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Costly $159 cell calls & text messages
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Cell phones and seat belts continued to be a focus Tuesday of the four Manteca Police motorcycle officers on the street trying to stem “distracted drivers” in the state-wide education campaign.

There were a couple of offenders in the “zero tolerance” effort that really stood out.  A traveling business woman from the Bay Area told me that she is the emergency contact for her 9-year-old grandson in Antioch.  She was driving down Yosemite Avenue about 10 a.m. – he called and she answered the phone in the view of one of Manteca’s finest.

Zero tolerance – she got a $159 ticket. She hoped it wouldn’t show up on her insurance.

Another driver – a young woman – was sitting at the signal at the Yosemite and Main Street intersection.  Lt. Nick Obligacion saw her looking down at her lap so he edged his motorcycle next to her passenger window where he could get a better look.  She was texting and he burped his siren slightly to get her attention – she was had.

The woman pulled into the alley behind the furniture store on the southeast corner where the officer wrote her ticket.  She told him she knew it was wrong but didn’t know about the state-wide campaign.  Many Manteca residents apparently got the word since officers found it more difficult on Tuesday to find cell phone users than the day earlier.

While those officers were concentrating on cell phones and seat belts they were discovering other problems.  

Ripon traffic officer Stephen Meece found a 20-year-old guy texting in a vehicle next to him Tuesday morning as he was going in to work at Main Street and Highway 99.  The ticket was seen as something of a surprise.

Rankin family Trauma is a big deal
It’s really difficult for outsiders to see the trauma that a family like that of Phil and Mary Rankin went through because of the Manteca businessman’s flight on Southwest that was forced to land with a hole ripped away in the upper fuselage.

Mary Rankin felt her husband’s anxiety in thinking what might have been an awful tragedy.  And the 30 minutes it took to drop the altitude of the aircraft was a time when passengers could only imagine the worst:  more of the skin of the aircraft ripping away and challenging the air worthiness of the flight.

It’s easy for us who weren’t there to soft pedal the reality of the event since the pilot and crew did their jobs and saw to it their passengers were safe.  Without a doubt the entire flight experience left an indelible mark on every passenger and crew member for a lifetime.

In-out burgers going to Texas
It’s amazing how chatting with one person can open the doors to another story and an old friend.  At In-N-Out for my usual late 12-minute lunch I learned that the family-owned burger business in going to be opening in Texas soon from the cities of Frisco to Allen – another reason to visit our son Scott in Mansfield.

Happened to run into the sister of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kim Komenich,  a product of Manteca High School in the ‘70s.  Komenich is a former Bulletin photog who went on to great heights with the San Francisco Examiner winning his highest honor in spot news photography  in the 1984 revolution and overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.

So I called him from my table at the restaurant and he answered interrupting an ongoing critique with an active video documentary class.  There’s nothing better than having Kim answer the phone with the exuberance of a teenager.

It has been some 40 years since my friend, who I hired as an MHS junior, first worked at the Manteca paper.  Kim went on to greatness in my opinion with a work ethic second to none.   “People Power: A Revolution Revisited” is his current project

Go on that web site and see many of the pictures he has on display hoping to fill in the blanks with the names of those whom were photographed.  It was in 1984 that he joined Examiner reporter Phil Bronstein to cover the uprising.  He was with the Examiner and later the Chronicle from 1982 until 2009.

Kim is no longer a newspaper photographer choosing to teach multimedia at San Jose State University.  The project involved more than 800 rolls of silver-based  film accented with today’s cutting-edge digital technologies.

Photos from his career can be seen