The art of scheduling

In sports, scheduling is an art.

Is it better to play tough teams and lose or is it better to schedule cupcakes and win?

This tenet often becomes most prominent when it comes time to postseason play. Look no further than the NCAA basketball tournament when we hear of mid-major schools, strength of schedule and good wins and bad wins.

A story by Record sportswriter Stephen Roberson took a local look at this issue.

Lincoln High’s football team is winless. But the team has played Elk Grove (5-0), Pitman of Turlock (4-1), Vacaville (2-2)  and St. Mary’s (3-1). Those teams are a combine 14-4, outscoring their opponents 730-377. Lincoln hosts Granite Bay (3-1) tonight.

Edison High is undefeated, having won its first four games while outscoring its opponents 156-59. Yet those teams are a combined 6-11 and only one – Franklin – has a winning record.

So which is better?

Lincoln coach Brian Gray said his team is prepping for the playoffs. In a way, there is no better way to prepare for those tough games by playing tough opponents. Think of the number of teams that have played in demanding environments that have performed well in the postseason, provided that they qualify of course.

Conversely, coaches with programs that have struggled recently like to play winnable games. Even if the opponent is not one of the better teams. Those coaches would argue that winning begets winning and that you have to get the W’s first and try to qualify for the postseason before being concerned about being good enough to advance during the postseason.

In the end, on the field, it is about building a winning program. And after that is accomplished it is about sustaining that success and growing the program.

For a program like Lincoln that has achieved the first step the next is going as deep into the playoffs as possible. For a team such as Edison, it is about learning to win.

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Maybe even better than a pink Cadillac

Some things just make you stop and look. They cry: “Look at me!”

This was pink early model Ford Mustang was one of them. It was parked in front of the beauty supply store on Main Street between California and Sutter streets.

Mary Kay cosmetics is known its car program in which sales associates that meet certain goals have opportunity to get a car, a pink one, through Mary Kay. Those cars have been pink. Most notably, a pink Cadillac.

And although I have seen a pink Cadillac a pink Hummer and other pink cars, I cannot say that I have previously seen a pink Mustang.

So it was a treat to see this one.

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Back to school night at Colonial Heights

Back to school nights are a good time to reacquaint with students, parents, teachers and staff who you have not seen during the summer.

Parental involvement is a key to student achievement, so it was good to see a large number of parents at for Colonial Heights’ back to school night for first-sixth grades on Wednesday.

A good turnout for Back to School Night at Colonial Heights School

And as with a number of school events, this one too was attended by a Lincoln Unified trustee. On this night, it was Don Ruhstaller who said it had made it to a number of school openings. (I think he said all, actually with just Sierra Middle School remaining as of Wednesday.)

Lincoln Unified School District Trustee Don Ruhstaller, left, and Colonial Heights Principal Maureen Oechel chat during back to school night.

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Debt-ridden Harrisburg, Pa. trying to avoid Stockton’s fate

The city of Stockton collectively should send the city of Detroit a thank you card for filing for bankruptcy.

Once Detroit did that, it claimed the moniker of largest U.S. municipality to file bankruptcy, ripping the not-so-appealing title from Stockton.

There is no interest in being No. 2. Anyone else remember that Avis rental car company ad campaign?

While the nation focuses on Detroit, locally Stockton can go about its business without the national fanfare.

But other cities struggle to avoid the scarlet “B.”

Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania is one of them. There city officials are working out a deal with its creditors to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

One can only guess if what happened in Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, San Bernardino and Detroit has helped Harrisburg on some level.

Stockton was unable to work out deals with creditors before it went into bankruptcy. Harrisburg’s creditors are negotiating with city officials; the result would be a reduction in Harrisburg’s debt. Perhaps creditors realize the alternative of not negotiating now and dealing with a city in bankruptcy would be worse.

You can read more about it in this story at philly.com.

 

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Sweet business leaves behind sweet memories

When Cupcake Mania opened nearly two years ago it was part of a burgeoning cupcake business scene in Stockton. Business there seemed to be doing well and the cupcakes were creative and downright delicious.

Cupcake Mania in the Hammer Ranch shopping center on Pacific Avenue near Hammer Lane, Stockton

It was a family owned and operated affair with retired American Medical Response executive Louis Meyer and his daughter Jennifer Winters. Winters was the primary baker and visionary behind the delectable treats sold. Meyer could from time to be found working the front counter

.

Hence it was surprising and disappointing for customers when the business shut down suddenly on July 6. An announcement was made on Cupcake Mania’s Facebook page on just the previous day.

Cupcake Mania closed its doors for good on July 5.

“It had to do with a family health issue with my daughter who was running the bakery,” Meyer said recently. He said the work was affecting Winters some “compressed discs,” he said. “We opted to take that stress off of her” and close the business.

But Cupcake Mania’s closure does not mean that Winters’ creations are gone forever.

On Cupcake Mania’s Facebook page she said that she would be taking private special orders in a few months. An announcement, she said, would be made on Facebook when that time comes.

 

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Political machine at work

It is not unusual to receive the same news release from an organization, particularly these days when so many are trying to push their agendas.

