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| VOL. 2 | ISSUE 2

>>editor’s note

A Return to the ‘Dear Old Golden Rule’ Days ADDRESS 94 W. Castle St., Suite #B Stockton, CA 95204 PHONE 209.932.9252 TOLL FREE 1.888.289.0521 FAX 1.866.298.0408 WEB PUBLISHER Shawn Crary EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Mitzi Stites Managing Editor Alan Naditz Staff Writer & Copy Editor Gene Beley Contributing Writer Bernadine Chapman-Cruz Contributing Writer Paul Grant Contributing Writer Francis Novero Contributing Writer Gayle Romasanta Contributing Writer CREATIVE DEPARTMENT Shawn Crary Art Director Louie Ambriz Junior Graphic Designer, Photographer & Web Development Matt Vincent Graphic Designer & Web Development SUPPORTING STAFF Cameron Crary Circulation Alec Fielding Circulation MARKETING DEPARTMENT Noel Fielding Advertising Director Rachel Castillo Marketing Consultant Lisa Griffith Marketing Consultant Memri Johnson Marketing Consultant Boo Mariano-Junqueiro Marketing Consultant Crystal Salvador Marketing Consultant ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE/PAYABLE Ernie Gallardo Office Manager CONTACT US To submit advertisements & artwork To submit press releases

“School days, school days, dear old golden rule days.” Growing up, school was such a huge part of my life. This was the time when I was able to discover what type of person I was and wanted to be. Friendships were made, hearts were broken, there were a lot of school activities and oh, yes, even a little studying got done. We all attended the local neighborhood schools. I would walk with my friends to and from school – first elementary school, then on to middle school, and finally the walk to the bus stop for high school. If we were lucky enough, we could take the family car once we received the allimportant driver’s license. School was a lot simpler then. Schools had a lot to offer students. Along with high school core classes, there were more elective classes and extracurricular activities for students. There seemed to be something for everyone. There were music classes, several foreign languages to learn and various art classes. When it came to taking electives, there was a lot to choose from. Class size was something we never had to worry about. In elementary school and junior high, the class size never went over 24 or 25 students; in high school the class size wasn’t over 30. There was the occasional person picking on other people, but never bullying like the type going on today. I took for granted how good I actually had things. I was in eighth grade when the first rumblings of budget cuts came about. I am sure there were always budget cuts, but this was the first time I felt it affect me. Classes were going to be cut. My junior high planned to eliminate home economics and shop class. I remember going to the school board meeting with many other students and teachers to see if they were really going to cut these classes. I even got up and talked about how important these classes were to the students. Those same two little words, budget cuts, hit me hard when I was a senior in high school. I was in music as well as on drill team. During this year, the school district needed to cut its budget in a big way – very much like in the movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Luckily, though, they didn’t get rid of all of the arts; small cuts were made in all departments. This allowed the schools to keep everything. Several fundraisers helped keep things going. When my own children were ready to start school, I enrolled them in the local community school and did my share of volunteering like so many of our readers do. As my children learned their ABCs, I received an education on how much schools have changed over the years. By the time my oldest reached second grade, my eyes opened to a lot of things. There weren’t a lot of extra classes for the older students, the number of children per classroom had increased and bullying was almost a daily occurrence. Now, I know that there is no perfect school anywhere, and you may love the school that your child attends. That’s great news. Our children are our No. 1 priority and we, as parents, are always striving to make them the best that they can be. Our feature story this month is on Charter schools. You will get an inside look at a few of them and see how they work. Many of you may be surprised at what these schools offer. They offer students a variety of classes and subjects to study. Does your child love animals and farming? There is a charter school that focuses on that. What about music, sports and health? There are schools that specialize in those fields as well. It’s true that not every school is a fit for every child. It’s also true that public schools still have a lot to offer our kids. But one of our goals as a parent is to help our children succeed in life, and that can begin with their school years. Mitzi Stites | Managing Editor |

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The Manteca Monthly magazine is published once a month and direct-mailed to over 15,000 homes in the Stockton community of Weston Ranch, and the cities of Lathrop, Manteca and Ripon. An additional 4,000 copies are distributed in high-traffic areas. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher is not responsible for the accuracy of copy or comments submitted to Big Monkey Group LLC., and/or Manteca Monthly magazine. Contents may be edited for clarity and length. ©2013 BIG MONKEY GROUP LLC

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>>feature story

A Chartered Course

A Local Parent Investigates San Joaquin County Charter Schools By Paul Grant Contributing Writer


ecently, my wife and I tried to get our sevenyear-old son into one of the local private charter schools. To say we were unsuccessful was an understatement: his name was selected 238th out of 240 applicants, with only 60 openings available. I had been told at the time that this was not unusual, and that his chance of enrolling in any of the public charters was slim at best.

