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12/17/2012 6:01:00 AM
Kingman school kitchen 'needs improvement'
Health Department finds live roaches, unsanitary conditions at La Senita

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter


The Mohave County Health Department inspected the kitchen at La Senita Elementary Dec. 10 and gave the school a rating of "needs improvement" after inspectors found live roaches and unsanitary conditions.

Inspectors want the school to deal with the insects, remove all cardboard from the kitchen, deep clean all surfaces, caulk around all wallboards and sinks and replace the counter for tray return. A follow-up inspection is scheduled for Friday.

"This is the first time we've gotten a rating like this," said Kingman Unified School District Food Services Director Paula Loomis, who's been with the district for 27 years. "We almost always get excellent ratings at every school."

She said the problems are being addressed.

For most district schools, including La Senita, food is cooked at a central kitchen and then transported to the schools for meals. The school kitchens, for the most part, are in charge of preparing the trays, passing out the food and cleaning the dishes.

Pat Mickelson, the principal of La Senita, said there were some issues of things not getting cleaned properly, which exacerbated the roach problem. She is in the process of correcting the cleaning deficiencies among the kitchen staff members.

But the kitchen is also going through some extensive changes because of the poor inspection report.

"This may ultimately be a blessing in disguise," she said. "We're going to come out of this in better shape than we were in."

The kitchen's cove base, which is old and falling apart, will be completely replaced, she said.

"There are areas where it's really decrepit," she said.

The wooden counter used for tray return will be replaced with one that's stainless steel - a product that's much easier to thoroughly clean. Cardboard containers are being replaced with plastic bins, and much of the shelving is being replaced with stainless steel as well, she said.

The second round of pest treatment is set for sometime this week after students have gone home, she said. With any luck, the problem should be dealt with soon.

"I'm real pleased with the cooperation and the plan," she said.

She doesn't expect to have all the issued corrected by the time the inspectors return Friday, but as long as the school can show that it's created a plan of correction and is in the midst of executing it, everything should be fine, Mickelson said.

"The plan is in progress and the timeline is set in place," she said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012
Article comment by: Kathy Esquerra

@Step up, Apparantely you didnt read what I wrote, I WAS THERE HELPING, you must have been one of the parents that had no problem with the dirt, and old buttered cob webs with flies in them, or were you the lady with the dirty cardboard scooping out the popcorn, I wasnt the only one standing there in utter shock that we were being told by the people in charge to do it that way but I was the one who spoke up about it. I still stand by what I said, they should be ashamed of themselves, these children have no idea they were going to be served popcorn made in a dirty storeroom with dusty and dirty utensils and filth everywhere. I am a grandparent that works for a living and I already raised my kids. maybe you have the time to hang out at the school everyday and clean for them and thats fine for you, but my point was and still is, that if they werent ready to have popcorn day, then maybe they shouldnt have had it until they were clean and ready for it and they shouldnt sit back and act like the cockroaches were an isolated event and they have never had a bad report before because, obviously thats incorrect. I think its wonderful for parents to help out at the school and they all should, but not cleaning up filth and grime that should have never been there in the first place.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: saw this in USA Today

Kingman gets lots of press these days- first a real estate agent promotes the town in NY media as having great golf weather year round (who's he kidding??? Golf is never fun in freezing WIND), now USA Today picks up this snippet about La Senita and tells the nation... Hmmm. And good grief does every school employee with an issue have to be skewered in the paper?! Small town drama drama drama. Glad we left.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Step Up

Don't oh honey me.... I was there that day and a hundred other days volunteering my time. I was there cleaning up, that Saturday. Not as a teacher or custodian, as a volunteer. Where were you??

I am tired of parents complaining and not being willing to step up and help out at the school.
Come to the PTO meetings, come to the site council meetings. Use your energy in helping!!


Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Kathy Esquerra

@Step up
Oh honey, that would have never been the cure for this escalated problem. That room would have taken alot more than me with my cleaning bucket and I was already doing my part. I was there to help out, I tried to help out, but was not willing to let them keep doing this sort of thing. These schools will not get better if everyone always helps to fix the problem. If I were to clean up all that filth, what happens next year when I'm possibly not there to clean up the mess, the kids eat popcorn made in filth again, I did my part, where were you???


Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Step up

@ Kathy Esquerra

Did you come and help solve the problem and help clean up? Instead of calling the health department, you should have gone home, grabbed your cleaning supplies, come back and started cleaning.

Don't just be the problem.... try being part of the solution.


Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Someone Else

Again, apply for editor if so many of you are so well qualified. Fact is, this is the kind of photo that entices many readers to pick up the paper, or even read the stories otherwise unread. I think it really drives home the point regarding the level of disgust found in these childrens' school. Rather than be so caught up in what you think is a distasteful photo, concern yourself with the distaste of disease-carrying insects, bacterium, and otherwise unhealthy organisms ending up in the food of these youth.

R. - Get over yourself. No need to set yourself up to sue the paper over your anxiety that caused mental injuries, blatantly, those issues have existed for a while if you can't look at a photo of a dead bug. Discuss the real issue, the safety of our community children. Otherwise, scroll on by...


Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

Never before have I ever seen a photo of a dead cockroach make the front page of a newspaper. The need to add this photo to a front page cover story is pitiful. A picture of the actual school would have made more sense and would have been far less disgusting. Everyone knows what a roach looks like - there was no need to post a picture of one. What's next? Showing a picture of a roach crawling across some student's lunch tray while eating?

The story was an important one, but you took away from the actual health concerns of a roach-infested school by posting that picture. I realize Kingman is a small, unsophisticated town, but please don't prove it by printing front page photos of roaches, bed bugs, or any of the other disgusting little creatures that infest this town. This article and photo should have been placed somewhere in the middle of the paper.


Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Kathy Esquerra

Its really quite funny that this quote "This is the first time we've gotten a rating like this," said Kingman Unified School District Food Services Director Paula Loomis, who's been with the district for 27 years. "We almost always get excellent ratings at every school."
They must not be remembering back in September when the health department came out on a complaint about the room they were using to make popcorn for the children and how filthy it was and were made to make changes before preparing popcorn again. My 5 year old granddaughter goes to school there and me and my daughter went to help out with this popcorn day and after about 20 minutes of utter disgust, we turned and walked out. I even stopped in at the office to tell them how disgusting the room was and that they should be ashamed of themselves for making popcorn in such filth, the person I spoke to at the time stated to me "what do you expect us to do" I said back "not make popcorn until youre better prepared to do so" we subsequently called the health department at that time. We were told he came out and shut down the operations and made them make changes before making the popcorn again and it had to be in the kitchen. So apparantely, they checked the kitchen out at that time also. I'm wondering who's not on the ball here. Who's going to look out for our children if we don't.


Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Don't Look

@ R .

Either don't look or stop the person from shoving the picture in front of your face.

Anyway, La Senita is not the only school with problems. I've personally seen roaches at Haulapai Elementary as I sat there and ate lunch. People are really blind when it comes to our schools.


Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: R .

Are you kidding me? Was it really necessary to show a close up of a roach? Some people, myself included, have serious insect phobia which causes anxiety, particularly with those roaches that live out here which I had invade my home for my first year living here. It was a nightmare! Anyway, what's the matter with you people at the Miner!?

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Mother Of Student

It's about time!!!!!!

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Lifer

I think the Mohave County Health Dept. plants these cockroaches in these places to get publicity! This cockroach looks familiar just like the last one you showed in the paper last time or is this your file photo of cockroaches? Who takes pictures of dead cockroaches anyway? A few bugs aren’t to harm anyone after you get the first one down the rest are a piece of cake. OK cockroaches carry diseases so do people but their little harmless bugs who have no representation of their own. We need to understand cockroaches try to help them live in a world where they are hunted and hated.



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