Still, this brought a chuckle when virtually the same release from the National Republican Congressional Committee appeared in my inbox, separated by by only two minutes. They both take on Reps John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove and Ami Bera, D-Sacramento. A search of Garamendi’s name and replacement with Bera’s would allow the NRCC to generate this and a number of other news releases in a short period of time.

 

Garamendi Votes To Fast Track A Carbon Tax

This New Tax Would Hurt Middle-Class Families Across The Country

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. John Garamendi gave the Obama Administration the power to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on millions of Americans.

This vote sought to prevent the Obama Administration from going around Congress and instituting a harmful tax that would have severe repercussions for our economy. With growth already stagnating, we don’t need new taxes that would have disastrous consequences for middle-class families and hurt job creation.

“With millions of families struggling, the last thing we need is a carbon tax,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “John Garamendi’s vote today in support of fast tracking such a tax will hurt job creation and middle-class families across the country.”

John Garamendi Voted Today To Fast Track A Carbon Tax. (H.R. 367, Roll Call Vote 437, 237-176, 8/2/13)

 

 

Bera Votes To Fast Track A Carbon Tax

This New Tax Would Hurt Middle-Class Families Across The Country

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Ami Bera gave the Obama Administration the power to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on millions of Americans.

This vote sought to prevent the Obama Administration from going around Congress and instituting a harmful tax that would have severe repercussions for our economy. With growth already stagnating, we don’t need new taxes that would have disastrous consequences for middle-class families and hurt job creation.

“With millions of families struggling, the last thing we need is a carbon tax,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Ami Bera’s vote today in support of fast tracking such a tax will hurt job creation and middle-class families across the country.”

Ami Bera Voted Today To Fast Track A Carbon Tax. (H.R. 367, Roll Call Vote 437, 237-176, 8/2/13)

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An afternoon walk through downtown Stockton

On Tuesday I was walking through downtown Stockton a bit after 4:30 p.m. when I heard two police sirens. I had just turned east from El Dorado Street onto Miner Avenue when I saw two police cruisers heading north on El Dorado. And then shortly after there were more sirens and cruisers heading east on Miner, north on El Dorado and what seemed like from a few different directions.

I called the office to see what was going on and was told there was a shooting at American and Oak streets. My route would not take me close to that area but I managed to get a photo from American Street at the Miner Avenue intersection.

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A slice of Stockton

 

There are always interesting things to see if we pay attention. As I was walking through downtown Stockton Thursday, I came across a black trash bag on the sidewalk. At least that is what was visible as I approached a Bank of Stockton building on Miner Avenue at San Joaquin Street. However, as I got closer I could see that the bag contained, sort of, a pair of Skechers. No one else was in the vicinity who could possibly be the owner. And they did not get there by themselves.  I stopped to take a photo as it made an interesting piece of street art.

 

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Every 15 minutes

While on my way home from a bike ride Thursday I came upon a few police cruisers on AG Spanos Boulevard and Whistler Way. It looked like Whistler Way was blocked off so I made my way down to see what was going on.

A traffic officer told me that there was a demonstration going on and that I could go and watch.

I would say that I was late to the party, there were already 900 Bear Creek High School students – juniors and seniors – watching what was going on.

About 900 juniors and seniors at Bear Creek High School attended the Every 15 Minutes program presentation on Thursday.

There in front of school at the intersection of Whistler Way and Thornton Road was a two-vehicle accident. Rescue crews were on the scene and the students were sitting across the street and paying close attention. It was an Every 15 Minutes program, which is designed to provide teens with a reminder of what can happen when people drive under then influence of alcohol or drugs or distracted by something such as texting.

One person is killed or injured in a drunk-driving crash every 15 minutes in the United States.

Students also participated in the program. The ones here representing teenagers killed by drunk, impaired or distracted drivers are being led away be death.

More than 23 years ago the Transport Accident Commission aired its first safe-driving commercial. The Victoria, Australia, government-owned agency promotes road safety and pays for treatment and benefits of people injured in traffic accidents. Victoria, which includes Melbourne, is Australia’s second-largest state

In December 2010 I wrote about it’s 20th anniversary retrospective video. It is still well worth watching. You can do so by clicking here.

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Stopping to take photos of the flowers

The Record photographers have a knack for focusing in on their subjects and bringing out the detail. They do it with plants, clouds, animals and people. Often giving them much more impact than when viewed normally. Their work inspires me to view things differently, particularly small things that I may not have looked at closely before such as these flowers that were in bloom while I was walking my dog through the neighborhood. So as I walked, I took out my phone and snapped a few photos along the way.

 

These by far, were the most striking.

 

But from a distance, although pretty, they do not carry the same impact.

A mixture of purple and white flowers side by side.

Notice the details visible in a close view.

 

Flowers seen while walking through a Stockton neighborhood. This photo, as with all the others, is taken from the sidewalk.

And a close-up of these colorful ones.

 

 

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    Don Blount

    Don Blount has been managing editor of The Record since 2005. He has worked at newspapers in Modesto, Ca.; Sacramento, Denver and Allentown, Pa. A Philadelphia native, he is a graduate of Lehigh University with a degree in accounting and a minor in ... Read Full

    Mike Klocke

    Mike Klocke is editor of The Record. He is a native of Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University in 1978 with a degree in journalism. He has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Indiana, Florida and California. He was named editor of The ... Read Full
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