In December, during an interview for another story, San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts mentioned the countyoperated charter school network, something I knew nothing about. With our youngest son also starting public school this year, I thought it was time to do some research into the county charter schools. I must say that I was surprised and impressed by the breadth and scope of the program, and also with the young people that I met who attend these schools. On the drive out to the first of the schools, Dr. Founts had plenty of time to fill me in on the history of the charters. Venture Academy, the first county’s charter, was started to support local homeschooling for elementary-aged students. Parents needed assistance with resources and testing, and the academy could monitor the student’s progress as it related to state standards. As parents began to request more services, the school was eventually operating four days a week. Middle school and high school students were added, and Venture became a traditional five-day-a-week school. As Fount’s philosophy of “finding a place for every student” solidified, new academies were added within

San Joaquin County’s public charter schools find a way to always keep students laughing and learning. the Venture Academy framework that focused on different areas of academics and interests. My tour started with Venture Academy’s agriculture school, Historic Durham Ferry. This was an “academy within the academy,” where students grades 6 through 12 could focus on agriculture, ecology, animal husbandry and agriculture technology. All classrooms had laptop computers for every student, which I soon realized was common throughout the charter system. Muddy boots are left at the door while students study in the classroom, then on again to ride horses or work with a large collection of South African Boer goats. Freshman Claire Allen walked me through the Boer goat program, which starts every morning with standard farm chores like feeding, cleaning stalls and administering medicine. She showed me the goats that she cares for personally, including one she had recently assisted in giving birth to a litter (or “tower,” for goat aficionados) of eight “kids.” Claire introduced me to her show

goat Gypsy, and I asked her what impresses the judges the most about a goat. “You want a lot of mass, but for [young female goats], you also want a feminine neck,” she told me. “Gypsy doesn’t have the best neck, but I’m breeding her to a buck that will bring the feminine neck in to her kids.” Claire and the other students who work with animals make a commitment that goes well beyond school hours, as most students volunteer to feed and clean on weekends and through the summer. There’s no doubt this school is only for hardcore farm enthusiasts, and all of the students I saw looked like they were in just the right place. Back at Venture Academy Family of Schools headquarters, I toured through Ventureland Academy, the school for kindergarten through sixth grade. The classrooms were clean and comfortable, but there were some obvious differences compared to the school my children attend. These include a massive rock climbing wall and a woodshop so automated that Mar-

lowe Burgess, the shop teacher, built an entire project in the five minutes that we spent together. As he moved from the jig saw to the drill press to the router, he explained that he, like some others, wore several hats at the Academy, including managing the rock wall and working with the independent study students. I admired the seascape merry-go-round he had just created, and moved on. I quickly saw that the academies within the Venture group offer a focus for almost any student. At Delta VISTA, 9th through 12th graders surround themselves with science, technology, and medicine. Nine advanced placement courses are offered, and students can earn up to 32 college semester units in a program that partners with Grand Canyon University. Foundations Academy is a Visual and Performing Arts program for students who want to focus on drama, language arts, or social studies. The Academy of Innovation and Inquiry, also called Brainworx, offers more perContinued on page 6

manteca monthly magazine | FEBRUARY 2013 | 5

>>feature story Area Public Charter Schools Aspire APEX Academy (209) 466-3861 Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy (209) 955-1477

Academy of Business, Law and Education (209) 478-1600 California Connections Academy at Ripon (503) 877-8144

Excel Academy Collegiate Sports and Health Science Preparatory School (209) 227-2300 Great Valley Academy (209) 824-5400

Aspire Langston Hughes Academy (209) 943-2389

California Pacific Charter School North Central CA (855) 225-7227

Joe Serna Jr. Charter School (209) 331-7809

Aspire Port City Academy (209) 943-2389

California Virtual Academy at San Joaquin (866) 339-6790

Manteca Unified Vocational Academy (209) 858-7460

Aspire River Oaks Charter (209) 956-8100

Delta Charter School (209) 830-6789

New Jerusalem School (209) 835-2597

Dr. Lewis Dolphin Stallworth Sr. Charter School (209) 943-0353

Nightingale Charter School (209) 933-7260

Escalon Charter Academy (209) 838-3591

One.Charter Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (209) 468-9079

Aspire Rosa Parks Academy (209) 944-5590 Aspire Vincent Shalvery Academy (209) 931-5399

Continued from page 5 sonalized programs with one-on-one attention, and students can complete up to 20 college credits. I loved the names of two academies: the New Energy Academy and the Clean Transportation Technologies Academy. In my opinion, these are critical emerging technologies and I feel better about the state of modern education when I hear that high school students have the opportunity to engage in the science and debate of creating a cleaner future. Central to all of the academies is the Da Vinci Center for Innovative Learning. While not an academy itself, any Venture Academy student may take classes here. The mainstays here are science, technology, engineering, digital arts and math. As I walked in the door, I saw students using a 3-D printer to create working machines from computer drawings (if you haven’t heard of a 3-D printer, you should Google it – they are amazing!). These students were learning about rapid prototyping, an advanced manufactur6 | FEBRUARY 2013 | manteca monthly magazine

Pacific Law Academy (209) 933-7000

Stockton High (209) 933-7365

Pittman Charter School (209) 933-7496

Stockton Unified Early College Academy (209) 933-7370 ext. 1450

Rio Valley Charter School (209) 368-4934 San Joaquin Building Futures Academy (209) 468-9246 Stockton Collegiate International Elementary (209) 390-9861 Stockton Collegiate International Secondary (209) 390-9861 Stockton Health Careers Academy (209) 933-7360

ing process that also involved laser-cutting cardboard models and learning advanced 3-D modeling software. In the robotics lab, Jim Bock supervises the building and programming of robots for land, sea and air. In the media center, students produce their own movies and the posters to promote them. Everywhere you turn at the Da Vinci Center, you see something incredibly cool. This was where I wish I had gone to school! The Venture Academy of Schools is just one of the four charters operated by the county. My next visit was to the Building Futures Academy, a construction technology school for at-risk young adults ages 18-26. Here, I saw older youth learning masonry, electrical, woodwork and framing, sheetrock, insulation, plumbing, and many other skills. I didn’t get to stop in at the One Academy, but I learned from Dr. Founts that it is a visual and performing arts school for 7th to 12th graders, specializing in art, dance, design, film, acting, writing, music and theater. My last stop was Excel Academy, a brandnew school with a focus on collegiate sports and health science. While athletics is a major

