaurants as well as the AMC Theatre. They are also on hand for the weekly Friday farmers markets from 4 to 8 p.m. taking place through the end of October in the area in front of the AMC Theatre next to the lake.
Manteca paid police officers $1,599,000 in overtime last year to fill gaps in regular staffing created by vacancies, illness, injuries, and vacation plus for work connected with major incidents as well as court appearances.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email