A little bit about a lot of things:

• Water has been a topic of concern in Gustine of late, based on the social media comments we’ve seen as well as the discussion at last week’s City Council meeting.

The upshot of the discussion was that, yes, residents are sometimes turning on their taps to discover brownish water flowing.....and nobody seems to quite be sure why.

One possibility is that the heavy equipment rumbling up and down Meredith Avenue as part of a pathway construction project may be causing the rust to break loose and flow in the system. A large water main runs beneath that roadway.

City Manager Doug Dunford said staff discussed that theory and come to the conclusion that it may be a logical - if still unproven - explanation for the discolored water.

If the water clears when the construction project is completed and the heavy trucks leave, Dunford said, that theory will be confirmed.

That’s the best possible outcome, of course, because nobody really wants - or should be expected - to wash laundry, bathe or shower, cook with or otherwise consume brown water. I completely understand the frustration of residents who have experienced the problem and sympathize with those affected.

If the water quality does not improve with conclusion of the pathway project and departure of the construction equipment.....well, from what I can gather the situation becomes an unwelcome conundrum with no clear-cut path forward other than further investigation in hopes of pinpointing the problem.

Because obviously there is no acceptable alternative other than getting to the bottom of the situation.

• The unexpected can certainly arise during Zoom meetings. At a recent session which I was attending remotely there was momentary confusion when a sharp “No!” was clearly heard as a vote on an agenda item was concluding. One of the elected officials clarified, however, that rather than a dissenting vote the distinct “no” was just his wife yelling at their family dog.

Actually, I’m a little surprised that type of thing doesn’t happen more often.

We’re living in a different world right now, aren’t we?

• So Newman’s ARCO AM/PM project is now officially a go, the latest development within the city’s Highway 33 corridor.

While respecting that there are differences of opinion on the topic, I’m pleased to see the former auto dealership and bus company on Highway 33 between Kern and Mariposa streets be given new life.

It hasn’t happened overnight, but Newman’s highway corridor looks a lot different than it did 25 years or so ago.

Our downtown remains the heart of the community, but the importance of a vibrant highway corridor cannot be overstated.

I still very clearly remember driving into Newman for the first time and being, to put it politely, less than impressed overall by the Highway 33 corridor.

That has changed and continues to change with the transformation of the highway corridor, one property at a time.

• The resumption of high school sports may come in baby steps.....but isn’t it nice to see some sports coverage, limited as it is, on these pages again? Hopefully there is much more to follow.

• A number of students settled in across from Gustine High School last Thursday and Friday to show their desire to return to the classroom.

That demonstration started Thursday - the day that classes had at one point been scheduled to resume after the district paused in-person instruction back in December. Actually, that was the second target date for reopening; the first was in mid-January. As of this point, GUSD is committed to reopening schools on March 1.....and we certainly hold out the hope that that date holds.

The frustration of students who want to be back in the classroom only to see dates constantly moving is fully understandable. In many ways, that is the world that we have all lived in now for nearly a year. Remember when schools first closed last March? The expectation was that students would be back in class in a matter of a few weeks to finish out the school year.

The same frustrations are shared with adults in terms of ever-shifting public health guidance, changing restrictions, business closures and reopenings; stay-at-home orders and, yes, wanting to know when their kids are going to go back to school.

Change has been the only constant, it seems.

There are strong feelings on both sides of the question of reopening schools, to be sure, and I think that there is no “right” or “wrong.” That is up to each family to decide for itself.

But, I doubt the academic lag of the past year or the missed experiences can ever fully be recovered.

I was impressed by the GHS students last week.

They made their point.....and they went about it in the right way.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.