TEAM Charter School (209) 462-2282 Tracy Learning Center Three sites Discovery Charter School I Millennium Charter School l Primary Charter School (209) 831-5240 Velocity International Science & Technology Academy (209) 622-1900 Venture Academy Family of Schools (209) 468-5940

focus, this academy also touts itself as being highly focused on the curriculum, with the goal that every student will succeed academically in college. I toured the new gym, which is under construction but still very impressive, with two full-size basketball courts. There are 150 students enrolled this first year, and a limit has already been set at 300. Inside the school, I wondered if it would seem like a really competitive environment, but the vibe was more energetic and friendly. Again, technology was everywhere and the students used iPads for textbooks. I was told that in addition to athletic training, students take four classes a semester: one sports-related and three on other academic subjects. This is definitely only a school for students who want to push themselves as athletes, but for those who fit that description, it seems like a haven. Overall, I was very impressed by the county charter schools, particularly the Venture Academies. Most kids can learn and thrive at a standard public school, but I think the charters are a great option for kids who want to channel their talents and energy in a more-focused direction.

>>around manteca

Costa Named New SJCOE Assistant Superintendent Ron Costa has been selected to fill the vacant position of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at SJCOE, the office announced. Costa brings extensive experience in teaching, site administration, and district administration. He is currently superintendent of Escalon Unified School District. Prior to this position, Costa was assistant superintendent at Riverbank Unified School District. He also served as principal at Rio Altura School in Riverbank Unified School District. He graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences and Management. He received his teaching credentials from Chapman University. Costa Ron Costa completed his Master of Science in Educational Administration from National University, and received his Administrative Credential from California State University, Stanislaus. “I am excited to have someone with [Costa’s] experience and passion as a part of our leadership team,” said SJCOE Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mick Founts. “He is a solid instructional leader who balances management with a deep love of all youth. It is a great honor to welcome Ron to our SJCOE family.”

Stepping Out with the Manteca Senior Center Come on this month’s trip to the Chabot Space and Science Center and explore the universe, visit the stars, and enjoy the interactive, hands-on exhibitions. Watch two planetarium shows, try on an authentic astronaut’s helmet, and see what astronauts would eat in space. Visit the historic observatory and see specimens of rocks from outer space. This is an adventure for the entire family; take your grandchildren for a wonderful opportunity of a lifetime. The trip

includes round-trip transportation from Manteca Senior Center and Chabot entry admission fee. A no-host lunch will be available in the Skyline Bistro, and you will have time to shop and browse in the Starry Nights Gift Shop. This trip is Saturday, Feb. 9 and is $48 per person. Anyone ages 18 and older may participate. For more information on these or other trips, visit the Trips and Tours office inside the Senior Center, or call (209) 456-8652. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Battle of the Bands The Manteca Youth Advisory Commission and GK Music will present “Battle of the Bands” on Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This event is for you and teens and will be held at 295 Cherry Lane in Manteca. Tickets are $5 pre-sell or $8 at the door. For more information, call Manteca Parks and Recreation at (209) 456-8600. manteca monthly magazine | FEBRUARY 2013 | 7

>>around manteca

Important School Dates Manteca Unified School District Friday, Feb. 8 will be an in-service day for staff; there will be no school for students. Schools will be closed on Monday, Feb. 11 to observe President Lincoln’s birthday and on Monday, Feb. 18 to observe President Washington’s birthday. There will be a minimum day for all schools on Friday, Feb. 15. George McParland Elementary School There will be a talent show practice on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 3:30 p.m. Dress rehearsal is Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 3:30 p.m. and the talent show performance is Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Spring pictures will be taken Thursday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. Golden West Elementary School Students will have spring pictures taken on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Great Valley Elementary School Looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids? Then come to the Great Valley Math and Science Night on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. There will be games, prizes and activities for all ages. So come on down and have some fun while learning about math and science. Joseph Widmer Jr. Elementary School The Fifth Grade Science Camp is Monday, Feb. 11 through Friday, Feb. 15. The See’s Candy Fundraiser is Tuesday, Feb. 19 through Monday, Feb. 25. East Union High School There is a football program meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. The school will hold a blood drive on Friday, Feb. 22. The Winter Sports Social is Monday, Feb. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sierra High School There is a Sober Grad Night Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. The Theatre and Advanced Choir will have performances on Thursday, Feb. 21, Friday, Feb. 22, Saturday, Feb. 23 and Thursday, Feb. 28. The Winter Sports Awards Night is Monday, Feb. 25. Lathrop High School The Pennies for Patients coin

