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Lodi Insider’s Guide to the Happiest Place on Earth

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Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 9:30 am

Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. The sound of the Disneyland Railroad steam whistle piercing the air. The wind blowing through your hair as you plunge into the darkness of Space Mountain. The aroma of popcorn as you stroll down Main Street U.S.A. The Magic Kingdom.  

Oh, and the crowds packed shoulder to shoulder in the summer heat waiting to see a parade, seemingly endless lines for a minute-long ride, paying $12 for a fast-food hamburger and soda and screaming children because they can’t have that Mickey Mouse shaped balloon that will float out of their hands shortly after you spend far too much money on it.

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Four new Hispanic community leaders will be inducted into the San Joaquin County Mexican American Hall of Fame during a special induction ceremony set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Stockton Hilton Hotel.

According to Hall of Fame President Maria Elena Serna, the four were chosen for their contributions to the advancement of the Hispanic community in the areas of education, performing arts and business.

“We are proud of the fine selection we have as the 2016 inductees. These four gentlemen highlight individual success and they establish new benchmarks,” Serna said. “They have the respect and they represent hard work which we hope inspires future generations.”

Those being inducted include educators Mel Suguitan and Jose Diaz, businessman Juan Ruvalcaba and artist Carlos Perez.

For 35 years Diaz taught vocational English along with citizenship classes for the California Human Development corporation. He has received numerous awards for his service in the community.

“Helping many people reach their goals has been gratifying. I have enjoyed my career in education,” Diaz said.

Ruvalcab, owner of Cancun Restaurant in Stockton, has been a pillar of Comerciantes Unidos, a Spanish-speaking Chamber of Commerce in San Joaquin County, and pushed for a scholarship program that has donated over $100,000.

“Ever since I opened my restaurant, I have enjoyed serving our community. I have never done it for recognition,” he said. “I just hope that all our contributions make a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

Suguitan has donated many hours at community events with his mariachi groups. The Air Force veteran established the first mariachi program for the Stockton Unified School District.

“I find it important to connect with students’ needs and our mariachi program offers students a bridge between music, culture and their communities,” Suguitan said.

Perez is being recognized for his commitment to the community and his collaboration in the design of the Apple, Inc. logo.

“I feel fortunate to have worked in the process that made the iconic logo for an industry that has been a benchmark in the evolution of technology,” Perez said.

Univision 19 is one of the major sponsors of Saturday’s event and capitol correspondent Sergio Flores will be the Master of Ceremonies for the night.

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