Modesto -- From the e-mail and phones:
E-RAT-ICATED Ratgate is over with, now that the infested mobile home in the Westgate Mobile Home Park in southwest Modesto has been destroyed and removed and the ground sprayed to eliminate the residual stench.
Kudos to the residents, park manager, city officials and demolition crews that worked together to address an issue that possessed far-ranging health risks.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect to this episode is that two people one a senior citizen and one fighting cancer could survive in such unhealthy conditions when two people visiting Yosemite and staying in tents died from the rodent-borne hantavirus that threatens about 1,700 others.
I'm told some of the homeowners were upset that the story became public, believing it will hurt their resale values whenever they decide to sell. Consider this instead: Had the trailer remained intact, the 300 or so rats would have procreated into several times that number and could have infiltrated the entire park. California disclosure law requires listing any known noise or nuisance. Try selling any home, mobile or permanent construction while having to list rat infestations within the neighborhood or risk being sued by the buyer because you didn't disclose what virtually everyone in the park knew.
Eliminating a rodent problem should make it easier to sell a property. And now they have the newspaper clippings to prove the problem is gone.
CHALLENGED A story in the Aug. 23 Bee explained that the Castle Science and Technology Center near Atwater is closing. The center is operated by the Challenger Learning Center Foundation.
The closure does not I repeat, does not affect the Castle Air Museum, which remains open and continues to stage special events. The next big one is Nov. 24, when the museum will hold a tribute concert to The Eagles and will have World War II artifacts on display from American Airborne and German infantry equipment excavated from Normandy, France. Visit www.castleairmuseum.org for more information.
JUST A HUNCH Remember the kiosks installed along the downtown Graffiti cruise route a few months ago? Turns out they'd have been better suited if they'd have commemorated the "Lord of the Rings" movies instead of the 50-year anniversary of "American Graffiti."
The kiosks, each of which depicts a part of the cruise and the Modesto car culture of the 1950s and 1960s, were supposed to be reader-friendly at 60 inches (5 feet) tall. But when they arrived, they were only 36 inches. With the June 8 dedication pending, organizers had no choice but to install the shorter ones.
Readers and passers-by had to stoop to read them.
Now, they're being replaced with the taller ones and, along with new information-bearing placards, should be in place by the end of this week, organizer Chris Murphy said.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.