Farm & Family Festival Fun Run Helps Denair High Students

Submitted by Denair Farm & Family Festival

Want to enjoy a fun way to support students at Denair High School and get a little exercise in the process?

Then consider signing up for the 5K Fun Run to be held before the Denair Farm & Family Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt and swag bag. Proceeds from the race provide money for scholarships for Denair High students.

Check-in for the fun run starts at 7 a.m. in front of the Gas Light Theater; the event begins at 8 a.m.

To register in advance, go to and type in “Denair Fun Run.”

After they finish, runners will want to stick around for the annual Farm & Family Festival, one of the highlights of each year in the community. The event will feature more than 100 vendors, a car and truck show, live entertainment, a kids zone and plenty of food.

Admission is free to the festival. For more information, go to

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Independent Auditor Gives DUSD Thumbs Up

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

An independent auditor praised the Denair Unified School District for the accuracy of its financial projections Thursday night while cautioning trustees to pay close attention to future spending.

In particular, Debbie Fry of School Services of California advised school board members to avoid making long-term financial commitments without a corresponding revenue stream to pay for them. Those dollars from the state, she explained, are directly tied to enrollment – which has been flat or declining in Denair. Enrollment is projected at about 1,300 students this year, down from nearly 1,600 10 years ago.

The district’s $16.2 million budget for 2017-18 includes about $1 million in so-called “one-time money” collected and saved over the past three years, said Linda Covello, chief business officer. The additional money has been Gov. Jerry Brown’s preferred method of funding schools beyond what is legally required.

Denair will use that money to add modular buildings on the fast-growing Denair Elementary Charter Academy campus, buy new textbooks at all four campuses, and pay for computers and other technology to better prepare those students.

Saving the extra state dollars to spend on specific projects is a key part of the district’s strategy to attract more students, Covello said. By law, the one-time funds cannot be spent on ongoing expenses such as employee salaries.

“The top priority for the district has been to increase enrollment … to generate additional ongoing revenue and be able to increase ongoing expenses (salaries and benefits) in a way that is sustainable,” she explained. “So over this year and the next, the district plans to spend down all of the one-time moneys sitting in the ending fund balance on one-time expenses that can improve and/or increase programs.”

Added Superintendent Aaron Rosander: “This is all planned. The one-time money is going to disappear as we invest in technology, infrastructure and other programs.” Continue reading “Independent Auditor Gives DUSD Thumbs Up” »

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Denair Student Leads Relief Effort for Mariposa Fire Victims

Submitted by Denair High School

A student at Denair High School set aside traditional sports rivalries to provide support for Mariposa County residents affected this summer by the massive Detwiler Fire.

Drew Pritchard, a junior at DHS, was in Monterey with his father in late July as the fire was raging in the rugged terrain just north of the town of Mariposa. Hundreds of people were temporarily evacuated from their homes as firefighters from all over the state battled the flames.

Drew thought of the athletes he had competed against in football, basketball and golf. He told his parents, “We should do something for them,” according to a story published Aug. 3 in the Mariposa Gazette.

Kathy and Dale Pritchard, Drew’s parents, encouraged their son. They spent a few hundred dollars buying groceries to donate to Mariposa families. When others in Denair found out, they also chipped in. The Pritchards’ doctor donated some medical supplies, Save Mart provided bottled water and Raley’s chipped in cookies.

On July 27, Drew and his father drove to Mariposa High School, accompanied by Denair student Steffin Winston, one of Drew’s basketball teammates. At the school, they gave the supplies to members of the Mariposa basketball team to distribute to the community.

“We play them every single year,” Drew told the newspaper, “and it’s just hard when you know they’re not getting what they want” because of the fire.

Drew and Steffin both said they had seen TV reports of the Detwiler Fire, which burned more than 81,000 acres and destroyed 63 homes and one business before it was contained.

“It’s probably hard for them,” Drew said. “I wouldn’t want to be in that situation.”

The relief effort was much appreciated by the people in Mariposa.

“It’s about relationships and the relationships we’ve developed in the Southern League,” said Trace DeSandres, Mariposa’s athletic director. “To me, this is why we do this. It teaches them there are more things than just the competitive part.”