drive is Monday, Feb. 18 through Friday, March 1. A student dodge ball tournament is the week of Monday, Feb. 25 through Friday, March 1, during lunch. Open Mic Night is Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. Students will have a chance to showcase their café-related talents like setting. Various school clubs will be selling at this event. There will be a student versus staff basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 28, allowing for some friendly competition among teachers and their students. Ripon Unified School District Schools will be closed on Friday, Feb. 15 and Monday, Feb. 18 to observe President’s Weekend. Colony Oak Elementary School There is a Parent/Faculty Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. and the Kindergarten program begins on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9 a.m. Park View Elementary School Fifth Grade Walk through the West Presentation and the Parent Faculty Meeting are Tuesday, Feb. 5. The second annual Park View Crab Feed is Friday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. Spirit Day and the Kindergarten Field Trip are Friday, Feb. 22. There is a special assembly on skate board science on Monday, March 4. Writing test make-up for fourth and seventh grade is Wednesday, March 6. Ripon High School Valentine Gram sales are Monday, Feb. 4 through Friday, Feb. 8. Cheer practices are Monday through Friday all month, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., except for Friday, Feb. 15 and Monday, Feb. 18. There are Gyms/JROTC drills throughout the month, Monday through Friday, from 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., except for Friday, Feb. 15 and Monday, Feb. 18. The JROTC Eighth Grade Brigade Championship is Saturday, Feb. 16. The Sadie Hawkins Dance is Friday, March 1. Weston Elementary School There is a Parent/Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. The second trimester ends Friday, Feb. 19. There is a School Site Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1.

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Happenings at Your Local Library Lathrop Library Preschool Story Time. Preschool story times are designed for toddlers and preschoolers and feature 30 minutes of stories, finger plays, and other age appropriate activities. They will begin at 1:30 p.m. There will be two special story times this month: Valentine’s Day story time is Thursday, Feb. 14. On Thursday, Feb. 28, the story time will celebrate the Chinese New Year. Lathrop Library is at 15461 Seventh St. in Lathrop. Business hours are Tuesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call (866) 805-READ.

Manteca Library All About Baby Story Time. Even the youngest babies will benefit from this 20-minute combination of simple picture book stories, rhythmic music, plus finger plays with motion and movement. Baby Story time is Tuesday all month long. The doors open at 10 a.m., stories and songs are at 10:30 a.m. Playtime is available before and after the formal activities. Pre School Story Time. This story time for preschoolers and their parents/caregivers features stories, poetry, songs, finger plays, movement and lots of fun. This story time is on Thursdays all month long at 10:30 a.m. The Manteca Library is at 320 W. Center St. in Manteca. Business hours are Monday, noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Sunday. For more information, call (866) 805-READ.

Weston Ranch Library Pre School Story Time. Come join the fun as they enjoy finger plays, stories and songs. Story time is followed by a simple craft or play time. This story time is held every Friday at 10:30 a.m. Zumba. Get fit while you have fun. Exercise/dance to Latin

rhythms like salsa, cumbia, samba, and merengue music. Zumba is held every Friday throughout the month at 4 p.m. The Weston Ranch Library is at 1453 W. French Camp Road in Stockton. Business hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call (866) 805-READ.

Ripon Library Preschool Story Time. This is a fun half-hour of stories, finger plays, movement and music led by library staff. Develop your children’s literacy skills and introduce them to a fun group activity. This story time will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, at 10:30 a.m. All About Baby Story Time. This program, led by staff, is for babies and parents/caregivers to introduce babies to early literacy skills. Even the youngest babies will benefit from this 20-minute combination of simple picture book stories, rhythmic music, finger plays with motion and movement, board book sharing and all-inclusive recognition and singing. The repetitive nature of this program helps with memory and cognition, motor skills development. This story time will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, at 10:30 a.m. Teen Video Games. Join teens to play video games every first and third Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. The TAG (Teen Activities Group) facilitates the fun. Play X Box, Wii and PS2 games. Occasionally another teen program, like a movie, will be scheduled for the first or third Saturday. Please check the calendar carefully. The Ripon Library is at 333 W. Main St. in Ripon. Business hours are Monday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Sunday. For more information, call (866) 805 READ.

>>around manteca

Left to right: Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts; Dino Piazza, FirstPlace Tokay High School; Edward Jacob Somera, Third Place , Tokay High School; and Nicole Lawrence, Second Place, Stagg High School.

For These Students, School is Cool San Joaquin County Office of Education hosted the fourth annual School is Cool! Photography Contest last fall based on the theme, “School Spirit.” Winning the “Award of Excellence” were: First place: Dino Piazza, Tokay High School; Second place: Nicole Lawrence, Stagg High School; Third place: Edward Jacob Somera, Tokay High School. These three talented individuals will be the official photographers for the 2012-13 San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Annual Report. Honorable Mention in the School is Cool! Photo Contest went to: Gracia Camarena, Weber Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology; Madison Carroll, Millennium Charter School; Ericka Dominguez, Millennium Charter School; Briceira Juache, Weber Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology; Fernando Navarro, Weber Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology; Annamarie Rodriguez, Stagg High School; Tracy Spencer, Tokay High School; Fe Valencia, Stagg High School. This year’s winners were recognized at an award ceremony on Monday, Dec. 17 at Gluskin’s Photo Center in Stockton.

