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New natural shelter for homeless on Moffat Blvd.
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The Tumbleweed Motel is now officially open along Moffat Boulevard.

Actually it is on the track side of the safety fence Union Pacific installed parallel to the Tidewater Bikeway. The fence now serves as a collector for tumbleweeds. The first makeshift homeless shelter was spotted just west of Powers Avenue a few weeks ago. Now there’s a report that others have been sleeping in the tumbleweeds right across from the Moffat Community Center/Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 Veterans Center.

Nice finishing touch for a $1.3 million civic investment that is just a few months old.

Manteca fines you for

weeds but not the city

Speaking of tumbleweeds, the estimated 500 plus people expected to attend the combined dedication ceremonies and open house for the veterans’ center as well as the solemn Veterans Day observance that takes place next Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Moffat location will be able to enjoy them as well.

And the best part they don’t have to walk over to the fence to enjoy them. Near the entrance to the center’s west parking lot on city property adjacent to the sidewalk is a cluster of soon-to-be tumbleweeds still anchored in the dirt.

A nearby pile of trash is expected to be cleared before Wednesday.

In case you are wondering, the cluster of tumbleweeds in a making are weeds and they are more than 6 inches high which violates city ordinances. Has anyone issued the city a citation? Don’t laugh. It happened before when the Tidewater Bikeway was finished but a dispute with the contractor ended up dragging out for months and months delaying the city from accepting it as completed. Meanwhile, tumbleweeds started choking the bike path.

Finally to get the city off the dime, the fire chief at the time had a weed abatement ordinance issued to the mayor. The tumbleweeds were leaned up.

Perhaps someone from the fire department can cite Mayor Steve DeBrum so the city can follow the same rules they make everyone else follow. And as an added tidbit, the weeds are part of the city’s park system since Tidewater’s 32 acres are listed as such by the city.

In the irony department, Ted Poulos — a retired pharmacist that has been a pillar of the Manteca community in every sense — was rushed to Doctors Hospital of Manteca this week.

Polous not only has served on the hospital board and Delta College Board of Trustees plus a whole slew of civic endeavors, but he also was one of the founding members of the Manteca District Ambulance District and served for years on the board.

The irony: A Manteca District Ambulance wasn’t available so a unit had to be called in from Escalon. Poulos got involved more than 50 years ago because Manteca patients needed emergency medical transportation had to wait for an ambulance from another community as one was not stationed in Manteca.

The good news is Poulos is expected to be out of the hospital in a few days,

About that free

class at August

Knodt School

There is no such thing as a free exercise class.

At least that’s what a few Manteca Unified School District coaches are saying  after reading a story about the free community exercise class that trustee Sam Fant helped secure the use of the August Knodt School cafeteria when it is not in use by students.

Eight people involved were fingerprinted and had background checks done so they could meet district requirements of having an authorized person on site during the class.

The volunteers didn’t pay for the fingerprinting and background checks — the district did from its general fund.

It costs $65 a person.

The reason volunteer coaches know that is they must pay the $65 fee out of their own pocket for the background checkss before they  are allowed to assist.

No parking zone

still in place

along Moffat

Those attending Wednesday’s Veterans Day ceremonies at the Moffat Community Center may have a tough time finding a parking space.

That’s because a no parking zone exists from in front of the Moffat Community Center/Manteca Veterans Center to the southeastern end of the adjacent storm rendition basin/park for on-street parking along Moffat.

A query of City Hall produced information they will be covered up for Wednesday’s event.

But there is a more serious question that should still be asked: Why are there no parking signs still in place?

They went up more than a decade ago to stop truckers from parking their rigs overnight on city property and along the street in that specific location. Nowhere else on Moffat are there no parking zones except for a small segment just before Cowell Avenue due to traffic sight issues.

Not only should the council direct the city to take out the signs but they might want to consider striping bike lanes to separate the travel lane from parking next to the curb.

It may sound redundant with the bike path nearby but there are a lot of bicyclists — and not just the homeless — heading to locations in downtown and along Moffat that would make no sense for them to use the bike trail that at the end of the day is primarily used by recreational walkers and a recreational bicyclists.

If it doesn’t make sense to have a bike lane near a bike path then why did the city install sidewalks n the south side of Moffat since pedestrians can use the bike path?

The best reason for bike lanes on Moffat is to slow people down a bit so they are going the posted speed limit. Bike lanes have been used effectively on other streets such as Center Street to calm traffic.

When the city is putting pavement grindings taken from East Yosenite Avenue and South Main Street when road work is conducted and place them in neighborhood alleys, they might want to consider placing some on the dirt area next to the center’s parking lot. That way it could be used as overflow parking isntead of remaining a barren, dusty parcel for the next 40 or so years.

They’re already trying to

strip wire from new center

Now to speak  about the homeless and meth heads: — they are not mutually exclusive by the way — Is the City of Manteca making it possible for them to destroy part of the new $1.3 million Moffat Community Center?

There have already been reports of vandalism in the fenced in area to the south side of the building that houses the air conditioning unit and other equipment. Veterans of Foreign Wars members have found screws and such removed from panels. They also have found homeless sleeping inside area surrounded by ab 8-foot fence with plastic slats. They climb in by using the “wavy” metal that’s part of the architectural design of the building where it is adjacent to the fence to get a footing. They are marks in the metal from their frequent trips.

The city avoided similar problems at the municipal golf course by placing fencing material to create an “open roof” to discourage most intruders.

One must ask why the city turned the building over to the VFW without putting such a “roof” in place to protect equipment that is a prime target for copper wire theft. Anyone who has been living in Manteca during the past eight years starting with the housing crisis whether they are in a new or older neighborhood know how metal thieves have destroyed $4,000 residential A/C units by stripping them for copper. Destroy a commercial style unit and the veterans — who are on the hook for maintenance — will pay a hefty price for the city making the community center friendly for metal thieves.

Thieves taken plants

from city property

The last tidbit for today on the Moffat Community Center is about sticky fingers.

Since landscaping has been put in place, Veterans of Foreign Wars members have had to replace 20 shrubs primarily along the south side of the building along the Tidewater Bikeway.

They are the type of one-gallon shrubs you can buy at Home Depot for $5.99.

Obviously the thieves either own or rent a home and want to save a few bucks on landscaping.

It isn’t the first time nor will it be the last time plants have been stolen from city property.

The most egregious example, though, was in 2002 before the Woodward West landscape maintenance district was turned over to the city. The developer kept losing a tree or two a night. Finally they had someone watch it. Not only did they see the culprit but they followed them to their home. It turned out the woman stealing the plants and trees had bought a home in the new neighborhood and was landscaping her yard.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email