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Almond blossoms & stray dogs
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The almond trees are blossoming, the bees are buzzing – and garbage and dogs are being dumped in the countryside. Nothing says Ansel Adams or Thomas Kinkade springscape like a 26-inch broken Zenith lying next to an old dresser by the side of the road. It seems every year around this time, someone’s spring cleaning discards become a part of rural Manteca. Do people not know about the dump? Or the fact that the city will come to your house once a year for large disposals? 

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t always let the dumping bother me. I was about 10 when one such pile in front of our dairy yielded a rusty switchblade and a nudie magazine – otherwise known as the 8th greatest day of my life! They stayed hidden in the hay barn for years. However years of scooping mattresses and old stereo speakers into the loader for a back-of-the-dairy trash bonfire eventually destroyed that one shining moment.

The trash dumpers aren’t even the worst of the lot. The last two years my house has been overrun with dumped dogs. I’d say I’ve tended to no less than eight dogs at my house alone over this time. It’s as if I live in the Bermuda Triangle of Strays. As if a wormhole connects my front yard to some deadbeat pet owner’s awful soul. Why do city folk think dumping a dog in the country is the best bet? Is it the speeding traffic, sure to make your terrified pet road kill? The other large overly protective country dogs ready to pounce on your living room Corgi? The coyotes? The night cold? Whatever it is, rest assured, you are an awful human. 

I understand that a pet can become more than some can handle, and there is an amount guilt and shame involved in having to get rid of one. The country dump, unfortunately, is as near a death sentence as you can impose. There are places that willingly take these animals and attempt to find them homes. Heck, the front of a pet store, a school and a park are all better options than Perrin Road. So please don’t be one of these people, or one morning you may find a cow tied to a pile of old tractor tires lying in the front yard of your city home.



The Anderson’s 209 BMX Team Crab Feed was held at the FESM Hall and there wasn’t a seat to spare. Spearheaded by founders Jon and Cathy Anderson, bike racers as young as 8 and as old 50 wore their team jerseys with pride. The feed helps support two groups: The Anderson 209’s and The Icee Racing Team, both of which call Spreckels BMX Park home. Founded in 2001 by the City of Manteca, the ABA, and Anderson’s 209 BMX Team, and located at the corner of Spreckels and Moffat, the track has gained notoriety on the NorCal BMX scene. Bingo Dias, a member of the “40’s on 20’s Team” (referring to age and tire size), stated: “Jon is one of a kind. Many people involve themselves in a sport when their children are involved, but disappear when they finish. Jon Anderson does this purely for the joy of BMX, and helping kids have a safe environment to learn it in.” The group hopes to hold larger state and national events in the near future. 

The raffle and live auction were a huge success. While auctioneering, I was put to task by young racer Zach Loftis. Kids often try to playfully bid during a live auction, so I try to scare them out of this habit. Pointing at them while announcing “Sold it out for $1,000!” usually does the trick. Zach threw his hand up, bidding on an autographed UFC Fighter Nick Diaz T-shirt. He was near enough to where I let him know the bidding is for adults only. Yet he continued bidding. Time to teach a boy a life lesson, I thought. I sold it to him, expecting fear to wash over him. It didn’t. The district’s BMX points leader dug into his pockets, pulled out the dough and celebrated his victory with his young racing comrades.

Loftis 1,Teicheira 0.


A Child in Need

A fundraiser/dinner Alexis Tovar will be held on March 14 at The Merlot in Lodi. The 2-year-old daughter of Damon and Stephanie Tovar fell ill in December 2012, when her feet and ankles begin to swell. After a trip to the emergency room, she was diagnosed with Minimal change disease, a type of kidney disease children typically outgrow by adulthood. However, after months of steroid therapy, she began to lose large amounts of protein in her urine and underwent a kidney biopsy. It was then discovered that she has Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). FSGS is a condition in which an individual becomes dependent on dialysis or a kidney transplant, both which are imperfect solutions. The overall prevalence in the United States is estimated to be 70,000 individuals, this includes children and adults. Finding new treatments for FSGS is generally recognized as one of the great challenges in medicine. Alexis’ kidney disease progressed quickly to kidney failure. After three months of treatment in the hospital, she is now on chronic dialysis until she receives a kidney transplant.

Stephanie, a 1996 East Union grad, has recently left her job at the Valley Mountain Regional Center to care full-time for her daughter. All fundraiser proceeds will go towards accumulated medical expenses and future treatment. Please contact Marissa or Michelle at (209) 570-1451 or email at for more information on the fundraiser or general donation inquiries.