A Relaxing Sunday Afternoon With Music Come enjoy the sound of Divisa Ensemble at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Manteca. The Divisa Ensemble is recognized for its engaging performances and eclectic programming. A quintet of flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello, the ensemble’s instrumentation and “mix-and-match” approach allow for a wide variety of repertoire comprising all traditional and contemporary styles. Since the inaugural concert in 2009, the Divisa Ensemble has performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. On every program the ensemble showcases its diverse repertoire encompassing the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods. Ensemble members have trained at some of the most famous schools in the U.S.A., including the University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Peabody Conservatory, San Francisco State University, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California. The Divisa Ensemble’s members perform with many orchestras in the Bay Area, including Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Oakland, Marin, Berkeley, California and San Francisco symphonies. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for ages 18 and under. All tickets are available at the door. For more information, call (209) 823-2570. manteca monthly magazine | FEBRUARY 2013 | 9

>>community briefs A Day in Golden Gate Park Come and join the Lathrop Senior Center on a fun-filled trip to San Francisco on Wednesday, March 6. Departure time is 6:30 a.m., with arrival at Golden Gate Park at approximately 8 a.m. There, you will be able to choose a wide range of places to visit. There is a picnic lunch at noon. You will be free to explore all the sights of Golden Gate Park until the bus departs San Francisco at 4 p.m. Arrival back in Lathrop at approximately 6 p.m. The fee for this trip is $20 and is open to seniors 50 and over. This trip is non-refundable. For more information, call (209) 941-7380. Cupids Night The Lathrop Senior Center will host its annual Valentine’s Day Party on Friday, Feb. 8. The evening features entertainment, soup, sandwiches and a dessert bar. There will be plenty of surprises for $2 per person. The evening is limited to the first 60 guests who pay the non-refundable fee and registration for this event. For time and further information, call (209) 941-7380. Calling All Teen Artists The Lathrop Youth Advisory Commission is sponsoring the Fifth Annual Teen Art Show. Teens ages 13-19 can enter up to four pieces of original art for a chance to win cash prizes. Art will be accepted in the following categories: Oils/ Acrylics/Watercolors, Black & White, Photography, Mixed Media, Color, and Miscellaneous. Art will be collected at Lathrop City Hall on Friday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Art will be displayed for two weeks at City Hall Council Chambers. The show culminates at Lathrop City Hall with an Artist Reception and Awards Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. Getting Ready for Opening Day The Spreckels Park Little League will have a coaches and safety meeting for Farm and T-Ball on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The first day of practice is Friday, Feb. 15. There is a team parent meeting and a scorekeeper clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Practice games are Saturday, March 2 and opening day is Saturday, March 9. For more information on Spreckels Little League, visit Income Tax Assistance The San Joaquin County Public Libraries are partnering with the

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to bring free 2012 income tax assistance to the residents of San Joaquin County. The VITA program offers free help with taxes to families earning $54,000 or less a year. This program will be offered at the Manteca Library on Saturdays from noon to 4:30 p.m., and on Monday, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25 from noon to 5 p.m. Assistance is offered on a drop-in basis; no appointment is required. At Weston Ranch Library assistance is available on Mondays, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call Arnetta Lee-Gray at (209) 483-4190 to schedule an appointment. This program will be offered at the Ripon Memorial Library from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 23. Call Arnetta Lee-Gray at (209) 483-4190 to schedule an appointment. Ooey Gooey Science Participants of this Manteca Park and Recreation class get to do some all-time classic science experiments. Come explore sensory bin mixes and discover the scientific method. This class is sure to be silly, fun, exciting, and informative. There is a $5 supply fee for each session, payable to the instructor in cash at the first class meeting. This four-week class begins Thursday, Feb. 21 through Thursday, March 14, from 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at The Parks & Rec Classroom, 252 Magnolia St. in Manteca. The instructor is Leslie Timm. Cost is $30 for residents and $40 non-residents. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 20. For more information, call (209) 456-8600. MUSD Middle School Dance Hang out with friends or make new ones at this month’s middle school dance on Friday, Feb. 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be a live DJ, lights, snack bar, and glow items for sale. This dance is at Golden West Community Gym, 1031 N. Main St. in Manteca. Ticket window opens at 5:30 p.m. Admission of $5 per person will be collected at the door. This dance is casual attire and there will be no in-and-out privileges. This dance is open to all Manteca Unified School District students in 6th-8th grade only. Student ID cards required. Not an MUSD event. For more information, visit parks or call (209) 456-8600.

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Share the Gift of Love with a New Home In December, the Weston Ranch housing market had 34 active homes for sale, 94 pending, 35 sold and 10 expired, withdrew or cancelled. For properties sold, the average days on the market were 21, median square footage price was $80.91, median sold price was $150,000 and the median size was 2,020 square feet. Properties available are $129,000 to $275,000. The Ripon housing market had 14 active homes for sale, 10 pending, 25 sold and 5 expired, withdrew or cancelled. For properties sold, the average days on the market were 61, median square footage price was $116.63, median sold price was $280,000 and the median size was 2,280 square feet. Properties available were $145,000 to $529,900. Manteca’s housing market had 63 active homes for sale, 206 were pending, 17 sold and 0 expired withdrew or cancelled. For properties sold, the average days on the market were 32, median square footage price was $105.87, median sold price was $204,000 and the median size was 1,942 square feet. Properties available were $109,900 to $1.2 million. The Lathrop housing market had 17 active homes for sale, 54 pending, 30 sold and 17 expired, withdrew or cancelled. For properties sold, the average days on the market were 26, median square footage price was $98.48, median sold price was $186,000 and the median size was 2,109 square feet. Properties available were $116,500 to $899,000. Current market data taken from Metrolist, courtesy of Eric Quillinan, real estate Realtor, Help-USell Alpha Realty, (209) 888-8800. 2013 Susan B. Anthony Awards Announced The Commission of Status of Women in San Joaquin County is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Susan B. Anthony award. The Commission created this award to honor women who have excelled in their chosen category and have though their dedication, talent and untiring effort, raised the status of humankind in San Joaquin County. This year’s recipients, honored in their category are: >>La Juana Johnson Bivens,

