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Working to expand Neighborhood Watch
pic natnight-1
James Steen and James Carpenter helped organize Tuesday’s National Night Out block party at Poplar Avenue adjacent to Amador Circle in Manteca. The Neighborhood Watch members, for the third straight year, were responsible for bringing in the bounce house-sized waterslide. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
James Carpenter and James Steen go out of their way for National Night Out.

The annual event on Tuesday was no different for the two members of the Neighborhood Watch on Poplar Avenue directly behind Golden West School. They were responsible for bringing in the bounce house-sized waterslide to mark the occasion.

“They enjoy doing this for the kids,” said Carpenter’s wife, Debbie.

Added James Steen’s wife, Mimmy: “In turn, we’re hoping to meet some of the other families and ask for their support.”

Their group currently consists of about six families.

Debbie and Mimmy, in fact, put out flyers a few days earlier, advertising a 5 p.m. Neighborhood Watch meeting in conjunction with National Night Out, but with no response.

Instead, they had to go with Plan B.

“Now, we’re hoping to get a list with the names of our neighbors and contact numbers,” said Debbie Carpenter.

The Carpenters are considered among the long-timers on the block, having lived in the area for 14 years.

“We’ve been here for about half that time,” Mimmy Steen said.

Meanwhile, youngsters enjoyed the opportunity of the waterslide in the middle of their street. Some of the older kids played pick-up basketball games on the rollout hoop situated on the other side of the closed out block.

Meanwhile, the Neighborhood Watch group on Mylnar Avenue in the Shasta School area once again got together for the special occasions.

The street there was also closed off, allowing for youngsters to ride their motorized scooters and bikes without the threat of moving vehicles.

“When it gets dark, they’ll play hide and go seek. It’s just like what we used to do 40 years ago,” said block chairman Keith Jackson.

His group consists of 15 families, with many including Jackson among the long timers.

“This is just a great time to enjoy your neighbors,” he said.

Many contributed to the potluck by bringing their favorite dishes to share among their neighbors while enjoying a barbecue.

In addition, they received a visit from the local police, fire, and ambulance.

“We have nine stops planned (for National Night Out),” said Manteca Fire Department Captain Kevin Terpstra of Engine 244. “We’re sure going to try to make all nine stops.”

The block parties on Poplar and Mylnar avenues were among the 50 registered in Manteca this year.