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Letters to the Editor published Feb. 10, 2010
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MID, TID setting stage for repeat of flooding disaster Manteca

Editor, Ceres Courier,

In a March 19, 1997 Modesto Bee article, Allen Short (Manager of Modesto Irrigation District-MID) which oversees lake Don Pedro) explained that the Don Pedro Dam (with a maximum capacity of about 2 million acre feet of water) worked flawlessly during the flood.

He went on to explain that the storm water had simply exceeded Don Pedro's maximum capacity. As a result, massive flooding occurred throughout Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties in late 1996 and early 1997. He failed to mention the fact that he and TID (Turlock Irrigation District) manager, Larry Weiss sat on their hands for weeks after being warned by their staff that a flood disaster was approaching. Instead of taking decisive action, they allowed Don Pedro to continue filling and then blamed the Corps of Engineers when the dam failed to control the water. The Corps takes control of the dam once it nears flood level. It got there because of inaction by TID and MID. In fact, once the Corps took control of the dam they did what Short and Weiss should have done months earlier; the Corps released as much water as they could. But the predicted warm tropical storm hit, melting the snow pack and Don Pedro was overwhelmed. Just like Michael Brown (head of FEMA during the New Orleans Disaster), Mr. Short and Mr. Weiss dawdled in their response to a critical situation. Massive flooding and loss of property in our two counties was the result.

This year we are in very similar circumstances. We have a very heavy snowpack in the Sierra. Heavy rains and snow are predicted for the remainder of February and into March. Don Pedro water level is at almost 88% (20,000 acre feet less than in December 1996) and at its present rate will hit the point at which the Corps takes control at just about the time warm weather gets here and the snow melt starts. If Mr. Short and Mr. Weiss do not increase water releases soon at Don Pedro, we will have a repeat of the 1997 floods.

Currently, the other two major water storage systems affecting Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties are New Melones with a capacity of 2.5 million AF. It is at 50%. The other system is McClure with a capacity of 1 Million AF. McClure is at 44%. How is it that their managers have the foresight to see the danger coming this spring, yet the managers of MID and TID do not? While the Merced and the Stanislaus will remain under control during the flood season, the Tuolumne is very likely to flood any community in its path.

Jim Dorroh,


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No screening cuts!

Editor, Ceres Courier,

On Jan. 1, the Every Woman Counts program, which provides mammograms to 350,000 underserved women in California each year, closed its doors and will not start screening women again until July. When the program reopens, women under the age 50 will not be served. Why? To save a few bucks, just one half of one percent... which will have little impact on the state's massive budget deficit.

For the women of this state it could mean the difference between life and death. We already know that screening saves lives. When breast cancer is detected early, the five- year survival rate is 98 percent.

This is just the beginning. The govenor has announced the likeihood of even more cuts to the state's screening program. This is unacceptable. Our elected leaders face a tough economic situation, I get it, but balancing the budget shouldn't come at the cost of risking lives.

Why are we turning the backs on women in our state when they need us most? Every woman does count!

Carmen Trammell,


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Ceres has the finest of all public servants

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Several weeks ago about 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning I woke to the smell of smoke in our mobile home. After checking to see if it was coming in from the outside I searched for the source. Upon not finding it and with the smoke alarm activation and my 96-year-old mother sleeping I dialed 9-1-1. Very quickly the Ceres Fire Station #4 crew and others arrived along with paramedics and a Ceres Police Officer. The paramedics evacuated my mother to my sister's mobile home. The firefighters checked under, in, and on top of the mobile home. The policeman kept me informed of my mother's welfare. The firemen decided it was the central heater causing the smoke and secured it. This was confirmed by the repairman later in the day.

I've worked as a volunteer with most all public service and safety agencies for 35 years and the people in Ceres have the finest, well trained, and caring public servants I've seen. I'd like to publicly thank them for a job well done.

Les Ballinger,


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Cat owners need to be more responsible

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Being a responsible pet owner constitutes knowing where your pet is and keeping that pet from becoming a nuisance (disturbance) to others. We live in a nice neighborhood that for the past couple of months has become plagued with three cats. They are in our yard every night yowling and making the noises that cats do when in heat, or fighting or whatever they are doing. This causes our dogs to bark and run out through their doggy door, disrupting the sleep of neighbors I'm sure. We are always awakened by the loud noises these cats make.

We recently heard from a lady who is upset because people are killing the cats. I don't blame her, I would be upset too. However to trap the cats and take them to the pound is not inhumane. If the rightful owners of the cats aren't going to keep them in so they can't disturb people (and especially during the night) what choice do we, the neighbors, have but to trap them? If our dogs were running loose they would be taken to the pound by the dog catcher. Yes, cats are different; however, if you want to own one, take care of it in a responsible way so that your neighbors are not affected by its behavior.

Jose Magrigal,


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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to