Marie P. Medford, and Linda VerdunBrown, Community Service >>Mary Fuhs, Science >>Lori Muller Gray and Catherine Mooney, Education >>Loretta Lee, Labor and Employment >>Pam Regan, Religion >>Tori Verber-Salazar, Law and Legal Services These “Women of Achievement” will be honored at a banquet on Friday, Feb. 15, the anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony. The event will be held at the Stockton Golf and Country Club, 3800 Country Club Blvd., Stockton. Reservations are due Friday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $45 each or tables of eight for $360. Registration is 5:30 p.m., and dinner and program at 6 p.m. Checks can be sent to SJCCSW at P.O. Box 4443, Stockton, CA 95204. Tickets are held at the door. For more information, call (209) 463-6957. Festive Crab Feed Defying Muscular Dystrophy will host its second Annual Mardi Gras Crab Feed on Friday, March 1, at the Stockton Ballroom. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for no-host cocktails, with dinner served at 7 p.m. The organization’s goal is to raise $50,000 for Vecttor Treatment clinical trials (an innovative treatment) in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy. The founder’s family members, Todd Harrison and Dave Gould, have been using this treatment for two years with astonishing results and they feel compelled to make it available for others across the nation. The crab feed’s evening festivities include entertainment; a silent auction; a raffle for prizes such as a touch-screen laptop, a flat screen TV, and a video gaming system; as well as a sit-down meal of crab, pasta, bread and salad catered by Seafood Express. Brisket will be available as a substitute for crab. General seating tickets are $45 per person and reserved general seating tickets known as the “Jester Table” can be purchased for $50 per person, in groups of eight or more at $400 minimum. Business sponsorship tables and opportunities are also available, ranging from $250 to $1,000. For more information about the Mardi Gras Crab Feed, contact Cathy Gould-Harrison at (209) 5980471 or

>>beautiful manteca

Old City Hall—the Everything Building By Gene Beley Contributing Writer


anteca’s Old City Hall at 123 Sycamore Ave. was really the community “everything building.” According to Ken Hafer, founder of the city’s Historical Society, the lower floor had the post office and other offices for the city marshal and city clerk; a large vault for city records; and even a few jail cells. The upper floor contained a room that was then the only library. There was also a courtroom, and a public assembly room used for city council and other community meetings. “The second story also had quarters for the fire ‘boys’ bedrooms and bathroom,” added Hafer.

The seemingly people-popular building appropriately got its start with a lot of help from the public. “The community didn’t really have any money to build the Manteca City Hall in 1923, so a group of citizens organized and incorporated into the Manteca Building Association,” Hafer continued. “They raised the money either amongst themselves or through donations.” Originally budgeted at $20,000, the city hall ended up costing $28,000. The cornerstone was laid on Nov. 9, 1923, and several thousand people came to see the ceremony. It began at 2 p.m., with the band playing, and songs performed by the grammar school students and the high school glee club. “Mayor R.E. Leventon acted as the Master of Ceremonies

The Old City Hall at 123 Sycamore Ave., Manteca, was built in 1923 and served the community until a new City Hall replaced it on Nov. 8, 1975. The Old City Hall was truly a multi-purpose building with everything from a post office to the jail and library. PHOTOS BY GENE BELEY

and introduced the town’s first mayor, Joshua Cowell, who was then 80 years old,” said Hafer. Under the cornerstone, they placed a box containing one-cent memorial stamps, a 1923 silver dollar, a half dollar, a dime, and nickel. There was also a sketch of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church drawn by its first pastor, Rev. J. M. Marchisio, said Hafer. When the new Manteca City Hall was built in 1975 at 1001 Center St., the cornerstone and box under the old city hall was moved to the Manteca Historical Society’s museum at 600 West Yosemite Ave. Hafer said one contingency in the original donation of the coins in 1923 stated that if they were ever moved, the value of the coins would be

given to the donor’s heirs. That request was honored, Hafer said. Other items in the box included the first Manteca High School graduating class yearbook from 1923, an issue of the Manteca Bulletin, and a copy of Pacific Telephone Magazine. Hafer added that the building has its own interesting history tidbit: Some unknown person in the Manteca area, he said, has the original jail cell door from the Old City Hall. The current owner of the Old City Hall is Susan Dell’Osso from the Dell’Osso Family Farm. Some of the tenants there now include Word Insurance Service, Bianchi Enterprises, Agape Villages Inc., Software Services, Boyce Resource Development Company, and Narcisse Janitorial.

The backside of the Old City Hall is across from the Manteca Branch Library at 320 W. Center Street. The jail cells have been removed, the building has been remodeled and upgraded, and a variety of businesses headquarter there now.