Drew’s parents said they couldn’t be more proud of their son and others in the Denair community who rallied for a worthy cause.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Kathy.

Also impressed is Drew’s high school principal, Kara Backman.

“Drew is a thoughtful, hard-working and polite young man,” she said. “He has the internal drive of a student athlete and is always there to lend a hand to a fellow peer.  He bleeds purple and we are proud to call him a Coyote!  I am so proud of him.”

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Calling All Student Coders!

Submitted by U.S. Representative Jeff Denham’s Office

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham announced the opening of California’s 10th District Congressional App Challenge. This competition invites middle and high school students to compete with peers to create and showcase their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice. The best app will be displayed in an exhibit in the U.S. Capitol.

“Innovation and creativity are hallmarks of the American entrepreneurial spirit and now, especially, we look to the next generation to usher us into the next age of technological transformation,” said Rep. Denham. “The Central Valley is full of potential from our bright and eager students, and I’m looking forward to seeing what great advancements come from this year’s submissions.”

Students who reside or attend school in California’s 10th Congressional District are eligible to participate and may compete as individuals or in teams of up to four. Participants must submit their app along with required materials and any additional accompanying information to by Noon EDT on Nov. 1, 2017. A panel of local judges who work in the software and entrepreneurial fields will judge the district’s submissions. In addition to being displayed in a U.S. Capitol exhibit, the winning submissions will also be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website The 10th District’s winner will be announced during the week of Dec. 4, 2017. A reception to honor the winning individuals and teams from across the nation will be held in the spring of 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Additional details including rules and requirements are available at Questions should be directed to Kirsten DeWilms with Rep. Denham’s Modesto office at (209) 579-5458.

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Denair Gaslight Theater Summer/Fall 2017 Season

Submitted by Denair Gaslight Community Conservatory

The Denair Gaslight Theater is pleased to present their 2017 Summer/Fall season lineup! The summer starts with a sizzling hot youth performance which takes the classic fairytale, little red riding hood, and gives it a modern twist. “The show will highlight 16 of our local youth which will be participating in everything from set design, tech, and stage acting,” according to director Josh Morriston. This show is sure to be a “wild ride” not only for the youth, but for all that come to see the performance. Tickets are $8.00 for students and seniors, and $10.00 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (209) 664-9514.

The fall will kick off with the comedy classic The Importance of Being Earnest. The show reveals to everyone the importance of being honest and truthful, and what calamities might be bestowed upon you if you are not. Moving into the Halloween season, the Gaslight Theater will once again provide you with spooks and thrills, with their production of Dracula of Transylvania. The second annual Denair Community Tree Lighting will take place in front of the historical Gaslight Theater. To round out the 2017 season, the holiday movie tradition of A Christmas Story will come to life on the Denair stage.

“The Denair Gaslight Theater Board is very excited to present such an array of shows and activities for our community”, Erica Prock President of the Gaslight Theater Board Stated. For more information about dates, times, and auditions please refer to the listing below or call Denair Gaslight Theater at (209) 664-9514. All auditions and performances will be at 3908 Gratton Rd. Denair, CA. 95316.

Little Red and the Riding Hoods YOUTH SHOW– Performances: July 28-29, 7:00 pm, July 30, 2:00 pm and Aug. 4-5, 7:00 pm

The Importance of Being Earnest Auditions July 23, 2:00 pm and July 24, 6:30 pm, all adult cast
Performances: Sept. 8-9, 7:00 pm, Sept. 10, 2:00 pm and Sept. 15-16 at 7:00 pm

Dracula of Transylvania Auditions Sept. 11 and 12, 6:30 pm, all adult cast
Performances: Oct. 20-21, 7:00 pm, Dec. 22, 2:00 pm and  Oct. 27-28, 7:00 pm

Denair Community Tree Lighting November/December – date to be announced

A Christmas Story Auditions Oct. 23 and  24, 6:30 pm, mixed cast youth and adults
Performances: Dec. 8-9, 7:00 pm, Dec. 10, 2:00 pm and Dec. 15-16, 7:00 pm

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