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>>taste of manteca

A Great Catch – Sushi at its Best

Not surprisingly, the “Manteca Ranch” roll is a hit with area residents. PHOTOS BY LOUIE AMBRIZ

Owner and chef Iven Wei makes a splash in the local sushi cusine.

By J.C. Ellinger | Contributing Writer


ven Wei opened Sakana Japanese Food & Bistro in August 2010 to do something for himself and satisfy hungry bellies. Since then, the restaurateur has focused on the “Basic Three” ingredients of success: simplicity, good food and fresh fish. “I enjoy good food and work hard to make sure my customers are happy,” says the proud owner. Inspired by a surprising, unpleasant experience when tasting Japanese food for the first time, Iven Wei, originally from China, sought to change his experience and learn more about a food culture different from his own. “Sashami was the first Japanese food I tasted and it was not that good,” he recalls. “It was a bad experience and I wanted to make it better.” So began Wei’s journey. And after years of training under chefs from all around the Bay Area and reading books to perfect the trade of sushi and Japanese food, he can show off his culinary aptitude at Sakana, the Japanese bistro off Yosemite Avenue. Try one of his unique sushi rolls, “Manteca Ranch,” which includes ingredients such as tempura

shrimp and crab meat, topped with unagi (also known as eel). And for those who appreciate the slightly more-cooked Japanese entrees, “Chicken Teriyaki” is always a beloved favorite. “I didn’t want my restaurant to be about the decoration,” says the man with the simple style. “My focus was the food.” Having built a strong relationship with his fish provider, who comes regularly and guarantees nothing but fresh deliveries from the sea, freshness is Wei’s No. 1 priority. Priority to his family has not gone unnoticed, either. Wei’s sister, aunt and uncle are all part of Sakana’s family circle, serving guests day in and day out since the inception of the restaurant. In addition to all of his family’s support, he also appreciates the loyal patrons that notice his attention to detail. “They tell me that they will remember eating at my restaurant forever,” Wei remarks.

The “Superman Roll” is a colorful and flavorful favorite.

Sakana Japanese Food & Bistro 1460 W. Yosemite Ave. | Manteca | 209.239.3288 Open daily manteca monthly magazine | FEBRUARY 2013 | 13

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>>beyond 209

Cave Into Your Curiosity

Discover the Natural Wonder of Lake Shasta Caverns

By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz | Contributing Writer


ust 20 minutes north of Redding on I-5, California’s largest man-made lake, Lake Shasta, has 400 miles of shoreline. Hidden beneath the McCloud arm of the lake, magnificent underground caverns await exploration. A privately owned corporation, Lake Shasta Caverns (LSC), offers year-round cavern tours. Dedicated by the National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark in 2012, over 2.5 million people have visited the caverns since 1964, according to LSC General Manager Matt Doyle. Two-hour cavern tours begin with a 15-minute scenic ride around the lake on a twin pontoon catamaran. Arriving at the giant limestone formation on the east shore, a 10-minute bus ride takes guests to the gift shop approximately 850 feet above the lake surface. From this point, tour guides escort visitors into a stunning underground world filled with magnificent surprises around every corner. “Caves are the last part of our world that remains unexplored,” Doyle said. “Exploring the caverns

on concrete walkways with stainless steel handrails is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” The cavern configurations have formed over tens of thousands of years, he noted. “[There are] 32 different varieties of cave formations,” he added. “[These] include very rare helectites, formed by water pressure behind a wall that grows by gravity and looks like spaghetti. It’s an amazing sight.” Underground caverns are in a perpetual state of change. Multicolored fluted columns, magnificent stone draperies in symmetri-

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>>beyond 209 cal folds, stalactite and stalagmite formations studded with brilliant crystals, and milky white flowstone deposits in miniature waterfalls are sights to behold. Cameras and videos are welcome. Visitors can capture unusual, graceful configurations, shapes and forms designed by Mother Nature. Tours are not only visually breathtaking but a wonderful educational experience. The caverns are extremely rich in history, scientific facts, and the beautiful natural geology of the earth’s underground physical structure. The tour concludes inside the Cathedral Room, a large cavity featuring 60-80 feet drapolites, hanging formations that resemble curtains. The formation gives the appearance of flutes on a church organ. Caves maintain a constant 58 degree temperature and 95 percent humidity year round. “In this stable environment, life can be sustained,” Doyle said. “The caverns are very diverse as far as biology. Fossils, creepy crawlers,

spiders, and an occasional small forest animal can be seen, and it is a great habitat for bats.” Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations recommended for group tours of 20 or more. Tour schedule: October to March: 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. June to August: Every 30 minutes, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April, May and September: Hourly, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tours are not handicapped accessible or recommended for persons with heart conditions, asthma, or knee problems. Lake Shasta dinner cruises are available for a non-strenuous experience of the lake area. Call for information. Admission is $24 for adults; $14 for children 3-15, and free for ages two and under. A discount coupon is available online.

Lake Shasta Caverns 20359 Shasta Caverns Road, Lakehead, CA 96051 Open all year – Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas 800.795.2284 | fax 530.238.2386 |

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>>buzz on bizz The Silver Teapot staffer Charlene Catania with shop manager Heidi Silva and owner Marion Silver serve up great teas in downtown Manteca. PHOTOS BY LOUIE AMBRIZ

Afternoon Elegance Down to a ‘Tea’ By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz | Contributing Writer


it down, relax and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea at The Silver Teapot. The threegeneration family operated tea room was the inspiration of matriarch Marion Silva. Along with her daughter Heidi Silva, and granddaughter Charlene Catania, the charming English tradition of elegant afternoon tea time continues.

The tea room offers customers more than 40 different types of loose leaf tea. “We have something for everyone,” Heidi said. “We don’t use tea bags, only the bestquality loose leaf teas.” Varieties include black, green, white, oolong, fruit, herbal and the popular Hot Cinnamon Spice. Several tea options are available. The most prestigious, Silver Tea, is a four-course “High Tea” fashioned after the formal Victorian High Tea common to English society. The Americanized version is served mid-

morning through early afternoon. Tea service includes an assortment of sandwiches, scones, cheese and crackers, desserts and an endless pot of tea. Maid Marion’s Tea, a smaller version of The Silver Tea, is also available. A lighter fare, Cream Tea, features homemade scone or imported British crumpets served with fresh fruit and choice of tea. According to Heidi, it is important to introduce children to tea time, as it incorporates table manners and etiquette. “My mom still has her English accent, and enjoys

hosting The Penny Farthing Tea designed for children 10 and under,” Heidi says. A miniature version of Maid Marion’s Tea, the Penny Farthing service is child-friendly, with sandwiches, desserts, and a beverage option of tea, lemonade, apple juice or hot chocolate. Endless pots of tea and accompaniments are served on elegant tables with fine china, linens and silverware. A complimentary, in-house

dress-up area features a variety of hats and boas for adults and children, to enhance any afternoon tea. Adding to the ambiance and décor, the owners’ personal collection of teapots are on display throughout the tea room. A light lunch menu is offered Tuesday through Friday. Teapots, leaf teas, imported candies, English-themed items, and Royal Family memorabilia are also for sale. Reservations are recommended. Group rates are available.

The Silver Teapot 118 N. Maple Ave. | Manteca | 209.824.8700 Tea Room hours and Gift Shop hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; Sunday by appointment Facebook: The Silver Teapot | manteca monthly magazine | FEBRUARY 2013 | 21

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>>411 in 209


Feb. 22-24: 51st Almond Blossom Festival in Ripon


to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with your sweetheart in Lodi Wine Country on Feb. 9 and 10 during Lodi’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend. Travel from winery to winery while taking hosted activities such as wine and chocolate pairings, live music, barrel tasting and cellar tours. There are more than 40 participating wineries, so please visit the wineries page for the full list of activities. There will be plenty of award-winning wine to keep your taste buds and significant other very happy. Tickets now on sale. One ticket is valid for Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the Wine and Chocolate website at


The Manteca Senior Center

Join in on the Third Annual Mayors Committee Chili Cook-off on Sunday, Feb. 24. Tickets purchased prior to the event will get six tastings for $5. These tickets can be purchased at the Manteca Convention & Tourist Bureau, 1422 Grove Ave., or by calling (209) 823-7229. Tastings are 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be chili judging, raffle prizes and vendors. Proceeds benefit arts in the Manteca Mayors Committee on the Arts, which is comprised of 20 different clubs.


This event features a Queen Coronation, Lion’s Club spaghetti dinner, carnival at Mistlin Sports Park, Diaper Derby, Fun Run and Almond Blossom Parade. The event is sponsored by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. The parade is on Circles Historic Ripon/Main Street and Fourth Street. The festival includes crafts and food booths, plus a carnival, in Ripon’s Mistlin Sports Park on River Road and North Ripon Road. The dinner and dance will be at the Ripon Community Center, 334 W. Fourth St. For more information, visit

Bits of Love— New Jewelry Line

Lodi-based screenwriter and marketer Cheryl Laughlin and her boyfriend, Caleb Porter, have launched a jewelry line called “Bits of Love.” Laughlin has worked on local film sets, commercials, and marketing for 20 years, while also breaking through with her screenwriting. Porter has worked in the printing industry for the past 20 years. They combined their love of print and design to create high-quality rings and fun packaging for Bits of Love. Their first solid sterling silver rings in size seven have the words “Bold, Love, and Hope,” with beautiful gemstones in the center. Online prices for the rings are $110 each and include free shipping. The new line of jewelry is also available at Lodi’s City Girl upscale fashion store, 14 W. Pine St., Stockton. Bits of Love will contribute a percentage of profits to Street Poets Inc., a non-profit, poetry-based peace-making organization. For more information or to place an order, go to

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MANTECA MONTHLY MAGAZINE Big Monkey Group LLC 94 W. Castle St. #B Stockton CA 95204

WE’RE HIRING! The Manteca Monthly—the premier magazine for Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop and Stockton’s Weston Ranch community is — seeking several Account Executives to prospect, build relationships and sell advertising programs to help local businesses grow. Candidates with advertising sales experience can step to the front of the line! We offer a great commission plan with a special rate for the first 60 days, and quarterly bonuses. Resumes can be sent to Advertising Director Noel Fielding at

Manteca Monthly magazine  

The city of Manteca California's city wide monthly magazine

Manteca Monthly magazine  

The city of Manteca California's city wide monthly magazine